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Obamacare Damage Control; Nevada Middle School Shooting; Justice for Daisy

Aired October 23, 2013 - 04:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning.

PEREIRA: Well, it may very well be considered the Obama administration's biggest embarrassment. But the White House continues to defend the health care Web site. They've tapped a man that's known for facts and figures to now head up the rescue effort for

It's a short-term assignment for Jeffrey Zients who is slated to take over soon as head of the president's National Economic Council. In the meantime, Republicans continue to push back against Obamacare and say the real price tag is just now coming to light.

Here's Casey Wian.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The state of Colorado wants everyone to know that even these bros can afford Obamacare. In a series of ads, everyday folks are shown with the tag line, thanks Obamacare. Kentucky's governor says 1,000 people a day are signing up for his state's version of the Affordable Care Act.

GOV. STEVE BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: I'll guarantee you about a year from now, they're going to look back at these critics, including a lot of these senators and representatives, and they're going to say, you misled us because, hey, this works, I've got affordable health care.

WIAN: People with pre-existing medical conditions or with incomes that qualify for government subsidies clearly benefit from Obamacare. But many others are paying more. A detail that some in Congress said the administration didn't make clear to the public as part of the program's failed Web site launch.

Republicans on the congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent this letter Monday to the Obama administration demanding answers. It reads in part, "We believe that the political decision to mask the sticker shock of Obamacare to the American people prevented contractors from using universally accepted best practices in the development and rollout of this massive government federal I.T. project. It's easy to see why chaos would likely ensue." REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The Affordable Care Act's Web site, which now totals about $600 million, probably costs twice as much and is not performing than it should if best practices and efficient system had been delivered.

WIAN: The White House says Republicans are twisting the facts. However the administration has made changes to the Web site in the past two days that now allow consumers to type in their county and state and get estimated price quotes, as well as information about subsidies, something they couldn't do before without filling out an application.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are problems and they were problems that need to be addressed. And we're improving the experience for consumers every day.

WIAN: The concern remains the price tag. The Web site alone about $300 million. The overall cost, $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

(on camera): The goal is for all of that spending ultimately to lead to lower health care costs and reduced budget deficits in the future. That, of course, depends on how Obamacare performs and, so far, it has been a rough start.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


BERMAN: Republican leaders are calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign. She was asked about this in an interview with our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Sebelius' first since the Obamacare health exchange rollout fiasco.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of frustration in the country and no one probably knows this more than you and the president. Did you ever talk about resigning to the president?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: What I talked about is doing the job that I came here to do.

GUPTA: If this persists, or even at this point now, would you consider resigning over this?

SEBELIUS: I think my job is to get this fully implemented and to get the Web site working right. And that's really what I'm focused on.


BERMAN: You heard there someone not answering the question that was put to her, which is interesting.

Secretary Sebelius says President Obama did not know about the problems with the heath care Web site until it went live. As for delaying the lunch, Sebelius says that wasn't really an option.

PEREIRA: He will turn 80 years in 2016, but John McCain may have more political fight in him. The Arizona senator says he's considering a run for a sixth Senate term. In a radio interview, McCain said he's seriously thinking about giving Arizonians another chance to vote for or against him in 2016. McCain, as you'll recall, lost his bid for the presidency in 2008.

BERMAN: We're learning more about the student who opened fire at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before turning the gun on himself. Police still do not know why he did it.

The gun the seventh grader did come from his home. It's possible that his parents could be charged. In a meantime, a candlelight vigil is planned for the victims.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is following all this for us.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newly released 911 tapes and eyewitness accounts paint a picture of what happened here at Sparks Middle School Monday morning when a student opened fire. The 12-year-old injured two students and killed a teacher before taking his own life.

CALLER: Somebody brought a gun to school and shot a teacher.

OPERATOR: The teacher is down?


OPERATOR: OK. We'll get somebody out there right away. You're at Sparks Middle School?

