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Nobel Prize Goes To OPCW; Debt Ceiling Deal In The Works?; Shutdown Threatens Veteran Benefits

Aired October 11, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Nobel Prize surprise. The peace prize awarded and it's not going to the person many people thought it was. We're live.

RYAN LAMKE, WOUNDED VET: I go broke. It's really that simple. I entered into a level of poverty at that point.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): They risk their lives for our country, but now, disabled veterans are being pushed into poverty by the same government who promised to be there for them.

MICHAEL MALARSIE, AIR FORCE STAFF SGT: It turned into my motivation to not let being blind beat me at all.

BERMAN: Blind, but not beaten. Not at all. The U.S. war veteran wounded in battle showing the world that anything is possible.

SAMBOLIN: Such a beautiful story.

BERMAN: It's wonderful. That guy is awesome.



BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

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

And we're starting with breaking news for you on the Nobel Prizes. The peace prize being awarded this morning to an international group that's been working to clean up chemical weapons in Syria, not to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for working to promote education for women.

A lot of people are shocked by this, and we're going to live to Frederik Pleitgen. He is in Berlin. How big of a surprise was this decision?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida. Yes. It was an absolutely huge surprise. I mean, there were many people who were saying, as you say, that this would go to Malala She was all but sure to win this prize, but in the end, it was quite a low profile, I would say, organization that is seated in Holland called the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons which is, of course, the implementing body to get rid of chemical weapons around the world.

Now, they've been in the news recently for their work in Syria, for trying to get rid of Assad's chemical weapons there, but the Nobel Prize committee said that this prize is specifically not for their work in Syria, but for the work that they've done over the decades. One of the things, of course, that's been very important is helping the U.S. and Russia get rid of their chemical weapons stockpiles and monitoring all of that.

Very difficult to do that because both the U.S. and Russia have, of course, VX gas, which is a very, very deadly nerve agent, very difficult to get rid of that. They've also gotten rid of Gadhafi's chemical weapons in Libya. And now, of course, they're in the news because of Syria. So, while the Nobel committee says that this is not because of the work that they're doing in Syria, clearly, that's a factor as well.

They played a very important role early this year when you have that terrible gas attack, sarin attack around the outskirts of Damascus. And of course, it's also something to bolster this organization moving forward because, of course, there are still a lot of chemical weapons in Syria that need to be cataloged and that then need to be destroyed.

So, a very surprising decision, but many people will also say that this is an organization that is certainly deserving of an award like this.

SAMBOLIN: I don't think anybody would question that. They've played an important role and they continue to do so. Frederik Pleitgen, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate that.

BERMAN: And move on now to the other big news of today, and it really is a major new development. The president and House Republicans, they are talking. Yes, folks, they are talking, and apparently making progress on a possible deal, maybe, to keep the United States from defaulting on its debt. There've been aides and staffers reportedly working throughout the night, in fact, maybe to find some common ground there.

And last night, it was President Obama sitting down with some 20 top House Republicans at the White House. They talked for an hour and a half. And when they came out, they didn't talk to the cameras. That in and of itself is a huge deal. It means there's progress. The Republicans proposing to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks.

That would give both sides time to work out a longer term solution. That's the hope at least. It is not a done deal, though. And there is no word yet on how it might affect the actual government shutdown, but it is an important development. Even more important perhaps because a company by a new tone from less -- from both sides. Less bomb throwing and more potential for reconciliation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) 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: You know, as I said, one thing not on the table yet, any agreement to reopen the government, but they appear to be talking about that at least a little bit, too. The president is pressing Republicans to end the Shutdown as part of any debt ceiling deal.

As of right now, it's unclear how that might work out or how both sides will make that happen, but we think that's what they're at least discussing on both of their sides right now.

SAMBOLIN: Let's hope they can figure that out. I was reading this morning that they were very careful not to use the word negotiation, that it was not a negotiation.

BERMAN: But that's a concession by Republicans to the White House not to use that word. It's a sign of just how delicate these talks are.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. And hopefully, a sign of progress.

BERMAN: We'll see.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-five minutes past the hour. One area that has been resolved now, the issue of death benefits for military families. We are so happy about this. The president has signed a bill restoring those payments, but the stalemate could force millions of our wounded warriors to actually do without. Here's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ryan Lamke has been on edge for days. He's one of more than three 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.

