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U.S. Senate on "Cruz Control"; "I Bring Peace and Friendship"; Carrying Out the Kenya Attack; Humans To Blame For Global Warming; Showdown Over Obamacare

Aired September 25, 2013 - 08:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Need to help me get the goat out of my backyard because they're stubborn. Get out there. Get out of my stuff!

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning. It is Hump Day. Welcome back to NEW DAY, 8:00 in the East.

Seventeen hours and counting, Senator Ted Cruz's protest. He's been speaking all night on the Senate floor. But why should be of growing concern as his efforts do little except shorten the time until a shutdown.

He has been getting support from some fellow senators, some. Right now, Senator Pat Roberts has the floor and he's talking about basically whatever he wants.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Part of this marathon protest. They've gotten creative about what they're talking about.

Meantime, beyond the theatrics, five days left until a potential government shutdown. We have two frustrated political parties, and one vary understandably very frustrated country. It adds up to much of the same -- gridlock with an ever ticking clock.

Let's get to Jim Acosta, who's at the White House this morning with more, and a long night in Washington, and what appears to be --


BOLDUAN: -- a long weekend ahead.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, Kate. That's right. Ted Cruz is still going. The Texas Republican senator is now into his 17th hour of a filibuster-like speech aimed at defunding Obamacare.

Meanwhile, the president is getting help from Bill and Hillary and Clintons, in his efforts to sell the health care law. All of this Washington theatrics, though, have the potential of pushing the government right to edge to a shutdown.


ACOSTA (voice-over): From Washington, it was the late show with Ted Cruz, as the Republican senator seized control of the Senate floor --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The senator from Texas.

ACOSTA: -- to deliver a marathon speech. Hour --

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.

ACOSTA: After hour.

CRUZ: All right. So, let me read some tweets.

ACOSTA: Tearing into Obamacare, a law he wants to take down once and for all in exchange for funding the government.

CRUZ: The American people are frustrated because their elected officials don't listen.

ACOSTA: At times --

CRUZ: I love this story, and so I'm going to read it to you.

ACOSTA: -- veering off the subject.

CRUZ: I do like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.

ACOSTA: But up in New York, President Obama was putting on a show of his own, appearing with Bill and Hillary Clinton to make one in a series of upcoming sale pitches on his health care law.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who have opposed the idea of universal health care in the first place and have fought this thing tooth and nail through Congress and through the courts and so forth are -- have been trying to scare and discourage people from getting a good deal.

ACOSTA: But Obamacare faces a key test -- in less than one week, on October 1st, new online marketplaces opened for business across the country, giving the uninsured their first shot at buying into health care plans.

OBAMA: What we want to make sure of is that everybody in every category, every age group, understands why health insurance is important. Understands why they should sign up.

ACOSTA: But Cruz and some other Republicans say they'll only vote for a measure that averts a government shutdown if it also defunds Obamacare. CRUZ: Defund Obamacare!


ACOSTA: The problem for the Tea Party Texan -- Senate Republican leaders have all but abandoned Cruz's failing quest.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I just don't happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that.


ACOSTA: Now, Senator Ted Cruz has the procedural ability to push this debate over this temporary spending bill, along with Obamacare, well into the week. And I talked to a top House Republican aide earlier this morning who said their expectation is that they won't get this legislation back.

And so, perhaps Sunday evening, that aide went on to say that this will be very close and that people in Washington should not assume that they will simply just pass whatever the Senate sends their way.

So, while Ted Cruz may say he does not like green eggs and ham, the prospect of a government shutdown will not taste very good to Americans, and they are on the verge of that if things play out the way they are now -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: I'm still confused, Jim. Thank you for helping us straighten it out a little bit.

ACOSTA: It's complicated. You're welcome.

CUOMO: It will be interesting to watch I guess.

All right. The U.S./Iran relationship matters perhaps as much as ever and much of it rests on a new president in Iran. So, who is Hassan Rouhani and what does he think about the U.S.?

Well, guess what? We have answers for you.

The new president sat down in an exclusive interview with our Christiane Amanpour.

And, Christiane, great to have you here.

