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Civil Rights Icon Slams Trump Ahead Of Mississippi Visit; Tensions Ahead Of Trump Civil Rights Museum Visit; Trump Rallies For Accused Child Molester Roy Moore. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 9, 2017 - 08:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This guy is screaming, "We want Roy Moore."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a president that's down there telling people to vote for someone where there is to me irrefutable evidence, written evidence, that he was preying on underage girls.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We need a Republican in the House. We need a Republican in the Senate. So, get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be Alabama that decides whether they want Roy Moore to be one of the two who are the voice for Alabama in the Senate and we'll see what happens next week.


DIANNE GALLEGHER, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning, everyone. I'm Dianne Gallagher in this morning for Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you along. The president is awake and tweeting clearly on a high after holding a rally last night supporting embattled Senate candidate, Roy Moore.

GALLAGHER: The president giving his strongest endorsement yet to the accused child molester telling voters to support Roy Moore over his Democratic counterpart.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We can't do it. So, get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it.


BLACKWELL: The president will head to the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum any moment now where he will be greeted likely by protesters.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Multiple black leaders have come out in resistance to the president's visit. Congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis, is leading that charge calling the president's visit a mockery of the civil rights movement.

I want to get right to CNN White House reporter, Abby Phillip. Abby, the president is expected to take off to the Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi. Any word on how he plans to handle the protests around his visit?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dianne. Yes, the president is going to be leaving in just a few short minutes. Before he takes off, he sends out one more tweet about Roy Moore encouraging Alabamians to go out and vote.

He said at a big contingent, a very enthusiastic Roy Moore fans at the rally last night, "We cannot have a Pelosi/Schumer Democrat Jones in that important Alabama Senate seat."

So, the president again making sure he doubles down on that argument that you just heard a couple of minutes ago. He is heading over to Mississippi in just a few moments where that visit is already shrouded in some controversy.

You have two members of Congress, civil rights leaders, saying they are not going to come because the president is going to be there. President Trump was invited by the governor of Mississippi and sources tell CNN was encouraged to go by Ben Carson, the housing and urban development secretary.

He was also the only African-American member of Trump's cabinet. Carson believed that it's important for Trump to go especially after how Trump handled that Charlottesville incident in which white supremacists were marching in the streets and a person was killed in that violence.

So, the president is trying to go there to restart this conversation, but civil rights leaders are really not having it. Dianne, we also have learned that just given the controversy that has shrouded this visit, the president is actually going to talking at a smaller private ceremony just before the public ceremony opening the museum.

So, he is not going to be at the public facing part of this. He will speak just before that in a more private atmosphere. Just given the controversy that surrounded the visit, it is not that much of a surprise that they would want to handle it in that way.

GALLAGHER: All right. Abby Phillip, thank you for that update.

BLACKWELL: Well, as you know by now, prominent black leaders are protesting President Trump's visit. We heard from Abby there will be a change in what he will say and where. Why are they protesting? Here's why.

The president's past remarks about African-Americans use that. They say that is a reason for shunning him here. We want to remind you of the president's past comments. These are his words and tweets.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.

You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. I think there's blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it. You don't have any doubt about it either.


[08:05:08] BLACKWELL: Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart. All talk, talk, talk. No action or results. Sad.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: You are living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?

Look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?

You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They would be carried out on a stretcher, folks.

I'd like to punch him in the face. I'll tell you.

Knock the crap out of him, would you. Seriously.

He was so obnoxious and loud. He was screaming. Maybe he should have been roughed up. It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke. I don't know anything about what you are talking about with white supremacy.

You have David Duke just joined. A bigot, racist, a problem, I mean, this is not exactly the person you want in your party.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The state of Hawaii says this is official. He was born in Hawaii on this date. Here it is. Why do you deny that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: A lot of people don't think it was an authentic certificate.

BLITZER: Donald, you are beginning to sound a little ridiculous. I have to tell you. PRESIDENT TRUMP: You are, Wolf.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He insisted to CNN that the so-called "Central Park Five" were still indeed guilty. At the time, Trump took out full page ads in newspapers calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: If the woman died, I think they should be executed.


BLACKWELL: President Trump tweeted "Sadly because President Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations.

