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Rep. Luke Messer Talks Obamacare; JPMorgan Chase Tentatively Agrees to $13 Billion Deal; Dick Cheney Afraid Assassins Would Use Pacemaker to Kill Him; Bomb Survivor Makes Promise to Herself.
Aired October 21, 2013 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, just a little while ago, President Obama said he is frustrated at the problems with the Obamacare website. He pledged to fix without giving a timeline. The president also seemed to take some of his critics to task.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And in the meantime, I've said many times, I am willing to work with anyone on any idea to make this law perform even better. But it's time for folks to stop rooting for its failure. Because hard working, middle class families are rooting for its success.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in Luke Messer, a freshman Congressman from Indiana. He's joining us right now. He serves on the House Budget Committee, among -- which other committee are you on?
REP. LUKE MESSER, (R), INDIANA: Foreign Affairs.
BLITZER: Foreign Affairs. Nothing to do with this subject right now.
Budget very important. So what are you doing? Are you rooting for the failure of Obamacare? Are you rooting for its success?
MESSER: Of course, not. We're rooting for the millions of Americans who now have to fall within that law. I think the president needs to be careful here. He's not just the president of the Democratic Party. He's the president of all of America. Everybody's disappointed with the events of the last several weeks. Now it's time to move forward. I thought his comments were remarkable. He came across as sort of a combination of a Fred Thompson reverse mortgage ad and a call center technician walking through the minutia of how to sign up on a website. While he was talking, our team in my office tried to sign up and the website didn't work.
BLITZER: In Indiana -- how is it working out in Indiana, per se?
MESSER: Obviously, you know, the information is very hard to obtain. We've got about half a million folks that have started an account across the country --
BLITZER: -- all over the United States.
MESSER: -- across the whole country. The appearance in Indiana seems to be very small. I actually signed a letter today asking the secretary, Sebelius, to give us that information.
BLITZER: She's going to testify at some point, the White House and her spokespeople say. But she's apparently not ready to appear this Thursday before the House committee investigating as part of its oversight responsibilities.
So what would you do to fix Obamacare? And don't say just kill the whole thing because it's the law of the land. The president's not going to veto legislation, even if it goes through the House, but it has to go through the Senate. He would veto it. You don't have two- thirds override. What would you do right now to fix it?
MESSER: It's important to point out the president had an opportunity to end this crisis on September 30th before we had the walkout by delaying the individual mandate. We would have still had these website glitches but folks wouldn't be worried whether they have to pay a tax for signing up on a website that doesn't work. Now the administration is going to have to make this work. Frankly, I think if they don't get it fixed in the coming weeks, they're going to have a very hard time not giving individuals an exception.
BLITZER: We just heard from the White House communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, saying they still to the end of March to sign up. Individuals are required to sign up, purchase health insurance if they can afford it. If they don't, they'll pay a penalty through a tax at the end of the year. But she says they always built in there would be some problems. And there's plenty of time between now and March to sign up.
MESSER: There is time. Right now, they're standing behind this 500,000 accounts, this number of 500,000 accounts. They can only hide behind that number for so long. The number that will matter in the end is the number of people who sign up on the website. As you said earlier today, the actuarial analysis of program doesn't work unless millions of people sign up because, it's not affordable otherwise. This is one those areas where the president's not going to be able to behind the rhetoric. They're going to have it deliverable very soon.
BLITZER: You voted against reopening the government the other day. Do you have any regrets about that vote?
MESSER: No, I certainly don't regret for standing up for what I believe. And I voted against the legislation because it was a bad deal for the American people. I mean -- (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: Reopening the government was good. Avoiding --
BLITZER: Avoiding default was good, right?
MESSER: I'm glad the government's open. I don't like how we got there.
BLITZER: You're glad the U.S. hasn't defaulted on its financial obligations?
MESSER: Sure, the whole time, I was never for default or for a shutdown.
BLITZER: But if your side would have won, that could have happened.
MESSER: If the president would have negotiated over the course of the last several weeks, we never would have been where we were. In the end, we had to vote for the bill that was before us. The bill gave the president a blank check on debt. And the bill made no improvements to Obamacare in the face of these very real problems we're having.
BLITZER: Are you getting -- what's the feedback you're getting from your district? Were you concerned you could be, quote, "primaried" if you would have voted with the speaker, for example, with Eric Cantor? They all voted in favor of reopening. You voted against. Was that primary concern an issue for you?
MESSER: It was a nonfactor in my vote. What -- the reason I voted the way I did is because it was a bad deal for the American people. Frankly, in my district, people believe it's important we stand up for principle, and Obamacare is very unpopular.
BLITZER: So have you confidence in the speaker?
MESSER: I think the speaker has done a good job under very difficult circumstances. He certainly has my support.
BLITZER: Even though he voted to reopen the government, he voted the opposite way?