He does deliver a message for Americans, right?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He does. You know, he came here with a blitz of tweets, with a blitz of social media reach-out and with all sorts of speeches how this was the moment to do something different, to chart a new course to try to negotiate the nuclear issue, which is the big issue, and that he wanted to have a new relationship with the United States if all this was possible.

So, I asked him, can he say something to the American people? And he did.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: I would like to say to American people, I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans.


AMANPOUR: So, he started by telling me that he hadn't spoken English for many, many years, so that was obviously an effort. But he wanted to make that effort.

And beyond that, though, beyond the smiles, beyond the style, I asked him about the substance and I also said, listen, are you not aware of the irony of you tweeting and people in Iran are blocked from social media, and he said, "I want to deliver on one of my campaign promises which is to stop censorship, to ease censorship". So, he said he would try and do that.

But beyond that, 35 years of enmity and adverse relations between the U.S. and Iran, the big issue right now is obviously the nuclear issue. He has put his foreign minister in charge of the negotiations an American educated long time American-Iranian diplomat here in America, well-known to American officials, Javad Zarif.

President Obama yesterday announced that John Kerry, secretary of state, was going to head. So, they are going to meet to talk about the nuclear issue.

He said he understood Iran has to build up confidence. He understood he has to give transparency.

And the one thing on that issue that he told he said he was willing, he said, perhaps it could be put on the table the heavy water reactor at Iraq. Now, this is something that could perhaps separate plutonium. It's another way if they'd try to build a weapon. He said they're not going to do that, but he said that that's possible, something that could go on the table whether that plant goes online or not.

CUOMO: So give us the benefit of your insight both into this man and men in the past that you have known in Iran's leadership. Is the new boss the same as the old boss?

AMANPOUR: Well, not the same as the old boss who just preceded him, Ahmadinejad. He is much, much different. He's not a hardliner now.

He's a reformist. He's a moderate, this new one. And he's made a lot of promises.

He also -- I asked him specifically about things that Ahmadinejad said which really angered the world, angered Israel, angered Israel's friends and even President Obama mentioned it in his speech yesterday, the Holocaust denial of Ahmadinejad, the threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map. I directly asked President Rouhani this and he condemned the Holocaust, saying that it was reprehensible and condemnable crimes the Nazis committed against Jews, and he wanted to go a long way to putting that to rest. So, we'll see what people make of what he said but he's certainly been tweeting what he said to me and he also said it is not the policy of Iran to attack Israel.

So that I think he was very keen on getting that message out. He brought the only Jewish member of the Iranian parliament with him in this delegation, and he also, you know, talked about all sorts of issues, like even direct negotiations with the U.S.

I think for me, what's different from the previous reform President Khatami, is that he did not have a mandate from the supreme leader to negotiate, to get -- you know, try to resolve the outstanding issues between the United States and even Rouhani didn't meet President Obama in the end. By the way, there was never going to be a meeting, a formal negotiation. There might have been a handshake or few words exchanged. It didn't happen.

Obviously, that speaks to some still tensions in Iran. But I asked him point blank, do you have the authority to negotiate and to talk about bilateral issues with the United States? Does your government have that authority, from the man who holds all the cards in Iran, the supreme leader? He said yes.

But he also said this is a window that's very short and his aides and his ministers say, you know, if he goes back empty handed this window is going to be shut by the Iranians.

CUOMO: All right. So, just -- let's finish here on what has to happen in the window from his perspective then, right, because the criticism is that there's a charm offensive. So, in terms of actions that makes it not just style but substance, what does he believe needs to happen in the window for there to be progress in the relationship?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think there has to be a two-way negotiation. I mean, he's basically said and he said it to me, but he said it publicly, that this is not about Iran capitulating. Yes, there are sanctions, yes, we want to get rid of the sanctions.

Yes, you have problems with our nuclear program. We need to build back confidence. We need to show transparency, but we also need our rights under the international framework. So, we want to be recognized as having the right to enrich, but we want to be able to have that transparent. And, obviously, we want sanctions relief. That is going to be the issue -- on whether the U.S. is going to be able to do that or not is very, very open to question right now.

