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NEW DAY

Red Sox Win; Boston Stronger; Red Sox Are World Series Champs; Wet, Wicked Halloween; Kathleen Sebelius Faces A Lot of Questions From Congress Regarding Obamacare Website; Google and Yahoo! Respond to NSA; E.U Delegation Seeks Answers Pertaining to NSA Alleged Spying; Chocolate And Wine Prices May Be Rising

Aired October 31, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning! Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, October 31st. You know what that means. Happy Halloween! It's six o'clock in the morning, very nice costumes.

(LAUGHTER)

You are looking live at Fenway Park where the celebrations are just finally ending after quite a nice. I want to show you two images this morning. They really capture it, OK? The first moment, here you go, right?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO (voice-over): This is the archetype, the Red Sox win it all. They pile on top of each other, team, team, team! No team shows it more than these guys - has set off a celebration across the city. And then this. This is the finish line at the Boston marathon last night. "We remember." That's what Boston strong is all about. And the fans took a moment to remember what happened there just six months ago.

(on-camera): We're gonna get inside the game, and, of course, its larger importance in just a moment.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And quite a moment it was. That's gonna be great to talk more about. But also ahead, an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden as he apologizes for the Obamacare web site rollout. He's the highest ranking administration official to do so, so far. This after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got the grilling she knew she would be getting on Capitol Hill. We're going to break down the contentious back and forth.

PEREIRA: And then, of course it is Halloween this morning. We have an absolutely terrifying blood chilling story to tell you about. Brace yourselves, everyone, chocolate -- the price of it may be going up and wine, too, if it couldn't get more frightening. There's a global shortage of both. The horror, clutch the pearls. We'll have more on that coming up.

BOLDUAN: But first we begin in Boston where the Red Sox are the toast of the town. The team winning its third World Series beating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games and they did it at home in Fenway Park. The first time that's been done since 1918, everybody. John Berman, a certified member of the Red Sox nation is live at Fenway. Morning, John.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Good morning, Kate. I'm an objective reporter. I'm objective about this whole thing and I can tell you what happened here last night was awesome objectively. You can see behind me there is still some cans and cups on the field here. It was a celebration like no other. There was really so much to celebrate.

This was the biggest turnaround in baseball history from worst to first. Then, of course, this was the first time the Red Sox had won a world series in Boston since 1918. The date people were remembering last night and this morning, not 1918 but April, the Boston marathon and the bombings that happened then in the journey from that moment to this moment, simply awesome.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Victory at home, at last.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is unbelievable.

BERMAN: Absolute jubilation flooding the streets. Red Sox nation celebrating their team's World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what Boston strong means.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing defines Boston than this moment right here.

BERMAN: The excitement reaching a fever pitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely amazing game, Red Sox, three times in nine years, doesn't get better than that.

BERMAN: Down on the diamond it was run --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes Gomes. He is safe.

BERMAN: After run --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is gone, 2-0, Red Sox.

BERMAN: After run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's 5-0, Boston.

BERMAN: An absolute blowout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn't happened at Fenway Park for 95 years! The Red Sox are world champions. BERMAN: The Red Sox winning it and winning it at home. The last time the Sox won in the shadow of the green monster was 1918. Back when Babe Ruth played for the team. Winning a season stunted by World War I. This is the third Red Sox tight until nine years, but this one is different. This isn't about breaking a curse like in 2004, this isn't even just about baseball.

This team that finished dead last in the American League East last year came to symbolize resilience in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings. It was this team that hung this shirt in their dugout and last night emblazoned the same on to their field, Boston Strong.

It was this team that broke into small groups and quietly visited the victims of the attack. It was this team that played ball at Fenway Park the day after the city was shut down in the final manhunt for the bombers. They opened the doors, filled the seats, came from behind and declared with no ambiguity --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our -- city.

BERMAN: This team, this bearded brawny group of bashers, this worst to first, tragic to magic collection of men proved there was prophecy in that profanity from David Ortiz. Now the people of Boston can say in unison, this is our city. This is our team. This is our championship.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: You know, my favorite quote from last night came from Jonny Gomes who was in left field for the Red Sox last night. What Jonny Gomes says is we didn't put the city on our shoulders. The city put us on their shoulders. Just the kind of team and just the kind of night it really has been here -- Chris.

CUOMO: John, you know all too well. You know from there and you know, you stood there after the horrible things that happened at the bombing. You knew how much this city needed this and boy did they deliver. So it's a beautiful moment. Enjoy it my friend. Red Sox nation, well represented on NEW DAY this morning. We have JB he had no red on by the way. Think about that. We have the other member.

BOLDUAN: Really?

CUOMO: Strong with Berman on Halloween. I like it. CNN chief national correspondent, John King, standing next to him, also Boston strong. How about Berman flexing the pecks on me on national television. I respect it.

I'll like it. We'll let it go. You deserve it. Take it there. John King, John Berman, the three of us stood there in Boston when the city was at its lowest point, when there was fear, when there was unknown. I know it is sports. But sports is often metaphor, never more properly perhaps than today, at least in recent history. What does it mean to the city?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "The Boston Globe" sums it up pretty good, Boston strongest there. It's been a horrible time for the city, but it was pretty quick the city did rally around this team. I know Jonny Gomes said the city carried the team, but the city needed something to be happy about. In this comeback story, the struggles of this team, a blue collar team, the worst to first team.