MESSER: Sure. Again, he leads an entire caucus. There were enough folks in our caucus that clearly wanted to open the government at that time.
BLITZER: Luke Messer, Republican of Indiana, thanks very much for coming in. Hope you'll be back.
BLITZER: Shocking news from Dick Cheney, the former vice president, and how he thought assassins could use his pacemaker to kill him. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: All right. Let's take a look where the markets are right now. Things were a little quieter today after the S&P 500 hit record highs last week. There you see the Dow right now. Take a look at it. The Dow, what, down just about six points or so. Most investors seem to be waiting until the jobs report is released. That report was delayed from last month because of the government shutdown. We're expecting that tomorrow morning, 8:30 a.m. eastern. We'll be watching that for you, of course, here on CNN's "New Day."
JPMorgan Chase has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion, that's with a "B," billion dollars to resolve several federal investigations. The Justice Department has been looking into accusations they misrepresented bad mortgages it sold to investors leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. Once finished, that could be the biggest settlement from a single financial institution in the wake of the 2008 crisis.
Alison Kosik is over at the New York Stock Exchange watching all of this.
That's a huge number, Alison, $13 billion.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It really is huge. But it is something, believe it or not, that JPMorgan still can handle. Keep in mind this settlement, Wolf, still needs to be finalized. If it is finalized, that $13 billion penalty would wind up being split into two. $9 billion would go into fines, to penalties, it would go to the government. $4 billion would go for what they're calling consumer relief. Not completely sure what that means. It could mean it would go toward some type of loan modification. Past mortgage settlements resulted in refinancing for people who owed more on their mortgage than the home is worth, cash for people who lost their homes. So that amount of money could actually go to people who were sort of harmed in this.
This deal would wind up settling allegations that JPMorgan misled investors. What JPMorgan is accused of doing is bundling these bad mortgages together and selling them and misleading investors on how solid these investments were -- Wolf?
BLITZER: What about criminal charges? It's one thing to pay is the fine of $13 billion. What about criminal charges, the possibility that someone might even go to jail?
KOSIK: Yeah, criminal charges are a possibility in this. Keep in mind there are no criminal charges just why the. JPMorgan is making an effort to protect itself from these kinds of charges. They wanted what's called a no prosecution agreement in this settlement. The Department of Justice said no. So the door to a possible criminal charge, that door is still open.
One thing to keep in mind though, this is not just about the JPMorgan. Most of the practices that JPMORGAN has been accused of actually happened at Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns. I bring up these other banks because what happened was JPMorgan bought these two banks at the urging of the government as a way to prevent an even bigger financial meltdown. So in some ways, many people think they were doing the government a favor by taking on these two banks and taking on their problems, because in 2008, JPMorgan was one of the only banks out there strong enough to do that. Now many are saying that JPMorgan is kind of the fall guy, taking on other bank's problems. Nonetheless, though, the possibility for criminal charges still remains -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Under the theory "no good deed shall go unpunished" --
-- I guess some are suggesting that might be the case right now.
Alison, thanks very much.
Shocking news from Dick Cheney. How he thought assassins could use his pacemaker to kill him.
BLITZER: Shocking new revelations from the former vice president, Dick Cheney, about his long history of heart problems. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, interviewed the former vice president on "60 Minutes" about his new book, entitled "Heart: An American Medical Odyssey," and he asked him about this episode of "Homeland" in which assassin kills the vice president by hacking into his pacemaker. Cheney said he had his doctors disable his wireless capabilities when it was implanted back in 2007 to prevent such a possibility attack. "Homeland" wasn't even on the air at that time. Sanjay also asked Cheney if he was worried his health would affect his decision making.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You were instrumental in many big decisions for the country, including going into Afghanistan and Iraq.
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And terrorist surveillance programs and enhanced interrogation.
GUPTA: Terrorist surveillance programs, wiretapping, enhanced interrogation. You had had four heart attacks, three catheterizations at this point, a defibrillator, bypass surgery.
GUPTA: Did you worry about your physical health impacting your judgment, your cognition?
GUPTA: Not at all?
GUPTA: Were you the best that you could be?
CHENEY: Well, I was as good as I could be given the fact that I was 60-some years old at that point and a heart patient.
GUPTA (voice-over): Cheney didn't want to acknowledge numerous studies that show a significant connection between severe heart disease and memory loss, depression, a decline in decision making abilities, and impaired cognition, or that he could be one of the many patients vulnerable to these side effects.
(on camera): Did they talk at all about potential side effects, again, because of limited flood flow to the brain, on cognition, on judgment? Was that something you had heard about in any way? You didn't know about it, you weren't worried about it.
CHENEY: No, I wasn't worried about it.
GUPTA: Did anyone counsel you on that.
CHENEY: Not that I recall.
GUPTA: What about even the things like depression?
