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Government Shutdown; New Info on Capitol Hill Chase; Interview With Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling; Psych Meds Found in D.C. Chase Driver's Home; Counting the Obamacare Enrollees

Aired October 4, 2013 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So I'm to understand now that there are Democrats and Republicans who think that they are winning in the shutdown. So does that make the 800,000 furloughed Americans the losers?

I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.

The national lead, out to lunch. President Obama grabs a bite because it's not like there's a functioning government to run anyway. Meanwhile, both sides think they're winning this debate, which makes you wonder what dictionary they're using.

Also in national news, why did she do it? A mother shot dead after ramming into barricades at the White House, her young child in the car with her. Today, new clues about the mental state of Miriam Carey.

And the administration loves comparing Obamacare to Apple, but in terms of product rollouts, this has probably been more like Apple Maps than the iPhone 5s. We would love to tell you how many people have managed to sign up on the Obamacare exchanges, but the White House says they have no idea.

Good afternoon, everyone. We're coming to you today again from the Capitol Building here in Washington, D.C., where we will begin, of course, with the national lead.

In it to win it. We're at day four of the partial government shutdown and rather than worrying about how much of the American public's faith is being lost by the minute, both sides are talking like they're Vince Lombardi. "The Wall Street Journal" quotes a senior administration official as saying -- quote -- "We are winning. It doesn't really matter to us how long the shutdown lasts, because what matters is the end result."

The White House disavowed the notion that it doesn't care when the shutdown ends, but House Speaker John Boehner exploded over that quote at a morning press conference, saying -- quote -- "This isn't some damn game" -- unquote.

Well, maybe Speaker Boehner should tell that to his fellow Republicans, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky caught on a hot mike using similar language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think if we keep saying, we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, and now we're willing to compromise on this, I think they can't -- we're going to, I think -- well, I know we don't want to be here, but we're going to win this, I think.


TAPPER: Like I said, in it to win it. Think back to February 2011, if you will indulge me for a moment, because I think I know, I think, where both sides got their definition of winning.


CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: By winning, I win here and win there. Now what? I got tiger blood, man, love it violently and defend it violently through violent hatred.


TAPPER: Ah, violent hatred, indeed.

If only the shutdown rhetoric could be as coherent as that of Charlie Sheen. On the Senate floor today, Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was time to lower the temperature.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I will work harder and I hope my senators will work to their best to maintain these habits of civility and decorum going forward.


TAPPER: All right. Tone it down. Show some respect. Senators Ted Cruz and Dick Durbin responded by getting into a passive-aggressive scrap.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Now, I thank my friend from Illinois for making clear that the members of the reserve components of our armed forces, in his judgment, are not worthy of being paid during this shutdown that the Democrats have forced.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), MAJORITY WHIP: I would say to my colleague from Texas, some of the language which he has used in this debate relative to impugning the motives of other members may have crossed the line. I'm not going to raise it at this point, but I ask him to be careful in the future.


TAPPER: Ah, yes, the distinguished gentleman from across the aisle should go suck eggs. Good talk, guys.

So is there anything, anything we can point to here and call progress? Let's go to our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, here on the Hill.

Dana, we have also got the debt ceiling to worry about. We will hit that in less than two weeks. What are you hearing from Democratic sources about when the Senate is going to move on to that issue?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Earlier I was told that they could do it as soon as next week, but now I'm told that they are likely to wait until the following week. Why? Because it is closer to that October 17 deadline, and the theory and the strategy now is that it's better to wait because they're more likely to get some maybe Republican votes and some maybe squishy Democratic votes, those who are up for reelection who are worried about voting for what the president is demanding, that clean debt ceiling increase.

They do expect that they will need that magic 60 votes because there's definitely going to be a Republican filibuster on a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, but the closer they get to that date, they think, the better off they are of getting something passed, because people are going to be so afraid of defaulting.

TAPPER: Dana, there has been a lot of talk about what House Speaker John Boehner is saying about raising the debt ceiling. Obviously, he is against defaulting on the bills that the Congress has already accrued, and that could be, people are forecasting, disastrous for the economy, disastrous for the Dow Jones industrial average.

