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Government Shutdown Continues; Interview with Congressman Michael Grimm; Obamacare Online Exchanges Open, Glitches Abound

Aired October 2, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, hump day, October 2nd, 7:00 in the east. Coming up this hour, bad case of the hiccups for Obamacare. An important component of the new health care law got off to a glitchy start. But did a good night's sleep help? We'll take a look at that.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, have you seen this video? Close your eyes if you're scared of heights and crazy things. A man flying through a mountain gap on a wing suit and a prayer. We'll talk to the daredevil himself.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know how you feel about Justin Bieber but a lot of folks are not happy with his latest tweet. They want to know why he can't walk up the Great Wall of China on his own two feet? We'll try to explain all of this as best we can ahead on NEW DAY.

CUOMO: As long as his pants are up.


PEREIRA: Then you're OK with it.

CUOMO: That's exactly right.

PEREIRA: Keep your pants up, you're good.

CUOMO: That's right.

But first, it is day two of the government shutdown, and one thing is certain, members of congress, still getting paid -- 800,000 federal employers, not so much. The only thing really picking up steam in the shutdown is the rhetoric, both parties engaging in an all-out public relations assault on each other. But could there be a ray of hope from within the GOP itself? And 31 hours now into the mix, we head to Washington where Brianna Keilar has the latest. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. Now the shutdown is affecting President Obama's foreign travel. He was supposed to go to Asia next week for four stops. Well, last night he called the leaders of the Philippines as well as Malaysia to let them know he would not be making those two stops. His visit to this point to Indonesia and Brunei, where he is planning to attend summits, still on, at least right now as the showdown over the shutdown continues.


KEILAR: The impasse in Congress is no closer to being resolved this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion to table is agreed to.

KEILAR: With nearly 800,000 federal employees off their jobs for a second day, President Obama is blaming Tea Party Republicans for shutting down the government over their objections to Obama care.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They demanded ransom just for doing their job.

KEILAR: He's urging Congress to act.

OBAMA: Allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work.

KEILAR: Tuesday night, house Republicans tried to fund the government piecemeal, starting with veterans, national parks, and the city of Washington, D.C.

REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: We're ready to talk. And they have rejected that. We have to send that back every day.

KEILAR: Their first attempt failed, most Democrats voting no.

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is a waste of time. It's not going any place.

KEILAR: What's worse, we're about to hit the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew again warned Congress if it doesn't raise the U.S.'s ability to pay its debts, it will default October 17th. GOP leaders blame Democrats for refusing to sit down and negotiate.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: My goodness, they won't even sit down and have a discussion.

KEILAR: President Obama said his signature program isn't up for discussion.

OBAMA: The affordable care act is still open for business and it is here to stay.

KEILAR: Frustrated taxpayers made sure their voices were heard, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are tired of a Congress that can't govern this country. You guys are worthless!


KEILAR: And a new CNN/ORC poll out this morning showing how much work President Obama has to do when it comes to talking to Americans about the debt ceiling. While 56 percent said not voting to increase the debt ceiling would be bad, 38 percent, Kate, said it would be good. So he'll be trying obviously to do a whole lot of education between now and October 17th.

BOLDUAN: That is the number that everyone in Congress should be worried about right now. Brianna, thank you very much.

While lawmakers continue their risky game of chicken with the U.S. economy this morning, hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers are facing a second day without pay. They're furious and they want Congress to know they're not too thrilled about being labeled nonessential. Rene Marsh continues their coverage live from the world war II memorial in Washington. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Right where I'm standing some dramatic moments just yesterday, and it all had to do with that government shutdown. We'll show you that in just a second. But in the meantime, as those lawmakers continue to play politics on Capitol Hill, some families are feeling the real-life consequences of the shutdown.


CROWD: We all are essential.

MARSH: Day two of the shutdown.


MARSH: Outrage across the country, already reaching a fever pitch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is angry. I mean, angry.

LINDA LAUGHLIN, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL EMPLOYEE: I came here to work today and I'm not allowed to. I'm not essential. None of us are. I'm doing the walk of shame.

MARSH: More than 800,000 federal employees likely taking that same walk or drive.

NATASHA ROZEN, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL EMPLOYEE: This in my hand is a notice of furlough that all employees were given this morning.

MARSH: Natasha Roger is now a furloughed census bureau employee supporting a five-year-old daughter.

What do you tell your daughter at this point?

ROZEN: She's too young to understand what's going on. I try not to -- I try to get her to understand that finances are going to be a little difficult for mom and dad.

