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The Road Ahead after Crisis; Ted Cruz Pledges to Continue Fighting; Edward Snowden Breaks Silence; Convicted Killers Set Free

Aired October 18, 2013 - 04:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: What are you promising this morning?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The world. I will give you the world.


SAMBOLIN: Well, here it is. It's up and running. The government at least is back for work but for how long, Berman? What are elected officials need to do to avoid another damaging shutdown?

BERMAN: Edward Snowden breaks his silence. Why he believes he has helped national security by leaking the secret NSA documents, and guess what he says he has in his possession now?


VANESSA FONTAINE, MOTHER OF AVONTE OQUENDO: For anyone who has him, please be kind and let him go.


SAMBOLIN: If you haven't seen this, pay attention. This is a desperate plea. The mother of a missing autistic teenager begs for his safe return. There's a picture of him there. Police are stepping up their efforts to try to find that boy and to bring him home.

BERMAN: I have to say, the city has mobilized.


BERMAN: To try to help this family.

SAMBOLIN: That is a desperate mother. Desperate mother to find her boy.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Friday, October 18th, happy Friday to you. It is 4:01 in the East and this morning -- this morning --

BERMAN: This morning.

(LAUGHTER) SAMBOLIN: Washington is waking up to what's next. The shutdown is over. The government is operating again and Congress and the president have work to do but after the intense fighting over the last few weeks, can both sides actually find common ground to work for the people again?

As senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta tells us the road ahead may not be easy one.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listening to President Obama chatting with the Italian prime minister, it sounded as if he was ready for a vacation in Tuscany.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He will not have to twist my arm to try to get me to come to Tuscany again sometime in the near future.

ACOSTA: But the president has no room on his plate for pasta, not when he set his sights on passing a new budget, immigration reform, and even a farm bill in less than 90 days.

OBAMA: And we could get them done by the end of the year. If our focus is on what's good for the American people.

ACOSTA: A task the president may have made more difficult for himself after railing against Republicans over the shutdown.

OBAMA: You don't like a particular policy? Or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election.

ACOSTA: But he may get help from Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who told "The Hill" newspaper, "There will not be a government shutdown. I think we have fully now acquainted new members with what a losing strategy is."

Former GOP vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, called for bipartisanship in upcoming budget negotiations.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We want to look for ways to find common ground and to get a budget agreement.

ACOSTA: Tell that to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose office told CNN he's not ruling out another shutdown.

The president could also have a fight on his hands over his next pick for secretary of Homeland Security. Jeh Johnson, a former military lawyer and Obama campaign fundraiser, said at a conference earlier this year, that the day will come when the U.S. must declare war against al Qaeda over.

JEH JOHNSON, PROSPECTIVE HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY-NOMINEE: We should no longer consider ourselves in a traditional armed conflict against al Qaeda and affiliated groups. And I think Benghazi is a prominent example of what I'm talking about. Because you can't label the Benghazi attack as something conducted by al Qaeda and associated forces. It was more of a mixed bag.

ACOSTA: And that's not all. The administration still has to fix those health care Web site glitches.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Nobody is more insistent that that work be done and experience be improved than the president.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: So now that the shutdown is over and the government reopened, federal workers are now getting back to work today -- or yesterday, really. Many have now returned by of course being gone for more than two weeks means there is quite a backlog to catch up on.


MATTHEW TODD, FAA WORKER: There's a lot of e-mails. There's a lot of things I have to do as far as closing out last year performance wise and starting up the new year. So there's quite a few things that we have to do to get back together -- get back in order. It's probably going to take a week just to get where we should be and then -- you know, then we have to take care of all the new stuff that we -- you know, we have to protect and handle.


BERMAN: Tourists are said to be flocking back to the national parks and the museums now that they've reopen. Some businesses in areas that serve the parks report their traffic was down by a lot during the shutdown. They too are ecstatic that this whole thing is over.

SAMBOLIN: And as Jim Acosta mentioned one person who has pledged to continue fighting is Ted Cruz. The Texas senator was a proponent of the shutdown arguing it was the right tool to help bring an end to Obamacare. His popularity among Tea Party supporters is soaring. But in Texas, the feeling is decidedly more mixed.

Ed Lavandera has that.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ted Cruz is either a gallant fighter of conservative values or a disruptive political scoundrel. Just depends on your point of view.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, I just think he's an idiot who is not on the side of voters and definitely not for Texans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like his stance. And he doesn't care what anybody thinks and everyone knows where he is coming from and that is refreshing. LAVANDERA: Cruz is the most talked about politician in Texas right now but when the dust settles the question is, how will the shutdown and debt ceiling standoff affect Ted Cruz's popularity in his home state?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People don't know what to do about Ted Cruz especially those that have been around politics for a long time.

