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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Shutdown and Fed Up: What Should Be Cut in Budget?

Aired October 7, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight as the shutdown enters week two, it`s official: We have now confirmed that the U.S. government has become a joke. Yes, a joke. Reduced to a punch line on "Saturday Night Live."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We don`t care. We can shut it all down now, no government around now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s funny, kind of, but not really.

These stubborn, arrogant politicians are hurting real people, like these two ladies from Louisiana I talked to just a little while ago. They`re real-estate brokers who cannot do business, because the federal mortgages they work with are frozen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do a lot of real development loans that these kids are waiting to buy their houses, and they can`t buy their houses because of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re as fed up as I am with the tired old Republican versus Democrat battle of wills. Come on. We all know it`s come down to a bunch of guys who want to save face and not be viewed as the loser, even if that means kicking our economy in the teeth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten days away from a possible economic disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress is playing with fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little patience for lawmakers bickering in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What word would you use to describe what`s happening in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hideous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vindictive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dirty.

(SFX: SIRENS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House and House Republicans are as far apart as they`ve been, partially shut down for a seventh day.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This isn`t some damn game.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you`d make better decisions, kid, than some of the guys in Capitol Hill right now.

Tonight, just in case politicians are listening, we`re going to play a game that could -- could -- get the two sides talking, if they would only play. It`s the game called "which government programs would you cut and which would you keep?"

As far as I`m concerned, the U.S. Postal Service could disappear off the face of the earth and save us all from a lot of junk mail. I want to hear from you. What would you cut? What would you keep? Call me: 1-877- JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Tonight our Lion`s Den panel is ready to debate. You know when a company is in trouble they look for things to cut. Couldn`t this be an opportunity, an opportunity to inventory our government and get rid of some aspects of it that are just not in touch with the 21st Century. Give those obstructionists at least something they can hang their hat on so they can kind of claim victory, we can all move on.

And I start with Pete Dominick, Sirius XM host.

PETE DOMINICK, SIRIUS XM HOST: Jane -- Jane, I`m going to have to go with war. How about that? Can we cut war? OK? We have a war, Afghanistan, $91 billion this year alone; 2,284 Americans have lost their lives; 19,000 have been injured. And we`re not even talking about divorce, much less traumatic brain injury. So let`s cut the war in Afghanistan. It is 12 years, this war in Afghanistan today. And nobody is talking about that. Two hundred and fifty million dollars a day, Jane.

And by the way, the post office, that`s not funded by our taxes. That`s postage stamps, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, I`m afraid to ask, former prosecutor and all-around feisty American. What would you cut and what would you keep?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, I was going to say the post office, too, because mine just drives me crazy. If they could just hire people who move faster than zombies on Quaaludes, we would be doing better there. I completely agree with you.

And there are so many things we could cut. I mean, I could imagine people on entitlement programs who are capable of working, for example, rather than just, you know, cutting their Food Stamps, how about assigning them the task of, you know, standing post at the monuments with no people and the "you can`t come in" sign?

There are studies -- studies that we could just not fund that would make us less of a laughingstock. Get this: I was doing some research before the show. We spend $5 million a year on hair care for the Senate. Are you kidding?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes.

MURPHY: Five million dollars on their hair.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what I`m saying. There are a lot of wasteful programs. To wit, I just read in the paper the other day that they`re commissioning a study that`s going to cost millions to see what`s the problem with obesity in the lesbian community, which is absolutely ridiculous, because three quarters of Americans, who are obviously not all lesbians, are overweight or obese. That`s the kind of wasteful government program.

But, you know, I get back to the first thing that I want to cut. And the first thing that I want to cut is the postal service. It`s slow. It`s inefficient. It is barely staying afloat, and a lot of people agree with me.

Listen to this. I went outside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you cut? What would you keep?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know, I`d talk about the post office. I can`t remember the last time I sent a letter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was my suggestion, because all I get in the mail is junk mail and things that I`m trying to switch over to Internet that refuse to switch over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. And it`s bad for the environment, all of that paper all over the place. So cut the post office. Who needs mail?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cut the post office. We agree. Let`s start a movement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree. We`re going to start it right here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The postal service loses billions every year, $16 billion last year alone. The agency wanted to cut Saturday delivery to save money. Congress, yes those same people, Congress, they stepped in and said no. This is like some kind of an addiction to inefficiency.

