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Debt Limit Deal In The Works; Military Death Benefits Covered; Libya's Prime Minister Released; Car Bomb Detonated In Sinai; U.S. Freeze Military Aid To Egypt; Hot Air Balloon Hits Power Line; Unexpected Landings For Three Flights; Universal Studios Roller Coaster Malfunctions; Elite NYPD Detective in Court

Aired October 10, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

Senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar starts us off this morning with more. What's the latest, Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning to you. Actually, President Obama invited all of the House Republicans here to the White House today, however, leaders in the GOP and the House pared it down to just those in leadership and also on key committee assignments and this comes after the president's meeting yesterday with House Democrats where he gave the strongest indication yet that he would accept a short-term extension of the debt ceiling if Republicans get on board with that.


KEILAR (voice-over): Finally, they're talking. House Democrats met the president at the White House last night.

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We just had a very positive meeting with the president of the United States.

KEILAR: President Obama's message, he's open to a short-term deal to increase the debt ceiling for six weeks according to a lawmaker in the meeting. Republicans are warming to the idea of a shorter deal, followed by negotiations with the president on reducing the debt and deficit.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan penned an op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal" that did not even mention GOP demands to delay or defund Obamacare. But Tea Party-backed Republicans still want that fight after a brief debt ceiling increase and are arguing against ending the government shutdown.

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: I would do a debt ceiling increase for six weeks so the president can actually negotiate with John Boehner and I would keep fighting on the continuing resolution and Obamacare.

KEILAR: In interviews with local news stations, President Obama was asked to explain his own vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2006.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I voted against a debt ceiling increase at the time because I have some concerns about what President Bush was doing.

KEILAR: Specifically the Bush tax cuts and he argued it's OK for certain Republicans to protest policies with a no vote, but he said there must be a vote.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: There should never be a proposition where the speaker of the House is not willing to put those votes to the floor right now.

KEILAR: Congress isn't faring well in this budget fight. A new Gallup poll shows Republicans with a 28 percent favorable rate down 10 points since last month, the lowest for any party since 1992. Democrats slid 4 points to 43 percent.


KEILAR: Now White House officials say that President Obama was hoping to make his case to all Republicans, including those who he blamed for holding up the debt ceiling and for shutting down the government.

But Kate, Republican leaders said they want to negotiate and they didn't think they could do that with so many people in the room. You can really imagine the kind of drama we might have seen if Tea Party- backed Republicans and President Obama were in the shame room having a discussion.

BOLDUAN: You're absolutely right. We will have to continue imaging what that will be because it's not going to happen this time. Brianna, thanks so much. Great to see you. Thanks for starting us off.

A quick note, we just got an e-mail from Christine Romans who said that bond markets and stock futures are up sharply this morning, obviously reacting favorably to the even whiff of a potential deal. So that's something we are going to have watch throughout the day as well. Thanks to our Christine Romans for that.

Meantime, one of the great injustices of the shutdown has been righted, just not by the government. A charity with a history of helping troops is paying the way for military families who are burying their loved ones. The group is loaning money for this and other benefits while Congress continues to be in their standoff. But there could be more trouble brewing for veterans if the impasse isn't resolved soon.

CNN's Barbara Starr is back with us from the Pentagon this morning. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, you know, since the government shutdown began, more than two dozen troops have died, some in the war zone, some here at home, a temporary solution for the families, but still a lot of questions about how did it ever get this far.


STARR (voice-over): At Dover Air Force Base, 24-year-old Army Ranger Cody Patterson came home to his family. As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel paid his respects, unbearable grief for families made much worse because the government shutdown left them without death benefits. Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah Michael Collins' remains were brought Monday to Dover. His mother, Shannon, says he was a great Marine.

SHANNON COLLINS, JEREMIAH MICHAEL COLLINS MOTHER: He became a Marine to become somebody. He became a great Marine.

