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Video Showing Terrorists Attacking Mall; Congress Averts Debt Crisis For Now; House Staffer Suffers a Meltdown; Interview with Olympia Snowe; No Winners, Only Losers in Shutdown; Furloughed Workers Return to Jobs Today
Aired October 17, 2013 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Midnight, lawmakers voted to avert a debt crisis and end the shutdown but any relief is tempered by reality. We will soon be doing this all over again.
Before we get to that, first though, for the first time, we're seeing video of the horror in Kenya when terrorists stormed an upscale mall and ruthlessly slaughtered dozens of people.
CNN has exclusively obtained some of the surveillance video from the Westgate Mall. Much of what we're about to show you is graphic, frightening and, quite frankly, it is painful to watch. It is not, and I repeat, not suitable for children. So please have them leave the room.
We are reporting on this video because there are few opportunities for the public to fully understand the horror inflicted by these terrorists. To see the depravity of the attackers and how these killers showed no hesitation about ending life.
CNN's Nima Elbagir is in Nairobi, Kenya this morning.
Good morning, Nima.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. There is absolutely no doubt that this is a horrifically difficult to watch. But what it does do is it gives us a sense, a window, into what happened on that first day. And I think it really goes some way to shedding a little bit of light.
Take a watch, Carol.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): A first look at a nightmare. As CNN has obtained surveillance video of the horrifying moments inside the Kenya mall massacre that took at least 67 lives and injured hundreds.
Watch as unaware shoppers suddenly run for their lives. A wounded man tries crawling to safety. But the gunman returns.
Outside, helicopters circle. And you can hear the gunfire that's coming from al-Shabaab attackers combing the hallways. Civilians run and crawl to wherever they think they can to survive. Some hide in the stairwell. Others in stores.
A body on the mall floor is shot repeatedly. At a mall restaurant, staff and customers cower behind the counter as a plain clothes police officer tries to protect them. Security cameras on the roof catch attackers walking towards the children's cooking competition. Opening fire just beyond the camera's view.
In the supermarket, the massacre continues. Surveillance video shows the hostage roundup has begun. A mother and her two children push an injured child in a shopping cart. A bloody teenage girl follows. Her hands in the air as a gunman points the way. Hours later, they're released.
Back inside, the hostage takers are spotted on the phone. Authorities believe they're receiving instructions from outside the mall. One of them appears to be looking for surveillance cameras. And there are even long periods of time where the attackers appear relaxed. At one point, taking turns for prayers.
This is just a fraction of the surveillance video recorded. As most of it is too horrifying to broadcast. Only the first day of a four- day nightmare for Kenya.
ELBAGIR: What becomes clear when you're watching that, Carol, is really just how well prepared and well coordinated these guys were. And how really unflinching they were in what they were intending to inflict -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Nima, how many of these attackers have been taken into custody?
ELBAGIR: None. You know, that's the big issue here is three weeks on we are no closer to understanding how this could have happened. We don't even really know how many people were inside. Some government arms say 10, some say 15. We only saw four on that video. And on the outside reporting on this at the time, the kind of the sense and momentum and the buildup of the Kenyan government forces around, you don't get any sense that the attackers were in any way even bothered by that when you watch that video -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Just unbelievable.
Nima Elbagir, reporting live for us this morning, thanks so much.
All right. Now back to Washington and the 11th hour deal that has reopened the government and averted a debt crisis, at least for now. Want to talk winners and losers? Neither do I. No winners here. This is a temporary deal. We will be reliving it all in just a few months.
Here's Senator John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This was a terrible idea. I told you at the beginning how it was going to end. And we know if they try it again how it's going to end. So hopefully we're not going to do this again, at least not in my lifetime.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN'S NEW DAY HOST: How do you avoid it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Remember all that talk of a clean bill? Well, a closer look shows some pork was thrown into that temporary funding bill. $2.2 billion for a dam project on the Ohio River. It flows through the home state of Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Agencies that fight wildfires could get as much as $636 million. Colorado could see $450 million to rebuild roads and other projects wiped out by summer floods. And nearly $300 million will help chip away the backlog for veterans benefits.
So how's that for you?
