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tv   CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello  CNN  May 25, 2015 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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>> oh my god. stop! he needs to get out! >> happening now in the "newsroom," dangerous flooding in texas and oklahoma. three people killed. eight still missing. and the storms aren't over yet. also -- >> the iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. they were not outnumbered.
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>> does the united states need to change its strategy on the ground in iraq? president obama speaks next hour at arlington national cemetery praising our men and women in uniform who gave their lives for our country. thanks for watching this memorial day. let's talk live in the "cnn newsroom." good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. any moment we're expecting a live press conference to begin from texas. deadly flash flooding killing three people over the weekend in texas and oklahoma. several others are missing and the threat is not over yet. as the waters subside, scattered debris remains. more than 350 homes swept away in raging rapids. suvs tumbling like toys. the driver of this caress caping to safety just before it plunged underwater. heavy rains could strike again
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today. chad myers is in atlanta tracking the threat. good morning. >> the areas that have seen so much rain will see more today. i'm talking about 10 to 15 inches of rainfall in the past few days. over the month now we're breaking records for the entire month. we're breaking records for any month of any year that records have been kept track. dallas you'll see more rain. down here toward san antonio, toward san marcos this is the area that saw so much rain and flooding yesterday. and there's the rain across the red river over the past few days. this is the area that will see more today. flood watches and warnings are already in effect. we are going to see potential for tornadoes today like we could use any of that. we'll see more flooding for sure. carol? >> i want to take our viewers to near austin texas, now. this is carlie smith. the emergency management coordinator. we understand 12 people are missing now. let's listen. >> information from reporting parties to make sure that the
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residents are missing or are not missing. i want to urge anyone in the area and self-evacuated or left and stayed with a friend to call our missing person reporting line. that's 512-393-7725. 512-393-7725. that is to report that you know someone that is missing or you yourself were in the area and left and are safe. we are trying to gather as much information as we can but we have confirmed a person count of 12 that we are actively searching for as missing individuals. on that safety note we are expecting rain today. we are receiving information there are small groups of citizens that are mobilizing and go for searches along the river themselves. i want to remind the public that we do have resources that are
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designated to those activities. we have local resources, regional and state assets that are actively doing search and rescues. it's not safe for the general public to go down and do those rescue or search operations themselves. we have impending weather concerns. we're expecting a substantial amount of rain later today that will complicate the situation and add further danger for our residents and anyone down in that environment. so please allow the trained professionals to conduct the search and rescue exercises and we know that our citizens and community members are wanting to help and we promise we'll allow that to happen as soon as we feel that it's safe in that area for those to go down and help the residents that were affected.
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>> good morning. if people want to know what they can do the red cross is asking for volunteers. the red cross is in charge of feeding and taking care of our people in shelters. they are trying to tend to the physical needs of those people. if you have time and wish to help especially on this memorial day when we remember those who have given all for all of us. the press is here today because there's a lot happening. we need people who will be here for the long haul after the press has gone home. after everybody thinks it's over. i would like to ask you as an amateur historian if you would maintain photographs of what you've seen. >> we'll step away. 12 still missing in floodwaters in austin texas, and
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authorities there asking people to be careful and not attempt to rescue people themselves. in other news this morning, let's head overseas. iran is wading into a squabble between the u.s. and its ally iraq for blistering criticism from the u.s. defense secretary. in the first comments since isis militants captured the iraqi town of ramadi ash carter lays the blame on the iraqi sources who says ran from the fight. this is part of his exclusive interview with cnn. >> the iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. they were not outnumbered. in fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. and yet they failed to fight. they withdrew from the site and that says to me -- and i think to most of us -- that we have an issue with the will of the iraqis. >> we're covering all angles of
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this breathtaking indictment of iraq's commitment. cnn's let's begin with jim acosta. good morning. >> reporter: president obama is set to remember the nation's fallen soldiers on this memorial day, his plan to dealing with isis is coming under increasing scrutiny. asked about ash carter's candid comments a white house official pointed out that the president said last week that iraqis have to fight for their own security and that the u.s. cannot do that for them. we should point out not only are republicans criticizing the president's strategy a few democrats have also said the white house needs to rethink its approach. a house democrat and veteran, say iraqis don't have enough will to fight. she and another congressman were on cnn's "state of the union" yesterday debating whether more u.s. troops need to be sent in to battle isis. here's what they had to say.