I`ve got to go back out to the Lion`s Den. Todd Jagger of Wolf-PAC, you`re an independent. What do you want to cut? Because I think the post office first on the list.

TODD JAGGER, WOLF-PAC: Well, I think the -- thank you for having me, and I think the most important thing we have to cut is corruption. That`s No. 1.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me see your card. Put your card right at the top of your face. Let me see your card. There we go.

JAGGER: We have a system that isn`t working for the American people anymore. We have -- you know Congress is fundamentally broken, and that`s because they don`t represent us. They represent the people that are writing their checks, and that`s not us. That`s the people that are funding their campaigns.

And so the sad truth is that, on the federal level, we`ve lost our representative democracy, but on the state level, democracy is alive and well. And that`s why Wolf-PAC is working on the state level to amend the Constitution for a Free and Fair Elections Amendment that will restore our representative democracy and save the Republic that our Found Fathers gave to us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Good speech. Good speech.

Lola -- all right. Enough with the speech. Lola Adesioye, social commentator and I want to hear from you. Show us your sign. Let`s give her a chance to show her sign. Put it up and tell me what you`d cut.

LOLA ADESIOYE, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: There seems to be a program of big egos that is costing American government a lot of money. I would definitely cut that as soon as possible.

No, really, tax loopholes. American tax law is complicated. It needs to be reformed and have a progressive agenda, and that is what I would like to see, the tax loopholes cut.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I love it. I love it, and I am so glad that everybody is willing to play this game. Because, let`s face it, the Republicans -- and I hate talking about Democrat and Republican. But if you could hand them something -- I don`t like to say a bone -- but give them something so they could walk away and say, "OK, we won, we cut something," because that`s what they`re really all about.

There are some things that do need to be cut. That doesn`t mean I`m an anarchist. I think Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, WIC, and we`re going to get to that in a second, because WIC will be affected in a week if they don`t agree, these knuckleheads in Congress don`t agree, WIC is going to be affected. And in fact, I think we have somebody on the phone.

Do we have Tiffanie Peterson?

Ma`am you depend on the WIC program to feed your baby. And if they do not come to an agreement in the next week, you may not be able to feed your baby? Tell us about it, Tiffanie.

CALLER: Well, they provide my son with all the necessities when it comes to baby food. And actually, thank you to the WIC program, because that`s the only reason -- I`m a nursing mother. If we`re trying to save money, you need to keep the WIC program. Because they also help you with becoming a nursing mother, which helps save the government money. So why would you want to get rid of a program that`s going to save you money?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you 100 percent.

CALLER: It doesn`t make any sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is the kind of program that is going to be cut if we do not reach an agreement soon. OK?

Here`s something I definitely want to keep: Head Start. Right now, thousands of preschoolers and their parents are suffering, and I`m talking suffering because of the shutdown. It`s forced Head Start programs across the United States to close. That`s 19,000 three- to 5-year-olds who aren`t getting the early education they need. And with that, thousands of parents now have absolutely options when it comes to childcare.

Listen to this. Then we`ll debate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a mother of two beautiful children, how do you feel about Head Start being impacted by the shutdown?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think they should shut down Head Start, because it`s not easy paying for childcare. You know, like, you`re looking for free Head Starts. And, you know, unfortunately, my daughter, she`s 3 years old, and I couldn`t afford childcare. So I`m glad that the Department of Education is allowing the children to go to school at 3 years of age, because then I wouldn`t know what to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. How is Head Start not an essential government program? Just think in terms of dollars and cents. If you take away early education, I think we all know taxpayers will ultimately spend a whole lot more dealing with kids who have troubles as adults. The dropout rate increases if you don`t have early childhood education. Statistically, they show kids who do not engage in preschool are more likely to have even problems with the criminal justice system.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, you know what I`m talking about. Why on earth wouldn`t WIC be considered an absolutely essential program?