LAVANDERA: Cruz' style and confrontational tactics in the government shutdown fight have alienated some. The "Houston Chronicle" newspaper endorsed Ted Cruz for senator last year but in a new editorial, the newspaper now says Cruz is a part of the problem in Washington.

The Senator who'd been in office less than a year is unfazed.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: That was remarkable to see the house engaged in a profile in courage.

LAVANDERA: Even that didn't sit well with fellow Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas.

REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: I respect Senator Cruz, he's my junior senator. But I agree with you, this is not a profile in courage.

LAVANDERA: He's controversial, he's brash and even though Cruz's reputation might be scarred on a national level, veteran political strategist like Mark McKinnon say it only seems to help Cruz with Texas voters.

MARK MCKINNON, NO LABELS CO-FOUNDER: Ted Cruz has a lot of support among hard core Tea Party Republicans. And there's a lot of them in Texas. And so he has strong support in Republicans primaries where the really hard core conservatives come out so he's likely to be senator for a long time.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Ted Cruz was elected senator by courting right-wing Tea Party voters. Being the most conservative candidate on the ballot. And the formula worked. Now consider this. Every Texas Republican in Congress voted against the budget deal to reopen the federal government, just like Ted Cruz.

(Voice-over): For many Texas Republican voters like Francisco Gonzalez, Ted Cruz's in-your-face style makes him popular.

FRANCISCO GONZALEZ, TEXAS REPUBLICAN VOTER: He's awakened the people and whether they agree with him or disagree with him, it's conversation that needed to be had.

LAVANDERA: Other Republican voters like Ron Shipp are seething angry at Cruz.

RON SHIP, TEXAS REPUBLICANS VOTER: He has done real damage to the country, the our economy, our standing internationally and to the Republican Party.

LAVANDERA: An old Texas politician used to say there is nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos. Ted Cruz doesn't play in the middle of the road.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Ed for that.

So on strike this morning, workers for one key part of San Francisco's public transit system. Members of two unions have served Bay Area Rapid Transit, BART, walked off the job after last-minute negotiations failed to reach a deal over salaries and benefits. A similar walkout in July left BART riders stranded for near a week. You know, there some San Francisco viewers who've been tweeting me this morning about this. So they're up late watching the show.

SAMBOLIN: How do they feel about this?

BERMAN: Not pleased.


SAMBOLIN: I bet they're very upset. Can you repeat what they said?

BERMAN: No, no. It was a big tie-ups there and they also said they liked our show. That's the important thing. You're missing the big picture here.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Well, that's an important thing.

BERMAN: Which is they like this --

SAMBOLIN: Thank you for sharing. Thank you for sharing.

All right. Eight minutes past the hour.

Now to new developments in the story of Edward Snowden. He is a former NSA contractor. He's breaking is silence given an extensive interview to "The New York Times" from Russia about his reason for leaking all the secret documents and talking about what he has in his possession right now.

Phil Black is live in Moscow this morning. So what does he have, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONALCORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, he is responding to what has been one of the most consistent criticisms of his action. That by traveling to Russia, seeking asylum here, he has become an intelligence asset for Russia. That inevitably the information that he knows, all the documents that he has in his possession would have been made available to Russian spy agencies.

In the interview with "The New York Times" carried out over an encrypted online service, he says that's not possible because he didn't bring anything with him. He said all the classified documents he had were left with journalists in Hong Kong. And he says that those documents were left there. There are no copies, there'd be no value in that and to quote, he says it wouldn't serve the public interest.

He also said that information wouldn't be available to China's spies because he knows the technical capabilities so he was able to secure that information from them. So he is sure that Russia and China have got zero information from him. It fits what his father, Lance Snowden, said to me here in Moscow when he was visiting his son earlier this week.

I asked him, what contact his son had had with Russia spy agencies and he said none. He said Edward had assured him that no security or intelligence organization from any country had debriefed him since he fled the United States -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So, Phil, what happens now with Snowden?

BLACK: Well, he's still here in Russia. His secret is -- his location is a secret. His father says he intends to remain here for some time, at least he says he is safe, happy, free. He says he doesn't have to work because he has a strong support network here, both people here in Russia. And he talked about people in other countries as well, but he couldn't go into specific details on that.

What he did say was that his son will no longer do any more leaking. He is done with that but he wants to remain part of the ongoing conversation on electronic surveillance and privacy issues in the United States -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Phil Black, reporting live for us in Moscow, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Get a load of this story.

This stuff didn't really happen in high school, right?

All right. Ten minutes past the hour, a mother's voice now the key tool in trying to locate that little boy. He is a missing autistic boy. Avonte Oquendo vanished more than two weeks ago in New York. He cannot communicate verbally but police are hoping he will come when he hears his mother's voice.


FONTAINE: Hi, Avonte. It's mom. Come to (INAUDIBLE), Avonte.