MARSH: Also in jeopardy, hundreds of patients, including children with cancer who will have to wait until after the shutdown to start clinical trials with the National Institutes of Health, our nation's capital looking more like a ghost town.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Here at the Pentagon, a lot of empty hallways. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he's got the authority to bring back thousands of furloughed civilian workers who support the troops doing everything from purchasing the weapons to helping them with housing. And key house Republicans agree. Now the question, will the White House sign off?

MARSH: A question these World War II veterans aren't waiting to be answered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going in, brother.

MARSH: Despite the government shutdown, these veterans didn't let their patriotism get shut out. Moving past the barricades to their marching song, these vets, some in wheelchairs, kept their plans of visiting the World War II memorial on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, thousands of preschoolers are at home instead of in classrooms.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm in a classroom at the Head Start center in Brooksville, Florida, where 135 children from low- income families are provided with education, nutrition, and even health care. Their families got this notification today, that because of the government shutdown, this facility is going to be closed as of Friday.

MARSH: Doors are potentially closing at service academy stadiums, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard suspending their football games this weekend if the government is still shut down. An extended shutdown could jeopardize two Notre Dame football games that affect the team's chances of making it to a bowl game.


MARSH: All right, the FAA also forced to furlough aviation security inspectors. Those are the people overseeing pilots, as well as the airplanes that we fly on. They're making sure those airplanes are properly maintained. So all around, bad situation for these federal workers.

CUOMO: Rene, so the question is how do we end it? Word comes that there are a handful, a dozen actually, of Republicans in the House that say they would vote for a clean vote without touching Obamacare. One of those representatives is Michael Grimm, a Republican from New York. He joins us from Capitol Hill. Congressman, thank you for being on NEW DAY.

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM, (R) NEW YORK: Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: All right, so do I have it right? What are you saying you would do here in terms of helping to get the government out of the shutdown?

GRIMM: Well, one, play a leadership role in putting together a bunch of pragmatic members to try to come up with a solution for this. At this point there's no easy solution. Both sides have dug in. The Democrat side won't discuss anything at all. They won't even have a discussion. Republicans are now in a position where they don't want to cave in because it sets a bad precedent that the Senate would be somewhat dictating how the House runs. So it is untenable.

That is why I think we'll need a coalition of members to finally say, listen, the most important thing here are those people that aren't going to work today, that have bills to pay, that can barely make ends meet, those that have small children. They don't know what to tell them. That's what's important to the American people, not our egos or our poll numbers. All of that is completely irrelevant. We need to put our country first and take care of those that have been taking care of us.

And there's no such thing as a nonessential employee. I started in the governments is a GS-5 making 30 something thousand dollars a year. I hate to think that what I did for the government wasn't essentially. So I want to say to all of those people, you are essential to me. If anyone is not essential, it's the U.S. congress.

CUOMO: Strong words from a congressman. Let me ask you, is there a feeling within your party that's growing that we overplayed this? We pushed it too far? The shutdown was too heavy for what we wanted to achieve politically?

GRIMM: I think there's been a group of us from the beginning that said from day one we do not want a shutdown. Are we frustrated? Absolutely. This has been brewing for over three years. There's two parts to this. OK, this is being lost with so much chatter. The true message hasn't been here.

There's two problems. Number one, within my own conference, obviously everyone knows we have a far right faction that we have to deal with and we have to unify. So that's one challenge for the Republican Party.

But on the other side, the Democrats for over three years now and Harry Reid have really not had active listening sessions. They haven't sat down and discussed some of the bigger issues of budgets and so on. It's not just Obamacare. As we face the debt ceiling, there are some major budget concerns that have been tabled by the Senate over and over again. And we have to sit down and have a real adult conversation about those things, and they haven't been doing that.

So I think that it's frustration on the Republican side. But there's enough blame to go around here. The other thing is the president. The president needs to stop giving speeches and taking sides at all. He needs to lead and sit down and say, OK, leaders of the House, the Senate, on both sides of the aisle need to come to the White House, let's sit down and have a grown-up discussion. And he hasn't done that. So I'm a little disappointed in the lack of leadership all the way around.

GRIMM: But let's get back to what you can do and your party to help steer this in a different direction. Do you think you'll get a chance to vote on a bill that funds the government and then you deal with Obamacare down the road or in some other way? Do you think the speaker will put up a vote like that, because the word is that he didn't night before the shutdown? Do you think you'll get the chance?

