Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Interview With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; President Obama Talks Immigration

Aired January 29, 2013 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And of course, everyone wants to know if she will run for president again. Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, and our foreign affairs reporter, Elise Labott, they sat down with the secretary over at the State Department today to talk about what she's accomplished and what she will do next.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Let me ask you about women, Madam Secretary.

You blew up a lot of glass ceilings. You brought women a lot in leadership to the State Department. You have said this is your life cause to end the double standard. You're leaving office. Four top positions in this administration in the Cabinet, none of them are women. Is that a problem?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think you have to wait to see the entire makeup of the Cabinet.

LABOTT: The top four positions, though, the top four secretaries that are considered crucial to this administration, particularly in national security.

CLINTON: Well, I'm not going to pass any judgments. I think that what we have to do is take a look at the broad picture. But clearly, from my perspective, we have to keep providing opportunities for young women to get into that pipeline so that they are ready.

LABOTT: There are no women out there for these top positions?

CLINTON: Oh, no. Obviously, I think there are.

But I think there is still a ways to go until we have the kind of critical mass that I want to see. And we made progress in the number of women in the Senate, but it is still abysmally small.

There are so many -- on the one hand this, on the other hand, that. We make progress, there's no denying that, but we haven't firmly institutionalized that progress. And as much as we have done here, I look around the world, and my goodness, there is so much to be done.

LABOTT: Well, there are lot of women leaders around the world. In April, you told Wolf Blitzer for 2016, that's not in my future. But you seem to be, I don't know.


LABOTT: Maybe some wiggle room there. Have you decided?

CLINTON: No, no. I am so looking forward to Monday, when I have no schedule, no office to go to...

LABOTT: You know the field...

CLINTON: ... no responsibilities.

LABOTT: I'm sorry, Madam Secretary, you know the party says that the field is clear and open for you until you make your decision. Have you decided that you absolutely will not run?

CLINTON: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

LABOTT: But look at...


LABOTT: You're not saying -- this is not a Shermanesque statement, I will not run. We heard this morning all of these people asking you if you can run. There's a PAC just registered Ready for Hillary.

CLINTON: Is there really?

LABOTT: Are you going to tell these people to stand down?

CLINTON: Well --

LABOTT: Everyone is waiting for that --

CLINTON: Right now, I am trying to finish my term as secretary of state.

And the president and I had a good laugh the other night because I am out of politics right now. And I don't know everything I will be doing. I will be working on behalf of women and girls, I will be hopefully writing and speaking. Those are the things that I'm planning to do right now.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about -- when you said that Monday morning -- we presume next week.

CLINTON: Yes, yes.

DOUGHERTY: Okay, you wake up.


DOUGHERTY: Maybe you stay in your pajamas. What do you do?

(LAUGHTER) CLINTON: Jill, I don't know. It's been my whole life. I mean, I've had a job ever since I was 13 years old. When I wasn't in school, I was working, so --

DOUGHERTY: But is it going to be traumatic? I mean, your BlackBerry, are you going to check --


CLINTON: I don't know. This is -- I think it's going to take some adjustment.

I've been talking to colleagues who left the government earlier. And the most common thing they say to me is, don't make any decisions. You have no idea how tired you are. And I think there's truth to that. Your viewers know, because they're interested in these issues, this is a 24/7 job because there's no part of the world we can ignore.

Maybe four years, eight years, twelve years, certainly 20, 30, 40 years, there were big chunks of the world that were not of direct interest to our security or other matters that we were concerned about.

DOUGHERTY: But how did you get the energy -- I mean, are you going to be able to stop? Are you going to be able to stop?

CLINTON: Well, you'll have to talk to me in a few weeks to see how I'm doing. I think that -- I'm really looking forward to it. I know it sounds vague, because I have never done this before in my life.

So when I wake up, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to have the luxury of nowhere to go, nothing to do, no frantic call about calling some leader about some impending crisis, I'm actually interested to see how that goes.