A great African-American president hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who were so happily and openly destroying Baltimore. We had to cut for time. There's more.

Joining me now Daniel Lippman, a reporter of "Politico," CNN political commentators, Maria Cardona and Jack Kingston. Thank you all for being with us this morning. Jack, considering what we just watched for two and a half minutes from the president's history. Are you surprised by the protests, by the boycotts today?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not surprised at all, Victor, but I think all the more reason for John Lewis to go because, you know, frequently when you sit down with somebody, you find some common ground. I might add that I was the co- author of the African- American museum in Washington, D.C. with John Lewis, the bill was actually the Kingston/Lewis bill.

I was not invited to the opening of that museum for some reason. I have my own theories on that. I think more reason for John Lewis to go. When you ride with them and talk with them and share a platform, you find something you can chat about.

Then you can start building common ground. I think if you don't like somebody, interaction is good. Absolutely you can make a good statement by not going, but I think you can get a better statement by going and interacting.

BLACKWELL: Maria, how about that? We know that Congressman John Lewis and Benny Thompson will not be there. The mayor of -- which city? Jackson, Mississippi will not be there. NAACP boycotting. What do you think? Should they be going and do what Jack said and be there to share some common ground?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, normally, if you were looking at somebody who was sensible, somebody who was looking to expand their horizons and curious about other people's opinions and somebody who did not think that they were right every single minute of every single day.

Then yes, I would say Jack would be right and the civil rights leaders who were boycotting the opening of the Civil Rights Museum should go, but they are not dealing with a sensible person. They are dealing with the president of the United States, who like you said you had to cut all of those comments that he has made.

He has a history of being against civil rights. He has a history of attacking people who have worked for their whole lives on civil rights issues. He has a history of starting the birther movement against the first African-American president of the United States.

So, I think that they have made a decision which I think is the right one that no matter what you do and what you say and how sensible you re, this president is never going to change. He has proven that time and again.

So, I agree with the civil rights leader who are boycotting this because they don't want to lend their tremendous credibility on the issue of civil rights to this president who has never taken civil rights seriously.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let me turn to Daniel now.

[08:10:01] Daniel, we just heard from Abby Phillip there who is in Florida where the president's resort is saying that the president will speak at a smaller venue first and then will attend the opening of the museum.

What does the president have to say today? What can he say? Do we have any head's up from the White House on what he will say?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER, "POLITICO": We have not gotten that head's up, but I'm sure his White House speech writers have crafted a speech that will try to resonate with the communities. He has a welcome from the governor.

But I think civil rights leaders would point to anything he says today can't, you know, erase some of the stuff he has done as president. It is not just rhetoric. If you look at how many judges he appointed, 91 percent of those people are white people.

If you look at the spending cut backs that he has proposed, that would primarily affect poor white people and lots of minorities. It is not just what he says. It is more like these are real world consequences for poor minorities that can't be erased.

KINGSTON: But he will also --

BLACKWELL: Hold on for a second. Daniel, you brought up spending cuts. I also want to bring up some of the cuts that have been made formally and proposed in the budget. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission launched a two-year probe because of cuts to the Department of Justice, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development.

And saying specifically about those proposed cuts that they would result in dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities and others marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination. So, this is not just a rhetorical concern -- the government. This non-partisan group has a concern that cuts that are proposed will infringe upon civil rights across the country.

LIPPMAN: He is not going talk about that today. He hasn't really addressed those cuts in that civil rights enforcement. So, that's a real question that his advisers and he himself have to answer for.

BLACKWELL: Jack, let me come back to you. This president has said that he knows more about ISIS than the generals. He has one of the great memories and he is a really smart guy, all of those things, self-aggrandizing. Does he want to know more? Does he care to know more?

And what's the evidence that if he were to sit down with Congressman Lewis or Congressman Thompson that he would be open to really learning about the civil rights struggle and why so many people have been offended by the two and a half minutes of his history that I summed up a few moments ago?

JACKSON: Well, I think the best example is DACA. The Republican base generally is not supportive of DACA yet the president has said, number one, they were about to lose in court so he said I'm going to give Congress six months. I'm going to extend this unconstitutional executive order on DACA because I care about the children.

