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Greek Authorities Trying to Identify Little Girl; Hunt for Escaped Florida Inmates; Tourists Return to Memorial; GOP Leaders Hoping to Move On; Asteroid Impact with Earth Slim; Hillary Clinton Steps Back on Political Stage; School Bus Attack Caught on Video; Senator Ted Cruz Blamed for Budget Crisis; Techies Weigh in on Obamacare Glitches; Overshadowed Oddball Stories

Aired October 19, 2013 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello, again. I am Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome back. Here are the top stories we are following right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Who is this little girl? Police in Greece want to know. She doesn't look anything like the couple claiming to be her parents, and they are now under arrest.

And Florida prison officials are trying to live down the embarrassment of two murderers who just simply walked out of jail using fake documents. A massive manhunt now under way.

And look what happened while the government was shutdown and NASA workers sat home. In space terms, this asteroid fly by wasn't exactly a close call, but it will be back.

All right. Greek authorities are looking for help solving a mystery. They're trying to identify a little blonde girl found outside Athens with a couple who claimed to be their parents, but investigators quickly discovered the man and woman are no relation to the child.

Atika Shubert is following the case and joins us with more on this.

Atika, how do they begin?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was pretty incredible. I mean, they found this little girl when they went into this Roma village, completely unrelated to this case, but they became suspicious when they noticed she didn't look anything like her parents.

And when they asked them, this 39-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, you know, where they got the child, if she was their child, their stories kept changing, and that's when police got suspicious, had a DNA test taken and discovered that his was not their biological child. And that's when the suspicions were raised that they might have abducted her, and that's what they are now under arrest for.

But the mystery of where to find this little girl's parents, where did she come from? They just don't know. So she's in the care of a charity called the small -- the Smile of a Child and they're asking for help to anybody in the area in Greece, across Europe, if they have any information on this little girl. They are putting out her photo to call that charity or to call the help line for missing children in Europe, hoping that they'll get some lead on who she is.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Because further complicating matters here, Atika, she's 4 years old. She was allegedly -- I guess given to this family or abducted or somehow removed from biological family, maybe when she was just a year old or under, and so it's not like this little girl can explain to them what her life has been like or, you know, from where she came.

SHUBERT: Exactly. As far as investigators know, she seems to have grown up with this couple. Obviously she's only 4 years old, but she's not able to tell them her original name, she's not able to tell them where she was taken, if she was taken from, who her biological parents are. So this is what's complicating matters. All they really have is this photo. And they're hoping the public can help them.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh, wow, that's extraordinary.

All right. Thank you so much, Atika Shubert on that investigation.

All right, now, back to the U.S. The parents of a missing autistic teen are desperately asking to find him.


VANESSA FONTANE, AVONTE'S MOTHER: It's just -- it is terrible. This is like a nightmare I can't wake up from. You know. Every day waiting to see my son come home, praying that someone has found him. I don't wish this on anyone, any family, to experience this. None. And it should never happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If someone sees Avonte, what do you want them to do? And how should they handle it?

FONTANE: I want them to call the authorities. I don't want them to call the next day, a couple hours later saying I seen him, you know. You see him, you know, just hold onto him if you can, you know? Follow him, if you can, but make that call. Make that call.


WHITFIELD: This family desperately asking for help. Avonte Oquendo ran out of his school in New York on October 4th and he hasn't been seen since. Police and volunteers have pulled out all the stops to find him. Today they're looking for him in a rail yard. Apparently he really loves trains. And for the first time they are using cadaver dogs as well in the search.

All right. Two convicted killers that walked away from a Florida prison are still on the loose. Today officials are offering a $10,000 reward each for their arrest. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins have been free for awhile now using forged documents, although authorities only learned of their escape this week.

Our Nick Valencia is live for us outside Franklin Correctional Institution in Caravel, Florida.

So, Nick, do authorities have any clues about these men's whereabouts?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, I want to start with some new information we just got from the Orange County Sheriff's Office just a couple of minutes ago. We are now learning that the mother of one of the suspects that is currently on the run will hold a 2:00 p.m. Eastern press conference to address the media. We have no idea what she will say and we don't know actually at this time which convicted killer's mother will make statements to the media, but we do know that that will happen at 2:00 p.m.

