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North Korea Vows Halt; East Coast Braces for another Storm; Texas Primary Kicks Off Midterms; Democrat Campaigns in GOP Hot Spots; NBA to Change Rules; West Virginia Teacher Strike. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 6, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:32:36] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news to report right now.

South Korean officials have announced that North Korea would halt nuclear and missile tests if it can hold talks with the United States.

CNN's Andrew Stevens is live in Seoul for us with all of the breaking details.

Tell us about this development, Andrew.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: This is a significant step forward, Alisyn. It really is. The -- this is coming from the blue house, which is the part of the president's house in South Korea. From that recent meeting in Pyongyang which Kim Jong-un was himself at.

And there's a series of points. It says that the North is committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. I'm just reading this out now. Committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and says that there's no reason to retain a nuclear program if the threat to North Korea is resolved and North Korea's security is guaranteed.

It's also -- and listen to this. They've expressed a willingness to talk with the United States in an open-ended dialogue to discuss the issue of denuclearization and to normalize relations with North Korea. And that's what plays into while that -- those discussions are going on, there is going to be no resumption of strategic provocations, like the nuclear tests we saw last year, like the missile tests we saw last year. They will be off while there are talks ongoing with the U.S.

There's also going to be a summit meeting between the two leaders of North and South Korea. That is going to be towards the end of April.

This is also interesting, having a summit meeting. It's going to be the third one that the two countries have had. But the last one was back in 2017. So there is a major step forward, a breakthrough, sort of, a breakthrough in the deadlock between North/South Korea and, of course, the United States.

So, Chris, this is significant news. We're just waiting to get further details. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. I mean whether or not it's even

true in terms of North Korea's promise, this is progress for the Trump administration, enable to coax a little bit of a step toward some type of discussion instead of just threats.

Appreciate the reporting. Thank you very much.

All right, bad weather news to talk about. Another nasty nor'easter about to slam the U.S. East Coast. Parts of New England still without power from last week's deadly storm.

So let's bring in CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

What are we seeing in terms of -- is those -- are those areas in Boston and Scituate up there, are they going to get hit again?

[06:35:00] CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, but not as bad. I mean the winds are going to be 30, not 70. But it's going to be a snow event. The Berkshires could pick up 20 inches of snow, even Boston on the line between -- somewhere between five on one side and 12 on the other.

The moisture's here. The cold air is there. They will get together right over the East Coast and a heavy snow warning, winter storm warnings all the way up and down the East Coast.

And time to put on another pot of coffee here. The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is brought -- bringing you this weather here. It is packed with goodness.

It's going to be one of those days where I'm going to be traveling to New York City for this storm here, but this is going to be a big event for the city. Nine inches of snow.

Now, it's a sloppy, wet snow. It starts tomorrow morning, but it snows all day. So if you're traveling tomorrow, anywhere through the East Coast, it's going to be a very slow go. Boston, the Berkshires, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York City, that's where the snow is going to be. There will be inches of snow, not maybe a foot in the city, but certainly somewhere around eight inches. And if you get toward Boston and up into the Green and White Mountains, certainly more than that.

Late skiing, I guess, if you want to look at the positive side, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK. I like that. We'll have hot chocolate waiting for you and coffee when you get here.

MYERS: Fair enough.

CAMEROTA: All right, Chad.

MYERS: All right.

CAMEROTA: So the 2018 midterm elections are underway. The first primary taking place in Texas today. One Democratic Senate candidate is getting a lot of attention. So we'll take a closer look at why, next.


[06:40:42] CAMEROTA: OK, about an hour and a half from now, voters in Texas will head to the polls, kicking off the midterm elections officially. Something interesting is happening with Democrats in that deep red state.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas with more.

Tell us about it, Ed.


Well, Democrats here in Texas once again talking about a blue wave taking over this state. And, you know, more people -- many people are skeptical of that in a lot of circles. But over the last few months, a little known congressman from El Paso turns out has raised a lot more money than Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the senatorial race. Now Cruz still has more than a million dollars of cash on hand. But, nonetheless, this is striking news of this little known congressman outraising Ted Cruz is making this race a lot more interesting.



LAVANDERA (voice over): Robert O'Rourke has campaigned in almost every one of the 254 counties in Texas, even in places we're finding a Democrat is harder than hunting Bigfoot.

O'ROURKE: This community voted for Donald Trump 73 percent. Not the place you're going to expect to see a Democrat in the first place.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Why do you hit those places where the likelihood of you getting many votes, let's be -- let's be frank, is pretty slim?

