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Will Sebelius Attend Obamacare Hearings; Florida Mother Accused of Abuse After Video Surfaces; Missouri Mom Charged With Contempt for Bringing Breast Feeding Child to Jury Duty; Fatal Shooting at Nevada Middle School; Woman Blows Herself Up on Russian Bus; Greek Couple Charged With Kidnapping "Maria"
Aired October 21, 2013 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Two words here: no excuses. That's what President Obama had to say about the rocky rollout of the Obamacare Web site.
The president speaking in the Rose Garden late this morning addressed his own concerns over Web site log-in difficult as and the long waits and several other issues that has plagued this Web site in recent weeks. And much of the blame is in the direction of this woman here.
This is Cabinet secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, front and center today at this ceremony. She was the one responsible for overseeing the site's debut. And, later this week, congressional hearings will take place trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.
The question now is, will Kathleen Sebelius testify at those hearings?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER PALMIERI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: She has said she is not able to attend, but she's been up there dozens of times to testify.
This is something that was called with relatively short notice, but I believe the committee and HHS is trying to work something out to have an appropriate representative there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I want to bring in Wolf Blitzer.
That was your interview earlier today. So we heard her say not able to attend. Do you think Kathleen Sebelius won't be at those hearings?
BLITZER: She probably won't be there on Thursday, but her aides are suggesting she could testify next week, maybe as early as next week.
At some point, she'll have to go up there. There's a legitimate oversight committee that has to get to the bottom of what happened.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to create a website which the president himself has said does not work. They want to make sure it doesn't happen again and get to the bottom of.
Do Republicans want to score political point because they hate Obamacare? Obviously. A lot of them do, but they have responsibilities, and it's the responsibility of the executive branch to cooperate with the legislative branches when their are legitimate oversight committee hearings that have to take place.
She's probably not ready to appear this week because they don't have the answers. If you ask who screwed up, why did it turn out so bad?
It was supposed to be ready for months leading up to October 1st, I don't think they have the answers yet and they're reluctant to testify.
BALDWIN: What do you make -- we have been following what has been happening in Washington in recent issues and the issues Republicans have with Obamacare.
That's old news, and then you juxtapose it with the issues with the website troubles. What really is the story here? Is it both?
BLITZER: The website or what?
BALDWIN: Just the issues with Obamacare.
BLITZER: They don't like Obamacare. And obviously, the rollout of the website has only fueled that anger that this thing wasn't ready to roll out on October 1st. Now, the website was clearly not ready.
Other aspects of the program, as the president himself said, they have been working. For example, young people, 26 and under, they can still remain on their parents health insurance programs.
That's one of the features of Obamacare. That has moved along smoothly.
A lot of young people are still getting health insurance because they're eligible to remain on their parents' program. That has worked out, and other aspects of it unrelated to the website have worked out.
What they were hoping for is millions and millions of people would sign up over the six months between now and the end of march so that especially young people, healthier people, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who probably are healthy, don't need a lot of health care, they would pay into the system, and as a result.
Others who do need help, who have pre-existing conditions or are sick or older, poorer, they would be subsidized by the younger people.
If younger people aren't going in there and purchasing the insurance, then the system is going to fail because it simply wasn't designed to work if only the people who really need it would get it, and everyone else -- not everyone else, but a lot of people who should be on it weren't paying into it.
BALDWIN: Wolf, I know you're tackling this on "THE SITUATION ROOM." as also, we tune in, 5:00 p.m. Eastern, to see more of Wolf Blitzer. Thank you, Wolf.
Now to this story. First, her stepdaughter gets arrested for allegedly bullying a girl to death. Now this Florida woman faces her own criminal charges after a video surfaces of her beating someone up as well.
The Polk County sheriff says Vivian Vosburg was seen in a Facebook video hitting a teenage boy over and over.
So we have a piece of the video for you. Just a heads up, it's disturbing to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the (inaudible) is wrong with you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: In the video, Vosburg is apparently screaming, you heard the bleeps, cursing as well, at this boy. Why? Apparently because he had just kicked another teenager in the groin.
Her arrest is not related to the case of her daughter, one of two minors charged with aggravated stalking after 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide, the alleged victim of cyber-bullying.
The sheriff here says the video shows, quote, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: The fight was over, and all the other kids were screaming and cussing and high fiving. She gave kind of an editorial comment, and then they posted all of that on Facebook.
And she tells us her daughter would never bully? Well, we saw the real truth.
We're investigating the bullying case, and as you know, we made the arrest on the two juveniles, 14 and 12, for stalking.
Well, interviews by national networks of Vivian where she was there saying, oh, my daughter would never stalk. She would never, ever do this.
We watch her Facebook, and immediately, people from throughout the community were texting and calling and Facebooking my staff saying, oh, yeah? If you think that's right, go look at this page.
So because of the national media coverage, our detectives looked. We saw the horrendous coverage. My detectives immediately acted on that, and we put her in jail. She's still in jail today under $300,000 bond after appearing before a judge.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: The sheriff of Polk County talking to Chris Cuomo this morning.