And Victor, I was at the White House yesterday and the subject actually came up. We were reminded again. You know, the president really does worry about these children. Absolutely, sitting down with the president --

CARDONA: Oh, please.

KINGSTON: -- sitting down with anybody is helpful. Another thing is who created the jobs? I know everybody is going to say --

CARDONA: Barack Obama.

KINGSTON: Yes, I know. I mean, I understand ten months later what a legacy but --

CARDONA: Tremendous.

KINGSTON: Lowest unemployment in 17 years. Homeownership among that African-Americans is up. Homeownership among other groups --

BLACKWELL: We just disproved that in the last hour that 42 percent right now. It was at 49 percent in 2004. The president last night said --

KINGSTON: But it is up.

BLACKWELL: -- it was the highest in history. This is the number from the U.S. Census. I have to get back to Maria and Jack, you will be with us next hour. Maria, the example from Jack on the president's compassion is DACA. If I had known that would be the example, I would have produced the reel of what the president said during the campaign and up to this point about DACA recipients and getting them out of the country.

I did not know that was going to be the example. To you, Maria, I wonder do you think the president should be there?

CARDONA: Well, I understand politically why they want him to be there because he so desperately needs credibility on the civil rights issues. But I also think that it probably would have behooved him to not be there at all because then he can't be accused of being completely hypocritical on these issues the way that we are doing right now on his sentiment.

Because not just his rhetoric, but his actions speak a lot louder than whatever he is going to say today, and the fact he has a 32 percent approval rating, the lowest in history for presidents in their first term. I think proves that the majority of the American people do not believe what he says.

[08:15:00] The majority of the American people believe he is completely unfit to hold that office. When he talks about civil rights and you have his rhetoric and his policies on the flip side, I don't think that really helps him. We always learned this is a president who is not interested in expanding his base.

He is only interested in feeding red meat to his base because he is so desperate to keep that base because he is not expanding his appeal to any other group in the country. That is a very big danger for him in the Republican Party.

BLACKWELL: You point out that 32 percent approval rating from the Pew poll among black respondents to that poll is from 14 percent in February down to 7 percent now. The president is single digits among black respondents to that. Daniel Lippman, thank you for being with us. Jack Kingston, Maria Cardona, as I said, you will be staying with us.

CARDONA: Thank you.

LIPPMAN: Thanks.

GALLAGHER: All right. A wave of resignations on Capitol Hill over sexual misconduct allegations. The latest one, Trent Franks. The Congressman who after allegations that he offered a former aide $5 million for surrogacy.

WHITFIELD: And look at these pictures, firefighters battling the winds and the conditions, the flames there in California. They are burning out of control. This could get worse today. We'll tell you why.


[08:20:27] GALLAGHER: So, three lawmakers who are leaving Capitol Hill over allegations of sexual misconduct, Democratic Congressman John Conyers, Senator Al Franken, and Republican Congressman Trent Franks. Franks is accused of asking a former aide to be a surrogate for his child in exchange for $5 million.

I want to bring back CNN political commentators, Jack Kingston and Maria Cardona. Trent Franks, his resignation, a little strange to say the least. This is what he said, "Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others."

He then went on to kind of blame the media and say that this is the reason why. He would not get a fair shake. Maria, I want your reaction first on this bizarre resignation from Congressman Franks.

CARDONA: Yes, it is very strange. The circumstances under which he resigned are very strange, but I do agree that if he did have that conversation with an aide, it would be completely inappropriate. It would make that aide completely uncomfortable.

And so, if he did it, I think that if he is resigning, he knows how inappropriate that kind of behavior was. I wish other Republican congressmen and Republicans who are running for office would understand how completely inappropriate and perhaps criminal their past behavior has been and would step down or perhaps step out of the races that they are currently running in.

Because I think right now the Republican Party right now is in a bad place on the issue of sexual harassment. I'm incredibly proud of the Democratic women of the Senate who have stood up for the silence breakers, for all these women who are now coming out and being believed about the accusations that they're making towards the abusers.