GRIMM: I certainly hope so. And that's our goal. My goal is to work with members like Peter King and others to put a coalition together, you know, Charlie Dent has been at the forefront of this as well, to work with members like that, to get enough members to go to leadership and saying with, listen, this is where we think we should go and this is our strategy.

But all we can do is try. I'm willing to do that. There are many members that are going to make that push. But there are other opportunities here. When the Senate says they won't discuss anything at all -- we know we're on top of the debt ceiling vote. There is a strong possibility if they were willing to sit down and listen to us that we would put a package together and solve the problems at once, so we can get the government funded, stop the shutdown, and also deal with the debt ceiling so we don't have another crisis a week or two away from now. That's the type of leadership this country needs and deserves and that's the type of leadership that people that are out of work are expecting. That's what we're going to try to do.

CUOMO: Well, the question that looms, though, is that if it's just this little slice of your party you say is pushing an extreme or a fringe idea, why are you listening to it so much within your party? Why is what you're calling a small group allowed to dictate the action of the entire conference?

GRIMM: Well, there's several things. You can't look at this in a vacuum. If we look what happened over the last couple years, several times we've tried to mac a deal with the Democrat side to say, listen, we'll ignore a certain part of our conference and we're going to work with you to pass a bill in a bipartisan way. The farm bill is a perfect example. We worked for months and months in a bipartisan manner to come up with a bill that both Republicans and Democrats would support. We knew there would be a portion of our Congress that wouldn't support it. Five minutes before the vote, the Democrats pulled their support and made the bill go down just in an effort to play politics and make Republicans look as if we weren't in control of the House.

That's the problem. They say all the right things on the camera, but at the end they just want to play politics. And I really believe, unfortunately they want this shutdown a little bit because politically they believe it helps them. They're not looking to come to the table for a bipartisan effort. They're looking for opportunities to score political points, and that's not helpful right now. So we have two problems, one on the left, one on the right. But I think the American people are expecting us to find solutions to the problems. That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

CUOMO: All right, just to get a quick confirmation, you did say in there that you see the debt ceiling differently, that you know within the GOP that you can't mess with the debt ceiling the way you did with the shutdown, yes?

GRIMM: I think there is some -- let me be very clear. There are some that would absolutely deal with it the same way.

CUOMO: Oh, no.

GRIMM: I think there are enough of us, though, that understand we cannot fool around with the full faith and credit of the United States. That's my point. That's two weeks away. Do we have to wait until the two weeks, until the deadline, the night before to deal with it? Why not deal with it right now? Let's get everything done and finished so that there's certainty in the markets and that the American people are wondering are we going to go from a shutdown to failing on our credit?

So, again, I don't think this is a situation we should leave till the last minute. We should be leading on these issues now. But if you're going to dance, you have to have a partner. The Democrats will have to sit down at the table, Harry Reid will have to have a conversation at least to start this thing off and look if we can avoid dealing with a debt ceiling crisis, which is where we're leading right now.

CUOMO: Congressman Grimm, thank you for joining us today. Hopefully your voice is heard.

GRIMM: Thank you.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Chris.

Breaking overnight, two suspicious packages forcing police to shutdown Jacksonville international airport for nearly five hours. "EARLY START" anchor John Berman has been tracking the developments for us. A strange situation.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Very strange, Kate, and also really difficult for hundreds of air travelers who spent hours stuck on planes and on the tarmac. That's one authorities decided to shut the airport down. Hundreds more had to be evacuated from the terminals. And now there is word this morning of an arrest, one person in custody.


BERMAN: A heart stopping scene, followed by chaos.

JENNIFER ALEXANDER, AIRLINE PASSENGER: I didn't really hear too much. Everybody started running. A lot of people that worked at the counters started ducking behind where the packages go and everybody started running, saying to get out.

BERMAN: And then hours of waiting. The Jacksonville International Airport was entirely shutdown last night after authorities uncovered two suspicious packages. A tweet from airport officials read, "due to police activity, regarding suspicious packages, Jacksonville Airport has been evacuated. Please check with airline for flight updates." Authorities say the packages were uncovered in two separate locations. One in the airport garage, and one in the airport terminal itself, and at least one of them was potentially dangerous.

SHANNON HARTLEY, JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF'S OFFICE: It was a device that, you know, certainly had some destructive nature to the degree that it needed to be taken offsite to be rendered safe, which is what we did.

BERMAN: Overnight officials said they had no knowledge of any arrests, but "The Florida Times Union" reports that witnesses saw two men being taken into custody. Passenger Eric Sullivan believes he saw one of the incidents.

