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Deal in the Works?; Shutdown Ripple Effects; Child Drowns on Cruise Ship

Aired October 15, 2013 - 04:30   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep hearing over and over is I never thought I'd need a food pantry, but here I am.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A deal to end the government shutdown said to be near this morning, but not coming soon enough for these furloughed workers feeling all of the pain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually helped prop his body up in the proper position so they could perform the CPR.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is such a sad story. A heartbreak on a Carnival cruise ship, a child drowning on his family vacation. This morning, questions of safety on board. Could this have all been prevented?


ALEXIS WESLEY, DONATED KIDNEY: Saving your kidney for a rainy day is like saving a fire extinguisher while watching your neighbor's house burn.


SAMBOLIN: Wow. A couple giving the gift of life and donating a kidney to complete strangers. The story behind their generosity.

BERMAN: It's a moving picture seeing both of them.

SAMBOLIN: Isn't it incredible?

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

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

And this morning, we actually have good news to report from Washington. I guess it's good news. The leaders of the Senate, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell, say they are close to a deal to end the standoff that paralyze the capital, raising the debt ceiling and also reopening the government. But they aren't there yet and have two days to work out the details and get the House on board before a potential default.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm very optimistic and we will reach an agreement that's reasonable in nature this week, to reopen the government and pay the nation's bills and begin long term negotiations and put our country on sound fiscal footing.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Those discussions continue, and I share his optimism that we are going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides.


SAMBOLIN: So, the current framework outlined to CNN includes funding the government through mid-January and extending the debt ceiling until early February. Some changes to the Obamacare law would also be considered, including requiring income verifications for health care subsidies.

Senate Republicans will sit down to discuss this potential compromise later this morning, but it could face an uphill battle in the House where Republicans yet to indicate how thee fell about striking any sort of deal that does not defund or delay the health care overhaul.

BERMAN: Yes, I don't want to be Debbie Downer, but it still has to get through the House and it could be very hard. And the timing of it is very dicey. It could be Thursday, Thursday when we're on that day where we hit the debt ceiling when they have the vote in the House, if they have a vote or it could drift past that. So, this is still going to be a very turbulent, volatile week.

SAMBOLIN: But even when you look at the details, they are just kicking the can, right? February is a new deadline.

BERMAN: Budget talks in December. Government shut down or government, you know, stop being funded into January, debt ceiling in February. All we really do is kick the can down the road. The question is it six months, a year, two years? There's always more discussions further on. Be just good to get out of this crisis one way or another.

SAMBOLIN: It's like another one is looming.

BERMAN: It's hurting real people as they are sitting and talking, no matter if they find a solution or not, the ripple effects are really being felt from coast-to-coast. The people feeling them, the furloughed government workers and it's really hurting them right where they live.

CNN's Rene Marsh has that part of the story.



RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day before the government shutdown, CNN met Dee Alexander, a secretary at the Department of Agriculture.

ALEXANDER: You never really know what might happen because you don't know how long it's going to last.

MARSH: Two weeks later, the shutdown is still in effect and Alexander has stopped paying her car loan.

ALEXANDER: Do you decide that I'm going to have somewhere to live at or do you decide that I'm going to pay my car note? And then you also have to figure out, what about food?

MARSH: On Saturday, she received the last paycheck she will get until the government reopens, $600 less than usual. Some of furloughed have turn to food banks for help, like this one in Maryland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I keep hearing over and over is, I never thought I would need a food pantry, but here I am.

MARSH: The ripple effect of the shutdown also means no more car recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stopped looking for automobile defects.

And the Centers for Disease Control has stopped tracking infectious diseases like the flu, something the agency's former director says could have dire consequences, quote, "I can attest to the very real potential for unnecessary pain, suffering and death when the work of public health officials is curtailed," he wrote in a op-ed.

And in South Dakota, ranchers digging out after an unexpected blizzard are dealing with tens of thousands of dead cattle.

Call the U.S. Department of Agriculture for disaster assistance, and this is all they hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. Department of Agricultural offices are currently closed due to the lapse in federal government funding. The office will reopen once Congress restores funding.

MARSH (on camera): Well, at that one food pantry we showed you in the piece, roughly 200 people. Now, that's on top of the food that same group passed out to the same families last week. Clearly, after receiving that final paycheck, families are now beginning to feel the pinch.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Rene for that story. It's important to remember that real people are affected by this every day. SAMBOLIN: They need to restock those food pantries because they desperately needed them.

BERMAN: Important to do.