This all started about a week ago when the mother of one of the victims, Charles Walker, he's one of those convicts that is currently on the run, she received a letter from the Florida Department of Corrections informing her that her son's killer was to be freed. That struck her as bizarre because she knew that this man, Charles Walker, was not eligible for early release.

Take a listen to the reaction she had and what she told us when she found out that her son's killer was on the loose again.


EVANGELINA KEARSE, MOTHER OF VICTIM: I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe somebody got those documents and just falsified everything. I don't know whether it was an inside job, besides -- because I don't think Charles did this. Whoever did it helped him. I do believe that they had to have help.


VALENCIA: As far as the investigation is concerned, there are no new leads today. We checked in a little while ago with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. We do know, though, from a press conference yesterday from the sheriff's office that authorities here believe that those two men, Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, are suspected to be in the state of Florida, perhaps even in Orange County, the Orlando area.

That victim's mother, Evangelina Kearse, said that she had a family member or a family friend contact her to tell her that Charles Walker was spotted in an Orlando area mall, walking free just like everybody else -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: So, Nick, clearly while officials are looking for these two men, are they also trying to figure out how to make sure this doesn't happen again given that these documents and the release of these two -- I mean, there was a week in between so who knows whether somebody else might have doctors or using fraudulent papers in which to get out?

VALENCIA: That's right. And we did learn that there is a third person that tried to use a similar fraudulent scheme to get out. That happened back in 2011. That man was caught before he was let out, but it has a lot of people here locally scratching their heads and wondering why Florida state officials weren't better prepared for something like this.

We took the Florida Department of Corrections to task on that and asked them how could this embarrassing blunder have happened, how did no one check the court paperwork, how did this slip by so many different agencies. And they told us, Fred, that they weren't at fault, no one is going to be punished or blamed in their department because they have no legal stature to push back on the court's decision and the court's decision was to let these two men free -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

All right. Two days after President Obama signed a bill to reopen the government, tourists are getting their first chance to spend the weekend at federal sites that were closed during that 16 day shutdown. But if lawmakers can't reach a compromise, the nation could find itself back on the edge of the fiscal cliff.

Chris Lawrence is at the World War II memorial, an area that just a few days ago was filled with angry protesters.

So, Chris, what are you hearing from people there?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I mean the mood in Washington as a whole is just as divided and bitter as ever, but it's a lot more upbeat here. As you mentioned, I mean, this was the spot where we saw so many protests and showdowns during the shutdown. Barricades put up, politicians coming down to grandstand here.

Now it's back to what it's supposed to be, with hundreds of veterans literally coming from all over the country to see the World War II Memorial.

We spoke with one veteran just a couple of minutes ago who really talked to us and opened up about his frustration at the way people in Congress have been acting.


HARRY WISNIEWSKI, WORLD WAR TWO VETERAN: They're being paid a lot of money, all of them. They should be able to sit down like sensible people and settle things without doing this kind of stuff. How can you say this is the way to settle it, block people from go and seeing the memorial. That's foolish.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE: It's a good word for it. In fact, some veterans, although their health benefits are funded a year in advance and were not affected by this latest shutdown, some veterans have been pushing to have all of their benefits funded the same way in case this happens again -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, hopefully it won't happen again. If you listen to some of the senators like, you know, McCain and even Mitch McConnell, they say no, it's not going to happen again. So we shall see.

All right. Thanks very much. Chris Lawrence, appreciate that, at the World War II memorial in the nation's capitol.

All right. Some Republicans say the GOP has learned a post-shutdown lesson. Straight ahead, a look at how the party can regroup.

Then a boy brutalized on a school bus. Video of the fight is shocking. But just as stunning is what didn't happen.

And a three-mile long asteroid just buzzed by earth. But -- it is expected to return in 19 years. Could it strike?


WHITFIELD: All right. Texas Senator Ted Cruise who led the charge to defund Obamacare which triggered the government shutdown says he's not ruling out another fight in the future. But that's not what his moderate GOP colleagues want to hear.

As CNN's Dana Bash reports, they just want to move on.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These bipartisan images and conciliatory words may not be much but they're a start.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: We have a good conversation over breakfast this morning.