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>> after the united states pulled out you saw how these iraqi security forces lasted. they cut and ran and dropped their weapons when they were faced with their first real battle with isis. the issue is not about how many u.s. troops can be sent to train these iraqi security forces because you can't train into someone the will to fight. >> every day that goes by the cost of liberating iraq or the cost of defeating this cancer is only going to increase. so i think we have to do the force that's proportionate and violence proportionate necessary to push back isis. >> reporter: keep in mind relying on iraqi forces on the ground while the u.s. provides airpower support has been a key part of the president's plan. after you heard secretary carter make those comments to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, it's sparked a debate here in washington that we're going to hear play out all week long about whether or not the
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iraqi security forces there are worth investing anymore into given their record so far. we'll hear from the president later on this morning. he'll be laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier to mark this memorial day. i don't think he's going to weigh in obviously on what secretary carter had to say but he may make some comments about the battle against isis and some of the sacrifices obviously that have been paid by our troops overseas. carol? >> the president's comments coming in the 11:00 a.m. eastern hour of "newsroom." thanks so much. jim acosta reporting live from washington. let's get the view from baghdad now. tell us more arwa damon. >> reporter: we did hear iraq's prime minister in an interview with bbc expressing surprise. iran also lashing out. the head of the force who he himself has spent time fighting
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in iraq advising the iranian backed shia militias in iraq saying the u.s. has no will to fight isis and america is doing nothing and adding that nobody is confronting isis properly except iran even the countries that iran is supporting. we did meet with an iraqi soldier whose brigade was among the last to withdraw from ramadi. his account and the videos we saw providing some insight into what went wrong. the chaotic final moments captured on a cell phone. come on, fight, a voice shouts. one of the last fire fights with isis before ramadi fell.
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there were three ieds that took out two humvees and killed five and then they came at us with two bulldozers rigged with explosives he remembers. his congresstingent numbered around 140 spread out in smaller units along the vast terrain across ramadi. he was in this armed carrier reloading ammunition. one soldier calls for a heavier weapon. a warning that isis is approaching from another direction as well. then they came at us with big gun trucks surrounding us from four directions. there should have been a force to our rear but they weren't there, he says. his commander radios for air support. moments later cries of no ammunition no ammunition. and the unit receives orders to withdraw. and he's bitter and angry.
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the wounded he wanted to keep fighting. just two weeks before the fall of ramadi he says his unit captured an isis position killing six, he claims. two corpses seen torched in this video. another seven were detained. four of them foreigners. under interrogation, a captured isis fighter describes surveillance and bold tactics. and he recalled the fighters saying we flash a light at the tower. we know that there are only 28 soldiers and in five-hour rotations and there's a lack of ammunition. if soldiers don't fire at us we crawl and plant the bomb. he bristled at the accusations that iraqi soldiers don't have the will to fight. he wants to quit the army and join the militias. the failure is with the military higher ups sups, he says who gave
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orders to retreat and allowed the lines to collapse. and in an attempt to recapture ramadi the iraqi government masked forces along that city's eastern front. quite a patchwork of forces though. a combination of military police iranian backed shia paramilitary units and as well as using sunni tribes in defensive positions. >> arwa damon reporting live from baghdad. thank you so much. on this memorial day, a nation pauses to honor the sacrifices of those who served in the u.s. military. right now in washington a day of remembrance and reflection begins to unfold. next hour president obama honors the war dead at arlington national cemetery. i'll be right back.
