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Government Shutdown Continues; Rollercoaster Suspended for Two- and-a-Half House with Riders; CEOs Urge Action; Interview with Robert Moritz

Aired October 10, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's bad. The president, however, suggested he is open to this deal. The proposal would, again, not be perfect but if this can actually happen, we'll tell you how.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And breaking overnight, Libya's prime minister kidnapped by armed militants in Tripoli, then released just a few hours later. So what was going on? Was it retaliation for the U.S. raid that nabbed a suspected Al Qaeda leader in Libya? We'll have a live report.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We'll take a look at an interesting question. Can you be too drunk to be found guilty? Some people who are convicted of drinking and driving and then killing people are arguing they were too intoxicated to understand the threat they posed to others. Now if a judge or judges rule in their favor, what could this mean to the law going forward? We'll take a look with legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

CUOMO: First, let's break down what could be signs of progress to the deadlock that's bringing our nation to the edge of economic disaster. Why do we think it could break? House Republicans and the president may possibly find a compromise at least for now. CNN's Brianna Keilar is live at the White House this morning. I'm being qualified about it, Brianna, but that's better than we've heard.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is. You have to be qualified about it. That's the right way to approach it. Today, Chris, we'll be seeing House Republicans, just leaders and key committee chairs coming to the White House. We'll also see Senate Democrats here as well. And this comes on the heel of President Obama meeting last night with House Democrats where he gave the most clear sign yet that he's willing to go for a stop gap measure, at least for a little while if Republicans get on board.


KEILAR: Finally they're talking. House Democrats met the president at the White House last night.

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) 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.

REP. 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, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

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 right, down 10 points from last month, the lowest for any party since 1992. Democrats slid four points to 43 percent.

A White House official I spoke with said President Obama was looking forward to explaining his case to all of the House Republicans today at the White House, but House Republican leaders said that they want to negotiate. And they don't feel they can do that with 200 plus members in the room, Kate. But can you imagine the drama of President Obama in the same room, perhaps, with some of the key party Republicans who he's blaming for the shutdown and for holding up the debt ceiling?

BOLDUAN: Brianna, some would argue that's what needs to happen. Get together, fight it out, stay in there until you get it done. Not this time.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.

At least one horrible wrong has been righted ten days into the government shutdown. A charity with a long history of helping the country's men and women in the military is doing what Congress has not, paying death benefits to the grieving military families trying to bury their fallen loved ones. CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon following this side of the shutdown this morning. Good morning, Barbara. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Since the government shut down about two dozen troops have died, some in the war zone, some back here at home. Their families now have a temporary solution but a lot of questions about how did it ever get this far.


STARR: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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 says he acted as soon as he heard the problem.

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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 VA 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: But on the disaster, the PR political disaster of the death benefits, the Pentagon says it has long warned Congress and White House officials that it would not be able to pay death benefits if the government shut down. Some in Congress said they didn't get the word. Chris?

CUOMO: Too consumed with less important things down there, the politics of it. Barbara Starr, thank you very much for reporting this morning. Breaking overnight, Libya's prime minister kidnapped by gunmen and then released just hours later. The incident is thought to be some sort of pay back for Libya's role in the capture of a top Al Qaeda terrorist that U.S. forces captured. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson following developments from Tripoli. This is a bizarre situation. What does it mean there politically?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, it's an indication of how fragile this government is. The militia that kidnapped the prime minister this morning is one that's been sanctioned by Libyan lawmakers to be part of law enforcement here in Tripoli. It's an indication that the government is realizing its worst fears over the capture of Abu Anas over the weekend. Ministers I talked to in the past couple of days have told me they were worried about some sort of backlash, particularly coming from Islamist militias. Not clear they were, the Islamists were behind the kidnapping of the prime minister but it's exactly what the government was worried about, shows that fragility, and shows the reason why 200 marines were moved from their base in Spain, U.S. marines, and moved to Italy to be much closer here to the embassy in Tripoli should that need arise, Chris.

CUOMO: And that leads to the question of what happens next? Is this a situation now where you'll need to see some type of U.S. involvement or more bolstering of the surrounding areas because of how easily that was pulled off?