STARR: The White House Wednesday promised a quick fix to a tragedy that had become a PR disaster. The president told WRC TV he acted as soon as he learned of the problem.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: When I heard about this story, I told the Department of Defense, within our administrative powers we should be able to get that fixed.

STARR: As Hagel stood on the tarmac, top aides were urgently working on a solution. The Pentagon signed a contract with Fisher House Foundation, a private organization that helps war wounded. Fisher House will pay the family's bills and a $100,000 death benefit. The government will pay it back when the shutdown ends.

But for veterans, a looming disaster if the shutdown continues much longer, more than 3 million receive disability checks that may not come on November 1st. Many new veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan still waiting to be approved for disability payments will have to keep waiting.

SECRETARY ERIC SHINSEKI, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Roughly 1,400 veterans a day are now not receiving decisions on their disability compensation claims.

STARR: If the mess in Washington isn't solved, the V.A. will not be able to pay $6 billion due to more than 5 million people expecting checks including veterans, their surviving spouses and children on November 1st.


STARR: And on the death benefits, Pentagon officials insist they told Congress, they told White House officials that the death benefits would not be paid if the government shutdown. Some in Congress said they didn't get that information and that the Pentagon should have been able to fix it right away -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Barbara, thank you for the reporting this morning.

We have breaking news to tell you about from overnight. Gunmen releasing Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan hours after they captured him from a Tripoli hotel. There was concern Zeidan's abduction might be retaliation for the U.S. special forces raid over the weekend. That raid led to the capture of the one of the FBI's most wanted al Qaeda operatives.

Let's bring in senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, following the latest developments live in Tripoli. Good morning. What do we know about why they took this man?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kidnappers say they took him because he had broken the law saying that he was trying to harm the nation. He has said since he's been released less than an hour ago, that the kidnappers tried to force him to quit. He said he wasn't forced to quit. He is still the prime minister.

Ministers I talked to, the justice minister, other ministers all say they were concerned about just such a failing insecurity here because the United States came in and they say, abducted Al Libi wanted in connection with the bombings at the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. This seems to be very much connected to that arrest over the weekend -- Chris.

CUOMO: So they do believe it's obviously connected to that. What is this an indication of? Could al Qaeda be able to take advantage of this situation in Libya going forward? Does it show their strength? ROBERTSON: The government isn't strong. The militias here, the armed militias are, the fact that a hundred gunmen could break into the prime minister's hotel is absolutely indication of that. Al Qaeda, another radical Islamic element, do make up some of the militias here. Libya is one of the most wealthy African nations. It is literally right on the edge of Europe and al Qaeda's been trying to set up camp, have set up camps here with the intention of targeting western interests inside Europe. Add to that, al Qaeda here who has been threatening to kidnap Americans in retaliation for that arrest of Al Libi -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Nic, thank you very much. Obviously that's the concern if the abductions continue. Appreciate you staying on the story for us.

BOLDUAN: There are clearly a lot of headlines we're watching this morning. Let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: Good morning, guys. Good morning to you at home. Here are developments.

A car bomb detonating overnight in the Sinai Peninsula, killing four Egyptian soldiers and wounding five others, this following an announcement by the Obama administration that a temporary freeze has been placed on some military aid to Egypt because of that military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The U.S. will not deliver some big ticket items to Cairo, including Apache attack helicopters, F-16 war planes and $260 million in cash assistance.

Just in to CNN, Malala Yousefzai winning the European parliament prize honoring freedom of thought. The 16-year-old Pakistani girl hailed as a brave advocate for education. You might recall Malala was shot last year by Taliban militants trying to silence her for supporting education for girls in Pakistan. She since has become a global activist for girls' education. Malala is also considered a favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I want to show you this image, how terrifying, two men in this hot air balloon rushed to the hospital after that balloon crashed into power lines, exploded into a fireball and then plummeted 40 feet to the ground, the accident happening during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Wednesday. Organizers say 59-year-old Mark Kilgor and 66-year-old Daniel Novado are being treated for burns. Police say one of those men had severe burns to his face and chest. We'll much more on this coming up later in our show.

