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U.S. Praises Resolution on Syria; Obama Phones Iran's President; Iranians Eager for Sanctions to End; Former Hostage Reacts to Historic Call; Decision Day for House Republicans; Bleacher Report; Obamacare Exchanges to Open on Tuesday; The Hunt for the White Widow

Aired September 28, 2013 - 06:00   ET



JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Diplomacy can be so powerful, it can peacefully diffuse the worst weapons of war.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It seemed impossible two weeks ago, but new this morning, there is now a deal on how to proceed with Syria's chemical weapons.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It was an historic moment 34 years in the making, but does a phone call between Presidents Obama and Rouhani really mean Iran is ready to negotiate?

BLACKWELL: And have you seen this, Kanye versus Kimmel in a Twitter war that has gone viral. But is this rivalry really for real? That's in today's pop four (ph).

PAUL: Yes, they're just trying to get us to talk about them, like we are.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And it works.

PAUL: Good morning to you. Happy Saturday. You made it to the weekend.


PAUL: Doesn't it feel good. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 6:00 here at CNN world headquarters. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. We have a packed show this morning.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: One thing that is really getting a lot of attention is the NFL. They're going on the road. And by the road we mean across the pond.

PAUL: Yes. Right, right, right.

BLACKWELL: Steelers/Vikings.

PAUL: By the boat, maybe.

BLACKWELL: Yes, by the boat. They're playing in London. Our Amanda Davies gave the players a little quiz on some British trivia.

PAUL: Kind of Leno like, let's put it that way, if that gives you any indication. It didn't go so well.

BLACKWELL: No, no, no. Here's one hint, Alex is not a member of the royal family, people.

PAUL: Not that we know of, unless there's some big scandal that we're not aware of yet.

BLACKWELL: Not that we know of. No, no. And that can happen, but he's not the newest member at least, and a little confusion over who Fergie is. We'll have that, a lot more coming up in a packed show.

First up, though, the U.N. Security Council finally tackling the conflict raging in Syria, passing a resolution to rid the country of its chemical weapons. Diplomats took a victory lap last night after that vote.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Tonight, with a strong and forceable precedent-setting resolution requiring Syria to give up its chemical weapons, the United Nations Security Council has demonstrated that diplomacy can be so powerful it can peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war.


BLACKWELL: Some of the weapons? Yes. The bloody civil war? Maybe not. CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott joins us now from New York with more.

Elise, exactly what does this resolution mean, that there was this victory lap for, what does it mean for Syria?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Victor, it gives - makes Syria really a binding resolution. The first time the council has acted in two and a half years to make sure Syria can really do anything, give up its chemical weapons, a very tight timetable for that, and it also makes sure that they could have like unimpeded access from U.N. inspectors. So it really kind of puts them on the hook, if you will. But - and also puts in consequences if they don't comply.

BLACKWELL: OK, so consequences. A very vague term that the countries have agreed to. LABOTT: Right.

BLACKWELL: Does that mean that military action is or is not on the table?

LABOTT: Well, this resolution doesn't explicitly call for military action if Syria violates the terms. That's something the U.S. really wanted. Russia, as you know a permanent member of the Security Council and has that veto power, said no way. But there is something in the resolution that says it kicks it back to the Security Council if Syria does not comply, if it violates the terms. And last night Russia said that if Syria does in fact violate, it will vote to impose consequences.

BLACKWELL: All right, consequences still on the table. Elise Labott in New York for us. Thank you.

PAUL: OK, another big story that we're following this morning. A 15- minute phone call is making history.

BLACKWELL: And it's ending decades of silence between the U.S. and Iran. At the White House, President Obama telephoned Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, yesterday. Mr. Obama's national security advisor, Susan Rice, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria how it all came about.


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Did it - did it -- was it friendly or business-like?

SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I'd say cordial and constructive. Obviously when you have two leaders from two countries that have not communicated at that level for almost 35 years, it's something of a groundbreaking event. But they both conveyed their commitment to trying to explore, in a constructive manner, the diplomatic path. We've made very clear, and the president has long reiterated, including this week at the General Assembly, that the United States will not tolerate Iran with a nuclear weapon.


PAUL: Now, this president's historic conversation really focused on Iran's very, as you know, controversial nuclear program. And CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has more for us.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was just a 15-minute phone call, but one that was 34 years in the making.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history.

