Return to Transcripts main page


Government Shutdown Over; Interview with Senator John McCain of Arizona; Interview with Jackee Fonner, Mother of Bullied Teen; October National Bullying Awareness Month

Aired October 17, 2013 - 08:00   ET




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


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the shutdown is finally over. Government employees heading back to work at this very hour. Congress finally passed the deal late last night. And the president signed it just hours ago.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Back to life. National parks reopening. Government offices back in business as congressmen catch their flights home.

What lessons were learned? And will they make the next round of talks better or worse?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Caught on tape. Another brutal bus beating. An innocent teen sucker punched, and a bus driver who did nothing to stop it. His angry mother joins us live this morning.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.


BOLDUAN: Good morning. And welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's 8:00 in the East.

I'm live here on Capitol Hill where we're sorting through what happened here last night. It took 16 days. But the House and Senate finally came together to avoid a default and reopen the government.

President Obama signing the bill to do both those things just after midnight.

CUOMO: You're looking right now obviously live at the Capitol building. That's where furloughed federal employees have been told to report to work, tours resuming, going to show you the barricades now. They're being taken down at the World War II Memorial in Washington, one of many monuments that were closed.

This is all good news. The bad news is, did these people not learn their lesson? If in this short kick the can down the road deal, if they don't get it right then, we're going to be right back here? What does that mean for the government, the politicians and most importantly for you?

We'll break it all down for you from the White House to Wall Street.


BOLDUAN: And today, President Obama is expected to address the deal to speak to the country and potentially the next battle ahead. This deal is only a temporary fix, as you now know. We could be right back here where we were facing another shutdown in another few months.

We're covering every angle of this story like only CNN can.

Let's begin with Jim Acosta live at the White House this morning.

Good morning, Jim.


Yes, the country kicked the can down the road. But at least we have a can to kick. Let's go through some of the details in this agreement. As you mentioned, the president did sign this into law just shortly after midnight. It keeps the government open until January 15th, extends the nation's debt ceiling until February 7th.

But to make sure that this doesn't happen all over again, they did build a safety catch in the legislation that will hopefully avert another government shutdown by the middle of December. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are supposed to come together and forge a new bipartisan agreement for a longer term budget for the country. That will hopefully avoid another government shutdown come January.

Now, there was one other sweetener in the bill that affects the state of Kentucky -- home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who was instrumental in brokering this agreement -- $2 billion was tucked into this legislation going to a dam and river lock project that flows through his home state.

Aides to the senator said he had nothing to do with it, that this was requested by other senators. But conservatives out there are calling this a pork barrel project.

Now, you mentioned the president is supposed to speak here at the White House later this morning. That's at 10:35 a.m. He is expected to extend an olive branch to Republicans down Pennsylvania Avenue and talk about this process to come.

Kate, the president has talked about this. He was talking about this before this bipartisan agreement came to fruition. He said once the government is reopened, once the debt ceiling is raised, he vowed at that time to start talking about getting to some of the big issues here like curbing entitlement spending, those sorts of things that Democrats frankly don't like.

The president has pledged that he's going to get his hands dirty and roll up his sleeves and get busy to work with Democrats and Republicans to make sure that this doesn't happen all over again. That they have a budget both sides can live with -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's where many Republicans are saying they want to see the president engaging more earlier in the process.

All right, Jim. Thank you so much for starting us off, from the White House, now to the workers.

Now to the workers. Many of the government workers returning to their jobs will be staffing museums, national parks, memorials that are now reopening to the public.

CNN's Rene Marsh is live at the World War II Memorial for more on this.

Good morning, Rene.


You know, it is back to work here in Washington, D.C. Those federal agencies opening the national parks as well as the museums like the Smithsonian here in Washington, D.C. of course, the memorial. We're at the World War II memorial. As you know this kind of was the symbol of that government shutdown. It was also the point of high drama when they erected barricades around this open air memorial keeping people, including veterans, away from the spot that I'm standing at right now.

So, what a difference some compromise can make here? Take a live look. We didn't see the fountain on this morning. It's on now.

Things are starting to look back to normal. You don't see any signs of any barricades at this point because they are all gone. We saw them removed just a short time ago.

I wanted to take you to some video that we shot a short time ago at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial here in Washington, D.C. We captured workers from the national park service. They were removing the barricades there.

And as we mentioned just a short time ago, the barricades here at the World War II Memorial, they were removed as well. Let's talk about those federal employees, because today is back to work. We know that.

