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Partial Shutdown Drags On; Missing Hiker OK, Reunited With Family; Boy Gets On Plane Without Ticket; Tip Of A Lifetime; Tiger Mauls Zoo Worker; Government Shutdown Stalemate; Should Women Serve On College Football Panel?

Aired October 7, 2013 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We have key players coming up on the show to talk strategy for both sides.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus comments on ESPN that many are thinking a little sexist. One analyst saying he doesn't think former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice should be -- is fit for a role in college football, on a key college football committee. Maybe he'll explain and maybe we'll talk about it.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We'll certainly discuss. All right, first, though, let's take a look at the stories that are making news this morning. Twin U.S. military operations in Africa focusing on two high value targets into terror hot spots, the U.S. Army's Delta Force capturing one of them, al Qaeda operative Abu Anas Al Libi nabbed in a raid in Tripoli, Libya. The other focus of operation in Somalia, a foreign fighter commander for al Shabaab. Navy SEALs came under fire and withdrew before confirming if they killed their target.

A partial government shutdown in day seven, House Speaker John Boehner says he will not allow a vote on a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling and says there aren't enough votes in the House to pass a clean spending bill either. President Obama says the votes are there. Some people are heading back to work though today. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel recalling 300,000 furloughed workers.

An amazing story of survival, a hiker stranded for days in waist-deep snow in Washington State has now been reunited with her family. The 23-year-old Alejandro Wilson was found over the weekend after a nearly week long search. Officials say she was caught in a storm that dumped some 2 feet of snow in the area.

Meantime, authorities have suspended the search for another hiker who has been missing now for more than a week in the very same area. The TSA talking changes after a 9-year-old got through airport security and on to a plane, apparently, without a ticket. TSA officials say that boy went through security in Minneapolis.

During the flight to Las Vegas, the Delta crew sensed something wasn't quite right and called authorities. TSA officials say they may have to reconfigure security barriers to keep this from happening again. We'll have more on this coming up on our show.

Lady luck definitely smiling on 25-year-old Aurora Gephart, she is a bartender in Springfield, Oregon. One of the regulars at the bar, usually tips her with an unplayed Keno ticket from the state lottery. It turns out that ticket was worth $17,500. She actually tried to give him the ticket back, but apparently the guy wouldn't take it. Gephart ended up giving a portion of her winnings to him saying, she just could not give him some of it. I like that. Both of them came out winners. Chris, over to you.

CUOMO: All right, Mich, thank you. Here are some serious questions this morning after an attack by a tiger on an Oklahoma zoo worker that nearly cost her an arm. The worker says it was her fault, we are told, for putting her hand in the tiger's enclosure when feeding it. But the incident has shined a harsh spotlight on the zoo and it turns out it's not the first time the zoo has come under fire.

We are joined now by the zoo's owner, Joe Schreibvogel. He is the one in charge of everything there. Mr. Schreibvogel, thank you very much for joining us.


CUOMO: All right, let's start here with what matters the most. How is this woman doing? We don't know her name. Can you tell us anything about her and her condition?

SCHREIBVOGEL: I spoke to her last night on the telephone and she is in good spirits and the medical doctors and staff there were able to repair her arm and save her arm. She is going to go through another surgery this morning. She was in hopes to be able to contact her family herself last night. That was one of her wishes was to be able to make the emergency contacts herself, that her family has been doing with a death in the family and she didn't want to add to their stress.

So we respected her wishes of allowing her to make those calls. As soon as she is out of surgery this morning, I will go to the hospital and find out if she was able to make those calls, and if she was, we will be releasing her name and her statement at that time.

CUOMO: OK, so you say the worker blames the way she was feeding the tiger on this event. What does she say happened?

SCHREIBVOGEL: Well, you know, it kind of all happened all of a sudden. I was in a different area of the park when the emergency call came in and I was the first one on the scene to render emergency medical aid and at that time the main focus was to stop the bleeding and save the woman's life. So the concern about the investigation that the zoo will perform ourselves of what exactly happened actually probably won't start until later today when she is out of surgery and able to talk because at the scene, at the tiger cage, it was not as much of how it happened as much as we were concerned in saving her life.