CUOMO: Very important conversation with a powerful man, important to American interests and you got the exclusive.

Thank you so much for bringing that to us, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

CUOMO: Kate?

BOLDUAN: Turn to Kenya, where authorities say the terrorists who took over Nairobi's Westgate Mall were not interested in hostage-taking, they just wanted to kill.

New details are emerging this morning about the attack, along with new video showing people trying to escape, and Kenyan authorities say they are now questioning a British man who was arrested while trying to board a Turkish Airlines flight.

Let's go live to CNN's senior international correspondent Arwa Damon in Nairobi for the latest details.

What are you hearing, Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the Kenyan authorities are hoping to get critical clues from those 11 individuals that they do have in custody. They say that they believe they're part of the support team but they're not ruling out they may have been directly involved in the attack itself that took place at the Westgate Mall that is just down the road here.



DAMON (voice-over): The four-day standoff finally coming to an end on Tuesday. After Kenyan forces swept through the partially collapsed mall, searching for victims, presumably buried beneath the rubble and clearing each floor of attackers, five of them found dead.

CNN has learned that the fire the militant set on Monday was an escape attempt. The gunmen hoping to create a smokescreen, two of them drove out from the parking lot, a senior government official says they forced them back in.

Among the terrorists, reports of a white woman who Kenyan government officials say may have been killed early on in the siege, leading to speculation that it could be Samantha Lewthwaite, a British mother, fugitive and suspected terrorist, the infamous "White Widow," impossible to confirm until forensic examination is complete.


DAMON: CNN has also learned that during the siege, the terrorist did not respond to negotiation efforts. A senior government official saying they weren't interested in hostage taking only killing.

"The New York Times" is reporting that the plot to attack Nairobi's Westgate Mall was crafted weeks or possibly months in advance by the Somali Islamist group, al Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

We're also getting a closer look at those terrifying moments inside the mall during the massacre. This woman huddling with two children, hiding away from the gunman as one of the defining images of this massacre. Now, we are seeing the daring rescue, when plain clothed police officers escort the trio to safety.

The British tabloid, "The Sun", is reporting that this 4-year-old boy identified as Elliott Pryor stood up to the gunmen saying, "You're a bad guy," after they shot his mother, his heroic act surprisingly allowing the militant to let the family leave.

But the ordeal for this country is far from over.

UHURU KENYATTA, KENYA'S PRESIDENT: We have ashamed and defeated our attackers. These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons wherever they are.

DAMON: Many still searching for their missing loved ones and so many questions remain unanswered.


DAMON: A lot of those answers to those questions that so many are asking do lie in the rubble. There are currently security teams still on the ground as well as forensic teams beginning to comb through, trying to pull out any sort of additional information, of course, looking for the bodies of the terrorists, and those who have been unaccounted for -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Arwa, thank you so much for your reporting, on the ground in Kenya for us.

There is a lot of news developing at this hour. So, let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: All right. Here's an update for you on the situation in Pakistan, the death toll now stands at 264 following that powerful earthquake Tuesday, 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan, about 400 people were injured, happened in a mountainous and remote area of southwest Pakistan.

The earthquake has caused a small island to appear in the Arabian Sea, about a mile off the coast of Pakistan, about 100 feet in diameter and rises 20 to 30 feet into the air.

The number of people missing after the deadly flooding in Colorado has been whittled now, down to one. A 60-year-old woman last seen in her home before it was swept away. Six others who had been unaccounted for notified authorities they were alive and well. For now, the death toll remains at eight. The state of Colorado has launched an emergency inspection of 200 dams over the next week and a half to ensure their stability.

A Utah man being held on $1 million bail for allegedly plotting to randomly shoot and kill people at a Salt Lake City mall. Police say 42-year-old Jack Stiles had plans to blow up a city bus. A woman described as a crisis worker at a local hospital alerted police after Stiles told her he allegedly wanted to kill as many people as possible. Stiles is charged with making a terrorist threat.

A sweeping report from some of the top climate scientists in the world expected to point a finger of blame at humans. It will be released Friday in Stockholm. It will say there's 95 percent certainty that manmade global warming is real and that there hasn't been a leveling off in global warming since 1998 because much of the heat seems to be sinking deeply into our oceans.