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in baltimore, a shocking surge of violence as the police commissioner says his city and his department are both at a time of uncertainty. the baltimore sun reporting that 33 people have been killed so far this month. that includes six shot dead over memorial day holiday weekend. this is the first time the city has seen 30 homicides in one month in nearly eight years. tom fuentes joins me now to talk
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more about this. do you think the surge and number of homicide ins in the city of baltimore are tied to freddie gray's death? >> i think it's tied to police activities since the protest of freddie gray's death and since their perception that the city the head of the police upper echelon of the police and state's attorney's office will not back them when they make difficult choices on the streets to try to take the guns off and go against aggressive people killing others. i think cause and effect is clear of why the police are out there in the first place and why they are aggressive in the first place and what happens if they aren't aggressive. this is a result. >> you say the police just aren't sitting back and doing nothing because they are angry at the system. there are valid reasons why the police aren't making more arrests these days. >> absolutely. for the officers in the freddie gray case you look at it if a subject runs should you chase after him because if you tackle
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him, you know it's going to be on the sidewalk or on pavement. even nfl players wear padding before they get tackled on grass. so bad things can happen just in trying to take somebody into custody. if somebody resists arrest and they fall down and hit their head you murdered them. if you pepper spray someone, they may have asthma or another condition and they choke to death and you killed them. some of the judgments calls police have to make in a split second are very difficult and if the net result for an officer is going to be facing ten years in prison and being fired from their career that's pretty severe if things don't go just so. >> what should the police commissioner do? >> i think the police commissioner and the leaders of baltimore and leaders across this country need to create a more defined set of rules of engagement that this is how you should behave and make it clear. if the officers follow that,
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they'll be backed up and protected from the difficulty of wha doing it. the narrative that goes out that tells people to resist run, wrestle with police and engage in high-speed chases the more that happens, bad things happen. and every street cop knows if you're in a situation where you have to physically put your hands on another human being, bad things can happen to that person or to you for that matter. and it's a dangerous profession. the simple answer in many of these cases would be comply. surrender. go along with the police. if you are under arrest you're under arrest. we shouldn't be expecting our police officers to be olympic wrestlers, harvard debaters nascar drivers on the streets of a city. that's asking too much of our
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police. >> you're saying there was no problem between the community and police officers across the nation? >> there is a problem but we're going to have to recognize which police practices work. if you take new york city for example, with almost 2,500 murders a year and they get that rate down to under 300, how did they get that down? and several administrations in new york will say it was due to stop and frisk. the community hates stop and frisk yet it helps keep the community safe. i would like to add i don't know if the whole community thinks it's a bad practice. people live in these communities that would like to be safer on a daily basis and when you see the homicide rate in baltimore for example, if new york had the same homicide rate they would look at over 3,000 murders a year compared to now where it's under 300. so there are consequences to overly severe policing overly
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aggressive policing. there's consequences to going too far the other way and telling the police we want you to be kinder and gentler. we don't want you putting hands on people. we don't want you running after them. we don't want you chasing them or shooting at them. and there's an element of our society that all community policing in the world is not going to address and that's the young men on the streets of baltimore or new york or other cities who are gunning down their fellow citizens in those communities. that's the problem. how do you stop that element from pulling the trigger and killing their fellow citizens? >> all right. tom fuentes, thanks for your insight as usual. i appreciate it. still to come the government is close to bringing a criminal case against general motors over the faulty ignition switches. alison kosik is here. >> those could be in the
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more trouble for general motors. a "the new york times" report says the justice department has identified criminal wrongdoing by gm in at least 100 deaths tied to that ignition switch defect. alison kosik is here to tell us more about this. criminal charges? >> we did reach out to the department of justice and to general motors. not really getting much comment except a little bit from gm saying that "we are cooperating on all requests. we are unable to comment on the
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status of the investigation, including the timing." this latest news is coming out from "the new york times" saying the department of justice has identified criminal wrongdoing in gm failing to disclose a defect in those ignition switches in those vehicles. what does that mean? it means that for one according to "the new york times," former employees are under investigation and could face criminal charges, which means, yes, people could be arrested. we could see some of these former employees be handcuffed. this certainly could be a company that -- >> have a trial and go to jail? >> possibly. when you're arrested you go through the justice system. so gm could wind up being the poster child on how not to handle a defect in your vehicles. what sort of took the cake before gm was toyota which paid $1.2 billion penalty for its unintended acceleration in their
