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New Hope for Debt Ceiling Deal; Futures Higher on Deb Deal Hope; GOP Stars at Conservative Summit; New Ariel Castro Report Raises Questions

Aired October 11, 2013 - 09:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Really could be just days away. Both President Obama and House GOP leaders are said to be upbeat about their White House meeting, they called it useful, and the early makings of a Republican plan to raise the debt limit.

This is really the first glimmer of progress in weeks. Markets surged on the positive tone. The Dow soared to its biggest one-day gains of the year.

Now take a look, here is the potential turning point in that meeting last night. Multiple sources say the whole dynamic changed when Obama and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan began engaging. Ryan of course once the Republican vice presidential nominee he reportedly implored the president to find a way to work with Republicans. And another GOP House leader reminded everyone behind those closed doors that if they do not emerge with some good news, the U.S. stock markets would plummet.

They did come out, they said the meetings were very useful. The question for CNN's Brianna Keilar at the White House is this. Is very useful the same thing as eminent?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't exactly go that far. I mean, that's possible, John, but what I would say is that both sides here are optimistic but they're being very cautious. And certainly a deal, complete deal has not been struck here. The timing of a bill that would go before the House is still certainly very much in question at this point but there has been progress when it comes to the debt ceiling which of course is the most concerning part of all of this piece, though.

But whether the government will reopen, when it will reopen I should say, that's still rather murky.


KEILAR (voice-over): An encouraging sign after House Republicans met with President Obama at the White House.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: I would characterize this as probably the most constructive.

KEILAR: And pledge to keep the talks going.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: We'll have more discussion. We'll come back to have more discussion.

KEILAR: On the table a compromise that would increase the debt ceiling for six weeks. The White House said the president looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle but the government shutdown is still up in the air. President Obama and congressional Democrats insist the government reopen as part of a deal. Republicans want concessions from the president to make that happen.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Republicans were pretty clear earlier today they want to negotiate for you to reopen the government. Is that --

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Not going to happen.

KEILAR: Even as they were meeting, more signs the Republican strategy is hurting them in the public's eye. In a new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, 53 percent of Americans now blame Republicans for the shutdown, 31 percent blaming the president. Only 24 percent have a favorable opinion of Republicans, 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party. Both numbers at an all-time low.

And governors in states where national park closures are hurting tourism are starting to get fed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on down to southern Utah. The parks are open.

KEILAR: Utah brokered a deal with the Department of the Interior to fully fund park service personnel and reopen its parks. Colorado, Arizona and South Dakota may follow suit.

On Wall Street, the Dow soared to its biggest one-day gain for the year. Hungry for good news just one week before the U.S. is set to hit the debt ceiling. A six-week debt ceiling deal would take us to November 22nd just as holiday shopping season gets under way.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president said the other day that if they were to send them a clean debt ceiling extension, no partisan strings attached, he would sign it.


KEILAR: Now the president will be meeting, John, today with Senate Republicans. So he's met with House Republicans, he met with Senate Democrats and House Democrats. This is really kind of the final piece of the puzzle. Of course they're not as a hard of a sell, say, as House Republicans but we'll certainly be waiting to see any indications of agreement coming out of that meeting as well. That's here in a couple of hours.

BERMAN: And Brianna, we are getting word that some Senate Republicans are working on a plan of their own, they're a little bit closer to what the White House is after here but that aside we saw in your piece that poll showing that a majority of Americans blame the Republicans for this partial government shutdown. That's compared to 31 percent for President Obama. That's a 22-point spread which by the way is bigger than the shutdown in the 1990s.

So the question is, did Republican lawmakers look at those numbers and say hey, we have to do something here?

KEILAR: You know, they're not publicly saying that, John, but I think all along, even from the get-go before the shutdown even began, Republican -- establishment Republicans knew they were going to take a hit, they looked at history, they knew that was going to be the case and certainly these poll numbers come out especially the one about Tea Party Republicans losing so much traction as well.

And they're not saying it but certainly it is something that could embolden them as they started to kind of shift away from the Tea Party tactics which quite frankly here in Washington a lot of establishment Republicans have been lamenting all along but have certainly felt because concerns about getting primary to the right that they had to go along with this.

And we are seeing this shift, we're hearing from some House Republicans now, for instance, that Obamacare which was the key Tea Party demand is now entirely off the table here.

BERMAN: And in that NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll they did in fact take a very big hit.

Brianna Keilar at the White House, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

So hope over a potential debt deal had futures pointing higher on Wall Street, going into the market opening, pointing that the markets could maybe today be headed for a third straight day of gains but it does beg the question, what is an investor to do with all this volatility?