LAMKE: 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 spikes, emotional stability drops. I mean, we're talking about a population of veterans that already are not seeking out the mental health care that they so desperately need.

STARR: Ryan Lemke 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 a hard time just keeping my basic aspects of my life in order. So, I was frustrated, and 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 service meant his V.A. disability check would always be here, but he's been unemployed five months. Now, that check is his only source of income.

LAMKE: If the shutdown goes past October 15th, the V.A. has said that they will be unable to process payments for one (ph) November when most of my bills come due.

STARR: 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: Lamke and other veterans now expressing frustration that they have somehow become pawns in a political liberal debate.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Barbara.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): And the operator of a West Texas fertilizer plant where that massive explosion last April killed 15 has been cited for dozens of serious safety violations, including the unsafe handling and storage of chemicals. And investigators believe that played a role in the blast that was so powerful that it registered as a small earthquake. The company is now facing more than a hundred thousand dollars in federal fines.

BERMAN (voice-over): In New Mexico, an official inquiry has now been launched into a fiery hot air balloon accident. A severely burned passenger remains hospitalized in critical condition. The balloon burst into planes after snagging electrical lines and then fell 40 feet to the ground. This is the first serious accident during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiest in several years.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-eight years in prison, the sentence for disgraced ex-Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. It's one of the harshest penalties for public corruption in U.S. history. In court, Kilpatrick said he was story if he let his hometown down but denied stealing from the citizens. Now, prosecutors are trying to link his conduct to the city's bankruptcy. The 43-year-old was found guilty in March of two dozen counts of racketeering, extortion, bribery and tax evasion.

BERMAN: New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, challenging a state judge's decision not to put a hold on gay weddings in that state. The judge denying the governor's request for a stay -- for decision ordering mayor just to start later this month. Now, the state attorney general is asking an appeals court to step in and order a delay as the governor takes the ruling to a higher court.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It's almost the weekend, right? But will the weather cooperate for us? I don't know. Indra, what do you have?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think at this point we've all made peace to the fact that there's going to be rain.



PETERSONS: We have not?

SAMBOLIN: Clearly, we have not.

PETERSONS: Some of us. That is actually playing out of the area and I'm not going to be in it exactly. We're actually talking about the same low kind of hanging out as far as where it is currently. We're talking about pretty much stretching from New York, kind of just moving out of Virginia kind of right around Maryland.

So, with that, no it's not heavy rain, but it's kind of like that continuous rain that just never really wants to stop. This guy will continue to linger. Thanks to what we call blocking high, a dome of high pressure that's really not allowing the system to kind of move out of the area. It will eventually start to weaken by Sunday. So, you'll start to see those rain numbers back off.

Either way, there's still one to three inches of rain pretty much right around the mid-Atlantic and kind of stretching a little bit here into the northeast. That's going to be the story again. Saturday and even just a hint through Sunday. Middle of the country, we're going to be watching temperatures above normal into the Midwest, again, cool below normal in the Pacific Northwest.

Severe weather threat today into the Dakotas. And again, just reminding you, they just had the blizzard and a lot of snow in that region. So, of course, the threat for heavy rain on top of snow is never a good thing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Indra.

BERMAN (on-camera): Indra, thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

PETERSONS: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up for us next, this is honestly an amazing, amazing story. A blind war hero running for a good cause. We'll have his story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAMBOLIN: Forty-two minutes past the hour. This weekend's half marathon in Hartford, it is very special for one runner. His name, Michael Malarsie. He's an air force staff sergeant and he is blind. He lost his sight in Afghanistan from an IED blast, but he will be running this weekend, look at this, with the help of a human guide. It is in support of a Guide Dog Foundation. What he wants is others to learn that despite their disabilities, they can do anything.


MALARSIE: It turned into my motivation to not let being blind beat me at all. I actually honestly don't enjoy running, but I love finishing. That feeling is something that I've missed.


SAMBOLIN: Love the honesty, Michael. Malarsie says he hopes to finish the half marathon in less than two hours. We will be cheering you on, sir.

BERMAN: Wish you the best of luck.


Time now for our morning rhyme. These are the tweets of the day starting with one from Jason Flores (ph). I love this one. He says, "Nice to wake up and see that Congress is working. I'm so happy. I feel like predawn twerking!"