What is he saying behind closed doors about this?

BASH: Well, I was told that in a meeting that he had with his rank and file, the whole Republican Caucus this morning, it was clear that he was at least feeling or hearing some pushback, maybe not in that room, but elsewhere, from what CNN has been reporting, "The New York Times," about the fact that he has said privately that he may be willing to raise the debt ceiling with Democratic help, maybe not the majority of Republicans, which is what he's doing now, which is why the government is still shut down.

He said that he's not going to roll over. He is going to demand an extraction of some kind of issue that would chip away at the debt and he's not going to do anything like what the Senate Democrats are going to do, a clean bill to raise the debt limit. That was definitely something that, as you can imagine, was met with a big round of applause from his Republican rank and file.

TAPPER: All right, Dana Bash, thank you so much.

The last time we faced a debt ceiling deadline was back in 2011. Even though Congress reached an agreement in time, the 11th-hour decision had a lasting impact on the economy, according to the Treasury Department. The stock market fell 17 percent. Household wealth declined by more than $2 trillion and retirement accounts took a major hit, falling $800 billion. That's billion with a B.

So is there any chance we can avoid another risky standoff this time around?

Joining me now is Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling. He's chairman of the Financial Services Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here.

I want to talk about the government shutdown in a minute, but let's talk about the debt ceiling, which I think we can all agree is probably a more dire situation, if we were going to actually default on our loans.

What do you need, what do House Republicans need to agree to raise the debt ceiling and pay the bills that Congress already racked up?

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Well, first thing we need to do is have the president sign the Full Faith and Credit Act, HR-807.

TAPPER: That would do what?

HENSARLING: What it would do would ensure that the United States of America could never default on its debt, that bonds, federal bonds, we would always pay interest and principal. We have already passed it in the House. All we need is for Harry Reid to take it up and for the president to sign it. That's the good news.

The bad news is the president has already issued a veto threat. So, Jake, it's hard to come to any other conclusion besides that the president somehow wants to keep this hostage for his spending agenda and his other legislative priorities.


TAPPER: What's the reason he gave for the veto threat? Why won't he sign -- I'm not familiar with this legislation. So, why won't he sign it?

HENSARLING: Well, Americans ought to be familiar with this legislation, because, again, it is absolutely inexcusable for the United States to ever default on sovereign debt. It would have cataclysmic...


TAPPER: So, why not just raise the debt ceiling? I don't understand.


HENSARLING: Why not ensure, why not ensure it ever happens?

I can tell you, I don't know. You know, I don't speak for the president. I suppose we could go ask him.

TAPPER: But does it institute automatic spending cuts? What's the reason he opposed it?

HENSARLING: No. No. It simply takes it off the calculation. It takes it off the calculation.

So, again, you would have to ask him, and I encourage you to ask people in the White House why they won't take up this legislation and then we would never have to worry about it. But here's the deal. The Constitution says it is Congress that has the power of the purse. And what House Republicans feel is, it's not the power of the purse. The president wants us to have the power of the rubber stamp.

But in an economy with tens of millions underemployed, unemployed, lackluster economic growth, at a time when we have had more debt in four years than our nation's first 200, no, House Republicans are not going to rubber-stamp what the president is going to do. We're ready to negotiate, but I think we're through negotiating with ourselves, and we have yet, yet to have the president of the United States or Senator Harry Reid say we will sit down and negotiate economic growth...


TAPPER: Wait a second. The Senate passed a budget in March, and the House has refused to send conferees to sort it out.

HENSARLING: We have got conferees appointed now. Happy to talk about the budget.

TAPPER: You have conferees to talk about the government shutdown. That's a...

HENSARLING: Happy to bring on the budget. But you're talking about an institution that disobeyed the law for four years running, didn't even pass a budget. Now they're going to lecture us about procedure? I find that a little bit ironic.


Let's move on to the government shutdown. The House Republicans are now setting a precedent. And I want to know, how will you feel in this hypothetical I'm about to throw out? Democrats control the House, Republicans control the Senate and the White House. Democrats say, we're not going to fund the government, we're not going to raise the debt ceiling unless you agree to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent up to 50 percent?

