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Libyan Prime Minister Released; Obamacare Website Glitches; Redskins Owner Says No Name Change

Aired October 10, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We have breaking news overnight. Libya's prime minister kidnapped by gunmen, now relieved. We are live with these latest developments.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): just strange.

ROBERT LASZEWSKI, HEALTH POLICY AND STRATEGY ASSOCIATE: Executives have been warning the administration bluntly that this whole system is not ready for primetime.

BERMAN: Obamacare's rocky roll out, but just how much did the White House know about the problems plaguing the sign-up process for the new health care law?

TINSLEY STEPHENS, MOTHER: They opened the back doors and they said, oh, you have a baby! I said, yes, we do!

SAMBOLIN: Imagine that? Emergency delivery right inside the ambulance. Why one woman and her husband ended up delivering their own child. You want to stay tuned for that story.


BERMAN (on-camera): Boy, do you ever. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty-one minutes past the hour.

BERMAN: And we do have breaking news out of Libya. You want to listen to this. This is a strange morning we've been having in Libya. We're getting word now the prime minister has now been released hours after being taken from a Tripoli hotel by members of a militia group, dozens and dozens of them, who stormed this hotel overnight and walked out with the prime minister. The government there called it a kidnapping. Now, they're saying he has been released.

Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, is live in Tripoli this morning. He's been reporting all the twists and turns in this story. So, Nic, what is the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the prime minister now on his way to government offices we're told, John. He's been held for about eight hours. There have been many, many twists and turns. Claims that he had been arrested for actions against the interests of the state, claims that there were -- there was no arrest warrant issued for him. What all of this shows right now is that Libya is in a very precarious stability and it is not guaranteed.

There are many people here that are linking the kidnapping of the prime minister with the arrest of Abu Anas al-Libi, the al Qaeda suspect over the weekend here in Tripoli, suspected of his involvement in the 1998 attack on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. People are making that link what appears to have happened is that the group that took the prime minister has come under huge and intense pressure as what sources have been telling me, huge and intense pressure to release him.

But the group that took control of him, guess what? They are a government sanctioned militia. The government here does not have a national army, does not have a strong national police service. It is militias, independent militias that are the rule of law here. And one of them this morning took the prime minister. They just released him -- John.

BERMAN: How on Earth does this say about the prospects for this nation if the prime minister can just be kidnapped willy-nilly held for a few hours and then released? How on Earth can he possibly govern in the coming days and weeks?

ROBERTSON: This is one of the richest countries in Africa (ph). It has huge oil resources. There are many militias here. Some of them are Islamist militias, some even tied to al Qaeda. They threaten the security of Europe. That's the analysis of security experts. And this nation is very, very close to Europe. It's on the edge of Europe.

How does this speak to how the prime minister can rule a country in the coming weeks and days? That isn't clear. But what is clear when, I interviewed the justice minister last night in the hotel where the prime minister was kidnapped, I saw the prime minister at that time as well last night, the justice minister told me that the country he felt was close, close, he said, to becoming a failed state.

He said he hoped the government could turn it around. But its lack of security, inability to build national security structures since overthrowing Moammar Gadhafi, the dictator two years ago, that is taking this country down at the moment. That's what the justice minister told me last night, John.

BERMAN: All right. Nic Robertson, we are very lucky to have you on the scene in Tripoli this morning. Good news that the prime minister has been released yet deeply, deeply troubling for the prospects of that nation that he could be kidnapped and held for hours by more than a hundred gun. Nic Robertson, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: And a glaring spotlight now on the lack of security, right? For things like this to continue to happen.

All right. Thirty-five minutes past the hour.

And this morning, it could be, it just could be the beginning of a way out for the politicians in Congress who seem so unwilling to talk just a few days ago. CNN has learned from several House Republican members and sources close to House leadership that a proposal is being put together to raise the debt ceiling. This is only on a temporary basis.

The increase would only be for four to six weeks and is only designed to open the door to negotiations on a more permanent solution. The government at least for now would remain partially shut down.

But today, 18 top House Republicans go to the White House to meet with President Obama, that a day after senior Democrats met with the president to discuss a way forward. Of course, publicly, the rhetoric remains the same.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: -- House has been pretty clear. We want to reopen our government and provide fairness to all Americans under the president's health care law.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm happy to negotiate on anything and have been willing to do so for the last year. What I've simply said is that there's no reason to have to negotiate with the government shutdown or with the prospect that we don't pay our bills.


