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Fiscal Crisis Talks Move to Senate; Seven Killed in India Cyclone; "The Accidental Victim"

Aired October 13, 2013 - 07:00   ET


Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We have got much more ahead on the next hour of "NEW DAY SUNDAY," it starts right now.

CABRERA: Good morning, everyone. I am Ana Cabrera.

BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. It's 7:00 here on the East coast, an early 4:00 on the West Coast. Good to have you with us. This is "NEW DAY SUNDAY."

CABRERA: Yeah, grab a cup of coffee and settle in. It's up to our Senate leaders this morning, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, any deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling rests on their shoulders.

BLACKWELL: Frustrated House Republicans say President Obama rejected their offer and most have lacked out. CNN's Shannon Travis joins us in Washington. Shannon, how would a Senate deal differ from what we've seen from the House Republicans?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, let's just say it will have to be a lot more creative than the deals that we have seen so far. Democrats and President Obama, as we know, they are insistent, that anything, any deal that emerges must be free of these ideological demands, right, they want to raise off the debt ceiling, and they also want a clean CR, this clean bill to re-open the government. That's what they are insisting on. Obviously, that's not what we have seen being offered by Republicans so far.

The House we have, that proposal to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks that didn't also reopen the government and out of the Senate we had that plan from Senator Collins, and (inaudible) and some other bipartisan senators that hope to re-open the government through March, also raise the debt ceiling through January, but also had this medical device they wanted to suspend the medical device tax through Obamacare. That also went nowhere. So, McConnell and Reid will have to be creative.

We, obviously, know from Reid from yesterday, talking about their discussion, how things have been going. Let's take a listen at that.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The conversations were extremely cordial, but very preliminary, of course. Nothing conclusive, but I hope that our talking gives some solace to the American people and to the world.

REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: As you know, and you probably heard already we met. We are getting a bait and switch strategy from the White House. The president apparently was not negotiating in good faith. All he has really said is whatever you offer I'm not interested in it. He is hoping to cut a deal with the Senate, which would, I think, would be a terrible deal to undermine the House.


TRAVIS: So Republicans aren't feeling quite as rosy about the progress of these talks as Democrats as you can imagine. Today, the Senate will reconvene at 1:00, but don't expect a lot of senators because most of them are out of town for the recess.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Shannon, certainly, talking is a good sign, but a lot of people are tired of talking. They want action, and, we know, even if Reid and O'Connell get a deal, it still has to get past the house. So, what's the tragedy for this?

TRAVIS: Yes, that's going to be the key thing here. Whatever emerges from the Senate will still have to pass this pretty much raucous conservative caucus in the House.

So Boehner will eventually have a few choices. Does he take -- the debt ceiling deadline will be so close, does he take what emerges, whatever deal emerges from the Senate, and basically try to ram it through, try and jam it through with Democratic support, or does he stand firm and say, you know what, we went into this fight with the effort to defund or delay or somehow roll back Obamacare, does he stand firm on that and say, you know what, we fought the good fight and we're going to continue to do that?

We just don't know. We'll have to wait and see what comes out of the Senate. And once they punt it over to the House, what Boehner decides to do with it, Ana.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Day 13, Shannon Travis in Washington for us this Sunday morning -- thank you, sir.

CABRERA: What's called the million-vet march will hit Washington today. Now, because of the shutdown, the National Park Service set up barricades around that World War II memorial. You'll recall, a lot of angry veterans gathered. Anyway, most were outraged the monument had been locked.

Former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, will be the featured speaker today for this million vet march. Palin says the Obama administration dishonored vets by closing that open air memorial.

For the first time this month, the Statue of Liberty reopens to tourist today. New York state is going to pick up the tab to operate the statue for at least the next six days. That bill comes to about $369,000. That's so far less than New York was losing in the tourists dollars.

Meantime in Arizona, sightseers line up yesterday to get in to Grand Canyon national park. Arizona is paying the federal government as well. Their bill more than $650,000 to run this park for about a week.

And tourists can also get back up close and personal, with Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. That's right. South Dakota is opening Mt. Rushmore, teaming up with some corporate donors to help make it happen and that will be open through October 23rd. At least that's what they have planned if the government doesn't re-open before then.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and as far as anybody can tell, the government shutdown really had nothing to do with the glitch in the food stamp program. For several hours Saturday, electronic payment cards for food stamps were declined in stores across 17 states. Xerox, that's the company that handles the transactions for the government, it says a computer crashed knocked the system off-line.

