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Republican Rift; Escaped Killers Captured in Florida; Responding to Active Shooting; President To Address Obamacare; Senator Ted Cruz One-on-One; New Study On Michelle Rhee's Evaluation System

Aired October 21, 2013 - 08:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have new CNN polls for you this morning showing more than half of Americans say the Republican controlled House is a bad thing in their view for the country. And also this, the House speaker himself, John Boehner, is taking a hit as well.

But that news may be blunted by the president as he prepares to address Obamacare today and all of the problems that have plagued the system's launch. We're going to break it down for you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, something important we all care about. When these mass shootings happen, we always feel like, oh, here's the another one. It's the same problem every time. Listen to this, the attorney general says he has a policy in place now that may make a difference. Teaching police how to react too these mass shootings instead of waiting for SWAT teams to arrive.

The question is, should they take on shooters themselves? Right now they don't. There are protocols. So, we're going to look at the recommendations and whether or not it will save lives, right ahead.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Also, we're going to take a look a warm welcome at Colt Stadium for the former quarterback -- a standing ovation for Peyton Manning as he prepared to take on his former team. However the night belonged to someone else. We'll talk about that coming up.

CUOMO: All right. Let's talk about the new poll numbers we have at CNN, no surprise that the GOP took a beating. But especially with midterm elections, the numbers mattered. Democrats meantime, this poll shows they're not in the clear.

The president is getting set to address Obamacare's glitches at the White House.

How will that play in to the perceptions of the parties and who was right and wrong?

Let's get more on all of this from senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

Lot of data for you to chew on, my friend.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, no big surprise in the numbers, Chris, after Republicans were basically blamed for the shutdown. New CNN/ORC poll finds majority of Americans are not happy with the GOP control of the House of Representatives.

But the Republicans may have caught a political break in that the president later this morning at the White House is scheduled to speak at length about those glitches in Obamacare.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The shutdown ended days ago, but the hangover is still lingering, and it's bad news for Republicans. A new CNN/ORC poll finds just 38 percent of Americans believe GOP control of the House of Representatives is good for the country. More than half say it's a bad them. But it gets worse for House Speaker John Boehner.

A sizable majority of Americans say he should be replaced. Only 30 percent say he should stay.

The numbers are slightly better for President Obama; 44 percent have confidence in the president versus 31 percent in Republicans in Congress. GOP leaders say it's blow back.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: A number of us were saying back in July that this strategy could not and would not work and, of course, it didn't. So there will not be another government shutdown. You can count on that.

ACOSTA: But the end of the budget brinkmanship has shifted the spotlight right where Republicans want it, on Obamacare. Later today, aides say the president will acknowledge the Web site's now infamous glitches and laying out solutions for fixing them.

The pressure is on while the program has seen nearly a half million applications and 19 million visitors to, the Obama administration admits the Web site experience has been frustrating for many Americans.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's been a fiasco. Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with smart people, bring them back to Washington, and fix this problem. It's ridiculous. Everybody knows that.

ACOSTA: Conservatives are calling for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying she is resisting requests to testify on Capitol Hill even though she has time to go on "The Daily Show."

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Absolutely she should resign. Why? Because the program she has implemented, Obamacare, is a disaster.

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Ridiculous, but nonetheless, I do think what has happened is unacceptable, has to be fixed, and that's what will happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: Over the weekend the administration said it was bringing in "The best and the brightest" to fix those glitches. There are many consumer protections out there that did not exist before Obamacare and you can expect the president to repeat that message later this morning in the Rose Garden here at the White House -- Kate.

CUOMO: It will be interesting to hear, Jim, and the big debate isn't just about how the program gets rolled out but the tactics that were used to fight it. That's why we'll keep tracking this for you. Ahead, we'll have a reality check we'll ask what working when you try to sign up for Obamacare and what's not. We'll take on the new health care law for you.