That's a fair tactic with you?

HENSARLING: Well, again, Congress has the power of the purse. What I would hope is they would sit down and negotiate in good faith, which is what we have offered to do. House Republicans...


TAPPER: You want to take away the president's signature legislation. You're doing it the way you're doing it with the government shutdown and with the debt ceiling, potentially, because you don't have the votes in the Senate to do it.

HENSARLING: Well, there's two different issues here.

Number one, let's talk about the president's signature legislation. No, Republicans are never going to give up on trying to have patient- centered health care for America, and not government-controlled health care.

TAPPER: But we're not talking about that right now. I'm not even talking about Obamacare.


HENSARLING: You brought it up.

TAPPER: It's a good debate to have. But we're talking about the tactic. We're not debating Obamacare, because we would be -- I would be happy to debate Obamacare, and we have done shows on it, and we will be talking later in the show about the rollout of Obamacare.

But we're talking about the tactic of House Republicans saying, we don't like this law, we don't have the votes to get rid of it in the Senate, but -- so we're going to force the government to shut down.


HENSARLING: OK, but let me finish.

Number one, we have already offered continuing resolutions to keep the government open that I would think even your network would admit probably funds 98 percent to 99 percent of what the administration has asked for. That's my first point.

My second point was, the Democrats worked for probably two generations to get their health care bill and Republicans are just supposed to shut up after three years? I don't think so.

Listen, I understand how the law is written, and without Obama's signature, Obamacare is not going away. So we put four different offers on the table, Jake. I think you know this. And the last one simply said, listen, we don't believe in Obamacare, but if it's the law of the land, apply it equally to all Americans.

Don't give labor unions and big business a one-year reprieve that you're not going to give workers.

TAPPER: So, delay the individual mandate for a year.

HENSARLING: And, you know, if there's anything that makes Americans cynical, it's Washington elites passing laws that they are unwilling to live under.

Why wasn't the president the first one to sign up for Obamacare? Why isn't the president, the vice president, the Cabinet, the White House subject to this? Members of Congress are, but then they first are going to be the only Americans to have an employer contribution in the individual market. Now they have moved us to the small business market. I don't know if this is legal, but Americans believe that if we're going to have Obamacare, it at least ought to be applied equally, no special deals. And so that's what we're asking for.

TAPPER: I want to talk about that and I want to give you a chance to respond, because PolitiFact looked into what you said about the -- quote, unquote -- "special exemption."

PolitiFact said it's a Pants on Fire lie. They say -- quote -- "Your statement is wrong in almost every regard, and the issue has been largely driven by Republicans, not by the Obama administration." The members of Congress, especially Speaker Boehner, it has been well reported, was pushing for the ability for members of Congress to at least offer some sort of stipend to staffers to help pay for Obamacare, if they are forced into these exchanges.

HENSARLING: Listen, at the time I made any statement about this, OPM, which I don't believe is doing it in a legal fashion, said that members of Congress were going to be the only people in the individual pool who had an employer contribution. That's a fact. So I'm unfamiliar with what these people are saying.


TAPPER: OK. Well, both PolitiFact and "The National Review," hardly a liberal publication, have said -- "The National Review" says that people who happen to be paid by the federal Treasury don't deserve to have the entire value of their existing coverage stripped away as almost no Americans will experience."

HENSARLING: But that's a different issue; that's a different issue.

We can debate whether or not members of Congress ought to have an employer contribution, but my point was that members of Congress are going to be the only Americans who are going to have an employer contribution in the individualized pool.

Again, now they have moved us to the small business. Last I looked, Congress wasn't a small business. I don't know if that's legal or not. I suspect it's not. I just want to make sure that people in Washington live under the same laws.

But there's a more important issue. And that is, why isn't the White House in this? Why isn't the Cabinet? Why isn't the president? Why isn't the vice president. But the bigger issue is, is that we're willing to negotiate. Bottom line is, the American people gave Democrats the White House, gave them the Senate, but they gave the House to Republicans. They expect in divided government for people to sit down and work out their differences.