BERMAN: All right. This also news for us. The families of fallen U.S. soldiers will not be without military death benefits but not because of the government. The Fisher House Charity has agreed to pay benefits the government cannot due to the shutdown. This comes as the remains of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan last weekend arrived at Dover Air Force Base.

Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, was on hand for the dignified transfer. The soldiers' families, they were forced to pay their own way to Dover to attend the ceremony. Defense secretary Hagel says the charity will be reimbursed when the government reopen.

SAMBOLIN: Good for you, Fisher House, for stepping up.

BERMAN: Thank goodness for that.

SAMBOLIN: And now to those pesky glitches in the Obamacare website showing little sign of abating ten days into the rollout. We know many have been going to the site trying to log-in, but progress, another issue entirely. There are new details this morning on whether this whole thing could actually have been avoided. Here's CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Luke Chung operates a database company in Northern Virginia. He's an expert on heavily trafficked websites but even he is frustrated navigating

LUKE CHUNG, PRESIDENT, FMS INC.: Oh, this is interesting.

TODD: What do you got?

CHUNG: I don't know what i have. I just tried to log in to my account that I have already established.

TODD: And?

CHUNG: And it says unexpected error.

TODD: Since the Obamacare rollout last week, Chung has been trying only to get quote on prices not even to enroll.

(on-camera) Error messages, slow connections, getting booted out of the system, other problems have exasperated hundreds of thousands of uninsured who have tried to log on. And now, we're hearing the Obama administration was warned well ahead of the rollout that the online exchange had big problems.

(voice-over) One Democratic ally of the administration congressman, Robert Andrews, says he spoke to the White House months before the unveiling.

REP. ROBERT ANDREWS, (D) NEW JERSEY: I discussed with the White House people things they already knew which was undertaking of this size is going to be very complex.

TODD: Andrews believes the White House was on top of the situation. Robert Laszewski, a health care consultant, disagrees. He says many of his clients, major insurers, had contentious meetings with the administration ahead of the rollout.

LASZEWSKI: Insurance executives have been warning the administration bluntly that this whole system is not ready for primetime. It wasn't going to be ready on October 1 to appropriately enroll people.

TODD: But he says the White House ignored them.

LASZEWSKI: The administration didn't seem to understand the seriousness of it. They were blase about it. They continue to assure the industry that there weren't going to be any problems.

TOOD: And, Laszewski says that they were not about to delay the rollout. The White House insists it listened to insurers and knew about the problems.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Everyone was aware and we told you that there would be glitches.

TODD: What they're not telling us is exactly how many people have enrolled. They say they don't know the precise numbers. Luke Chung says.

CHUNG: The data exists. This system, I would, hope has a database inside it that would be able to tell you everybody who's enrolled, much less the number of people who are enrolled.

TODD: White House officials tell us it's more complicated than that. They say they have to collect those numbers from several different sources and they have to make sure the numbers are accurate. So, they're sticking a plan to release the number of enrollments and other website data to once a month to ensure that accuracy.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Brian. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. How is your Thursday weather shaping up? Not good.

BERMAN: Badly.

SAMBOLIN: Indra is here with that.


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Perfect toss, guys. I mean, it's pretty obvious at this point, we have the storm system kind of hanging of the coastline. You can see some heavy rain out kind of making its way just south of New York. Unfortunately, this guy (ph) is going to linger. It is very slow moving.

So, for the next several days, we're going to get used to being here, and with that, look at these rain totals, even as much three to five inches of rain as we continue to pull moisture right off the coastline to kind of filter in the area. It's not going to be the only thing. We're still going to be talking about northeasterly winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour.

That staying all weekend long and of course, just to add to it, temperatures are going to be below normal. A lot of places just seeing temperatures a good five degrees below normal for this time of the year.

SAMBOLIN: Lovely. Thank you, Indra.


SAMBOLIN: An Atlanta area couple considering themselves very lucky this morning. They had to deliver their own baby in the back of an ambulance. Imagine that.


SAMBOLIN: Tinsley Stephens went into labor early Sunday. Her husband, an EMT, was at work. So, she hopped in the car, tried to drive herself to the hospital, realizing that she wouldn't make it. She drove instead to her husband's station. They hopped in the ambulance, and he helped her deliver their new son on the way to the hospital.


STEPHENS: I was terrified. My husband kind of went into professional mode and took care of business. When we pulled up and they opened the back doors, and they said, oh, you have a baby! And we said, yes, we do.



SAMBOLIN: Owen -- Little Owen, he is going to have quite a story to tell. Both mother and Owen are doing perfectly well, as you see there. She's home. Oh, is he cute.