Plus, we're going to have a one on one with Obamacare's biggest opponent, Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

BOLDUAN: And an update for you this morning on truly, an amazing story that actually happened, two murderers accidentally released in Florida now, back behind bars. You're looking right here at incredible cell phone video of the arrest. Still the mystery remains, how did the pair manage to pass forged documents off as release papers?

CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Panama City, Florida, with more on this story.

Good morning, Nick.


Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker will be walking up at this Bay County Jail here behind. Investigators tell CNN that they expect more arrests as they tried to figure out who helped them pull off this brazen escape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, those are U.S. Marshals.

VALENCIA (voice-over): For the two convicted killers, this cell phone video shows the moment their man hunt ended, just 80 miles from where their escape began. Handcuffed and shackled, Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker said little during their first court appearance after being arrested.

MARTY WEST, U.S. MARSHALL'S FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: We had information that they were here at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn.

VALENCIA: Officials tell CNN the two were waiting for a ride from Atlanta in this Panama City beach motel when they were busted. Unarmed, they were detained without incident.

At a press conference on Sunday, Florida officials addressed the bureaucratic blunder. The two convicts serving life sentences were accidentally released after showing forged paperwork. Apparently, this had happened twice before. Only the inmates were caught before they got out.

MICHAEL CREWS, CORRECTIONS SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: It is embarrassing. But my concentration at this point is, I think everyone else here is making sure that we come up with a process and a procedure that prohibits this from happening in the future.

VALENCIA: Law enforcement has launched an investigation to figure out how Jenkins and Walker duped the system and obtained the fake documents.

JERRY DAILEY, ENFORCEMENT COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW: There is speculation, an underlying speculation, that there was a source where for certain a sum of money that these documents could be constructed for $8,000. Whether that is true or not will be determined.

VALENCIA: CNN legal analyst, Mark O'Mara says they must have had help.

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It has to be somebody on the inside. It just has to be somebody in the courthouse, maybe even somebody in the state attorney's position, a secretary that can get that paperwork done.

VALENCIA: Standing at his father's grave, Robert Pugh chokes up. While his father's killer, Charles Walker, was on the run, he struggled reliving his family's nightmare.

ROECO PUGH III, VICTIM'S SON: He had no remorse when he killed our father in front of us the first time.

VALENCIA: Police are now promising to hold all who contributed accountable telling CNN that additional arrests are expected.


VALENCIA: And state official say, because of this incident they will require a judge to verify an inmate's early release. As for what happens next for Walker and Jenkins they have their next court appearance Friday. It's unclear if they'll be taken back to the same prison they escaped -- Chris.

CUOMO: An interesting detail it had happened before. Thank you very much. Appreciate the reporting this morning.

VALENCIA: So has the U.S. attorney general figured out a way to end mass shootings sooner? Eric Holder is expected to reveal a new proposal asking police departments to train officers to take out an active shooter instead of waiting for SWAT teams. Could the plan save more lives or create bigger risks? That's the question.

CNN's Joe Johns takes it on for us.

JOE JOHNS, CNN JUSTICE AND CRIME CORRESPONDENT: Chris, recent mass shootings have shocked the nation including here at the Washington Navy yard a wake-up call to law enforcement, now the nation's top law enforcement officer is expected to ask local police to change how they're trained to react, in order to save lives.


JOHNS (voice-over): In the mass killings recently at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard, police response was considered extremely fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Within seven minutes had officers at the building.

JOHNS: That's half the time of the national average response, but 12 people still died. And from what we know about the horrific school shootings at Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, and even going all the way back to Columbine, security consultant Chris Grolnik (ph) says time is of the essence for officers arriving on the scene because so much carnage can happen so fast and he says the first officer on the scene if he or she is alone is expected to wait for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respond once your backup arrives and use a contact cover approach so you're not on a suicide mission.

JOHNS: But sometimes those first officers on the scene end up waiting for more highly trained special weapons and tactical teams to arrive and that adds up to precious minutes which could cost lives.

Two law enforcement sources say Attorney General Eric Holder call on the International Association of Chiefs of police to consider new training for all officers, so that the first ones to get there can possibly take out an active shooter on their own, without waiting for the SWAT team to arrive.

