January 8th, 2014
10:31 AM ET

Minnesota 17-Year-Old is Sleeping Outside in – 32 Degrees

Imagine sleeping outside every single night for a year! That's what one 17-year-old boy scout is trying to pull off.

Rudy Hummel has made it his goal to sleep outdoors every night for an entire year and he's been pulling it off since June.

Speaking from his "bedroom" on "New Day," Hummel says he only started his mission as a test for himself but now he thinks his goal can help others.

Hummel says, "I came up with the idea to do this for a whole year just because I like to challenge myself,  but now it means more than that. I've got a couple organizations picked up that I want to try and collect money for, to donate to..trying to turn this into a fundraiser."

Last night, the wind chill made it feel like -32 degrees in Hummel's hometown of Hermantown, Minnesota but the teenager says he's keeping "pretty dang warm."

He says he stays warm by avoiding cotton and wearing fleece material,using many layers of blankets and sleeping bags and wearing many layers and three pairs of wool socks to bed.

He adds: "I'm about as warm as I would be inside, I think. But I haven't slept inside in so long that maybe that' s not true."

You can follow his mission at:  www.snoreoutdoors.blogspot.com

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January 8th, 2014
10:19 AM ET

Target Employee Follows Gut, Helps Cops Nab Kidnapper

A California Target employee spots a suspicious person and springs into action, CNN's Michaela Pereira reports.

Roxanna Ramirez, 22, was working Friday night when she noticed a bizarre man in the parking lot.

Ramirez says, "He was just fidgeting around. I wasn't getting a good vibe off him. At one point I seen him grab on the steering wheel and start to shake it, like as if something was wrong with him. So then I thought okay there's something wrong with this guy. He's not all there."

She wrote down the car's license plate number. Ramirez says when she got home that night, a friend told her about an amber alert that had just been issued.

It turns out police were on the hunt for a man they say had stalked a mother and her 7-year-old daughter at a Walmart earlier that night and followed them home.

According to Lt. John Vanderklugt:

"There was a weapon used. The mother attempted to stop the male from abducting her daughter, and when she approached him, the male produced what's been described as a rifle and the mom stopped, he was able to force the child into the car, and then fled the scene."

Ramirez called police and they were able to track down the suspect in just four hours.

David Douglas,43, was arrested and the 7-year-old girl was recovered safely in his car.

Douglas is now talking in a jailhouse interview.

See the video above to find out why he says the kidnapping was a cry for help.

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January 8th, 2014
10:08 AM ET

Republicans use Gates’ New Book to Hammer Clinton, Biden

Republicans quickly pounced Tuesday on some controversial details from former Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ new book in which he highlights an admission from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he found “dismaying” and fiercely lambasts Vice President Joe Biden.

Both are potential 2016 presidential contenders.

Gates, who led the Pentagon under two presidents from 2006 to 2011, also offered scathing critiques of President Barack Obama and Congress in the memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” which is set to hit bookshelves next week.

According to longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who reviewed the book, Gates said Clinton told Obama that she opposed the 2007 troop surge in Iraq for political reasons, as she was running against Obama in the Iowa presidential caucuses at the time.

“The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political,” Gates writes. “To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”

In early 2007, Washington was split on whether to increase the number of troops in Iraq or to start bringing them home. Clinton was among Senate Democrats, including Biden and Obama, who opposed boosting troop levels.

“I am not in favor of sending more troops to continue doing what our young men and women have been told to do, with the government of Iraq pulling the rug out from under them when they actually go after some of the bad guys. I am not in favor of doing that unless it’s part of a larger plan,” she said in December 2006 on NBC’s “Today.”

“Everyone knows there is no military solution to the difficulties we face in Iraq,” she continued, saying there needed to be a broader plan that “includes resolving some of the political issues.”

According to CNN/ORC International polling in March 2007, 83% of Democrats opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

For Republicans eager to get a head start on defining Clinton in anticipation of her possible 2016 presidential run, Gates’ book became quick fodder for negative attacks, even though Gates also complimented her in his memoir.

America Rising PAC, an independent Republican group, e-mailed reporters Tuesday afternoon, claiming her admission as quoted in Gates’ book “is sure to undermine her attempt to position herself as ‘serious’ on foreign policy issues ahead of a likely 2016 run.”

The Republican National Committee soon followed with its own e-mail containing a satirical question: “We’re hearing Hillary Clinton made a decision based on politics. Which one of her Super PACs will respond?”

“Hillary Clinton has a history of making decisions based on politics instead of principle,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a separate comment. “It will be interesting to see how she addresses this with voters who have a long memory of the Clinton ways.”

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for another anti-Clinton group, Stop Hillary PAC, argued the book excerpt proved Clinton is “disingenuous and deceitful.”

"She will do anything, including mislead the country, by putting her political ambitions ahead of the safety of Americans at home and abroad,” he said.

A source close to Gates said the former defense secretary is aware that the line about Clinton opposing the surge for political reasons could hurt her, but he was so stunned to hear her administration–and a less blunt admission from Obama–he felt obligated to print it.

The source said Gates actually has a lot of respect for Clinton, and in his book, he otherwise praised Clinton in a way that “might be used in a political endorsement,” Woodward wrote in his review.

Gates wrote: “I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.”

And at Gates’ farewell ceremony in 2011, he had high praise for Clinton, saying she’s become a cherished colleague and a good friend.

David Brock, founder of Correct The Record, a project that frequently defends Clinton, pointed out Gates’ admiration for Clinton in the book.

