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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Obamacare Transparency; Australia Wildfires Raging On; Red Sox Takes Game One

Aired October 24, 2013 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now it's Democrats on the attack? Democratic politicians now criticizing the White House and demanding accountability for the Obamacare Web site and its rough rollout.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A bitter taste of winter for a very big large part of the country this morning, waking up in temperatures that are 20 degrees below normal.

Good morning. How cold it's expected to get.

BERMAN: It's that bitter taste.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when I look, there is a car in my house. I had my shotgun ready.

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BERMAN: There is a car in my house, folks. A burglary and a high- speed chase ending with the truck smashing into a man's California home.

ROMANS: Whoa.

BERMAN: The driver's arrest, the whole thing, caught on camera.

ROMANS: That's rude awakening.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. About 32 minutes after the house.

ROMANS: All right. Congressional hearings on Obamacare begin this morning and the blame game, oh, it is in full force. Private contractors that built the healthcare.gov Web site are expected to tell House lawmakers the problem launch is not their fault.

In the meantime it appears the White House is ready to try something new to feed the need for information on the Obamacare rollout. The rollout at least of that Web site.

CNN's Casey Wian has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What a difference a day makes. Under mounting pressure in Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration will begin providing daily briefings on Obamacare.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So there'll be regular briefings as Secretary Sebelius' instigation that would try to answer your questions and provide as much information as possible.

WIAN: So far, answers about the Obamacare rollout have been hard to come by.

CARNEY: Again, I would refer you to HHS about what information they have and what they're able to provide.

WIAN: It's not unusual for the White House spokesman to walk away from reporters as he did Tuesday --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Trying to help this situation?

WIAN: -- when he was still being questioned about Obamacare but it is an example of the tension in Washington over scarce information.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How much is this costing taxpayers' money? As a long time Washington reporter before you took this job, obviously, that would likely be something that you felt was a right to know. Will we get that information from HHS? Could you --

CARNEY: Well, I would address your question to HHS. I don't have that information. I don't -- you know, and this is an operation being run by HHS.

WIAN: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was quick to recite some numbers in an exclusive interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: We've had a million, 100,000 calls. We've had 19 million people visit the Web site, 500,000 accounts created and people are shopping every day so people are signing up.

WIAN: But creating an account is not the same as signing up.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: How many people have signed up?

SEBELIUS: We'll be doing what we've done with every other program, Medicare Part D, we have done it with CHIP. We will give monthly enrollment figures. We've said that since the beginning.

WIAN: Republicans are seizing on the secrecy.