SCIUTTO: The prospect of reaching an agreement on Iran's nuclear program seemed out of reach just weeks ago.

OBAMA: While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward, and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.

SCIUTTO: A sentiment echoed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who tweeted word of his call with Obama before the president confirmed it. Rouhani ended a week-long charm offensive in New York with a promise to submit a plan on Iran's nuclear program by next month.

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): I assure you that on the Iranian side, this will is there fully 100 percent, that in a very short period of time there will be a settlement on the nuclear issue.

SCIUTTO: President Rouhani then denied critics' charges that renewed negotiations were really just one more delay tactic so Iran could secretly work toward a nuclear bomb.

ROUHANI: We have never chosen deceit as a path. We have never chosen secrecy.

SCIUTTO: We spoke with a member of his inner circle, vice president and minister of culture, Mohammad-Ali Najafi.

MOHAMMAD-ALI NAJAFI, VICE PRESIDENT, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN (through translator): What has to happen is that both sides have to follow up. If just one side takes steps and the other doesn't respond, naturally this process will reach a dead end.


SCIUTTO: As for that historic call between the presidents, a senior administration official said it was cordial in tone and both leaders expressed a determination to resolve the nuclear issue, quote, "peacefully and expeditiously." Though they spoke through an interpreter, at the end Rouhani did say, "have a nice day" in English, and Obama said (INAUDIBLE), or good-bye in Farsi.

Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jim Sciutto for us. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Well, Iran's president got back to Tehran from New York just a short time ago and on Twitter, yes on Twitter, he said he had a, quote, "super busy week." No, he certainly did, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, as you heard, and that history-making phone call we've been talking about with President Obama. But a lot of people are wondering, how do Iranians feel about all of this. CNN's Reza Sayah is in the Iranian capital, Tehran, right now.

And, Reza, wondering what the reaction is there in Iran. I mean is there a concern after 34 years of tensions that this kind of diplomacy is happening too fast?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, we haven't picked up any concern or worry. In fact, it's the opposite. From the Iranians we've talked to, you get the impression that they can't have this happen fast enough. They're just elated and thrilled that these two presidents have made contact by phone. The news is making headlines here this morning. This paper says "the phone conversation between Rouhani and Obama." And then you have this English language paper that says, "Iran eyes better ties with the U.S."

And it's this phone conversation and these types of headlines that are really fueling a wave of new found hope and optimism that really started when President Hassan Rouhani took office on August 3rd. He came in and he made his agenda clear. He said his goal was to improve relations with the U.S. and western powers by addressing any reasonable concerns anyone had with Iran's nuclear program.

Now, nothing concrete has happened. But the fact that everyone's talking about possibilities, the fact that Hassan Rouhani has managed to get a U.S. president to call him on the phone for the first time since 1979, that's what has people buzzing here and optimistic. Seemingly, President Hassan Rouhani, along with President Barack Obama, have set the stage for something to happen and that's perhaps why President Rouhani, right now, is probably the most popular man in Iran, Christi.

PAUL: Well, let me ask you this, does President Rouhani have the backing of Iran's supreme leader and how much weight does that carry, obviously?

SAYAH: At this point, all indications are that the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is on board. And all indications are that hardline factions are on board as well. Because, remarkably, we haven't heard any criticism aimed at Hassan Rouhani.

But this is a critical point and a point that perhaps gets lost in all the hype and the media publicity surrounding this phone call and Hassan Rouhani, and that is when it comes to the core position of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On their nuclear program, Hassan Rouhani hasn't shifted positions. He still maintains that Iran will continue its peaceful nuclear program. They will continue to enrich uranium. They've said they're willing to make concessions.

Could that be suspended enrichment at 20 percent? Could that be opening up for broader inspections? If so, they want something substantial in return. They want to be respected. They want to be treated as equals. They want the U.S. to recognize their right to enrich uranium. And finally, this is perhaps most important to Iranian, they want some of those crippling economic sanctions to be eased, Christi.

PAUL: To be lifted. All right, Reza Sayah, thank you so much for bringing us all of that live there from Tehran this morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk more about this and really from an interesting perspective about this historic phone call between the U.S. and Iran. I want to bring in Kevin Hermening right now. He was the youngest of the 52 Americans taken captives during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in '79. And that historic episode that originally froze the Iranian and U.S. relationship. Now at the time, President Carter called the tactics of the Iranian's "blackmail" and "terrorism." And it remains one of the major reasons for tensions between the two countries. Kevin joins us by phone from Milwaukee.