COSTELLO: Vans playing that particular message have spread out across the neighborhood where he disappeared. These surveillance images were taken moments before he disappeared from school. He has not been seen since.

BERMAN: I got to say there are signs, there are posters up everywhere.

SAMBOLIN: That's what we were talking about in makeup this morning.

BERMAN: In this city right now.


BERMAN: Everywhere.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they said everywhere. The train stations, you cannot walk around here without seeing a picture of that little boy.

BERMAN: And you hear people talking about it, too. You have a city on the hunt right now. Let's hope that he - that they find him soon.


BERMAN: Another story out of New York City. This one is -- this one's troubling. Police say a suspected shoplifter in Victoria's Secret was carrying around in a bag -- what she was carrying around in a bag appears to be the remains of a baby. A security guard stopped the 17-year-old and a friend and called police.

Responding officers made this gruesome discovery. They say Tiona Rodriguez told them she had a miscarriage the day before and the medical examiner is now investigating.

SAMBOLIN: My gosh. A bill to compensate the victims of Ariel Castro is one step closer to becoming law now. The survivors abduction act passed a committee vote in the Ohio statehouse on Wednesday. It was introduced after Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and her 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro were all freed. It would give them each $25,000 for every year that they were held in captivity. This now goes to the full Ohio House for a vote.

BERMAN: New charges for a convicted sex offender in too long cold cases from the Cleveland area. 49-year-old Elias Acevedo, Sr. now faces 293 counts, including murder, rape and kidnapping. Police say he strangled Pamela Pemberton back in 1994 leaving the body in vacant lot. He's also been indicted in the murder of an 18-year-old Christina Atkins who went missing in 1995. The Atkins family says they now hopes this will bring them some closure.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It is 13 minutes past the hour. Let's get an early look at the our weather here.

Here's Karen Maginnis.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGY. Well, you know it's a Friday. And if there's any kind of a weather hiccup that will influence the delays at the major airports along that I-95 corridor, New York City's Metro Airports in Chicago, Boston all going to be affected by some wind or maybe visibility problems. Even Denver could see a little bit of snowfall. A little bit.

Maybe an inch or less. But we've got these reinforcing shots of cool air. They are making its way across the Midwest with temperatures 40s, 50s, Kansas City, 49 and Chicago 55 and wind gusts New York city 25 miles an hour or so and 67 degrees coming up.

Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Let's hope for some good weekend weather. Our thanks to Karen.

I have a nice story to report right now.

SAMBOLIN: Of course you do.

BERMAN: It's about midnight last night it all happened. The Red Sox now just one win away from the American League pennant. They beat the Tigers 4-3 in the fifth game of the ALCS. Look at what Mike Napoli does to a baseball right there. Cruel and unusual punishment. He sends that thing 460 feet into the ivy in dead center field. That is rushing a ball, folks. That put the Red Sox up 1-0.

They were actually up 4-0 at one point in this game but the Tigers fought back. This was a really, really tight game and a really tight --

SAMBOLIN: That's how you want the baseball played, right?

BERMAN: This is a high level of gamesmanship going on right now.


BERMAN: And some very thick beards to boot. The series now returns to Boston for game six which is tomorrow night. Game seven will be Sunday night in Boston, if necessary. Red Sox win one of these games they are going to the World Series.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That is exciting. You have twin boys.


SAMBOLIN: And I believe they are going to be sports broadcasters in the future?

BERMAN: No. They are practicing their broadcasting.

SAMBOLIN: One of them -- which one is this one?

BERMAN: Play this, but don't press that.

SAMBOLIN: This one?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I'm Joe Berman. This is CNN.


SAMBOLIN: That is going to be my new co-anchor. I love this. This is --

BERMAN: You'd be lucky. He can class up the joint, let me tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Joe Berman. This is CNN.


SAMBOLIN: Love him. Thank you, Joe. I -- am I playing it again? I appreciate that. You can come hang out here and fill in for your dad any time.

BERMAN: Please. I can get a break and sleep in one morning.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Fifteen minutes past the hour. And coming up, on the run, two murders who tricked a jail into -- two murderers who tricked a jail into setting them free. Now the manhunt is on and the families of their victims are worried.

BERMAN: And check your medicine cabinet. A popular hair product now the subject of a lawsuit. Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: It looks terrible.

BERMAN: We're going to tell you why some are now saying that this product left them badly, badly hurt.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. An intense manhunt now under way for two convicted killers mistakenly set free from a Florida jail.

As John Zarrella reports for those who had their lives turned upside down by these men, it is a horrifying prospect --


BERMAN: -- to know they're back out on the streets.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nine years old. He was just 9 when Roscoe Pugh III saw his father gunned down during a home invasion robbery.

ROSCOE PUGH III, VICTIM'S SON: Our lives would be totally different. I said that since I was 9 years old, since I was 9 years old I said my life would have been different if I wouldn't have saw it. I saw it.