ERIC SULLIVAN, AIRLINE PASSENGER: We saw them arrest the guy earlier, throw the guy down to the ground right in front of us at the garage. That kind of started a very long wait.

BERMAN: This picture from the airport shows at least one man on the ground surrounded by police officers. As for the hundreds of stranded passengers left at the paralyzed airport --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody was lined up. They said, okay, we have the buses. We're going to take you out of here 30 at a time and there's about 300 of us. Everybody looked around, who goes, what's the deal.


BERMAN: No word whether those men you saw in police are being detained by police, or are actually any of the men who are now in custody. One man is now apparently in custody under arrest. The FBI has joined the investigation this morning. So far, no details about what they found inside the packages they're calling destructive or, again, no word yet on the identity of the person in custody.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll just keep following it. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: That's one of the stories we're following. A lot of news this morning. Let's get right to Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, here we go. Good morning to you at home. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not buying the softer tone from Iran's new president. Addressing the United Nations, Netanyahu called Hassan Rouhani a wolf in sheep's clothing saying his attitude is a ruse and a ploy to buy time to develop nuclear weapons. Netanyahu urged the international community not to let up on pressure on Tehran until it fully dismantles its nuclear program.

A vigil last night for a Colorado family killed when a rock slide buried a hiking trail. The bodies of Dwayne and Donna Johnson, their daughter and two of donna's nephews were dug out from the rubble in a dangerous recovery operation. Some of those boulders weighing 100 tons. Another daughter, Gracie, survived. Authorities believe her father shielded her and saved her life. Authorities say that trail is no longer safe and want it closed permanently. A Colorado teen pleading guilty to kidnapping and killing a 10-year- old girl, Jessica Ridgeway. Days before his trial was set to begin, 18-year-old Austin Sigg's plea deal covers a total of 15 charges. He faces life in prison. The D.A. says he'll push for no chance of parole. Ridgeway disappeared October 5th of last year. Some of her remains were found in a remote area and later in Sigg's home.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on trial, he's facing insider trading charges. During opening statements yesterday, a government lawyer told jurors Cuban's drive to win led him to cheat by using insider information to sell stock in an internet company. Cuban's lawyer claims the government's key witness is lying and insists prosecutors can't prove a lick of their case.

I've shown you pictures of dogs surfing before. Can you get enough, though? We want to show you the fifth annual Surf City Surf Dog surfing competition in beautiful Huntington Beach, California over the weekend. There was a fashion show and costume contest. Dogs and owners hitting the water for beautiful weather.

CUOMO: Walking the board.

PEREIRA: I cannot confirm or deny reports that I may or may not know some of the dogs. I feel like I know the dogs in all the videos.

CUOMO:Because it happens to happen. I think the bulldog has an unfair advantage.

PEREIRA: Lower center of gravity.


PEREIRA: That's the thing, September and October in California is just -- I know, let's not go there.

BOLDUAN: Unbiased opinion.

PEREIRA: I'm telling you, that's the time of year to go.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is the best time to go. I get my sister to come out. Do not leave the beach in September. People do not know that.

It will be gorgeous today. Talking about beautiful weather on the east coast, too. No, we are not leaving you out. Temperatures are good, 10, 15 degrees above normal. All the way through Friday, normal temperature in New York City should be 69. Today we're calling for 84 degrees. Spectacular all over again. Cincinnati even looking for 80s today.

Now there will be some rain in the forecast. Gradually you can see there is a low back here. As this front makes its way across, we start to see the showers, kind of in the Midwest, more in towards tomorrow and we'll see that same system, if it does hold together move into the northeast mid-Atlantic, bringing up a couple showers in that region. The big story a lot of people are focusing on is something that will be going on into the Atlantic. In the Caribbean right now, a 30 percent chance for development. I want to show you the spaghetti models. It will show you what the weather models predict this guy could go if it develops. It looks like it has a chance for development. Some of the models bring it into the Yucatan, others bring it into the Gulf by the weekend. That's something we'll be monitoring, just to show you even though we've passed peak season, it doesn't mean that we do not still have a chance for tropical storms developing later in the season.

BOLDUAN: All right. Thank you so much, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a bumpy start for Obamacare. The big rollout plagued by glitches and error messages. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is taking to the CNN express to get you answers.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a case of extreme road rage captured on video. Police say the man pointing a gun at another driver is a doctor. How this ugly episode turned out, ahead on NEW DAY.


