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Watching the Opening Bell; Ugliest Moments of the Shutdown; Congress Suffers as Clashes Rage On; Interview with Rep. Peter Welch; Rockin' Refresher Course in Civics

Aired October 16, 2013 - 09:30   ET


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Putting it this way saying, you know what, look at Wall Street like a voting booth and they've shown their displeasure by seeing, you know, by showing several sell-offs over the past couple of weeks or so since the government shut down. That is Wall Street's way of giving Washington a nice strong message to get its act together.

We will see if that happens. Today is going to be quite the day though on Wall Street where you're going to see investors really pay attention to the headlines and all the rhetoric coming out of Capitol Hill.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, speaking of rhetoric, and Christine, I want to ask you about this, supposedly the Senate, somebody from the Senate, is going to come out and say something that will calm the markets further. So they're sort of playing a game with one another.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: I mean it is all one very big and dangerous game no question. And, you know, from outside Washington, I'm here now, but from outside Washington, the view is that each of these days has been utterly wasted. I mean we're right where we started two weeks ago, Carol. I mean, as far as I can tell, we're not any closer to getting this done.

But there is this sense - there is this sense that everyone knows that the debt ceiling is just too dangerous to mess around with. Like right here behind me, Warren Buffett is speaking right now. He is, you know, the world's most famous investor. And he - he says it's folly, it's stupid, it's crazy. These are the words he used to describe talking about the debt ceiling as a tool for a political fight. This is what he said just a moment ago.


WARREN BUFFETT, CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: It becomes this political weapon of mass destruction. It really is like a nuclear bomb.


ROMANS: He said that could cause an economic Pearl Harbor. I mean these are the kinds of metaphors he's using talking about not raising the debt ceiling and putting the full faith and credit of the United States on the line here. So, look, he says that the solution - the solution from Warren Buffett is that both parties need to step back and say the debt ceiling is not a tool, a weapon that we're going to use in political and budget negotiations. The debt ceiling is not going to be part of that process. Of course, from Warren Buffett's lips to their ears, right, Carol?


ROMANS: I mean so far they have been fighting and using that debt ceilings for the past couple of years. But the world's most famous investor is saying, no, no, no, this is too dangerous to mess around with, they have to stop immediately.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see if anyone listens. Christine Romans reporting live from Washington. Alison Kosik in New York. Thanks so you both.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the partial government shutdown has brought out some of the worst in our lawmakers.


REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), TEXAS: The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves.


NEUGEBAUER: You should be.


COSTELLO: A trip down memory lane. We're looking at the ugliest moments of the shutdown, next.


COSTELLO: So here we are less than 15 hours before the country possibly defaults. It's been an ugly road up to this point, and I mean ugly, at times downright embarrassing. I mean, come on, after this, do Americans believe our elected officials have any dignity, any class or true love of country? This morning we present the ugliest moments along the road to possible default.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, sir.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Let's begin with perhaps the ugliest, politicians capitalizing on World War II vets trying to visit their memorial. They were met with barricades, so protesters tore them down and piled them up in front of the White House.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This is the people's memorial. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial? Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.

COSTELLO: But Senator Ted Cruz did not address what came after, confederate flags and hate.

CROWD: Shame on you.

LARRY KLAYMAN, FREEDOM WATCH: I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees and to figuratively come up with his hands out.

COSTELLO: Actually, there were a lot of ugly moments surrounding the nation's monument to our heroes. Park Rangers, who were following orders to close the monument, experienced the nastiness themselves.

REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER (R), TEXAS: The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves.


NEUGEBAUER: You should be.

COSTELLO: Never mind it was Congress that caused the government to shut down and that the park ranger was working for free because technically she had been furloughed, which sets us up nicely for Congressman Steve Pearce's idea. He writes on his FaceBook page, quote, "if you are a furloughed government employee, we encourage you to reach out to your financial institution as soon as you worry you may miss a paycheck. Financial institutions offer short term loans and other resources. Don't wait until you're behind on a bill, call now and explore your options."

Things got even uglier when lawmakers blamed one another for not funding NIH clinical trials for children. A message delivered in, yes, white lab coats.

REP. TODD ROKITA (R), INDIANA: Let us help people. Let us help children, please.

COSTELLO: Democrats said they were outraged by all of this ugliness, but not angry enough to stop them from using it to raise money. The Democratic National Committee raised $850,000 the first day of the shutdown at a fund-raiser for Charlie Rangel of New York. That's according to "The Hill."

But at least our elected leaders get to work out. As Democrat Bruce Braley pointed out, quote, "there's hardly anybody working down there. There's no towel service, we're doing our own laundry down there. And we pay a fee to belong to the House gym. So this is no different than if you're working for an employer that offers a wellness program."

Maybe he forgot taxpayers pay for his extracurricular crunches.