Three airline flights having some trouble reaching their destinations. A Southwest jet headed from Austin, Texas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida diverted to Houston after the plane apparently lost cabin pressure. No injuries reported there.

A Delta flight from Atlanta to Munich, Germany, made an unexpected stop at JFK in New York. Delta says an unruly passenger was the reason. And a Japan Airlines Dreamliner to Tokyo went back to San Diego about 90 minutes after takeoff because of concerns over its de- icing system. The Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge connecting Kansas to Missouri, no more, imploded in a matter of seconds, 200 explosives were used. The span carried cars across the Missouri River since the 1930s. A new four-lane bridge has been built to replace it. That demolition had to be delayed about 10 minutes. Crews found people creeping past the safety blockades. Never wise when an explosion is imminent. Might be obvious but it had to be said.

BOLDUAN: Maybe not obvious enough for some. Thanks, Michaela.

Let's get to Indra Petersons, keeping track of the latest forecast for us this morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. I think we need the smarter word of the day. That's our new one for things like that, exactly. Let's talk about some rain, guys. The system continues to make its way up the coastline. Unfortunately, it is going to linger. This is going to be a very slow-moving system that will affect many of us in the mid-Atlantic and the northeast through the weekend.

Let's remind you, again, winds go clockwise around a high, counter clockwise around a low. You put them close to each other and you're going to get strong northeast winds, gusting even as high as 40, 45 miles an hour so cold, rainy, and windy. You can actually see this pattern stays with us and then kind of lingers even in through Saturday.

So this will be the story again for some time, keeping in mind it's lingering, let's talk about how much rain we are expecting. You're pulling all this moisture in off the coastline so even 3 inches to 5 inches of rain possible in the mid-Atlantic over the next several days. It will be a tough spot.

If you want to see it day by day, people trying to make your weekend plans. Of course, it stays pretty much almost in the exact same place on Saturday. That is going to be a tough spot there. Temperature wise, we know by now that cool air is in place. We'll be below normal in a lot of places, 5 to 10 degrees cooler than where we should be. I just rained it out all weekend.

PEREIRA: Did you buy a sweater yet?

PETERSONS: I think I have like one or two, getting there.

BOLDUAN: Some fashion challenges.

CUOMO: Didn't know Indra was so willing to punish on the weather.

PETERSONS: Now you know.

CUOMO: Rained out the whole weekend.

BOLDUAN: Be warned.

CUOMO: Had I known I would have adjusted tone sooner. You look great today by the way. PETERSONS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Nice to have you here.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, stranded 140 feet in midair, a dozen people on a roller coaster getting more than they bargained for at Universal Studios. How did this happen? It's supposed to be a thrill ride but not this thrilling. We'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: And a seventh arrest in that beating of an SUV driver by a group of bikers, this as a New York City police officer appears in court charged with taking part in the brutal incident. What his lawyer is saying now, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back. A frightening ride for a dozen people when a roller coaster malfunctioned at the Universal Studios theme park in Florida. Riders were stranded high above Orlando for more than two hours last night.

This is the latest in a string of stories that raise concerns about amusement park safety.

CNN's Pamela Brown following the story for us.

Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. Certainly a frightening experience. These riders getting way more of a thrill than they bargained for.

What should have been a quick thrill ride at Orlando's Universal Studios theme park turned into a long night of terror. Twelve passengers stuck 140 feet in the air after a technical glitch. And those riders sitting in a 90-degree position for nearly 2 1/2 hours at the top of Orlando's tallest roller coaster, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, before safely making it back to the ground.


BROWN (voice-over): Every roller coaster rider's worst nightmare caught on camera Wednesday night. This cell phone video shows 12 people suspended 140 feet in the air in the dark of night, trapped on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket at Orlando's Universal Studios.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has got to be one of the scare rest things for somebody to go through while they're on a roller coaster.