It's good to have you as part of this conversation. And I first want to start with, when you heard about this conversation being between the presidents, what was your reaction?

KEVIN HERMENING, FORMER IRAN HOSTAGE: Well, my first reaction is that the Iranian people certainly are very much interested in a thawing of relations between the two countries, as I think many Americans are. But, as always, any type of negotiation requires a discussion, a dialogue between two honest brokers. And the United States gave up an awful lot to retrieve the 52 Americans, including my 51 colleagues and I, from Iran more than 30 years ago. And the Iranians really never paid any type of price. Now, you might say, others might say, that, well, there's been these international crippled sanctions against the country. The truth of the matter - against the country of Iran. The truth of the matter is, the Iranians have a responsibility to look internally and look to free Christian pastors, such as Saeed Abedini, international travelers such as Robert Levinson and others and all dialogue needs to begin with freeing those two Americans.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you, if I could, you wrote - actually you said back in 2011, on the 30th anniversary of the release, that -- to elaborate on this point of honest brokers - "it makes our government look ridiculous, whether it's negotiating for the release of 52 Americans held hostage, or attempting to get Iran to end its current pursuit of nuclear weapons. Peace is best achieved from a position of strength." Do you think that this is a position of weakness that the president has taken by extending his hand in some way through these talks through the foreign minister and the secretary of state thus far?

HERMENING: No. Anytime you engage in discussions does not mean you're engage in it from a position of weakness. It's what the results end up being. It's what takes place as a result of those negotiations and negotiations. And I believe that the president of the United States needs to have the interest of the U.S. in mind, the American people in mind. Freedom and democracy is paramount. And the Iranian people have really been suffering for a long time under the iron fist of Islamic fundamentalism.

And it's interesting, the U.S. government continues, even under the president, under this administration, to label the country of Iran and its government as the primary state sponsor of international terrorism. So, clearly, there's a little bit of a disconnect there. But I do think that if we can reach out and we can begin this dialogue, this dance could go on for an awful long time before it results in anything concrete. But at least it's begun.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kevin Hermening, the youngest of the 52 hostages taken in '79 who were held for 444 days there. Appreciate your perspective in this conversation.

HERMENING: Thank you very much. Have a good day. BLACKWELL: You too.

PAUL: Thank you. You too.

All right, you know, same-sex couples across New Jersey, they're celebrating this weekend following a judge's ruling that the state has to allow same-sex marriages beginning on October 21st.


LOUISE WALPIN, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE SUPPORTER: We've been waiting a very long time. We've been waiting - I mean if we look -- 24 years ago, we couldn't imagine this was possible.


PAUL: Louise Walpin and her partner got engaged just minutes after the judge's ruling was announced. Now, the leader of the group that sued to make the change called the decision, quote, "amazingly strong." I should point out, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he will appeal the ruling

BLACKWELL: So after weeks of talk, and talk and talk, it's time -

PAUL: And bluster (ph).

BLACKWELL: And bluster, yes, it's time for Tea Party Republicans, listen, you've got to put up or shut up

PAUL: Shut down the government -


PAUL: Or blink and walk away from their fight to kill Obamacare.

BLACKWELL: Live to Washington. You're watching NEW DAY SATURDAY on CNN.


BLACKWELL: Eighteen minutes after the hour now.

Listen, this is now a ping-pong game and Republicans are on both sides of the table. It's decision day for House Republicans. They have to abandon their fight to defund Obamacare or shut down the government in just about two days. They're expected to meet at noon, high noon today, to figure out their game plan. Now, today's meeting comes after the Senate approved a spending bill Friday and kicked it back to the House. Well, the Senate keeps funding for Obamacare. Tea Party Republicans in the House are refusing to go along with that. Now back to the Senate. Republican Senator Ted Cruz urged his House colleagues to hang tough.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I am confident, if the House listens to the people, as it did last week, that it will continue to step forward and respond to the suffering that is coming from Obamacare. It was striking today, it was sad to see Senate Democrats together turn a blind ear to all of the people who were suffering because of Obamacare.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Erin McPike. She is in Washington for us this morning.