DOUGHERTY: Now, what about your health? Because I do have to ask you this. We talked with a couple doctors, and they say that if you had one blood clot, there is two times chance that you will have another one. This is something that you're going to have to deal with for a long time.

CLINTON: Well, millions of people do. It's very common.

DOUGHERTY: Do you take medication?

CLINTON: Well, that's what people do when you have blood clots, and then you get evaluated after the blood clot has resolved, because, as you say, I have experienced this before.

But I am lucky because I have been very healthy. I feel great. I have enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused. So I'm very fortunate, and I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is.

DOUGHERTY: Before you leave, before you leave... CLINTON: Yes, be subtle, but persistent about it.

DOUGHERTY: Before you leave, normally a secretary leaves a gift for the next secretary coming in. Can we can you tell everybody in the world what you...

CLINTON: No, I'm not going to tell you. I'm going to let that be between John and me.

John and I have been friends and colleagues for a very long time. And he's extremely well-prepared, as you know, for this job. And I think he doesn't need very much gifting, but I've got something that might help.

DOUGHERTY: Just one last question about the family. You've got President Clinton, international health, you have Chelsea, who studied international health.


DOUGHERTY: You're interested in women development, health issues.

CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

DOUGHERTY: So what do you do? Are you is there a chance that you will all work together?

CLINTON: I hope so.

I mean, that's one of the things we have to really work out, is I'm very proud of what my husband has done in the last 10 years.

I mean, his foundation, his entrepreneurial philanthropy with the Clinton Global Initiative, his great work on getting the price of AIDS drugs down so that more people could get treatment, and so much else. And he is also focused on the health of children here in this country through the Healthy Alliance. So he's doing things that resonate with me as well as with him. And we're going to look to see how we can join our efforts together.

LABOTT: What about Chelsea?

CLINTON: She's great.

LABOTT: She says she wants to lead a life of public service.

CLINTON: Yes, she does.

LABOTT: That makes you proud. Is she going to run?

CLINTON: She -- no, I don't know about that.

LABOTT: Family business?

CLINTON: I think she is really focused on the philanthropy. She did a great service after Hurricane Sandy. She took a large group, about 1,000 people that were put together through our foundation and through CGI, to go and do a lot of difficult manual work for people who had been just devastated.

She and Bill and I, we are we just have public service in our DNA. That doesn't have to be political service. It can be what we're doing now, and what Bill has been doing now. So I think we'll work all that out. It's going to be fun to talk it through and figure out what our next adventures might be.

DOUGHERTY: Well, Madam Secretary, thank you very much.


LABOTT: We wish you a lot of health...

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.

LABOTT: ... and a lot of adventures.

CLINTON: I think we'll have some adventures and maybe the two of you can come along again some time.

LABOTT: We'd love that. We'd love that.

DOUGHERTY: It's a deal.

CLINTON: Thank you.

LABOTT: Thank you.


BLITZER: I want to thank Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott for doing that excellent interview. And I suspect they will have some more adventures down the road.

Kate Bolduan is here.

I think the secretary is sort of savoring this moment.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think if you can take any -- one thing you can definitely take away from all of these exit interviews is she's definitely savoring her exit out the door. She's having a lot of fun with it, for sure.

And there's certainly a lot to digest from the interview we have been watching from Elise and Jill, so let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. She's joining us in New York today, as well as CNN contributor Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" joining us here in Washington.

Hi there.


BLITZER: Let me start with Gloria.

Gloria, even if she wants to stay out of the spotlight, there's no way she's going to be able to. She is Hillary Clinton. She will be in the spotlight, no matter what her next adventure is.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we're already asking her about 2016, so, of course, she's going to be in the spotlight. I'm sure she's going to take a little bit of a break, but I doubt she will be off her BlackBerry.

And there's a political team in waiting for her, should she decide to run. I'm sure she wants to get off the international kind of treadmill that she's been on, but she's a Clinton. She will always be in the spotlight. She will always be interesting. Whatever she does, Wolf, you know this, will be of interest to all of us, what she decides to do next.