MURPHY: Well, this is easy. Absolutely essential for early education, early good care. If we lived in a different westernized democracy that actually valued women`s lives and women`s equality, we might have corporate America providing day care in connection with the workplace, which would actually reduce costs for all moms, including moms on welfare.

But look, I am -- I am not against moms in need, but I am profoundly against a welfare system that incentivizes birthing babies as a way to get money, as a way to make a living. I want us to save money by giving poor, especially poor single mothers, especially poor single mothers in the inner cities more money for their own education if they have fewer babies.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hear from Lola. You had your say -- Lola.

MURPHY: Fewer babies.

DOMINICK: That doesn`t make any sense. That is a myth.

MURPHY: Oh, please.

DOMINICK: That is a myth, Wendy.

MURPHY: Please.

DOMINICK: Nobody has a child to get money. When you have a child that child is an expense.

MURPHY: That`s a lie.

DOMINICK: That is not true.

MURPHY: That`s a lie.

DOMINICK: People don`t have children...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

DOMINICK: ... to get assistance from the government.

MURPHY: That`s a lie.

DOMINICK: It just isn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lola. Lola.

MURPHY: That is wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. But Lola, let her have her say.

ADESIOYE: I come -- I come from a country, Great Britain, where there`s much more of a welfare state than there is in America, and there are people who, unfortunately, do do what Wendy is saying. However, it is the minority. Most people don`t want to be poor. Most people don`t want to have lots of children that they can`t pay for.

This is also something that speak to a wider issue, which is education. It`s people that are living in the cities. It`s how we deal with those. It`s children having access to education from an early age, and...

(CROSSTALK)

DOMINICK: Which is a whole economic problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I will say that it would be nice to rejigger our government for the 21st century to give corporations tax breaks to allow moms to work at home or dads to work at home. We`ve got Skype. We`ve got computers. We`ve got so many smart devices. Most of us don`t need to go on a long commute every day to get somewhere where basically we`re doing exactly what we would do at home on the computer, except that it`s tradition to drive in.

So maybe there`s ways for government to reinvent itself instead of this idiotic Republican versus Democrat endless war, a war of attrition, a war that`s going to take us all down. Why don`t we bring some new ideas to Capitol Hill and start talking about ways to partner with corporations to allow tax breaks for increased childcare so that we wouldn`t have to rely on the government?

Why don`t we partner with corporations to have kids at risk do internships and give these tax breaks to corporations who bring at-risk kids into the workplace so that they can see how the real world operates so that they have a vision of what they can be when they grow up? They`re growing up in a ghetto. They`re not going to be exposed to the business world, and they`re never going to get the chance to take the leap.

Government can do a lot to partner with corporations as opposed to allowing corporations to dictate to them exactly how they want the agencies of government to operate. We`ve got to reverse the equation.

Stay right there. We`ll be right back taking your calls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s all (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You know, power struggles, money struggles. It`s ridiculous. People are suffering. You know, so what could you say?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s face it: politics is a game, so we`re going to play, too. What would you cut? What would you keep?

What would you cut from the government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d cut out all of those congressmen who can`t get together and make a law and put it into effect. I think it`s outrageous, and they`ve got to get back to work. And they should stop making salaries until they do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you cut? What would you keep?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t really know. I don`t want to cut anything. I want us to have everything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Keep it all. Keep it all coming.

What agencies are programs would you cut and what would you keep?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut homeland security.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why`s that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d rather not say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Definitely mysterious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people are suspicious of government, like that gentleman right there. A lot of people say government is just plain unresponsive. You cannot get in touch with it.

And this is something I`ve personally experienced. Right now there`s about 50,000 wild horses broiling in U.S. government holding pens. They`ve been driven off public lands with helicopters by the Interior Department Bureau of Land Management.

Now critics say the government is in cahoots with commercial interests that want the land for their own use, be it cattle grazing or oil. Even before this shutdown, our show has repeatedly tried but failed to reach the U.S. secretary of the interior, Sally Jewell, to ask her what her long-term plans are for these poor horses. They always take us and say, "Go to the Bureau of Land Management."