We're at a point right now where there should be no protection for those men and women who have abused their power. And the women who are coming out to accuse them should be believed. The Republican Party is not there. The Democratic Party has become the party of family values and the Republicans are being seen as complete and total hypocrites on this.

GALLAGHER: Jack, look, the president is now pretty openly endorsing Roy Moore. He tweeted a few moments ago about it. Do you think this is all that Moore really needs to win the Senate at this point? The president isn't going to Alabama to go with him. But look, he is pointing out, the president, we need this seat.

He is not necessarily saying I like Roy Moore, but he is saying I need you to vote for the seat. If you vote for the other guy, Doug Jones, you will hurt my agenda.

KINGSTON: I think that is accurate. I think politically and mathematically that is accurate because Doug Jones is in line with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. These are not values that are common for the Alabama voters. He is a guy who is pro-gun control and pro- abortion. He will vote against every Supreme Court justice that Trump has offered to nominate --

GALLAGHER: But when you talk about values, Jack, we are using the word values here. Obviously, that's the problem with Roy Moore right now is that there are questions about his value. It is moral question.

KINGSTON: There is no question about that, Dianne. He is not running from it. He supported Luther Strange in the primary as did I. That was the speech when he talked about the NFL in Alabama talking -- supporting Luther Strange. But I think he is also looking at his own party where he has three members who consistently are very difficult to get on the Republican team for what should be common campaign practices --

GALLAGHER: Roy Moore is a wild card. He is not Luther Strange. The common belief was part of the reason why the president wanted to endorse Luther Strange is because Roy Moore could be a bit of wild card. He is very much his own man and won't necessarily bend to whatever the president tells him.

KINGSTON: I think you are absolutely right. He has run a campaign against Mitch McConnell. So, it's going to be very difficult. I think what the president has gone to is the only ground that he could go to saying look. I'm stuck with this. Mathematically, Doug Jones is absolute no vote on everything that we need to move the country forward with.

And Judge Moore is an absolute wild card. He might not vote with us. He may be a continued embarrassment, but you know, actions that were taken 40 years.

[08:25:04] Gloria Allred certainly dropped the ball on it when she represented and said the yearbook was signed and filled out by Judge Moore and she lied about it.

GALLAGHER: At this point, only part of it is Beverly Young Nelson saying it is just the end of the thing, the date and location. The president did highlight that. You know, obviously that is something that is being latched on to at this point.

I want to move on really quick, though, because talking about sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in Washington, there are two additional congressmen on both sides of the aisle here, Republican Blake Farenthold and Democrat Ruben Kihuen. They are both under fire, do you think they should resign?

KINGSTON: You know, let me switch this up and I want to say about Farenthold. He was exonerated 6-0. His plaintiff had no case against him, 6-0, by the outside Ethics Council. So, if we believe in due process --

GALLAGHER: So, why did he settle?

KINGSTON: -- let me switch gears to Alcee Hastings because it is relevant.

GALLAGHER: Jack, let's talk about the two that we are talking about right now and we can move on.

KINGSTON: Dianne, I'm going to -- in the case of Alcee Hastings, it was settled without his knowledge. In the case of Blake Farenthold, he has offered to repay the money, but he is not allowed to do that. I don't know if he knew or did not know if the case was settled. Alcee Hastings accuser is Republican. I think that's a question in its own right, but the fact that it was settled without Alcee Hastings knowing about it --

CARDONA: Somebody's political party should not matter when it comes to accusations of sexual misconduct and that goes for both sides.


GALLAGHER: That is exactly right.

CARDONA: Maria, I want to hear what you have to say.

GALLAGHER: Jack, Jack, I think it is my turn to talk. Everything that Jack has said, he is grabbing at straws because he understands that the Republican Party is in a bad place on this and that if Roy Moore --

KINGSTON: Paul Ryan did not tell John Conyers an icon, Maria.

CARDONA: If Roy Moore wins -- if Roy Moore wins, the Republicans will have to welcome an alleged child predator, a pedophile, into the U.S. Senate. That is going to be an anchor and albatross around the necks of Republicans going into 2018. And the fact that Jack is grabbing at straws trying to defend this, I think he understand --

GALLAGHER: OK, Maria, Jack -- we are running out of time.

