tv Around the World CNN April 18, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PDT
darkness, as dr. king said. only light can do that. how very strange that the cowardess unleashed on us should come on marathon day, on patriots day, a day that marks the unofficial end of our long winter hibernation and the first battle of the american revolution. and just as we are taught at times like this not to lose touch with our spiritual face, let's also not lose touch with our civic face. massachusetts invented america. and america -- [ applause ] -- america is not organized the
way countries are usually organized. we're not organized around a common language or religion or even culture. we're organized around a handful of civic ideals. and we have defined those ideals over time and through struggle as equality, opportunity, freedom and fair play. an attack on our civic ritual like the marathon especially on patriots day is an attack on those values. and just as we cannot permit darkness and hate to triumph over our spiritual face, so we must not permit darkness and hate to triumph over our civic face. that cannot happen. and it will not. [ applause ] so we will recover and repair.
we will grieve our losses and heal. we will rise. and we will endure. we will have accountability without vengeance, vigilance without fear. and we will remember, i hope and pray long after the buzz boylston street is back that the grace this tragedy exposed is the best of who we are. fellow citizens, i am honored -- [ applause ] i am honored and humbled to welcome our friend, our leader, our commander in chief, the president of the united states. [ applause ]
on monday morning, the sun rose over boston. the sunlight glistened off the state house dome, in the common in the public garden spring was in bloom. on this patriots day like so many before fans jumped on to the tee to see the sox at fenway. runners laced their shoes and set on a 26.2-mile test of dedication and grit and the human spirit. and across this city hundreds of thousands bostonians lined the streets to hand runners cups of water and to cheer them on.
it was a beautiful day to be in boston. a day that explains why a poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place. boston, he said, is the perfect state of grace. [ applause ] and then in an instant the day's beauty was shattered. a celebration became a tragedy. and so we come together to pray and mourn and measure our loss, but we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace.
to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted. and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed. to governor patrick, mayor menino, cardinal o'malley and all the faith leaders who are here, governors romney, swift, weld and due cokus and most of all the people of boston and the families who have lost a piece of your heart, we thank you for your leadership, we thank you for your courage, we thank you for your grace. i'm here today on behalf of the american people with a simple
message. every one of us has been touc d ed by this attack on your beloved city. every one of us stands with you. because after all it's our beloved city too. boston may be your hometown, but we claim it too. it's one of america's iconic cities. it's one of the world's great cities. and one of the reasons the world knows boston so well is that boston opens its heart to the world. over successive generations you've welcomed again and again new arrivals to our shores. immigrants who constantly reinvigorated this city and this
commonwealth and our nation. every fall you welcome students from all across america and all across the globe. and every spring you graduate them back into the world. excels in every field of human endeavor. year after year you welcome the greatest talents in the arts and science, research. you welcome them to your concert halls and your hospitals and your laboratories to exchange ideas and insights that draw this world together. and, every third monday in april you welcome people from all around the world to the hub for friendship and fellowship and
healthy competition. a gathering of men and women of every race and every religion, every shape and every size, a multitude represented by all those flags that flew over the finish line. so whether folks come here to boston for just today or stay here for years, they leave with a piece of this town tucked firmly into their hearts. so boston's your hometown, but we claim it a little bit too. i know this. [ applause ]
i know this because there's a piece of boston in me. you welcomed me as a young law student across the river. welcomed michelle too. you welcomed me -- [ applause ] -- you welcomed me during a convention when i was still a state senator and very few people could pronounce my name right. like you, michelle and i have walked these streets, like you we know these neighborhoods, and like you in this moment of grief we join you in saying, boston, you're my home. for millions of us what happened on monday is personal.
