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Libyan Prime Minister Released After Kidnapping; Republicans Agree To Temporary Debt Ceiling; People Frustrated With Washington; Healthcare Exchange Glitches Continue; White House Briefing

Aired October 10, 2013 - 12:30   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really difficult. He was telling me, Prime Minister Zeidan, that they're trying, step by step, to create a central security apparatus, to create a central army to try to bring in some of these militias to respond in a national way and not in a tribal way.

But as you say, this is happening. You know, they held the whole sort of oil production hostage for a long time. That is a big problem because that is Libya's lifeline and a lot of the west depends on Libya for oil.

There's an explosion of disintegration, if you like, and what it's also doing, not just this kind of internal mess, but also it's sort of a weigh station for different militias, some al Qaeda connected, weapons.

That's troubling to neighbors such as Tunisia, for instance, and it's very difficult what's happening, but there might be support, they say, for trying to create a new security force that can take into account some of the militias and try to neutralize the others.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: International support, absolutely.

Christiane, as always, thanks so much.

Very, very worrying situation for Libya, it really is a fractured, fragile place. There's a lot of militias there. How you bring that together is problematic.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Very difficult situation.

Following a very important story, day ten of the partial government shutdown. Live to Denver, hear what some folks have to say about it.

Their message to Washington? They are frustrated.


MALVEAUX: House Speaker John Boehner announced just in the last hour a proposed deal on the debt ceiling crisis.

Republicans say they have agreed to temporarily raising the debt ceiling until November 22nd, in exchange for talks about lowering the deficit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president is fond of saying that no one gets everything they want in a negotiation. And, frankly, I agree with that. Nobody gets everything they want.

But over the course of the last 10 days we've been trying to have conversations with our Democrat colleagues. They don't want to talk. The president doesn't want to talk.

We've tried to offer bills that would reopen parts of the government, only to have them rejected by our counterparts over the United States Senate.

So what we want to do is to offer the president today the ability to move, a temporary increase in the debt ceiling in agreement to go to conference on the budget.


HOLMES: The Republican leaders didn't say exactly what they want to propose during those talks. The president has said he would be willing to consider that temporary debt deal, though, now.

One week from now is that deadline. That's October 17th. That's when the government hits the ceiling and will eventually be unable to get the money to pay the bills. They'll be able to pay the bills for a little while, but not long.

MALVEAUX: Next hour, the president will meet with Senate Democrats at the White House.

At 4:30 eastern, he's going to be meeting with the House Republicans leadership as well.

Now the House appears to have votes to end the shutdown as well, but that is not going to happen.

HOLMES: Yeah, 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans have expressed a willingness to vote for a continuing resolution to fund the government without any strings attached, and that is enough. That is majority.

But the House speaker, John Boehner, doesn't want to bring it for a vote, and not enough Republicans say they would vote to force him to hold it. That's the way the system works.

MALVEAUX: Since a partial government shutdown began 10 days ago many have been telling us how you feel about this.

It's been a frustrating experience, a lot of people very angry about this, and that really is very evident in Denver.

That is where Ana Cabrera is there and is just getting a sense of people who are experiencing this and thinking, you know, this could still go on for another six weeks.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is no end in sight, Suzanne and Michael.

We've been talking to struggling parents, to concerned business owners, everybody we've spoken with says they are either directly impacted or they know someone who is affected by the government shutdown.

Now, keep in mind, this is a state that is still trying to recover from the Colorado flooding that did some estimated $2 billion in damage in this state, destroyed, damaged 18,000 homes, also affected about a thousand-plus businesses in the state.

So this is like a double punch to some communities here in Colorado that, again, are struggling right now, and people here are worried.

Here's their message to Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's people that served this country who is affected by it, you know? People that's retired that's getting affected by it.

You know, my parents, you know, they're getting affected by it, so I think it's not making you feel comfortable, confident to be an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quit playing this game. It's -- the American people are suffering from it. They just need to wake up, start working together, do what they were hired and elected to do, and just solve this problem.

CABRERA: How does the shutdown make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's aggravating. It's frustrating. I listen to my client. I'm a hairdresser and I listen to my clients every day suffering from this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People look up to our congressmen, our senators, leaders and unfortunately what can they look up to now?

They're thinking about themselves, not the general public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It make me wonder what's going on really with everybody, with the Republicans, with the Democrats and everybody, why we can't be on the same team.

It makes us look bad, I think, to everybody else. It's really -- it doesn't look very professional to anybody, I don't think.


CABRERA: Now there are some 54,000 Coloradans who get those federal paychecks.

The state Department of Labor says about 40,000 of those employees, ranging from park rangers to military personnel to researchers, they're now eligible for unemployment benefits.

Suzanne, Michael?

MALVEAUX: All right, Ana, thank you so much. Sorry for mispronouncing your name. I know as Suzanne I try to make sure people get that right, so one time pass for me. I appreciate it.