BROWN: Passengers were stuck on a vertical incline for nearly 2 1/2 hours. A position this father and his daughter were relieved to have missed. They rode the coaster minutes before the malfunction.

RAY DOWNS, RODE COASTER BEFORE MALFUNCTION: She's scared half to death about it but, I said, it'll be OK. They take good care of this stuff. So thank goodness it wasn't us.

BROWN: According to a park spokesperson. the coaster came screeching to a halt around 7:00 p.m. due to a technical glitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But right now they're stuck in this position and hopefully they can get these cars in motion and get these people off of this ride.

BROWN: Orlando fire rescue crews used an elevator to get to the peak of the drop-off, pointing the cars to the top of the arch almost two hours after the malfunction.

DISTRICT CHIEF IAN DAVID, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Once we got it to a horizontal position, then our guys can go ahead and put the victims in harnesses and then we're able to walk them off the ride.

BROWN: Firefighters then began carefully removing the riders, slowly guiding them down the stairs with flashlights to the elevator platform. All 12 thrill seekers finally touched the ground at 9:30. A parks spokesperson saying one female passenger was transported to the hospital for neck and back pain.


BROWN: And no other injuries have been reported from the Rip Ride Rocket malfunction. A Universal Studios spokesperson telling CNN that they're investigating what happened on the ride before it reopens. Scary -- yes.

BOLDUAN: Scary night for those folks. My goodness. Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: A seventh clash in that violent -- seventh arrest in that violent clash, rather, between a group of bikers and a family driving an SUV. More information about those motorcyclists facing charges, including a New York City undercover detective.

The off-duty officer appeared in court on charges of gang assault. But his lawyers say he did nothing wrong.

CNN's Susan Candiotti has more.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here's the undercover off-duty veteran New York detective now standing accused of assault. Prosecutors described him in detail, including what he was wearing. As matching this video of the defendant next to the SUV as it momentarily stops after running over bikers, critically injuring one. He's seen again just before the SUV's driver is dragged out of his vehicle and beaten.

Yet to hear some tell it, these videos of SUV driver Alexian Lien under attack aren't all they seem.

JOHN ARLIA, DETECTIVE BRASZCZOK'S ATTORNEY: The video will exonerate our client.

CANDIOTTI: That's the lawyer for Detective Wojciech Braszczok who works in police intelligence. After posting bond, he leaves the courthouse in a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face, protecting his identify.

Braszczok is accused of smashing the SUV's rear window with his fist. Also on video not made public.

ARLIA: They allege that he struck the rear portion, hatchback window which has a gaping hole already in it. It's already destroyed. So -- under the law, it's a fatal flaw. You can't break what's already broken.

CANDIOTTI: Prosecutors say the detective told them different stories. At first, a law enforcement official says the officer implied he was working under cover, not reporting the incident for fear of blowing his cover. Then the story allegedly changed again from not seeing the attack to seeing it from a distance.

SAMANTHA TURINO, PROSECUTOR: This defendant also did nothing to stop it, including not calling 911. Besides not even making that phone call, the defendant failed to properly report being present for any of these events until two days later.

CANDIOTTI: Braszczok's attorney didn't address those allegations during a brief press conference Wednesday.

A source tells CNN a second off-duty officer questioned was riding with Braszczok but was not involved in the attack. And yet another civilian biker arrested Wednesday night is accused of using his helmet to pound the SUV driver on the ground. The suspect James Kuehne turned himself in and is expected in court today.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


CUOMO: This has been so difficult, even with all the go pro and other video they had. Imagine if they didn't have it.

BOLDUAN: It's a very good point. We're going to talk about that.

CUOMO: An investigation of this kind, finding the people, coordinating stories. That's why this story actually seems like it's dragging. It's actually moving faster than it might otherwise.

BOLDUAN: Because of the video that they have.