Wendy Walsh, as a psychologist, as a mom, what was your first reaction when you saw the video?
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I know a lot about aggression and conflict, and I know every human being, Brooke, comes into the world with a naturally evolved fight or flight complex.
We teach skills and empathy. Maybe what this family needs is a lot of parental education.
My suspicion, that this mom herself was probably abused as a child as well. If you hit children, all it does is teaches them how to hit.
BALDWIN: So from what you're saying, it sounds lm like this learned behavior that's passed on perhaps from one mother to her child and then to her child.
How do you stop that behavior?
WALSH: Well, obviously, you have to intervene in at least one generation. This mom, the stepmom is only 30. There's a chance she can learn new parenting skills.
Certainly, the teenagers involved can learn different ways to deal with their emotions.
When I hear people talk about online aggression, online bullying, the only thing different between the bullying from the olden days and the bullying today is there's a new tool.
But the feelings are the same, the anger and aggression, and they tend to be learned at home or maybe better worded, not unlearned in a way that good parenting can do for a human being.
BALDWIN: And as we talk about the aggressors here, I feel like sometimes lost in the stories are the victims.
Not all of these young people choose to take their own lives. So just as parents are watching, you know, if they have a son or daughter who's being tormented and tortures, how do you teach your child that suicide is not the only option?
WALSH: Well, let's remember that every teen with depression does not commit suicide. So just because a teen is depressed doesn't mean they're on the road to suicide.
Although I will say that more and more parents do need to get active in their children's mental health. They need to reach out for the services that their kid needs.
Secondly, if you do have a child who does suffer from depression, I would not let them anywhere near a keyboard and a screen. I mean, that's like saying -- BALDWIN: That could be tough.
WALSH: I'm going to leave a medicine cabinet full of pills or a gun on the counter while they're depressed.
You want to be more protective of the sensitive child, and the other thing to keep in mind is every child is different in their level of sensitivity to this kind of stuff.
Having one blanket way to parent everybody is not really the best idea. It's about understanding each individual kid and the usual, be their Facebook friend, be their twitter follower. Watch what's happening online.
BALDWIN: Look at everything.
WALSH: Yes, don't participate in it because then you might create social suicide for the kids, but watch, see what's going on.
BALDWIN: OK, Wendy Walsh, great advice. Thank you.
Coming up, duty to child versus duty to your community, a Missouri mother said she's never even had a speeding ticket and now she's facing contempt of court charges.
She brought her baby to jury duty, and what she did next had that judge scolding her. We're on that case, next.
BALDWIN: A Missouri mom has been charged with contempt of court because she brought her baby to jury duty so she could breast feet him. She faced a fine up to $500 if she's found guilty.
The judge in the case ordered her to find a babysitter during jury selection, but she protested. She said the court gave her two options.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA TRICKLE, BREASTFEEDING JUROR: I would be able to pump on breaks. Unfortunately, he doesn't take a bottle so that's not an option for us.
The other option was to -- oop -- to have someone stay with me all day and then be able to nurse on breaks.
But since I'm a stay-at-home mom, we don't have child care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So who's right here? Is the judge being unreasonable?
"On the Case" with us here, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, and Lisa Bloom, legal analyst with Avvo.com. Good to see both of you. Lisa Bloom, I'm starting with you. Something I guess I haven't had to deal with, but do courts -- a lot of people are parents when they have to do this whole jury duty thing. Are there not special arrangements or concessions for breast feeding moms?
LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVVO.COM: This ruling is so anti-baby and anti-mother, it's shocking.
In 12 states, breast feeding moms get a pass on jury duty. Apparently, Missouri isn't one of them.
What are her options? Number one, leave the baby home alone and go to court.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No.
BLOOM: Number two, don't show up for jury duty even though you have been required to. That's not an option.
She brings the baby with her to court. What this judge doesn't get is that a lot of us can't just snap our fingers and have a babysitter magically appear, and a lot of people also can't afford a babysitter.
I think this is breathtakingly ignorant of the realities of what life is like for stay-at-home moms.
BALDWIN: Danny, are you with Lisa on this one?
CEVALLOS: Well, it is true. Courts have been a little slow to recognize breast feeding. In fact, it wasn't too long ago, courts have held that breast feeding isn't even a condition of pregnancy under the pregnancy discrimination act. They have been slow to understand and accept breast feeding.
When it comes to jury duty, the courts have a compelling duty about getting people in who are not fibbing about why they have an undue hardship.
It seems unfair she would show up to jury duty for a legitimate reason and they're trying to hail her in front of a judge to explain why when, in the meantime, there are people who blow off jury duty completely, or they use means to get out of it that aren't fair to the system.
For example, claiming they always believe police officers or they rarely believe anyone accused of a crime is innocent. Those are ways to cheat the system and get yourself out.
It seems we should be rewarding those who come in and have reasons that are clearly legitimate, and it is true, some states have figured it out and gotten laws on the books.