BERMAN: You know what the lesson is here?


BERMAN: Marry an EMT.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.


BERMAN: Clearly, a good decision.

SAMBOLIN: That was a very good decision, right? Coming up --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So tiny. It was just that my leg swelled up so big.


SAMBOLIN: I mean, it's bad that it has such a happy ending, right?

BERMAN: Wait until you meet this lady. A silent killer lurking in the coastal waters off Florida. One woman, though, shares her miraculous story of survival coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We have an incredible story of survival for you. A Florida woman was stricken with a deadly flesh-eating infection. Now, this is bad. Doctors didn't think she would make it, but Margaret Freiwald, proved them all wrong. Battling back in a matter of months, despite losing one of her legs and having to learn to walk all over again at age 84.


MARGARET FREIWALD, SURVIVED BACTERIAL INFECTION: Only when I woke up and they told me that they took my leg. It really didn't bother me that much because I was thankful that I was alive. I'm going to go right back home and do the things I've always done. I'm going dancing. We're going on vacation.


FREIWALD: We're going to the Keys.


BERMAN: Is going dancing in the keys. Now, Friewald attracted the dangerous bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico in July. They got in through a tiny cut on her shin. Nine people in Florida have died from this infection this year alone.

SAMBOLIN: Congratulations, Margaret. What an inspiration she is.

All right. Time now for our morning rhyme, our tweets of the day. So, first up, we have one from nightenjoshy (ph) writing what many of us have been thinking this morning. Here it is. "The shutdown in its tenth day. Hopefully, some sanity is on the way."

BERMAN: All right. And Brianbotkiller (ph) tweet something we always think about just about every day. He tweets, "I hate the morning. Yes I do. I hate the morning, how about you?" Yes, Brian. We feel you. We are with you. We like being here --

SAMBOLIN: Define morning, please. Define morning.

All right. So, you can come up with your own morning rhyme. Tweet us with #morningrhyme and #EARLYSTART. We love getting these! It makes our day!

BERMAN: It totally does.

All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, what do you got, guys?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, good morning, good morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't like to get ahead of things, but it does seem like they may be moving toward a deal down in D.C. There's a reason for it. We'll tell you why, why it looks like there may be a short-term fix in the works. Is that just kicking down the can down the road? Would that be even that bad right now?

We're going to have Congresswoman Michele Bachmann here. Interestingly, she may be a voice of reason on the issue of the debt ceiling, pushing Republicans to make a deal sooner rather than later. We'll tell you why.

BOLDUAN: And also, we have this bizarre story for you this morning. Commuters on a crowded train, they completely seem to miss a man flashing a gun in front of them, until, he shot and killed another man that was getting off the train. Well, apparently, the folks on the train were too distracted by who knows what, maybe their phones, maybe their tablets, whatever, to notice him.

Could this event prevented and what does this all say? What really happened there? We're going to take a look.

BERMAN: Strange, but interesting. Guys, can't wait to see you. Thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, the Cardinals taking on the Pirates for the right to play the National League Championship. Which team came out on top?

BERMAN: Only one man has the answer, Andy Scholes.

SAMBOLIN: With all the drama.

BERMAN: In the "Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: After 20 straight losing seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally made it back to the playoffs, but their run came to an end last night with a loss to the Cardinals.

SAMBOLIN: Andy Scholes joins us now with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." We're all depressed around here.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Oh, guys. All right. Let's not try to be too depressed about all -- it was definitely a good run. You know, the Pirates, they were looking to win that first post-season series since 1979 last night, but unfortunately for them, they ran into Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright. Now, David Freese, he got things started for the Card to the two-run shot in the second inning, and that's all Wainwright would need. He threw a complete game, giving up only one run.

The Cardinals win, 6-1. They advance to the National League Championship series to take on the Dodgers.

And we have another winner-take-all game five tonight. Tigers and A's will battle it out for the right to play the Red Sox in the ALCS. First pitch is at 8:00 eastern on TBS.

All right. Washington Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, is doubling down on his commitment not to change the name of the team after receiving a lot of negative publicity lately. Snyder sent a letter to Redskin season ticket holders saying he wants to preserve the team's heritage by keeping the controversial Redskins game. This comes just days after President Obama said if he were the owner, he would consider changing the name.

All right. Despite the government shutdown, the Air Force Academy will be hitting the field tonight for their game against San Diego State. Officials announced on Wednesday that all of Air Force's athletic teams can resume playing immediately. The games will be funded with non-government money. Both army and navy are expected to play their games this weekend as well, but we're still waiting on an official announcement.