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vehicles. that was a record fine. now what "the new york times" is surmising in its article is that gm could be fined even more than that. also we could see actual people arrest arrested. >> let's center on those people. are they engineers? how high up would it go to whoever was heading gm at the time? >> that's a good question. >> i doubt it. >> some of them are engineers. we don't know exactly their names. their names weren't released. once again, this really could put a face not just faces of the victims that we've seen but a face on the alleged criminals who are responsible. it's holding people accountable with so many people wanting to see with general motors. >> many thanks. i appreciate it. still to come the allies plan to defeat isis and political campaigns to win the white house. how the 2016 election could affect military strategy now. in the meantime this is a wreath laying ceremony in kabul in afghanistan in memory of the
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this memorial day, our nation pauses to reflect and pay tribute to our national heroes. families gather to remember loved ones. next hour president obama will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. cnn will bring that to you live as soon as it gets under way. not far from where that band is playing is what's known as the saddest acre in america. section 60 is the final resting place for more than 900 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. this morning loved ones are gathering there to pause and reflect. let's bring in cnn's pentagon correspondent barbara starr. good morning, barbara. >> reporter: good morning, carol. it may be known as the saddest acre in america but right here right now today this is a place full of love and memories and remembrance. this i must tell you, is where history of brothers in arms is
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written for wars in iraq and afghanistan but also so many other conflicts in the nation's history. we are seeing just dozens and dozens of families relatives, battle buddies turning up here to pay respects to their loved ones. so many people coming here on this memorial day to pause and remember. a short time ago we spoke to a young mother and her son. she lost her marine corps husband after he served several tours in both iraq and afghanistan. >> it's wonderful that people are coming out here and these people aren't forgotten. sacrifices aren't forgotten. >> i love you, daddy. i hope for you to be here and i know you will be here and i love you. >> so sweet. >> he always watching over me.
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>> 4-year-old chris jacobs talking about his father who served in iraq and afghanistan. his mother brings him here every year to visit his father's grave. we're seeing that families returning now year after year to be here. we're seeing everything here today from very small children to grandparents and as i said to battle buddies. i'm going to be the one to say it. to all of the folks out there, if you're headed to the pool if you're headed to the shopping mall if you're headed to a barbecue or beach, have a great weekend but before you do pause, remember and reflect and if you're here in washington get on the metro and come to arlington. you won't be sorry. this is a place right now so full of love for the u.s. military members who gave the ultimate sacrifice on memorial day 2015. carol? >> that one made me cry. barbara starr, thanks so much.
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give me just a moment. all right. on this memorial day we are reminded of the grim cost of war. of course fighting isis remains one of the nation's top priorities. republicans like senator john mccain and potential presidential hopeful senator lindsey graham have slammed the president's strategy in recent days. graham was 10,000 u.s. ground troops in iraq but george will warns criticizing the president's strategy could backfire for republicans come 2016. >> isis and islamic state is a big problem for barack obama. the more they criticize him, it's going to be a big problem for republicans who are going to be challenged if you will the end, you have to will the means to that end and what are your means? >> so let's talk about the means with democratic strategist and also anchor of "the hot list" amy holmes. amy, i want to start with you. expound on what george will is talking about.
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>> what he's talking about is if republicans criticize the president for his lack of strategy lack of plan we know that because isis is growing. it's capturing more territory. more cities. it's beheading people. it's burying children alive. we know all of that. what george will is saying is republicans can't just be in the peanut gallery criticizing. they have to come up with a plan. i agree to a certain extent. i think what american people want is they want truth. they want their leader not to re relitigate the past but shape the future and make sure isis doesn't come to the united states and commit acts of terrorism. >> let's talk about the president for just a second chris. it's difficult to come up with any one strategy in light of what ash carter said, isn't it? do you invest american lives in an iraqi military that runs from the fight? >> i don't know how you do. at some point the aircrafty y iraqi people have to choose the destiny of
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their country. it's a lot to ask for more families to bear the ultimate price to fight for a country where the people of that country do not seem to want to fight for it. it's really that simple. i respect senator mccain's service but the idea that we're going to send thousands of more troops there and we'll turn the situation around when the iraqi people themselves aren't willing to turn it around i just don't see how that's -- i don't see how that's a solution. >> and, amy, just to expound on that i understand what senator mccain means. he wants to put 10,000 to 20,000 american troops in there to sort of teach the iraqi forces and -- >> we're doing that. >> we are doing that with 3,000 american troops there now. it's not quite working as we witnessed with the fall of ramadi. so is that what we want to do is to put tens of thousands of american soldiers there? if we do that how long do they stay? >> i think what we want is a strategy.
