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Government Reopens; Internal GOP Battles; New Jersey Elects New Senator

Aired October 17, 2013 - 04:30   ET




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. Crisis averted for now, a deal for now raising the debt ceiling and reopening the government for now, signed by President Obama.

But what are the special favors hidden inside this bill? This might surprise you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome, New Jersey's next senator, Mayor Cory Booker.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Cory Booker becomes the newest U.S. senator there in a contentious race that brought out heavy hitters from Republicans and Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are wild animals. I don't like anything untamed be --


BERMAN: A Florida man arrested for keeping an alligator as a pet in the most unusual of places.

SAMBOLIN: That was good.


SAMBOLIN: Stick around for that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. BERMAN: And I'm John Berman, about 32 minutes past the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, this morning, the government is once again open for business.

BERMAN: Woo-hoo!

SAMBOLIN: Now that both sides have finally come together to reach a deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. What time did that happen? Twelve --

BERMAN: Twelve-thirty a.m., a mere four hours ago.

SAMBOLIN: I know. But this (INAUDIBLE). Congress passed it, the president has signed. It is now in effect.

As for the details of the compromise, it will fund the government through mid-January. It will extend the debt ceiling into early February. Federal workers will receive their pay dating back to the start of the shutdown although there is wording there in that says that will eventually happen. Negotiations will begin between the House and the Senate and a longer term budget deal.

In the end, 27 Republicans in the Senate and 87 in the House joined with Democrats to get that plan through but it wasn't without a lot of hand wringing, a lot of anger from those who started the standoff.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This is a terrible deal. This deal embodies everything about the Washington establishment that frustrates the American people.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think it was a shameful chapter that what we did to the American people. I mean, we put people out of work. We disrupted their lives.

OBAMA: There's no reason why he can't work on the issues at hand. Why we can't disagree between the parties, while still being agreeable and make sure that we're not inflicting harm on the American people while we do have disagreements.


SAMBOLIN: The first step to try to end those disagreements will begin today. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan will meet with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray, this morning. They will talk about the next steps in picking a committee that will talk about the future of federal spending and the debt and hopefully craft a plan to take the government through the next fiscal year.


BERMAN: Yes, let's hope for that for sure.

For more on what's in the bill, let's turn to CNN's Athena Jones. Athena is live with us in Washington this morning.

And, Athena, there's actually some stuff in there that is quite a surprise to a lot of people and outrage to a few people too.


Well, some people may call it "pork", but the folks who are receiving it may call it a necessary expenditure. This is the bill right here. It's 35 pages and our folks are pored through it.

And here are some examples of some of the other things addressed in this bill, apart from reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling. One is $2.2 billion for an Ohio River dam project between Kentucky and Illinois. There's $636 million for firefighting for the Interior Department and the Forest Service. $450 million for flood damaged roads in Colorado and $294 million dollars for the V.A. to reduce benefits claimed backlogs.

So, again, it depends on your perspective whether you call this money fork or say it's something necessary money that is going to do important and necessary work, John.

BERMAN: The Kentucky project jumped out to a lot of people because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is from Kentucky and was a key part of that deal, and there was suggestion there that somehow sweetened the whole process for him.

There are also people, I should say, Athena, who point out that sometimes pork in politics greases the wheels of deals like this and it's the disappearance of fork over the last few years that's made dealing a lot harder.

Let's leave that aside for a second right now and talk about what happens for the hundreds of thousands people who have been furloughed over the last 16 days during this shutdown. How quickly will these government workers get back on the job?

JONES: Well, one quick mention here. I should tell you that an aide for Senator McConnell said he's not who asked for this money for this dam projects. Other senators who worked on water projects, on the economy that deals with those, asked for those funds.

But as for furloughed workers, they are due back on the job today. That word went out last night. These hundreds of thousands of folks who have been at home not checking their BlackBerrys, in fact, ordered in many cases not to check their BlackBerrys are supposed to show up this morning.

So, the real question is how many of these hundreds of thousands will show up today. How many will get the word. How quickly will they get the word?

We know that at the Department of Defense when hundreds of thousands of civilian employees were called back to works, some folks showed up the next day and said their fellow employees called other fellow employees, telling them it's time to come back to work. So, it will be interesting to see how many folks walk through those doors of various departments and agencies today, John.