CALLER: Yes, they shot again.

OPERATOR: They shot again?


CALLER: Hi. This is Lea, school police, you guys have Sparks Middle?

OPERATOR: We do. And 911 ringing off the hook. We have a teacher down.

ELAM: Thirteen-year-old student Kyle Nucum recalls hearing a loud pop that he thought was a firecracker.

KYLE NUCUM, SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: I turned around and see a teacher approach the gunman and then the gunman pointed the gun towards the teacher and he fires a shot at the teacher, and then everybody started screaming and running.

ELAM: That teacher, Mike Landsberry, a military man who served several tours in Afghanistan. Those in Washoe County are calling him a hero.

CHIEF MIKE MIERAS, WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE: During the incident after the first student was shot, Mr. Landsberry calmly walked towards the shooter, putting his hands up in a motion to try to stop the individual's actions. Mr. Landsberry was fatally shot in the chest.

Mr. Landsberry's heroic actions by stepping towards the shooter allowed time for other students on that playground area to flee the area.

ELAM: A long-time friend and National Guard supervisor says the kids were always his first priority.

ROBERT GARRETT, SENIOR MASTER SERGEANT, NEVADA AIR NATIONAL GUARD: He was a soldier with us, but he was always a teacher. He just wanted to always be there for the kids. They loved him. He would tell us stories all the time about them and as a coach, too. I mean, he did all kinds of things. We knew that he was there to protect them.

ELAM: Officials have not released any information about the 12- year- old shooter. But they believed the weapon he used, a Ruger .9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun, came from his home.

Middle school student, Amaya Newton, knew the gunman personally.

AMAYA NEWTON, SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: He was really a nice kid. He would make you smile when you were having a bad day. If you were -- he would just ask you if he could bayou something and he was just really a nice kid.

I saw him getting bullied a couple times and I think he took out his bullying on that.

ELAM: Police say they still don't know why the boy did what he did, but Kyle Nucum told CNN's Jake Tapper what he heard as he was running away from the scene.

NUCUM: He was yelling a bunch of things while we were running.

JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN'S "THE LEAD": What was he yelling?

NUCUM: He was yelling stuff like, why are you laughing at me? Why are you doing this to me? Like that.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Sparks, Nevada.


BERMAN: Still so sad.

Thirty-seven minutes after the hour.

Hundreds of protesters attending a rally in Merryville, Missouri, demanding justice for Daisy Coleman, the teenage victim of an alleged rape. A special prosecutor has been appointed to reexamine the case, which was dropped by local prosecutors. Daisy's family claims that was because one of the suspects comes from a local prominent family.

Demonstrators say that they just want their voices heard.


COURTNEY COLE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: This is a grassroots effort. There have been people throughout the entire nation who have been working to try to find some kind of solution in some way to help. And that makes a difference.


BERMAN: The special prosecutor says that her office will review the case, quote, "without fear or favor."

PEREIRA: Florida police say they are looking at several suspects as they investigate who helped convicted killers Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker walk free. So far, no arrests. They say at least seven inmates have used forged documents in attempts to escape. Jenkins and Walker were recaptured Saturday at the Panama City motel. The state's commissioner says it was Jenkins' second time trying to escape with forge papers. He failed back in 2011.

BERMAN: You know, you might tip you off.

PEREIRA: Might tip you off.

BERMAN: You have to check those papers.

PEREIRA: Concerning, concerning.

BERMAN: All right. A ninth biker has now been arrested and charged in connection with that videotape beating of an SUV driver in Manhattan. Forty-year-old Jason Brown was arraigned Tuesday on gang assault, weapons and criminal mischief charges. Court documents said he's seen on the video allegedly hitting Lien with his helmet.

PEREIRA: The Motor City has reached a critical crossroads. A judge will decide whether Detroit is indeed bankrupt at a trial that begins today. Local unions and pension funds claim the city failed to negotiate with them in good faith before declaring for Chapter 9 protection in July. If the judge agrees, he could rule that Detroit is not eligible for relief from $18 billion of debt.