BERMAN: Nice, Jason Flores (ph).

SAMBOLIN: Thank you Jason. And how about this from Rob Brennan (ph). "Zoraida Dancing to the grooves. Come on, Berman, bust a move!"

BERMAN: By the way --



BERMAN: The man behind the camera over there is making Zoraida looking fantastic. I'm always a little out of focus oddly enough.

SAMBOLIN: If you bust a move, maybe, maybe you'll be in focus. Can I do one honorable mention?

BERMAN: Go for it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. This is from Goldfish31065, "4:00 a.m. brings coffee, CNN, gym, and 15 miles on my spinner. I sure hope today my morning rhyme is a winner." Woman, if you spend 15 miles -- stay for 15 miles on that spinner, I say you deserve an honorable mention.

BERMAN: Tweet us with your morning rhymes any time, day or night. The hash tags are morningrhyme and EARLYSTART. Always fun. Thanks for participating.

SAMBOLIN: I love this. All right. Let's take a look at what's ahead on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, good morning.


BERMAN: It's Michaela.

PEREIRA: She looks a bit like Kate.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Michaela.

PEREIRA: No, it was OK, honey.

SAMBOLIN: I wasn't looking down.


PEREIRA: We're still shock by the fact that they had Congress in twerking in a tweet.


BERMAN: -- nickel for every time.


CUOMO: I didn't know until now it was Mick sitting next to me.


CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you. That's enough.


PEREIRA: It's going to be a really long morning. We apologize now.

CUOMO: Not at all. This is going to be a great day. Here's why. Some progress near the building that you are looking at on your screen right now. Can that be? Yes, we're told there was big meeting. It was a breakthrough. There was a player at that meeting that may come as a surprise. We're going to give you inside details.

We're going to tell you what the chances that this could actually happen. We're going to talk to a lawmaker who is at the meeting and just see how serious they are to make a deal, what's on the table. There has been some progress. We'll take you through it this morning.

PEREIRA: And you know, it always take a good sidekick. I'm your sidekick for the day.

CUOMO: No. I'll be your sidekick, let's be honest.

PEREIRA: Well, we're sidekicks for one another. We're going to be joined by probably arguably one of the longest running sidekicks to Howard Stern, the radio personality, a long-time sidekick of Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, is here today. Very personal story she's going to share, her cancer diagnosis. And then, she'll tell us what she believes she says saved her life. She has a new book that's called "The Vegucation of Robin."

SAMBOLIN: She has a really remarkable story. I'm really looking forward to that. Thank you.

PEREIRA: We are, too.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And coming up, the Detroit Tigers taking on the Oakland A's for a spot in the American League Championship Series. Could this be the year for Billy Bean's Cinderella team from the Bay Area? Andy Scholes is going to join us to give us a play-by-play in the "Bleacher Report" coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Look what happened, Berman left me all alone. Then, a sad music.



SAMBOLIN: This is sweet, guys. Thanks for the music, but I'm OK by myself. Fifty minutes past the hour. It is not a good time to be a New York Giants fan. The G-men struggled again last night against the Bears. It is an excellent time to be a Bears fan, they are now 0-6 for the first time in 37 years. Andy Scholes, tell us all about it.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good time to be a Bears fan, not such a good time to be a Giants fan. You know, Peyton manning is having an absolutely amazing season, so far. His brother, Eli, well, not so much. Eli was picked off in the Giants' first two drive last night. The second one taken a 48-yard the other way for a touchdown by Tim Jennings. Eli finished tonight with three interceptions.

He now has a lead leading of 15 this season. (INAUDIBLE) Brandon Marshall, they had no problem last night. They hooked up for two touchdowns. Bears win 27-21. Giants fans, well, they can start looking forward the next season. The "Daily News" pretty much saying that with their cover this morning. Check it out. Six feet under. Pretty much says it all about the Giants this season.

All right. Big time players show up in the big game and that's exactly what we saw last night from Tigers A's Justin Verlander. Detroit and Oakland playing the decisive game 5 in the division series, and Verlander, he had a no hitter through six. He would end up striking out 10 and eight scoreless inning. Miguel Cabreira provided the offense with a two run home run in the fourth.