Erin, so it's a blame game. I think everybody knows that. Who will the American people blame for this shutdown?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, a lot of people are saying that House Republicans will be to blame simply because House Republicans have forced the defunding of Obamacare to be tied to this bill that funds the government. Now polls seem to show that the public is siding slightly more with the president. His approval rating is about 45 percent in the most recent CNN poll. The approval rating for Congress is much lower than that.

But, Victor, right now, we're seeing both sides blame each other. There's been talk of grandstanding on both sides. Here's what President Obama had to say about congressional Republicans yesterday.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I realize that a lot of what's taking place right now is political grandstanding, but this grandstanding has real effects on real people.


MCPIKE: Now, Speaker Boehner's office said much the same thing about President Obama. Just yesterday, Speaker Boehner's spokesman, Brendan Buck, said, "grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won't bring Congress any closer to a resolution." And Speaker Boehner said himself that he doesn't want to negotiate. He thinks the president has to do that. Here's what he had to say yesterday.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Now, the president says I'm not going to negotiate. Well, I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.


MCPIKE: Now, House Republicans will meet today to try to determine a path forward, but no one knows yet what that will be yet.


BLACKWELL: All right, Erin McPike in Washington, covering this potential government shutdown. A quick question. I've heard Jake (ph) call you E. McP. Is that something we can do on the weekends?

MCPIKE: You may if you'd like, of course.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much. E. McP in D.C. for us, thank you.

PAUL: It does have a ring to it, doesn't it?

BLACKWELL: Yes. It does.

PAUL: Oh, all right. Hey, American football players showing off their knowledge of British culture -- kind of.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS: Can you name the newest member of the royal family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think his name is Alex.



PAUL: OK. So when you think Pittsburgh Steelers, I'm not going to tell you what I think, I mean all the more to you Pittsburgh Steelers' fans, but I'm from Ohio.

BLACKWELL: I'm from Baltimore, so you certainly don't want to hear what I have to say.

PAUL: I - well and I'm from Ohio. I'm a Browns fan.

BLACKWELL: Put your towels away this morning. It's OK.

PAUL: When you think of the Steelers, you think of the Minnesota Vikings, you don't think of London, England.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But that's where the teams are playing this weekend. Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Hey, Andy.


Well, the NFL first started putting on a year game in London back in 2007. Before the season, the Vikings and Steelers looked like a great matchup. Well, both teams are 0-3 in Sunday's game. Pretty much a must win for both squads. The players have to be focused on the task at hand, but all work and no play isn't good for anyone. CNN's Amanda Davies had a chance to ask some tough questions to a few of the Vikings' players, but not necessarily about football.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS: Can you name the newest member of the royal family? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Um, yes, I think his name is Alex.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you really have to ask me that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George. I knew that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I read that in the latest "US Weekly." No, not really.

DAVIES: If I said Fergie to you, who would that be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a pop star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know she sang the song "My Humps."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I know she's part of the royal family.


DAVIES: What's Big Ben?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that the clock.

DAVIES: Actually the bell, I think strictly, but, yes --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate these quizzes. They make people like me just look like a complete idiot.

DAVIES: Burger and fries or fish and chips?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burger and fries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burger and fries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fish and chips.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fish and chips.

DAVIES: James Bond's code name?





DAVIS: 007's code name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea.

DAVIS: Oh, 007's code name. That's me who's got it wrong. James Bond's code name.


SCHOLES: All right, thanks to Amanda Davies for that. Records aside, this game should draw a good crowd, as always. Kickoff from across the pond is at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.

And that will do it for your "Bleacher Report." Victor and Christi, back to you.

PAUL: You know, they were in game mode. They were - they were practicing.

BLACKWELL: Right, I understand if you don't know who the new prince is.

PAUL: You do?

BLACKWELL: But, come on, Big Ben?

PAUL: Maybe you know since -- because we've covered it, that's why you know.

BLACKWELL: Yes, because we have covered it, yes.

PAUL: Yes. All right.

BLACKWELL: All right, so let me ask you this, and ask you this, just what is Obamacare?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has something to do with caring about people, you know, Obamacare. So basically that's all I know.


PAUL: Alrighty then. You, look, it is -- it's confusing. There's no way around it. A lot of people confused about this. They don't really know what it is. We're going to help clear up the confusion for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bone-chilling allegations in today's indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel.