it's personal. today our prayers are with the campbell family of medford. they're here today. their daughter krystle was always smiling. those who knew her said that with her red hair and her freckles and her ever-eager willingness to speak her mind, she was beautiful. sometimes she could be a little noisy. and everybody loved her for it. she would have turned 30 next month. as her mother said through her tears, this doesn't make any sense. our prayers are with the lu family of china who sent their
daughter lingzi here to she could experience all the city had to offer. a 23-year-old student far from home. and in the heart ache of her family and friends on both sides of the great ocean we're reminded of the humanity that we all share. our prayers are with the richard family of dorchester. to denise and young daughter jane as they fight to recover. and our hearts are broken for 8-year-old martin with his big smile and bright eyes. his last hours were as perfect as an 8-year-old boy could hope for with his family eating ice cream at a sporting event. and we're left with two enduring
images of this little boy forever smiling for his beloved bruins and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster board. no more hurting people. peace. no more hurting people. peace. our prayers are with the injured. so many wounded, some gravely. from their beds some are surely watching us gather here today. and if you are know this, as you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you. your commonwealth is with you. your country is with you. we will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and,
yes, run again. that i have no doubt you will run again. [ applause ] you will run again. because that's what the people of boston are made of. your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. if they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that deval described, the values that make us who we are as americans, well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. [ applause ]
comfort and to heal. we'll choose friendship. we'll choose love. the scripture teaches us, god has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a power love and self-discipline. and that's the spirit you've displayed in recent days. when doctors and nurses, police and firefighters and emts and guardsmen run towards explosions to treat the wounded, that's discipline. when exhausted runners including our troops and veterans who never expected to see such carnage on the streets back home
become first responders themselves tending to the injured, that's real power. when bostonians carried victims in their arms, deliver water and blankets, line up to give blood, open their homes to total strangers, give them rides back to reunite with their families, that's love. that's the message we send to those who carried this out and anyone who would do harm to our people. yes, we will find you. and, yes, you will face justice. [ applause ]
we will find you, we will hold you accountable. but more than that, our fidelity to our way of life, to our free and open society will only grow stronger. for god has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline. like bill ifrig, 78 years old, the runner in the orange tank top we all saw get knocked down by the blast. we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we'll pick ourselves up. we'll keep going. we will finish the race.
[ applause ] in the words of dick hoyt who pushed his disabled son rick in 31 boston marathons, we can't let something like this stop us. this doesn't stop us. and that's what you've taught us, boston. that's what you've reminded us, to push on. to persevere, to not grow wary, to not get faint even when it hurts, even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn't even know we had. and we carry on. we finish the race.
we finish the race. and we do that because of who we are. and we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend a stranger has a cup of water. around the bend somebody's there to boost our spirits. on that toughest mile, just when we think that we hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. we know that. [ applause ] and that's what the perpetrators of such senseless violence, these small stunted individuals
who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that makes them important, that's what they don't understand. our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be, that is our power. that's our strength. that's why a bomb can't beat us. that's why we don't hunker down. that's why we don't cower in fear. we carry on. we race. we strive. we build and we work and we love and we raise our kids to do the same. and we come together to celebrate life and to walk our cities and to cheer for our teams when the sox, celtics and patriots or bruins are champions
again to the chagrin of new york and chicago fans, the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down boylston street and this time next year on the third monday in april the world will return to this great american city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for that 118th boston marathon. bet on it. [ applause ]
tomorrow, the sun will rise over boston. tomorrow, the sun will rise over this country that we love. this special place, this state of grace. scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us. as we do, may god hold close those who've been taken from us too soon. may he comfort their families. and may he continue to watch over these united states of america. [ applause ]
>> as we come to the conclusion of our prayer service this morning, we just reminder to everyone here in the cathedral to remain in their places until the president and mrs. obama have securely exited the building. i invite you to kindly stand now for our concluding blessing. >> the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> let us pray. may the lord preserve your going forth and your coming in. may the lord bless you and protect you.
♪ and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea ♪ >> as the congregation sings "america the beautiful" all voices in unison in worship of the country they all share and love, they will wait until the president and first lady exits the chapel of the holy cross. the service is over now with the singing of the song as we listen in to the final verse.
city ends, the president is leaving with the first lady. the congregation will wait for their exit. a very moving service as expected. different members of the clergy imploring the congregation and millions of those listening in to remember unity before disunity, to remember love before the actions of those who decide to hate. the president drawing great applause when he delivered the line "your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act." we welcome all our viewers in the united states and around the world to cnn's coverage of this special prayer service "healing our city" here in boston. you're watching former governor mitt romney leave the service. this is a day where there was no republican or democrat, there are only people who are joined in the spirit of moving forward from the terrible actions that happened here during the boston marathon just this past monday.