BERMAN: And support for legalizing marijuana has hit an all-time high.

PEREIRA: I see you what you did there.

BERMAN: Let that sink in for a minute.

In fact, for the first time ever, a clear majority of Americans now favor it. Take a look at the numbers in the latest Gallup poll. Fifty-eight percent say the drug should be legalized, a 10 percent increase over last November. Thirty-nine percent believe it should remain illegal. This is a large surge in the report coming from Americans who describe themselves as independents.

PEREIRA: Shall we take a look at the weather and see what kind of day we're having? We're in the middle of the week. Some people are already -- have their sights set on the weekend. I think that would be. Maybe I'm speaking to all of you --

BERMAN: Chad Myers, give us the weather.

PEREIRA: So, what's it's going to be like.


A very good early morning, too. Some airport delays to expect, but only to 15 to 30 minutes, I think. D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, some wind. It could be a little bit slow there. But San Francisco and Seattle some fog and low clouds. It doesn't look like any big major weather event across the country should slow you down today.

Low across the East Coast, bringing some showers across parts of Pennsylvania into West Virginia, and even into the nation's capital, and a shower or two for New York City. A high of only 53.

Another cold front coming down for the week, like we never more cold there. But it's going to be slashing all the way down, even into Georgia, where highs in the 70s for most of the early week of Georgia, at least Atlanta, down into the 50s by the end of the week -- 56, Kansas City for today, 81 in Dallas, and a pleasant 68 in L.A.

Have a great day, guys.

PEREIRA: Looking at that map, even just a few weeks ago, there was so much red and yellow on the map. And now, it's --

BERMAN: It's a blue invasion. It's coming.


BERMAN: Coming up --


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Kathleen Sebelius, many people looking at this like a business decision. Should the president stick with somebody who has so far presided over what many think has been a business failure?


BERMAN: That's Warren Buffett, folks, on the record, on if he thinks the president should fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the Obamacare health exchange rocky rollout. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: This is one of Michaela's favorite songs ever. See what happens when you come anchor EARLY START, we bring you your favorite music.

Welcome back to EARLY START. It is time now for --

PEREIRA: "Primetime Pop"?

BERMAN: It is time for "Primetime Pop". The best -- the very best from CNN interviews, starting with Erin Burnett and the rocky road to the Obamacare health exchange.

PEREIRA: Yes, she spoke with Sean Spicer of the Republican National Committee about the troubled start and calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to step down.


SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: That's extremely concerning that you can botch something this important and this extensive, and not even think that I owe it to the American people, I owe it to the taxpayers. In fact, I owe it to the administration. Maybe they should bring in the A-Team, maybe they should bring in people who are qualified to run this program because that's what we need to.

What concerns me right now, Erin, is this thing has been botched so bad that I'm not so sure they know the difference between the A-Team, in terms of the tech people, and the A-Team that was on the TV show because that's how scary it is right now, in terms of how bad the rollout's been.

Let's just, looks like -- the one quick thing, yesterday, the White House brought in 13 people to bring in their pitch man Billy Mays activity where they talk about how these things run. They run in 13 people. The problem is only three of them have actually enrolled in Obamacare. That's how bad it is.

They can't even find 13 people that have actually enrolled. This is going to be health care by the DMV. And they realize they're in big, big trouble and they need more than the A-Team.


PEREIRA: Not literally suggesting that the A-Team come in?


BERMAN: B.A. Baracus, Faceman, Murdock and Hannibal.

PEREIRA: Who's your favorite?

BERMAN: I can name the whole A-Team. I love the A-Team. I have the van at home folks.

On Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta went on one-on-one with Kathleen Sebelius. This, folks, is a big deal. A lot said in this interview, really her first time sitting downstairs since the health care exchanges have been launched and the first chance to talk about the big problems on the Web site. Let's listen.