ROBERTSON: What I'm told this is going to lead to is essentially an end to the political process. You'll have politicians, but it will be a shell, if you will. A much greater focus of the stakeholders here, that is the United States and other European partners who are interested in boosting the security of Libyan security services. The people associated with Libya who understand the situation here have been writing reports about the dwindling power of the government and the rise of the armed militias, particularly those tied to Al Qaeda, those who were perhaps involved in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last year, the rise of those groups.

They think now that there will be much greater focus, their reports will be listened to, and that support to build the security services here to thwart the growth of Al Qaeda here, that's what they expect to happen or hope at least will happen, Chris.

CUOMO: Nic, thank you very much for the reporting and perspective this morning.

BOLDUAN: Back here at home, you can talk about an overt-the-top thrill ride. People getting quite a view in Orlando last night when the roller coaster malfunctioned leaving them stranded for hours more than 100 feet in the air. CNN's Pamela Brown is here, tracking this story. So what happened, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think this is the experience these thrill seekers were going after, certainly as we saw there in that video. A technical glitch left them sitting in a 90 degree position at the top of Orlando's tallest roller coaster ride for nearly two-and-a-half hours.


BROWN: Every roller coaster rider's worst nightmare caught on camera Wednesday night. This cellphone 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 scariest things for something to go through while they're on roller coaster.

BROWN: Passengers were stuck on a vertical incline for nearly two- and-a-half hours. A position this father and his daughter were relieved to have missed. They rode the coasters minutes before the malfunction.

RAY DOWNS, RODE ROLLER COASTER BEFORE MALFUNCTION: She was scared half to death about it, but I said it will be take, they take good care of their stuff. Thank goodness it wasn't us.

BROWN: The coaster came screeching to a halt around 7:00 p.m. due to a technical glitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're stuck in this position and hopefully they can get the 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 almost two hours after the malfunction.

DISTRICT CHIEF IAN DAVIS, ORLANDO FIRE DEPARTMENT: Once we got it to a horizontal position, then our guys can put the victims in harnesses and were 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 park spokesperson saying one female passenger was transported to the hospital for neck and back pain.


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

BOLDUAN: You're up there. You don't know you're only going to be stuck there two-and-a-half hours.

BROWN: And making matters worse, it was at night, sitting there suspended in the air.

CUOMO: The concern becomes are we picking out the exceptions to the rule? Or is this the rule of how they're regulated versus how they're not regulated? It's gray with these amusement parks. Seem to be a lot of these stories.

BROWN: I've covered a few in the past couple of months.

BOLDUAN: You're absolutely right. You have, Pamela.

BROWN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We have other headlines this morning. Let's get straight to Michaela for all of those.

PEREIRA: Good morning. Good morning to you at home new this morning. Four Egyptian soldiers killed, five wounded after a car bomb explosion in the Sinai Peninsula this morning. Government forces have been under repeated attack in that area. The Obama administration stopped sending major military aid to Egypt because of the government's violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Just in to CNN, 82-year-old Canadian Alice Monroe has just been named the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. The selection committee called Monroe a master of the contemporary short story. The much acclaimed writer was awarded for her story that focused on the frailties of the human condition.

A retired West Virginia police officer armed with an assault weapon and handgun shot to death by police after opening fire on a federal courthouse. Former officer Thomas Picard retired back in 2000 after 20 years on the force. Witnesses say he fired up to two dozen shots yesterday afternoon before police took him down. Two court security guards were treated for minor injuries. No word yet on a possible motive.

A total of seven motorcyclists have been charged in connection with the attack on an SUV and its driver in New York City. This latest arrest coming last night, 31-year-old James Kuhn faces gang assault and other charges. One of the suspects is an NYPD detective. He was arraigned in court Wednesday. Prosecutors believe he was an active participant in that attack.

The USDA is demanding Foster Farms, the California company implicated in the salmonella outbreak that has stricken more than 250 people, respond no later than today with a solution to the problem, that agency threatening to close three poultry plants. In a letter to Foster Farms, the USDA said sanitary conditions at their facilities were so poor that they posed a serious ongoing threat to public health.