i'm joined by jessica yellin and john king here in boston. when the president said, jessica, we will finish the race, such strong metaphor kal impact, such rousing applause, you could feel it out here. >> a big line. multiple meanings for the president. he means in terms of we'll finish this investigation, we will catch the people who did this, but he also means america never stops. and america moves forward. for the president, he is -- and he knows he's very good in these moments. it's his role to unify the nation in the wake of a tragedy like this. and it's his role to remind everybody that we go on. this was a speech that for him is especially touching. it's a city his whole family has a connection to. not only he went to school here, mrs. obama did, his own father went to harvard university as well. i know the speech was written by
a speech writer in the shop i think is somebody who grew up in boston and has a connection here. and it's an important moment for the president to remind all of us that no terrorism stops this country. >> it's interesting though very intentionally, john, compassionate in the face of even brutality, that, yes, there will be justice, you will be found. but a lot of resonance in this speech that we have to choose to be better. >> whether you're a fan of this president or not, when it comes to political ideologies, policies, i think you have to call that pitch perfect. a bit of boston history. noted his personal history with the city. boston's important in the world. you mentioned compassion, specifically mentioning each of the families that lost somebody, the three fatalities in this case a chinese student, a young blue collar woman from just north of the city, an 8-year-old boy from the dorchester neighborhood, reaching out to each of those families directly. but also i think, chris, it's important when you're struggling like this with the grief and anger, you don't almost know
when it's okay to clap again, laugh again, celebrate again. the president helped these people, yes, mourn, yes, deal with their anger by promising do this in the right way. we will adhere to our values, but you cannot hide. and then letting them cheer. letting them cheer and celebrate their city. i think it's a wonderful part of the transition to healing and moving on. >> even with his experience in doing these types of addresses you could see it was difficult when he was talking about that kid and his sign and peace. it's tough. it's tough for people here. everybody's got a kid like that in their family. everywhere somebody knows somebody like krystle, young and full of life. she would have just been 30. her whole life in front of here. and the exchange student, people come here for a better life. it really connects. you could feel the spirit in everybody's address today. >> i think that was the strength after newtown as well. the president has two young daughters out and about at events. things like that. when you look at the children, young people here, an 8-year-old boy, a 29-year-old woman, i
believe 23-year-old graduate student. the senselessness of that. mayor menino said to me no violence is acceptable, but target a politician, an institution, why are you targeting where children will die? i think that's the president's greatest strength speaking much more as a parent than president. >> he did that today. jake tapper, you're with us now. what moved you when you heard the speech today? >> i hear you, chris. i think what was most moving perhaps for people watching was the sense of resilience president obama tried to convey, the metaphor that jessica referred to, the idea that we will finish the race. and the message specifically to those in hospitals still recovering. i suppose in many ways he was referring to those specifically who have suffered loss of limbs saying they will run again. obviously a metaphor in some ways, but more specifically for these individuals who have lost
limbs because of this horrific terrorist attack. a specific message of resilience for them when he looked at the camera and addressed them specifically. i thought that was probably one of the most effective moments in the speech, chris. >> what did you think about the other leaders who are up there, jake? did you see a lot of commonality among them? obviously they were coming with similar dialogue and thought and philosophy about compassion in the faith. but there did seem to be certain themes they each wanted to hit. >> right. and obviously the faith leaders had different messages than the political leaders. and obviously the fact that mayor menino himself is not, you know, successful health right now he's struggling a bit was moving. it was difficult for him to even stand. one of the things that struck me obviously is that boston is such a different city than it has been in decades passed. we had obviously mayor menino,
but we also had an african-american governor, an african-american president, one of the three victims a chinese exchange student. it really is an international town and a town that is changing so much just like the rest of this country. >> all right. jake, thank you very much. we're going to take a break right now. we are monitoring another situation as we will watch the movements of the president today and the investigation about what happened the attacks here in boston. we're also keeping our eye on west texas. small texas town in the middle of a very difficult situation after a huge fire and a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant there. the governor, governor perry of texas is going to hold a press conference in about 15 minutes. so we're going to take a break and catch up on the situation on the ground there, what's going on here in boston. and we'll get to that press conference as soon as possible. stay with us. once you try an ob deep sweep power brush, you'll never want to go back. its dynamic power bristles reach between teeth to remove up to 76% more plaque than sonic in hard to reach areas. oral-b deep sweep 5000 power brush.
