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Debt Ceiling Deal in the Works?; Shutdown Threatens Veterans Benefits; World Getting Warmer

Aired October 11, 2013 - 04:30   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go broke. It's really that simple. I enter into a level of poverty at that point.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: They risk their lives for this country, but now, disabled veterans are being pushed into poverty by the same government who promised to be there for them.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A dangerous heat wave that may never go away. A new warning from researchers about Earth's rising temperatures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It turned into my motivation to not let being blind beat me at all.


BERMAN: Blind but not beaten. A U.S. war veteran wounded in battle and showing the world that anything, anything is possible.

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. We're glad you're with us on this Friday morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Glad it's Friday. It is 31 minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And this morning, there are dramatic new developments in the battle over keeping this country from defaulting on its debt.

Did I call them dramatic?

BERMAN: They are dramatic.

SAMBOLIN: We can finally say something we haven't been able to say for more than a week. They are talking and they are apparently making progress, John. BERMAN: Reportedly working through the night, in fact, and White House and Republicans in Congress holding discussions over raising the debt ceiling. Now, it is a little bit amazing that just talking is considered progress but in D.C. terms these days it really has been a big turning point in the stalemate that has been going on now, now in its 11th day.

It was last night that President Obama met at the White House with a group of some 20 top House Republicans. They talked for about 90 minutes. The discussion was about a Republican proposal to increase the debt ceiling for about six weeks. That would give both sides time to work on a longer term deal. They promised to keep talking ahead of the debt ceiling deadline which is next week.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: We had a very useful meeting. It was clarifying I think for both sides as to where we are.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Let's wait and see what the House does. When they send us something, we'll look at it as clearly and as closely as we can.


SAMBOLIN: And I know you're asking what about the government shutdown? Well, that's another story altogether. The president said to be pressing Republicans to end the shutdown as parted of any debt ceiling deal.

Right now, it is unclear if both sides will come to any agreement that would restore funding and get the government fully operating again.

BERMAN: No, but what's been happening overnight we believe is both sides are sitting down doing some thinking about that as well. So there has been some progress there and there might be --

SAMBOLIN: Because there have been discussions, right?

BERMAN: There have been discussions, and there's a Senate group meeting right now to figure out if ways to end the shutdown immediately and now, House leaders have been thinking overnight about what it would take for them to vote on a measure that raise -- that would end the shutdown immediately, in addition to raising the debt ceiling at least temporarily.

So, there is stuff going on.

SAMBOLIN: Let's hope that progress leads to something tangible.

BERMAN: It would be amazing to get it done before the holiday weekend.

SAMBOLIN: That would be fantastic.

All right. One area they greed on was military death benefits. The White House and Congress moved quickly to restore the benefits to military families that were frozen out by this government shutdown. The stalemate could force millions of our wounded warriors to do without.

CNN's Barbara Starr is following that story.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ryan Lamke has been on edge for days. He's one of more than 3 million wounded veterans who are worried they won't get their next disability check because of the government shutdown. He's got a message for all politicians about what veterans are facing if the checks don't arrive.

RYAN LAMKE, WOUNDED VET: It means that they may go broke. They may have that extra financial stress on an already emotionally stressed life. It could mean, in worst-case scenarios, that suicide spike, emotional stability drops. We're talking about a population of veterans that are not seeking out the mental health care they so desperately need.

STARR: Ryan Lamke knows what he's talking about. When he came home from Iraq in 2008, after seven IED attacks, he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.

LAMKE: I had hard time just keeping my basic aspects of my life in order. So, I was frustrated. That translated to anger quite a bit and that frustration finally just pushed me to say I don't want to live like this.

STARR: He went on to graduate from college determined to make it. Believing the government's promise that his war time servicemen his VA disability check would always be there, but he's been unemployed for five months. Now that check is his only source of income.

LAMKE: If the shutdown goes past October 15th, the VA has said that they will be unable to process payments for 1 November when most of my bills come due.

STARR (on camera): What does that mean to you? What happens?

LAMKE: I go broke. I go broke. It's really that simple. I enter into a level of poverty at that point.