BLACKWELL: Bone-chilling. We're going to reveal those allegations against former member of the U.S. Army. That's next.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 6:30 here on the East. On a Saturday morning, you're up early. Or did you ever go to bed?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Listen, on the West Coast, they're probably up from last night.



PAUL: Welcome, we're glad to have you, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start with five things you need to know for your new day. Up first, the U.N. Security Council has approved the resolution to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by the middle of next year. Now the resolution does not authorize military action if Syria fails to cooperate, but the U.S. could act on its own anyway. The U.N. confirmed the use of chemical weapons last month near Damascus.

PAUL: Number two, a former Army sergeant accused of running a hit squad for a Colombian drug cartel. Joseph Hunter allegedly led a so- called security team of former soldiers from around the world. And the four men acted, they say, as assassins who plotted to kill anyone who has threatened to drug trade. Hunter, by the way, is expected to appear before a judge today.

BLACKWELL: Just weeks before tough new abortion laws go in effect in Texas, Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the most restrictive parts of the legislation. Now, this portion requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. And call for clinics to upgrade their surgical centers.

PAUL: Number 4, more twists and turns in the murder case of former football star Aaron Hernandez. Now, apparently, his fiancee has been indicted for perjury. His cousin was also indicted on a single count of accessory to murder. Now, in search warrant affidavit obtained by CNN, authorities say the two had eluded law enforcement and made attempts to hide evidence. Arraignment dates, though, have not yet been set.

BLACKWELL: All right, number five, snow in September.

PAUL: Come on!

BLACKWELL: It sounds crazy, I know. But an early winter storm brought several inches to Montana this week. Look at this.

PAUL: Wow.

BLACKWELL: I mean people still have not put away their shirts and t- shirts.

PAUL: Beautiful.

BLACKWELL: Snow. It is nice.

PAUL: They are getting their skis, though.

BLACKWELL: It's great Christmas cards, though, but when you have to drive in it, not so much. So, this is Georgetown Lake on Thursday. The power lines were damaged. A lot of people didn't have power. Montana isn't only state that can expect cooler temperatures.

Let's bring in the meteorologist Pedram Javaheri now in the CNN Weather Center with us this weekend. Good to have him. More snow on the way?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, absolutely. It looks like it, guys, you know, going to get there - I think sometimes Sunday afternoon, especially above, say, 7500 feet, but look at the storm system, monster storm system parked out shore in the gulf of Alaska. End to end, this storm measures 1500 miles across something you would see in November and December, you bet. And this one is going to bring in wet weathers starting this morning from the (inaudible) quarters of Seattle down to Portland. Upwards of six, possibly eight inches of rainfall across this region. Especially in some of the southeast facing slopes, you know, flashflood watch is in effect from Seattle down towards Portland, travel delay is going to be a concern. And winds with this storm something on the order of 60, perhaps 75 miles per hour. And with so much foliage, guys, on these trees out there, as the colors, of course, and the leafs have not fallen off yet, a lot of these trees are going to be weighed down. So, something we're going to be watching very carefully.

BLACKWELL: All right, Pedram, thanks for joining us.

JAVAHERI: You bet.

BLACKWELL: And a watch for the snow in September.

PAUL: I still just want to take in the colored leaves. That's all I want to see.

BLACKWELL: The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, it goes live on Tuesday. So that means uninsured Americans can buy health coverage at online exchanges.

PAUL: Yeah, but 3 three and a half years after the president signed the law, a lot of people still just don't know what Obamacare is. Or what to do come Tuesday. So CNN's Zain Asher has been looking into that for us. Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Christi. Online, the health insurance exchanges will be open on Tuesday. And nonprofit groups are going door to door trying to explain to people what Obamacare actually means. And they are spending tens of millions of dollars. What's interesting is that we spoke to several uninsured Americans who have no idea what Obamacare even meant.


ASHER (on camera): We'll go up the hill and around, but we'll start at the top of the hill.

(voice over): With just a few days to go before the new health insurance exchanges go live, an army of Obamacare experts are going door to door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, good morning!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Christopher home?

ASHER (on camera): We're not selling anything.

You currently have insurance?

ASHER (voice over): Trying to explain Obamacare to Americans who don't have health insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it has something to do with caring about people, you know, Obamacare. So, basically, that's all I know.