CUOMO: Well the concern is obviously about whether or not the zoo is safe. You have come under fire before. Do you have a problem there in terms of safety with people working with the animals? SCHREIBVOGEL: You know, this is our very first employee injury in 15 years. This is something that we had stringent protocols for and we do as extensive training as possible. Other zoos actually use some of our protocols and I would like to say that if it wasn't for our professional protocols, the emergency medical staff probably are the reason why we are dealing with an injury instead of a death here.

It's no different than training somebody to get a driver's license, all the driver's license place can do is train them and if you choose to not use your blinker and cause a fatality accident, it's not the driver license's place's fault. All we can do is hire people and train people here.

CUOMO: But you know, Mr. Schreibvogel, that you had trouble with PITA, The Humane Society. There have been suspensions, a lot of negative attention put on the zoo for the way things were done there. Is this a reflection of what is not being done at your zoo? That's the question.

SCHREIBVOGEL: You know, I don't worry about what the Humane Society or PITA has to say about anything, B, they're not here, B, they know nothing about our facility, and C, I really would rather not comment on an organization that killed 87 part of the animals that they got their hand on last year while we work 24/7 to rescue animals and give up everything in our lives to keep these animals alive.

So what they had to say in the press really doesn't affect anything that goes on here. People that have been here and visit to this zoo knows how nice this zoo is, how safe this zoo is. We've never had a customer injury to the point that any skin has ever been broke. This is our first incident here and we really don't even want to entertain the comments of the Humane Society or PITA.

CUOMO: When they put out the video there where they said they spent months there undercover and they start revealing things and you got that little kid with the baby tiger, it seems to hurt it. It will raise an alarm. You know that there's been a suspension that's a real thing. That's not an outside organization. You had to declare bankruptcy. You are asking for help paying your bills. These are all sources of concern. You must recognize that.

SCHREIBVOGEL: OK, well, any non-profit organization needs help paying their bills or the Humane Society of the United States would not have to raise $500 million a year for their own organization. I think that's part of being a non-profit organization as you just -- you are running on public funds. In regards to the little boy with the tiger, the tiger never broke skin on that. We have been through the investigation with the USDA in regards to their so-called six-month undercover investigation.

The FBI is involved in that. There is an open FBI case for the animal terrorism act. One question is if someone was here during six months of abuse and they did not report the abuse, it must not have been that bad or they would have contacted local authorities way before six months. The only time anybody was contacted, even myself, about any abuse was when they sent out a press release to raise money for their own organization trying to get the people to believe they were going to help our animals, which they have never done.

CUOMO: All right, well, Mr. Schreibvogel, I appreciate you answering the allegations and giving us information about the woman involved here. We hope she is well. Please pass along our regards.

SCHREIBVOGEL: We appreciate the chance to get our story out and right now our main focus is trying to make sure that our staff member stays healthy. Thank you.

CUOMO: Agreed on that, take care, sir. Thank you -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the government still partially shut down and still both sides are only pointing fingers at each other. We are going to talk with one man advising some of the Republican lawmakers on this budget fight, get some insight on where things go from here.

Also ahead, an ESPN sports analyst, facing some pretty serious blowback for a comment he made about the role women should or should not play in college football. We're going to tell you what he said and what others are now saying about him.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is day seven of the partial government shutdown and no end in sight. House Speaker John Boehner insists he and his Republican colleagues won't reopen the government unless the White House starts negotiating on budget cuts and Obamacare. And that extend to handling the debt ceiling just around the corner.

Here with some considerable insight into the Republican strategy is Mr. Vin Weber. He is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. He is now the co-chairman of Mercury and Associates, a political consultant firm. Mr. Weber, thank you for joining us on NEW DAY this morning.

VIN WEBER, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Chris, great to be with you this morning.