STARR (voice-over): Lamke and other veterans now expressing frustration that they have somehow become pawns in a political debate.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Some really startling poll numbers right now, amid the government shutdown. Your opinion of lawmakers really not good at all. The most telling poll is new poll that shows 6 in 10 Americans say they would vote to kick out every single member of Congress, including their own representative. This next number what might be forcing the movement we have seen the last 24 hours. Voters blame Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, more than the president. That there is bigger than it was at any point during the shutdowns with Newt Gingrich in the '90s right there. So, Republicans clearly, clearly suffering here.

The poll was conducted Wednesday night -- Monday through Wednesday, before word of the latest talks between the president and the Republicans --

SAMBOLIN: People are frustrated.

BERMAN: They really are.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour.

Other news now:

The operator of a Texas fertilizer plant where a powerful explosion in April killed 15 has been cited for dozens of serious safety violations, including unsafe handling and storage of chemicals. Investigators believe that contributed to that blast that was so massive. It registered at a small earthquake. The company is facing more than a hundred thousand dollars in federal fines.

BERMAN: In New Mexico, an official inquiry has now been launched a fiery hot air balloon accident -- a passenger aboard remains in critical condition with severe burns. The balloon burst into planes after hitting a power line and then plummeted some 40 feet. This is the first serious accident during the Albuquerque International festival, or fiesta, I should say, in several years.

SAMBOLIN: They actually had two incidents that resulted in new injuries. Thank God. It was three total, over that weekend.

All right. The family and friends of a woman who's body was found in the stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital, they are demanding answers from the hospital and the police who were supposed to be looking for her. Lynne Spalding went missing more than two weeks ago while she was being treated for an infection at that hospital. The San Francisco Sheriff's Department conducted a search for her but her loved ones are asking why didn't they find her days earlier?

BERMAN: School officials in Malibu relocating some classes now after teachers and some students reported the high school was making them sick. At least four teachers there have come down with cancer within the last six months, and both teachers and students have reported coming out with migraines and rashes and breathing problems. The superintendent says classes in the affected buildings will be moved to other parts of the high school campus or a nearby elementary school until environmental testing can be completed.

SAMBOLIN: The future may be much warmer than previously thought. New research from the University of Hawaii predicts within 30 years the U.S. will begin seeing extreme heat waves. And by 2047, the coldest temperature will actually be warmer than the highest temperatures we see now. But the researchers say a greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized, the temperature changes could be held off for another 20 years.

BERMAN: Twenty years, not forever. But 20 years.

SAMBOLIN: Doesn't sound good for me.

BERMAN: Some dire, dire warnings there so take heed.

That's the long term but what about today?

SAMBOLIN: Short term.

BERMAN: Samantha Mohr has an early look at the weather right now.


SAMANTHA MOHR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have a nor'easter working its way up the coast for the end of the workweek and that's going to bring in the clouds and the rain in New York City and D.C. and Philadelphia as well. And Houston is going to be low clouds that could slow you down if you're heading in or out of international or out of Houston Hobby Airport.

It is going to be a wet kind of gray end to the workweek and start to the weekend across the Northeast and we'll see coastal rain. This nor'easter is lingering right off the coastline. That will bring in unsettled conditions there.

Plenty of sunshine across the Southeast in through the Central Plain states but we have a series of systems working their way through the Intermountain West that will bring rain and snow and cold conditions continuing here across much of the Rockies in through the Wasatch. Ahead of that front, some showers across. Texas just want to keep those umbrellas handy in you're out and about in the Austin area.

And then across the Pacific Northwest, it is still cool and damp. I mean, these temperatures are on the cool-ish side across much of the Pacific Northwest on Friday in the 50s on our Friday. Pretty nice across southern California and upper 60s there. Cool for them.

Across the Southeast incredible temperatures. We'll be looking at 79 in Atlanta, just perfect conditions, 83 in Memphis. Should make it up to 87 in Dallas and Houston and hot and sticky there.

It's cool and gray and damp in the Northeast. I hope you guys have your sweaters handy. Back to you.


SAMBOLIN: And we are both saying that it actually felt warm this morning, but I guess it's going to get chilly.

BERMAN: Downhill the rest of the day.

All right. This weekends half marathon in Hartford is very special for one runner. His name is Michael Malarsie. He's an Air Force staff sergeant. He is blind and lost sight in Afghanistan from an IED blast.

But he will be running this weekend with the help of a guide dog foundation. He wants others to learn that despite their disabilities, really they can do anything.