CABRERA: Potato, potato.

HOLMES: I'll call her Suzanne, later in the show, just for you.

MALVEAUX: Just to get even.

So, if you have a message for Washington, post it on our Web site,

And, of course, we're also waiting for a live briefing out of the White House.

HOLMES: Late as usual.

MALVEAUX: It's late as usual. That is true. It was scheduled for 12. Looks like they're slipping their time a little bit.

Obviously, they want to get their message right and out there. It is a war of messaging as well, as you know, a lot of spin going on in Washington.

HOLMES: Exactly.

And we are talking about it being up and running for 10 days, but not without problems.

First people could not sign on, now there's confusion in the passwords.

MALVEAUX: We're talking about ObamaCare, the Web site troubles, up next.


MALVEAUX: All week, we've been taking a look at ObamaCare enrollment across the country.

Today we learned some people were told there were problems with the passwords. It turns out that that's actually not the case.

Elizabeth Cohen, right, every day we're going to have something here until we get this right.

What happened?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been trying to up on since it opened up, and so has my team, several times a day, and we have able to create a log-in but haven't been able to sign in. So I called their 1-800-number and I said, what's up? Am I doing something wrong?

And they said, all of the passwords have been deleted, and everyone has to call in and create a new password.

And I said, everyone? And they said, yes, everyone.

And I said, oh, my goodness. And so she tried to help me reset my password.

And then we called the Department of Health and Human Services they said, here's what happened. We were going to make a change to the Web site that was going to delete the password. We wrote a script to prepare the reps for this and we sent it to them when it shouldn't have gotten sent to them.

It got sent to them when shouldn't have gotten sent to them, and so the rep was reading something she'd received, but she should never have had it.

It was a mistake. They never --

MALVEAUX: They never did reset the whole thing?

COHEN: No, they never did delete the passwords, but they had written a script for the reps to read on the phone in case that did happen.

HOLMES: So did you get in? Did you get?

COHEN: I still have not gotten in.

HOLMES: You still haven't?

COHEN: I still have not gotten in. I keep trying.

HOLMES: Is that the volume, is it?

COHEN: They say -- they tell you it's volume, when you call. They say -- and by the way, they're lovely on the phone. These people are so nice, and they answer like that, OK? I want to make that clear.

So they say lots of volume. We weren't anticipating this. There are glitches and please keep trying.

And they recommended trying late at night and early in the morning. So I tried from home 10:30 at night, didn't work.

Tried from my desk at 7:00, didn't work.


COHEN: So maybe by late at night they mean like 1:00 in the morning?

HOLMES: 3:00 a.m.


HOLMES: A little commitment from you, Cohen.

COHEN: Sorry.

HOLMES: You know, the other thing, too, I think a dozen states have their own exchanges. Do we know how they're faring with all of this?

COHEN: Right, it's about 16 states are doing this on their own. The rest of us, like those of us who live in Georgia, you go on So the ones that are on their own, some of them apparently are working beautifully. The reporting has been that some of those work well. Not all of them, but some of them do. So there are folks who, you know, are on there and are getting their policies. And, you know, we're hearing lots of positive feedback from those folks.

Now some people are getting into, the federal one. We heard from one woman who tried and tried and tried, finally got in at like 2:00 in the morning and she said, this is great, I haven't had insurance and now I do. And it was just reading that e-mail, it was just you can't help but feel happy for this woman.


COHEN: She was so happy.


MALVEAUX: It just takes a little determination. That's just the way --

COHEN: Right. Well, maybe it takes getting up at 2:00 in the morning. Maybe I should set my alarm.

HOLMES: Yes. It does -- it is striking, though. I mean, as we were saying, I mean this has been coming for years. You'd think you'd plan for the demand. I mean --

COHEN: Yes, you would think that, but, you know, I'm not a high-tech gal. Like I don't know what it takes to get a site like this ready.

MALVEAUX: The people that you've talked to, do they give you a goal or a deadline or say, you know what, we at least hope by this date we'll have all this stuff worked out?

COHEN: Oh, no, they don't give a - they don't give a date.

MALVEAUX: They don't?

COHEN: But they - but they do say, you know, we're working on it, we're working on it, we're working on it. I mean they were working on it to the extent that they were contemplating an upgrade that was so dramatic it would delete all the passwords. So, you know, you can see they're really trying hard. And when I talk to federal officials, you can tell that they're frustrated as well. They want this to work.

HOLMES: Yes. COHEN: And it's just unclear exactly why it isn't.

HOLMES: Elizabeth, good to see you. And, sorry, you're going to have to pull an all-nighter tonight.

COHEN: OK. I'll call you first, right?

HOLMES: No, no, no, no.

MALVEAUX: Yes, don't call me, call Michael.


MALVEAUX: Call Michael with the breaking news.

COHEN: Yes, I'll call Michael. I'll call Michael. OK.

HOLMES: Yes, 2:00 a.m., that's the answer. All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Elizabeth.

