Return to Transcripts main page


Shutdown Blame Game; Much Ado About Obamacare Glitches?; Flooding in Jacksonville

Aired October 8, 2013 - 04:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We will tell you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the worst single event in terms of a snowstorm that I've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely nuts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's water in my car. Everything is just gone.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, water in her car. Snow, wind, rain, dangerous storms across the country. The damage they caused and what is yet to come.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mind was doing strange things. I saw the shark and my mind is thinking, wow, the shark is still healthy and beautiful.


BERMAN: Yes, that's what my mind would think too as I'm getting attacked by a shark. The shark is so healthy and beautiful. I don't think so!

A shark attack but a story of survival. We'll tell you that, just ahead.

SAMBOLIN: Wow, imagine that? What would you do? You would probably faint.

BERMAN: After I scream? I'd scream and then scream again and scream a third time and pass out in fear.

SAMBOLIN: Exactly.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman, about 31 minutes past the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: So, we start in Washington. It looks very much like the irresistible force versus the immovable object as the partial government shutdown enters its eighth day now.

There's been no stopping the blaming, though. With President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, the featured players here. But now, with a deadline for potentially disaster default fast approaching, there may be a glimmer of hope.

We get more from senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITD STATES: I'm here at FEMA for a couple of reasons.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the eye of a shutdown storm that's still raging, President Obama stopped by FEMA to point out the agency is grappling with national disasters with a furloughed workforce, and to accuse House Speaker John Boehner of blocking a vote that would reopen the government.

OBAMA: My very strong suspicion is that there are enough votes there, and the reason Speaker Boehner hasn't called a vote on is because he doesn't apparently want to see the government shutdown end at the moment.

ACOSTA: But there could be a few breaks in the clouds over Washington.

The president promised to work with Republicans on health care and the budget if they end the shutdown and raise the nation's debt ceiling.

OBAMA: I am eager and ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans on a whole range of issues.

ACOSTA: Another hopeful sign? With a potential default on October 17 fast approaching, White House officials said the president is willing to accept a short-term increase in the debt limits, instead of racing it for one year, as most Democrats prefer.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm simply saying that we have never stated and we are not saying today that the debt ceiling ought to be or can be any particular length of time. So, I'm not ruling out the specific duration, and I want to make that clear.

ACOSTA: But Republicans complain it's the president who's risking default by not negotiating, pointing to this comment made by White House economic adviser Gene Sperling.

GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The president strongly believes that if he were to sanction negotiations with those threatening default, that would actually increase, not decrease the chances that we as a country undermine or full faith and credit. ACOSTA: Sperling went on to say that the president believes such negotiations would only encourage more brinkmanship.

But Boehner had this interpretation.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This morning, a senior White House official said that the president would rather default than to sit down and negotiate. Really?

ACOSTA: A new CNN/ORC poll finds Americans are furious over the shutdown, with 63 percent angry with Republicans, 57 percent with Democrats, and 53 percent with the president. What's worse, nobody in Washington seems to know what might happen in the nation goes into default next week.

JACK LEW, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I can't tell you. We have never gotten to this point. But it's very dangerous.

ACOSTA (on camera): As for that idea of short term debt ceiling increase, a top House Republican aide said that would have to go along with some spending cuts. But, at this point, White House officials that is not going to happen.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


BERMAN: Some glitches in the sign of for Obamacare insurance exchanges have inspired a chorus of "I told you so's" from some consecutive critics. But advocates, including insurance companies say there is time to fix the online enrolment system before the uninsured start getting coverage on January 1st, a few months.

A trickle of customers got through initially but insurers saying enrollments are coming in add a steadier pace and they expect the system to improve by the middle of next month.

SAMBOLIN: A legal fight brewing over a federal agent's account of the failed gun running sting known as operation Fast and Furious. The ACLU says a book written by agent John Dodson was blocked by superiors because it could have a negative effect on morale. The ACLU also says that ATF's actions are unconstitutional censorship of his freedom of speech. The ATF's response, Dodson can't profit from his experiences while he is still a special agent.

BERMAN: A line of severe storms wreaking the Northeast and Mid- Atlantic States. Torrential rain and high winds brought down trees and power lines in the Washington, D.C. area. Forecasters say it was the remnants of tropical storm Karen that dumped heavy rain all across the region.

SAMBOLIN: So, the remnants of Karen also surprising drivers in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. Several inches of rain fell in a few hours there leaving roads under water as it seemed Karen didn't want to go without delivering at least one more punch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely nuts.

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: There is water in my car. Everything is just gone. It got caught there. I can't talk any more. I'm so upset.