Chris Grolnik (ph) focuses on teaching regular people what to do to protect themselves before the police get there. He says people who work in places where it could happen, could use some training, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and move, do not become a victim, don't be a stationary target, and react by escaping the threat.


JOHNS: Despite all you hear on the news, mass shootings are extremely rare compared to other U.S. crimes, but it's so horrific when it hands that the attorney general is expected to make his call to law enforcement today to the National Association of Chiefs of Police in Philadelphia to try to speed up the time it takes to engage active shooting suspects.

Back to you, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, Joe, thanks so much for that.

Watching that, let's get over to Michaela for all the other headlines making news this morning.

PEREIRA: All right, guys. Let's do it. Let's look at the headlines.

U.S. ambassador has been summoned to Paris in the wake of new NSA spy allegations. Citing documents leaked by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, French newspaper "La Monde" says the agency monitored more than 70 million calls made in France during a 30-year or 30-day period, rather. Similar allegation was made by German newsmagazine "Der Spiegel", which reported the NSA systematically eavesdropped on the Mexican government.

PEREIRA: A suicide bomber driving a car filled with explosives slams into a popular Baghdad cafe, killing at least 30 people, 35 people, in fact, wounding several dozen others in primarily Shiite neighborhood. Violence is on the rise following a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April.

The Department of Justice apparently close to settling its investigations into one of the country's biggest banks. An official familiar with negotiations tells CNN, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $13 billion to end the federal investigation into its mortgage securities business. JPMorgan Chase has been accused of misleading investors, including Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac about the quality of mortgage- backed securities during the housing boom.

This morning, one minute past mid night, same-sex marriages became legal in New Jersey. That's when several gay couples across the state exchanging vows. The state Supreme Court has refused to issue a stay ruling the state had little likelihood of winning the case. Governor Chris Christie, despite opposing gay marriage, has vowed to abide by the court's decision.

Check this out, a husband and wife in Massachusetts, they apparently have found the end of the rainbow. They were driving on the turnpike, pulled over during a hailstorm, decided to tape the storm, the rainbow appears before their eyes and you can see where it starts, right next to the car's couple is where it ended and there was no pot of gold. This is the breaking news aspects of the story.

Where was the pot of gold?

BOLDUAN: Completely missed the big story of the day.

PEREIRA: Yes, that should have been the banner. No pot of gold.

CUOMO: Very unusual to see the beginning and the end. They say that the pot of gold is not true. I have a small Irish man who works here and he says it's not true.

BOLDUAN: I mean --

CUOMO: It's done. As good a source as any.

PEREIRA: That's best. That's always best.

CUOMO: The science of it, no gold.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I was going to say the leprechaun took it, we're stopping right there.

BOLDUAN: That's a better answer.

PETERSONS: A little bit more PC here. Taking it out to Minnesota a dusting of snow, beautiful as the seasons are starting to change, I love this. The kids are getting to play in snow already. We're talking about a temperature change as more arctic air is moving in. Notice Chicago today, your highs are just into the 40s. Even 30s today as highs out towards Minneapolis.

So, yes we're talking about a couple cold fronts still making their way across the country and behind that cold arctic air comes another system so we're looking for this to stay for a while, look for the chill in the air another week or so.

If you're into the Northeast or mid-Atlantic, notice about Wednesday you see that temperature drop down, Detroit 48 degrees Wednesday, New York going down another ten degrees by Wednesday and same thing with Boston, your high just 50 degrees. That's the story across the nation.

We have a first major hurricane, a category three hurricane in the eastern Pacific. This is Hurricane Raymond. Twenty-four hours, this guy was only a tropical storm. That is how quickly this guy developed. Piece of news here you can tell it's strong, you can see the eye, it's expected to move away from the shore. That's the good news here.

Talking about rain, isolated amounts up to eight inches but otherwise as long as it's moving away from the shore that is a good thing. Conditions will improve once we go through about Wednesday or so.