O'ROURKE: Listen, I -- my philosophy is, everyone deserves to be heard. It's to my benefit to listen to every single Texan that I seek to represent.

I share the story of El Paso.

LAVANDERA (voice over): O'Rourke started in politics as an El Paso city councilman in 2005, was elected to Congress in 2012, and around town is simply known as Beto.

O'Rourke faces a daunting task. This was the sea of red in Texas after the 2016 presidential election. President Trump won by nine points.

Lloyd Benson was the last Democrat to win a Texas Senate seat. The grainy video gives away that was a long time ago.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Texas highways are littered with the political careers of Democrats who thought they could win in this state, right? O'ROURKE: Yes.

LAVANDERA: What makes you different?

O'ROURKE: They're also -- they're also really strong memories of people, like LBJ.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Here, O'Rourke tells the story of campaigning in a small town that hasn't seen a senator there in 70 years. He's banking on the idea that if he can meet you face to face, he'll win your vote.

O'ROURKE: So, listen, that doesn't mean that we win. It just means that we're getting back to our roots of how we used to win. The way that we used to run campaigns when we were successful.

LAVANDERA: Beto O'Rourke wasn't a politician back there, he was road tripping around Texas to his own soundtrack as the shaggy-haired guitarist of a punk rock band.

LAVANDERA (on camera): We were able to track this down.

O'ROURKE: I love it.

LAVANDERA: This took a lot of work.

O'ROURKE: Yes. Good for you. There were only 500 made, so you --

LAVANDERA: Only 500 made?


LAVANDERA (voice over): O'Rourke says he's brought that punk rock spirit to this campaign.

O'ROURKE: We're not doing the corporate stuff. The DNC, the DFCC, the PACs and the corporations and the special interests. It's just us. This is as punk rock as it gets, right?

LAVANDERA: Without much help from the Democratic Party, he's gone to social media.

O'ROURKE: Good morning from Tyler, Texas.

LAVANDERA: Live streaming the campaign every chance he gets.

O'ROURKE: We don't have folks who produce slick messages for us. We have an iPhone and it's a late model iPhone at that.

LAVANDERA (on camera): How crucial has that social media aspect of your campaign been to your success?

O'ROURKE: It's great. It's the most direct, honest way to connect with people short of actually being there in their community with them in person. LAVANDERA (voice over): The El Paso congressman supports providing

legal status to many undocumented migrants, legalizing marijuana, he's pro-choice, supports a ban on assault weapons, not the kind of issues that get strong support in Texas. And Republican Ted Cruz seizes on that every chance he gets.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I mean they would love to see the state of Texas have an anti-gun, big government, pro-amnesty, liberal Democrat represent it. Now, I don't think those are the values of Texans.

[06:45:02] LAVANDERA: Republicans who have seen him campaign in the reddest parts of the state, like Tim O'Hare, a Republican Party chairman in Tarrant County, aren't nervous.

TIM O'HARE, TARRANT COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: And I know Democrats like to think they've got a chance and they do this every -- every two years.

Beto's going to lose. And it's just -- it's the same song, different dance.

LAVANDERA: Beto O'Rourke knows making punk rock mainstream in Texas isn't easy, but he'll head out on the road again hoping to make it happen.


LAVANDERA: Now, we requested to interview Ted Cruz for this piece. His spokesperson told us that they would not be able to schedule an interview with us for it. But, you know, nonetheless, there is a lot of talk and energy here in Texas and among Democrats of this idea of a blue wave. And, as you know, Republicans highly skeptical. They say it's hard to imagine a blue wave when they have yet to manage to turn this state purple.


CUOMO: It would be interesting to see Beto get a chance to go toe to toe with Ted Cruz. It will be interesting if Cruz will give him that chance. Unlikely given that he's the incumbent.

All right, thank you very much, Ed. That was a good story.

Coming up, it's a rule change that could shake up college and the NBA. What is being proposed could literally be a game changer, next.


[06:50:09] CAMEROTA: As the FBI continues to investigate college basketball recruiting, the NBA is making a play to try to solve the problem.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" and he is here in the house.


morning, guys.


SCHOLES: Yes, you know, since 2005 the NBA has had that rule -- the one and done rule, meaning that you have to be one year removed from high school in order to play in the league. But that rule may soon change as the NBA tries to help solve their recruiting scandal going on in college basketball.