Critics say that`s the problem, that sub-agency.

Now I`m getting inundated with e-mails from people worried about who`s feeding and watering those 50,000 horses that are in government holding pens. Federal government holding pens. We, our show has tried but is completely unable to get in touch with the secretary of the interior, and we`re a TV show. Imagine how hard it is for the average American to get a straight answer from our government.

And I`m going to toss it out to Wendy Murphy. You know what I`m talking about.

MURPHY: Oh, man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If a TV network cannot get in touch with the government, how can an average person?

MURPHY: You know, and I wrote in my book "And Justice for Some" exactly this concept. You know, the idea that we have a democracy is such a lie. And on the world stage it belies the idea that other countries should try to be like us. Which we keep saying all the time. Every time we go to some foreign country and blow people up, we say, you know, we`re interested in making democracies in the rest of the world, because we think they want to be like us. No, they really don`t. They would like to be functional.

This is not functional democracy. It is profoundly embarrassing. And in my book I say at one point, "Boy, if I only owned by own network." And Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, forget it.

MURPHY: ... that wouldn`t help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pete Dominick, Sirius XM host, I think you know what I`m talking about. Could you ever get anybody who`s high up in the government on the phone?

DOMINICK: As a matter of fact, I had the secretary of the interior on the program this morning, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, really?

DOMINICK: I`m kidding. I`m kidding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, did you ask her about the 50,000 wild horses?

DOMINICK: No, no, no. No, I`m kidding. No, I get congressmen on a lot and, you know, I ask them these tough questions.

But I mean, as much as I appreciate what you`re talking with the horses and I love, love, love how much you care about animals -- I think it`s so important -- but Jane, there`s so many really important issues. And I think again threatening -- you know, Wendy just made a good point about the rest of the world.

This whole issue has been beginning, and now they don`t know what it`s about, Republicans. It`s about Obama care. Right? Universal health care. The rest of the world, you know, anybody who has running water and electricity has universal health care.

But this isn`t that Democratic/Republican, you know, classic feud that you`re talking about. This is Republicans versus Republicans. That`s what this is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to give Lola a chance to weigh in.

ADESIOYE: Yes. I`ll give you the international perspective, being I`m an international person. The issue is this just isn`t about America. As we get closer to the debt ceiling issue, this is about the rest of the world. There are other economies weighing in also, saying, "Hey, hold on a second. Your currency, treasury bonds, investors, markets, America is supposed to be the bedrock of the western/global economy, and right now it`s not fulfilling his role properly through those issues."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me tell you something. You say, "Oh, well there are more important issues." My point entirely, Pete. If you can`t get the government on the line about 50,000 horses, you think you`re going to get them on the line about something even more controversial? They are not answering their phone, and it`s a problem.

On the other side, my take, more of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What word would you use to describe what`s happening in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hideous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re the ones who are going to suffer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Out of work with no income coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still have to put food on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lose money. I don`t get paid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I won`t be able to pay my gas and electric bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be out in the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unfair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should be doing what we put them there for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your acts together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feel what the people feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of us work paycheck to paycheck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is angry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came here to work today, and I`m not allowed to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vindictive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hideous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All those people are hurting, as is Brad Neiman. He`s a teacher at St. Mary`s Community School in Chicago.

Brad, tell us how the shutdown has impacted you and your kids.

BRAD NEIMAN, TEACHER, ST. MARY`S COMMUNITY SCHOOL, CHICAGO: Well, Jane, we had a trip planned to go to Washington, D.C. We were going to depart on October 1, and we were set to return on October 4. And eight hours prior to our departure, we got word of the shutdown. So 11 months of planning and fundraising, and parents saving money to pay for this trip for their children had to be canceled last minute because Congress can`t get their act together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what do you think it did to the kids emotionally?

NEIMAN: Well, they`re very disappointed. They`ve been looking forward to this trip for years. This is sort of a rite of passage at our school. A lot of the kids do this in eighth grade. And it`s something they look forward to for years. And it`s a shame they`re not going to be able to go.