BOLDUAN: The president's new healthcare law launched on Tuesday and millions flooded online to the federal site handling the insurance exchanges, but the first day's rollout was anything but a huge success. Technical problems threw a wrench in the system, preventing some people from comparing plans and getting rate quotes, even simply signing up. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the CNN EXPRESS bus tour, he's in Kentucky this morning. Good morning, Sanjay. Supposed to have a better day today?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what they're saying, Kate. The proof will be in the pudding obviously. They expect that even in Kentucky that things improve by afternoon yesterday. It's not clear that they did.

I'll tell you, Kate, this is an interesting state. You have a Democratic governor, and then you have two very Republican senators, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, who are not here, they're in Washington presumably trying to get the government restarted.

I don't think they were immune to some of the same problems that we saw, Kate, take a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): Eight AM, eastern, the doors fling open on the new marketplace where millions of Americans should be able to sign up for health insurance but within minutes, thud. The site started going down, overwhelmed they say by heavy traffic.

New York state, internal service error. Washington state, same thing.

The federal Web site is handling signup for 36 states, including Pennsylvania. That's where 25-year-old Lauren Hartley tried to sign up.

LAUREN HARTLEY, LAW STUDENT: And then on the third page, it asks for security questions, but the page just wasn't populated. There's some sort of technical glitch and it wasn't working.

GUPTA: By midday, both the president and his critics were weighing in.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Like every new law, every new product rollout, there are going to be glitches in the signup process along the way that we will fix. I've been saying this from the start. And we're going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected.

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: In a system that's full of glitches, I think that's the word most frequently being used today, glitches means it's not working. I don't think those glitches get any better over the next few weeks.

HOWARD STOVALL, BUSINESS OWNER: What's going to go on this one now?

GUPTA: In Lexington, Kentucky, 62-year-old Howard Stovall runs a business making signs.

STOVALL: Healthcare cost, obviously, like everybody, has been going up every year. This year, if we do nothing and keep the same plan, it will be about a 30 percent increase.

GUPTA: He's got high hopes for Obamacare.

STOVALL: We're expecting to have a lot more variety in what's available to us and what's available to our employees.

GUPTA: It's 3:00. He decides to take a crack to see what he can buy for his workers and for himself.

STOVALL: This was the Kentucky site, click on the individual's plan. So yes, I have an error. It says we can call customer service, but I think we'd probably get a busy signal right now.

We have been at it for a while here. I'm still very hopeful long term but we haven't gotten any real information yet. We've gotten errors and road blocks and some confusing requests to download software.

GUPTA: He wasn't alone. In fact, in South Carolina, on day one, I talked to nearly 100 people on day one, and not one of them was able to get on the signup site.


GUPTA: About 3 million people, Kate, we hear around the entire country were visiting the site, some of them trying to register in Kentucky which is a state-run site only about 2, 900 people were able to fill out those applications. Again, not what you expect. It is worth pointing out again, Kate, we talked about this yesterday, you and I, but it was day one yesterday, open enrollment for this Affordable Care Act, that continues six months till the end of March. These people are going to have many more shots at it, Kate.

BOLDUAN: And we'll see if day two goes smoother than day one. As you said, they have six months to work this out all along the way. We're talking a lot obviously for good reason, about many people signing up for the healthcare exchanges. What are the other concerns you're hearing from folks as the healthcare plan is rolling out?

GUPTA: There's a lot of confusion still. Any time people are signing up for insurance plans it's confusing. It's confusing for you and me with our own insurance plans. Many of the people are signing up for the first time. I will point out something else. I think a state like Kentucky, for example, U.P.S is based here. And we know U.P.S. is a company, for example, has decided to look at their population of workers who they insure and decided to drop about 15,000 spouses.

So many of these big companies are covered, your spouse is also covered, they say about 15,000 of those spouses will no longer be covered under U.P.S.'s insurance policy. They're doing that because those spouses can get insurance elsewhere, but it's a little bit of a hint at what's happening I think in many big companies saying if you're a part-time worker, we're no longer offering premiums, changing plans, this sort of thing. That's the concern you're hearing as well. Keep in mind again, Kentucky is a state divided. Part of the reason we're here. Democratic governor, Republican senators. They're interested to see how things play out here. They'll let you know what people are saying on the ground.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It's a state divided politically, which only, I'm sure, adds to the confusion for many folks in that state as we've seen also around the country. Thank you so much.

GUPTA: A lot (pg) of messages here.

BOLDUAN: A lot of messages, and many of them, mixed messages.