Seven people in India confirmed dead in that monster cyclone.

CABRERA: It tore off roofs. It flipped cars, it (INAUDIBLE) a million people from their homes, and authorities are now working to relocate those who evacuated ahead of the Phailin.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's more people than the population of Austin, Texas. That some will be able to go back home, yes, but others, their lives have changed forever.

CABRERA: Meantime, the storm still packing wind speeds of almost 70 miles per hour, and mudslides and flooding, still a dangerous possibility there.

Let's bring in meteorologist Karen Maginnis and the CNN severe weather center.

Karen, you have been watching this storm. Where is it heading now and how bad is it?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is moving towards the Northwest. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which sends all the advisory, all the information regarding this tropical cyclone, says they have issued their last advisory. Now, that's not to say the danger is over. It certainly is not.

But certainly looking a lot less impressive on the satellite imagery compared to what we saw just about 16 or 17 hours ago when it made landfall. Coming up in the forecast, the future radar has a lot of that moisture, making its way towards the north. They will be assessing the damage, I am sure, for many, many weeks, as they evacuated almost a million people across the region.

Well, in the United States, we've got a very sudden change from fall-like conditions to feeling like winter. The storm system ejects out of the interior west and pulls across the northern plains and on the backside of that snowfall, it could add up in places right around Billings, Montana, Yellowstone Park, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Those higher elevations could get as much as 10 inches, as the storm system tricked a little bit farther towards the east.

But watch out. Over the next couple days, this is where we are looking at the snowfall to pileup. This is out of Austin, Texas. You pick up a picture of somebody with their rain gear on. This is from the earth cam, and coming down a couple inches possible.

Back to you.

CABRERA: A little something for everyone this morning.

Karen Maginnis in the CNN severe weather center, thank you for that.

BLACKWELL: New York police did not know her name. They called her baby hope and for two decades they never gave up looking for her killer. And now, now they say they have finally caught him.

CABRERA: Also ahead, was JFK an accidental victim? A new book offers a startling new theory about the fateful day in Dallas. You're going to want to hear this one. So, stick with us.


BLACKWELL: Ten minutes after the hour now.

And one in New York's most notorious and really hard-breaking cold cases may finally be solved.

CABRERA: For more than two decades, New York cops sought the killer of a little 4-year-old girl, just a young girl, they didn't know her identity. They didn't even know how old she was at the time.

They called her baby hope.

BLACKWELL: And they never gave up that they would be able to catch her killer. And now, they say they have found him.

Here's CNN's Margaret Conley.


MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a break that caught an alleged killer, and revealed Baby Hope's real name.

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Detectives from the Bronx violent, felony squad apprehended Conrado Juarez, age 52, of the Bronx, also known as Enidino Juarez, in connection with the murder of 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, a child victim known for the last 22 years as Baby Hope.

CONLEY: Retired detective Gerry Giorgio had heard from colleagues they were close to solving the case.

JERRY GIORGIO, RETIRED DETECTIVE, NYPD: When I got the phone call, the news, I was elated. I was on cloud nine.

CONLEY: He was the lead detective in 1991. The decomposed body of a 4-year-old girl was found stuffed in the cooler discarded by the highway, and her body folded in half and bound. She had been sexually abused. Nobody had claimed the body. Days turned to months, turned to years.

By 1993, the 34th precinct squad had given the little girl the name Baby Hope and a face recreated by computer. The squad also paid for her funeral.

GIORGIO: There was not a dry eye in the bunch including me, and the church was full, about 500 people in the church. She truly became a member of the community.

CONLEY: Anniversaries passed and police persisted and finally a break. Police recently got a call on their hotline, and the caller said she'd been told several years ago by a young woman that her parents had killed her sister, that tip and advances in DNA testing lead cold case detectives to find the mother of Baby Hope and arrest the cousin who police say murdered her.

At her funeral over two decades ago, the assistant chief Joe Reznick delivered her eulogy.

ASST. CHIEF JOE REZNICK, NEW YORK POLICE: The justice is going to be when some judge lowers his gavel and says, you are going to jail for the rest of your life.

CONLEY: In this final chapter for these detectives, they'll soon replace this plaque at Baby Hope's name, and set in stone her real name, Anjelica Castillo.