You know, they`re too young to be this disgruntled about government. They`re not even voting yet, and they`re already disappointed in how our democracy functions. And that`s a tragedy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. And you never know: there could be a future president of the United States in your group. I`ll remember that famous photo of Bill Clinton, shaking hands with JFK.

NEIMAN: Right. Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And so it`s really important for kids to go to the nation`s capital and see government at work. But the government ain`t working, and they ain`t traveling, and the lesson they take away is one of cynicism. It`s awful.

And I know you`re a good teacher.

Christine, North Carolina, thank you for your patience. Christine, North Carolina.

CALLER: Hey, Jane. I just wanted to say you look great tonight and your hair looks awesome.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

CALLER: I have two comments. I do -- I agree with you about 99 percent of the time. And I want to say that, with the post office, the only two problems I see with that is a lot of people are going to lose jobs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you know...

CALLER: And not everybody in America has a computer.

And then the other thing is we need to quit spending billions and billions and billions of dollars to other countries that don`t even like us. They`re trying to figure out ways to wipe us off the map, kill us, blow up our buildings. And we`re helping them out when that`s money we can use here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you make some good points, and I think a deal would have to be made to take those postal employees and put them to work as it were privatized with whatever the slimmed-down private company that would take over or companies would take over.

But, yes, Todd Jagger of Wolf-PAC, you`re the independent voice in our panel. Christine, North Carolina, is saying why are we giving so much money to companies -- every time I say these countries that we give money to and all the women are running around in burkas, I`m saying why are we supporting a country that`s enslaving half of their population? And that`s -- that`s my take.

JAGGER: You`re exactly right. We give away a lot of money to a lot of things that have no interest in our welfare and our well-being, and that would certainly include giving billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to the most profitable companies on the face of the earth.

You know, if we were to close some of those tax loopholes, like the other panelist mentioned, corporate tax cheats cost the American people $100 billion every year. That pretty much wipes out our...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But let me get to Lola, because you`re the internationalist. When I see all this billions of dollars going to countries that enslave half the population in burkas, I say why are we doing that? What do you say?

ADESIOYE: I think that America is very strategic in the countries that it has its hand in. And I think that it does things for a reason, which might seem strange to people in the country but definitely it`s too pursue American interests.

And a lot of international people want Americans not to be there, and they`re there for American purposes, for sure. I don`t necessarily agree with you on that.

DOMINICK: Our foreign -- our foreign aid budget is less than 1 percent and, yes, it`s very strategic and we have to keep doing that. So no doubt you`d be doing that.

And you know, if you want to stop giving money to certain countries, you can stop giving money to Afghanistan. Twelve years, Jane. I started this show by saying that. Today it`s 12 years in Afghanistan. That`s over $200 million a day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re kind of saying what I`m saying. We`re not disagreeing.

DOMINICK: But that`s a war. But that`s a war.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, final word.

MURPHY: Bringing freedom matters, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy?

MURPHY: I said, listen, I can`t understand why people aren`t outraged the way you are. Women`s freedom and equality matters more than whatever else is going on in Afghanistan or whatever else he cares about. Why do we never get prioritized? Why is women`s equality never enough of an issue for us to stop sending money to countries that enslave women? Why is it never enough of an issue?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And maybe it will be if we have a female president one day.

Let me tell you something: I`ve worn a burka as part of a news story, and I thought I was going die. I only had it on for 45 seconds.

On the other side, beautiful little Madeleine McCann vanished more than six years ago and now her parents say they`re greatly encouraged by some fascinating brand new leads. We`re going to tell you about this extraordinary development.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no clear, definitive proof that Madeleine McCann is dead. And so on that basis I still genuinely believe that there is a possibility that she`s alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERRY MCCANN, FATHER OF MADELEINE MCCANN: We`re encouraged. There`s new evidence --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been more than six years.

KATE MCCANN, MOTHER OF MADELEINE MCCANN: I still go through that, that pain, and sadness, anxiety, frustration and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 41 people of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it would be unfair to Madeleine, herself, to let those leads just sit there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some records could be key here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve always been told as parents -- we (inaudible) that Madeleine is dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight the whole world asking could Madeleine McCann still be alive? Yes we`re excited over a big new break in the Madeleine McCann mystery that has really tormented us ever since the adorable three- year-old was abducted from her parents` hotel room in Portugal six long years ago.