BOLDUAN: About Wednesday, OK. Thank you so much, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the glitch-filled roll-out of Obamacare, the president will directly address the problems today. We'll have a preview coming up.

CUOMO: And you're going to want to hear what Texas Senator Ted Cruz is saying. Whether you agree with his politics or not you will want the heads up what may be to come.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Three weeks into the troubled website roll-out, President Obama is set to make his first major public remarks about Obamacare today. Officials say the site has 19 million unique visits, but how many of those visitors have actually signed up? That has been a much harder number to pin down.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta with the reality check on where things stand. Good Morning, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, as you said, it's been a rocky road for the website, Now, over the weekend, the government did do some fixes to the site, but you know what, it's not quite there yet and they're not saying when it will be.


COHEN (voice-over): If you've tried buying health insurance on, you've probably had trouble using the website. It's plagued with glitches and the administration has yet to figure them all out.

(on-camera) I'm now putting in my county for I think the fifth time.

(voice-over) It took me two weeks trying it all times of day and night until I finally was able to logon and start filling out my application, but the glitches continue. Every time I logon, for example --

(on-camera) It keeps putting me back up here.

(voice-over) I have to fill out this same page again and again.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It's been a fiasco. Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with some smart people, bring them back to Washington, and fix this problem. It's ridiculous, and everybody knows that.

COHEN: The Department of Health and Human Services does seem to be trying. On Sunday, the agency wrote "Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve" The administration also released one key figure showing people have filed nearly half a million applications for health insurance so far.

But by CNN's own calculation, more than half of that total comes from the 14 states running their own websites, not In fact, just one state, New York, accounts for more than a quarter of all applications, and yes, they have their own website, too.


COHEN (on-camera): Now, if you look at the home page this morning, you'll see something new. There's a green button that says "apply by phone." You've always been able to do it, but now, they're really calling attention to it. I must say, I have spent a lot of time on the phone with those operators over the past few weeks.

You can see it right there and those operators are very helpful and they do answer very quickly, at least, that's been my experience -- Kate.

CUOMO: I'll take it. Elizabeth, thank you very much for the reporting. And yet, still why, why? The question of why, we're hearing about the glitches, but why they're going on. That's something the government is going to have to speak to. Now, of course, Obamacare was the, if not a central issue in the 16-day government shutdown. Leading the charge against it, Republican Senator Ted Cruz. He got a hero's welcome at home in Texas even though he lost the battle as it is perceived. Some fear he has sparked a war now within the GOP. CNN's Dana Bash went one-on-one with Cruz, asked him if he'll rule out another shutdown next year. Take a listen.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you planning on doing this again on January 15th, when the current bill that was just passed to re-open the government when it finishes?

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: There will be time enough to talk about specific strategies, specific tactics. What I can tell you is that I think we need to keep as the top priority providing meaningful relief for all the millions of people that are --

BASH: You're very deliberately not ruling it out?

CRUZ: What I'm saying is the top priority -- there are a lot of politicians in Washington who want to put Obamacare behind us, say OK, fine, no more. No more discussing Obamacare. And you know what? The American people are not satisfied with that.

BASH: But on a practical level, what is frustrating many of your colleagues is that they think that you are turning your ire on them instead of focusing on trying to help elect more Republicans to do what you all want to do and I know you say that you're not endorsing any primary candidates, but you are -- your tactics are being used as fundraising tools for the very groups that do fund those primary candidates.

CRUZ: Look, my ire is focused on Obamacare because it's not working and it's hurting the American people. And, I don't think it's acceptable. I'm not willing to go to the Texans who elected me and say, well, you're hurting because of Obamacare but I wash my hands. There's nothing I can do about it.

I'm not going to stand up and fight. I'm not willing to tell that to my constituents and I am encouraging Senate Republicans to stand together for principle.

BASH: And to those who say that you've tarnished the Republican brand, that you have set the Republican Party back in efforts to maybe retake the Senate, maybe, you know, get in the position where a Republican can win the White House in 2016?