We begin our coverage this morning with Jim Acosta. He's at the White House.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. That's right. The federal government has been reopened. We've seen federal governments filing on to the grounds of the White House here all morning. And President Obama is expected to make a statement on the budget in about 90 minutes from now after a bruising battle with Republicans that he barely won. At nearly the last minute. The president is expected to call for bipartisanship here in Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Just as the nation was on the brink, the House of Representatives blinked. And passed the bipartisan Senate compromise to raise the nation's debt ceiling. And after a 16-day shutdown, the federal government will come back to life. And thousands of employees returning to work in Washington to critical medical research programs, to national parks, even the panda cam and the National Zoo.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will begin reopening our government immediately.
ACOSTA: When the end was in sight, but before the House had even voted, the president came out to say he's ready to work with both parties in the future.
OBAMA: I'm willing to work with anybody. I am eager to work with anybody. Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members, on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs and strengthen the middle class and get our fiscal house in order.
ACOSTA: House Speaker John Boehner gave the green light for the deal when he dropped GOP demands for big changes to Obamacare in exchange for an end to the standoff.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have been locked in a fight over here trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare and we fought the good fight. We just didn't win.
ACOSTA: Even some Tea Party-backed Republicans agreed the strategy failed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the folks who said we were going to lose turned out to be correct. I can't argue with that.
ACOSTA: But in a sign of potentially more battles to come one of the architects of the Obamacare or bust plan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, vowed to keep fighting.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The way we are going to stop the suffering, the harms that are being visited on millions of Americans is the path we have seen these past couple of months, is the American people rising up.
ACOSTA: Cruz making his wish. The deal only reopens the government until mid January and pushes back another potential default to February but the president told CNN, not to worry.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, isn't this going to happen all over again in a few months?
ACOSTA: Now a safety mechanism was built into this legislation that requires both parties to reach an accord on a larger budget agreement that will hopefully prevent another government shutdown in January and a potential default in February.
But, Carol, at this point, there's no real teeth in that bill that requires lawmakers to do this or else. Nothing's going to happen to them if they blow past that deadline. So we're going to have to wait and see if that safety mechanism actually works -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Can't wait. So, Jim, the ink was barely dry on the budget deal before the Senate raced out of town. And take a look at this. Those calendar days you're going to see in red are when the House of Representatives is out of session. Nearly two weeks this month. And off closer to three weeks next month.
And in December, look at all that red. The House is in session only eight days. Shouldn't they start cracking down on the next deal to keep this from happening again?
ACOSTA: Well, some of that is going to start later today from what we understand. Some of the top budget conferees are supposed to meet.
But, Carol, beyond that, I mean, one thing that we are hearing is that a lot of lawmakers just want to get back to their districts. Even though it might not be a good idea in some of those circumstances because they're not going to be all that popular with the folks back home. So they're going to have some fence mending to do.
But, Carol, in the real world here in Washington, the staffs do a lot of the work on these budgets. And one thing that I think we're going to hear from the president in about 90 minutes from now is the president saying that he is willing to do some of the things that Democrats don't like. Like curbing entitlement spending. That is something that the president pledged to talk about before this government shutdown and before we got on the verge of default.
He was basically saying, listen, if you reopen the government, if you raise the nation's debt ceiling, I'm willing to talk about everything. And now members of Congress, including Republicans, get to hold him to his word.
COSTELLO: Yes. And we'll hear from the president as you said at 10:35 Eastern. Of course, we'll carry the president's remarks live.
Jim Acosta reporting live from the White House this morning. Thank you.
The weeks of maneuvering and bickering have meant long hours and lots of stress for people who work on the edges of Congress. Those who really do the people's business without fanfare or hidden motives.
For one woman, the House stenographer, that stress may have been too much. That's her in the highlighted circle as she marches to the podium. What happens after that is truly sad and admittedly bizarre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Lord Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Lawmakers who witnessed the apparent unraveling of their colleague were shaken and baffled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I don't know what she was talking about. I was there and -- the person started screaming. I thought it was somebody telling us we had two minutes to vote or a minute to vote. I thought it was some official person. And that's how she got there. The sergeant-in-arms didn't try to stop her.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Because she works there.