There is one person who knows the answer to that question and so many more, the host of CNN's "YOUR MONEY" Christine Romans.

Christine, first up, what are the markets doing so far?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Futures have just moved lower. So, you know, I think any kind of gains from here on out are going to be suspicious and why? Because this is the kick the can rally, a very big rally. Now tow they actually have to kick said can and we know that that isn't really happening quite yet.

John, it's so nerve-racking because investors have had such a good year. You look at the gains for the Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq and you look at that privately behind the scenes House GOP members have been look, we could have a big market sell-off here if we don't get some sort of progress, it's been a very, very good year, people are happy with their 401(k)s.

Should you sell out right now? I want you to listen to something Ned Riley said about what the average person, what you and me should be doing right now with our money.


NED RILEY, RILEY ASSET MANAGEMENT: And for the average person, I would just try to take a vacation from the market for about two to three weeks, don't do anything rash or silly by selling when it appears that the news is bad.


ROMANS: There's this old saying on Wall Street, John, that I learned right when I started covering markets, it was sometimes on Wall Street the adage is don't just do something, stand there. It's been a very good -- not Congress. We want to you do something but for investors. Look, if you sold stocks last week you lost -- you missed yesterday's big rally so just be careful.

BERMAN: This is one of those moments when you see the investors on the floor with one eyes on their trades, the other eye on those monitors.


BERMAN: Wondering what Congress is doing and they want to see more than just talk right now.

ROMANS: Absolutely. And you know, what's so interesting here is about the alliances changing between Washington and Wall Street. I mean, you've heard all these business leader, all of these Wall Street heads, the banks, the bankers, the trade associations have been like pushing back against the House Republicans who have been moving toward this debt ceiling crisis.

Greg Valliere is somebody who studies Washington and Wall Street and he sees the traditional -- the question is, is the GOP still the party of business? Listen.


GREG VALLIERE, POTOMAC RESEARCH GROUP: There's a really surprising, new dynamic in this city. It had been assumed that business and Republicans were in bed together. Now all of a sudden you see the new breed of Republicans mostly from the Tea Party who were not all that friendly with Wall Street or banks or big business.


ROMANS: Really interesting how that's going to play out maybe going forward and who the trade associations and the business groups will be supporting in primaries in the next --


BERMAN: The Tea Party has never gone to a lot of these Wall Street people, though, for money so it may not affect their efforts going forward.

Christine Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Have a great weekend. "YOUR MONEY" airs this weekend as always.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right.

BERMAN: Take a look. All right. Thanks, Christine.

Despite no resolution to the partial government shutdown or the debt ceiling fight, some of the biggest names in the Republican Party will be away from Capitol Hill today. Where will they be? You're looking at it right now. That is the Values Voter Summit. It is getting under way in Washington right now, that's led by the Family Research Council, a group of social conservatives headed by Tony Perkins, you're looking at him right there.

This is a group often strongly opposed to gay rights and abortion, live pictures here right now. Now many of the biggest names in the Republican Party will be there, it's a line-up that looks like a list of possible 2016 presidential contenders.

The big secret today speaker today include Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and later today a man really at the center right now of this budget discussion, Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin.

We have CNN political director Mark Preston at the summit.

Mark, what kind of a role do you expect the shutdown to play there?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it's certainly going to be a major topic, John. You know, if you were to look at a political dynamic, today is the day to look at it. On the other side of town right now we have Republicans trying to work out a deal with President Obama and where I stand right now you have grassroots conservatives, folks who very much would not like to see a deal cut, they want to stand by their principles, they certainly do not like President Obama's health care law and we would expect to hear that today.

Now, John, within the next hour we will hear from five senators, they include Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Tim Scott. Once they speak here, though, they will head straight to the White House for talks with President Obama. If there ever was a political dynamic John there is an amazing we will see play out today.

BERMAN: Who carries the most juice at this summit right now? Is it people Senator Ted Cruz of Texas or to the people at this summit look at John Boehner as the leader of the Republican Party?

PRESTON: Well, I think it says something John Boehner is not actually speaking at the summit and Ted Cruz is, again he'll be speaking in probably about another 30 or 40 minutes but expecting to get a hero's welcome. He is one that many of these folks here about 2,000 from across the country have come here to hear the likes from Ted Cruz to talk about fighting against Washington.

In fact I spoke to one of Ted Cruz's advisers last night. They said expect Ted Cruz to talk about the grassroots and how Washington shouldn't have all the answers and does not have all the power to do things and that there will be a message sent out today that if the grassroots and if conservatives want to take back their government they need to have their voices heard, expect to hear that today, John, today.