BERMAN: So, a big part of this deal are these budget negotiations, we will first talks today between Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, what are the chances of success here, though, Athena, because, you know, we've had super committees, we've had groups of representatives and senators talking about the subject stuff before, and it did not work out well.

JONES: Well, that's the big question mark here. It's one of the criticisms of these committees, the fact they haven't managed to do the hard work that needs to be done.

Everyone acknowledges there are big challenges. Everyone acknowledges there is hard work ahead and coming to agreements on entitlement reform, tax reform, whether new tax revenues will be part of any budget deal. And yet nothing ever comes of it.

You know, our own Brianna Keilar asked the president last night after his statement in the press briefing room at the White House, will we be on at this point in January, on the cusp of another shutdown if a deal isn't reach? He said no.

But the past hasn't given us many positive indications what could happen. We hope this has taught both sides a lesson and the people will finally come together and make some progress on these issues, but whether or not that's going to happen and whether it's going to happen in time, it's still a question mark.

BERMAN: Yes, let's hope it does happen, though, this time more quickly.

Athena Jones, thank you for waking up with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

JONES: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: It is nice to have here with us.

All right. The fiscal impasse is over, but the fighting may have just begun. The government shutdown was largely blamed on a small group of Republicans. Its leader? Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

But it's not only Democrats upset. Their hard line strategy has drawn a divided line within the Republican Party.

Here is CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): On the Senate floor, John McCain slammed the partisanship on both sides during this shutdown.

MCCAIN: It's one of the more shameful chapters that I have seen.

TODD: But in print, he was much tougher on his own caucus, telling "The New York Times," Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle as I predicted weeks ago that we would not be able to win. McCain's Republican ally Lindsey Graham says the GOP "really did go too far, we screwed up."

Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards says while he believes President Obama was too inflexible in this standoff, it's the Republicans who overreached by hammering on Obama care.

MICKEY EDWARDS, THE ALGIERS INSTITUTE: The public is not going to believe that the president is responsible, especially when they are trying to undo a law that has already been enacted. When you tie it in with the threats about the debt ceiling and possibly reneging on the people the American people spent and owe, you know, I don't think it's a message Republicans can win.

TODD: Senator Ted Cruz has been skewered from within the party and by his hometown newspaper which had endorsed him, comparing him to his predecessor Kay Bailey Hutchison, "The Houston Chronicle's" editorial page says, Cruz has been part of the problem in specific situations where Hutchison would have been part of the solution.

(on camera): Another conservative group whose tactics under fire, Heritage Action for America. It pressured wavering Republicans to keep fighting against Obamacare, keeping tabs on those who didn't by blasting out their scorecards.

(voice-over): Their leader dismissed McCain's criticism that this was a losing battle.

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: I think that the Senate Republican should spend their energy focusing on Obamacare and the way it's ruining American peoples' lives and not trying to settle scores about policy -- tactical differences that they disagree with.

TODD: But analysts say the party will still question the tactics of its own hard liners.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Has that line of argument, that political strategy been discredited by this defeat? There's no other word for it. And does that then allow other voices in the caucus to argue for a different direction?

TODD: Another big question coming out of this? Does John Boehner keep his speakership? GOP strategists we spoke to said he likely will, that he's got the votes to stay in, and who would want the job any way, especially after this?

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

BERMAN: We have some other political news to tell you about this morning.

Cory Booker has held off a Tea Party challenger and he was won the special election to be the next senator from New Jersey. Booker ended up winning by about 10 points which is what the polls had been showing the last few days. Maybe not as much as he led earlier in this race but 10 points is still a pretty big margin.

Booker is closely allied with President Obama and he pledged that he will work to bridge the divide in Washington between right and left. Good luck with that.


CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY SENATOR-ELECT: We must do better because when better is possible, even good is not enough. We are America! We are founded to be great, not good. To be great. And that is why I'm going to Washington.

STEVE LONEGAN (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: It's time for others now to step up. Step up to the plate to run for office in your local communities, become activists, not to be afraid to run for Congress. Who would expect a small town mayor to come this close from upsetting the U.S. Senate seat?


BERMAN: This close was still 10 points, not that close.

Cory Booker will finish out the term for the late Frank Lautenberg who died in June. Booker is expected to be sworn in after the results were certified. That could still take some time. It may actually take it until early November.