“Gates’s trust in her seems to be epitomized by the high praise he reserved for her,” Brock said.

DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee also weighed in.

"The President, the Vice President, Secretary Clinton all took office on a promise to end the war in Iraq and defeat al Qaeda so that we could end the war in Afghanistan. That’s what they’ve done," he said, adding "that’s what people will remember.”

Gates was not as complimentary about the Vice President, however.

While Gates calls Biden “a man of integrity,” he writes, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Biden was tapped to be Obama’s running mate in 2008 largely because of his foreign policy experience. Biden was serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time and had been in the Senate for six terms.

According to Woodward’s review, Gates expresses “outright contempt” for the Vice President and “Biden is accused of ‘poisoning the well’ against the military leadership.”

Gates named a specific example of what he considered Biden’s poor judgment in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. He said Biden preferred a “strategy of reducing our presence in Afghanistan to rely on counterterrorist strikes from afar.”

Gates said such “’Whac-A-Mole’ hits on Taliban leaders weren't a long-term strategy.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden defended Biden in response to the book.

“The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day,” she said.

Asked about Gates’ opinion of Biden, Sen. John McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, host of The Situation Room, that he has the “greatest affection” for Biden … and he’s one of the finest men that I’ve known.”

“But he has been wrong on a lot of these issues, there’s very little doubt about that, going back to Desert Storm,” the Arizona Republican said.

McCain was pressed on whether it’s fair to say Biden has been wrong on every issue over the past four decades.

“I don’t want to recount them,” McCain said, laughing. “But he has been wrong on a number of occasions, and he was one of the factors in the whole removal of all of our troops from Iraq.”

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January 8th, 2014
10:02 AM ET

Grandson of Vail Resort Co-Founder Killed in Colorado Avalanche

The grandson of one of the Vail ski mecca's co-founders died Tuesday in an avalanche that also trapped - temporarily - three others, county authorities said.

Anthony "Tony" Seibert, 24, died in backcounty outside the ski boundaries of Vail Mountain - the Colorado resort area that his grandfather, Peter Seibert Sr., co-founded - according to officials in Eagle County.

"He was always an uplifting person and cheerful," said Scott Klumb, Seibert's friend of about 7 years who posted a tribute video onlinehours after his death. "...He was always goofing around or getting other people excited and just making them happy."

The three others also trapped in the snow were rescued without major injuries. In fact, none of them had to be transported to a hospital, instead leaving the area on their own, Vail Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Lindsay Hogan said.

The incident occurred in the East Vail Chutes roughly 90 miles west of Denver, with authorities first being alerted around 11:30 a.m., according to the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Vail resort's master development plan, "The East Vail Chutes is an extremely steep, avalanche-prone bowl that drains down to Interstate 70 or to East Vail."

The avalanche occurred near the tree line "in backcountry wilderness where they do not have avalanche control," explained Ethan Greene of the state-run Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

"This (avalanche) was most likely triggered by the people who got caught in it," Greene said.

Two of those caught in the avalanche were on skis, the other two were on snowboards, according to Jessie Mosher of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. She did not know what Seibert was doing.

On a scale of 1 (least dangerous) to 5, the prospective avalanche rating around Vail was a 3, the rate around which most incidents like this happen, explained Greene, especially if people get fooled by otherwise nice conditions.

"Today was apparently a beautiful day up in Vail," Greene added, "and therefore would be an appealing day to be out in the backcountry."

Seibert is the second person to die in an avalanche this season in Colorado. The other incident happened on December 31 on Parkview Mountain, west of Willow Creek Pass.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center noted there have been at least five such fatalities nationwide, including a snowmobiler killed on New Year's Day in Big Sky, Montana.

Tony Seibert's grandfather was a legend in skiing, business and state circles, as evidenced by his inductions into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard and Colorado Business halls of fame, among many other honors.

A soldier injured multiple times during World War II while with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, the Sharon, Massachusetts, native moved to Colorado after the war, working at Aspen and making the 1950 U.S. ski team. After studies in resort management in France and Switzerland, he and fellow ski buff Earl Eaton scaled the top of the then-unnamed mountain that would become Vail in 1957 and opened it up as a ski area five years later.

Peter Seibert Sr. served as the first president of Vail Associates and maintained a leading role for several decades, during which time Vail became one of America's biggest and most renowned ski resorts. He died in July 2002 at the age of 77.

The Seiberts are an institution in Vail. Seibert was proud of this fact and his grandfather's legacy, recently appearing in the documentary "Climb to Glory" about the 10th Mountain Division's famed ski troopers.

"This is a shocking and terrible tragedy," Vail COO Chris Jarnot said, lamenting the end to Seibert's "wonderful albeit tragically too short life." "This is an incomprehensible loss, and we will support the Seibert family and our community through this difficult time."

Seibert himself was heading into his final semester at the University of Colorado at Boulder at the time of his death, according to Klumb. He had his deep love for the Centennial State literally imprinted on him, in the form of a lone tattoo of the Colorado state flag cast in front of the Rocky Mountains.

A superb freestyle skier, Seibert eventually gravitated toward the backcountry - whether it was skiing, snowshoeing or hiking - his friend said.

So what might Seibert want people to learn from his own tragic death? Klumb surmised that it's that the backcountry should both be loved and be respected.

"What Tony would want ... is for others to be careful in the backcountry," he said. "As exciting as it may look, you have to take the proper precautions."

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