BERMAN: They're not taking a stand, the Family Research Council and the Value Voter Summit, per se? They're not a stand being taken there against this possible deal that's being discussed right now with the temporary raising of the debt ceiling, is there?

PRESTON: Why certainly not yet but that could happen again. This conference just started off last night. We know that there was somewhat decent discussions between the White House and congressional Republicans so a lot of people are still trying to find out what this deal is actually going to be.

But I would expect to hear within the hallways that people are not going to be supportive of it. They don't like President Obama's health care law. Many of them think that the government spending is way out of control and that the debt ceiling fight is the place to make the stand to try to limit government -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Mark Preston at the Value Voter Summit. We will hear some key speeches in there. Coming up over the next several hours. Thanks so much, Mark.

Still to come here for us on NEWSROOM" a new report raises new questions about the death of Ariel Castro. Could the hanging death of this convicted rapist and kidnaper have been an accident?


BERMAN: Checking your top stories right now.

The organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The award was announced this morning. The Nobel Committee cited the OPCW's extensive efforts since 1997 to eliminate chemical weapons worldwide. The group now has inspectors inside Syria.

There had been broad speculation that the Peace Prize would go to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who were shot by the Taliban and worked so hard for education rights.

A California jury has cleared Toyota in a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit was brought by the family of Noriko Uno who claimed their Toyota Camry suddenly accelerated even though she was pressing her brake pedal. Uno was killed crashed into a telephone pole. In a statement, Toyota says the verdict supported its findings that its vehicles are safe.

A group of rabbis in New York City is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and assault of Jewish men to get them to divorce their wives. The rabbis charged the wives tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the husbands were attacked with electric cattle products. Ten rabbis have pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

A little more than a month into his life sentence, convicted kidnaper and rapist Ariel Castro was found hanging from a sheet in his jail cell. Now a new report brought by Ohio corrections official suggests it wasn't a suicide.

Pamela Brown is here with more on that.

Hey, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is surprising here, John. Officials determined that Ariel Castro's death was suicide but a new report released by the Ohio Department of Corrections is raising the possibility that Castro's death may have been an accident due to risky sexual behavior -- a suggestion the coroner's office who performed Castro's autopsy denies.


BROWN (voice-over): New questions have emerged in the hanging death of Ariel Castro; the coroner says the cause of death is suicide. But a brand new report from the Ohio Department of Corrections considers the possibility of a drastically different cause, auto-erotic asphyxiation. The report says when Castro was found his pants and underwear were pulled down to his ankles.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Autoerotic asphyxiation is a behavior where individuals engage in self-stimulation are trying to intensify the experience they're getting by putting something around their neck, to literally cut off the blood supply to their brain, causing more of a euphoria.

BROWN: But this morning, the coroner released a strongly worded statement, saying, "I don't think anyone else should have an opinion on what the cause of death was. As a death investigator, it is my job to determine cause and manner of death. Looking at this report has not changed my mind. The cause is hanging, the manner is suicide."

During his month in state prison, officials say Castro was given more than one mental health evaluation and indicated no current suicidal thoughts or past attempts to hurt himself. As a result, he was not placed on suicide watch.

At a sentencing, Castro admitted to a sexual addiction, saying it was partly why he kidnapped Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight and held them captive for around decade.

ARIEL CASTRO: I believe I am addicted to porn, to the point where it really makes me impulsive and I just don't realize that what I'm doing is wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: And the probe also found two prison guards allegedly failed to routinely check on Castro at staggered 30-minute intervals like they were supposed to and even created false logs to make it look like they did including five false entries the day Castro died. In the meantime, in a statement, Ohio State Highway Patrol the agency currently investigating Castro's death says we are aware of the information regarding the clothing and the way inmate Castro was found. We continue to investigate this case as we have from the beginning as a suicide.

Key word there the spokesperson emphasized "suicide."

BERMAN: Still odd to say the least the story ongoing and we really hope for the women who were his captives for so long they've moved on. They don't need to be hearing that stuff.

BROWN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Pamela Brown appreciate you being here.

Still to come a "CROSSFIRE" smackdown over the success of Obamacare.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: That's interesting you apparently found the family in Rhode Island that went on the exchanges and got insurance.


CRUZ: It was publicly reported 508 in Rhode Island. In Iowa, it was reported five in the entire state.


BERMAN: We will have more from this incredible debate, including Senator Cruz's response when Van Jones asks if he should apologize for the whole budget stalemate.