If she writes her memoirs, I'm sure they will be really well read, as her first book was. So I think, you know, we're always going to be paying attention to Hillary Clinton, whether she runs or not.

BOLDUAN: And, Ryan, you have followed Hillary Clinton from campaign to this point very closely. I want to ask you about her legacy. That's the big question now. I mean, she's hugely popular here and abroad. But as it is often noted, she doesn't have any of those major accomplishments. None of the big problems were solved under her watch, though she often says that a lot of her job has been rebuilding confidence in American leadership around the world, but what do you think her legacy will be?

I mean, the question now is, will she go down as one of the best secretaries of state?

LIZZA: Well, as of right now, you know, these things change over time, depending on how events in her tenure look 10 years from now.

She was hemmed in by a couple of things. One, foreign policy is made in the White House, right? Policy is made in the White House. That's a trend just across the modern era of presidencies. More and more policy gets concentrate there.

And her staff's always had a little bit of a tension with the Obama folks in the White House. That never was totally erased. But I think she did a couple of -- she will be judged on a couple of big things, one, the Arab spring. She was deeply involved in dealing with Mubarak's fall, in dealing with post-revolutionary Egypt in Tunisia. Wolf and I were on a trip with her at one point, where she was knee- deep in the negotiations.

BOLDUAN: And that story's not yet fully written.

LIZZA: And that story's not yet fully written. We don't know. And the other one is Libya. She pushed very hard for intervention in Libya and the tale there still isn't told. Something a little less heralded is diplomacy with Asia. A big project of the Obama administration is to improve relations with countries that are not China in Asia, sort of this soft containment. She was very deeply involved in one of the architects of that strategy, something that hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but a lot of the Obama folks think will be an important legacy of that administration.

BLITZER: Let's bring Gloria back into this conversation. You did an excellent interview with the vice president, Joe Biden, last week. And you spoke a little bit about 2016, with him. Do you believe, and it's obviously very early, and only political news junkies like us speculate about this, but we will, because it's fun.

Do you believe it's possible we could see a match between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination three years from now in Iowa and New Hampshire?

BORGER: You know, actually, Wolf, I don't.

I think if Hillary Clinton were to decide to run, I think Joe Biden probably wouldn't, if I had to guess. And this is just a guess. I don't think you're going to see a divisive Democratic primary. I think that Hillary Clinton has such broad and deep support within the Democratic Party. I don't know what Ryan thinks about this, but I have a sense that if the Democrats felt they had a really good shot at it and the nomination were to go to a woman, she wouldn't have to fight her way, as she did the last time around.

I think there's a sense that perhaps Joe Biden would not run.

LIZZA: Yes. And I think there's going to be a lot of jockeying between the two of them to see if one or the other can squeeze them out. And the big question is, what does Barack Obama do? Remember, Ronald Reagan had this difficult decision when George W. Bush was deciding to run of how neutral he would be in that primary, did he favor his vice president or not?

So that's going to be a question for Obama at some point. Does he favor a Biden run or a Hillary run?

BLITZER: Ryan Lizza and Gloria Borger, two of the excellent, excellent analysts we have.


BOLDUAN: And you can watch Jill and Elise's entire interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by going to It's right there on our home page. I recommend you take a look.

BLITZER: It's a conflict half a world away, French forces battling terror groups in West Africa -- up next, why U.S. troops are now headed to that region as well.

Plus, an American woman mysteriously disappears in Turkey -- now new video of the last time anyone saw her.


BLITZER: The United States military is getting involved on a new front against al Qaeda in Central Africa. American forces will aid the battle against Islamic rebels in Mali by deploying troops and drones to the country right next door.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, is joining us with details.

Chris, how many U.S. forces, first of all, are we talking about?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Potentially, hundreds, Wolf. And here's why.

Niger's ambassador to the U.S. basically confirms to CNN that his country is going to allow the U.S. military to place drones in Niger. A U.S. official tells me that if that were to happen, you would have to have an infrastructure there. In other words, you would have to have operators to fly and guide the drones, as well as U.S. military security personnel to protect that infrastructure.

