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Critics: Shut Down the Waste; Malala Meets the Queen; School Bus Hijacking

Aired October 18, 2013 - 04:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Packing in the pork. At least what people are calling pork. New details this morning on the extras added to the budget bill. Why some people are saying they were necessary. Others are outraged.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: An elementary school bus hijacked. A man armed with the knife takes a wheel and takes the 11 students on board on a really wild ride.

BERMAN: And the young Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban, getting the royal treatment this morning. Boy, is she ever. Malala Yousafzai gets a special honor from the queen. We will have the details.

SAMBOLIN: That was special for her.

All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. Glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes after the hour this morning.

And it is the morning after, everyone. And euphoria in Washington is starting to wear off now that the government has been reopened and the debt ceiling raised, the hard work really only now just beginning.

The heads of the House and Senate Budget Committees, they met Thursday to discuss the negotiations to come over a longer term spending deal. They want to have this done by early December.

And President Obama is now pushing for even more to be finished the next 90 days including a farm bill and perhaps immigration reform.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change, because we have all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: So, we think it's high time that we start talking together to reconcile our differences. And it's premature to get into exactly how to do that because we're just beginning these conversations. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the GOP now realizes the shutdown was a losing strategy. He claims there will not be another one in the New Year. But, you know, but we've heard promises like that before and the reality will only clear once this next deadline, which is January, falls around.

SAMBOLIN: And, John, the reaction to the deal that reopened the government is pouring in and not all of it is positive. As we told you yesterday the compromise bill was loaded with extras. Some people call this pork.

Chief Washington Jake Tapper has been looking into that.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Great news. Panda Cam is back.

More importantly, the federal government is open for business.

But in order to get that compromise bill done, there were, of course, some shoehorned extras. Some conservatives cried pork after a $2 billion authorization for the Olmsted Lock and Dam project was added to the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here on the Ohio River, on the Olmsted Lock and Dam project.

TAPPER: The money will continue to pay for this massive Army Corps of Engineers project on the Ohio River along Kentucky's border. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee, dubbed it the "Kentucky kickback," blaming the addition on Kentucky's own Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I'm pleased to get this kind of firsthand briefing of a project that I and others have been working on providing the funds for.

TAPPER: McConnell has long supported the dam project. Here he is on a visit in 2009. But he fired back at critics on WVLK Radio in Lexington.

MCCONNELL: There was no earmark. The Army Corps of Engineers requested the Olmsted Lock funding. Both the House and Senate passed an authorization for it. Every single member of the Senate had a chance to review it and none asked for it to be taken out.

TAPPER: McConnell's negotiating counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, agreed last night.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This is not an earmark. It saves the money -- the taxpayers lots of money.

TAPPER: It turns out, officials say, stopping and restarting the project would have cost over $200 million if the authorization had not gone through. Oh, and President Obama had the same provision to continue the project in his 2014 budget.

TOM SCHATZ, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE: Rather than talking about shutting down the government, it's time to talk about shutting down the waste.

TAPPER: Tom Schatz is president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

SCHATZ: Adding a provision to fund a dam opens the door for similar projects in the next C.R. This project has tripled in cost. It's behind schedule and if regular order had prevailed, it's unclear whether that would have been funded at all in the normal energy and water appropriations bill.

TAPPER: Other additions to the bill to reopen the government include $175,000 which will be paid to the widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died last year. Such a payment is standard practice, but it might be worth noting Lautenberg was one of the wealthiest members of Congress. "Roll Call" reported he was worth more than $50 million in 2011.

And, finally, let's call this the Edward Snowden effect. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will get $3.1 million. They are a White House oversight group set up to guard Americans' right to privacy against overreach by government cyber-intelligence.

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Jake for that.

A meeting of two powerful women today in London. Queen Elizabeth playing host to Malala Yousafzai, the teenage education activist from Pakistan who survived being shot by the Taliban. The 16-year-old will take part of a reception honoring youth and education at Buckingham Palace. The queen is said to have been very impressed by the teen's bravery --

SAMBOLIN: As is the rest of the world, right?

BERMAN: As the rest of the world is. Very impressive to say the least.

SAMBOLIN: All right. There's testimony now under way in the trial of a Utah doctor who is accused of killing his wife so he could keep seeing his mistress. Prosecutors alleged Martin MacNeill gave his wife Michelle a deadly prescription after she came home from having plastic surgery, surgery they say he forced her to have despite her misgivings.