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i'm chris cuomo live here in boston. welcome to our viewers in the u.s. and around the world. we're watching people file out of the interfaith service here "healing our city." they're leaving now. people obviously moved. we're hearing their conversations as they go by. and now it is time to heal here in boston.
at the same time they will do their best to figure out who committed the crime here and why. we're monitoring a lot of news for you at this hour. we also have a developing situation in texas. we're going to go to a press conference with the governor there as soon as we can get it. and there's news elsewhere in the country. in chicago a sinkhole swallowed three cars this morning. we want you to take a look at it. it's very dramatic video. we actually see the car falling in. one person was in his car when it fell into the hole. fortunately, he was able to get out. no injury there to him. you can see the big puddles all around that sinkhole. chicago right now is under a flash flood warning, that's part of the precipitation here of what happened literally and figuratively. three to five inches of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours. one to two more inches are expected. this is actually part of the same storm system that is causing bad weather around the waco area there in west texas where they're dealing with that horrible fire. it's literally covering the u.s. into canada right now. it's all starting to come
together in terms of this weather pattern that has descended upon texas. it actually moved through there. and that has been very helpful to the search and rescue operations. there were winds of 30 to 50 miles an hour. the fear was that it would rip the embers of the fire they had suppressed and reignite it. luckily we're being told that's not the case. that is the other big story of the day that we're following today. this fertilizer plant fire, an explosion in this little town of west texas less than 3,000 people. take a listen to what's happened there. we have new home video of that explosion taken by a young college kid. police say the number of casualties can't be clear at this time. it is such a fluid situation. they've been working in darkness. 50 to 60 of the homes in this bedroom community have been damaged so severely that it's tough. they have to go house-to-house. it's painstaking. they just started to get more help in from the national guard. federal resources have been offered as well for urban search
and rescue. not sure if they're deployed yet: they were offering numbers between five and 15 people believed to be dead. that's just an estimate. they haven't had time to deal with those types of calculations. we do know they're still searching for some volunteer firefighters, men from the community had gone in there to try to save the homes of friends and to try and deal with the flames of this mass con fill grags that was down there. and they are still missing cht one has been found with critical injuries and in the hospital. authorities say they don't know how many people may still be trapped. that's why they're doing the search and rescue. take a listen to what authorities had to say. >> i was made aware that they are still in the search and rescue process. his comment to me was that they are continuing to do that. it is a very slow methodical search at this point. and they are using every available resource that they have to do that correctly.
>> it gives some sense of the magnitude and the impact on this small town. half of the town was evacuated because of this. four square blocks when this explosion happened after this fire at the fertilizer plant, it was so powerful it actually registered as an earthquake in seismic activity. and it took out the buildings and house within a four-square block area. a nursing home had to be evacuated. we hear that everyone is safe although certain of the elderly did have to be treated at the hospital. we don't know that any had been admitted. now, depending on how the wind shifts it's going to be fundamental to how they can deal going forward with the search and rescue. we believe that the rain basically has moved out of the area. they are dealing with much lower temperatures. things are going against the first responders down there as they go through these damaged homes. literally walls were just blown out, windows destroyed. a nearby apartment complex literally you can't even
recognize it anymore. u.s. intelligence officials says there's no indication that this blast is related to terrorism. i'm going to repeat that. right now even though this is just a couple days after what happened here, authorities say there is no reason to believe that there is any link to terrorism. yes, the situation is being treated as a crime scene, but that is for purposes of completeness and to try to give them the best opportunity to figure out what happened when they look back after dealing with the immediacy of the situation. right now they're dealing with it as a crime scene, but there's no proof to suggest it's anything other than a horrible accident that they have to deal with down there. now, fredricka whitfield has been working on this trying to gather all the sound of people there on the ground so we can re-live the experience and understand what they're going through. let's take a look at that package now. >> we saw an explosion -- >> we need -- >> reporter: at the time all anyone knew was that a major fire had erupted in the night sky over the tiny town of west
texas. this young man was just yards away from the scene. >> i'm sitting in my truck, you know, and then just boom. >> we were able to cover one and then i grabbed my little one and dove through the door. it was like a bomb. it picked you up. it just took your breath away. >> just fire everywhere and just bodies on the ground -- bloody bodies. people in panic. firemen, fire trucks, police cars filled the town. >> reporter: the blast so powerful, so catastrophic homes blocks away were heavily damaged or flattened altogether. in the middle of the night, the town was simply overwhelmed. >> going to have to go on the left. >> reporter: people flooded the
streets. a nearby nursing home evacuated. >> i thought, you know, what happened -- i'm breathing, so i'm good. that's when survival kicked in and said get out. >> reporter: the town's emergency services director himself injured and bloodied among the first responders. >> overwhelmed. i'm trying to do the best i can. they're trying to sit me down because i'm bleeding. i've got a job to do. there's more people hurt worse than me. >> reporter: fredricka whitfield, cnn, atlanta. >> his face really tells the story there. he was trying so hard to save his neighbors and friends before getting himself treated. he wound up needing stitches in his face. like so many people we're hearing just like here in boston dealt with a horrible situation have bound together to get themselves through it. it's still going on down there. this began at about 7:30 last night. they had to battle darkness. and now weather to get through what's going on. and hopefully the worst is behind them. let's get the latest.