So that's where you could get into the hundreds of boots on the ground. These drones would be unarmed. They would primarily be used for surveillance, spying on the al Qaeda groups operating in places like Mali. Right now, the U.S. has drone bases in Djibouti and Southern Europe, but those are 3,000 miles away. The drones can't fly that far, and so it becomes very, very difficult for the U.S. to get accurate intelligence on what's going on with the militants there, Wolf.

BLITZER: How big is a threat to the United States is al Qaeda in what's called the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa?

LAWRENCE: Right now, to our homeland, to the U.S. itself, not much. But that still means they can be a threat to Americans working abroad. Look at what happened to the consulate in Benghazi. Look what happened to the Americans working at that Algerian gas field. The Pentagon is taking the long view on this.


GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: Well, I'm unaware of any specific or credible information at this time that points to an AQIM threat against the homeland, but again, I'm not ruling it out. We take al Qaeda wherever they are very seriously. And we are not going to rest on our laurels until we find that kind of specific and credible information. At that point, it could be too late.


LAWRENCE: There is a more immediate concern, because there are very large, you know, West African immigrant communities in certain places in Europe, like France. There is a concern that if these militants establish a base in someplace like Mali, they could start reaching out to that immigrant community and plan strikes in Europe, Wolf.

BLITZER: You also have some new information on a story we first brought our viewers yesterday here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Update them.

LAWRENCE: That's right, Wolf.

We're talking about this massive arms shipment that the Yemeni authorities captured, a sailboat full of arms. Basically now, what a U.S. official is telling us is they have confirmed that there are certain markings on those weapons that confirm that they came from Iran, specifically, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. We're talking about explosives, heavy ammunition, but, most importantly, some surface-to-air missiles, the kind that could shoot down civilian or military aircraft.

We know that the U.S. special operations forces have been training forces in Yemen, also conducting drone strikes there. If Iran is providing that kind of heavy weaponry, it really raises the stakes in this sort of proxy fight over Yemen, Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence, at the Pentagon, with important information, Chris, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead, it was a big speech for President Obama, but we will show you why his immigration plan may have little to no chance of passing in Congress.

Plus, meet the senator praised today as the best python hunter in the U.S. Senate.



BLITZER: Up next, we get reaction to President Obama's immigration speech from some of the people directly impacted by what happens here in Washington.


BLITZER: President Obama isn't taking anything for granted in his new push for comprehensive immigration reform. He actually revealed today he has a backup plan.

BOLDUAN: That's what he said, he has a backup plan. The president laid out his vision for comprehensive reform in Las Vegas, and he warned he'd get more aggressive if new momentum in Congress stalls.

Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just one week into his second term, President Obama was back on the campaign trail.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here today because the time has come for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform.

YELLIN: In Obama-blue Nevada, where one in four residents is Latino, the president vowed to overhaul the nation's immigration system. He promised to strengthen enforcement at the workplace, stepping up penalties for hiring undocumented workers, streamline the legal immigration system for high-skilled workers, and, at the center of his plan, create a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.

OBAMA: We've got to lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line.

YELLIN: He also issued this warning.

OBAMA: And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal, and insist that they vote on it right away.

YELLIN: The president's critics are howling. When Senator Marco Rubio defended reform to Rush Limbaugh, he got an earful.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What you are doing is admirable and noteworthy. You are recognizing reality.

My concern is the president wants people to believe something that isn't true, that you really don't want an improved life for Hispanics, that you really are still racist.

YELLIN: But conservatives on Capitol Hill are more supportive. In a statement released after the president's speech, Senator John McCain said, "I am cautiously optimistic that working together, we will find common ground."


YELLIN: Now, Wolf, Republicans on Capitol Hill say there are two main differences between their vision for reform and the president's. The president's proposal, they point out, does not include a guest worker program, and it does not include a precondition that the border be certified secure before the 11 million can begin a path to citizenship.