ASHER (voice over): According to the Keiser Family Foundation, 43 percent of uninsured Americans still have no idea about the new exchanges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a question.

ASHER (on camera): Go ahead.

JOHN MENENDEZ, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: Who created this Affordable Health Care plan that you are speaking about?

ASHER: Well, this is passed by Congress.

MENENDEZ: Oh, Congress.

ASHER: Yes, yes. The Affordable Care Act. Yes.

MENENDEZ: And I'm just wondering as a citizen of America how come I did not hear of this?

ASHER (voice over): While health care reform is a frequent source of contention in Congress many of the people we spoke to here in Northbroke in New Jersey were hearing details of Obamacare for the very first time just this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm definitely going to read into it.

MENENDEZ: Is Obama forcing Americans to get health insurance? It sounds that way. ASHER: Enroll America, a nonprofit group funded mainly by insurance companies, health care groups and charities is working to spread the word. Dispatching 130 field workers in ten states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can follow up with you.

ASHER: On October 1, 48 million uninsured Americans will be able to purchase health coverage through federal and state exchanges. Coverage starts January 1st and they must enroll before March 31st.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They're going to be able to shop just like you shop for an airline ticket or flat-screen TV and see what's the best price for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all new to me.


ASHER: And people say they see the word Obamacare on the news, but they don't really understand the details. But whether you know about Obamacare or not, it is the law of the land. If you don't have health insurance and you don't sign up within the next six months, you could face a penalty of $95 or one percent of your household income. Victor and Christie.

PAUL: All right, CNN's Zain Asher in New York for us. We'll keep you posted. This is not going away.

BLACKWELL: No, no time soon.

PAUL: And, you know, with the threat of a government shutdown, too, hanging over our heads this weekend, political leaders in Washington, they're not exactly inspiring a whole lot of confidence, apparently.

BLACKWELL: And here's the scary thing: the government closing its doors isn't even the biggest threat to our lives or out bank accounts. Lawmakers have less than three weeks now to negotiate a new debt ceiling. If not, all bets are off for the U.S. economy. CNN business anchor Christine Romans explains. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, the government may shut down on Monday night at midnight, but the administration officials I'm speaking to are more concerned about the debt ceiling. Why? Let me lay it out for you. Doing a shutdown, mandatory spending would be affected, right? Wouldn't be affected, rather. You would still see some spending there. Now, a prolonged shut down, of course, according to Mark Zandi of Moody's would cut economic growth in the fourth quarter in half. But you still would have spending. People would get their Social Security checks, for example, but if the debt ceiling is not raised it's a whole different story. It's not the case of the debt ceiling, no spending at all, and that is a really critical time. Why? Because the date October 17th is important here. That's the date when the U.S. will have less than $30 billion on hand and the government can't borrow any more money.

That means just like when your bank account is empty and you can't find any source of extra cash, the government will have to stop paying some of its bills. What are we talking about here? We're talking about interest on our debt, interest to bond holders like China, right? Maybe Social Security. We can't pay Social Security to seniors. Or Medicare and Medicaid. You got 110 million people on one of those programs and you don't have enough cash on hand to cover all of them. Worst, we may really not know what's going to happen. Markets hate uncertainty. What happens to your nest egg if the government has interest rates spike and we have hundreds of billions of additional dollars that we could owe in borrowing costs. We don't know the consequences for sure until we get there and once we get there it's already too dangerous. Christine and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, the question mark is the scariest. CNN business anchor Christine Romans, thank you.

Still to come on "NEW DAY," religious hardliners have their sights on an unlikely target.

PAUL: Some of those beautiful women in the world, they're threatening to hijack the Miss World Contest, we're going to tell you why an what's being done to protect those women.


PAUL: Good morning to you. Do you want to take a trip around the world with me here? First, let's go to Nairobi, Kenya. Where the hunt is on for that woman nicknamed the white widow. Officials suspect the British-born mom was involved in Kenya's deadly mall attack. We'll be talking about that with CNN's David McKenzie is there. Hi, David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the wake of Kenya's deadly terror attack Interpol has issued a "Red Notice" or global tripwire for Samantha Lewthwaite. The British mother who's known as the White Widow. She's suspected of involvement in this attack because witnesses say that they saw a white woman with the 15 odd attackers as they rampaged through the mall. There's no direct evidence that the White Widow is involved. And now forensic experts are picking through the rubble to see who exactly carried out this heinous act and how many more civilians died.