BERMAN: The wet road and limited visibility because of fog is blamed for this elementary school bus overturning in North Carolina. This happened not far from Charlotte. Authorities say the bus went off the road into the mud. The driver tried to overcorrect. The bus then rolled over.

Nine people, most of them students, and the driver were hurt, though their injuries are not considered serious. Wow, that's the bus being turned back over the right way. Crazy.


All right. In South Dakota the cleanup is under way from an unseasonably early blizzard. It you dumped four feet of snow in --

BERMAN: Four feet?

SAMBOLIN: I know, of that state. Not enough for you?

Too quickly for some cattle ranchers to get their herds out of the way. Some say they have lost dozens of cows and calves. At the height of the storm thousands of homes also lost power when the blizzard took down all of the electrical lines. Oh, wow.

BERMAN: So, what's going to happen today?

Chad Myers has an early look at the forecast.


What a change in the weather in the Northeast. Temperatures this morning, 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. Highs yesterday, 75, 80 degrees in the morning, now, we are in the 50s.

Charlotte, some showers. Maybe some wind delays in New York City today but maybe only 20 minutes or so. Portland, a couple of showers here.

But the rest of the country looks really good. Airports should be really good this afternoon. Mostly sunny in Chicago, sunny in Memphis, and even sunny out into Dallas.

Temperatures, though, quite a bit different than we have been. A high today of less than 70 in New York City, 72 in D.C. and 68 in Atlanta this afternoon. In fact, the way this cold front has worked out, Atlanta is nine degrees cooler today than Minneapolis. So kind of an up and down forecast for you.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: Atlanta cooler than Minneapolis. Thanks, Chad.

A health alert to tell you about this morning, hundreds of people in 18 states have now come down with salmonella linked to raw chicken from a California processor. USDA says it has tracked the outbreak back to three plants operated by foster farms. But there's no recall in effect yet, and the company says it's working with federal health officials.

The advice for now is to be sure to cook chicken properly. Always kick your chicken properly in at least 165 degrees, and, you know, be careful when handling the raw poultry.

SAMBOLIN: I never use a thermometer for chicken, but that's really good suggestion there.

BERMAN: So, you're going to have to keep touching.


All right. Expect a legal fight in Arizona now that officials have put into effect new guidelines to keep people from voting in statewide elections next year, if they cannot prove their citizenship. The change was announced by the state attorney general and secretary of state, both Republicans. Some are calling the move vindictive in light of June Supreme Court rulings striking down the required proof of residency to vote in federal races.

BERMAN: So, it seems that some firms hired to help get Detroit out of bankruptcy are actually bleeding it further into debt. The city has been billed more than $19 million for the services of companies sorting through $18 billion of debt. They are looking for ways to restructure the debt and guide the city through court. Some bankruptcy experts say the proceedings could cost Detroit taxpayers as much as $100 million.

SAMBOLIN: Noncitizens will not be able to serve on juries in California. Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have allowed legal permanent residents to be called for jury service, writing that the responsibility should only lie with citizens.

A key sponsor says he plans to reintroduce the legislation next year.

BERMAN: New York is cracking down on the short-term home renting service AIRBNB. The state attorney general has now subpoenaed the company to hand over the names of more than 225,000 people who put their homes up on the site here in New York. The goal is to stop those who rent out their homes short term but don't pay hotel taxes.

The company plans to fight the subpoena but agreed to recently to begin paying hotel taxes in New York City.

SAMBOLIN: So, they came from New York. The shark that apparently bit a 45-year-old college English teacher who was surfing off the northern California coast. Jay Scribner was floating in the water near Eureka, look at the smile on his face, that's north of San Francisco, when he says an 8 to 9 foot Great White bit his board and his thigh. That is when other surfers jumped into action to help him.


DAN CALDERWOOD, SURFER: Boards were thrown to the beach and everybody was sprinting down to help him out of the water. And the primary concern at that point was stabilizing him, getting emergency vehicle out there and get him to the hospital.


SAMBOLIN: Scribner says he is very lucky the bite didn't break any major arteries. He is expected to make a full recovery. And yes, he does not plan to give up surfing.

BERMAN: He has great surfing hair. So, why would you give it up? With hair like that, you can't --

SAMBOLIN: And a great smile. I don't know if I'd be laying in my house, but that's smiling and saying, yes, I'm going back surfing. Little gash on my leg.

BERMAN: White ones in it.

All right. Suit yourself, pal.

Coming up --


ELIZABETH SMART: It's not that I didn't try escaping. I did try actually. I tried several times. They just weren't successful.


BERMAN: Kidnapped as a child from her bed, held captive and used for sex. Elizabeth Smart opens about her nine months in hell, coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-three minutes past the hour.