Aides here say the president would be open to a guest worker program.

As for what's next, Senator Patrick Leahy, in the U.S. Senate, will hold the first hearings on immigration reform the day after the State of the Union on February 13 -- Kate. BOLDUAN: And Jessica, this is his first out-of-town trip since the inauguration. What's the strategy behind the president kind of taking it on the road, going before this supportive crowd to make this -- make this big speech on immigration?

YELLIN: Well, as you might recall on election night, I reported that the president will begin his second term by taking his case to the people. He thought that in his first term, his biggest mistake was not rallying the American people to support his key issues. And he said he will correct that.

And that's what he's doing on what is one of his top two legislative priorities for his second term. Taking his case to the people who he thinks will help pressure Congress to get this done.

And he did it in a state that he won by a large majority in Nevada, and where one out of four people is Latino. So he's hoping it will be a grassroots movement to get this done fast, Kate.

BOLDUAN: You made the prediction on election night and looks like you were spot-on. Jessica Yellin at the White House tonight, thanks, Jessica.

BLITZER: She's an excellent, excellent reporter.

Let's get some reaction now to the president's speech from some young people with a huge and very direct stake in comprehensive immigration reform. CNN's Miguel Marquez is joining us now. He's got some students in Savannah, Georgia.

How's the -- how's the reaction over there, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reaction was immediate, Wolf. We were here with a large group of students at Armstrong Atlantic State University here in Savannah. They watched the president's speech. They applauded along with all those students watching in Nevada, as they were watching the president's speech. The kids here, very much in tune with what the president is speaking.

You wouldn't think that Georgia would be, you know, on the radar where Latinos are concerned, but in the -- across the states, it's in the top ten of Latino populations and in the south and Midwest are some of the fastest growing populations for Latinos.

And it's for one simple reason. There's jobs here, and the demographics are changing. And that's why Republicans and Democrats are now seemingly coming together.

If you could come back live, we have a group here that have stuck around for you guys at THE SITUATION ROOM. These are all students. There's a very aggressive program of recruiting here at Armstrong Atlantic State University, of Latinos and undocumented Latinos.

I want to ask you, how many of you guys are undocumented here in the group? And how many of you have deferred action, the program that the president put into -- and how many of you are applying for it? How many of you have parents or siblings that are undocumented here? Quite a few. And if you could vote today, would you vote for a Democrat? Raise your hands. Republican? Raise your hands. None. Somewhere in between, maybe? One or two.

And let me -- if I could, just talk to a couple of you folks real quick. What is your name?

TALIA (ph) RAMIREZ, STUDENT: Talia (ph) Ramirez.

MARQUEZ: And I take it you've been watching this very closely, this discussion play out. What did you make of the president's speech today? Do you think something will really happen on immigration now?

RAMIREZ: I honestly do think that sometime in the future, something is going to happen, just because we have so many people now that are working towards it. It's not just one or two people that are dreaming towards it. We're not just talking about it now. It's just becoming this huge action that you have from students and parents and everybody.

MARQUEZ: Thank you very much.

Wolf, that's very much the reaction everywhere across the country. A lot of hope that something will finally get done on immigration. Back to you.

BLITZER: Miguel, thanks very much. Thanks to the students, also, for sticking around.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead, an American woman is missing overseas. She has new -- we have new video of her on vacation in Turkey before she mysteriously disappeared.


BOLDUAN: An amazing story. An American woman traveling overseas mysteriously vanishes.

BLITZER: We've heard stories like this before, but this time the backdrop is Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the Muslim world. Global politics don't matter to the woman's family, her husband, her kids, who are desperate right now to find her. Here's CNN's Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf and Kate, Turkish and American authorities are working together to try to solve the mystery of an American woman who disappeared here in Istanbul while on vacation more than a week ago.

And Turkish police have released video that they say was shot of this missing woman, just about a day before she disappeared.