PAUL: All right, David, thank you so much. David McKenzie, we appreciate it. We're going to go to Madrid now where government officials are considering switching the time zone to help boost the economy there in that country. CNN's Al Goodwin is there. Hi, Al.


AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spaniards eat lunch at 2:00 or 3:00 o'clock and dinner at 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock, much later than the rest of Europe, and that's got to stop, says a new report just approved by a parliamentary committee if Spain is to improve its productivity and get out of the economic crisis. The extra long work days and the late nights live Spaniards with an hour less sleep daily than other Europeans. One of the report's authors says Spaniards are on permanent jetlag. Back to you, Christi. PAUL: All right, Al Goodman, thank you.

And to Bali now, where contestant are getting ready for the Miss World pageant. Protesters, though, and security concerns, it actually prompted officials to change the pageant's location. Anna Coren is there. Good morning, Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Threats of serious violence overshadowing the Miss World pageant being staged here in Indonesia today, after angry protests by Islamic fundamentalists. The beauty contest was supposed to be held in the country's capital Jakarta, but was moved to the resort island of Bali. After protesters took to the streets describing it as pornography and the whore contest. Foreign embassies have issued warnings and authorities are not taking any chances. Hundreds of police are on duty for the crowning of Miss World which happens in the next few hours. Back to you, Christi.

PAUL: All right, Anna, thank you, we appreciate it.

All right. Victor, send it back to you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Christi. Coming up on "NEW DAY," it was not your normal day in one classroom this week.




BLACKWELL: It was a danceoff between a visiting basketball star and a student. You've got to see the rest of this.


PAUL: Good morning, all of you waking up in Washington, D.C., a live look for you there of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Does the president gets to sleep in on the weekends?


PAUL: It's 6:49.

BLACKWELL: No, he's up and probably been up for a few hours. There's a lot going on. He's got stuff to do. Hopefully, he's up.

PAUL: We're up. We've got you covered. Don't worry about it.

BLACKWELL: Hey, have you ever seen this show "Dreamland" -- not dreamland.

PAUL: Dreamland? "Homeland."

BLACKWELL: "Homeland."

PAUL: My god, I haven't seen "Dreamland".

BLACKWELL: I've never seen "Homeland," I've never seen "Dreamland." I watch like three shows on television and I don't have Showtime, so that cuts me out. But I hear that there's action and there's drama on this show called "Homeland." But apparently, the (inaudible) - I can't believe it's "Dreamland" they just weren't enough for some things.

PAUL: He just wants to go home and go back to bed after this.


PAUL: Well, you know, look, who envisioned it as a musical, right? If you do watch it, you're thinking what's the hey - that's just part of this week's Top 4. A list of entertainment headlines for you, and CNN's Nischelle Turner has the lowdown. Hey, Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, have I got four stories for you today. Here's what's top at number four. Have you ever thought to yourself "Homeland's" a great show, but I just wish it had more musical numbers. No? If you have the folks over and above average productions are agreeing with you. They are Broadway ready, spoof of the show has gone viral, and I tell you, it is funny stuff. Check it out.

OK, so you've got the moves on and off the court, apparently, number 3, NBA star Kyrie Irving's impromptu dance battle with a student in a South African school. This is good, look at them. He was just there, he was visiting the school with UNICEF when he was challenged to a dance off after he busted a move. Now, even better, they danced to a soundtrack made by the other students. No word on who won. I'll say it was a draw.

All right, our number two story this morning is worth 95 million bucks. Forbes' list of top earning couples Jay Z and Beyonce pulled in a staggering combined $95 million between June of 2012 and June of 2013. And second, earning 80 million, Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. That's a good looking couple. And Brad and Angelina rounded up the top three. They made $50 million last year. Whoo. Can I just have a little bit of that? Just a tiny bit. That's all I ask for.