The shutdown is also hitting the White House garden, First Lady Michelle Obama's prime joy. A blogger watching the garden says it's overrun with weeds and produce is rotting on the vine. The reason the shutdown means gardeners maintaining the White House grounds are down to skeleton crew and cannot actually tend to the garden or harvest the crops.

White House workers who had been helping can't do it either because of the furloughs.

SAMBOLIN: That's awful.

An alliance of veteran groups plans to gather this morning at the World War II Memorial to call on Congress to end the shutdown and race the debt ceiling, calling themselves the military coalition. Leaders from 33 veterans organizations including the VFW, American Legion and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America will make the case that the shutdown is hurting veterans, members of the reserves and their families by cutting off access to pay and to benefits.

BERMAN: Now to a truly heartbreaking story. A 6-year-old boy is dead after drowning on board a cruise ship. It happened on the carnival victory on last leg of a four-day Caribbean voyage. The young boy was swimming with his 10-year-old brother when a DJ saw him struggling, passengers tried to help but they could not revive the boy.


SHAINA SHAW, PASSENGER: Out of nowhere, I heard all of this commotion. I actually lifted the boy up, I actually helped prop his body in proper position so they could perform the CPR. Everyone was crying. The family was distraught. They had to pull the mother away and the father. The father was next to his son pleading and begging his son to stay alive.


BERMAN: Drowning on cruise ships do not happen often. Cruise ships are not required to have lifeguards on duty. Parents are responsible for watching their children swim in these cruise ship polls. Carnival issued a statement saying it extends its sympathy and is offering assistance to the boy's family.

SAMBOLIN: The Jerry Sandusky sex scandal has cost Penn State more than $50 million so far and that does not include 60 million set aside to settle civil claims from men who said they were sexually abused by the former assistant football coach. The university is also paying off a $60 million fine imposed by the NCAA. Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for molesting 10 boys.

BERMAN: Affirmative action in college admissions is back before the Supreme Court today. The high court is considering a case for Michigan, challenging the state's voter approved ban on using racial and gender preferences in deciding who gets into college. Just a few months ago, the court said the University of Texas could continue to use racial criteria but made it harder for institutions to justify affirmative action policies.

SAMBOLIN: Former President George W. Bush's heart condition apparently far more serious than was first reported. "The National Journal" says it was potentially life threatening. His main artery was 95 percent blocked. The 67-year-old had a stent put in to open that blockage. That was in August. The problem was discovered during his annual physical exam.

BERMAN: Good thing it was detected.

President Obama has made a last-minute campaign video for New Jersey Senate hopeful Cory Booker. Tomorrow is the special election to fill the seat once held by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. This video comes as Booker's lead against Republican Steve Lonegan has shrunk. It was quite large at one point. The latest poll still has him at 10 points, which is a pretty big lead the day before an election.

This comes -- the video from President Obama a few days after former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin campaigned for Lonegan in New Jersey.

SAMBOLIN: New York State Republicans are floating a familiar name, Donald Trump, as a possible challenger to incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in next year's election. They believe if they can convince Trump to run, he would be a dynamic candidate and he may be the only Republican with the name recognition to pull off beating Cuomo. Right now, Trump says he is not particularly interested.

BERMAN: I'm sure he'll run just like every other time that he's run for office that we speculated on it -- oh, wait.

Wal-Mart may have to absorb the costs of shopping spree spurred by a computer glitch. The glitch giving shoppers temporarily unlimited balances on government funded gift cards in two stores in Louisiana. You can see it. It happened Saturday. This is amateur video of it right now.

The shopping carts were overflowing. Look at that!

Shoppers were, obviously, excited. The store shelves were completely wiped out.

SAMBOLIN: Computer glitch.

All right. Retirement may just be a word for many Americans. A new survey finds at least 82 percent of those 50 and older plan who have jobs plan to keep working into their golden years. One reason, 43 percent said they have less than a hundred thousand dollars to get them through retirement. Wow.

The director of the "A.P."/NORC poll says it shows a shift in attitudes and more proof that retirement is no longer a complete exit from the workforce.

BERMAN: We shall keep pushing it back.

Let's get a sense of what the weather holds today for people who are traveling perhaps.

Tom Sater has the weather.

SAMBOLIN: I'm nervous about that.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good Tuesday morning, everyone.

A quick look at your weather across the U.S. but, first, travel delays. If we have any, a few trouble spots, strong area of low pressure, moving out of the Central Rockies, into the Upper Midwest. So, Chicago, thunderstorms, Minneapolis as well. Now, down to the South, a lot of moisture that's been moving in toward the state of Texas really from our tropical storm off the coast of Baja, California.