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

BASH: After a 16-day government shutdown it's understandable if you're skeptical. These are the first official budget negotiations in four years, only forced to start as part of the deal to reopen the government. Still, several House Republicans tell CNN there is reason for optimism. Ted Cruz may not have regrets over a losing strategy to defund Obamacare which led to the shutdown, but others do.

REP. TOM. COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: It was the right cause to be fighting for, but probably not the smart fight to pick. And I think we learned some lessons.

BASH: House Speaker John Boehner never thought it was a smart fight but he stuck with it anyway. GOP sources are near unanimous. They say Boehner earned new trust among conservatives and new power to negotiate in the future.

COLE: I think they are going to be willing to listen. And again, because he was proven correct and quite frankly without rubbing anybody's face in it, a lot of other voices were proven to be wrong.

BASH: Tom Cole is not one of those Tea Party-backed voices. He calls himself a pragmatic House Republican or, as Aaron Schock calls it --

REP. AARON SCHOCK (R), ILLINOIS: The same caucus.

BASH: Whatever you call them, they do make up the majority of House Republicans and Schock admits they have to speak up more.

SCHOCK: I think you're going to see more of us become much more vocal and not be taken for granted when it comes to always counting on our votes.

BASH (on camera): House Republican leaders are now notably silent, intentionally lying low. No statements responding to the president's remarks like we normally see. But privately, House GOP sources say they wish the president struck a more unifying tone in the immediate aftermath of the crisis instead of giving the GOP a lecture.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: And Dana is interviewing Senator Ted Cruz today in Texas. And you can see excerpts tomorrow morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

All right, so if there were great divisions within the Republican Party leading to the government shutdown, now the government is reopened, indeed is there now growing unity within the GOP?

Let's bring in presidential historian Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University.

So, Professor, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So, as we just heard in Dana's report, Tea Party leaders like Senator Ted Cruz had no regrets about how this all went down, but is he outnumbered by Republicans who say this can't happen again?

LICHTMAN: Ted Cruz has turned himself into the Barry Goldwater of our time. Like Goldwater back in '64, he is loved by a strong conservative base but nobody else, and like Goldwater, he could get the Republican nomination, but he would be trounced in a general election.

But the problem is the divisions within the Republican Party are absolutely fundamental and they're going to be very difficult to heal. It is not just a matter of conciliation. There are real substances. A real substantive divide within the Republican Party. And you're going to see it glaringly when the debate comes on immigration. You're going to see this big divide between the business oriented conservatives who want to see immigration reform and the social conservatives who don't want to see it at all.

You already saw this with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, very conservative business groups backing off from the conservatives in the House.

WHITFIELD: And likely that fight on immigration is soon to come because that is what the president just said a few days ago, he wants to be front and center on that, he wants that to be tackled soon. So if indeed, as you put it, the great divide is going to be revealed again within the Republican Party, then this is to great advantage of the president or I suppose the Democrats who want to see the president's initiative move forward.

LICHTMAN: It's enormously to the advantage of the president. Look, Congress is like Wall Street. It operates on only two principles, fear and greed. And a lot of those moderate Republicans that you heard from are very fearful. There's about 20 or so of them in pretty vulnerable districts. They realize if they go down the Tea Party route, they're probably going to lose next November and the GOP will lose control of the House.

Given that fear, there's going to be some pressure from the moderate wing of the party to go along with the Democrats on immigration reform, and they have more than enough votes along with Democrats to do it in the House.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Professor Allan Lichtman of American University, always good to see you. Thank you so much.

LICHTMAN: Take care, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. We're going to talk about something out of this world. Many hope it stays out of this world or at least our world, an asteroid. It just had a close encounter with earth, and guess what, it just might be coming back. So what will NASA do and what do we do? The answer straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right. Here is something about the partial government shutdown you probably didn't know. With NASA closed for business, an asteroid slipped past the earth and no one was there to track it. Of course in space terms, it wasn't really that close, about four million miles. But experts say it will be back in 2032.

Denton Ebel is a geologist specializing in meteorites. He's also a curator at American Museum of Natural History. And he joins us now from New York.

All right. So, hey, should we worry at all about this thing?



EBEL: But the next one and the one after that, and the one after that. We have two coming near the earth in November.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. OK. So how worried should we be about that?