We want to work with the Democrats to promote economic growth, to get our people back to work and we have got to -- you know, we can't wait until tomorrow, Jake. We can't wait until tomorrow to deal with this cycle of debt. It's not just the fiscal issue.


TAPPER: I'm not disagreeing with you on that. HENSARLING: It's a moral issue. And I say that not just as a member of Congress. I say that as the father of a 10-year-old son and 11- year-old daughter.

TAPPER: But you guys aren't talking about spending in this. You're talking about Obamacare. You're trying to get rid of Obamacare.


HENSARLING: That's not true.

TAPPER: And, by the way, your own budget keeps the savings, the deficit savings from Obamacare.

HENSARLING: No, we bring it into the budget to ensure the solvency of the program that was raided to pay for Obamacare.

This is what this is all about. Again, what we are asking for is, one, we want to negotiate. Obviously, the other party doesn't want to negotiate, and we know that the White House cynically said yesterday, and I understand they're trying to walk it back, but in one moment of candor, they said, we don't care how long the government is shut down.


HENSARLING: We don't care how long the government shutdown lasts, as long as we're winning politically.

I'm not sure that's the way the American people feel.

TAPPER: All right, well, I look forward to covering this when President Hensarling is dealing with a Democratic House holding the -- refusing to pass government spending until you raise our taxes.


HENSARLING: You clearly know something I don't know and my wife doesn't know.

TAPPER: All right, thank you, Congressman Hensarling. Appreciate the time.

HENSARLING: Thank you.

TAPPER: This programming note: Senator Ted Cruz, who some Democrats are sarcastically calling the head of the Republican Party, he will be on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY" this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Be sure to tune into that.

Coming up on THE LEAD, we are getting a clearer picture of the woman behind the Capitol Hill car chase. What did investigators find in her apartment and could it help explain her motive? That's coming up next.

Plus, the president and vice president, they take a break to grab some subs, don't pass up the chance to take a swipe at the House speaker, of course. What did the president say about John Boehner's latest comments? That's ahead.


TAPPER: The beautiful Capitol Dome here on a gorgeous October afternoon.

Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Capitol Hill.

If you'll indulge me one moment -- my brother-in-law and his wife Katie are in the hospital. She is in labor right now and he actually took the time to text me, tell me that they're watching the show. We're all thinking of you, Bob and Katie. Good luck with the little baby.

OK. Moving on to the news.

What would make a 34-year-old mother with her baby in the back seat challenge a group of armed police officers around two of the most secure buildings in the world?

It's a mystery that investigators are slowly trying to piece together after yesterday's wild chase and shooting outside the U.S. Capitol. Miriam Carey of Stamford, Connecticut, was in the car with her 1-year- old daughter when she rammed into barricades near the White House before leading police on a chase outside the Capitol. She reportedly ignored orders to get out of her car. She was shot and killed while trying to speed away. Her young daughter thankfully is unharmed.

So what could have made this woman seemingly snap? Investigators who searched her Stamford, Connecticut, home say they found medication to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And her boyfriend reportedly told police that she appeared to be, quote, "delusional."

Let's go live to CNN's Deborah Feyerick, who is in New York with the very latest.

Deborah, what do you know?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One thing we do want to tell you, Jake, is that the family of Miriam Carey actually traveled down to Washington, D.C., where you are. They identified the body within the last two hours. They're there now. They are expected to give a statement later this evening, but they are also expected to speak to CNN. We'll have that interview for you later this evening.

One clarification that we want to tell you about -- we're now learning that authorities during the search of her Stamford, Connecticut, apartment found discharge papers, and it was on those discharge papers that there were prescriptions written for two kinds of medications. One of the medications was to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The other was for an antidepressant.

It's not clear whether there was actual medication in the apartment, but we do know according to a source that the boyfriend had called police, saying that she was delusional, that she thought President Obama was surveiling her electronically and whether this is why she decided to go down to Washington to the White House, all of that under investigation right now. But again, there were certain things that were going on. The boyfriend said she had been on some medications but that she had stopped taking those medications.