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right now we're offering air support and drone strikes. that's not working. isis is actually gaining territory. it's not just an iraq problem. iraq's home base is in syria. we have punitive allies who don't believe us and don't trust us and are now trying to litigate this war against isis themselves. i think what american people are looking for is leadership and that has been lacking with this president. it's not just -- >> when you say leadership like i know what you're talking about. you're talking about president obama. but tell me what effective leadership looks like when it comes to syria, the problems there, and in yemen and in iraq and problem with iran. >> it's getting more and more difficult as time passes and as isis gains ground. we know in the beginning of syria, isis was just a small force there but they are most effective fighters so syrians fighting against bashar al assad
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were teaming up with isis. i understand they can't just criticize and have to come up with a plan i think american people also want truth. they don't want a president who calls isis the jv team who says capturing cities in syria is a setback. it's not a setback. it's a victory on the part of our enemy. >> we're criticizing republicans. i haven't heard a strategy from hillary clinton either frankly. >> well i mean i think she made it clear she doesn't want more troops on the ground. i think it's -- >> that's not a strategy. >> i mean listen it's part of the strategy in the sense that you want iraqi people to decide their own destiny. you need iraqi government to basically formulate a strategy. you need iraqi military to actually fight the fight. everyone keeps wanting a somewhat grand strategy to solve a problem that's been going on for decades if not depending on how you look at it thousands of years. the bigger issue here is at what point is the american people going to say enough.
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i think they've said that a long time ago. the idea we'll send tens of thousands more troops there to turn the situation around and at the price of more men and women, at the price of billions of dollars is just not a tenable solution. and it's really easy to blame the president. let's not forget how we got into this mess. we got into this mess because of strategic mistakes of the bush administration. everyone seems to forget that. amy, i let you speak. i let you speak. >> we have to move on. >> that's the reality. >> all right. we have to leave it there. chris, amy, thank you so much. i appreciate it. as we go to break, live pictures from the tomb of the unknowns at arlington national cemetery.
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deadly flash flooding ravages parts of the united states. three people have died in texas and oklahoma and 12 people are missing in hayes county texas. we have the mayor of san marcos texas, joining me live on the phone. welcome, sir. >> thank you. glad to be here. >> mr. mayor, are those 12 people missing from your town? >> no ma'am.
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the 12 referenced during our recent press conference 12 throughout the county. san marcos is one of the largest communities in hayes county but that is for the county at large. a greater portion of the floodwaters that had the most devastating effects took place in a community to our west. san marcos is further down in the area from there so we got the same level of floodwaters from what we're seeing thus far reports indicate that a significant amount of damage and still missing folks are more in those hill country areas. >> tell me about the damage in your town. >> it's significant. it was the most devastating flood in the history of our community and we've had our fair share of significant flooding. this tops the chart. we're looking at upwards of 400 homes that have been damaged or destroyed. we have a firestation that has
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been put out of operation for a period of time. we're assessing what we'll need to do to get that back up and functioning. a number of businesses and apartments were damaged as well. fortunately in the last -- since the rains have started to subside and waters have gone down we've seen a lot of community members coming forward offering their resources and services and banning together with neighbors to start cleanup efforts. we're working with other nonprofit organizations, red cross, salvation army our faith based communities as well and they're going to be coordinating those volunteer efforts to assist people that have been affected throughout the san marcos area. >> are you expecting more rain later today? >> yes, ma'am. i'm sitting outside of our police department right now and it's beginning to sprinkle. we're anticipating more rain coming in today throughout the day. i think the projection that i heard thus far is probably as much as two inches and with the ground already saturated from
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previous rain we're not anticipating that it will be absorbed into the soil quickly so we are certainly recognizing that folks want to get to their property and homes and begin cleanup efforts but also we want to remind all of our residents that this is not over. i don't anticipate that we'll see flood levels nearly what we saw on saturday evening and sunday morning but certainly be cautious and be aware. there's a lot of debris and a lot of infrastructure that needs to be evaluated and assessed and improved and we're just encouraging caution as folks are beginning to get out into the community. >> all right, mayor. thank you so much. i appreciate you being with me this morning. you've had a busy weekend. >> thank you as well. still to come in the "newsroom," holiday travel at a ten-year high. chad myers is tracking the trend. good morning. >> carol, most people will travel today by car. many of them driving through thunderstorms that you just talked about. i'll show you where that's coming up in two minutes.