The defense says it was all an accident and Michelle MacNeill's death was really because of heart problem.

BERMAN: A not guilty plea for the baggage handler accused of exploding bottles of dry ice at Los Angeles International Airport. Twenty-eighty-year-old Dicarlo Bennett is charged with two counts of possessing a destructive device in a public place. Police say he set off the blast for his own amusement in areas off limits to the public. He could face up to six years if convicted.

SAMBOLIN: Adrian Peterson is back with the Minnesota Vikings after missing practice. He was attending his son's funeral. The star running back went to South Dakota Wednesday for the private service. The 2-year-old died last week in an alleged case of child abuse. Peterson says that he only found out he had a son two months ago. The first time he saw him was in the hospital last Thursday. The boy died the next day.

BERMAN: In Oregon, a 3-month-old baby is now in state custody after a man tried to surrender him to a convenience store clerk. This happened in Sunday in Eugene. The man apparently walked in, told the worker to call 911 and said the baby's mother could not care for the child. He handed over the baby, and then walked out. Oregon does allow parents to legally turn over newborns but only hospitals, doctor's offices and birthing clinics, and police stations.

SAMBOLIN: There's a safe haven law in order to address this and everybody can go on their Web site and figure out in their particular state where you can drop off that baby. I'm happy to see that somebody says, look, I can't take care of this baby but I'd love that baby to go to a place where somebody can actually take care of it.

All right. Thirty-seven minutes past the hour.

A scary carnival ride malfunctioned last month, apparently could have been prevented. Thirteen people hurt when the swing ride at a Connecticut festival stopped in mid air, causing riders to crash into each other. Now, the company that manufactured the ride says it appears the ride had not been properly maintained. The ride's operator, Stewart (ph) Amusement, disputes that.

BERMAN: In Arkansas, a man in custody after allegedly hijacking an elementary school bus not far from Little Rock. Police say Nicholas John Miller ran unto the stop bus, pulled the knife, took the wheel and sort of driving the bus for around 20 minutes. There were 11 students and a driver on board and all were unarmed.

SAMBOLIN: Look at the parade of police officers behind that bus.

BERMAN: Miller told police apparently somebody was after him and he need to take the but to save his live. There must have been 20, 25 police cars there.

SAMBOLIN: It was an incredible scene. I'm glad that ended well, right?

BERMAN: Unharmed, everyone on board luckily.

SAMBOLIN: Toyota is recalling 870,000 vehicles because of a problem that could deploy air bags without any warning. The bug to be worked out? Guess what? It is an actual bug, a real bug, It's a spider. Apparently they build webs in drainage tubes coming from the AC unit causing a blockage there. That triggers a leak that shorts out the air bag, opening it up. The cars involved, 2012 and 2013 Camrys, Venzas and Avalons.

BERMAN: That's crazy.

SAMBOLIN: A bug that is a bug.

BERMAN: All right. A real mystery now from Kentucky. This, folks, is very serious. Who made off with 65 cases, just under 200 bottles we are talking now of one of the world's rarest bourbons? My mouth is watering this morning. That's 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle, a brand of bourbon that often goes for hundreds of thousands of dollars a bottle.

The theft was only discovered earlier this week. Investigators think whoever did this knew where the bourbon was kept and took it slowly over time.


SHERIFF PAT MELTON, FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: This was secured in a warehouse in a separate port behind a second lock and key. It would lead you to believe it was an internal job. It's highly sought, highly coveted and as a result of that, it makes it a lot easier to help track.


BERMAN: So someone in the industry believe having these cases go missing means the prices for other Pappy bottles will only go up.

SAMBOLIN: I don't even like bourbon but I'd love to taste that just to see what --

BERMAN: If you like to send us some Pappy, just so we can taste it, you know what we're talking about, to better inform our news judgment --

SAMBOLIN: That's a great idea.

BERMAN: Send it our way.

SAMBOLIN: I second that.

Forty minutes past the hour.

It's unusual to spot whales off the Florida Coast. But a saber tooth whale washing ashore at Venice Beach gave scientists and tourists a really rare sight.

Come on over to your TV. The whale is normally found in deep Alaskan waters. The 15-foot, 2,000-pound carcass was intact and safe from bite marks from sharks. It's the second time this week a rare sight turned up in California. A sea serpent, remember this one? Called an oarfish, 18 feet long, was discovered at Catalina Island. That was all over the weekend.

What is going on in those waters?