(voice-over): A lone American woman on vacation in Turkey's largest city. This video, released by Turkish police, shows Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, in an Istanbul shopping mall on January 20. She hasn't been heard from, her worried husband says, in more than a week.

STEVEN SIERRA, HUSBAND: You know the fear that I'm not there to protect her. You know? And that bothers me.

WATSON: Sierra flew to Istanbul on January 7. It was this native New Yorker's first international trip, family and friends say, and she made the transatlantic journey solo.

MAGALENENA RODRIGUEZ, FRIEND OF MISSING WOMAN: She did a lot of homework before she left. She did a lot of researching about the area, about where she was going to stay, the safest places to go and the time of days to travel.

WATSON: Sierra's Instagram feed shows photos of Istanbul's stunning skyline and mosques. It also shows photos of the train station and architecture in Amsterdam. Turkish police say Sierra flew from Turkey to the Netherlands and Germany on January 15 and then returned to Turkey four days later.

The manager of Sierra's hotel in Istanbul told CNN he last saw her on January 20, the same night this security-camera video was shot. She left her passport and most of her belongings behind in the hotel, family members say, but not her iPad, which she appeared to be using in the food court of the shopping mall.

This week, Sierra's husband and brother traveled from New York to Istanbul. On Tuesday, they spent the day at police headquarters here, meeting with officers from the missing persons unit. Both American and Turkish authorities are working hand in hand on the search.

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: All authorities, everyone from the U.S. to the locals in Turkey, are working this as a missing person. They've elevated it to every level possible. The bureau chief of missing persons is looking. So I know that they're conducting a very logical investigation, and they are pulling out all the stops.

WATSON: While investigators work, family and friends hope and pray they can soon bring this missing mother back to her children.

(on camera): A church in New York has helped raise money for the brother and husband of Sierra, to make the trip here to Istanbul to help in the search for their missing loved one.

As for the family and especially the children, they're not being told right now that their mother has gone missing -- Wolf, Kate.


BLITZER: Ivan Watson reporting. Such a sad story. I hope they find this woman.

BOLDUAN: And as he said in the piece, it seems that there's little more that the poor family can do, other than hope and pray. I mean, she just seems to have disappeared.

BLITZER: I'm sure Turkish authorities are doing everything they can, together with U.S. officials.

BOLDUAN: What a scary story for anyone that travels abroad, right?

BLITZER: Meanwhile, new allegations of performance-enhancing drug use are rocking Major League Baseball once again. Including Yankees stars.

BOLDUAN: A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez is responding to this bombshell report. He's denying he was treated by the head of a South Florida clinic at the center of this brewing scandal. CNN's John Zarrella is following this story in Miami.

John, another sports scandal a-brewing.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, it sure is, Kate and Wolf. And behind me in this office building, we talked to tenants here who say, up until just a couple of weeks ago, an anti-aging clinic was operating out of there, and then the people that ran it just stopped showing up, probably for good reason.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): The anti-aging clinic was called Biogenesis. It was run out of this office building in Coral Gables, Florida, until about two weeks ago, when it shut down.

Now, the vacant business is in the center of yet another saga of performance enhancing drugs, PEDs, and Major League Baseball players.

A report published in "The Miami New Times" says this clinic was a pipeline to PEDs for several players.

TIM ELFRINK, "MIAMI NEW TIMES": Well, it's clear that Biogenesis, like a lot of anti-aging clinics, was selling an awful lot of HDH, and a number of other drugs that are widely banned in sports: testosterone, anabolic steroids. You know, the records that we've seen indicate that, you know, as for the average population, he was providing these same kind of drugs to professional athletes.

ZARRELLA (on camera): And they're banned substances?

ELFRINK: That's correct.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): According to Major League Baseball, three players named in the article, which links them to the clinic, have already been disciplined under the league's joint drug program.

In a statement, Major League Baseball says, quote, "We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from any further comment until this process is complete," unquote.

Representatives of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, identified in the "New Times" article but not named as being disciplined, issued this outright denial. Quote, "The news reports about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient. He was never treated by him, and he was never advised by him."