Time now for the "Primetime Pop". It is the best from CNN's primetime interviews.

BERMAN: First up from Erin Burnett. She was speaking with Terry Holt, former spokesman for Speaker John Boehner on the partisan bickering keeping the government at least partially shut down.


TERRY HOLT, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: I think this is the president doing more brinksmanship. He is basically calling the speaker out in some sort of silly drama that is has now engulfed himself in and the House is going to work its will.

Boehner is saying something pretty simple here. We got to pay our bills. You know, we talked about entitlement reform and more spending cuts. The president doesn't want to do anything and the House members want to try and control spending.

You've seen the left saying it's a cataclysm and that the world is coming to an end. This presidency has become the Chicken Little presidency where if we don't do it his way, we are going to straight to H.E. double toothpicks.


BERMAN: H.E. double toothpicks?


On "AC360", it was a riveting interview with Elizabeth Smart. She was kidnapped in 2003, held captive nine months at only 14 years old. In a new memoir, she reveals the chilling details of her brutality captivity and the moment she was abduct at knife point.


SMART: He said, I have a knife at your neck. Don't make a sound. Get up and come with me.

And then I remember getting up and going with him. Then, on the way through my house, he bent over to my ear again and said, "If you make any sound, if you do anything that causes any attention or causes someone to come, I not only will kill you, but I will kill anyone who tries to stop me."

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And what's going through your mind? You're 14 years old.

SMART: I was praying so hard for an escape. I kept looking. I kept waiting for something to happen for some way for me to get away. And I kept looking and it didn't happen.

When I didn't see an escape route, I thought, oh, my goodness. I am going to be raped and then I'm going to be murdered because that's what happens to all of the other children I have seen on the news who've been kidnapped. I said stopping and asking him, well, you're just going to rape and kill me, could you please do it here?

Because in my mind, I wanted my parents to know what had happened to them. I wanted them to know I hadn't run away. This wasn't my choosing and I wasn't upset, I wanted them to know what happened to me.

COOPER: So, you actually said to him, if you're going to do this, do this in here.

SMART: Yes, yes. And I remember he looked back at me and he said, oh, I'm not going to rape and kill you yet. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: That is horrifying.

All right. On "PIERS MORGAN LIVE", that bizarre SUV-biker battle in New York. Piers spoke with the wife of the biker severely injured in the accident -- incident I should say. She says her husband is now paralyzed and she says he is entirely blameless.


DAYANA MEJIA: He's out of his comma. He's awake. He just had another surgery. He's fine. He's in a lot of pain, doesn't talk much. Just came out of ICU today, but --

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: And what is your view? Everyone has seen this video and most people like I say have a very firm view that the guy at the SUV was protecting his family surrounded by bikers, have no idea what was happening and already being cutoff by one of them which led to that original bump.

What is your view about where blames should lie here?

MEJIA: I mean, I wasn't there. I mean, I can't blame anyone. I can understand why he was scared, but at the end of the day my husband parked his vehicle on a kick stand to get off, to try help the situation. Told everyone to move on, let's just go, let's get away, let's just move -- just ignore it.


SAMBOLIN: Such a tough situation, right, as she watches him in that condition.

Coming up, the Dodgers and Braves go head-to-head for the right to compete in the national league championship. Only one team can survive.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes will break all of the game 4 action down, including a tragic result to tell us about. That's coming up next in "The Bleacher Report."

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no --


BERMAN: All right. A shocking surprising outcome on Monday night football late. The Jets with their rookie quarterback Gino Smith, they mounted a pretty impressive comeback in the final seconds after they blew a big lead. But still, they beat the Falcons.

SAMBOLIN: Andy Scholes joins us with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

No matter what the circumstance is, just can't count out old Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. You know, this game was one the Falcons absolutely had to have to save their season. In the fourth quarter, Atlanta, they took the lead with a long drive and insane one-handed catch by Julio Jones. But Gino Smith, he would complete four straight passes, lead New York down the field and Nick Folk with a game winning 43-yard field goal.

Jets win 32-28. They're now 3-2 on the seasons. The Falcons meanwhile, they drop to 1-4. Huge disappointment.

All right. The Braves looking to salvage the nights for sports fans in Atlanta. They led the Chargers 3-2 in the eight. Juan Uribe at the plate and trying to lay down a sac bunt but two strikes he was swinging and look at it go. Two run, home run give the Dodgers the lead. They would win 4-3. They eliminate the Braves. They're heading to the National League Championship Series.