Think about it. She actually packed a bag, strapped her daughter in that car, and then drove hundreds of miles down to the White House, possibly to get an audience with the president, Jake.

TAPPER: Strange.

Deb, we heard about an envelope outside Miriam Carey's apartment addressed to her boyfriend. What can you tell us about that? What's the latest on that?

FEYERICK: Well, this was an envelope. What's interesting is that apparently according to a source, there was no actual letter in the envelope. There was some sort of substance inside, a sugary substance, and it was near the door, actually. So hazmat teams were able to take the letter, bring it to the Connecticut state lab, where that is undergoing testing now.

And authorities couldn't even get in to search the apartment because they had to make sure that it was, in fact, safe. So right now, they're trying to determine exactly what the substance was in that envelope.

But again, authorities were hopeful that there may have been some sort of stated reason why she did this, but no letter in that questionable or suspicious, is what they're calling it, that suspicious envelope, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Dave, quickly, what's the status of her 1-year-old daughter? Where is she? Is she safe?

FEYERICK: Well, she is in Washington, D.C. right now. She is in the custody of Child and Family Service Agency. She went to the hospital, was checked out, released. She's with a foster family and efforts are being made now to reunite her with her real biological family, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Deborah Feyerick in New York, thank you so much.

When we come back, glitches, security issues, long waits. Why has the Obamacare rollout been so problematic? And why isn't the White House giving real information on how many people have signed up?

Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from Capitol Hill. I'm Jake Tapper.

Continuing in national news, if House conservatives hadn't decided to go after Obamacare, resulting in the government shutdown, the big story this week might have been how Obamacare staggered out of the gate. The main Web site where Americans can shop online for health insurance,, which 36 states rely upon, along with some other state Web sites -- well, they were buggy and glitchy and slow, and some crashed all together. It's been like trying to score tickets to the stones. I guess you can't always get what you want.

There have been a few White House responses to this. One is: the high demand argument. Another, the president compared these major operating problems to issues with Apple products.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just a couple weeks ago, apple rolled out a mobile operating system and within days, they found a glitch so they fixed it. I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads.


TAPPER: To that, "Washington Post" columnist Ezra Klein, who I think is fair to say is generally an enthusiastic supporter of the administration, today he wrote, quote, "The Obama administration doesn't have a basically working product that would be improved by a software update. They have a Web site that almost nobody has been able to successfully use. If Apple launched major new product that functioned as badly as Obamacare's online insurance marketplace, the tech world would be calling for Apple CEO Tim Cook's head."

So, how bad have these glitches been? It's tough to say -- mainly because trying to get concrete information, enrollment numbers from the White House, has been impossible. Almost four full days after the launch, officials are still unable or unwilling to offer all sorts of numbers that we're looking for. They are able to offer numbers about the Web site that entail unique visitors, web chats requested, but they simply claim they don't know how many people have enrolled. They also reject any suggestion that they're stonewalling because the numbers are low.

Another way President Obama has defended the rollout is by citing Kentucky's successful state-run exchange.


OBAMA: In Kentucky alone -- this is a state where -- I didn't win Kentucky. So I know they weren't doing it for me. In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days, just in one state, Kentucky.


TAPPER: The Bluegrass State has seemed to figure it out despite some early glitches, unlike dozens of other states. Kentucky does not use the federal government's crash-prone Obamacare site. And so far, more than 16,000 Kentuckyians as of today have started with almost 11,000 applications completed.

"The Wall Street Journal" looked into why Kentucky has been so successful and credited intensive testing of the system beforehand along with a focus on function over flair. While we could not get numbers for the federal site, for the 24 states that have their own exchanges, CNN could only confirm based on the states that could provide data that around 52,000 insurance applications have been started online.

We look forward to the White House sharing more information about the president's signature legislative achievement.

Coming up next, all this not negotiating with Republicans is making the president hungry. The shutdown showdown spills over into a D.C. sandwich shop.

And she's already had one dream job, undercover agent for the CIA. Now she's making it as a writer. Valerie Plame joins me live, next.