CARDONA: They need to understand this is going to be a big stark contrast for 2018. She asked him to resign now, didn't she, Jack?


GALLAGHER: All right --

CARDONA: And she asked him to resign, didn't she?

GALLAGHER: Thank you guys for continuing this. I appreciate, Jack, Maria, both of you for joining us. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: We get from Jack and Maria, heat and light.

President Trump going to attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this morning, expecting some protests there. You see Marine One. This is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Some people there expecting to protest and some boycotting on those being immortalized in the museum. GALLAGHER: Plus pretty difficult pictures here, wildfires burning out of control in California. Conditions today, of course, now unfortunately threatening to make it worse.


[08:33:13] DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Dianne Gallagher in for Christi Paul this Saturday.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 33 minutes after the hour. Thanks for being with us.

GALLAGHER: The president apparently feeling a boost from his rally for Roy Moore last night. He tweeted a few minutes ago, "Great evening last night in Pensacola, Florida. Arena was packed to the rafters. The crowd was loud, loving and really smart. They definitely get what's going on. Thank you, Pensacola."

BLACKWELL: The president has endorsed the embattled Alabama Senate candidate saying Moore is the country's -- the candidate, rather, the country needs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our "Make America Great Again" agenda. So get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it.


BLACKWELL: Well, there may not be such a warm reception in a few hours from now. The president is attending the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. And one of several African-American leaders boycotting that event is a man whose picture quite likely will be inside that museum as one of the exhibits. Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

GALLAGHER: Yes. The NAACP will be holding a separate event to recognize civil rights activists without the president there.

BLACKWELL: Protesters are expected to line the streets of President Trump's motorcade back there with their backs turned.

CNN's national correspondent Athena Jones has details for us.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protests are expected to greet President Trump at the grand opening of Mississippi's Civil Rights Museum. Organizer Talamieka Brice told CNN affiliate WAPT News the "Say No to Hate" demonstration she's helping lead will include hundreds of people from across the state.

TALAMIEKA BRICE, MISSISSIPPI'S CHAPTER OF PANTSUIT NATION: Some of us will kneel and some of us will turn our backs. We'll call it "Turn Our Backs to Hate," turn our backs towards the motorcade as it drives by.

[08:35:05] JONES: And Brice isn't alone in opposing Governor Phil Bryant's decision to invite the president. NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson denounced Trump's record on civil rights, saying in a statement, "He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall has created a racially hostile climate in this nation."

U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, who is from Mississippi, and John Lewis, a civil rights icon, are planning to skip the event in protest, writing, "President Trump's attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this Civil Rights Museum. And while some Mississippi Democrats called on the governor to rescind his invitation to Trump, Bryant defended the move.

GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: The president of the United States should be able, and we're very thankful that he is going, to come for this historic occasion.

JONES: The White House expressed disappointment with the planned protest and boycotts.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that would be, honestly, very sad. I think this is something that should bring the country together to celebrate the opening of this museum and highlighting the Civil Rights Movement and the progress that we've made.

JONES: President Trump has been criticized for racial insensitivity. He launched his campaign in June of 2015 by bashing Mexican immigrants.

TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists.

JONES: He questioned the judge's ability to rule fairly in a Trump University lawsuit because he was Mexican-American.

TRUMP: We're building the wall. He's a Mexican.

JONES: And he has repeatedly slammed mostly black NFL athletes protesting racial inequality.

TRUMP: When somebody disrespects our flag, I say get that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.

JONES: But it was his response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer that drew the ire of people in both parties when he equated neo-Nazis and white nationalists protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with activists demonstrating against them and the ideas they represent.

TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.

JONES: He revised those remarks two days later.

TRUMP: Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

JONES: But then said --

TRUMP: You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

JONES: Today's event is an opportunity to answer some of his critics.

Athena Jones, CNN, Jackson, Mississippi.


GALLAGHER: So wildfires still burning out of control in Southern California. They've already destroyed hundreds of structures. It is likely going to get worse today.

Up next, we have one family's emotional reaction to seeing their home in ruins and why they say they are still thankful.

BLACKWELL: And it's one of the greatest college rivalries in college football.

No, Dianne, just take this. Go ahead take this.