SAMBOLIN: South Dakota ranchers are still reeling from a devastating snowstorm that left entire herds devastated. There were carcasses everywhere. So, this is what they're saying. Don't send us blanket. Don't send us food. Send us pregnant cows.

They need the heifers to replenish their herds. So far, 20 cattlemen from nearby states have pledged to help. It may take another two weeks to nail down just how many cows were killed by that storm.

BERMAN: Many, many cows.

SAMBOLIN: It was awful. Thousands is what he said.

BERMAN: We have a surprising discovery for you now. Soaking in a Florida hot tub. Detectives were serving a drug-related search warrant when they stumbled on to an alligator.

Tony Wells told police the gator was in the tub when he moved it so he fed it chicken, lots of chicken. Needless today, this comes as unwelcome news for neighbors.


INGRID OPGAARD (ph), NEIGHBOR: It's kind of crazy. I have cats. I'm a little concerned who else has crazy pets.

REPORTER: Have you seen the alligator around or anything?

OPGAARD: No, I haven't and I'm happy for that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The alligator is soaking in the hot tub.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't know they liked hot tubs. Isn't it a little warm in there?

BERMAN: The police say they had not seen the alligator in a hot tub before. It's a first for them. The hot tub was a little ratty. I'm not sure I'd get into tub with that alligator. Not just because it's an alligator, because I know, doesn't look clean to me.

Wells was arrested for illegal position of an alligator.

SAMBOLIN: That's a surprise.

BERMAN: In a hot tub.

He was relieved on $500 bond and no word on what happens for the gator. There is a special hot tub for him somewhere, I'm sure.

SAMBOLIN: Gracious, these stories, these alligators in Florida.

All right. Coming up, they stood on principle and shut down the government for weeks. But did Republicans benefit from this government gridlock? Senator Lindsey Graham gives his take coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

It is time now for prime time pop. It's the best from CNN's primetime interviews. First up, we have been calling at the time 13th hour deal in Washington.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, because it was the 13th hour. A major crisis averted but Standard & Poor's says the shutdown costs the U.S. economy $24 billion.

Erin Burnett spoke with S&P managing director John Chambers about the consequences and if we will have to do it all over again in January.


JOHN CHAMBERS, STANDARD & POOR'S: We have a stable outlook on the AA- plus rating. We said back in June that we thought raising the debt ceiling would be acrimonious which it has been. So, this is in line with our thinking. We said that we would get a deal at the 11th hour. We're getting that deal now at the 11th hour.

So this is kind of baked into our AA-plus rating. The reason that we're at AA-plus and not AAA, there's a couple reasons. But the main reason is that the fact that you have to worry about the U.S. government paying its debt on time would indicate that the government is not worthy of a AAA rating. ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. And one final question to you. The deal tonight is simply going to delay for a few more months. I mean, as you know, right, I mean, it's pretty that static in and of itself, right, better than defaulting in the next few weeks, sure, but still not good.

Is this something would you see as a positive? I would imagine it doesn't -- not at all.

CHAMBERS: Well, we think it will be back here in January, debating the same issues, and that given the composition of Congress, that it will be probably still acrimonious. And we'll have to see. We'll have to see where we are then.

But this is, I fear, a permanent feature of our budgetary process.


BERMAN: Executive (INAUDIBLE) John Chambers there.

And on "AC360" Republican Senator Lindsey Graham seconded that motion and saying nobody here comes out a winner.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The debt wasn't affected at all. Obamacare wasn't changed in any real measure. Our numbers went down and if you think those polls are wrong, you're kidding yourself.

The president was AWOL I thought during a time of national crisis. Harry Reid kept moving the goalposts whenever we tried to get a deal. Everybody lost. If you like this, maybe a sequel is in the mix for January. If we do this again in January, we all should be just --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is the can being kicked down the road here?

GRAHAM: Totally. Name one thing in this deal that changed the underlying faults in Obamacare that we in a bipartisan fashion agree with. Name one thing in this deal that change the course of this country become Greece overtime.

But this is the best Mitch could do because we overplayed our hands so badly. By the end, we had just a pair of twos. It's not us winning or losing, or Democrats winning or losing. It's about the country suffering under a dysfunctional system. Our system up here is completely broken.