All right. The last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Lennox Lewis, could be making a comeback. According to reports, the 48-year-older retired back in 2003 was offered 50 million to fight one of the Klitschko Brothers. He said no thanks, but for 100 million, I'll do it. And apparently, they are negotiating a deal to make that happen.

The 100 million dollar payday would more than double the record 41.5 million Floyd Mayweather received just last month for his fight.

All right. We've seen football games in baseball stadiums, hockey games in football stadiums. So, what's next? A college football game at a race track. According to reports, Virginia Tech and Tennessee have agreed to meet halfway between the two schools and play a game at Bristol Motor Speedway during the 2016 season.

An official announcement is expected on Monday. And guys, this game could draw 160,000 fans. Now, that would shatter the record for college football. Michigan and Notre Dame got about 115,000 earlier this year.

SAMBOLIN: I think I want to go to that one.

BERMAN: That'd be crazy.

SAMBOLIN: That'd be kind of cool. Thank you, Andy.


BERMAN: We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning. The Jonas Brothers, have you heard? They are calling off their planned fall tour amid what is being called a deep rift between these three adorable boys. They were slated to launch their tour tomorrow in Pennsylvania, but their spokesman says the brothers are in the midst of a big disagreement over their musical direction.

That despite their work together on a planned fifth album. "People" magazine was reporting that it was an argument over the weekend that prompted the tour's demise.

BERMAN: Don't you wonder what the Jonas Brothers argue about?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. I do. I do.

BERMAN: Times have been tough for them. You know, maybe things would be better if they would, you know, assault a foam finger or lick a wrecking ball!


BERMAN: That's how you win here.

SAMBOLIN: Like Mikey. Do like Miley!


BERMAN: Big success for Miley Cyrus. New projections show her album, Bangerz, which came out on Tuesday is likely to sell upwards of 275,000 copies this week alone. That is pretty good. I guess not a seller is her 2008 release breakout. Still, it does look like she has a hit on her hands and her tongue. Right now, every song on the album is in the iTunes top 100. (INAUDIBLE) Miley Cyrus, she is winning. Right?

SAMBOLIN: Maybe she could talk to the Jonas Brothers and give them a tip or two, right?

BERMAN: I'm sure she'd have a lot to talk to about the Jonas Brothers.



BERMAN: All right. That is all for EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: Time for "New Day" with Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, good morning. Thank you, thank you. We'll see you later. I'm repeating everything today. I'm sorry.

CUOMO: That's OK. Johnny two times.


CUOMO: One of my favorite characters. All right. It's time for "New Day." Let's give you the top news.


CUOMO: The big thaw. Are we finally getting closer to a deal in D.C.? Both sides inching toward a short-term fix to raise the debt ceiling. We're live with the latest.

BOLDUAN: Breaking news. The prime minister of Libya kidnapped from a hotel then suddenly released. Was it retaliation for the U.S. raid that captured a wanted terrorist?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stranded. Every rider's nightmare, trapped a hundred feet in the air. The rescue operation atop this Universal Studio's ride that took hours.

CUOMO: Your "New Day" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "New Day," Thursday, October 10th, six o'clock in the east. And, this has to qualify as progress in the current state of affairs in D.C.


CUOMO: A potential -- it's all kinds of qualified, too. A potential short-term deal on the debt ceiling on the table. Why am I saying it that way? Because the government shutdown would continue. We will break it all down for you and what may make it happen or not happen in just a moment.

BOLDUAN: And also coming up, the latest on that shutdown shame, military families not getting death benefits. A charity is now stepping in to help and the president and Congress have moved to fix it. That's at least, I guess, we can call that a silver lining, but, there is more pain on the horizon for veterans, especially those injured in combat. We're going to have more on that, ahead.

PEREIRA: I want to show you this photo. This, as you're about to see, is a hot air balloon catching on fire. This was part of the annual balloon festival at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Something went horrifically wrong. Two passengers aboard are in the hospital this morning. We'll tell you what happened here, coming up.

CUOMO: All right. First, let's put this deal on the table, right? Short-term, what does that mean, what does it mean if they don't raise the debt limit? All we know for sure is that it's in the works right now. Everybody is getting summoned to the White House today. First, it will be Senate Democrats arriving this afternoon to discuss what's been called a Band-Aid approach to the debt ceiling crisis.

Three hours later, at least 18 Republicans will go face-to-face with the president. If the two sides don't do something in seven days, remember, America will be in a situation where they could default on their credit for the first time in history.