But the trick is getting the word out to all of these folks. Remember, they weren't able to check their cell phones, their laptops because they were on furlough, so they weren't checking that information. When they're watching the news this morning, they're getting the word out that they've got to go back to work.

So, if everyone isn't back today, at least at the very least, Kate, by Monday, they should all be back to work. Back to you.

BOLDUAN: Some good news for them.

All right. Rene, thank you so much from the World War II Memorial for us this morning.

Let's bring in Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain, to talk more about this, about what happened and about the path forward.

Good morning, Senator.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Good morning.

So, you now have some breathing room, a little bit of breathing room before we hit two more deadlines and you need to get a budget deal in some two months.

Senator Angus King was on earlier. He said there's a chance the two sides could come together and reach a budget deal, a long term budget deal.

Nick Mulvaney, the congressman from South Carolina, came on. He said he didn't think there was a chance that that can be pulled off.

What do you think?

MCCAIN: I'm not sure. I think sooner or later we will. But we're not going to go through the shutdown again, because people have been too traumatized by it. There's too much damage.

We tried this back in 1995, had the same results. We waited a long time before we tried this again. I don't think there's that danger again. That's what most people are worried about.

Out of this came winners and losers when you look at it. But the real losers were the American people.

The people in my state, for example, there's a community outside the Grand Canyon called Tusayan. They're independent on the Grand Canyon. They're not going to get their back pay. They're not just furloughed. They had no jobs

We had to fly food up there to families of the people who work up in the Grand Canyon that are not government employees.

Look, 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.

BOLDUAN: How do you avoid it?

MCCAIN: Well, you just don't shut the government down. You keep the government open. You keep negotiations ongoing.

I think we could reach probably a short-term agreement. What I mean as short term, a smaller agreement than the, quote, "grand bargain." There were 14 of us that worked together, dominated by women, I might add.

BOLDUAN: Good thing.

MCCAIN: Of course.


MCCAIN: And we had come up with an agreement which was basically a better deal frankly for Republicans than the one that we had to cut there, because we had no cards left to play.

BOLDUAN: What is feasible?

When you're looking at the most immediate challenge, which is this group coming together to try to reach a long -- any kind of a budget deal, what is feasible at this point with this Congress? Are there three things that you think we can pull off?

MCCAIN: I think that we can certainly keep the government open. I think they learned a very -- look at the -- what the American people's view of us is. You know, I have this line that I use all the time. We're down to blood relatives and paid staffers.


MCCAIN: Well, I got a call from my mother who's 101, who just lost one of the --

BOLDUAN: You even lost your mother?

MCCAIN: I even lost my mother.

There's plenty of things we can do. We're not out of options. The question is, will we have the will to reach those options?

And, frankly, one of them is the normal thing that we're supposed to do, which we used to do, and that have the House passes a budget, the Senate passes a budget, they go to a conference and we came out with a budget. Duh. It's not that hard to do.

But we have gridlocked. For four years the Democrats didn't give us a budget here in the Senate. Finally, we got one. And then some Republicans blocked going to the conference.

So, I think we're going to -- hopefully, the lesson is stop this foolish, childishness. The president won. We -- I give him credit. He won. But he should have negotiated more earlier and we could have prevented some of this pain.

BOLDUAN: When you talk to conservative Republicans, especially in the House, they think, you know, they need to stand for good policy is good politics. They're standing on principle. Even though they lost the fight, they think they fought the good fight as John Boehner said.

How do you get Republicans on the far right on board for anything, even keeping the government open short term?

MCCAIN: Look, I think the American people made a judgment about this fight. And they may be proud of the fight they fought. Maybe they'll regret it. I don't know, maybe in hindsight, I'm not sure that you could declare victory.

The point is, the American people disapproved strongly. They disapprove of Republicans the most, but also Democrats and the president. Everybody suffered in this thing.

One thing that politicians want, it's approval. The American people spoke loud and clear. They disapprove of what we're doing. So, we've got to stop this childishness.

BOLDUAN: Is there something that needs to happen within the party to --

MCCAIN: There's going to be a fight in our party.

BOLDUAN: -- to break the cycle?

MCCAIN: There's a fight in our party. And that has to be waged. And it's been there before. It's also about internationalists versus isolationists.

There's debates that are going to go on in our party. It's probably healthy for us to have that debate. But at the end of the day, we've got to come together.

Some place along the line we forgot Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment. You know what it was? Don't speak ill of your fellow Republicans. We've done way too much of that.