Tigers win 3-0. They advance to take on the Red Sox in the ALCF. The National League Championship Series gets underway tonight with game one between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. First pitch is at 8:30 on TBS. All right. The hype continues to grow around Louisville quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, 25th NFL scout from 20 different teams were in attendance last night for his game against Rutgers. They watched the junior quarterback from more than 300 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgewater is considered the number one quarterback prospect for next year's NFL draft.

All right. Turn you right now on is the inspirational story of one Arkansas cheerleader. Patience Beard (ph) was born with a birth defect that took her left leg, but she hasn't let that stop her from a accomplishing her dream. Beard is on scholarship at the Razorback. Check it out, Zoraida. Not only does she do everything the other cheerleaders do, she does it with a vibra (ph) print prosthetic legs. That is awesome.

SAMBOLIN: Attagirl! Love stories like that. see, anything is possible. Andy, anything is possible.

SCHOLES: Sure is, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you for -- thanks for being with us this morning. And by the way, John Berman went to help out on "NEW DAY." So -- but he says he misses you.

SCHOLES: All right. I'll see him in a bit.


SAMBOLIN: OK. Thank you. We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. Taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning. Beyonce and Jay-Z sure have musical selling power, right? But according to "Vanity Fair," there are also two of the country's most powerful influencers, meaning, they shake things up, set new trends, and even change the way other people do business.

The magazine sighting Mr. Mrs. Carter's amazing ability to make deals well beyond the music world, including TV, movies, and even sporting events. I think we would all agree there.

So, did Sheryl Crow witnessed Lance Armstrong's doping? A new book from two "Wall Street Journal" reporters claims Crow who at one time dated Armstrong was with him on a trip to Belgium in 2004 when he allegedly received an illicit blood transfusion. Crow talked to investigators back in 2011 and the book claimed she told them all about that trip. No comment yet from Crow's representatives.

And Robin Thicke says it was all just silly fun. He was the one Miley Cyrus was twerking against during the VMAs and tells Oprah Winfrey he didn't think that dance right there was sexual. Then again, he says he couldn't see much since he was looking at the audience and he was focused on singing, and he insists he does not twerk himself. He's just twerked upon. You'll be the judge. That is it for EARLY START. It is time for "NEW DAY" with Chris and Michaela. Take it away.

CUOMO: Happy Friday to you, Zoraida, and all of you. it's time for your top news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: it's really hard to negotiate with people who are still negotiating among themselves.

CUOMO: let's make a deal. Our politicians are finally talking, but are they negotiating? We have new details on a big meeting that may have broken the ice that chance a deal could happen and what's on the table.

PEREIRA: Breaking this morning. A surprise upset in the Nobel Peace Prize announced just moments ago. Christiane Amanpour sat down with Malala, the brave young girl so many thought would win.

CUOMO: Shocking claim. A new report suggest Ariel Castro didn't actually commit suicide. You will not believe how the prison says he may have died.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: All right. TGIF. I am. What a great morning this is. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It's Friday, October 11th, six o'clock in the east. Kate is off today, but the rest of the family is here. So, we are ready to go.

And I must say, looks like we have progress. House Republicans met with President Obama. We have new information on just how much pressure Republicans are under to make a deal. Take a look at this. Brand new poll, only 24 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of the Republican Party. Now, statistically, that's about as low as a pole will get. But, Democrats are not in great shape either. We'll tell you much more, coming up.

PEREIRA: Meanwhile, Obamacare exchanges, the health care exchanges now in day 11. The system really has not gotten much better. We're going to investigate this morning exactly what went wrong and how much money was spent on the system that really hasn't worked all that well. What are the problems that are causing all this?

CUOMO: Take a look at that. Up first, though, good meeting. The White House powwow between the Republicans and President Obama may have produced the first real signs of progress toward ending the budget impasse averting a government default. But, both sides admit there's still long way to go. Senior White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar, following developments for us. Brianna, is there a sense that the parties had to say there was progress coming out of this or truly green chutes of hope?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, there -- I think there's a -- there's actually both, Chris. That's what I think the truth is. There is progress. And, we actually heard from sources in this meeting yesterday between House Republicans and President Obama that House speaker, John Boehner, made that point, that they needed to come out with some sign of progress or else certainly the markets were going to be upset.

But what we have now is some progress on the debt ceiling. Will the government re-open? That is still murky as talks continue today.