BERMAN: Strange thing are afoot, folks.

South Florida drying out this morning after floodwaters inundated roads in Miami Beach in Hollywood. The water gushing in, not from rain but high tides. Apparently this happens a few times a year. The moon and sun align with the earth, causing what's called springtime, even though it's not the spring, it is called a springtime.

I've got to change that name. Residents drain poor drainage and say the flooding could happen again through Saturday.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, it's nasty.

BERMAN: Yikes. Right. What else is going on with the weather? Let's check in with Karen Maginnis for that.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know it's a Friday. If there is any kind of a weather hiccup that will influence the delays at the major airports along that I-95 corridor, New York'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 have 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 New York City, wind gusts, maybe 25 miles an hour or so, and 67 degrees coming up.

Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much.

Now, the story of one lucky dog. It's from St. Louis, where neighbors say a man moved away deserting his two dogs.


SAMBOLIN: Yes, both apparently fell into a storm sewer in the street. One got away but the other got stuck! Look at this! For days that doggie was stuck! Animal control wasn't able to get the animal out. Residents were actually feeding the animal, worried it would starve. That's when a local rescue group stepped in and sedated the dog and coaxed him toward the manhole and as you can see, pulled him out.


DONNA LOCHMANN, DOG RESCUE: When he comes out, he is wagging his tail. He'll be fine. He's just scared. So we will take him back and to our shelter and put him in a room where he can chill out a little bit and give him a couple of days just to chill and I think he'll be fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: I think a couple of days of chillin' out are in order. What a sweetheart. The dog is at the shelter chillin' out as she said and eventually put up for adoption. That is a fighter dog right there.

BERMAN: Poor thing.

SAMBOLIN: What a will.

BERMAN: Somebody needs to give that dog a great life. He deserves it.

All right. Coming up next, new revelation from a former vice president. Dick Cheney saying he was much, much sicker than most people realized. The inside story when we come back.


SAMBOLIN: I like this music. I don't know if it's morning music but good morning to you.

Welcome back to EARLY START.

It is time for the "Primetime Pop". It is the best from CNN's prime interviews in case you missed it.

So, we're beginning with Erin Burnett spoke with a Missouri girl who says she was raped by a prominent high school football player.

BERMAN: The charges were dropped last year, but now the prosecutor has asked for an independent review. He says that Daisy Coleman, just 14 at the time, refused to testify. This is her mother's response.


MELINDA COLEMAN, DAUTHTER ALLEGEDLY RAPED: That conversation happened at the end of may and it was only for the misdemeanor and they did come to us and say since it was going to be pretty much like a traffic ticket, that maybe we shouldn't put the girls through it,]

And, you know, at that point, Daisy had just been in the hospital again. She had been suicidal so initially it seemed like a good plan at the end of May. After I thought about it, I decided I didn't want to do it so I went back the next day and talked to them about it and we did actually do a deposition for even the misdemeanor.

DAISY COLEMAN: I'm very, very it has been reopened and it is being reviewed again and I am very grateful to all of my supporters for helping that happen.


SAMBOLIN: And Anderson Cooper spoke to journalist Glenn Greenwald who reportedly extensively on the NSA program and leaker Edward Snowden. This week, the agency announced a major change in leadership coming in the next six months. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: NSA Chief, General Alexander, is stepping down as is one of his top aides. How much do you think that is as a result of the Snowden leaks?

GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: You know, whenever there's a major scandal in Washington and then the top officials implicated then leave, they never say the government does that they are leaving because of that, so it's impossible to know. Usually, the phrases they are spending to leave for more time with their families. Someone remarked yesterday that General Alexander was leaving in order to spend less time with your family?

But I think clearly a connection. He is viewed as one of the most powerful military officials in the world. He really set the NSA in his image. The phrase he uses is "collect it all", which is pioneered during the Iraq war so it will have a major impact on this agency I think clearly one can infer not just him but his dispute, that there is movement inside the reform in the NSA, inside Washington and their departure.


BERMAN: And on Piers Morgan, the shutdown is finally over but will it happen all over again in a few months?

"CROSSFIRE" co-host Newt Gingrich doesn't think so, but you wouldn't call him optimistic about Washington.


NEWT GINGRICH, "CROSSFIRE" CO-HOST: This was a fight in which the house Republican Party, at least 90 percent or 95 percent of it, was committed as a unit and you had one of the three constitutional parts of how we make law engage. This was not the act of a handful of individuals and I think that that is very unlikely to happen again.