EBEL: We should be worried because we don't know what to do as a nation and as a world. We can't get insurance on the -- on the whole planet and the only insurance on the whole planet is to actually be able to do something.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. So when we say do something, like what are we talking about, trying to, you know, target it, and, you know, trying to break it, but we're talking about stuff that is so incredibly heavy and dense, we really can't even do that.

EBEL: Well, it's probably a rubble pile. A pile of rocks that are sort of loosely attached to each other, and this is not a Bruce Willis movie. To break it into small pieces simply means we'd have to worry about those pieces. But this rock, it is a fairly small rock. It's about a quarter mile in diameter.

In December we had a rock come just as close, it's three miles that long. It would fit nicely in central park in New York City.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. So if we're talking about the asteroid that already kind of, you know, graced the earth while the government was shut down for 16 days, and if we're talking about it doing it again or potentially hitting earth by 2013, some experts say that it would have the same force as a couple thousand atomic bombs.

EBEL: That's right.

WHITFIELD: That's pretty huge. So how do we prepare ourselves? What do we do with that kind of information?

EBEL: Well, we are -- we, meaning NASA funded researchers, are building telescopes in Hawaii that will actually be able to give us some notice of objects of this size and we have a mandate, astronomers, meteorite people that study meteorites have a mandate from Congress to go after and find in space all of the objects that are greater than about 140 meters in diameter, which would include this particular object.

Luckily the Ukrainian astronomers were on watch and they found this object and were able to see it coming.

WHITFIELD: I saw that movie, "Gravity," and, you know, that space junk of the breakup of a satellite, you know, did great damage to the International Space Station. So how realistic is something like that as it pertains to, you know, space junk or asteroids or big rocks as you put them flying around?

EBEL: The hazards of space jump to our -- to our people in space, to our assets in space, to our satellites in space, is incredibly real. And you know, to test anti-satellite weapons, for example, by blowing things up that are high inert or in earth's orbit where the pieces are going to be there for a long, long time, A, it's irresponsible, but, B, who keeps track of all the space junk?

Well -- the jet propulsion lab, again, our government keeps track of this stuff so that industry and our astronauts and the space station are safe for the -- you know, seeing these things coming. But it's the small space rocks like the one that hit Russia in February that are the real things that we don't -- can't see coming.

WHITFIELD: Yes. That was small in your world, but at the same time it was pretty sizable, and it did do some damage.

EBEL: It was scary.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Pretty scary stuff.


EBEL: Glad I wasn't there.


EBEL: And luckily no one was killed.


EBEL: But we do have some pieces of it in the museum.

WHITFIELD: Yes. OK. Good. And it is some heavy stuff.

All right. Denton Ebel, folks who have to check it out at the American Museum of Natural History. Thanks so much, good to see you from New York.

EBEL: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic.

All right. Well, it took nature millions of years to create and it took these guys just seconds to destroy. Now they have even more to worry about than just criminal charges.


WHITFIELD: All right. Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I am Fredricka Whitfield. Here are five things crossing the CNN news desk right now.

First up, a mystery in Greece. Authorities in Athens are trying to identify this 4-year-old girl. She was spotted outside Athens with a couple who claimed to be her parents, but investigators say testing has revealed she is not related to either of them. Now police are trying to find the child's real family. The couple has been charged with abduction of a minor.

And number two. A Florida mother of a 14-year-old girl accused of bullying a classmate who later committed suicide has been arrested. Vivian Vosburg is facing charges of child abuse and neglect in a separate, unrelated case. Investigators are still looking into what exactly drove the 12-year-old Rebecca Sedgwick to kill herself last month. Vosburg's daughter has been charged in that case with aggravated stalking.

And number three, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell got arrested at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle. Police say the 79-year-old was cited for carrying a gun into a prohibited area of the airport Wednesday. The former Boston Celtics star has been released, but he still could face a fine of $7500.

And there has been another arrest in that biker attack on an SUV in New York. Police say Kaliq Douglas was part of the group that chased down the SUV and beat the driver whose wife and toddler were in the car. Several others have been arrested, including an off duty officer who rode with the bikers.