GALLAGHER: Coming up, we are going live to Philadelphia where Army is trying to win for the second year in a row after snapping that 14-game losing streak last year. We'll be right back.

BLACKWELL: We'll tell you why she's so excited in a minute.


[08:42:55] BLACKWELL: Forty-two minutes after the hour now. Live look at the city of Atlanta. As you see, got some rare snow overnight. It's still snowing. And we've seen some video from some of our affiliates of trees downed and inches of snow.

And guys, this isn't just, you know, snow dust angel snow. We're talking inches in some portions --

GALLAGHER: This is real snow.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Some portions of Georgia.

GALLAGHER: That's Georgia.


GALLAGHER: I mean, that video there, that driving video is Georgia.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Allison Chinchar tells us one city got 10 inches of snow overnight. We're talking snowman level.


BLACKWELL: We're talking school day off.

GALLAGHER: And I mean, for some places they're still seeing snowfall.


GALLAGHER: These storms are still coming through.

BLACKWELL: Doesn't sound like a lot to the far northeast but it's a lot for Atlanta.

All right. Let's move to the West Coast now. This morning this critical fire threat in southern California. These fires are out of control. We're hearing, though, they may even get worse today.

GALLAGHER: Yes. And look, they've already turned fatal as the medical examiner's office concern firming that a 70-year-old woman's body found in a car on an evacuation route. Dozens of homes have been destroyed, multiple firefighters have been injured.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Ventura County.

And Stephanie, we've just been looking at your live shots throughout the morning. It just looks gone. It looks devastated. What are you seeing around California there?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is devastating. That's a really good word to use, Dianne, when you take a look at this fire has done. I am standing amid some of the damage of the Thomas Fire here. This is where we've seen overall in the state 170,000 acres just about burned. This fire alone, 143,000 acres is only 10 percent contained now.

I'd step out again so you can actually see what's standing behind me. This was a house. We know some more 475 homes were lost in just this fire and 87,000 people have been evacuated from this fire as well. So this is a really big fire that they have been battling. Some of the smaller fires that have been burning throughout the state, they're starting to get a handle on. They're starting to see the containment numbers go up but that's just not the case here with the Thomas Fire that's gone up incrementally. But they're also saying that this fire could continue to spread north into Santa Barbara County.

[08:45:05] So that is the concern. Also the concern are these winds that have been really propelling some of the flames, the embers flying in the wind. They're watching that overnight. Watching those embers fly and they would catch on to other dry, dry bush because we have been out here without any rain for several months. And that is the fear going forward, that that could continue and we could see new fires sprouting up. But right now firefighters really trying to keep this fire from spreading further into Santa Barbara County -- Victor and Dianne.

BLACKWELL: Stephanie Elam for us there in Ventura. Thank you so much.

We know that there are a lot of people, some of the tens of thousands people who have been evacuated. Right now they're calling friends, waiting to find out if this fire has incinerated their community. Just imagine looking at these flames and trying to determine, is that near where I live? Is that where I left all of my belongings? And we know that it's not just the single fire.

GALLAGHER: No. It's all across southern California right now. One family there did get a look at the destruction thanks to a local TV crew. And they became incredibly emotional when they learned about what they lost and what still remains.


JOE LITTLE, KGTV REPORTER: The pinwheel is blowing a bit slower today. Everything is a bit calmer in Bonsall. Santa still waves from the side of Mike and Tammy Houlsizer's mailbox. Even their grass is a vibrant green. But look past the wind chimes and you'll see how quickly life has changed.

MIKE HOULSIZER, WILDFIRE DESTROYED HOUSE: It's pretty much what I expected.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: These firefighters from Sacramento were putting out hot spots while I got these shots for Mike and Tammy. They wanted to see it while they waited outside the evacuation area.

M. HOULSIZER: It is hard on her.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Incredibly hard. Their home is gone. So is their boat.

M. HOULSIZER: Man, my car. That sucks, man. I had just redone my car. Had been working on it for five years. I'm like this close to finishing. There is the chicken coop.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But there are always silver linings.

M. HOULSIZER: The whole house burned, but the patio cover I built is still up.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A few things made it. Their "I Dig Gardening" garden.