But I have to ask what`s taking so long?

Tonight we`re learning Scotland Yard and other British investigators have finally amassed 40,000 documents from thousands of cell phones that were in the area the very night the little girl disappeared. But why has it taken over six years to put those documents together? Shouldn`t they have been able to do that the first week?

Detectives reportedly now have boiled it down to 41 persons of interest. Maddie`s father has been through hell and he says he`s hopeful a break will come of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. MCCANN: We`re encouraged. There is new evidence and the appeals will also lead to further new evidence. And what Kate and I feel, we`re not talking about any details and that has very enhanced the (inaudible). But we`re optimistic that new pieces will be uncovered that will fill in parts of the jigsaw.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This as a British newspaper claims Scotland Yard is now investigating if Madeleine was abducted in a robbery gone bad. Here`s an age progressed photo of what Maddie might look like today. Let`s take a look at it. Have investigators secretly uncovered a needle in the hay stack in the thousands of cell phone records that could blow this case wide open? Look at that beautiful child. We pray it does.

Straight out to Jon Leiberman, you`re all over the case. You even spoke with Madeleine`s parents at one point. What do you know tonight?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I got to tell you, I spent time with the family of Maddie McCann over in England a few years ago and all they wanted was a shred of hope and that is what it appears they now have - - a shred of hope.

Now you ask why did it take so long? I`ll tell you why -- Jane. They were focused on the parents in the very beginning. But keep in mind, this investigation has gone through many different law enforcement agencies only landing very recently with Scotland Yard. So now that Scotland Yard has gone back, they`ve gotten all of these cell phone records, 40,000 pieces of data that they`ve had to go through and now they`ve narrowed it down to, as you mentioned, 41 persons of interest.

But let me be clear about that. That doesn`t mean they have 41 names of people. There are 41 phone numbers not all attached to actual people that they have now named as items of interest. They`re going to air this case next week on "Crime Watch UK" which is very similar to what "America`s Most Wanted" used to be here in the U.S. and what they`re hoping for are a number of names to help match with some of this cell phone data. That`s what they`re hoping for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because there were a lot of Brits and other Europeans vacationing in this spot in Portugal. This investigation has been a disgrace from the very beginning.

Madeleine`s own parents were accused of being involved. They were ultimately cleared. Here`s the dad talking about some of the big problems with this case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. MCCANN: Widespread headlines not only suggesting that we were involved but suggesting that there was strong evidence that Madeleine was dead and no such evidence exists. If people believe a missing child is dead they`re not going to look for her. They`re not going to come forward with information which might be important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the "Lion`s Den", there`s been setback after setback and now six years they`re finally getting all the phone records.

I want to go to Larry Fishelson, telecommunications expert. Why would it take six years? Shouldn`t they be able to get that information in a week?

LARRY FISHELSON, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Jane, it`s unfathomable that it took that long. They have all that information right away. A call goes in to the cell tower, the call goes out to the cell tower, it`s already logged by the carriers. So they already have that information.

It`s almost unfathomable that I don`t even believe that they didn`t do it at the beginning and they`re coming out with it now.

Jon mentioned before about phone numbers. Every single phone number can be traced back to an individual or company or an organization. So this is stuff that they had right away. This isn`t new technology. Everything is stored out there in the cloud. So I just can`t believe that they didn`t do it. it was such an oversight it`s so unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the back story. Maddie McCann`s British parents were on vacation with their kids including Maddie and her two younger twin brother and sister. They were traveling with a whole group of friends who were also parents.

After tucking the kids into the hotel room they all went to dinner at a restaurant that was so close to those rooms that various dulls would periodically drop in from the party and check on the kids.

Now here`s my take on this situation. The Portuguese police decided to demonize Maddie`s parents from the start, making them out as suspects without any proof to protect Portugal`s image and keep tourist dollars coming in. It took a year for Maddie`s mom and dad to be officially cleared.