Some stunning video from Midland County, Texas. Look at this, a freight train hitting a tractor-trailer at a railroad crossing. Apparently the truck was stuck there. The impact sending the truck's flatbed full of pipes flying all over the place. The train pushed the big rig down the tracks for about a half mile. Thankfully no injuries. The driver of the semi just left the cab before the crash. It still takes your breath away.

BOLDUAN: And it's scary for the train conductor, too.

BROWN: Nothing he can do at that point. CUOMO: People complain about those, the crossing, they take so long and all the bells. What do we need all those for? It's a precarious situation.

PEREIRA: They are precarious situations.

CUOMO: Holy cow.

BOLDUAN: (Inaudible) examples of just -- I feel like I'm talking about this a couple times (inaudible) --


CUOMO: When you see things a lot, there's a reason for it. Sometimes, oh, the media finds those -- it happens a lot for a reason.

PEREIRA: It's happening.

BOLDUAN: Let's get back over to Indra for another check of the forecast today.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have a new friend, and it's called -- I don't know; we haven't named it yet. I'll let you guys name it. But it is this big rainmaker that's literally going to hanging along the coastline all weekend long.

It is so slow moving, that's going to be the hardest part about this. It's not going to be just rain. I'm going to take you back down to the basics. Winds go clockwise around a high, counterclockwise around a low. You put those guys close to each other, you're talking about strong winds.

Northeasterly winds will be out there, rough seas. Gusts can go as high as up to about 40, even 45 miles per hour. Let's take a look at the pattern. Notice this pattern stays with us even as we go through the weekend.

We'll get very familiar here with kind of cold, rainy, wet pattern. Take a look at how much rain we're expecting, anywhere from 3 to 5 inches in the mid-Atlantic. All of that kind of sinks to the coastal waters, bringing in all that moisture right off the coastline right into the inland area. (Inaudible) a lot, we're going to take it day by day, here you go.

(Inaudible) plans. OK, here's Thursday, we're seeing through D.C., just south of New York, but making its way now in through New York City. By tomorrow, still lingering in the region. I'll show you Saturday as well. It doesn't look any different. So unfortunately, it is going to be here to stay by Sunday it should start to taper out. That will be the good news.

Temperature wise, we're also going to be on the cool side, 5, 10 degrees below normal.

So yes, (inaudible) friend, guys; he's hanging out.

CUOMO: Not a friend.

PETERSONS: Not a friend?

BOLDUAN: What is he or she?

CUOMO: He would be something less than that.

BOLDUAN: Is that good fishing weather?

CUOMO: He would be a -- you know what he would be?


CUOMO: He, she, it. Frenemy.


BOLDUAN: Frenemy. And we all have a couple of those.

PEREIRA: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, America's biggest CEOs are sounding the alarm about the need to end the government shutdown. Now PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Robert Moritz is here to explain the stakes.

PEREIRA: Interesting to get his take on this whole thing.

BOLDUAN: And here's also this ahead, if you've ever been on the subway you will wonder how this could happen. A man pulls out a gun, shoots a passenger on a crowded train in San Francisco. No one seems to notice. Is the obsession with technology to blame?



CUOMO: All right. It is "Money Time."

While the shutdown continues and the debt ceiling looms, big business leaders are speaking up, urging Congress to get its act together. Joining us is one of those calling for a change in course, Mr. Robert E. Moritz, chairman and senior partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sir, thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: So what is your message to Congress?

MORITZ: Well, very simply, you have two-thirds of the CEOs across the U.S. extremely concerned about the government's reaction to the various issues we're dealing with. And the message that the CEOs are bringing is, hey, you've got to take the responsibility to get in a room, think long term, compromise and see through this problem. Today you've got CEOs that are frustrated with this, you've got CEOs that are numb to this and you've got CEOs that are doing some scenario planning. It's because of the significant impact on their business because of all the uncertainty that the government inaction is actually taking today and the impact it has to their business.

CUOMO: Do you accept the loggerhead that the Republicans have pushed it too far, and so the Democrats say we cannot negotiate?

Would you accept that in the business environment?

MORITZ: From my perspective, both sides are at fault. The reality is each of our elected officials, just like CEOs today, have to figure out way to get in a room, think above the morass that goes on and actually get in a room and actually compromise.

So each side today, actually, I think is taking an inappropriate position in terms of what needs to be done here and is not actually acting as elected officials.