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can a business have a mind? a subconscious. a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive? more than 30 million americans are hitting the road as they wrap up the long holiday weekend. perhaps easing back to work blues, nationwide filling up for 2.74 which compared to last year
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is a steal. >> why does it cost 50 bucks to fill up my tank? >> because you drive a big suv. you have to get rid of that. >> i have a tiny little car. it just has to be big enough to hold my son's tuba. that's all it has to be. so 2.74 is our number. 3.66 is where we were last year at this time. it's going to continue to go down we all hope. i can't move this graphic. monica do that for me. 33 million americans are now driving today. and my guess is about 31 million of those will be in the left lane for no reason i don't know why but people here especially in the south just like the left lane. i want to make a new sign that says slower traffic keep left rather than slower traffic keep right because i don't know what they're doing out there. i digress. 37.2 million people and 4 million of those will be in aircraft today. that may be the best place because if you're driving, i-20 i-40 across parts of alabama, you may run into pretty serious
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weather. if it looks really bad out there, maybe a good time to pull over or pull off and let it go by. storms will only last 20 or 30 minutes. better than trying to drive through it or run into someone who is stopped ahead of you. look at the rainfall rates. two inches per hour. that's enough to blind you and potential from i-40 down to 20 and even 35 for the potential for tornadoes later on this afternoon. you don't want to drive when something like that is on the highway. enjoy your day but please be safe. carol? >> for goodness sake drive in the right lane if you're not going over 60 miles per hour. >> my pet peeve. >> thank you, chad. still to come on this memorial day, americans honor those killed while serving their country. this is a shot of arlington national cemetery outside washington. president obama will honor our fallen military in just about seven minutes.
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just minutes from now at arlington national cemetery president obama will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. let's check in with senior white house correspondent jim acosta with more. president will speak and so will
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joint chiefs of staff. general martin dempsey and also ash carter the defense secretary, correct? >> reporter: i believe that's right, carol. this is something the president will be focused on all day today. he started the morning at the white house meeting with and having breakfast with organizations that help families of fallen soldiers and the president as you'll see in a few minutes will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown and deliver remarks. the white house is not really telling us that the president is going to make a whole lot of news with this speech. he's going to be paying tribute to generations of lives lost and sacrificed for this country and the speech comes at a critical time as the country tries to figure out what to do about iraq. this forever war that seems to be going on since president george h.w. bush and went right into the clinton administration george bush's administration and president obama thought he wrapped up this war in iraq and now faced with a prospect once
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again recommendations in washington of sending more troops into iraq. it will be a tough call for this president and something for this country to think a lot about. but all that can be set aside as this country remembers people who have made this ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country. we'll see the president here marking that in just a few moments. >> we will. thank you, jim acosta. thank you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "at this hour" starts now. hello, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm kate bolduan. thank you for joining us on this memorial day. top military leaders are preparing to honor the sacrifice of our nation's fallen heroes. memorial day ceremonies are getting under way "at this hour" at arlington national cemetery. you see ash carter there preparing to begin these ceremonies. this is the final resting place arlington national cemetery. the final resting place for more than 400,000 service members and

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