In that time the real suspects got further and further away from exposure and capture. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, shame on those Portuguese cops for treating this like a PR battle instead of a criminal investigation.

MURPHY: You know, I`m going to be the lone dissenter here and I hope folks will do their own investigation here. I mean I`ve covered the case from the beginning. The reason Portuguese cops were suspicious of these parents was well founded is the fact that especially the mother refused to answer questions. After she became a target of suspicion, she took the fifth, she clammed up, she hired lawyers.

I`m sorry but that`s very Ramseyesque (ph) and we know they were indicted but cleared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they were ultimately cleared.

MURPHY: I`m not going down this rabbit hole. I am not going down this rabbit hole. I`m not going to be distracted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman.

LEIBERMAN: But I understand what Wendy is saying but both things can be true. Meaning Portuguese authorities bungled this from the beginning. Yes, you have to look at the parents. Of course, you do.

But they were so focused on the parents that they didn`t do, like Larry said and I can tell you this firsthand. They didn`t triangulate the phones. They didn`t gather up physical evidence. They didn`t do a lot. And so a year went by and they were already behind this investigation by a year.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen --

MURPHY: Cops focused on O.J. from the beginning too.

FISHELSON: They could have gone -- they could have just went and pinged the phones. They could have cross referenced police databases. They could have done that right away. It makes no sense to do it this late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you know what? If somebody falsely accused me of being responsible for my missing daughter`s disappearance, I might hire a lawyer too.

Up next superstar Miley Cyrus talking about murder, the murder of -- well you`re just going to have to wait and see. It`s shocking people. They`re talking about what Miley said about murder and who she talked about in terms of murder on SNL.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILEY CYRUS, SINGER: You`re always going to make people talk. You are going to make them talk for like two weeks rather than two seconds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your incredible Video of the Day.

A horrifying wreck at an Indy car race left more than a dozen people hurt, sending three of them to the hospital. The scary incident happened on the final lap of the Houston Grand Prix. Amazingly the driver who flew into the fencing did not suffer sever injuries. Crazy stuff though.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miley Cyrus, SNL --

CYRUS: Oh my God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miley Cyrus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh her.

BILLY RAY CYRUS, FATHER OF MILEY CYRUS: She`s just Miley. She`s an artist. She`s real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miley Cyrus made fun of her MTV twerking performance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guest host Miley Cyrus as Michele Bachmann.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is in fact everywhere, Miley Cyrus is.

CYRUS: Oh my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, controversial superstar Miley Cyrus trending high again, no not for a half naked twerking routine but for taking aim at herself and the U.S. government. The 20-year-old hosted "Saturday Night Live" telling her fans -- well -- you know what, I`m going to let you wait and hear it from her own lips.

But she also ripped into lawmakers with a twisted take on the U.S. government shutdown. Miley spoofed her "We Can`t Stop" video playing a sexed up singing Michele Bachmann mocking the congresswoman and her Capitol Hill colleagues. Watch this from "Saturday Night Live".

(MUSIC)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the skit that got everybody buzzing. In return for being the most talked about performer on and off state, Miley is being attacked again ferociously. Who could forget her recent war of words with 80s pop star Sinead O`Connor. Sinead sent Miley an open letter warning her not to let herself be prostituted by the music society.

And now guess who is piling on -- Cher and Annie Lennox are the latest pop star veterans criticizing. Lennox slammed young female saying she`s disturbed and dismayed by their quote, "pornographic music videos".

Straight out to the "Lion`s Den". Listen, people, here`s what I say, "Stop picking on Miley." All these women who say she`s using sexuality the wrong way -- hello. Do you not remember your own videos when you were younger -- Cher? I seem to remember you riding a military cannon. Yes, this is your take on the military, Cher, where you were right there with a ginormous military cannon between your legs. Now you`re turning around and criticizing another woman who`s using sex just the way you did, just slightly differently.

Stuart Brazell, pop culture expert. What say you? You used to be a casting director.