MICHAEL MALARSIE, AIR FORCE STAFF SGT.: It turned into my motivation to not let being blind beat me at all. Actually I honestly don't enjoy running, but I love finishing and that feeling is something that I've missed.


BERMAN: Malarsie says he hopes to finish the half marathon in less than two hours which would not just be a great time but the whole thin thing is a phenomenal, phenomenal achievement.

SAMBOLIN: Incredible story.

Coming up --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was my person.


SAMBOLIN: We give an emotional and heartfelt goodbye to fallen cast mate Cory Monteith when we come back.



SAMBOLIN: I like that.

BERMAN: It makes Zoraida dance --

SAMBOLIN: I just don't know if 4:44 in the morning that works. But what a heck.

All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. Time now for the "Primetime Pop", the best from CNN's primetime interviews in case you missed them.

First up is Erin Burnett. She spoke with a close friend of Lynne Spalding.

BERMAN: Lynne Spalding is a mother of two who was found dead in a San Francisco hallway this week, weeks after she went missing. David Perry says there are still really very few answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID PERRY, FRIEND OF LYNNE SPALDING: We don't know yet. All we know is she came in here and was here for two days and two nights, September 19th and 20th. We know the hospital personnel was looking in on her every 15 minutes and saw her at 10:15 and 10:30, they didn't.

And when her boyfriend and a close friend came to visit at 11:00, they were told she was missing. And we were told that a search was done of the hospital premises, which meant, of course, we turned our attention outward. The San Francisco Police Department had been incredible in supporting us in the outward search.

For two weeks, we looked all over the city, hundreds if not thousands of flyers were put up in cafe --

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: But no one looked in the hospital?

PERRY: Public transit areas, homeless shelters.

Well, we were told they looked in the hospital. With all due respect to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, the search wasn't thorough because Lynne Spalding's body was here for 19 days.


SAMBOLIN: Anderson Cooper spoke with Senate chaplain Barry Black who had a sharp prayer before Congress urging them to restoring death benefits to fallen service members, something that has now happened.


BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: I spent 27 years in the United States Navy and serving in the United States Marine Corps as well. I have on scores of occasions had to go to the next of kin to inform some mother, some wife that their loved one had been killed in action. I know the incomprehensible grief that can ensue after that kind of notification. So, for a delay in death benefits would add weight to what, in my opinion, is already unspeakable grief, was just more than I could take.

And so it was basically a passion, a plea. It was not attempting to scold anyone. It was certainly not attempting to be harsh but it was attempting to give a wake-up call and to say, enough is enough.


BERMAN: He has been brutal on Congress the last few weeks, that Senate chaplain, not mincing words one bit.

Finally, you see him right there, Piers Morgan with Donald Trump in the hot seat. The "Apprentice" star played lightning round of hired or fired of some of the top players in the shutdown negotiations.


DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: He's really working hard, tough situation but I think he is doing a good job. He's trying to keep it all together. He needs more support.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Hired or fired?

TRUMP: OH, I'd hire, absolutely.

MORGAN: Barack Obama.

TRUMP: Again, I happen to think he's trying very hard. I don't think he's a natural at putting together coalitions and deals in this case deals but I do believe he is trying very hard. I think he does want what's good for the country.

MORGAN: Hired or fired.

TRUMP: He probably -- I would say -- let's not use hired or fired. I hope he turns out to be a great president. I've been saying this for a long time, but I do believe he's trying very hard.

MORGAN: Harry Reid.

TRUMP: I know him. I again, think they're all working very -- you know, they have different views. They have different points of view. Different from mine in these two cases.

But Harry Reid is a pretty tough guy. He's a pretty strong guy and he's a very, very worthy opponent.

MORGAN: Would you hire him?

TRUMP: Well, I'd hire him. I don't know if I'd hire him for the country but I'd like to have him on my side.

MORGAN: Obamacare?

TRUMP: Obamacare is a disaster. Obamacare, I would fire.


BERMAN: Well, much more diplomatic Donald Trump.


BERMAN: Mellowed him out last night.

SAMBOLIN: He started with John Boehner because we didn't know who he was talking about. What was that?