SEBELIUS: Well, I think it became clear fairly early on, the first couple of days that --

GUPTA: But not before that, though? Not before October 1st? There was no concern at that point in the White House or at HHS?

SEBELIUS: I think that we talked about having testing going forward. And if we had an ideal situation and could have built a product in, you know, a five-year period of time, we probably would have taken five years, but we didn't have five years.

And certainly Americans who rely on health coverage didn't have five years for us to wait. We've asked all of our contractors to look at their teams on the ground and bring in their absolute A-Team. And I am confident that that is happening every day. We also -- the presidential --

GUPTA: The contractors didn't do such a great job so far. Why didn't they bring in their A-Team in the first place?

SEBELIUS: I can't tell you --

GUPTA: Why are we saying three weeks now bring your A-Team into this whole equation?

SEBELIUS: We hope that they have their A-Team on the table. But I am talking to CEOs and urging them to make sure that we have the talent that they have available.

GUPTA: Did you ever talk about resigning to the president?

SEBELIUS: What I talked about is doing the job that I came here to do. This is the most important work I've ever done in my life.


BERMAN: Again, I draw your attention to the fact she didn't answer the question.

PEREIRA: She didn't answer the question.

And, finally, Piers Morgan sat down with three generations of Buffetts. Not just warren. But he did talk to Warren Buffett about weighing in on the government shutdown, the debt ceiling and what should happen now with Kathleen Sebelius.


MORGAN: Kathleen Sebelius -- many people see this as a business decision. Should the president stick with somebody who has so far presided over what many think has been a business failure in terms of the implementation of Obamacare. What do you think?

WARREN BUFFETT, BUSINESS MOGUL: Well it's a huge list. I'm a friend of Kathleen's, I'm a friend of her when she's in trouble. So, speaking on behalf of the Z-Team, I like Kathleen, I feel sorry for her, and the position she's in. Obviously, it's a huge screw-up but it will get worked out.

MORGAN: Warren, let me ask you quickly to the shutdown we just had and the debt ceiling crisis. Seems like (INAUDIBLE) seen in three years. There's always been some crisis involving Washington debt ceilings, shutdowns. How do we try to bring an end to all of this and actually move forward for the benefit of the American economy and the American people?

BUFFETT: I think that both parties should declare the debt limit as a political weapon of mass destruction which can't be used. I mean, it is -- it is silly to have a country that has 237 years building up its reputation, and then have people threaten to tear it down because they're not getting some other matter. It's just -- it's so disproportionate to other issues. So the first thing to do is just take that off the table.


BERMAN: It's the Buffett trifecta right there.

PEREIRA: The trifecta. Three generations.

BERMAN: Three generations of Buffetts. Lots of billions of dollars on that the table.

PEREIRA: Hey, whatcha doing tonight?

BERMAN: You know, I have plans for this evening. I'll be watching a game we like to --

PEREIRA: With special cup.

BERMAN: Yes, I hide in the corner. I cower underneath a blanket. It's what I do. It is the World Series in Boston, beginning tonight at historic Fenway Park! What can we expect other than panic at my house.

Andy Scholes will look to at the lineup to "The Bleacher Report", coming up next.

PEREIRA: You need to do deep breathing and get into your Zen place and just sort of --


BERMAN: Boston strong, folks. Those words have meant so much to so many people in the Massachusetts area, really all of New England all year from just after the marathon bombing. The Boston Red Sox led the charge from then until now. And tonight, game one of the World Series at Fenway Park against the Cardinals. PEREIRA: Yes, Andy Scholes joins us now with more and this morning's "Bleacher Report", between Michelle (ph) and John Berman, we're going to have to keep these two separated today. It's going to be intense around here.

ANDY SCHOLES, THE BLEACHER REPORT: You know it's serious, guys.

And, John, I'm sure not even you could have predicted the season that the Red Sox have had this year. You know, in just one year, they've gone from worst to first.