M. HOULSIZER: Fresh vegetables. Hey, my Webber almost made it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And the best news of the day.

T. HOULSIZER: There she is.

M. HOULSIZER: There she is right there. T. HOULSIZER: That's her right there.

M. HOULSIZER: You dog.

T. HOULSIZER: Oh, man.

M. HOULSIZER: That is neat.

T. HOULSIZER: Look at her.

M. HOULSIZER: That is one tough old bird right there.

T. HOULSIZER: Look, your buddy, remember Red.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Watching old Red made them smile for a moment, even though watching their home burn was painful.

M. HOULSIZER: But then I thought that there are people who are way worse off than us. And how fortunate we are really. My wife got out. We have a lot of friends calling. Everybody wants to help.


BLACKWELL: Perspective. Puts everything into perspective.

All right. Thanks to Joe Little from KGVT -- KGTV, rather, I should say for bringing us that story.

All right. Now to one of the greatest rivalries in college football that has Dianne so excited this morning. Coy, too. Army-Navy game.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm a little excited. Chilly in Philly, yes, indeed.

Now, Dianne, you're an Army girl. Your dad was a general. But you may not want to come back to me because I have coming up perhaps the greatest Navy football player of all time. Super Bowl champion, Heisman Trophy winner, Roger Staubach of Navy. He is coming up after the break.


[08:53:14] GALLAGHER: All right. Last year, Army snapped Navy's 14- game winning streak. Are the Midshipmen going to get their revenge today or is Army going to start a streak of their own?

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire right there in the middle of everything in Philadelphia, as he says, chilly in Philly. You've got a guest with you.


WIRE: Yes. Good to see you, Victor and Dianne. A very special guest. Perhaps the greatest Midshipman to ever step on a football field, Mr. Roger Staubach.

I mean, he's two-time Super Bowl champ, Heisman Trophy winner, but a living legend joining us now. Tell us about your very first Army-Navy game.

ROGER STAUBACH, SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: You know, yes, last night, my wife and I were talking about it and that was in 1962. We were dating. And we've been married now 52 years. So I was a youngster at the Naval Academy and I was -- I didn't see her the night before the game. But I was a nervous wreck. And I didn't sleep the whole night. It was the most nervous I've ever been before any sporting event I've ever -- any football game I ever played in. Super Bowl or whatever, it was my first Army-Navy game.

But fortunately we had a really good game. We won 35-14. And I don't like to talk about it. But I think I threw for two and ran for two.

WIRE: He is humble. And we love it.

STAUBACH: My girlfriend, who became my wife, was really happy. So we were walking around Philadelphia that night. And I remember seeing the newspaper. Navy beats Army and they had a story about me. So I think that's when she fell in love with me.

WIRE: Oh, that's awesome. And now let's talk about how you fell in love with this game and the pageantry that caused all of those nerves in you. Tell people who may have never seen this game what it's all about.

STAUBACH: Well, it's about more than the game. Football is still fun to watch. It's very competitive. Army-Navy, good teams.

[08:55:03] But you kind of relate to these men and of course the men and women at the academies are going to be protecting our kids and our grand kids.

WIRE: Yes.

STAUBACH: And they've got our backs. I mean this world is a wacky world. And our military is essential to everything that's going on in our great country. And so the game relates. I think people relate to it if they'd been in the military, they relate, period.

WIRE: Yes.

STAUBACH: They don't have to go to West Point or Navy. But if they've never been and they have the respect of the military. So I think that plays into it.

WIRE: Incredible. And we respect you and we are thankful that our friends at USAA have allowed you to come up and join us today. I have to toss it back to our crew in studio. But how about you and I get a quick toss as we do that?

STAUBACH: I'm ready.

WIRE: Does he still have it? Let's see. Bring it.

STAUBACH: Can you go deeper?

WIRE: I played defense. Can I go deeper?

STAUBACH: All right.

WIRE: I don't know. That's about it. Yes. A legend.

BLACKWELL: There we go.

WIRE: A legend. Caught a pass from the legend.

BLACKWELL: Roger, Coy, thank you both.

That's it for us this hour. We'll see you back here at 10:00 for an hour of NEWSROOM.