And then there's this. Number five. Man versus nature in Utah. An old boulder, millions of years old, was destroyed by three men who say it caused a hazard to visitors. The problem is the boulder is in a state park and it's against the law to deface state parks. It was at the top of a slender rock pedestal in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. Now officials are determining if the men who pushed it to the ground should be charged.

All right. It has been eight months since Hillary Clinton stepped down at secretary of state, and since then, speculation has been rampant. Will she make another run at the White House?

Clinton is expected to make her first public campaign appearance -- not for herself but for someone else -- in the next hour endorsing Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia.

CNN's Peter Hamby is there in Falls Church.

So, Peter, this appearance is fueling the fire of Hillary 2016. What is the latest on that?

PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, look, Hillary says she's not going to make a decision until sometime next year about possibly maybe running for president in 2016. No one really believes that. The Clintons, you know, are very political family, they think deeply about this all the time.

Like you mentioned, every single one of her appearances since she left the State Department has been mined for clues about will she or won't she run for president. She's been giving, you know, public speeches to charities and universities. She's also delivered a number of paid private speeches that are close to the media. This is her first political appearance. So we're all going to be watching this closely, you know, to see is she rusty, you know, does she still have gas in the tank. This is her getting back into the political game for the first time really since the 2008 presidential campaign, which she, of course, lost the Democratic nomination to President Obama. So we'll be dissecting I am sure every one of her words today here in Virginia as she endorses Terry McAuliffe -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: OK. You know, likely she -- well, you never know what she's going to say, but, you know, she's already on record that she's kind of thinking about -- thinking about it. So one would guess that she is not likely to talk about herself and her potential campaigns while she's, you know, giving props to her friend, Terry McAuliffe.

HAMBY: Yes, right. She and Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe have known each other for almost two decades. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee here in Virginia, used to be the DNC chairman. He was a top fundraiser for Bill Clinton in the White House and he's just frankly close with the Clintons, he is their friend, so this is not very surprising that she's endorsing him at a "Women for Terry" event.

This plays right to her strengths, female voters. McAuliffe has a strong edge with female voters here in Virginia against Republican Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe has about an eight-point lead over Cuccinelli heading into the final stretch before Election Day. Most people in the state, close political watchers, think McAuliffe has an edge, probably will win. So this is kind of a safe bet for Hillary Clinton.

There's another woman running for governor in New Jersey against Chris Christie, Barbara Bono. And notably Hillary Clinton is not campaigning for her. Again, this is sort of, you know, in her comfort zone today here in Virginia -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, all right. Peter Hamby, thanks so much in Falls Church. Looks like the line is getting very long behind you. This is going to be a very popular event.


All right. Thanks so much, Peter, in Falls Church, Virginia.

A teen brutalized on a school bus and the driver seems to do nothing. The victim's mother shares her outrage.


WHITFIELD: A brutal attack on a school bus leaves a student with a bloody nose and chipped teeth. Video of the fight is simply shocking. But what's really stunning is the driver sitting quietly, apparently doing nothing.

Pamela Brown has more.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It starts with these two students being relentlessly taunted on board a then 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me off the bus.

BROWN: 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 happening and not putting a stop to it.

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

COMMISSIONER JOSEPH BAIL, CHESTER POLICE: 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: Pennsylvania state law requires bus drivers to pull over and call 911 for help or report the incident to authorities in an expeditious timeframe. 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.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much to Pamela Brown for that.

So in the Pennsylvania case, the 17-year-old had to go to the hospital to get treatment, his mother is outraged and she told CNN's Chris Cuomo she can't believe the driver didn't do anything.


JACKEE FONNER, MOTHER OF BUS BEATING VICTIM: He does not even stop the bus.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN'S "NEW DAY": And doesn't tell the school and he didn't tell police.


CUOMO: What do you think of that? FONNER: I am horrified. I just -- he was the adult in the situation. And I mean, I just can't believe that he did absolutely nothing. I mean, 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 am 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.

CUOMO: 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. Physically he is OK, it is more mental. You know, he doesn't understand why it happened and he's also very embarrassed of all of the publicity.

CUOMO: He is a vulnerable kid, too, right?

FONNER: Yes. He just wants it to go away.

CUOMO: Right.

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


WHITFIELD: The child's mother also said that her son had been bullied before and now he simply doesn't want to go back to school.