The secret of this success has been the team chemistry. Everyone on the roster has embraced the Boston strong mentality after the marathon bombings, whether it was visiting hospitals or growing beards, they did it together. Now, they find themselves back in the World Series the third time in the last 10 years.

And this series should be a good one guys. The Cardinals and Red Sox, they tied for the best record in the regular season. Game one tonight, first pitch is at 8:00 Eastern.

For all you ladies out there, ever want to learn the game of football and party with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at the same time? Well, here's your opportunity. Gronkowski is holding a football camp for women ages 21 and over during the Patriot's Bye Week. Participants get to learn the game and interact with Gronk.

But the best part is there's a cocktail hour before everyone hits the field. There will be beer, wine and my favorite, Gronktini. No word on what exactly a Gronktini is, but I'm sure it's awesome.

A high school football parent in Ft. Worth, Texas, has filed a bullying complaint against an opposing coach. Friday night, Aledo, who is year in and year out, one of the best teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, beat Western Hills 91-0. After the game, a parent filed a complaint. The thing is Aledo tried not to run up the score. The starters played only 21. They threw the ball only ten times hand a running clock going into the third quarter.

So, guys short of taking a knee after ever play, there's really no way the Bearcats could have avoided scoring so many touchdowns.

PEREIRA: Wait, wait, bullying?

BERMAN: Yes. I got to say, I am generally opposed to running up the score.

PEREIRA: Agreed.

BERMAN: I think it's silly, it's bad and whatnot.

But I don't see why it's bullying, especially as you said, Andy, this team did everything they could really to not score point.

SCHOLES: You can't sell the subs to not try?


PEREIRA: And there's such absolute bullying out there. I'd hate for this to dilute the conversation.

BERMAN: That is a fantastic point, too.

PEREIRA: Andy Scholes, we're going to just help this man breathe through today. We'll talk to you tomorrow.


BERMAN: Who do you want to win?

SCHOLES: I'm with you and your Red Sox, John, because nothing bad ever happens to the Cardinals.

BERMAN: That's fantastic. You come back then next hour. See you in a little bit, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

PEREIRA: Talk to you then.

We're going to take a short break here on EARLY START. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-eight minutes after the hour or one minute before the hour.

PEREIRA: Depending on your perspective.

BERMAN: Mariah Carey making her much anticipated comeback. Did she ever disappear?

Apparently, multiple injuries sidelined her and her last album project. The singer announced on Facebook that her new single, "The Art of Letting Go" will premiere on the social media site on November 11th.

Back in July, Carey dislocated her shoulder and broke her rib on the set of her music video.

PEREIRA: Chalk this one up to very odd celebrity confessions. Pop star Katy Perry recently admitting to keeping pieces of Miley Cyrus' and Taylor Swift's hair.

BERMAN: No, gross.

PEREIRA: Yes, Perry says that the first she went to the Grammy. She got to go to the locker room with the two and asked them each for a lock of heir hair. Apparently they complied. She apparently put bows on the hair and keeps them in their purse.

Can I get a pair of scissors? I think is this a good luck charm for tonight.

BERMAN: You know, I should keep a piece of Cuomo's hair in the office, which pisses him off because he needs it. You know, I'm just saying --

EARLY START continues right now.

PEREIRA: Chris, it had nothing to do with this conversation at all, this part about --



PEREIRA: Thousands of people have signed up. We know that people are getting through every day. It is not where we need it to be. It isn't as smooth as we want it to be.


BERMAN: Plagued with problems. The White House doubles down now to defend the Obamacare exchange. Rough rollout.

PEREIRA: A suspected al Qaeda terrorist on trial, why his wife says he couldn't have committed the crimes he's accused of.

BERMAN: And nuclear scare. Officers accused of sleeping on the job when they should have been guarding America's nuclear missiles.

PEREIRA: On that note, good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm in for Zoraida today. I'm Michaela Pereira.