OK, guys, it's the weekend. So, I say why not have a rap for you? OK, it's our number one story, Kanye West is mad. I know. I know. What else is new? But this time, it's that comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Let me say this: we don't know for sure that this is not a Kimmel prank, but Jimmy swears that it's not. And here's what happened: Kanye went off on Kimmel on Twitter because of a spoof that Jimmy did starring kid Kanye. Now, Kanye ranted, and by the way, it was in all caps, so you know he was shouting. He called Kimmel a lot of names, he said that Sarah Silverman, Kimmel's ex, is funnier than him. And he also posted pictures of Jimmy Kimmel as Sponge Bob Square Pants. I know. Jimmy Kimmel addressed it in this monologue and he said that Kanye called him on the phone. He was angry. Jimmy, of course, made fun of all of this and he said finally, I'm going to rap you. I don't know what else you guys want me to say. (LAUGHTER)

TURNER: Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Nischelle, thank you, I don't know if we're actually surprised if there's a Kanye feud. But what surprised me in this video, one, I would not have seen it is there had not been a feud. Right. But that he was so offended that he took leather sweatpants defend this six years ago. And they said no.


BLACKWELL: I didn't even know that was - leather sweatpants.

PAUL: The kid is adorable.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, they are funny. And we're going to talk about this more in our e-blog.

PAUL: I just don't know why Twitters comes and everything.


PAUL: Just call him on the phone ...

BLACKWELL: It's because you have that like instant in front of you where you can send it out to everybody.

PAUL: I guess.

BLACKWELL: Hey, something turned up in the rubble after a massive tornado. And it really surprised one man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hmm, somebody might want this.


PAUL: Guess what, somebody did want what this Oklahoma man found. And you're about to see why it meant so much.




BILL MAHER, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": I don't know why you are happy today, we're actually headed towards a government shutdown, but if that's what it's ...


MAHER: If that's what it takes to get Ted Cruz off my TV, I'm all for it. DAVID LETTERMAN, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": The United States government October 1st runs out of money. The United States government, out of money, October 1ST. You know what this country needs, is a brother-in-law. That's what it needs.


JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Have a good weekend because the federal government is on the verge of shutting down.


LENO: Oh, and it is bad. Oh, my god. It is bad. Did you see the sign in front of the White House today "Coming soon, White Castle."


PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: Don't talk bad about white castle.

PAUL: See, I know, people - they love their white castle. My dad is one of them. So, have you heard about this, since we're talking about food at 7:00 in the morning. Satisfries, Satis.

BLACKWELL: I'm always satisfried.

PAUL: I know. They do look good, don't they? But these are normal. We're going to tell you why Burger King is hoping this new product is going to be big with its customers.

And have you seen this yet?




PAUL: Listen, I can tell you something. I have three chickens at home. Yes, three chickens in Atlanta. I'm the (inaudible) people. None of them can do this.

BLACKWELL: Wait, are these real chickens you're talking about?

PAUL: Yes, I have three chickens. They don't live in the house, obviously, but they can't do this. This is awesome.

BLACKWELL: I love this. OK, so this is the commercial for - yes, Mercedes-Benz.

PAUL: Come on.

BLACKWELL: It's hilarious. I saw this for the first time this morning. We're going to tell you what they're trying to prove here. But - yeah .... PAUL: They got it.

BLACKWELL: They hit this one. They got this one.

PAUL: That's awesome.

All right. Now for "The Good Stuff." And for that, we take you to Moore, Oklahoma, remember that massive tornado that ripped through Moore back in May, that isn't the good stuff. Well, a bunch of debris ended up in the backyard of Albert Hollingtad (ph), and in all that rubble, he found a Letterman jacket.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hmm, somebody might want this.


BLACKWELL: Yes, so good old Albert is set off to find the jacket's owner. It turns out the jacket belongs to Pam Dennis. It was her son's. Her son was killed in a car crash.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you I would cry. Oh, it's the only thing that we have left of my son.


PAUL: Oh, my gosh. Albert reached out to the local news media about that jacket. Pam heard about it and was able to get it back, obviously. Albert even had it dry cleaned for her.

BLACKWELL: That's all ....




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all I cared for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, I need to give you another hug.



PAUL: See, we do so many stories that horrify people. There are still good people out there.

BLACKWELL: Can you imagine that feeling when that jacket came back into the house?

PAUL: It's the only thing she has left. BLACKWELL: It's the only thing she has left, is that jacket, and I know after that tornado, and she couldn't find it, she thought that was it. But good for Albert, and good for that family they have that jacket back.

PAUL: Yeah, good people.

BLACKWELL: Thank you for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: Yeah, the next hour of "NEW DAY" starts right now.