we have martin savidge on the ground there in west texas. martin, what is the latest? >> reporter: chris, the latest is that it appears that the situation is stabilizing. and what i mean by that is that the fires are down to just embers. they're able to keep control of that. and they do not seem to notice that there is any leakage of any of that anhydrous ammonia coming from the second tank that did not detonate in the explosion. so both of those are good things. they've also done the look at all the initial area damaged in the blast. it took all night, but they've got it completed. now they go back and do as you heard the methodical door-to-door-to-door. they're not being joined by just local law enforcement or local fire departments rather, they have federal teams now come in. and also teams, federal search teams coming from ft. hood. and they're bringing their expertise, but most of all they need the equipment.
some of these buildings are so structurally damaged that before they can send anybody in to look, they have to basically shore that building up to make sure it won't come down on the rescuers as they work. so that is why it's going to take them a long time to search 50, 60, maybe more of those buildings that have been severely damaged. and that's one of the problems. and then lastly that number we've talked about, casualties, five to 15. authorities are saying, look, we hope it is only as bad as 15. that is not a number that they really are confident in. they will say it's based upon a number of factors, people they know that are missing, bodies that have been recovered. people who are in the area but can't be found now, 15 is not necessarily as bad as it gets. let's just hope that the number stays extremely low, chris. >> all right. martin, thank you very much. it is good to hear that they're not worried about a secondary explosion. again, there's more fertilizer there and there's not more talk
about that ammonia that is used in the fertilizer that can be very toxic that that's getting out there more. so that's good news. we'll go on hope for the rest. check in again with you soon. right now we want to bring in cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, what we've been talking about all morning with this ammonia fertilizer chemical that can be very toxic is often explosive. let's start with what can happen if you are in close contact with the chemical. >> right. if you're in close contact with the chemical, chris, and you're breathing it in at high concentrations, it can kill you very quickly. it can get into the lungs and it can be extremely, extremely harmful. however, if you're breathing in lower concentrations or if you're not breathing it in for that long a period of time, it isn't necessarily all that dangerous. it's going to irritate your nose and your throat and your eyes. but as long as they can get you to fresh air, get some water down you to wash that out, then it becomes a much easier
situation to handle. there aren't necessarily any long lasting effects. >> okay. elizabeth, right now we got word that the governor's presser in texas is starting. so let's go to that. >> -- birdwell is on a phone. they're out of power in west. and he is monitoring this press conference over the phone. so senator birdwell, thank you for being with us this morning. and for -- in his district, a very tragic difficult 16 hours for all of us. all of our friends and loved ones and individuals who have friends and loved ones who watched this unfold from afar, i know they're very anxious for information. i want to start by saying thank
you to the emergency management folks here. steve mccraw and there's a host of our other state agency heads that are here with us today. but particularly to the people of the community of west, those local officials, their mayor, the police and just the citizens that have responded to this tragedy, neighbors who are working to take care of each other right now. just a great deal of thanks for that spirit. i've been in touch with the emergency officials throughout the night and this morning talked to the mclennan county mayor earlier this morning to
congressman flores and president obama called from air force one as he was en route to boston, and we greatly appreciate his call and his gracious offer of support of course and very quick turnaround of the emergency declaration that will be forthcoming and his offer of prayers. we greatly appreciate the president for his call. also spoken to the local officials to make sure they have all the support and assistance they need from the state. to that end i am declaring mclennan county a disaster. we'll request an emergency declaration from the president. i also want to commend the hard work put in again by chief kidd and his team at the texas department of emergency management. they quickly responded to this disaster. it is unfortunate for us that we face both natural and manmade
disasters all too often in this state, but the bright side of that is we've got the finest emergency management team in this country. and it is very important to stress that at this point much of the information that we have is still very preliminary. and more information is coming in all the time. i want to take a few minutes to provide an overview for the state's response. throughout the night there were state agencies on the ground to assist. they will remain there as long as they are requested and needed. texas department of public safety is securing the area for law enforcement personnel to conduct the business and to maintain public safety. texas task force one and two as well as the texas national guard are assisting with an active search and rescue operation. texas department of transportation is handling