BOLDUAN: So, you don't think there really is a chance to pull off a long term budget blueprint in two months.

MCCAIN: If we could just get a budget for the year, I'd be overjoyed. So I think we can do that. I don't -- I think there's going to be a new attitude around here recognizing that the American people are sick and tired of what we did.

And I'm glad the government workers are back at work. I'm glad our government is functioning again. But the damage we've done to people who don't work for the government has been immense, estimates of tens of billions of dollars in damage. That's not why we're sent here. BOLDUAN: But when you look at the next fight that really picks up really today, it's going to take you in through next year, which means an election year.

MCCAIN: Kate, I predicted how this thing would end, because I saw it in 1995. I predict to you, we will not be shutting down the government any time soon. Now, we may still have some gridlock. Maybe we'll have continuing resolutions that -- we're not going to shut down the government again. I guarantee it.

BOLDUAN: Do your colleagues in the House agree with you?

MCCAIN: I think the majority of the House by their vote last night, they could have kept -- they didn't have to vote to open up the government again last night. They could have kept it shut. I don't think they'll do this again. At least -- and I certainly pray they won't.

BOLDUAN: The big criticism I heard from Mick Mulvaney, we heard it over and over again, is that Republicans are ready to deal, but the president needs to engage.

Do you think the president will -- do you have any confidence the president will engage more?

MCCAIN: He will engage now. Whether we'll reach an agreement or not, I don't know. But I know the president will engage. He has got to understand that magnanimity in victory is an important quality to have.

He won. Now, you sit down with your adversaries and get things worked out. If you don't, then, obviously, you're not going to be a successful president.

BOLDUAN: All right. Well, your prediction was right this time around. This time around, the government that your -- that Republicans were going to lose on this one. Let's hope your next prediction is right as well, that the government will not be shut down in three or four months.

MCCAIN: It will not be shut down again, I am sure.

BOLDUAN: All right. Senator John McCain, always great to have you on.

MCCAIN: If I'm wrong, then --

BOLDUAN: Then, I'll -- then, we're going to roll this tape and I get to blame you.

MCCAIN: Yes, roll the tape again, yes.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Senator, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.

MCCAIN: Thanks. Much more coming to you from Washington. Coming up next on NEW DAY: the shutdown is finally over, but will Americans be paying the price going forward? We're going to be breaking down the shutdown fallout and what it means for you.

CUOMO: Plus, two teenagers have now been charged in a brutal school bus beating in Pennsylvania, all caught on tape. We're talking to the mother of the victim in this case.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We are following all of the latest on the government deal, but we want to give you a look at your headlines as you head out the door.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Newark Mayor Cory Booker celebrating his victory in a special Senate election in New Jersey. Booker defeated Republican rival Steve Lonagan. The Democrat was elected to complete the 15 months on the term of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. If he wants to keep the seat for a full six-year term, Booker will have to run again in the November 2014 election.


PEREIRA: The NSA has been rocked by leaks about its surveillance program.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Now, a "Washington Post" report says the agency has collaborated with the CIA on drone strikes against terrorists abroad. The documents were provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. This comes as the agency's director and a top deputy prepare to step down.

More progress being reported in Syria as an international team works to destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpile. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says its inspectors have now visited 11 sites and destroyed critical equipment at six of them. The team is set to complete its site visits by the end of the month and begin eliminating chemical agents in November.

The Obama administration projected nearly half a million people would sign up for the new health insurance markets in the first month alone, according to an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press. But that was before those persistent computer glitches frustrated consumers. If those problems continue, the goal described as modest in the memo may fall short.


PEREIRA: Excitement and a pretty big surprise for residents in a Georgia neighborhood.


PEREIRA (voice over): Those are bears, a family of them, mom and her cubs running down a street in the Atlanta suburbs. Look at them all. It brought residents out wanting to see the family for themselves, not something they say they've ever seen before. Fortunately, the bears did leave the area without incident and wandered back off into the woods, not before going up the driveway.


PEREIRA: That would be quite a shock in a suburb.

Let's talk to Indra now. She's keeping a track on the forecast for us this morning. What can we expect? Now the weekend -- we can actually officially talk about it on Thursday.

PETERSONS: I'll only talk about today because it's nicer today than on the weekend. Let's just stick it right there.

PEREIRA: Oh, really?

CUOMO: Uh-oh.

PETERSONS: It's not that bad.

PEREIRA: Leave it positive.