Steve King, who is a congressman who as conservative as Ted Cruz, said to us on "CROSSFIRE" the other night, he did not think that could happen again in this Congress. As he put it, takes an enormous amount of energy for a fight like that, and you can only do it once and that's over.

So my guess is that they will muddle through. I think we have to look at it as a much more fundamental question. We need to break out of this Washington model. I mean, this is a system that isn't working. And it's not working in the bureaucracy, it's not working in the Congress, it's not working with the presidency.

And you're going to now see the budget committees come together for the first time in four years and we are expected to magically produce something by the 13th of December. I don't quite know how that's going happen because all of the habits of the city right now are exactly backwards.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty minutes past the hour. Dick Cheney says he felt so close it dying three years ago he actually said his final farewells to his family. That's all according to a new book that he has written about his 35-year battle with heart disease.

The former vice president writes in details about accepting death as his kidneys were failing. And doctors were rushing to implant a device in his chest in order to keep him alive.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta sat down with Cheney for a rare and emotional one-on-one interview. You can see it Sunday on "60 Minutes," and Tuesday on CNN's "ANDERSON COOPER 360".

BERMAN: Looking forward to seeing that.


BERMAN: All right. Coming up, oh, it was a very good night to be a Red Sox fan. The Sox beating back the Tigers with that smashing blow from Mike Napoli. Joe Carter will have all of the highlights, perhaps show us that again and again and again on a loop --

SAMBOLIN: In a loop.

BERMAN: -- when we come back.


BERMAN: The Seattle Seahawks flying high. They are good off to the best start in franchise history. Joe Carter here with the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Joe.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi. Good morning, John.

Yes, Seattle is dominating the NFC west and a great week two win against San Francisco and nice solid win last night over Arizona cardinals.

Did you know that running back Marshawn Lynch likes to eat Skittles during games? He has done it since he was 12. His mom calls them power pellets. She say it helps her baby run fast and play good.

He ran for one score and 91 yards last night and his teammate Russell Wilson made his NFL debut one year ago on this same field and what a difference a year makes. In that game, he lost to Arizona. Last night he threw three touchdowns and led his team to a 12-point win and Seattle off to best start in franchise history, off to a 6-1 start.

And a one guy who's got all extra pep in his step this morning, the Boston Red Sox are now just one win away from the World Series. They beat the Tigers last night 4-3 in game five of the ALCS. Mike Napoli helped Boston score a lot of runs, four of them to be exact. Detroit did fight back in this game but could only cut the lead to one. Series goes back to Boston. Game six is tomorrow night. If the Red Sox win, as I said, they are going to the World Series. If not, there will be a game seven on Sunday.

And later tonight a little NLCS action. Game six between the Cardinals and the Dodgers. St. Louis can punch its ticket to the World Series with a win. First pitch is 8:30 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

And let's talk a little college basketball. That time of the year. The preseason poll is out. Kentucky is ranked number one in the coach's polls.

The reason why this is news is because this is the first time since they start this poll in '91 that a team that finished last season unranked starts this season number one. This is just the second time in school history that the Wildcats are ranked number one to start the season. The other time was back in '95 when Kentucky won the national championship with a roster that featured 11 future NBA players.

Kentucky, guys, if I got this correct here, has six five-star freshmen coming in. Six! It's going to be hard to see all of those guys get a lot of playing time. John Calipari, the coach, wants this team to go 40-0, 40-0. No team has ever done that.

Just to make a note, Michigan State is second in the poll and defending national champ Louisville is third.

That's your "Bleacher Report" update, guys. Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: It's going to be great to watch. Thank you, Joe.

CARTER: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up is a big-named actress being hidden in plain sight? The controversial magazine cover has a lot of people talking, that is right after the break.


SAMBOLIN: Controversy for a comedy star. The latest issue of "Elle" magazine features Melissa McCarthy, the Emmy Award-wining actress is super funny. But is seemingly covered up by a large trench coat.

Critics say the magazine was scared to put A-plus size woman on the cover. "Elle" responding that McCarthy loves the look and they think she is gorgeous.

BERMAN: I guess (INAUDIBLE) is the one that matters here.

SAMBOLIN: The cover is fantastic. I saw it and I thought it was just really tastefully done. There have you it.

BERMAN: There you go. Zoraida has spoken.

EARLY START continues right now. (MUSIC)

BERMAN: Up and running! This is what it looks like when the government is back to work.