All right. The search for two escapees is just one of the stories Don Lemon is going to be looking at in a CNN special called "MAKING THE CASE" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Don and a group of legal analysts will break down the top crime stories of the week. All right. Web site glitches are frustrating thousands of people trying to sign up for Obamacare. How tech wizards in Silicon Valley could fix the problem.


WHITFIELD: All right. Tech experts are weighing in on the Web site glitches and delays with the Affordable Care Insurance Marketplaces. Some say it could take a complete overhaul of the system to fix it all. And that could cost millions more and take months to complete. But people without insurance don't have months. They need to sign up by mid-December or face a fine.

CNN's Laurie Siegel asks some Silicon Valley experts what they thought it might take to fix the online system.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka. Well, if you tried signing on to, at this point you might have run into a couple of issues. So we decided, let's put on our hats and talk to folks in Silicon Valley and see how they would have done it.

I spoke to Matt Mullenweg, he's the founder of a company called WordPress. Now I should say WordPress powers one in every five Web sites on the Internet. Listen to what he said.


MATT MULLENWEG, FOUNDER, WORLDPRESS: You know, in software, they say you can have it fast, cheap or good, pick two out of three. And it sounds like they went for the fast and the cheaper.

Software is difficult to do and you can't manage it like construction, and typically -- especially in Silicon Valley like we use the very latest technologies. Often government hasn't adopted many of those yet, and if they haven't properly load tested the Web site beforehand, it's very possible that it -- you know, it can be overwhelmed with -- they find bottlenecks when it launches.

SEGALL: So let's put this in Silicon Valley terms. What would happen if your venture was funded hundreds of millions of dollars and the rollout was a bit messy? Come on, man, this is your initial rollout. What's the call you're going to get from the VC?

MULLENWEG: I think that venture capitalists would not be happy, but ultimately it's a process, right? And software is hard. And even in Silicon Valley, we get it wrong many times and, you know, we're supposed to be some of the best in the world.

Many launch days, even Twitter, you know, has had scaling problems throughout its years. It's really about how you respond to the problems. And this is where Silicon Valley companies distinguish themselves from others.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SEGALL: And, Fredricka, I should say that WordPress, they power one in every five sites on the Web. They got $30 million in funding over an eight-year period. Now Obamacare's Web site had hundreds of millions of dollars. So pretty eye-opening when you think about it -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Laurie Segall, thank you so much. Lots of food for thought there.

All right. Speaking of technology, iPad sales are slumping, and Apple's share of the tablet market is in a tail spin. Apple is hoping to reverse the trend on Tuesday. The company is expected to reveal its first revamped iPad in a year during an event in San Francisco. But don't expect Apple to produce radically new device. We're told to expect a thinner and faster iPad with a fingerprint sensor.

All right. Former Vice President Dick Cheney opens up about the resignation letter that he presented to George W. Bush. The candid conversation with our Dr. Sanjay Gupta next.


WHITFIELD: Texas Senator Ted Cruz is catching heat from some of the big names in the Republican Party. They blame him for linking Obamacare to the debt ceiling negotiations. Well, Congress got a last-minute deal but Cruz's strategy failed.

Here's Fareed Zakaria.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Fredricka, I spoke this week to GOP elder statesman, James Baker. I wonder what he thought of his senator. That's, of course, the man who made his name during the government shutdown, Texas' Tea Party senator, Ted Cruz.


ZAKARIA: What do you think about the man representing your state? The "Houston Chronicle" just waxed nostalgic in an editorial about Kay Bailey Hutchison. Almost suggesting they wished they had never endorsed Ted Cruz for that job.


ZAKARIA: Do you think Ted Cruz represents your views in the Republican Party?

BAKER: Well, I'm not sure that he represents my views in the Republican Party, but I'm not going to sit here and dump all over my junior senator, particularly given the fact that he worked for me in 2000. He was a very fine lawyer in that -- in that recount battle we had in Florida. And he was a good solicitor general for the state of Texas.

Was he wrong on this most recent episode? In my view, yes. It hurt us. It didn't gain us anything. We kicked the can just three months down the road. We didn't accomplish anything. It didn't take a rocket scientist, in my view, to figure out that if you don't have a Senate and you don't have the White House, you're not going to be able to defund Obamacare.