ZARRELLA: Now 15 years later Roscoe is reliving the nightmare.

On September 27th, this man, Joseph Jenkins, serving life for the murder of Roscoe's dad, was mistakenly released from a prison in Franklin County in the Florida panhandle. For Roscoe's mom, it's impossible to comprehend. CRYSTAL PUGH, VICTIM'S WIFE: It seemed like my whole world came down on me. I felt I would not have to see them ever again in life, because they had life sentence, plus 100 years.

ZARRELLA: If one convicted murderer set free by accident isn't enough, there's more. A week and a half after Jenkins went free, so did Charles Walker, convicted of second-degree murder in a different case. And get this. Walker walked out of the same Florida prison.

How is that possible? Forged documents ordered the releases, and on them, the forged signature of Orange County judge, Belvin Perry.


ZARRELLA: Because he's a high-profile judge, Perry says he sees how it's possible no one would question it. And he's not entirely surprised.

PERRY: People, particularly people with criminal minds, come up with ingenuous ways to beat the system. They have nothing but time on their hands.

ZARRELLA: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was only notified of the mistake a couple of days ago. Corrections officials say they followed department policy and procedures.

MISTY CASH, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION SPOKESWOMAN: Those inmates were released based on those court orders that we received. The orders were later determined to be fraudulent.

ZARRELLA: It's a snafu that has residents of the area and the Pugh family living in fear.

C. PUGH: And now to have to know that he's free on the streets is frightening, is terrifying.

ZARRELLA (on camera): So how did authorities find out? Well, the family of one of the victims called the state attorney's office and said, hey, how come this guy is out of prison? The state attorney's office then called the Florida department of law enforcement and the Department of Corrections to notify them. How the family found out, we don't know.

John Zarrella, CNN, Orlando.


SAMBOLIN: And today in Phoenix, another hearing ahead of a new penalty phase trial for Jodi Arias. Convicted in May in the stabbing and shooting death of her boyfriend.

Today the judge is hearing arguments over whether the jury that will decide if Arias should be put to death for the crime should be sequestered. BERMAN: Women across the country joining us class action lawsuit against the maker of a popular hair product. The claim is against Unilever that its product Suave Keratin Infusion smoothing kit burns scalps and causes permanent hair loss. Yikes.

The suit also alleged false advertising for promoting the product as a formaldehyde free. Last week, a judge rejected Unilever's request to dismiss that suit.

SAMBOLIN: That's not good.

All right. Coming up when James Bond drove his car into the water, the world went wow.

BERMAN: I sure went wow.

SAMBOLIN: But was it just a trick? Now a big-time inventor says he's going to o it for free.

BERMAN: Well, you mean it wasn't real in the movie.

SAMBOLIN: No. It's wasn't real in the movie. This is cool, though.


SAMBOLIN: I signed up, that story in "Money Time" coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: It is 25 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

BERMAN: What is it --


SAMBOLIN: I don't know.

BERMAN: Cage the elephant ain't no rest for the wicked. Love that.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Anybody recognize this song? I've never heard it before. Have you heard it before?


MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have you heard it before? Have you heard it before?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never been at the store,

All right. Money Time. Let's talk "Money Time."

We'll follow it for you here. Let's start better late than never. The Labor Department says its September jobs report will be out next Tuesday. It was supposed to be out October 4th but here's the delay because of the partial government shutdown. During the shutdown, get this, there were only three staff members working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So the October jobs report will be release a week late. On Friday November 8th, the august report put unemployment rate put at 7.3 percent.

Now some good news for federal workers who were furloughed. They will start seeing back pay in their October 25th paycheck. The exact timing, though, is really going to depend on each agency's payroll provider.

Even more good news for federal workers, too, they will be getting a 1 percent cost of living pay raise in January. There has been a pay freeze on cost of living increases for federal workers for three years. The raises are part of the deal Congress passed late Wednesday.

And family, what kind of toys do rich men buy? Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. He bought a James Bond car. So a Tesla spokeswoman says it was Musk who bought that submarine car from the 007 classic, "The Spy Who Loves Me" when a car modeled after a lotus sports car sold for more than 900.000 dollars in September at an auction in London, we didn't know who the buyer was but the car was just a movie prop, wasn't really capable of driving under water. But Musk says he'll install a Tesla electric power train and try to make it transform into a submarine for real.

Boys and their toys. And got to love those Bond classic.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Indeed. This one, I would go along for a ride on that.

BERMAN: Good to be hat, Rich. Maribel Aber, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

All right coming up, they restarted the government with a little green to Greece the whales. Why some are now saying it would have costs the country to not spend the billions in pork.


BERMAN: Hacking in the forum. Currently it's what some people are calling for. New details this morning and all the extras added to the budget bi, why some people are saying they were necessary.