CABRERA: And CNN's Margaret Conley joining us live now from New York.

Talk about perseverance, Margaret, what can you tell us -- more can you tell us about how this story broke and how the case finally came to the ending?

CONLEY: Ana, it really was the perseverance of these New York detectives. They never forgot, they never gave up and they didn't let the public either. And that's what led to the arrest, somebody saw a news report and finally spoke up.

It was also the advancement of DNA testing. They didn't have the testing that they do now in 1991. So, when they exhumed Anjelica's body in 2006, they were able to pull bone samples that they were eventually able to match to Baby Hope's mother.

Now, police say that the man that they arrested has confessed to the crime. He's charged with the felony murder in the second degree and he'll be back in court in the week on October 21st.

BLACKWELL: Wow, 22 years now, and now, it solved a confession from Mr. Castillo.

Margaret Conley in New York for us -- thank you.

CABRERA: Still to come on NEW DAY, a new theory about the death of John F. Kennedy. How some people rethinking what they thought they knew. We'll speak with the author of a new book who says the real target was actually someone else.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Kennedy has been assassinated. It's official now. The president is dead.


BLACKWELL: One of the greater tragedies in American political history, and most Americans think they know what happened when John F. Kennedy was shot, that the young president was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, an avowed Marxists bent on taking down capitalism.

CABRERA: But there is a new book challenging that theory. Very disturbing -- it's rather disturbing. JFK they said was never the intended target. Instead the shot was meant for another passenger in that same car, then-Texas Governor John Connally.

BLACKWELL: We're joined now by the author of "Accidental Victim," James Reston Jr.

It's good to have you with us. I want to start at the beginning. What is the relationship -- because we just explained the relationship potentially between the president and Oswald -- what's the relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and then-governor of Texas, John Connally?

JAMES RESTON JR., AUTHOR, "ACCIDENTAL VICTIM": It goes back to January and February of 1962 when Lee Harvey Oswald was in Russia and he attempted to defect, but did not actually defect. And he wanted to come back to the United States, and at that point learned that his discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps had been changed from honorable to dishonorable. So, it goes back really to January of 1962.

CABRERA: So, how exactly did you come by this theory that it was Connally, not Kennedy that Oswald intended to kill?

RESTON: Well, I had written a biography of John Connally in 1989, and I discovered the exchange of letters between Connally and Lee Harvey Oswald. And I knew instantly that this had emotional content to it, that led I thought to a certain rage and certain grudge against John Connally. So, I didn't have a chance in 1989 to explore it, and what I have done in "Accidental Victim" to get into it, to get it to a level of certainty in my own mind, that the deep-seated grudge and resentment in Dallas on November 22nd was not directed at Kennedy but directed at Connally. CABRERA: So, you were studying Connally all along, and then all of a sudden, Lee Harvey Oswald came up on that research you were doing?

RESTON: That's right. You have to go back, I think, to the psychology of Lee Harvey Oswald, not to his politics. The key is psychology of the killer.

BLACKWELL: But let me ask you this. OK. So, Oswald was in the military, right? He was no novice at shooting. The shot at the president, I mean, that was a heck of a miss if he was not aiming for President Kennedy.

RESTON: Well, I don't think it was a miss at all. You have to understand the geography of Dealey Plaza, where he was in his sniper's nest, was on the sixth floor of the Texas book depository. And as the car came around the corner and passed that building, it had to go passed a tree. And so, when the car was actually beyond that tree, the president's body and governor Connally's body were almost lined up.

So, the shot, the first wounding shot goes through the president's neck and into Governor Connally's back. So with the first wounding shot he got both men, so it was not a bad shot at all.

BLACKWELL: But why this day -- I mean, why, if he is going after Connally, there are many, many opportunities when President Kennedy is not there. Why wait until Kennedy is just a few feet behind Connally to shoot Connally?

RESTON: Well, there are two instances in "Accidental Victim" of Lee Harvey Oswald stalking Governor Connally. But you have to understand that this is a man that did not have two nickels to rub together. He could not run around the state of Texas after the governor.

But the most important thing is, there was a prior episode where he learned that Connally was in fact coming to Dallas, and he picked up his revolver and started out of the apartment and his wife actually locked him in a closet for some hours until he would calm down. So, I think the rage of Lee Harvey Oswald towards Connally is very well established, and then the car will go right after his window, and that happens to be an accident as well.

