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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Israel Ready To "Act Alone"; Venezuela Expels Top U.S. Diplomat; Barilla President Apologizes Again; Vets Move Barricades AT WWII Memorial

Aired October 1, 2013 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Tomorrow, the CNN Express rolls into Lexington, Kentucky. That's where you can find Sanjay looking at how the Affordable Care Act will affect people who already have health insurance.

And don't forget, tune in to a special SANJAY GUPTA M.D. this weekend, Saturday afternoon at 4:30 Eastern and Sunday morning at 7:30 right here on CNN.

Coming up next, the failed coup. He tried to take down Newt Gingrich, perhaps. He lost. John Boehner was shunned by his own party not long after. Is that really the driving force behind the speaker's battle this time around?

Plus, they fought the Republican establishment and won. Next, I ask one of the original Tea Party Patriots, is this how she envisioned their party governing?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: The beautiful Washington Monument. Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm live on Capitol Hill.

In the politics lead, even a guy as battle-tested as House speaker John Boehner, well, sometimes he seems a little wary when it comes to taking on certain members of his own party. Maybe that's because in the past, he paid a hefty price for being seen as doing just that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): House speaker John Boehner originally did not want to tie the effort to defund Obamacare to the government spending bill.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: Our goal here is to cut spending. It's not to shut down the government. I believe that trying to put Obamacare on this vehicle risks shutting down the government. That's not what our goal is.

TAPPER: And yet here we are. Ultimately, there were enough House Republicans demanding that the efforts be tied together that Boehner changed his mind.

Why? Well, a source close to the speaker says he has seen people rise and fall. In fact, he was one of them. In 1997, when Boehner, then the House Republican conference chair, was part of a small group of House Republican leaders who met to discuss ousting their fellow Republican, then-speaker Newt Gingrich, well, the effort did not work. Boehner claimed he was gathering information, not conspiring. But either way, by 1998, his fellow Republicans ousted Boehner from leadership.

Upon hearing the bad news, Boehner told an aide, "We're going to smile, we're going to work hard and earn our way back." And he did just that.

GINGRICH: You could never have projected in '98 the recovery of John Boehner.

TAPPER: How?

GINGRICH: First of all, his discipline takes an unusual level of willpower to be defeated by your colleagues and make a comeback with the very same colleagues.

TAPPER: But also a key part of this all, memories of losing his leadership job. His current gig is far from 100 percent secure.

(on camera): It's no secret that your caucuses can sometimes be difficult to steer.

BOEHNER: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

JOHN FEEHERY, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER'S SPOKESMAN: When he was sworn in as speaker, he had 15 rebels vote against him on the House floor. He has this group of 30 to 40 hardcore conservatives that are more than willing to dump John Boehner any chance they can.

TAPPER (voice-over): His lesson from 1998? Listen to your members and try to adapt to what they want. Sometimes leading, sometimes following, sometimes protecting them from themselves and sometimes, as with the government shutdown, letting them learn the lesson that if you touch a pot on a hot stove, you might get burned.

Not enough House Republicans believe that their current path is likely one that will hurt them politically. When -- if -- that changes, Boehner will pursue a path out.

GINGRICH: He has a very aggressive part of his caucus, and he has a president who is dramatically harder to deal with than Bill Clinton was. So I think I would rate Boehner's job as much harder than mine was.

TAPPER: And Boehner is determined to never be exiled again.

BOEHNER: We've got a lot of divergent opinions in the caucus, and the key to any leadership job is to listen. I was here during the Gingrich era. He had a little plaque that was in his office, and it was a management model. Listen, learn, help and lead. We listened to our colleagues over the course of the last week. We have a plan that they're happy with.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: But will it be President Obama or Speaker Boehner left holding the bag politically for the shutdown?

Let's bring in our political panel. Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine, Ryan Lizza. Co-founder and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, and author of "Sick: The Untold Author of America's Healthcare Crisis" and senior editor for "The New Republic," Jonathan Kohn, who tweets under the name @citizenkohn, which I always appreciated.

So Ryan, how precarious is Boehner's position now? There was that vote earlier in the year where just a handful of members voted against him to be speaker. Is his fear of keeping his job playing a role here?

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": So I've been talking to staff and members in the House of Representatives trying to answer that question, and the debate they're having is what is the minimum that Boehner can bring back to the conference, the minimum concession he can bring back from the president and the Democrats in the Senate and still preserve his job? I mean, that's how it was put to me. Is it the medical device tax? Is it a shorter delay of the individual mandate?

But the consensus seems to be that if he puts a clean continuing resolution on the floor and gets no concessions whatsoever after shutting down the government, that he will lose his job as speaker. And so that's the bind he's in right now. Does he risk his speakership by putting a clean CR on the floor, or does he find a way to set up some process with Obama where he gets some policy concession but Obama can also say I didn't actually negotiate over the government shutdown.