Finally, Miley Cyrus, here she is on the cover of "Rolling Stone" with a series of revealing and mostly topless pictures inside. But also, there's an interview where Miley says the criticism she received for her performance at the VMAs was a double standard, noting that her dance partner, Robin Thicke, didn't get any of the backlash. Some voice is saying that he also didn't manhandle a foam finger, but you know, there's that. Just saying.


CUOMO: And enough said at that.

Coming up on NEW DAY, a rare sit-down with Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, the thinking beyond the mayday button on the kindle. Why did he buy "The Washington Post?" Provocative answers in an upcoming interview.

BOLDUAN: And the country is facing a possible government shutdown in just days, but much of the focus, though, on Obamacare. So, what is next for the president's signature health care law? Analysts from both sides of the aisle are here to weigh in next.


CUOMO: Almost fell off the chair. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Senator Ted Cruz still at it, protesting Obamacare from the Senate floor. He is in his 17th hour, getting occasional breaks from some of his Republican colleagues. All of this happening at a Senate test vote today in case you want to focus on something that actually matters, a bill that will move a spending bill forward, a vote that will move the bill forward. We're just five days away from a government shutdown. That's why this all matter so much.

So, let's breakdown the situation. We have good people for you today, CNN "Crossfire" host, Van Jones, and Ana Navarro, political commentator/Republican strategist. I must say it is great to have you both here as always. Ana, this is probably the first day since I've met you that I can say I'm happy I'm not you today.

Of all the time I've known you, I love you so much. You got such great insight. This is a tough day for your party.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Why? I mean, we've got a guy who's trying out to be the spokesperson for energized -- he just keeps going and going and going.

(LAUGHTER) CUOMO: But, there is a recklessness to it. We have the shutdown coming. People in your party are saying we don't like this, but they're saying it (INAUDIBLE) they're saying it quiet. What are they so afraid of? Why aren't they stepping up and doing what they say is the right thing?

NAVARRO: I don't think they're saying (INAUDIBLE) really. You haven't been hearing it because --

CUOMO: We had Corker on. We had a good lunch. It was good lunch. Different strategies, different take.

NAVARRO: Well, because you know -- yesterday, they had a lunch where they decided, OK, we have been screaming about this at each other now for a week, for ten days saying this is a crazy tactic. We all agree on the underlying issue, but we disagree on tactics and instead of focusing on Obamacare, I'm focusing on the underlying issue, we are doing "crossfire" at each other as Republican.

So, I think that's why you saw the different tone, but certainly, there has been a lot of very loud protests from many angles in the Republican Party in the Senate and the House against this tactic.

CUOMO: Not enough to make it stop and it matters enough, Van Jones I'm not even giving you a free shot. I know I said to you before this is like Christmas in September for you, for the Democratic Party, but I have to say, is there a little shame to be put on the Democrats as well to sit back and watch effectively this kid playing with matches that this is going on.

Why aren't they stepping up and saying, OK, this is great to watch you, guys, attack yourselves, but this is bad for people. Let's get involved here. Let's negotiate.

VAN JONES, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Well, you know, first of all, I do think it's important to recognize that while all this theater is going on in Washington, D.C., across the country on Tuesday, for the first time, millions of people are going to be able to go to website,, and sign up insurance. That's all that's going to happen, which is a very good thing. And I think part of the problem is we've gotten trapped now acting like Obamacare is the problem.

Obam care is an attempt at least to solve the problem of our insurance companies they've been doing things for the past decades that have been harmful to Americans. We're trying to fix that. We've taken our eyes off the ball. Now, it's all theater.

CUOMO: Let's put the ball -- let's get our eyes back on the ball. Why is Obamacare bad? What is the underlying rationale that would justify a little bit what's going on down there?

NAVARRO: Look, the numbers don't work. It limits options. It frankly -- you know, we're giving a delay to corporations and not to individuals. We're making exceptions for folks like legislative staffers and Congress people, not for individuals. You know, it's just -- it's big government making choices and I think that's at the core of what Republicans find very troublesome.