GUPTA (voice-over): And that's all he wanted to say about that.
But what Dick Cheney was eager to talk about was his transplant, detailed in his new book, "Heart."
CHENEY: When you emerge from that gift of life itself, there's this tremendous feeling of emotion, but it's very positive. I think my first words when I came out under the anesthetic and they said it worked great was "hot damn," literally.
BLITZER: Sanjay is joining us from the CNN Center.
So what did Cheney do differently to stay alive while few others in his position have survived? A heart transplant is not an everyday occurrence.
GUPTA: Yes. I think there's a couple things. And we talked about this a little bit as well. In some ways, he was the beneficiary of many medical developments at the exact time he needed them. So perfections of a particular technique in heart surgery, certain devices that were made available to him, things like that that just came along right when he needed it. He gave this analogy: When he drives down the road, it's like every light looks red, but as he's pulling up to them, they start to turn green. That's how he saw this intersection between his medical history and medical technology, helping him.
But he also did something else, Wolf, I think is very important. He really was very diligent, he says, about getting checked out. 37 years old, he has this tingling in his arms and hands and he goes to the doctor and gets it checked it out. Turns out it was the beginning of a heart attack. A lot of 37-year-olds probably might blow that off or not go to a doctor right away. He said if he was in the middle of a televised vice presidential debate and started to have symptoms, he would have left the lectern and gone to the hospital. I think that getting that checked out, he at least credits with a large part of the reason he's alive today.
BLITZER: The fact he was a vice president with a heart condition for eight years, enormous stress in that job, wars, terrorism, everything else, do you believe, based on all the studies you have reported on and taken a close look at, that that enormous stress could further deteriorate his own heart?
GUPTA: There are plenty of studies to suggest that, certainly, and this is one of those areas that's been studies for a long time, looking back into what are quote/unquote "type A" personalities to the overall more objective measures of stress, cortisol levels in the body that could harden the arteries and increase blood pressure. But he said something that former President Clinton said when I asked him about his heart disease. He said it was one thing where he couldn't imagine not having that stress. He thinks he actually thrived under it and it was actually beneficial to him. And it's something similar to what President Clinton had said as well around this. There's probably a selection of people, Wolf, who the stress maybe doesn't impact them as much and they actually thrive on it more than the average person.
BLITZER: Amazing. You did an amazing job, Sanjay. I was on a flight last night, watched the "60 Minutes" report. It made that flight go a little more quickly seeing your excellent, excellent work. Good work.
Thanks Sanjay, very much.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.
BLITZER: You can see Sanjay's full interview, and I recommend that you do, with the former vice president right here on CNN tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. eastern. That's Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. eastern on "A.C. 360." You will enjoy and learn, and we always do. We learn from Sanjay.
Six months after the Boston Marathon bombing, and most people have moved on. Some can't, however. You are going to meet a woman who lost a leg, a survivor. She has made a very personality promise to herself.
BLITZER: Hard to believe it's been six months since the Boston Marathon bombing, unless you're one of the survivors. Then, every day is a constant reminder of this. The moment the bomb exploded, Adrianne Haslet Davis' life changed forever. She's now a dance instructor with one leg. She's determined to dance again, but it will be a long road back.
She invited "Anderson Cooper 360" along for her unique American journey so people can better understand what she's going through.
ADRIANNE HASLET DAVIS, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING SURVIVOR: I am on my way to a prosthetician appointment. Still working on that word. And they're going to fit me for my leg.
Yay! So exciting!
Oh, my gosh. Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSTHETICIAN: Here's your foot.
HASLET DAVIS: Oh.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSTHETICIAN: Look at the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED MOTHER OF HASLET DAVIS: This is like seeing my child walk for the first time again. It's pretty emotional and it's pretty exciting. But she's a star. She's amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSTHETICIAN: So stand up for me. Does it hurt?
UNIDENTIFIED HUSBAND OF HASLET DAVIS: No. She's standing on her own.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSTHETICIAN: So what do you feel? What I need you to differentiate, you, OK? Doing good. At your own speed.
HASLET DAVIS: OK. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSTHETICIAN: One.
HASLET DAVIS: It feels really good just to stand up right now. I haven't stood up in a really long time. I almost forgot what it felt like. It reminds me of dancing, and I just so desperately want that again, and I'm so close. If feels really good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven, eight.
HASLET DAVIS: I think I'm further than I thought I would be in six months. I remember just getting my prosthetic and thinking it would take forever and also in the same time, thinking, you know, I've got to do this.
I had made a very strong point to not dwell on the people who did this. I insist on being calling a survivor and not a victim. Victim has ownership on me. I'm not having that. That means that I somehow belong to somebody or I'm suffering because of him. And I'm not suffering. I'm thriving. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BLITZER: What an amazing and wonderful young lady.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. NEWSROOM continues right now with Brooke Baldwin.