BLACKWELL: It's a fascinating theory.

CABRERA: Yes, and you mentioned the wife. Unfortunately, we don't have time to discuss this any further, but she did mention that anger that her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald, felt towards Connally at that third Warren Commission hearing. So, it was on the radar, but it wasn't something that was brought up initially. So, there are a lot questions.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and why until the third meeting with the Warren commission.

Author James Reston, Jr., the book is "Accidental Victim," thank you so much, a fascinating theory.

Now, when we come back, we will speak to a historian about this theory and whether he believes that then Texas Governor Connally could have been the real target.

Stay with us.


BLACKWELL: Twenty-five minutes after the hour now.

And just before the break we told you about a new theory. Well, is it new? We'll talk about that in the moment, about the death of JFK, that he was an accidental victim of the intended target, the then-Texas Governor John Connally. We want to give the other side a chance to rebut, because there are lots of theories.

CABRERA: There are, but there is a new book out about the theory of the "Accidental Victim." So, we're going to join and bring in Larry Snead. He is a JFK historian. You are an author as well. The book is "No More Silence," and it talks about the assassination of President Kennedy.

So, Larry, thanks so much for being here.

You just heard Mr. Reston and his theory that the intended target was then Governor Connally of Texas. What strikes you as the fatal flaw in his argument?

LARRY SNEED, JFK HISTORIAN: Well, there's a couple things. Mr. Reston didn't really mention exactly where he got his information other than some comments from Mrs. Oswald as some Russian immigrants that were involved in the Dallas at the time, as to why Connally was maybe an intended target.

But what we have, I think, in his previous book "The Lone Star" on John Connally was testimony from Carroll Jarnagin, who is lawyer in Dallas, who claimed that he was at the Carousel Club on October 4th -- the night of October 4th, 1963, and during the course of that evening he along with his partner at the time, an exotic dancer named Robin S. Hood, believe it or not, he heard a conversation at the next table that a Lee Harvey Oswald was being talked to by Jack Ruby, and he was trying to talk him into killing Connally.

The purpose of that was so Connally, being out of the way, he would not allow the mafia involved in Texas, and they wanted to get the mafia interest involved so a new governor might be able to facilitate this. Obviously, this was an interesting story. Jarnagin reported this to the police right thereafter. And in addition to that, he sent an eight-page typed script letter to the FBI, and Director J. Edgar Hoover.

The problem here is that he was interviewed not only by the Dallas police but numerous other law enforcement agencies, and as well by the Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade, talked to him for four hour, put him on a polygraph and he failed miserably. CABRERA: So, he wasn't credible?

SNEED: Not credible at all.

BLACKWELL: Well, let me ask you about Oswald. So, the theory, up this point, most people believed, is that because it was a Marxist, that he was coming to fatal blow at capitalism, right, in killing Kennedy. This is a guy with a ninth grade education. The story about him having a grudge against Governor Connally because of the dishonorable discharge sounds like something that would be simple enough for a man to execute.

SNEED: Well, yes, certainly. For one, it wasn't an undesirable discharge. It was downgraded from desirable to a medium grade, it went from, or went down to an undesirable --

BLACKWELL: It wasn't what he wanted?

SNEED: It wasn't what he wanted, no. And as a result, what I can't understand is that he had a legitimate marine card listing an honorable discharge. He had a six-year military obligation, and he already served three years in the active Marine Corps, so that was out of the way. He was then obligated to serve three years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which he was not doing at the time he was in the Soviet Union. That's why the undesirable discharge was given to him by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Now, he still had the card that had honorable discharge for --

BLACKWELL: If he wanted to show people if --


SNEED: And there was a lot of discussion about Oswald was concerned that he couldn't find jobs because of the undesirable discharge that he had.

BLACKWELL: Here is the card. This theory will continue. I mean, we wanted to have both sides of this conversation.

And, historian Larry Sneed, we thank you for coming in.

The book is accidental victim. It's a fascinating theory. You obviously say there's no credibility.

CABRERA: You still believe that JFK was the intended target.

SNEED: I do believe that he was. In addition to that --

BLACKWELL: We've got --

CABRERA: The debate rages on. We will see you back up here at the top of the hour. Eight o'clock.