But you know, going back to the filibuster, a few months ago, we saw a lot of Democrats celebrating another Texan doing a filibuster in the state legislature of Texas for a vote that had zero chance of succeeding, and I'm talking about Wendy Davis. She became a hero to the progressive movement through that filibuster. This is not unsimilar except for the fact that Ted Cruz is wearing black sneakers instead of pink sneakers.


CUOMO: That's a strong point, Ana. I want to be you again. Just like that, I'm back. But here's my --

NAVARRO: Darling, OK, we can do switch if you want. Switch -- I'll be you, you be me.


CUOMO: It would be so depressing.

NAVARRO: I'll go fishing.

CUOMO: Such a huge step down for you, Ana, that I wouldn't allow it. But, is that a fair comparison?

JONES: Well, look, both of these are going to wind up being folk heroes. I mean, Ted Cruz, I don't agree with him, but he is, you know, trying to show some leadership. But again, I think the problem is why are we doing Obamacare in the first place? We've, so far, lost the plot. There were three things that are big insurance companies were doing to us that everybody hated.

Number one, they were denying coverage to people who needed it. Number two, they were dumping people off the coverage after they paid in for any excuse at all and then they were duping people about where the money was going et cetera. What Obamacare means is on January 1st, insurance companies can't do that to you. Now, 15 percent of people might be going to the exchanges, that starts next week.

But 85 percent, in other words, all the rest of us are protected January 1. You can't be denied. You can't be dumped and you can't be duped. That's good for America and my concern is I agree with you. There are things that should be done to fix it, but we got to work together to fix it.

All these stunts and shenanigans are not going to help that that mom who's watching right now who doesn't have insurance. Tuesday, she can get it for the first time. That's good for her (ph).

NAVARRO: Well, Van, honey, you may be the only person in America who understands what Obamacare is because it's increasingly unpopular even with Democrats and moderates and independents. And you know, yesterday, we saw the secretary explaining stuff that Obama isn't capable of articulating to come out (ph), President Clinton and talk about Obamacare. You know that when President Clinton is out trying to sell it, it's because the Democrats and the White House has done a very lousy job of explaining it. It's a few days away and nobody knows what it is.

JONES: Well, first of all, I was so happy to see the big dog (ph) come out and explain it, because --


JONES: -- honestly, sometimes, you have a bill got so much good stuff it.

NAVARRO: The man loses his voice I don't know what President Obama is going to do.

JONES: Well, I tell you what, you have a bill with this much good stuff in it you need as many people explaining it as possible.

CUOMO: Are you both agree on this? Got to avoid the shutdown? Parties have to come together to do it. Yes, yes? Absolutely.

NAVARRO: Yes. I think the shutdown is silly and I think, you know, our economy cannot handle it right now. Let's stick to reality not theatrics.

CUOMO: Thank you very much --

JONES: One last thing.

CUOMO: Please.

JONES: In those states where governors are cooperating and where state legislators are cooperating, the premiums are coming down that, just came out today. People rather than doing the stupid stuff in D.C. Work with your local government to implement Obamacare the right way and help people in your state.

CUOMO: Ana Navarro and Van Jones, thank you very much. Always appreciate it -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, he's been at the top of the tech world. Well, now, Jeff Bezos is hoping his business savvy can help "The Washington Post." He sits down with CNN in a rare interview, and we're going to ask him about his plans.

Also, later, another name you know well, Dr. Drew Pinsky from our sister network, HLN, he spends his time helping other people with their health. Well, now, Dr. Drew is revealing his own private health battle. We'll have that ahead.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, September 27th. Let's get right to Michaela because there are five things you need to know and she knows them.

PEREIRA: I know them. I apparently can't hear anything because I pulled my earpiece out.


BOLDUAN: Just listen to us. Listen together (ph).


PEREIRA: All right. Number one, Sen. Ted Cruz speaking all night on the Senate floor trying to rally Republicans to defund Obamacare. We have learned that Americans will pay $328 a month for a mid-tier health insurance plan when Obamacare exchange open for enrollment next week.