So, call ahead if you have flights. Let's say into the Dallas Metroplex. Keep your seat belts fastened and tray tables in the upright locked position, because we are going to have heavy amounts of rain. Maybe two, four, maybe isolated 5-inch totals that will move into Texarkana, maybe in Little Rock, too.

Back behind the front where the area of low pressure will be moving across Minnesota, look at the cooler autumnal weather, 45 in Denver area, you got 74 Dallas, slightly behind the front, cooler weather on the way into the plains. Still warm in the Southeast. Look for the low 80s to mid-80s into parts of Florida. Enjoy your Tuesday.

BERMAN: Good luck traveling to Chicago today. It's going to go well for you.

SAMBOLIN: Don't worry.

BERMAN: So, for one San Diego couple, helping others has become a family affair. This is a lovely story. Meet Alexis and Charles Wesley. Last year, he donated his kidney to a stranger and now, she's done the same, giving her kidney to a man in New York. As far as we know, the first husband and wife to give away their kidneys using the National Kidney Registry.


ALEXIS WESLEY, DONATED KIDNEY: Saving your kidney for a rainy day is like saving your fire extinguisher while watching your neighbor's house burn.

CHARLES WESLEY, DONATED KIDNEY: You gave out maybe three or four weeks of your life in terms of having to go through recovery. But you can extend someone else's life by 10 or 15 years. I really wanted to be the person who is willing to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Pretty generous people.


BERMAN: The reason for their generosity? Their own children have a rare joint disorder that has required a lot of surgery. They've gotten so much help over the years they say they felt it was their turn to help others.

The donation chain they start is likely to save at least 10 lives.

SAMBOLIN: Isn't that just remarkable? The gift of life. Thank you. That is beautiful.

Coming up, the Senate nearing a deal to end the government shutdown and avert a predicted economic disaster. Big question, will the House go along with it?

BERMAN: Big question.


SAMBOLIN: They did go at it, last night.

BERMAN: Really?


BERMAN: Oh, are you talking about something completely different?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I am talking about something completely different!

BERMAN: We're back. EARLY START is back.

Time now for the "Primetime Pop." This is the best from the CNN's primetime interviews. That's what you are talking about.

SAMBOLIN: That is what I was referring to.

BERMAN: They were going at it with the primetime interviewers, beginning with the optimism over a deal in Washington.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We'll start with Erin Burnett. She talked to Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota about a possible deal coming out of the Senate.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I'm nervous to say there's a deal because they've fallen apart time and time again. Are you confident?

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Well, I'm confident that we've made the case that we can't default on the debt and that date is on Thursday. And so if we do that, we will reap the whirlwind of American opinion. That problem will result in one of our witnesses during the banking committee said it would increase the mortgage interest rate 1 percent. I mean, these are real consequences.

And I am convinced that we've made the case and that everybody understands that we can't play Russian roulette with this fragile recovery, with the American economy. So I'm confident that we've set a deadline for getting a deal. What that deal's going to look like, ultimately I think will continue to evolve over the next 24 hours.


BERMAN: Anderson was also talking about the shutdown and the debt ceiling. He spoke with New York Republican Congressman Michael Grimm on whether the House will go along with the Senate deal.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So you've heard the details of the deal that's coming together in the Senate, government funding through January 15th; debt ceiling increase through February 7th. Is it something you can accept at this point?

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I think only because the circumstances we will accept it. We likely to change something nominal and ping it back because procedurally it's better to come from the House. Things can work quicker because of procedures.

But putting that aside, it's substantially the same package. It probably will pass here but I think it's unfortunate that we missed an opportunity. You know, both sides behind closed doors admit we do have a debt problem and this was an opportunity to fix at least part of it to take some steps forward. We didn't do that.

But at least the sides are talking right now. And from where we were, that is glimmer of hope. The fact that Vice President Biden is involved tells me the president is serious this time about getting something done.


SAMBOLIN: And on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE," a chat with financial guru Suze Orman. She had some choice words for all the politicians squabbling in Washington.


SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL GURU: You have a few months to get your act together. You have a few months to really take to heart that you have been elected to represent every single person in the United States of America whether they have money or they don't have a penny to their name, and you need to understand that if you don't help those that have nothing, you are also hurting those that have something.

And you, yourself, by your own actions, are bringing down the greatest country in the world and it is on your shoulders. So you have a few months, everybody, to get your acts together. You better not come back in January and February and say, oh, we're waiting until the last minute again. Use this time to really help the country that you have been elected to take care of.