All right. Number one in the lineup section on today, Rays needing a win to stay alive in their series with the Red Sox. Bottom ninth, tied at 4. Jose Lobaton pitch hitting and sends one into the Rays tank in the tank in center field. The Rays win it, and 5-4. They're going to try to even the series tonight in game four. First pitch at 8:30 Eastern on TBS.

Tigers are also trying to stay alive. They're going to take on the A's in game 4 of their series.


SCHOLES: That one gets going.

Did you say go Rays?


SAMBOLIN: Loba-groan during that home run from Lobaton. I kind of dozed off and woke up in time to see the walk off home run so that was charming I thought at about 10:45 last night.

Still, congratulations to the Rays. That was heroic last night.

Andy Scholes, great to see you. Appreciate it, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, critics and audience says they're raving, but astronauts and scientists have a different take on George Clooney and Sandra Bullock's blockbuster movie "Gravity", coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. The blockbuster space thriller "Gravity" is getting pretty amazing reviews and, of course, breaking in the money earning more than $55 million in its opening weekend.

SAMBOLIN: I think it was a record for October.

But admit it. What you really want from Hollywood is scientific accuracy!

BERMAN: Right.

SAMBOLIN: So what do real astronauts and physicists think of the film? Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who better to review the movie "Gravity" than a guy who doesn't just talk the talk, but has actually walked the space walk?

MIKE MASSIMINO, NASA ASTRONAUT: What you see is kind of like a bad day -- not just a bad day, but a bad day on steroids.

MOOS: On his two flights into space, Mike Massimino never had debris crash into him as Sandra Bullock does. Instead of being flung into space --


MOOS -- Mike's space walks were like a slow dance.



MOOS: Not a body slam, but when it comes to realism --

MASSIMINO: I was really excited when I saw the accuracy of my telescope and payload bay and tools. I wasn't looking at Sandra Bullock at all, sorry. I recognized my wire cutter.

MOOS: What Mike did not recognize was Sandra's heavy breathing.

(on camera): Stop panting.

MASSIMINO: That's not helpful. No, that is not helpful. When you're breathing heavy, you're using more oxygen.

MOOS (voice-over): Maybe it freaks you out to see Sandra untethered floating off into blackness.

BULLOCK: Anybody. Please call me.

MASSIMINO: Yes, I didn't like that idea, either.

MOOS: Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson nitpicked via Twitter, noting that nearly all satellites orbit earth west to east, not east to west as in the film. And he pondered why Bullock's hair, an otherwise convincing zero-gravity scenes, did not float freely on her head. As even Mike's short hair did.

MASSIMINO: It kind of poofs a little bit.

MOOS (on camera): The real astronaut doesn't quibble with Sandra Bullock's spacesuit. It's what's under her space suit that wasn't so realistic.

MASSIMINO: The undergarments were not accurate, but again, it's a movie.

MOOS (voice-over): And which would you rather see, Sandra Bullock in boy shorts or the fancy long underwear with tubing that real astronauts wear under their space suits?

While the movie astronauts were having their tethers severed, the worst thing that happened to Mike was a hole in his glove.

(on camera): So then you started going --

MASSIMINO: No, no, no panting.

MOOS (voice-over): Mike says he misses being up in space and the movie reminded him of being there.

MASSIMINO: For me, yes, I'm just an astronaut, I'm not a movie critic, but I give it a thumbs up.

MOOS (on camera): Just an astronaut.

(voice-over): An astronaut more worried about holes in his glove than holes in the plot.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: The headline there is Jeanne Moos comes out strongly against panting. Really issues with panting there. I had no idea.

SAMBOLIN: I'm dying to see this movie because everybody has said it's just unbelievable. It's like on steroids. I think one and a half hours on steroid is how one critic described it.

BERMAN: Someday, we will get a babysitter.

SAMBOLIN: I told you, I'd babysit!

BERMAN: We'll take you up on that.

EARLY START continues right now.



OBAMA: The reason that Speaker Boehner hasn't called a vote on it is because he doesn't, apparently, want to see the government shutdown end at the moment.

BOEHNER: The president had us all down to the White House last week, only to remind me that he was not going to negotiate.


BERMAN: Wake up, Washington! Amid the shutdown, the nation barrels toward the moment we will no longer be able to pay our bills.

This morning, a new twist and a new plan from a key player.

SAMBOLIN: And new information this morning, a U.S. terror raid in Somalia. What stopped the Navy SEALs from capturing a high level terrorist?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rain came extremely hard. Straight down. Went, wow, look at that! And next thing, almost immediately, everything was just blowing.


BERMAN: Streets flooded and trees ripped from the ground. Extreme weather storming the East Coast. We will show you the hardest hit areas and we will tell you what is in store for this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you.