CUOMO: So, tell us, where are the heads of the Republican Party in terms of strategy with extending the shutdown, maybe even going into the deadline for the debt ceiling. Why push it this way?

WEBER: Well, let's sort of look how the Republican position has moved somewhat over the last week or so. The Republicans began with the position that everything was tied to the defunding, in essence, the ending of Obamacare and the president couldn't swallow that. The Republicans have moved somewhat on that. They moved from defunding Obamacare to delaying Obamacare.

Now if you listen to the speaker's comments over the weekend. The speaker was not talking about Obamacare the president's sacred cow the speaker was talking about the long-term debt situation, which I think actually reflects more of the concerns of the American people where our country is going, how are we doing in terms of spending. That is more related to these issues.

So there has been some Republican movement. It may not seem as obvious as it is, but there has been some. The difficulty we face is the president is still saying absolutely no negotiations. So, you know, any Republican movement doesn't get you very far unless the president at some point is willing to find some way of talking to Republicans.

CUOMO: Right. Yet the concern on the table is still what happens with this debt ceiling.

WEBER: Right.

CUOMO: And the question is, do you play politics with that? You know Congress very well. It seems that this is a dangerous game that's being played here.

WEBER: It's a very dangerous game. I personally hope it doesn't happen. I don't think anybody wants it to happen. I have also voted on debt ceilings. I have been around discussions about debt ceilings. It is always some kind of a negotiation. No one wants to vote to raise the debt ceiling. It's a very unpopular vote, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat.

And the president has made his own position more difficult by saying absolutely no discussion. I'm not suggesting that he should give in to the Republicans. I'm not suggesting that Republicans should get most of what they want. But the president has to be ready at some point to talk to Speaker Boehner and help him find a way out for all of us.

CUOMO: Is it fair to hang it on the president for Speaker John Boehner or anyone speaking for the Republican Party. Given the circumstances and what we just learned from this "New York Times" report that he shutdown is a result of a plan by conservatives and the former AG that's been going on since the beginning of 2013. That this has been the plan all along, do you believe that is a credible report?

WEBER: Well, I read the report. I have no reason to believe it's not true, but I would again point out, the report said that the plan you talked about, which they reported in the "Times" was for the defunding of Obamacare, the Republicans have moved beyond the defunding of Obamacare and opened up to a discussion about long-term debt reduction spending and tax reform, a whole range of things.

It's not just the strategy of defunding the president's premier accomplishment. So I think that, you know, I'm not pointing fingers necessarily at the president except to say the president is the leader. If he's unwilling to come to the table at all under any circumstances then we do face a problem.

CUOMO: It seems like the game has changed down there. It used to be that the two sides went at it, but at the end of the day, they all believed in government. It seems now that what is motivating the Republican Party is a belief that government has to be destroyed. You know, it's bad in and of itself. Do you have any insight in that? WEBER: I think that you need to look at the Republicans and say, that what you said is true of a significant faction or some version of that is true. They are not evilly motivated. It's not that they want to do harm to America. You got a faction of Republicans who genuinely look at where we are headed on debt and Obamacare. They think that it's an apocalyptic future for America, that's not my view.

I don't think that's the view of most Americans. I think most Republicans think we got a problem that needs to be dealt with. The Republicans that are accused of having caused this problem do believe that we are headed for disaster and that's why they are so intransigent about moving.

CUOMO: I don't think it's evil at all. I think it's obviously practical and that this is a reflection, not so much of idealism, but of what's happened with redistricting. You know, we have been talking about it here on the show. What is your insight into what has changed in the political landscape and how politicians these days have very little wiggle room in terms of how they find consensus?

WEBER: I would point to a couple of things. First of all, you mentioned one, we have now, most Republicans, most Democrats in safe ideological pure districts, they need to pay primary attention to their primary or interparty challenges, not to the general election challenger, which pushes them to the extremes. The second one is the movement of the financing of politics out of the parties into ideologically motivated interest groups.