KING: Yes, she works there. And that's where she's situated. And she actually went up behind the podium where the president speaks from. They thought she was going to hand something to the speaker. And then they realized, and then she was caught up. And all this happened in about 10 seconds. And -- but I was talking to people afterwards who work with her. Said she's perfectly normal, rational person. And they -- she seemed to just lose it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Capitol Police tell us they were able to talk to the woman before she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
A sad symbol perhaps of the dysfunction in our government. While the deal is done there is pain all around. And some say lasting damage to the reputation of our lawmakers. Despite 16 days of a partial shutdown and an estimated $24 billion cost to our economy, we have yet to hear from any lawmaker who's willing to take responsibility.
I'm including the president in that.
An offer of apology, maybe? At least one senator, Senator Ted Cruz, is not apologizing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: We saw the House of Representatives take a courageous stand, listening to the American people. That everyone in official Washington just weeks earlier said would never happen. That was a remarkable victory to see the House engage in a profile in courage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Joining me now is Olympia Snowe, former Republican senator of Maine, and a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
OLYMPIA SNOWE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Good morning, Carol.
COSTELLO: Thank you so much for being here.
Senator, perhaps lawmakers need a break after a grueling 16 days. But it is unsettling. They're in session, what, a whopping 18 days of the rest of the year? They have to come up with a new funding bill by January 15th. Can they get it done?
SNOWE: Well, you've underscored a very important point. And I used to argue this in my last years in the United States Senate. That we ought to cancel a few recesses. Including the one that occurred right after the debt ceiling debacle in August of 2011. Because we hardly had done any work during the course of that session.
Members of the House and the Senate should be in session at least five days a week. For at least three weeks. And then have the ability to go home for a week to their constituency. And I understand the importance of going home on weekends. But to ultimately only have, you know, 2 1/2 days or 3 days a week in session for the remainder of the year, given all the overarching issues that are affecting Americans, and most especially in the aftermath of this devastating shutdown.
Because it has taken its toll on the average American. It's taken a toll on the American economy, on the ability to create jobs, the uncertainty that results. You know, it's interesting based on the report in the Standard & Poor's that suggested that 900,000 jobs ultimately will be lost as a result of all the uncertainty.
And I will recall Chairman Bernanke saying the very same thing. If there hadn't been the kind of uncertainty and polarization of the last few years since 2009, we would have had 6 or 7 percent unemployment rather than 8 or 9 percent that characterized the better part of 40 months.
COSTELLO: You know, by going home to their districts lawmakers are giving the impression that they really don't get that. That their actions -- they don't get that their actions have an effect on our economy. That this is just all a game.
SNOWE: Well, that's one of the reasons why I left the Senate. Because of the partisanship. But also the detachment from the real world of the average person. I used to do main street tours to get the pulse of a community. Talk to people. Get a sense of what's going on. And in fact, at one point I called the president. I said you should take some main street tours. Because, really, people don't understand what's happening on main street in their communities and the impact of what Congress does or doesn't do, and how that has had enormous implications.
We should be far beyond in terms of economic growth and job creation. We have not even gotten back to levels of employment since 2007 when the recession began. Let alone the economic growth numbers. This is the worst post-recession recovery in our history. We need to help the average American.
America is about sharing opportunities. And Congress hasn't addressed those issues that are fundamental to creating those opportunities that will result in job creation.
COSTELLO: Senator Olympia Snowe, thanks so much for joining me this morning.
SNOWE: Thank you, Carol.
COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, that 16-day shutdown did cost us dearly. And in a big way. Find out how many teachers we could have hired for the chunk of change we lost out on.
NEWSROOM is back after a break.
COSTELLO: The government shutdown over for now. While lawmakers are congratulating themselves on a rare bipartisan agreement, they're still stumbling from crisis to crisis. The 16-day partial shutdown took a $24 billion chunk out of the U.S. economy. That's enough money to hire 433,000 teachers. Standard & Poor's says that will most definitely slow the pace of our economic growth.
Zeke Miller is a political reporter for "TIME" magazine.
Good morning, Zeke.
ZEKE MILLER, TIME: Good morning. Thanks so much for having me.
COSTELLO: Thanks for being here.
You write we're addicted to crisis governing. If that's true was there no lesson learned here?