Gio Gonzalez, a Washington Nationals pitcher, who was also named in the article, tweeted, quote, "I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will. I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances."

Tony Bosch, the man both players referenced, ran the clinic, according to "The New Times" and others in the building where the clinic was located.

We've tried but have not been able to reach Bosch for comment. The DEA wouldn't comment on whether Bosch or Biogenesis is being investigated.

In its statement, Major League Baseball reiterated that there was no place in the game for banned substances, but clearly, for America's pastime, the issue is far from in the past.


ZARRELLA: Now, Wolf and Kate, the tenants we talked to all said shortly after they saw these people and no longer saw them, they got a flyer from the management company here with a picture of Tony Bosch on it saying, "If any of you people in the building see this man, please call us, because he's not supposed to be here" -- Wolf, Kate.

BOLDUAN: We'll have to see how it all unfolds. Those are some pretty strong denials from those players. We'll be following closely. John, thank you.

BLITZER: Firm denials, indeed.

We've seen this before. A plane crash in the Hudson River. This time, only two people on board. One of them is telling us their freezing survival story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mind just went blank. That's how cold it was. Within minutes, I couldn't feel my feet, my hands, my arms.



BLITZER: It's being called another miracle on the Hudson, almost exactly four years after a U.S. Airways flight landed in the icy waters. It has now happened again. This time, the pilot and the student on a small plane, they are fine.

CNN's Mary Snow talked to one of them. Mary, tell us about it.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it started out as a leisurely flight Sunday from New Jersey to New York, as darkness was setting in. When the plane ran into trouble, the pilot landed on the river. And one of two people on board said he feared not being found because he worried that police might think his call to them was a prank, since the plane sank out of sight so quickly.


SNOW (voice-over): Rescuers had their doubts regarding survival. A small single-engine plane lurched into the frigid Hudson River with two people on board.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you still on the plane?

CHRISTOPHER SMIDT, PILOT: We are in the plane. The plane is taking on water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is it possible for you to get out?

SMIDT: We can get out if we have to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I need you to get out.

SMIDT: The plane is going down. Let's go. Get out. Get out. Get out. It's going head first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out of the plane.

SMIDT: All right. The plane is -- we're definitely, we're going down.

SNOW (on camera): When you hear those 911 tapes, what goes through your head?

SMIDT: It puts me right back in the water.

SNOW (voice-over): Student pilot Christopher Smidt and his instructor, Denise De Priester had enough time to get life vests on before they were plunged into the freezing water and strong current.


SMIDT: I'm going to lose you, though. I'm going to lose you! The water is freezing.


SMIDT: The water is freezing!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I understand that. But I need you to get out of the plane so you're not trapped in the plane.

SMIDT: All right. We're out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, you both are out...

SMIDT: We're not going to make it to shore.


SMIDT: I'm not going to make it to shore.

My mind just went blank. That's how cold it was. Within minutes, I couldn't feel my feet, my hands, my arms. But Denise was very verbal when we were in the water.

SNOW: De Priester says she credits her survival training skills as a former flight attendant now turned pilot for helping them survive.

But timing was everything. Several off-duty police officers just happened to be in the area and got access to a small boat, all the while Smidt yelled for help.

SMIDT: I could actually hear myself echoing, so I knew I was carrying. Somebody yelled back and said, "We know you're in the water. We know where you are, and help is coming."

SNOW: After roughly 30 minutes in the icy waters, Smidt and De Priester were pulled to safety and treated for hypothermia.

Two days later, alongside the first responders who saved him, Smidt revealed he'd first called his wife before dialing 911 to make sure his family knew he loved them.

Among the rescuers, Officer Daniel Higgins and his 12-year-old son. The officer admitted he didn't think there was much of a chance at a successful rescue.

OFFICER DANIEL HIGGINS, YONKERS POLICE: Very slim. You know, a lot of people said that and I'm just glad it was a rescue and not a recovery.