PETERSONS: Perspective, right? I'm learning perspective. It's getting colder on the weekend, but still mild. I mean, keep in mind, it is October. We're still talking about 70s today if you're in Philly, D.C., New York. It is beautiful outside, even starting off the morning in the low 60s. So right now Philly about 63; New York same thing coming in at 63 right now.

The change is, yeah, we have a couple of cold fronts that will be making their way through as we go through the weekend. Right now the difference, why it feels so nice out there, is actually right behind the warm front. So all this warm air is coming in out of the south. As soon as these cold fronts swing through, we're going to be talking about cold air coming in from Canada.

You can actually see them. They're very moisture starved. You're not getting a lot of rain out of them. But just a hint, I mean, we are going to see some drizzle maybe in the northeast overnight tonight in through tomorrow. If you're down in the Gulf, you're already gonna start to see some of those light showers. But, again, an inch at most, very scattered in nature on top of this.

Then there's the second cold front that's coming in behind that, that today's in the northern plains, and kind of that tail end going right through Colorado. They're actually going to get their first flurries of the season in Denver right on time. So that's kind of the big story there. I mean, generally mild across the entire country. I think the biggest thing is that cold air that will start filling in.

Look again today. This is yesterday's temperatures, Cleveland was 70 yesterday. Today they're dropping down to the 50s (ph). And remember, there's another cold front behind that. So once it cools off, even more cool air comes in through the weekend.

But 59 I am told. It is beautiful. It is nice. I mean, really, it's not that bad. 70 today, gorgeous today.

PEREIRA: No, it's the fall.


PEREIRA: It's what we expect.

PETERSONS: It almost feels like spring at 70. I'm gonna give you that. All right.

CUOMO: You know, it's good that we have some shades of purple here. I have a little bit going on.

Why? Well, it's a signal caller this month. October is national bullying awareness month. Unfortunately, today we have another brutal school bus beating to tell you about.


(CUOMO) (voice-over): Two Pennsylvania teens, charged with assault after this disturbing video went viral. Now police want to know why the bus driver allegedly did nothing, why he refused to let the victim off the bus, even, and why the incident was never reported. We're going to speak with the mother of the victim in just a moment.


CUOMO: But first, CNN's Pamela Brown is going to give us the take on what this story is. Hey, Pamela, thanks for doing this.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, no, it's no problem.

And here we go again, Chris and Michaela, with another bus beating story. In this case, had the students involved in the attack not filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook, it may have never come to light. Police say they weren't notified about the incident until three days after the attack, and it was by the parents who saw the video on Facebook, not the bus driver. As of yesterday, two students allegedly involved in the attack have been charged, and the bus driver could be charged as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It starts with these two students being relentlessly taunted on board a van ride home from a Pennsylvania school last Wednesday. Things quickly escalate. Watch as one of the agitators suddenly punches a 17-year-old student in the face. The result, a bloody nose and three chipped teeth. The victim's friend claims he was also punched. Watch as the injured 17- year-old pleads with the driver to let him off the five-person van.

STUDENT: Let me off the bus.

BROWN (voice-over): But the 34-year-old driver seemingly didn't intervene, call for help or pull over during the minute-long video posted to Facebook.

JUDY BAIR, FAMILY FRIEND: I can't understand how he could sit there and see this happen and not put a stop to it.

BROWN (voice-over): And police apparently weren't notified about the incident until they were tipped off about the video going viral over the weekend.

JOSEPH BAIL, CHESTER POLICE COMMISSIONER: I have a problem with a grown adult not reporting it. He has a responsibility to inform his superiors and the police of a criminal act.

BROWN (voice-over): Pennsylvania state law requires bus drivers to pull over and call 911 for help or report the incident to authorities in an expeditious time frame. On Tuesday, the district attorney charged two of the 16-year-old aggressors with aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and related crimes. They will not be charged as adults.

This is just the latest school bus beating to go viral this year. Remember this vicious attack in Tampa, Florida, where three teenage students beat this helpless 13-year-old? In that case, the bus driver came under fire when he called for help rather than intervene, a choice he had under school policy.


BROWN: And we reached out to the school district, and they told us that they're reviewing the actions of staff members aware of the incident to determine if district procedures were followed in this case. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Pamela.

I want to bring now the mother of the boy in that terrible video. Jackee Fonner. Her son, Dylan, is the one that is hiding now following the brutal bus beating. The boys who did this, they're in hiding. Your son, Dylan, 17-years-old, home now, obviously shaken. I know that you didn't want to leave him, but this is important, and I appreciate you speaking up.