MILLER: Well, right now it's not clear whether or not Washington will have learned anything from this. Certainly, we've heard a number of Republicans say that they really don't want to do this again. The president said last night to CNN's Brianna Keilar that, no, he hopes we really don't have to go through this again in three months.
But at the same time, the underlying dynamics of Washington, you know, the reasons, root causes o f this crisis are still there. Really, it remains to be seen whether or not we're going to go down this path just a few short months from now.
COSTELLO: It is the same group of people, right? It's interesting the overseas markets are not reacting to this government deal enthusiastically. U.S. futures, they're down about 70 points. Down.
Are we getting to the point the markets will soon just ignore what Congress does?
MILLER: Well, certainly, I think the markets have priced in today's deal. Just a few days ago, even last week, Thursday, Friday, the markets were trending upward, just because they're used to this crisis already.
And, you know, when you hear the president and others in Congress and folks in Congress say governing from crisis to crisis, everyone, from the American people to the markets, the international markets, are now assuming that that's going to be the case.
So, you know, the markets going down overseas today might not necessarily be a function of this deal in Congress. It could be external factors and other reporting measures. But at the same time, you know, the markets certainly would like some more stability than what they're getting from Washington right now.
COSTELLO: Zeke Miller with "TIME" magazine, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks for having me.
COSTELLO: Sure. Still to come in the NEWSROOM: Congress votes. The government reopens. And hundreds of thousands of Americans return to work.
Rene Marsh will join us on the morning after.
COSTELLO: This morning, hundreds of thousand of Americans are waking up and heading back to work now that the partial government shutdown is over, temporarily. One of the places back open, National Museum.
CNN's Rene Marsh is at the Smithsonian this morning.
Good morning, Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.
You know, it's good to say D.C. is back up and running again. We can tell you, the Smithsonian, National Air & Space Museum you see behind me, the doors will open to the general public in about another 30 minutes from now.
It's one of the world's most popular museums, last year alone some 8.2 million people. Of course, when this government shutdown was going on, no one could get inside. That includes federal workers. We spoke to a couple today who say they're actually happy to walk back through the doors, to get back to work today.
Some 3,500 workers at all of the Smithsonian museums, they were furloughed as a result of the government shutdown. Of course, that's changed and they're returning today. Other signs of progress we've seen around D.C. this morning, at the MLK Memorial we saw the barriers coming down.
You remember those barriers. They were erected around many of the monuments to keep people out. Again, a result of the government shutdown. Those came down.
Also those barriers at the World War II Memorial as well. If you remember, the World War II Memorial kind of became a symbol for the government shutdown in that it was a point of high drama. It kept people out, including veterans, from visiting that memorial. But those veterans made news when they broke through the barriers.
So, in a nutshell here, Carol, we are seeing things slowly getting back to normal. And most of the people we've spoken to today, very happy to say that they can get back to work.
COSTELLO: Will they get their back pay?
MARSH: We know that congress has agreed to pay these federal workers for the money that was withheld. They're happy to hear that as well. That those missed days where they were not reporting to work, they will get the pay, Carol.
COSTELLO: We're taking a live look at the White House. You can see the doors are open there. Back in business. Greeting federal workers who were furloughed from the White House.
Thank you very much, Rene Marsh, reporting live from the Smithsonian this morning.
Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a fight for the future of the Republican Party. That could be in the making after the shutdown exposed a rift in the Republican Party. Now, some are calling it a GOP civil war. We'll talk about that, next.
COSTELLO: All right. Let's take another look at this is right outside the White House. That's the president's chief of staff, Dennis McDonough, greeting federal workers as they get to come back to work today after the partial government shutdown ends.
Of course, the deal to reopen the government and avoid a default is getting a lukewarm reaction from many circles this morning, including from investors. Stock futures are actually down ahead of the opening bell.
Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us more about that.
Good morning, Alison.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.
Not a lot of love for this deal this morning. That's despite that 205-point pop on the Dow yesterday. We're also seeing global markets mostly lower this morning.
What gives? Because this debt ceiling deal is temporary. So guess what? We're going to be right back here again in about three months.
The same recession warnings. The same downgrade warning. The same risk to Social Security checks.