COSTELLO: Senators insist they will avert a crisis today. Of course, they've said that before and we'll believe it when we see it.

All new in the next hour of NEWSROOM, a soldier injured in action gets a visit from his commander. But what happened next made this hospital photo go viral. His wife describes why this moment made grown men cry. That's all new at 10:00.


COSTELLO: Checking our top stories at 42 minutes past the hour. More than 60 Cleveland police officers have been suspended for their involvement in a high-speed chase last November. Two unarmed people were killed during that chase and the officers involved were found guilty of charges ranging from excessive speed to insubordination.

Terrifying moments on board a Spirit Air flight heading from Dallas to Atlanta. The plane's engine exploded after takeoff, filling the cabin with smoke. People on board said they thought they were going to die. One man texted his wife, "we're on fire, love you."


FRED EDWARDS, SPIRIT AIR PASSENGER: The explosion goes, bam, and we saw the flames come up the side of the plane, which lit up the whole inside of the plane. It looked like the inside of the plane was on fire. Of course it was on the outside engine. The plane started shaking violently. And after that, the plane started filling up with smoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the vents on the side of the aircraft was just pouring smoke. I mean just full white smoke. And before you knew it, you couldn't really see. That's when everyone got really scared.


COSTELLO: The plane made it safely back to Dallas and passengers got aboard another plane and headed off to Atlanta.

Twitter is headed to the New York Stock Exchange. The company announced its decision Tuesday in a filing with the SEC and will list under the letters TWTR. While the company hasn't yet turned a profit, the initial public offering is slated for $1 billion.

As Washington inches closer to that debt ceiling deadline, Congress may also be facing a different kind of crisis, a crisis of confidence as voter approval plummets to all-time lows, while frustrations soar to new highs. Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont.

Good morning, sir.

REP. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Good morning.

COSTELLO: I'm glad you're here. But, respectfully, I don't want to play the blame game with you this morning because, of course, we've had 16 days of that. But I do want to talk about something with far greater implications, and that would be trust in government. Congressman, why should Americans have any trust at all in Congress, in you?

WELCH: Well, on the basis of what we've done the last several weeks, they shouldn't. And that's -- in fact, you're exactly right, the casualty here, aside from who's responsible, is that the institution was created to serve the American people and it has to make decisions that help people be successful in their own lives back home. And what we've witnessed is the last several weeks and months, really, is a debate where the premise was it was OK to not pay your bills. And that's just bizarre to most Americans. You owe your plumber, you don't stiff your electrician, you pay your mortgage.

So we have done a lot of damage with this debate. And, in fact, my hope is that when we get this behind us and we finally do raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, that we're going to get down to the basic issue that we have, having a budget that's sustainable, helps bring down the debt and rebuild the middle class of this country. But it's serious damage we've done to the institution.

COSTELLO: That - Congressman, that all sounds - that all sounds great, but the House of Representatives cannot come up with a compromise to end the shutdown. They can't even come up with a bill that everybody can agree on. So, I mean, in negotiations to come, which will be difficult because, after all, the Senate plan, this potential Senate deal, just kicks the can down the road, you're all going to have to sit down again and compromise and you can't do it.

WELCH: Well, you're right, but let me put in perspective the things that I think are good that are coming out of this, even though we never should have had this fight. Number one, the health care battle has been going on for years. It's now over and we're not going to be fighting about whether it will be the law of the land. We'll be really struggle with how to implement it in a way that works. That's number one.

Number two, the president held firm, Harry Reid held firm on this notion, that we have to pay our bills and that cannot be a hostage by a faction of Congress. So by putting that behind us, I think you're going to not see this extreme tactical use of the debt ceiling going forward.

But you are right, I mean there is a battle primarily within the Republican conference, I mean that conference dragged John Boehner through the nine circles of hell on this thing and my hope is that the pragmatists of that party as well as ours get down to the business of making progress on some of these things that have eluded us.

COSTELLO: But -- but Democrats are still going to have to sit down with these conservative Republicans and they're still going to have to talk because that's the way government is supposed to work.

WELCH: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: So how do you repair the damage that's been done over the past few weeks? Do you have a beer summit, team building exercises -- I mean what do you do? WELCH: Well you know you are right about that and the mistake the Democrats can make is to see this as a victory and we overplay our hands. Because bottom line American people are just throwing up their hands in dismay at the dysfunction of this institution so we Democrats have a responsibility and the Republicans have a point about sustainable spending and getting the debt down. But there's ways the Democrats can meet them that do it in a way that build the economy.

So you know, there's no victors here, I mean, bottom line, we're going to reopen government, we're not going to default. That's like very low expectations, but there really has to be a willingness on the part of both of us to get back to work.

There's a lot of members of this House, Republican and Democrat, who would much prefer at the end of the day to make some progress rather than be in this food fight.

COSTELLO: I hope you're right. Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont thank you so much for joining me this morning.