CUOMO: How's he doing?

FONNER: He is -- physically, he's OK. It's more mental. He doesn't understand why it happened. And he's also very embarrassed of all the publicity.

CUOMO: He's a vulnerable kid, too, right?

FONNER: Yeah, he just wants it to go away. CUOMO: Right.

FONNER: And I was like, "Dylan, it's not going to go away. This happens all the time, and we need to do something about it."

CUOMO: Now, this was going on with him at school, and he just wasn't saying anything, right?


CUOMO: This is bullying.


CUOMO: Now what do you know about what he was living with at school?

FONNER: Just being tormented and picked on all the time. He didn't think it was going to end up with getting hit. He just thought that they were, you know, trying to be bullies, basically. You know, he didn't realize it was going to end up with him with a bloody nose.

CUOMO: Did the school know? Did he tell anybody? Did anybody say anything to you?


CUOMO: Do you think they should know?

FONNER: Yes, I think every school should be aware of what is going on with their students.

CUOMO: So there's one part of it, right? We have to figure out what they knew and when. But this has gone beyond that --


CUOMO: -- in a couple of ways that I want to talk to you about. Two of the kids have been charged.


CUOMO: Is that important to you?



FONNER: Because they need to realize they're not going to get away with it.

CUOMO: The idea that kids will be kids, this happens, they're just kids, though, you can't punish them like adults, fair?

FONNER: Yes, I understand that. I do. Kids will be kids. Teenage boys fight. I understand that. I mean, but they sucker-punched my son. Like, he didn't even realize it was coming. But my biggest issue is with the bus driver.

CUOMO: And you don't see this as isolated, "I'm a dope, you're a dope," you know, "and then we hit each other." This was a pattern of behavior of more than one kid coming at your kid.


CUOMO: And now that you know about it, what was it doing to Dylan? He is in a special needs school. He has some challenges of his own.


CUOMO: What has this done to him?

FONNER: He doesn't want to go back to school. He told me he wants to finish cyber-school. And this is his senior year. So I've got to sit down and seriously talk to him and see what he wants to do.

CUOMO: All right. So it gets to the big question of how we protect kids. How do we get the message -- the driver? We dealt with this other story. The driver said, "Stop it. Stop it." But people felt he didn't do enough. This driver --

FONNER: Did nothing.

CUOMO: Did nothing. Does that make sense to you? Is there a rule that I don't know about where he is never allowed to do anything under the policy?

FONNER: No, not that I know of.

CUOMO: He is not allowed to let him off the bus, though, right?

FONNER: No, he is not allowed to let him off the bus.

CUOMO: But he doesn't really deal with the situation.

FONNER: No, he doesn't -- he does not even stop the bus.

CUOMO: And he doesn't tell the school, and he didn't tell police.


CUOMO: What do you think of that?

FONNER: I'm horrified. I was -- he was the adult in the situation. And, I mean, I just can't believe that he did absolutely nothing. He did not even hand my son a cotton ball or a tissue to clean his nose off. My son had to use his flannel t-shirt to clean his face off. And he did nothing.

I mean, everybody nowadays has a cell phone. So I'm pretty sure, you know, he had a cell phone. And he didn't even call 911. And I am being told that that is required.

CUOMO: What do you think should happen to him? FONNER: I don't know the legal system. But at the very least, I want him fired. Because I'd had a situation with busing before with my other daughter. And I went to the administrative building, and I told them what happened. And all they did was change his bus route.

CUOMO: You think there's not enough accountability?

FONNER: Right.

CUOMO: What has the school told you they're going to do about this situation, or now that it's a criminal matter is it out of their hands?

FONNER: Basically out of their hands. I have not heard from the school district since Saturday.

CUOMO: To the family of the boys who did this, what do you say to their parents?

FONNER: I don't -- I don't blame them. I mean, I really don't. It's -- you try to raise your children with morals and values. But it's very hard in today's world with all the pressures of teenagers and stuff like that. Because, I mean, I know I try raising Dylan in a certain way. In certain things he just doesn't listen to me. That's how teenagers are nowadays. So, I mean, I don't blame the parents. I just hope they realize their children can't get away with this.

CUOMO: Well, we want everybody to know that. Bullying's a bigger problem.


CUOMO: We know that's why you're coming out.


CUOMO: You got your fingernails in purple, which is the awareness color for this month. And that's why we're doing --

FONNER: Oh, really?

CUOMO: -- this story to keep attention on these.