CRUZ: The single most damaging thing that has happened to Republicans for 2014 is all of the Senate Republicans coming out attacking the House Republicans, attacking those, pushing the effort to defund Obamacare and lining themselves up opposite the American people. Now, I'm hopeful that will change.

I'm hopeful there'll be some times, some reflection, and that Senate Republican will come back to the principles they believed and they campaigned on. I'm hopeful they'll actually put action behind the campaign promises.


BOLDUAN: All right. Dana, thanks so much for that interview.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the former D.C. school chancellor, Michelle Rhee, took a lot of heat back in 2009 for her tough teacher evaluation program, a groundbreaking program, but did it achieve its objective and improve teaching quality? We're going to talk with her next about a very interesting study.


PEREIRA: Time for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

At number one, a new poll shutdown, CNN/ORC poll shows Republicans taking a hit. Most Americans now say a GOP-controlled House is bad for the nation. Speaker John Boehner should be replaced, they say.

The speech from the president today mounting a new offensive to explain and defend Obamacare. He is expected to address online problems but say there's more to the healthcare law than just the website.

Attorney general, Eric Holder, will speak before a conference police of police chiefs and propose a new way for officers to respond to an active shooter. He is expected to suggest they be trained to take out the gunman instead of waiting for SWAT to arrive.

Two escaped Florida inmates back in custody this morning after using forged documents to escape prison. New cell phone video shows the moment they were caught this weekend. They're expected in court on Friday.

Same-sex marriage is now the law in New Jersey. It's at number five. Some couples tied the knot just after midnight when a court ruling took effect, legalizing gay nuptials in the garden state.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the latest -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Michaela.

New research shows a controversial teacher evaluation system may actually work. Back in 2009, then chancellor of D.C. public schools, Michelle Rhee, she implemented the impact system in a very dramatic move to try to save a failing school system. Her changes received harsh reviews from critics, but now, a new study provides some vindication for her methods.

We're going to talk to Michelle Rhee live in just a moment, but first, here's a look at her story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring the white board and the pencils. BOLDUAN (voice-over): During her three-year tenure as chancellor of D.C. public schools, Michelle Rhee's implementation of a new teacher evaluation system quickly made her one of the most polarizing figures in American education.

Tasked with turning around a failing school system where many students had below average scores on standardized tests, Rhee started IMPACT, the first education system of its kind, awarding bonuses of up to $25,000 for teachers being highly effective and firing others for subpar performance. These ratings based on student's test scores and classroom observations.

MICHELLE RHEE, FORMER D.C. SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR: The mayor's main priority is to make sure that we have a high quality teacher in front of every single child and every single classroom, every single day.

BOLDUAN: Since Rhee introduced the program in 2009, nearly 500 teachers have been terminated, the shakeup sparking a heated debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I hear is layoff, layoff, layoff. Teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is going to teach our kids?

BOLDUAN: But according to a new study, researchers at Stanford and the University of Virginia say Rhee's impact system worked. That it improved the effectiveness of the D.C. public school teacher workforce through its promise of rewards and consequences.

The study also found that within two years, teachers with one minimally effective rating would likely quit whereas those who ranked as highly effective often stayed, improving their skills, even adding up to $27,000 to their base salary for a second top rating.


BOLDUAN (on-camera): All right. Let's bring in Michelle Rhee to talk more about this. She's live -- joining us live from Sacramento this morning. Michelle, thank you so much for coming in.

RHEE: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Of course. I remember, I interviewed you years ago when this was first just going into place in Washington, D.C. You have been both celebrated and sharply criticized for your methods. Now, on the heels of this study, what do you hope people take away from it?

RHEE: Well, I think the message here is that investing in teacher effectiveness really does work. The bottom line is that we have to ensure that our kids have the most effective teachers and one way to do that is to elevate the teaching profession by making sure that you're recognizing and rewarding the most highly effective teachers, and that for ineffective teachers, you have to, you know, ensure that they're quickly improving their practice.