But there are many states that address this in a patchwork way. There probably needs to be a little more uniformity.
BALDWIN: All right, Danny Cevallos and Lisa Bloom, thank you both very much.
I just got word from the control room. We'll be talking to the chief of police out of Sparks, Nevada, as we have had a fatal middle school shooting today.
A tragic day for folks within law enforcement, school officials here, what happened? Who was this student/suspect? Next.
BALDWIN: Back to our breaking story we brought you at the top of both hours as we have been reporting on this fatal middle school shooting in Sparks, Nevada, two dead, two injured.
Chief of police for Washoe County schools Mike Mieras is on the phone with me right now.
Chief, first, I am sorry for the tragic events yet again we are reporting on a school shooting. Can you just start from the very beginning, tell me what happened early this morning.
CHIEF MIKE MIERAS, WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (via telephone): Approximately about 7:20 this morning, 7:15 to 7:20, the local law enforcement agency and our police department started receiving 911 calls from one of our local middle schools which is Sparks Middle school, and officers responded from multiple agencies, from Reno P.D., Sparks P.D., our fire department responded.
And upon arrival, there was two students that were injured and there was a staff member that is deceased and also, the suspect is deceased as well, upon our arrival.
BALDWIN: From what I understand, this is according to the Reno gazette journal from this eyewitness, it was the student who was the suspect, this happened near the basketball court, this student suspect was wearing the sparks middle school uniform, approached this teacher who then tried approaching the student to tell him to put the weapon down. What can you tell me about that moment?
MIERAS (via telephone): You know, all that is still at this point still under investigation. We started interviewing any witnesses to the incident, so all that and everything is still under investigation and I cannot disclose anything at this time.
BALDWIN: Can you give me an update on the two students who were injured? Were they hit by the bullets?
MIERAS (via telephone): The one student was struck in the shoulder area. He is in stable condition. The other student was struck in the stomach area. He is still in critical condition.
BALDWIN: Was this student suspect who is now deceased, was he saying anything? Was he speaking to this teacher? Can you share that?
MIERAS (via telephone): Again, at this time, we don't have all that information. It will take us awhile. Sparks police department is doing the primary investigation and through that process. We are interviewing many, many kids. That's going to take us a little bit.
BALDWIN: Chief Mike Mieras, I appreciate you. I know you have a busy, busy day ahead of you. Thank you so much for calling in. Again, I'm so sorry for what happened.
MIERAS (via telephone): Thank you. I appreciate that.
BALDWIN: Jake Tapper will be all over this at the top of the hour on "THE LEAD."
Coming up next, a female suicide bomber taking out a bus today. Whole thing caught on video. And we are getting new details. That's next.
BALDWIN: A woman blowing herself up on a bus in southern Russia today and the whole thing was caught on this dash-cam video. You see it right here.
This horrible moment, the explosion rips through this bus, people running moments after the woman detonated the bomb.
I can tell you that at least six people were killed, more than 30 others were hurt, many of them critically.
While we don't know yet the motive of this woman, she is believed to be from the same region where the Boston bombers once lived.
One Russian political analyst says it's likely a quote, "test shot," four months before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics.
All this intrigue today around this little girl called Maria seems to grow day by day by day. Today this lawyer for the couple arrested for allegedly adopting her says this blond girl belongs to them, just not through a traditional adoption.
Police think Maria is about 4 or 5 years of age and we have video of her here when she was clearly much, much younger.
Authorities noticed Maria living Thursday among this community of gypsies in Greece known as Roma. DNA shows that this man and woman now in custody cannot be Maria's biological parents.
CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports the couple says they're expecting Maria's birth mother to help clear their name. Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, this is the couple charged with kidnapping the little girl known only as "Maria." Police have identified them as 39-year-old Christo Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulou. Investigators were carrying out a surveillance of the encampment when they noticed the little girl. Her blond hair and blue eyes were striking. She looked nothing like the couple claiming to be her parents.
People within the community released this home video they say shows the family in happier times. The woman dances with Maria, and today, community members gathered outside the courthouse.
They say they are outraged at the charges of abduction and falsifying documents. Their lawyer has admitted the couple illegally adopted Maria but says there was no kidnapping involved.
KOSTAS KATSAVOS, COUPLE'S ATTORNEY: The claim is we never abduct this child, we just adopted. We are in the middle of investigation, private investigation.
We are in the middle of investigation. We hope that tonight or tomorrow, we'll find the mother.
MCLAUGHLIN: The couple are being remanded in custody.
Police say they have changed their story many times and questions are swirling around the identity of the couple's other children. The ages of six of them are within 10 months of each other.
BALDWIN: Erin, thank you.
And just in to CNN, singer Cee Lo Green, charged with slipping ecstasy to a woman he was apparently dining with in L.A. last year. The two then went back to the singer's hotel.
Prosecutors did not file a charge of rape of an intoxicated person, citing insufficient evidence. But we can tell you that Cee Lo Green expected to be arraigned very soon.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. I'll see you back here this time tomorrow.
"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.