TAPPER: Jenny, you and the Tea Party Patriots are having a real moment here, wielding a lot of power, controlling one chamber. Is this what was envisioned when the Tea Party began to rise?

JENNY BETH MARTIN, NATIONAL COORDINATOR, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: We didn't -- what we envisioned is that Congress listens to the American people. And right now, it's time for them to stop and listen to the American people. People are losing their jobs, they're losing their health care, their health insurance, their doctors are quitting, and they are losing their hours in their jobs. This is not what we want to see in our country.

So we're having an open debate finally about Obamacare, but in the end, we've got to make sure that whatever happens from this slowdown that we're in, this partial shutdown, is something that winds up going back and taking care of the Americans who are really bearing the burden and the cost of Obamacare.

TAPPER: Jonathan, I'm sure you have something to say about that. JOHNATHAN KOHN, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": I do. I mean, with all due respect to Jenny, I think it's ironic to make the case of Obamacare being a failure on a day when we are actually seeing people going to Web sites, starting to sign up for insurance. It's going to be a slow process. There's going to be a lot of glitches. It's a complicated law.

But we saw people, more than a thousand people in Kentucky this morning, already two million young adults have signed on, gotten coverage through their parents. We see seniors getting more prescription drug coverage. This is a law that people have said in polls, even though they have mixed feelings about it, they don't want to shut down the government about it. They don't want to crash the debt ceiling over it.

Look, we've had an open debate about it. We've had a debate for a very long time. We have all been there for it. It's been years long. I think the American people are tired of debating about Obamacare. Let's let it run, see how it goes. Look, if it's an abject failure, the conservatives can take it off the books in two years. But the Democrats are betting, and I think the Republicans know, it's going to be pretty popular.

TAPPER: Well, I think one of the arguments conservatives would make - and Jenny, jump in here -- is that any time you create a new entitlement, you are going to create millions of people who like it because they are getting something for free. And that that is one of the concerns here, especially when it comes to expanding Medicaid, right?

MARTIN: Well, it is a concern, but frankly, right now, our bigger concern is the fact that people are losing their health insurance coverage. They are losing their jobs. Their hours are being reduced. This is having very real effects on Americans across the country.

While businesses have had the business mandate delayed, and Congress has just voted yet again in the Senate yesterday to keep themselves above the law and above the rest of the American people. The American people deserve the same exemptions and delays as what we've seen Congress get and business get.

KOHN: You know, again, with all due respect, there have been a lot of stories and you hear this complaint a lot, oh, people are losing health insurance, people are losing hours. There's been very careful look at the statistics. There is no evidence that people are losing hours. There have been stories, it's happening in a few places, a few people are losing hours. But the flipside is that people who have part-time work who never had a guarantee of health insurance before, now they finally have a guarantee of health insurance, something they never had before.

MARTIN: It's 20,000 employees from Home Depot have now lost the health insurance that Home Depot was offering because of Obamacare. These spouses of UPS employees are losing their health insurance that they had through their spouse's coverage. This is not -- the president promised if you have health insurance, you're going to be able to keep your health insurance. That is not what's happening across America.

TAPPER: Let's bring the debate here back to Capitol Hill. Ryan, how do you see this playing out? What happens next?

LIZZA: Look, the House is going to try and pass these many CRs, right? So they're going to try and fund the most popular things that are becoming --

TAPPER: Harry Reid said no way.

LIZZA: He's already rejected that as he rejected everything else. So, I -- again, I come back to this decision that Boehner has to make. Seems like the president and the Democrats in the Senate are saying pass a clean CR, and that is it. That is all that they are accepting. So Boehner is squeezed that way. And on his right, Boehner is squeezed from his caucus saying we will not accept that. We will not accept a clean CR, you will lose your speakership, and you have to get us something. You can't have led us into this fight without getting something out of it.

TAPPER: Very quickly, last thought. Jenny Beth Martin from Tea Party Patriots, what's the minimum that Boehner can get in return for a spending bill?

MARTIN: We need full delay and stop spending our money on this law for the next year. The American people deserve to have the same breaks that businesses are getting and that Congress and their staff are getting --

TAPPER: So some delay on the individual mandate or on the whole bill?

MARTIN: On the whole bill, not just --

TAPPER: Whole law, I should say.

MARTIN: The whole law. You're absolutely right. The whole law. And some delay on the whole law, not just the individual mandate. And in the meantime, let's fund the Veterans Affairs, let's fund the other portions of government. The Senate just voted unanimously to do that with military pay, and the president signed it, so they are willing to do that on some degree. They need to continue to do that.

TAPPER: Jonn Martin - I mean, I'm sorry! Jonathan Kohn. John Martin is somebody else. Johnathan Kohn, last thought?

KOHN: That's not going to happen. There's always open discussion for trying to fix the bill and improve it, but not while there's a gun held to the head of the Democrats.