WELCH: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM the Cardinals find themselves in a very familiar position, they're like a machine. They are one game away from the World Series. "Bleacher Report" is next.


COSTELLO: I don't want to talk about the Tigers. So how about some Cardinals? Andy Scholes.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi Carol you know it seems like we were just talking about the Dodgers they got that big win and they are back in the series. Well it took just one game to change all of that.

Last night, Matt Holliday, the Cardinals' slugger, he silenced the LA crowd and with two-run shot in the third inning. Now the Dodgers had a great chance to tie this game up in the ninth inning, but rookie sensation Yasiel Puig ground into a double play. St. Louis wins 4-2. They now lead the series three games to one. Just one win away from going to the World Series.

All right in the ALCS, the Tigers, Carol, Justin Verlander he was pitching the lights out last night in game three.

COSTELLO: He was fantastic.

SCHOLES: Yes but the lights actually went out. There you go, it might ruin his momentum it caused a 17-minute delay. When they started playing again, one swing of the bat from Mike Napoli ended up deciding this game. He homered off Verlander. And the Tigers had a chance in the game but the (inaudible) struck out. Red Sox pumped up. They win 1-0. They take two games to one lead in the series. The ALCS resumes tonight at 8:00 Eastern. The Cardinals they can punch their ticket to the World Series this afternoon. First pitch from LA is at 4:00 Eastern on TBS. All right turning right now on -- Will Ferrell is back in his old stomping ground at USC. Check it out he is there leading the band in a performance. Wielding the sword and showing off his gun. Now Ferrell was decked out in Trojan gear for a really good cause. The event was to raise money for the kids with cancer who can't afford costs.




SCHOLES: All right that was the scene last night in Mexico City. Mexican fans chanting, "USA, USA." Now why were they chanting that? Well Team USA bailed out the Mexican National Team in epic fashion. They scored two goals and stopped (ph) its time to beat Panama and that saved Mexico from being eliminated from World Cup contention. Mexico's announcers were so excited when they saw the USA score they said, "God Bless America".

It's really, really funny moment Carol. And Team USA's Twitter feed, they tweeted after the game, #You're Welcome Mexico." Because they really saved Mexico in all their hopes and dreams from being in the World Cup. Now they're going to play New Zealand. Winner of that match (inaudible).

COSTELLO: Glad we were able to help out.

SCHOLES: Yes right.

COSTELLO: Andy Scholes thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, are you confused about what exactly Congress needs to do to end the partial shutdown or avert a default on the national debt? Well --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know I'll be a law someday. At least I hope and pray that I will, but today, I am still just a bill.


COSTELLO: A little musical refresher course in civics -- after a break.


COSTELLO: All we've heard for the last few weeks is about the back and forth in Washington on a debt deal. It kind of takes you back to your civics class, doesn't it? We thought we would oblige at perhaps the best way to understand the way out of this mess, ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, you sure got to climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill. I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill. Well, it's a long, long journey to the capital city. It's a long, long wait while I'm sitting in committee. But I know I'll be a law some day, at least I hope and pray that I will, but today, I am still just a bill

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gee, bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I got this far. When I started I wasn't even a bill. I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed so they called their local congressman and he said, you're right, there ought to be a law.

Then he sat and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress and I became a bill. And I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.

I'm just a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill. And I got as far as Capitol Hill. Well now, I'm stuck in committee and I'll sit here and wait. While a few key congressmen discuss and debate whether they should let me be a law. How I hope and pray that they will, but today I am still just a bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to those congressmen arguing. Is that all discussion and debate about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones -- most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favorably. Otherwise I may die.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes die, in committee.

But it looks like I'm going to live. Now I go to the House of Representatives and they vote on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they vote yes, what happens?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill and if they vote for me on Capitol Hill. Well then I'm off to the White House where I waited on line, with a lot of other bills for the President to sign. And if he signs me, then I'll be a law. How I hope and pray that he will, but today I am still just a bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the President can still say no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again and by that you're so old --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a law. It's not easy to become a law, is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But how I hope and pray that I will. But today, I am still just a bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He signed you bill. Now you're a law.



COSTELLO: Good morning, everyone. I'm Carol Costello. A little refresher course for you and especially for our members of congress because here we are. It is October 16th and the nation is on the edge of default. In other words, we're staring down the very debt crisis the lawmakers told us not to worry about.

Remember all the reassurances, the promises that Congress would come together at crunch time and not risk an economic disaster? Well as you can see from our countdown clock that deadline is now less than 15 hours away.

The debt ceiling closes in. The partial government shutdown drags on and Washington's dysfunction is shaming even the lawmakers.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Anybody that thinks that's not a big thing or don't worry about it, that's ridiculous. This is a big thing and it's going to harm, not just this economy but economies all over the world. And we're not going to do that. If we do, I think they should all ask for our resignations.