It was a maximumalist position, had no chance of being accomplished, and therefore I think it was a mistake. And I think it was Senator John McCain, if I'm not mistaken, who said it was a fool's errand and I'm not -- I'm not disinclined to disagree with that.


ZAKARIA: Baker always speaks frankly -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, he does. Fareed Zakaria, thank you so much.

And, of course, you can see the entire interview with James Baker on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" Sunday 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

All right. Five heart attacks, bypass surgery, an artificial pump and then finally a transplant. Dick Cheney's health history is pretty well known but I bet you didn't know what our Dr. Sanjay Gupta uncovered in an interview with the former presidency.


RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Basically what I did was I resigned the vice presidency effective March 28th, 2001.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So nearly for your entire time as vice president there was a letter of resignation pending?

CHENEY: Pending.

GUPTA: How did President Bush react when you told him about that?

CHENEY: A little surprised, but he thought it was a good idea.


WHITFIELD: The full interview airs Sunday on "60 Minutes" and Tuesday on "AC 360" here on CNN.

All right. While the government shutdown dominated the headlines, some pretty wild stories fell through the cracks. Jeanne Moos takes a look at the odd ball stuff that you might have missed.


WHITFIELD: Coming up on "YOUR MONEY," Christine Romans is going to tell us why we should be watching the calendar.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN'S YOUR MONEY HOST: Hi, Fredricka. Remember these dates on the calendar? Well, now we've got two more. So don't be fooled. The countdown to crisis continues. I'm going to show you exactly what this new calendar means for "YOUR MONEY." It's all coming up at 2:00 p.m. Eastern -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Christine.

And "YOUR MONEY" just a couple of minutes away.

OK, so the government shutdown has dominated the news since the beginning of this month. And if you've had your eyes trained on Washington, you may have missed some of the other interesting stories out there.

Jeanne Moos takes a look at this hidden headline.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not only did Congress make us mad --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are worthless.


MOOS: But the coverage of Congress ran rough shod over stories like this. The military-funded wildcat debuted while we were watching these guys fight like wild cats.

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: Do you stand for your country?

MOOS: This agile ground robot can go 16 miles an hour and when it stumbles, unlike Congress, it gets up.

While politicians were gridlocked, this bear locked itself in a car in California. The domelight flashed, the horn honked, the headlights went on and off. Officials had to break a window to get the bear out.

And while Congress was plotting this kangaroo was bounding through the airport in Melbourne, Australia, occasionally wiping out on the slippery floors. He was finally trapped in a pharmacy, sedated and cared for.

(On camera): Now you may think of Congress as a bunch of hoaxers. But while you were watching them, you may have missed this actual hoax.

(Voice-over): To promote a horror movie, a cafe in New York City was rigged up and actors staged rage over spilled coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just get away from me.

MOOS: Instead of in a coffeehouse, maybe telekinesis would have worked better in the House of Representatives.

Even congressmen like Oreos but because of their shenanigans, you might have missed the Connecticut College study on rats, showing Oreos activate more pleasure neurons than cocaine.

(On camera): Whatever you do, don't snort the Oreos.

(Voice-over): By the way, the rats also eat the cream in the middle first.

(On camera): Now here's something that Democrats and Republicans could do together to get over all that nastiness between them.


MOOS (voice-over): Snuggling with a stranger for 60 bucks an hour. Not sexy snuggling, therapeutic snuggling. Snuggle House is preparing to open in Madison, Wisconsin, similar to a place in New York called the Snuggery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever you like, we can change positions.

MOOS: But at least one thing we missed is back, the National Zoo's panda-cam was switched on so we can watch mom and cub snuggle as they sleep. Not all that different from Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if your heart doesn't break --

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to change the world one snuggle at a time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those in favor say aye.

MOOS: New York.


WHITFIELD: All right. Good luck with that.

All right. So much more ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM coming up at 2:30. Do you recognize this child? Serious business. Police in Greece have arrested the couple claiming to be her parents. They are suspected of kidnapping.

Then at 3:00, a woman is found dead in a bathtub, drugs in her system, and now her man, a doctor, is on trial for her murder.

All that straight ahead. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.