TAPPER: All right. Jonathan Kohn, Jenny Beth Martin, Ryan Lizza, thank you so much.

Coming up next, they fought the axis powers. You think a couple fences are really going to slow them down? An act of defiance at the World War II Memorial.

Plus, first it was Chik-Fil-A. Now a pasta company has stepped into the center of the gay rights debate. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: They're part of our nation's greatest generation. I'm pretty sure shutdown is not a word in their vocabulary. How a group of World War II veterans invaded the National Mall today, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper on Capitol Hill. Back to our big story, the government shutdown and the bickering behind me in a moment, but first, in our "World Lead," if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. That from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today in front of the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu said you can lose the tough talk and the members only jacket, but he's not buying for a second the words coming from the new Iranian president's mouth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I know Rouhani doesn't sound like Ahmadinejad, but when it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this. Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The Israeli leader also stressed that Iranian president serve the same quote, "unforgiving regime where the supreme leader has the real power." He also accused Iran of having a hand in the carnage going on in Syria.

If a U.S. diplomat and embassy officials had any question as to whether they had worn out their welcome in Venezuela, perhaps the country's president shouting "Yankees go home" on live TV sent the message loud and clear. President Maduro wants to expel three Americans from the country after accusing them of plotting to quote, "sabotage the economy."

Maduro claims he has proof of this plot, but he didn't bothering to actually offer any up. The U.S. embassy denies the claim and says it has not received any official notice from Venezuela other than, of course, the country's president freaking out on live television.

The "Money Lead" now, who knew Barilla was Italian for foot in mouth? The president of the pasta company is once again apologizing for comments he made about same sex couples and he's also pledging to meet with gay groups in a new video posted on the company's Facebook page.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the reaction around the world to my words, which have impressed and saddened me. It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family. In the coming weeks, I pledge to meet representatives of the groups that best represent the evolution of the family. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Last week, the Barilla president told an Italian radio station that he would not do ads featuring same sex couples because he prefers the traditional family. The comments sparked backlash both in the U.S. and abroad with some pushing for a boycott of Barilla and others starting online petitions to get the pasta removed from store shelves. One petition already has more than 100,000 signatures.

The national memorials are all shutdown, but a group of World War II veterans pushed their way through. Why didn't anyone stop them? Would you really want to be the one to tell these men, no?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: National parks are closed including the memorials here in Washington, D.C., but that couldn't stop a group of World War II veterans today. Is it the start of civil disobedience in the face of this partial government shutdown?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: The beautiful capitol dome on a wonderful October afternoon in Washington, D.C. Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm here live on Capitol Hill where lawmakers do not seem any closer to an agreement that would end the partial government shutdown. If there's one group who you think would have very little patience for all this dysfunction, well, it's the men and women who have served our country so dutifully and sacrificed so much, our nation's veterans.

Take a look at what happened today at the World War II Memorial when veterans of that war showed up only to discover it had been barricaded because of the shutdown. The vets moved the blockade then continued on to pay their respects.

THE LEAD's Erin McPike is live at the World War II Memorial. Erin, I understand the memorial's a federal site, but it's in a public space. Why would anyone put barricades up there to begin with?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you can see some of these barricades here. The National Park Service explained to me yesterday that if there was a government shutdown as we now have, barricades had to go up around all these monuments, in part because they can't have staffers here to protect people in case anything happens and here's what she said today when people did start showing up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL JOHNSON, SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL MALL AND MEMORIAL PARKS: -- to see this memorial, the park service did not want to barricade these, but unfortunately, we have been directed because of the lack of appropriations to close all facilities and grounds. I know that this is an open air memorial, but we have people on staff who are CPR trained, who we want to make sure that we have maintenance crew to take care of any problems. What we're trying to do is protect this resource for future generations. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MCPIKE: Now, a number of lawmakers were really upset about this, because the honor flags from certain states that had veterans of World War II were already on their way to come see this memorial. One of those flights came from Iowa, which as you know, Jake, has a bipartisan congressional delegation, so Democratic Senator Tom Harkin came here today and said I will remove these barricades myself if no one else does it.

Also, Republican Congressman Steve King was here and he was blaming the shutdown of this particular memorial on the White House. Also, this obviously upset more members of Congress today and I want to read you a couple of tweets today and you can see what an impact this made.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the House GOP's fundraising arm, took to Twitter to say Democrats shutdown World War II Memorial, greatest generation storms through anyway, then they began circulating a petition to say tell the Democrats to reopen this memorial.

Also, Sherrod Brown, a Democratic senator from Ohio, as you know, Jake, people have been saying members of Congress are getting their pay while federal workers aren't, he twittered to say World War II vets shouldn't face closed memorials during shutdown. I will donate my pay to honor flight networks. So obviously people are having a bit of an impact on this -- Jake.

TAPPER: Indeed. Erin McPike, thank you so much.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'll be back right here on CNN tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for a special program, "Shutdown Showdown." I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."