SAMBOLIN: And on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE", CNN's own Richard Quest summed it all up as only he can.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the end of the day, this is the most overused phrase at the moment. This is a can that is going to be kicked down the road. Now if you take this for battered old can. And look at how many times it's been kicked, Larry.

In fiscal year 2011, it was kicked eight times down the road. In fiscal year at '12, it was kick six times down the road. Wherein this year, it's already twice down the road, but its worst than that. Look at when they start kicking this can and you really start to see the problem.

The first debt ceiling crisis is 2011, nasty and hard. US lost its AAA credit rating. Then you have the fiscal cliff, and then you have sequestered across the board. So we're back with our battered miserable.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Amazing. That can is still surviving, isn't it?

QUEST: It's just surviving, it's leaking, it's just surviving, and I'm sorry Larry at the end of the today, that's the problem.


BERMAN: People with accents talking about cans. A much abused can there. Richard quest makes a task point. It's going to get another kick. Hopefully, it stops being moved, though, come January.

Coming up for us next, it was a big night for baseball. Maybe bad. Four teams vying to play in the world series but only two can come out victorious.

So, who were they? And why was it so wrong last night?

Andy Scholes breaks it down for us in "The Bleacher Report" coming up after the break.


BERMAN: Got it tell you the Tigers got it all going on last night in game four of the ALCS. That series is now all tied up. Andy Scholes joins us now with "The Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.


You know, the tigers had to have last night's game if they wanted to get back in the series and if you're not scoring at all in game three, the bats finally showed up. Tigers jumped on Jake Peavy in the second inning scoring five runs. That was plenty for starter Doug Fister. Detroit goes on to win the game 7-3. They each the series at two games apiece. Game five is tonight at 8:00 Eastern.


WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: At first base, number 23, Adrian -- aye yi yi -- Gonzalez! Batting sixth, in right field, number 66, he says the chupacabra is real, Yasiel Puig.


SCHOLES: The Dodgers bringing in the star power to help them stay live in the NLCS. Will Farrell pumping up the crowd with some creative introduction.

And, hey, it worked. Dodgers hadn't hit a home run all series. They hit 18 playoff record, four in game 5, two of them came off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez, check it out, throwing up the Mickey Mouse ears after the first home run. That was a clear jab at Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright who said Gonzalez had done some Mickey Mouse stuff while celebrating on Monday. Dodgers win 6-4, game six Friday on TBS.

All right. Turning right now on is the drama surrounding Peyton Manning's homecoming to Indy this Sunday. Earlier in the week, Colts owner Jim Irsay saying it was great having Peyton Manning but in the end, he only won one Super Bowl.

Yes. Now, Broncos head coach John Fox called the comments disappointing and inappropriate. When asked about it yesterday, Peyton took the no comment approach.

SAMBOLIN: The high road.

BERMAN: That is pretty petty.


SCHOLES: Yes, as if this game needed any more hype, right?

BERMAN: Oh my goodness. All right. Give Peyton Manning and that offense incentive and that is a great idea going into the game!

All right. Andy, thanks so much. We'll be right back.



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have been locked in a fight over here trying to -- 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.

OBAMA: I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done. Hopefully, next time, it won't be in the 11th hour.


BERMAN: Breaking news overnight. A last-minute deal reached to avert economic catastrophe and reopen the government this morning. We are breaking down the compromise that was reached by Congress signed by the president, reaction from Wall Street and why, despite all of the celebration, we could be in this very same spot in just a few months. SAMBOLIN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Thursday, October 17th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

SAMBOLIN: The sound you hear this morning from Washington is a big monumental sigh of relief.

BERMAN: From around the country and around the world.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, around the world, that is true.

Now that the deal is done, signed, sealed and delivered, reopening the government and staving off the debt crisis that could have led to economic disaster. So, the president signed it into law just after midnight.

Here are the details for you this morning in case you missed it:

The deal will fund the government through mid-January. It will extend the debt ceiling into early February. Federal workers will receive pay dating back to the start of the shutdown, although in that bill it says will it take a little time for that to happen.

Negotiations will begin between the House and the Senate on a longer term budget deal.

The Senate vote was overwhelming, 81-18, and those who voted against were all Republicans. Many of their GOP colleagues did say yes.

The House approved the deal.