HOLMES: All right, coming up, a potential scientific breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people with Alzheimer's. I spoke earlier with a lead researcher. We'll bring that to you next on AROUND THE WORLD.


MALVEAUX: We are waiting to bring the White House briefing to you live here. You see reporters getting set up, getting ready to hear from the spokesman. And, of course, what is the White House response to the latest Republican offer from the leadership to allow the debt ceiling to be extended, to be increased by six weeks in exchange for negotiations with the White House on other matters that Republicans are concerned about. So we're going to get White House response. We'll bring it to you live as soon as it begins.

HOLMES: Now British scientist are reporting a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases. They have uncovered a chemical compound that they say can stop brain degeneration in mice. This is good news. Now earlier I spoke with Doctor Giovanni Mallucci. She is the lead scientist at the British Medical Research Council.


GIOVANNI MALLUCCI, U.K. MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: The scientific step forward, rather than a clinical treatment step forward. And what it means is that we've been able to prove that the oral compound, you can prevent brain degeneration in mice. So that's very encouraging piece of evidence in data that degenerative brain conditions can be stopped in their tracks. It's -- it has given us also a target that -- a pathway to target for potentially developing treatments in the future that might be relevant to a number of disorders that involve (INAUDIBLE) proteins and brain cell death.

HOLMES: I suppose, as with any medical, if we call a breakthrough, which is perhaps an over overused word, but this this a breakthrough? And I suppose with anything like this, don't get too excited yet, this is probably a long road?

MALLUCCI: This is a long road. And it's not a treatment and it's not a cure. But what it is, it's an advance in our knowledge that we can stop brain degeneration.


HOLMES: It really, really is good news. And the hope, obviously, probably realistically, years from now there will be a pill that can stop the degeneration of the brain for people with Alzheimer's, also maybe Parkinson's.

MALVEAUX: Wow. That is an extraordinary development if that is -

HOLMES: A big deal.

MALVEAUX: If that is what turns out to be true.



HOLMES: It's terrific.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Michael.

Also, of course, waiting for the White House briefing. It's going to start momentarily. We're going to bring that to you live, see what the White House response is to the Republicans, the leadership that's been put on the table, the deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling in exchange for some talks with the White House and Democrats on tax reform and other measures.


HOLMES: All right, as we await that White House briefing, we're going to end the hour with a quick look at the effects the shutdown has had. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers still on furlough, which means they're not working, not getting pay, at least for now.

MALVEAUX: And the latest agency to be effected, this is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It was supposed to start conducting nonemergency reactor licensing and emergency preparedness exercises. That was supposed to happen today. Well, the agency announced 3,600 workers will now be going home.

HOLMES: Only 300 so-called essential employees are going to remain on the job. You would have thought that testing's pretty important. Private companies that work with the federal government, they're also affected. Look at the weapons maker, Lockheed Martin. It says it's going to furlough about 2,400 workers tomorrow. This is a knock-on effect.

MALVEAUX: And in addition, the federal agencies, all national parks remain closed at a time when, of course, you know, the fall weather and everything, people want to get out, enjoy themselves, get a break, some fresh air. It also includes thousands of parks that you might not even realize are federally run. A lot of people have showed up at the Everglades National Park in Florida, the Grand Canyon, and they're protesting. They're upset. They're frustrated.

HOLMES: Yes, park officials in the Grand Canyon actually have written dozens of citations for people trying to sneak into the park for a look around. People are getting tickets for that. There was a guy arrested here in Georgia the other day for sneaking into a park and using his metal detector to look for civil war stuff and got nabbed.


HOLMES: So, yes, don't go in.

MALVEAUX: Don't go in.

OK. That's it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN NEWSROOM with Wolf Blitzer starts right at the break.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

I want to immediately go to the White House. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, about to react to the House speaker, John Boehner's, pitch for a six-week extension of raising the debt ceiling.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Pay a visit to the White House to meet with the president tomorrow morning and we'll have a specific time for you later.

Beyond that, I don't have an announcement to make. I suspect I know at least some of the questions you'll ask, so I'll go straight to the Associated Press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Jay. I think we all want to know what the White House reaction is to the speaker's proposal this morning.

CARNEY: The president is happy that cooler heads, at least, seem to be prevailing in the House, that there at least seems to be a recognition that default is not an option. Now, the president believes that it would be far better for the Congress, and in this case the House, to raise the debt ceiling for an extended period of time, as Senate Democrats are working on as we speak.

You know, it would be far better for the economy if we stopped this episodic brinksmanship and, you know, sort of mothballed the so-called nuclear weapon here, which is the threat of default, for a longer duration. But is it certainly at least an encouraging sign that, based on today's statement by the speaker, they're not listening to the debt limit and default deniers who seem to suggest, against all the accumulated wisdom of financial experts, that somehow it would be OK for the United States to enter territory it had never entered before and threaten default for the first time in our history.