traffic flow for the effected areas. and we have officials from the texas commission of environmental quality who are monitoring air quality. pipelines in the area are being monitored closely. the gas distribution system to homes has been disconnected. and it is our understanding that those are being both double and triple checked before any service will go back onto those homes. the texas department of state health services has been on the ground with ambulance, buses with a mobile hospital and other resources. the texas education agency -- because there was an intermediate school within close proximity is working with the local school district to coordinate any immediate needs in the district. last night was truly a nightmare
scenario for that community. but as i said earlier, we're blessed in this state to have the best emergency management team in the country. and they certainly were at their best last night along with the citizens. west is a really small community. just a few thousand people. anyone who grew up like your dad did, doc, in a small town like west, they know that this tragedy has most likely hit every family. it's touched practically every one in that town. so i ask all texans and americans to join me and anita in keeping them in our prayers. and our first responders who are still in some cases may be in harm's way as they work their
way through the search and rescue operation. so with that said, i'd like for chief nim dliz kid to give us the most current update and then the lieutenant governor will have a response -- >> all right. we're going to leave the press conference now. that's governor rick perry. the headlines are this is has obviously been a nightmare scenario for the community. he said it's likely that the tragedy hit every family there. he does say it's still search and rescue. he did not use the word recovery. that's key. that means they're still looking for survivors there. they're not looking just to collect the loss of human life. that's good. the air is being constantly monitored. it's safe as of now is what the governor says and that's very good because, again, they're worried about this harsh chemical used in fertilizers. so that's what we know for now. it's still developing. you're looking at a picture from earlier on. at this point they believe the flames have been significantly squelched. we're going to take a break.
stay with us, we have breaking news in the story about the letters that may have been laced with deadly chemicals and sent to the president and other politicians. word of an arrest when we come back. girl: first, i saw it on cable. then i read about it online. i found out how to help. i downloaded the info. i spoke up... and told my friends... and they told their friends... and together, we made a difference. anncr: and tornado relief has been pouring in from... across the country. girl: we might be hundreds of miles apart... but because we're connected, it's like we're all neighbors.
welcome to cnn, viewers in the u.s. and around the world. we have breaking news, the fbi has arrested a suspect in mississippi in connection with suspicious letters addressed to president obama. chief congressional correspondent dana bash is live in washington with the latest. dana, what do we know? >> we know that this man who was actually arrested last night is set to be charged. it's probably happening as we speak, chris, in mississippi.
and here are the charges. first of all he is being charged with threatening the life of the president. and second, he is also being charged with threatening the life of others using the mail. and these charges could put him in a place where he could face up to 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. now, of course this whole thing came to light because this man whose name is paul kevin curtis allegedly sent letters that at least initially tested positive with the poison ricin to not just the white house but also to senator roger wicker who is from mississippi. and just moments ago senator wicker spoke for the first time about this, told our producer. but he actually knows this man because he is an elvis impersonator back in mississippi. and senator wicker and his wife actually hired him a few years back to help at a party they were throwing he said for a young couple. but he went onto say that his impression is that since then this man, paul kevin curtis,
mental state has deteriorated and that is pretty clear in the letters -- the text of the letters that went along with what appears to be the poison ricin. it certainly looks like he has some issues mentally, there's no question about it. so we're going to see what happens in mississippi, but he should be charged according to the justice department as we speak down there. >> couple things, dana, one, they can always add charges, right? the reason i ask is if they do test positive for ricin and it is a deadly substance, couldn't they add charges that are more serious in nature? >> that's exactly right. the labs -- the formal lab work as far as we know has not come back to say definitively that it was in fact ricin. so that's exactly what the plan is. the plan is that once this goes before a grand jury, if they do in fact find out for sure that it was ricin that he put into these envelopes, then they will add those charges at that time. >> dana bash, thank you very much.
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