STUART BRAZELL, POP CULTURE EXPERT: Yes. I am so pro-Miley -- Jane. I`m with you. Cher is the last person that should be calling anyone out on what they`re wearing. I am so pumped for Miley. I think that what she`s saying is hey listen, people, I`m 20 years old. I`m still growing and discovering myself. Give me some room to find out who Miley is. And I love it that Hannah Montana is dead now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you. You broke the news. But Michelle Collins, on air personality, comedian -- do you think she`s making a fool and a joke of herself?

MICHELLE COLLINS, ON AIR PERSONALITY: I don`t think she is. I think her handlers who are like putting her in these outfits and, you know, et cetera have a lot to do with it. I think, you know -- I`m a big Britney Spears fan but I think it`s the same machine that kind of Britney went through.

And finally for the record I have a military cannon blowing between my legs right now and it feels amazing. Thank you for that perk. It`s on all my writers.

I really think that -- I don`t, I love Miley too but I don`t think she is the one necessarily creating this image.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Miley rose to fame as we all know as the squeaky clean G-rated star Hannah Montana. Parents are currently freaking out because a lot of the kids grew up watching the wholesome Disney show and this clean cut-looking non-controversial young lady Hannah Montana. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What.

CYRUS: He`s saying he`s happy to get the (inaudible) but this is a chance for us to learn to be creative and raise the money ourselves. And then something about cookies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Miley basically wants to kill her good girl image. Don`t take my word for it. Listen to her on "Saturday Night Live".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CYRUS: I don`t apologize for my VMA performance. If I owe anybody an apology, it`s the people who make the bottom half of shirts. But there are a few subjects we`re not going to get into tonight. I`m not going to do Hannah Montana but I can give you an update on what she`s been up to. She was murdered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got a big laugh but out to the "Lion`s Den", Wendy Murphy, I know you have -- how many kids do you have? Nine?

Listen I attack the artists -- the artists who say oh, what would you when did the same thing 15 years ago. But I can understand a mom being freaked out if you have an 11-year-old daughter who`s just about to hit puberty and she`s watching this and thinking this is a good idea.

MURPHY: You`ve been in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing by they way the thing between my legs is my cell phone. I just want to share with people.

You know, I`m very -- I`m very torn, because I teach seminars, you know, on sexual violence. I`ve been teaching for a long time and I`m very interested in creating more openness around sexuality. A mom of a kid who`s vulnerable in this age group and looks to up this and thinks, ooh, I want to be like her -- that is scary. And it`s not just that I`m being a moral fuddy-duddy, I`m worried about my child whose brain isn`t ready for sexuality being attracted to this because of who she thinks Miley Cyrus is.

It`s a problem. But I think sex is a healthy thing for kids as long as they`re old enough. And she unfortunately is a role model for young girls.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As long as it`s the kind of sex that you like. That`s the whole point.

One person says this is smutty. Others say it`s -- but sex is not going to be something that you can turn out in a cookie cutter -- it`s an expression of the artist`s individuality.

Short break and then we`re back with more debate over Miley.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane.

Zoey -- you are a tigress. And Rosie, darling -- you are stunning and very discreet. Maxi Scarlett -- you`re shopping and I could tell you`re in the pet food aisle. Itty Bitty -- very pretty, I love you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my take. By criticizing Miley Cyrus, Cher and Annie Lennox are sounding O-L-D -- yes, old. That`s a sign of getting old. They`re asking kind of like, "What`s the matter with kids today?"

Well, guess what; all of this has been happening since the days of Elvis Presley. Remember when Elvis Presley swiveled his hips? All the parents were like, "Oh my God, this goes against all moral standards." That seems -- well, certainly seems pale by comparison now.

People have to remember what they were like when they were teenagers and what they like to watch listen to and do. I remember listening to some very risque stuff. Whether it`s the 60s, the 70s, the 80s or the 90s, sex has always been a major storyline in music and it always will be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We had to share this video with you. This three- year-old`s mom captured the moment when her son with Down`s syndrome made a new friend. She says her son normally shies away from any kind of physical contact, but this dog would not give up getting a well-deserved hug. I love it.

On a very happy note, congratulations to our senior producer Selin Darkalstanian, and her new husband Nick Friedman. They were married this weekend. It was a great party. We wish them so much happiness together.

Nancy`s next.

END