And our message from the Fix the Debt Campaign is all about calling our elected officials to say, hey, I support you, I know you have to take tough decisions. We have to do it each and every day. But get in a room, think long term and get this thing dealt with so it's more than just a short-term fix.

CUOMO: All right, so...

MORITZ: And my belief is we'll get past the debt issue. But the reality is I'm worried that we're going to just kick the can down the road and we'll be back at the table yet again.

CUOMO: But that's where we are. If the best they can do is this short-term fix on just the ceiling that doesn't re-open the government, is that good enough or is it more of the same?

MORITZ: It's more of the same. The reality is, people need to understand the big picture here. The U.S. economy and its status in the global basis is actually extremely important.

CEOs around the world, politicians around the world, government officials around the world actually are all relying on the U.S. They see that as a positive in terms of what's happening in the U.S. over the last few years or so. It's what I'll call the saving grace and the beacon of light that others are looking towards.

So not only are we dealing with problems inside the states, others outside the states that want to invest here want to see a degree of confidence that we can actually manage through our problems. This is actually decreasing their confidence level because of that uncertainty, and as a result, makes matters worse for additional investment from the outside, looking to the U.S. to lead.

CUOMO: Let me poke some holes at that. Moody's came out and said it doesn't matter what happens with the debt ceiling. The U.S. still is going to maintain the perception of full faith and credit. These types of things have happened before. It happened in 2011. You're playing domino theory here. But in all likelihood the government has plenty of money to pay its bills far after the ceiling expires.

MORITZ: I would agree with the statement that they're making from this perspective: I don't think anyone in their right mind wants to force the U.S. government to do over the debt ceiling and into default. It's just irrational, illogical. And the reality is, the debt ceiling is only one of several different issues that we're dealing with.

Because you still have the government shutdown issue and you still have major, major budget issues that we're worried about over the long term when you look at our planning from here forward. So the degree of confidence from the outside or the degree of confidence from inside is shaken because of the uncertainty of the totality of what's going on right now.

CUOMO: What do you think the chances are that if this is a short-term deal and the government stays shut down and they can't get it done, that there wind up being major consequences?

What's the chance that that actually happens?

MORITZ: I think there are consequences that will come. So I believe personally that the debt ceiling will be dealt with, we'll either kick the can down the road or figure out a way to actually extend it.

I do worry about the combination of irresponsible fiscal planning. And the impact it has to, A, confidence and, B, the impact directly on business. And we're seeing it today.

There's airline and defense industries that are impacted. There's retail and consumer impacts that are happening out there. And where government is big in local communities, small business is being impacted. They're ill willing to actually invest higher because of that uncertainty. They are seeing a reduced spending by the government and a downstream effect associated with that.

So it does have an impact from a GDP perspective, a confidence perspective. And let's not forget, at some point in time, the stock market comes into play here as well.

CUOMO: Give me a quick yes, no on something. Your perspective will be valuable to Congress. Your donations even more so.

Are you or other CEOs to your knowledge calling up lawmakers and saying if you don't get this done, I'm not going to give you any money?

MORITZ: The answer is yes. You see CEOs doing that today. We're considering it as well. We are trying to get the money to the people that we believe actually are doing the right things and have the right debates and are willing to push the agenda and step aside their political positions to get to what is right answer for the U.S. economy and the U.S. people. CUOMO: That'll mean the most. That's what they listen to the most, unfortunately, as we both know. Mr. Moritz, thank you very much for joining NEW DAY today. Appreciate the perspective.

MORITZ: Happy to be here, Chris. Thanks very much.

CUOMO: So what do you know? What do you think about this? This is what it's all about at the end of the day. Tweet us, use the hashtag #newday. What did you think about what Mr. Moritz has to say? What do you think about the situation going forward?


BOLDUAN: All right, Chris. Great perspective. Thanks so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, an amazing and terrifying picture, as a hot air balloons clips power lines in New Mexico then plummets toward the ground. Makes you wonder how the men riding in that balloon survived. We have an update on how they're doing, coming up.

Plus a man pulls out a gun in plain sight on a San Francisco train. But no one seems to notice until a fatal shot is fired. Why was everyone so distracted on that train?