BERMAN: He waffled at. He said he is trying, he is trying, is he trying, Harry Reid, he is trying.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

"Glee" actor Cory Monteith is being remembered by his fellow cast members. The show airing a heartfelt tribute to the man many knew as Finn Hudson, a high school quarterback and "Glee" club member. Monteith died in Vancouver hotel room back in July from a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol. It was not mentioned on the show, only that his character had died a few weeks earlier.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone wants to talk about how he died too but who cares? One moment in his whole life, I care more about how he lived and anyone who what a problem with that should remember that he was my brother.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. Something different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe something better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just -- I don't think that that is possible. He was my person!


SAMBOLIN: The episode beginning with this song. "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent", and continuing with several other musical tributes to the 31-year-old actor. Producer Ryan Murphy says the entire crew had a really difficult time filling this episode and they had to stop work several times because of all the intense emotions.

BERMAN: Tough to see.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. It's great tribute, though.

BERMAN: Very nice.

All right. Coming up for us next, shifting gears here. The Detroit Tigers taking on the Oakland A's for a spot in the American League Championship Series. Could this be the big moment for "Moneyball" at last? Finally?

Andy Scholes with the answers, coming up next in "The Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: You know, it is not time. Not a good time I should say to be a New York Giants fan. The Giants struggled last night against the Bears. By struggle, I mean they lost! They are 0-6 for the first time in 37 years!

SAMBOLIN: I'm loving this, Andy Scholes! Give us more! Give us more!

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: I know you're a Bears fan, Zoraida, so I know you're going to like this.

First, I want to say, Peyton manning is having a historically amazing season but his brother Eli is having the complete opposite! And the first two drives of the game last night, Eli threw an interception. The second picked off by Tim Jennings and he takes it 48 yards the other way for the touchdown.

Eli, poor Eli. He finished with three interceptions. He now has 15 this season!

And the Bears they had no problems. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall hooked up for two touchdowns in this one. Bears win 27-21 and looks like the Giants fans can look forward to next season.

"The Daily News" saying that with its cover. Check it out. Is says "Six Feet Under." That pretty much says it all for the Giants.

They say big time players show up in big games and what we saw last night. Tiger ace Justin Verlander. Detroit and Oakland playing decisive game five of their series.

Verlander, he had it going, he had a no-hitter through six and struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings and Miguel Cabrera provided the offense with two-run home run in the fourth. Tigers win 3-0. They advance and take on the Red Sox in the ALCS.

The National League Championship Series gets under way tonight with game one between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. First pitch is at 8:30 Eastern on TBS.

All right. The hype continues to grow around Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. 26 NFL scouts and 20 different teams in attendance last night for his game against Rutgers. They watched the Cardinals quarterback throw for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns. Louisville beat Rutgers 24-10.

Guys, Bridgewater is considered the number one quarterback prospect for next year's draft. Plenty of teams right now needed a quarterback so you could see him go number one. There's always the discussion between him and Jadeveon Clowney. Depending on whether you need a quarterback, you could see it.

BERMAN: He looked good last night. Andy, heading into tonight, who do you have in the a NLCS, Dodgers --

SCHOLES: I'm going to take the Dodgers tonight.

BERMAN: Interesting, interesting. All right. We'll hold you to that. We'll see. Have a great weekend, Andy.

SCHOLES: You too.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-eight minutes past the hour.

Zoraida is dancing, why? Because we're talking about the top CNN trends and one of them is Beyonce and Jay-Z. They have musical selling power.


BERMAN: They can make Zoraida dance. I'm told they're quite successful.

According to "Vanity Fair", they are also two of this country's most influencers, meaning they set things up, set new trends and even change the way other people do business. The magazine citing Mr. and Mrs. Carter's amazing ability to make deals beyond the music world, including TV, movies, even including sporting event. You don't have to sing out loud and you can be a big influence.

SAMBOLIN: I would definitely call them a power couple.

BERMAN: They're doing OK.


EARLY START continues right now.



REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: We had a very useful meeting. It was clarifying I think for both sides as to where we are.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Let's wait and see what the House does. When they send us something, we'll look at it as clearly and as closely as we can.


BERMAN: Is this the dawn of a whole new day? Are we within reach of a deal? Democrats and Republicans actually sort of kind of working together to avert that dangerous debt deadline.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, gosh. She's very excited about this. And the world is watching and the world is waiting. In just minutes, the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded. This is a live picture and we are going to be watching.

BERMAN: A lot of speculation about that.

And also, new information that the CIA had been warned about Edward Snowden years before he leaked government secrets.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Friday.

SAMBOLIN: And he is hyped up!