BERMAN: So, talk of a potential debt deal may have calmed Wall Street but on Capitol Hill, there is plenty of anger, and much of it is directed at freshman Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who pushed the plan at the beginning to defund Obamacare. Last night on "CROSSFIRE," host Van Jones asked the senator if he felt responsible for the stalemate.


VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Do you feel like you owe your party an apology? Listen, you had people who believed in you. They believed that you were going to somehow be able to defund Obamacare. They believed that the strategy of shutdown might have a chance. They followed you into a ditch.

And now, there's obviously no chance that Obamacare is going to be defunded, and we're on the brink of a horrific default. Do you think that, in the reflection of your own heart, you might say, "You know what? I'm the new kid here. I think I owe you guys an apology"?

CRUZ: You know, Van, I know you desperately want to change the topic from Obamacare. And it is striking that -- hold on, let me answer your question.

JONES: Default? But the default, the destruction of the world economy?

CRUZ: Van, let me answer -- let me answer your question.

Listen, Democrats in this town do not want to discuss Obamacare. Why? Because it isn't working.

We saw this week President Obama's approval ratings are at 37 percent, the lowest it has ever been. The "Wall Street Journal" poll just came out, and Democrats have the lowest support among the middle class they've had in 40 years of polls.

Why is it? Why is it? And it's for two reasons.

Number one, because House Republicans are working to fund vital government priorities. They passed 14 bills to do it, and President Obama and the Democrats refuse to negotiate.

And number two, it is because House Republicans are listening to the millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, who are being pushed into part-time work, who are facing skyrocketing health care --

JONES: Do you agree -- do you agree with this analysis, Senator Whitehouse?

WHITEHOUSE: The notion that Obamacare is a failure, I think, is a product of right-wing histrionics.

I went into our insurance exchange in Rhode Island when I was home over the weekend. There was a family at the front desk. They had been in earlier to get waited on and to get served. And they were so happy with the way they were treated, that they were now coming back. They brought in two big tubs of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and stacks of donuts for everybody.

The report from Christy Ferguson, who's running it, is that people are hugging their employees when they find out what the options are.

The idea that CMS -- that's a pretty anecdotal story. CMS has adjusted the long-term 2010-2020 costs for Medicare and Medicaid down by $1.2 trillion from 2010 estimates to 2013. You've got to believe Obamacare has something to do with those huge savings.

The Republican Party decided that Obamacare was going to be a failure early on before Obamacare was even decided. It was a political choice to pull all support for anything that this president wanted to do. Now they have to live with it, so they have to maintain the story line.

But I have to tell you, Senator Cruz, I don't see it at home; I don't believe it. And I think if you know anybody who had a child, say, with a preexisting condition who was trapped in their job for the rest of their lives, because they could never move, because no other insurer would ever cover for them, or the child who got out of -- went beyond the cap, and the parents had to sell their House in order to pay for the continued cancer treatment, because they had blown through the cap. Those are situations that needed attention s Obamacare has fixed them.

CRUZ: Let me respond to that with two things. Number one, it's interesting that you apparently found a family in Rhode Island that went on the exchanges and got insurance.

WHITEHOUSE: Thirteen hundred.

CRUZ: It was publicly reported there were 580 in Rhode Island. In Iowa it was reported there were five in the entire state. So enrollment has been -- let me make a second point. You said criticism of Obamacare is, quote, "right-wing histrionics."


CRUZ: And I'm curious if you think it was right-wing histrionics when James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, said that Obamacare is destroying the health care of millions of hard-working men and women in this country.

WHITEHOUSE: I have heard that Mr. Hoffa has said you're using that quote is inappropriate and out of context.


BERMAN: A fiery discussion to say the least. Now you can watch "CROSSFIRE" tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN, guest is former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer facing off Arizona Representative David Schweikert on the right.

Schweikert supports the president -- while Schweitzer supports the president while Schweikert says the debt debacle is just a false crisis. They'll be talking about that and no doubt the inconvenient similarities in their names.

We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

Carol Costello has earned the day off today.

Happening now some of the biggest stars at the Republican Party are at a summit in Washington. This is called the Value Voter Summit. Senator Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will be speaking later the focus is on socially conservative issues like the fights against same-sex marriage and abortion rights. The senator speaking right now is Mike Lee from Utah.

I want you to look at this poll from Brigham Young University. It shows that the favorable opinion of senator lee among Utah voters is sinking, dropping 10 points since June. Could this be a possible result of his rule in the shutdown?