CUOMO: All right. So we're going to take a break now. Coming up on NEW DAY, more than 200 Republicans were invited, only 18 will be showing. But they are the leadership. And they are going to talk to the president today. Could they possibly emerge with a deal to raise the debt limit? Is that good enough? We'll talk about it in the NEW DAY "Gut Check." BOLDUAN: And a 9-year-old boy slipped past security in Minneapolis and on to a flight in to Las Vegas. You know that part of the story. Well, now you're going to hear from his father who is desperate and begging for help with his son.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, Thursday, October 10th.

Coming up in the show, the boy who flew without a ticket to Las Vegas. As we have been saying here on NEW DAY from jump, this story is not just about airport security, it is about a family, a family who says they are in trouble. You're going to hear from the father this morning. He's talking about how his pleas for help with his son fell on deaf ears until now.

BOLDUAN: And a popular weight loss pill, where the risks could far outweigh the rewards. The government is telling stores to pull it and people to stop talking about it -- start taking it, rather. More about that, coming up.

PEREIRA: But first, we want to bring you up to date on the latest news.

CNN has learned that Republican House members are getting a proposal to raise the debt ceiling for a few weeks while still keeping the government shut down. Top GOP leaders set to meet with the president later today. A House Democrat tells CNN the president would likely agree to a short-term deal to avoid a default.

In the meantime, the Fisher House Foundation will cover death benefits for military families during the shutdown as Congress works on a bill to restore funding.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan kidnapped at dawn by a group of armed rebels then freed a few hours later. Moments ago Zidan issued this tweet, quote, "If someone thought that abducting me with the intention of forcing me to submit my resignation, I tell them, I will not resign."

A senior Libyan government source telling CNN the prime minister is in good health following his release. We'll have more details for you as soon as they're available.

The judge in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting case says the trial for accused gunman James Holmes could last some eight months. She expects it will take at least three month to pick a jury.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people, wounding 70 others in that movie massacre last year. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. That trial is set to begin in February. The number two of U.S. nuclear forces now relieved of duty. The Navy has already suspended Vice Admiral Tim Jgiardina last month over a gambling issue specifically allegations that he used $1500 in counterfeit chips at an Ohio casino. Jgiardina will also drop in rank from a three-star to two-star admiral because of the loss of his command.

And the man who likes to dress up like Elmo from "Sesame Street" has gotten a year behind bars for trying to blackmail the Girl Scouts. Dan Sandler threatened to spread the false rumor that the group was setting up sexual encounters between underage scouts and adult men if it didn't pay $2 million.

He was busted for stalking a female scout employee. Sandler was convicted last year for harassing tourists and shouting anti-Semitic slurs in Times Square, all while dressed up in his Elmo outfit.

Not the spirit that Elmo intended.

CUOMO: What does the Elmo part have to do with the other part?

PEREIRA: I don't think it has anything to do with it. But he just happened to be a guy obsessed with Elmo.

CUOMO: It's just like how he's known. He's like the guy who dresses up as Elmo but this is all --

PEREIRA: This is all this other dark stuff that he's in now.

BOLDUAN: Well, coincidence, I guess.


CUOMO: Right, what's the chance of that?



PEREIRA: OK. Is there such a thing as an icky chance?

BOLDUAN: There is here.

CUOMO: Yes. There is now.

BOLDUAN: That's for sure.

CUOMO: Icky chance. Put it in the book. Hash tag.


BOLDUAN: Move now to our "Political Gut Check" this morning. President Obama will meet with a group of House Republican leaders today at the White House. And there's word a deal over the debt ceiling, even a short-term one could be in sight. So is this a way out of all of it for all of them? CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here to break it down for us.

So, John, the president following the meeting with House Democrats yesterday is kind of offering the clearest sign yet that he's open to a short-term extension of raising the debt -- of raising the debt ceiling. And House Republicans giving some -- some indication that they're moving in that direction as well.