In the past, a party leader could sort of force compromise because he held some sway over the party's money being spent on a member of Congress or candidate much less true now because outside organizations totally independent and often at odds with party leaders are financing campaigns to a significant extent.

CUOMO: It starts to lock like the face of both parties become more about puppets than people who are there to lead. Mr. Weber, thank you very much for your insight this morning. Appreciate it. Hopefully, they figure it out before the rest of us pay the price.

WEBER: I hope so.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, should women be allowed to play a part in the college football playoff process? One ESPN commentator doesn't think so. He is getting a lot of negative attention for it. Details ahead.


PEREIRA: This is good. It is going to be so good. Welcome back to NEW DAY as we say goodbye to the BCS. We're talking sports here. A new bit of controversy erupting in college football, should a woman be allowed to help decide, which college football teams make it to the playoffs? What if that woman were former secretary of state? According to one ESPN analyst the answer is no. "EARLY START" anchor, John Berman is here. Fire it up -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": The real answer though is yes. We'll get to that in a second. It is rumored that Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, former provost at Stanford University will serve on the First College Football Playoff Selection Committee. This is the panel responsible for deciding which four teams will advance to the playoffs in the 2014 season. This is a welcome, welcome advance in the college system here.

Rice's possible appointment is not sitting well though with ESPN analyst, David Pollack. This is what he said over the week weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I'm going to stick my foot in my mouth probably. I want people on this committee, guys, that can watch tape --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have played football.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have played football, around football, that can tell you different teams on tape, not on paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So no woman belongs on the committee because --



BERMAN: So in that cross-talk you may have missed it there. What he is essentially saying that he doesn't think that any women should serve on this playoff selection committee and his justification for it is he only wants people who have played college football.

PEREIRA: He then reclarified afterwards because he came in under a lot of fire.

BERMAN: He said he sent a tweet out "I want people on the committee that eat, sleep and breathe college football during the season. It has nothing to do with being male or female." I happen to know a lot of college football fans who eat, breathe and sleep it, who happen to be women.

CUOMO: Just said it doesn't have to do with a man or a woman.

PEREIRA: He's running his mouth in trouble.

BOLDUAN: Aren't there announcers, commentators, NFL special people who also didn't play football?

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, there are a lot of play-by-play guys, a sports writers, "USA Today" writer who allegedly going to be on that committee as well.

COUMO: This is a constant riff of criticism between guys who play the game and guys who didn't play the game. I'm going to take up from Mr. Pollack a little bit here because I think he didn't get well served by the people he was on that panel with. They were riling him up --

BOLDUAN: I think they are egging him up.

CUOMO: I don't want women on. I think he got thrown under the bus, got pushed into it. Athletes are emotional. Obviously Condi Rice is a very, very -- she has a huge pedigree. Obviously, women should be involved. Some of the people I looked to for sports information most are women. But this is an age-old fight within this world of sports entertainment, by the way, it's not like it is political analysis, where they say did you play or not.

BERMAN: This supports teams who go to the playoffs for a lot of us they are very important.

PEREIRA: It's a gigantic football fan.

BOLDUAN: She has a green jacket, you don't.

BERMAN: She does. I know that.

CUOMO: If he was given a choice to say again I think it wouldn't be about gender, it would be about experience.

BERMAN: He says other question tweets about women also.

CUOMO: Then he's done. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, pal, but I can only do so much.

Coming up on NEW DAY, we're going to go back to the serious news this morning. The twin terror raids a top al Qaeda figure now in U.S. hands. We have details about the operation by U.S. special forces coming up for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will continue to try to bring people to justice with hopes that ultimately these kinds of activities will stop.


CUOMO: Inside the raids that captured this most wanted terrorist, how the U.S. military did it. SEAL Team 6 back in action in North Africa on the anniversary of Blackhawk Down. Did something go wrong again?

BOLDUAN: Dead stop. Negotiations over the shutdown appear to come to a screeching halt. The war of words heats up over the weekend. Neither side though moving.