BERMAN: Some strong words from Suze Orman, though, I have to say I hope she doesn't hold her breath on this one. I like having Suze around.

Forty-nine minutes after the hour.

Coming up for us -- the Dodgers finally getting on the board, taking down the Cardinals in game three of the National League Championship Series! Their rookie, there he is, though he may have been celebrating a little wee bit early there.

Andy Scholes breaks it all down on "The Bleacher Report", coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: All right. With their backs against the wall, the Dodgers came through with a clutch win over the Cardinals in game three of the National League Championship Series!

BERMAN: Good baseball. Andy Scholes joins us now with "The Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Well, the Dodgers, well, they really had to have this one. They couldn't afford to fall behind 3-0 in the series. L.A.'s offense had really been struggling. They scored just two run in the first two games. Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig hadn't gotten a hit in the series, check him out in the fourth inning.

So excited he connected. He celebrated. The ball off the wall. They don't call him the Cuban missile for nothing. He celebrates again.

Dodgers win the game, 3-0. The series will continue tonight with game 4. First pitch tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

Red Sox and Tigers have an early game today, game three of their series gets going at 4:00 this afternoon.

Well, NFL hyping up Andrew Luck on the Colts starts, so much that irked Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. After beating the Colts 19- 9 last night, Rivers jokingly said he wasn't even sure he was playing in a prime time game because he only saw luck and all of the promos. Rivers got the last laugh.

The Colts have another big one on Sunday night as Peyton Manning faces his big return to Indy for the first time as a Bronco.

And a lot of section of, today, you'll see the priceless reaction from the Boston after Big Papi's game-tying grand slam. Now, the Tiger's Torii Hunter who went crashing over the wall, tying to make that catch. He isn't too happy about the celebration during BP yesterday. Torii Hunter said he got his hands up. Help me first and then cheer, fool!

Hunter later tweeted out he was just joking around. It was all in good fun.


BERMAN: I actually bet he was kidding. I mean, he is one of the most well-liked players in the league, Torii Hunter is. My wife showed my sons that video again and again. Not just because of the home run.

Did you see what the Red Sox players did when Torii Hunter fell into the bull pen? Every Red Sox player got off the bench to help this guy. The Red Sox players did not celebrate first. They went Torii Hunter first and then they celebrated.


SCHOLES: I think he is wrapped up in the moment.

BERMAN: Walk them all walk over right there to help the man.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure he's OK. All right.

BERMAN: That's impressive and Torii Hunter --


BERMAN: Andy Scholes, you are a terrific man. Thank you so much for bringing that to us. We really appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

BERMAN: Coming up for us next: How Rihanna is helping police catch criminals in Thailand. Trust me, this may be not what she intended.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-eight minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

We are take ago look at the top CNN trends on the web this morning, but we start with Rihanna. She has done it again, getting somebody in trouble because of her tweets. This time, it was a Twitter message about a lewd sex show she attended in Thailand.

Authorities there saw the tweet and have now arrested a bar owner who faces a month in prison for featuring naked dancers. Remember two weeks ago? A 20-year-old man and 16-year-old boy were picked up after Rihanna posted this picture of herself with protected animal called the slow loris, that the pair were holding.

BERMAN: Trouble, let me tell you. "Walking Dead" is apparently infectious. The AMC's zombie show is now the most watched cable program of all time, just behind "EARLY START, actually.

"'Walking Dead" --

SAMBOLIN: If you dressed up like that, I would be tuning in too, Berman!

BERMAN: If it could help our demo.

It's the fourth season premiere on Sunday and drew more than 16 million viewers!


BERMAN: More than any other cable show on cable ever. Even maybe a little more than EARLY START. It even beat some broadcast TV perennial ratings winners, including "The Big Bang Theory." It was a hit online, too, nearly 40,000 tweets were posted of the season premier just in the first minute of its East Coast airing.

SAMBOLIN: What is it about zombies? What is it?

BERMAN: I don't know but it is an idea for us. We'll have a production meeting after the show today to talk about --

SAMBOLIN: I say Halloween, that's what your dress up as a zombie and let's see if we like the look and we'll keep it.

BERMAN: We'll talk about it.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.


REID: Constructive, good faith negotiations continue between the Republican leader and me. I'm very optimistic.

MCCONNELL: I share his optimism that we're going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides.


SAMBOLIN: Shared optimism. There's a little good news out of Washington. Senate leaders nearing a deal to end the government shutdown and avert a debt disaster. The latest on these developing high stake talks, ahead.