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NEW DAY SATURDAY
U.N. Finally Intervenes in Syria; Obama Phones Iran's President; How a Shutdown Will Be Felt; Decision Day for House Republicans; New Jersey Judge Allows Same-Sex Marriage; What Will Obamacare Mean for You?; Feud Between Kanye West, Jimmy Kimmel; Panel to Give FAA New Recommendations on Consumer Electronics in Flight
Aired September 28, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It was an historic phone call between two presidents that has some celebrating, but others who are saying, this is no mixing moment.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R ) TEXAS: I think Obamacare is a train wreck, it is a disaster, it is a nightmare.
SEN. HARRY REID (D) NEVADA: Why not (inaudible) and talk about something else?
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It looks like relations overseas are a lot warmer than they are at home. The budget bill hot potato is back in the House today. And the rhetoric is verging on hysteria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: Live from New York, it's Saturday night!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BLACKWELL: We may be just two days from a government shutdown, but we're hours away from the return of "SNL." "Saturday Night Live" is back with a bunch of new faces. We'll have a preview.
PAUL: And before you get to Saturday night, we say good Saturday morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 7:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.
PAUL: And we want to begin with Syria. A move by the U.N. to eliminate one of the biggest chemical weapons arsenals in the world. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last night designed to remove those weapons by the middle of next year.
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JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Tonight, with a strong, enforceable, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So the vote puts an end to talk of a military strike at least for the time being but CNN's foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott joins me now from the U.N. with more.
Elise, good to see you. Who is this a win for? Is it the U.S., is it for Russia, for everyone?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Christi, the U.S. and the international community would say it's a win for the end of use of these chemical weapons in Syria. But some people, the Syrian opposition, for instance, and a lot of supporters of them would say that it's a win for Assad because, as you said, there's no military action, this doesn't do anything to address the Syrian civil war and the 100,000 people that were already killed.
But it does have some very strict measures in place to make sure that the Syrians get rid of their chemical weapons.
PAUL: OK, but if the Syrians do not, what is the repercussion?
LABOTT: Well, good question. It doesn't -- this resolution doesn't expressly authorize the use of force if Syria violates it but what it does is it kicks it back to the U.N. Security Council where then they would vote again to impose measures under Chapter 7 of the U.N. which, you know, implicitly is the threat of the use of force. And President Obama has also said that the unilateral use of force by the U.S. is not off the table.
So if they violate, then it goes back to the U.N. Security Council. And as you know, Russia is a permanent member of the council, has veto power and has been really the stumbling block over the last two years from getting the U.N. to act on Syria but Russia is now saying that as Syria does violate, it's willing to go along with consequences. We'll just have to see how Syria does.
PAUL: All right. Elise Labott, thank you so much. Live in New York for us.
BLACKWELL: All right. Now to diplomacy of a different kind. The U.S. and Iran breaking decades of silence between the two nations in a matter of 15 minutes. President Obama picked up the phone at the White House yesterday and called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It happened as Rouhani was on his way to the airport New York to return home from his well-received appearance at the U.N. General Assembly.
This is how the president described their history-making conversation. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program. I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York, that while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no less guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So on Twitter, Iran's president said there is a way to rapidly solve the way.
Let's talk about that way and the solution with Karim Sadjadpour who is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and joining us from Washington now.
And I'm going to start with the big question that the president and Americans, Netanyahu and Israelis, and people across the globe are asking, can Iran -- can Hassan Rouhani, and the Supreme Leader, can they be trusted?
KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Well, it's too early to say. You know, this is a big deal. After 35 years, the president of Iran and United States had a phone conversation which may seem mundane between two presidents of other nations but between the U.S. and Iran, this is a very big deal.
Ten years ago, a journalist in Iran could go to prison for advocating talks with America. But this is the first step of what could be a very long journey. And the question is whether Iran is interested in making a major shift in its foreign policy after, you know, 35 years of having this official motto of death to America, is Iran prepared now to embark on a path which would normalize relations with the United States. And I think the answer to that is that, we'll see, it's really too early to tell.
BLACKWELL: Karim, although the conversation was between President Obama and President Rouhani, it is really the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, who is the cultural and the political leader of Iran. And we've seen in the last few weeks that the president -- new president of Iran has tweeted a few things and then deleted those tweets. And he had a conversation with our Christiane Amanpour and then the Iranian government tried to reinterpret his answers.
Is the president possibly getting ahead of himself, stepping out too far? And then the Supreme Leader's having to pull him back?
Talk to us about that relationship and if you see that at play here.
SADJADPOUR: You know, it's -- we can only speculate from the outside whether Rouhani's overtures to the United States have been with the support of the Supreme Leader, or whether, you know, Rouhani arrived back in Tehran today and the Supreme Leader is upset with him for talking to Obama.
It's such a closed relationship that it's difficult from the outside to tell. But what we do know is that for three decades the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini has looked at enmity towards America as really one of the ideological pillars of the Islamic regime. And that's going to be very difficult for any Iranian president to change.