SNOW: Smidt says his instructor bought the plane days earlier and that it was a model from the 1960s. The NTSB is now investigating what happened. Smidt says really it was a matter of minutes before that rescue could have turned into a recovery -- Wolf.

BLITZER: They are both very, very lucky indeed. Mary, thanks for that report. Appreciate it very much. They are.

BOLDUAN: So lucky. That instructor, what a hero in trying to get out of that plane.

BLITZER: He's amazing.

BOLDUAN: Oh, my God. I have goosebumps thinking about how cold that water is. Oh, my goodness. Very, very lucky.

Still ahead, here's a question for you. What do doughnuts and marriage proposals have in common? Ponder that one. Jeanne Moos will have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Fair warning, friends. Look away now if you are afraid of heights. That is Nik Wallenda, keeping up his family tradition of daredevil stunts. He successfully walked across a high wire strung 180 feet over a Florida highway.

Despite stronger-than-expected winds, there was no net, no safety tether, just 600 feet of pavement down below.

Wallenda gave props to his legendary grandfather, Karl, saying he would have made the stunt even more difficult by doing a headstand halfway through.

That is quite a stunt that I shall not be replicating.

BOLDUAN: Not doing that. No pythons. No walking...


BOLDUAN: We're boring, apparently.

BLITZER: Not me.

All right. We may not be able to settle the question of which state has the worst drivers, but Jeanne Moos has the latest examples of why you might want to consider California.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Getting stuck in a traffic jam is bad enough, but how about getting stuck on an interstate because some idiots are doing doughnuts?

Or maybe you'd be more understanding if freeway traffic came to a halt because a couple hundred bikers were helping their buddy get down on one knee to propose to his biker girlfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, did anybody roll past and curse at you guys?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Man, that would have -- I would have seriously been P.O.'ed over that one.

MOOS: While both of these things happened on California highways in a single weekend. About half a dozen cars started doing doughnuts in the middle of the 880 freeway in Oakland.

(on camera) So while motorists sit fuming in backed-up traffic, stunts like these are over so quickly that police don't have time to intervene.

(voice-over): The eyewitness who took this video from the opposite lane says she was worried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he was going to hit the wall and maybe come over on our side of the freeway.

MOOS: The California Highway Patrol says it's trying to decipher license plates and is asking the public to help identify cars with features that stick out like orange rims.

It's a little harder to get mad at a guy who arranges for pink smoke to come out of his tires as he proposes his girl to the 10 freeway in L.A.

Paige Hernandez just thought she was going on a unity ride with her boyfriend, Hector Martinez, and 200 or 300 other bikers. D.J. Bigboy interviewed the couple on Power 106 Radio.

PAIGE HERNANDEZ, PROPOSED TO ON HIGHWAY: When he got off and took off his helmet, that's when I was confused. When I saw him reach for his pocket, I knew.

MOOS: And who the heck was Hector waving at?

MARTINEZ: I had all of my family and her family up on the overpass.

MOOS: In less than two minutes, the proposal was over, and once again, traffic flowed. As one poster put it, "They must be a very special couple to inconvenience the rest of the world."

As for the doughnut break, it lasted a minute and a half.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go! Let's go!

MOOS: When you hijack a highway and post it on YouTube, you may not get off the freeway scot-free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you this, man. Have the authorities got in contact with you yet?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you're definitely going to jail.

MOOS: Still, those revving engines are such an aphrodisiac.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Very romantic way to propose. A little dangerous. Reckless but I guess romantic.

BOLDUAN: How do you get pink smoke to come out when you rev your tires?

BLITZER: Because it's an engagement.

BOLDUAN: I have no idea. I just know California traffic is already bad. BLITZER: You ever do any of those doughnuts?

BOLDUAN: No, no. I would never say it on live TV if I did.

BLITZER: We're not doing it either. You can always follow us on Twitter. I'm @WolfBlitzer.

BOLDUAN: I am @KateBolduan.

BLITZER: That's it for us. Thanks very much for joining us. We'll be back here tomorrow. 'Til then, thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.