According to ESPN, Commissioner Adam Silver is developing a plan to get involved with high level high school prospects. And one option on the table is turning the NBA's G-league into more of a true minor league basketball system where the high-level players, even if they are just 18, can play and they can be paid a high salary. This would make the G-league a more realistic option for kids who plan on being one and done in college before going to the NBA, guys.

And, you know, that's the issue, right, because you have those high- level prospects who sometimes come from poor situations who want to get some money and this situation in the G-league, if they were able to pay them a high salary, would kind of fix that problem.

CUOMO: Andy, appreciate it, brother, and good to have you here.

SCHOLES: All right.

CUOMO: The coffee's on you.

Day nine of a state-wide teacher strike in West Virginia. What's it about? What will it take to get them back on the job? The head of the West Virginia Education Association lays it out to you about why this matters, next.


[06:55:23] CUOMO: OK, you've been following what's happening in West Virginia. There's a state-wide teachers strike there. Nine days in. You have about 227,000 kids, maybe even more, who haven't been in school all that time. And it's not just about the school, it's about food. So many of the kids in that state, I think one in four, live under the poverty line. So that free breakfast, that free lunch matters.

Now, union leaders say the walk-out is going to continue indefinitely until teachers get a 5 percent pay raise.

Joining me now is Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association.

And it's good to have you, sir.

DALE LEE, PRESIDENT, WEST VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Thank you for having me. Thank you. CUOMO: All right, tell me if what we have right and what we have

wrong. My understanding is that the legislature down there, you had the house put through the 5 percent. The governor said 5 percent. Then the senate came back and said, no, 4 percent, and now you're at impasse. Are those the simple politics?

LEE: Well, we have a conference committee right now going on. There's three senators and three house members who are trying to work out the compromise deal.

The compromise is simple, it's 5 percent. It's what was promised and it's what we'll take.

But let me make one thing clear, as soon as we announced that the work action was going to take place, teachers and service professionals across the state started working with churches and other community leaders to make sure that our kids had food. We're -- our teachers and service professionals are feeding kids throughout the day. They're making sure that they have food for their backpacks full of food on the weekends and now it's extended over the week. We're providing some daycare for parents who are having trouble getting daycare.

Our teachers and service professionals are doing what they do every day, and that's taking care of the kids of West Virginia.

CUOMO: Understood. We've seen the video. And it's a very important aspect of this. So thank you for relaying that to the audience.

The question becomes, what is this about? What has changed that makes this fight so important to the union?

LEE: Well, there's so much distrust of the legislature and the senate has shown in their actions for the past three days why that distrust is there. We've been promised for years and years and years to make education the forefront. Our governor decided to make an investment in education. Our house decided to make an investment in education. And it's -- right now it's two senators who's preventing the students of West Virginia from being back in the classroom.

CUOMO: What is it about? Is it just about the amount of money? Is this about --

LEE: Those two senators (INAUDIBLE) conference committee.

CUOMO: Is this about just money and salaries? Is this about health care costs? I mean what is creating the urgency on your side?

LEE: Well, it really has been four issues throughout the whole time. It's the salary. And we're 48th in the nation in pay. It's our health care. We've seen rising costs go on. It's anti-education bills that are being introduced in the legislature. And it's the attacks on the union.

The health care, the anti-education legislation and the attacks on the union have all been addressed and taken care of. We have a task force that will begin actually in two weeks by the -- by the -- on the 13th of March to really look at our health care plan and make recommendations and we'll have public hearings in all 55 of our counties to ensure that everyone's voice is heard.

But the issue right now is the salary. The governor and the house says it should be 5 percent. We've made an agreement that it would be 5 percent. And you're only looking at about $12 million in a $4.6 billion state-wide budget. That's what's keeping our kids from being in the classroom right now. More importantly, what's keeping our teachers and service --

CUOMO: Well, you look at it two ways, though, right, Dale? You can look at it two ways.

LEE: Yes.

CUOMO: It's only $12 million.

LEE: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, they should find the money if education is a priority. And then on the flip side it's, it's only $12 million. Trust that they'll figure it out. Get back to work so the kids aren't compromised this way. How do you see it?

LEE: You know, we've had trust for years and it's gotten us to 48th in the nation in pay. That trust is gone. And the senate proved to us with their actions over the weekend that we can't have that trust. That's why we're staying out. We're going to make sure that this is passed and signed by the conference committee. We know that the governor will sign it when it gets to him. But we're making sure that all three senators and all three delegates have to sign it. We have to make sure that this conference committee report is signed before we're going back into the classroom.

[07:00:07] CUOMO: And we know that at least one of your U.S. senators is getting involved as well.