Now we can argue that the circumstances have really dramatically changed in Iran. The country is facing tremendous economic pressure, draconian international sanctions. And Iran is spending hundreds of millions of dollars every month to keep their ally Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria. So we can argue maybe the circumstances have changed and Iran is now seeing it in its interests, in its existential interests to pursue a detente with the United States. But as I said, you know, yesterday was a huge day for U.S.-Iran diplomacy but it really was the first step for a very long journey.
BLACKWELL: A huge day for the two leaders but there were reports that when Rouhani returned there were some protesters who hurled shoes at his plane or shoes at him. Is this something that the Iranian people want? Do they want this tie?
SADJADPOUR: Well, I would argue for the vast majority of Iran's very young population, they would love to see detente with the United States. Iran's population is by many counts the most pro-American population in the United States. And I think most Iranians see it in their national interests and then their economic interest to restore relations with United States.
Certainly there's going to be a small but very vocal and active minority who are going to oppose this. And I think that's going to be the challenge for President Rouhani and potentially for the Supreme Leader to manage this group which, again I would argue, isn't large in number. But they're willing to be real rabble-rousers to try to sabotage any hopes of a detente.
BLACKWELL: All right. Karim Sadjadpour, joining us from Washington, thank you for your insight.
SADJADPOUR: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: You know, this is an historic conversation but at this point just a conversation.
BLACKWELL: We'll see if it comes to some fruit at the end.
PAUL: Yes. Walk and walk, talk the talk.
PAUL: That whole thing. Sure.
And just over a couple of days ago, too, kind of goes with this story as well.
PAUL: Before that possible government shutdown. House Republicans are supposed to meet today to decide how they're going to proceed.
BLACKWELL: And there might not -- have been a conversation here on the floor yet. At least there's a conversation with Iran. Senators have approved a spending bill to keep the government running beyond Monday but it funds Obamacare. The Tea Party Republicans in the House, they are against any measure that pays for Obamacare.
PAUL: Now let's point out when immediate impact of a shutdown would hit members of the military right in the paycheck.
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ROBERT HALE, DEFENSE COMPTROLLER: During a lapse, DOD cannot pay military personnel and civilian personnel, even if they have been directed to work. Military and those civilians directed to work would be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriation ends.
Civilians on emergency furloughs, and those for primarily doing not accepted activities, would be paid retroactively only if a law is enacted providing the authority to pay them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. So what else is on the table?
Well, CNN's Tom Foreman is going to walk us through other fallout that's possible from this potential shutdown.
Tom, good morning.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor. Hey, Christi.
If a government shutdown comes, the first thing you may notice is that there's not really that much to notice because we're not talking about a single grand event, we're talking about a process that would simply be getting started. So if you go out to the airport, it's going to business as usual. Customs, Border Patrol, the military, all of that will be normal.
The federal courts, the postal service, the banks would still be operating. And of course all sorts of local government services that are paid for by your local taxes, your schools, police fireman, they'll all be in business as usual.
You won't really see anything there, at least not in the beginning. But "USA Today" did an analysis on this where they said about 41 percent of the government would shut down. So that's got to come from somewhere. That brings us to the next level here where there would be some effect.
If you went to a national park or to a monument or a museum connected to the federal government, you might find that they're closed. If you need a loan for your business, for your home, that's backed by the federal government, you may find some delays with that. If you need a new passport or a new gun permit that could also be delayed. There might even be delays in some government checks like Social Security, although lawmakers generally try to keep that from happening.
So don't be too alarmed about that now until we know more. Still there would be some immediate impacts. For example, if you're a federal worker, you could be told, pack it up, go home if your work is not really time intensive, or doesn't have to be done right now. You might get paid retroactively for the time you missed. But that's not certain.
Beyond that, with all those people missing from federal offices if you go there to sign up for Medicaid or something, you may find you can't do it until the shutdown is over. And of course a lot of federal staffers, congressional staffers, could be sent home with time to kill at the beach. That sort of thing.
Time is really what this is all about, by the way. A short shutdown, by almost all accounts would leave most of us still back here in the green zone, not really seeing that much. But the longer it went on ripples would start moving out from the more serious parts of the shutdown, filling in the rest of us, so we would all feel it more. And ultimately, the whole economy could feel the effect -- Victor, Christi.
PAUL: All right. A quick breakdown, CNN's Tom Foreman in Washington. Thank you so much.
And we want to stay in Washington and talk to CNN's Erin McPike, too.
Erin, I know that voters are going to blame somebody for a shutdown. Who's going to take it?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, good morning.
Well, CNN's latest polling on this shows that about a third of Americans would blame President Obama for a shutdown but many more would blame House Republicans. Now back in March, 40 percent of the people we surveyed said they would blame House Republicans. That's up to 51 percent now.
Now even though that is the case, and it looks like House Republicans would take more of the blame, the battle lines are still drawn. And House Republicans are insisting on trying to defund Obamacare as a part of funding the government. But here's what President Obama had to say about that yesterday.
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OBAMA: The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the Tea Party that they've threatened a government shutdown, or worse, until I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act. I said this yesterday, let me repeat it. That's not going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCPIKE: Now, Republicans, of course, are not backing down, and Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, has been leading the charge on this. Here's what he said yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)