They put a lot of energy back into this park this year. That put energy back in the city. The city has always sort of rallied around the Red Sox especially a team that's not supposed to do it. For those of us old enough, three times in nine years is a miracle. I was here with my son last night. I said, dude, you have no idea what it's like to suffer. It's great to be filled with great baseball, energy and great passion. The city rallied around that, without a doubt.

CUOMO: J.B., speak to this because often what we do is we use this sport as a substitute, right. It's a -- you know, we forget about what's going on, become distracted by this instead. Certainly after 9/11 we all tried to do that. This seemed a little different to me. It seemed like it was embracing the Boston strong movement through this team, you know. It seemed different this time. Did it feel that way last night?

BERMAN: Absolutely, different on so many levels. First of all, just to get to the Boston Strong theme. These players were shut in their homes also during that manhunt on Friday as they were catching the bombers. They lived through this as well. They did go visit people in the hospital the week after the bombing with no press, no cameras. They would break into groups of two and three and visit a lot of the victims there.

I spoke to a victim in April who I talked to again last night and he reminded me how when the players can came and visited them. He gave pointers to the team. You have to change the way you're playing, step it up. This team felt intertwined.

The other thing I'll say, if you're a Red Sox fan, for 86 years there was a drought. You always thought they'd find a way to mess it up. They broke the curse in 2004, won again in 2007. When I was walking in last night, I think 38,000 people thought the Red Sox would win last night.

CUOMO: Without a doubt.

BERMAN: That's a big difference than it used to be here.

KING: To your point, Chris, people in the park were talking about the horrible tragedy and talking about it in a more page turning, hopeful way. I was fortunate. I was here throughout the playoff series. To share that with my son was a dream. But one of the moments where the whole place was cheered up.

You had young Jane Richard standing right there. She was the youngest victim of the bombing. She was here with a prosthetic leg, standing with her classmates, singing the national anthem. The place was wowed at her courage to come out and sing with her classmates. The city has paid tribute to the victim and drawn energy from the survivors. The city has rallied back in a small way. To see that, the small doses of people coming here to share their stories and recovery, in this cathedral, this is a special place, has been fabulous.

CUOMO: The marathon is going to be a big moment also this year when we kind of complete the cycle hopefully of moving on from the pain of the moment that all three of us witnessed great duration up there. This may be the best thing because I feel bad for the cardinals. You want every team to do their best. You feel best for their fans. People were rallying around the Red Sox. I mean, you know, New Yorker or not, I really felt --

BOLDUAN: It's not like it was handed to them. They played great baseball.

CUOMO: They really blew it out, which was a great way to do it. It wasn't even close, but here's the best sign, guys, are you ready? It's over. OK? It's over now. We go back to the old rules. I felt that this morning when I looked at the newspapers, they won, that's great for them. Then I started to feel the feelings that should be there for you guys. That's why I wore the blue and the gray and the white this morning because you're the champs now.

BERMAN: He's happy that he can hate us again.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly --

CUOMO: We're back to where we should be. Things are normal again. You guys overcame great adversity. You're the world champs. Enjoy it.

KING: He didn't gloat when the Jets beat the Patriots. Now he's trying to gloat. The Yankees, they are playing professional baseball.

BERMAN: People were asking me how much I slept last night. I didn't sleep last night. You know who was sleeping last night? Yankee fans were sleeping last night. See you in April. See you in spring training.

KING: You asked for it.

CUOMO: Before the peck flex I was afraid to do this. Now that he's flexed those, that's Big Papi's car out there. We're going to steel it, I think.

BOLDUAN: No more peck flexing until next hour.

CUOMO: Congratulations, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. It's great to talk politics and policy, but also great to talk baseball this morning.

CUOMO: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And it's over. Halloween is expected to be a pretty wet one and potentially dangerous from Texas to the Midwest and along parts of the northeast. Millions of people may be dealing with these severe storms. Indra, you warned us about them yesterday and they are still on their way.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're talking about 53 million people today in major metropolitan cities from Detroit down through Houston under the threat for severe weather today, winds stronger than 60 miles per hour, heavy rain and even the threat for tornadoes all in the forecast today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS (voice-over): Heavy rains fell in Central Texas overnight causing flash flooding in Austin. Several counties in the area had to evacuate as surging water engulfed the roadways. A massive storm in the nation's mid section is brewing up a wicked pot of wind, hail and rain, turning Halloween into a ghoulish soaker from Texas the Midwest and northeast.

Golf ball-size hail fell in Nebraska and Kansas, meanwhile be blinding rain and howling winds snapped power lines. Driving was nearly possible. Further south, 3 inches of rain fell in just four hours in Livingston, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trick or treat.

PETERSONS: Trick-or-treaters in Cincinnati, Memphis or Houston may have to delay or cancel their Halloween plans tonight as strong storms are expected to dump 3 inches to 5 inches of rain.

MARK JONES, CITY OF CLINTON COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: Thursday afternoon we will make a decision as to whether to cancel the (inaudible).

PETERSONS: The last-minute costume shoppers are already thinking of alternate plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the ladies we trick or treat with is going to have a Halloween party at her house if it rains.

PETERSONS: If the storms become severe, the safest thing to do is stay inside.

JONES: We don't need anybody getting hurt at a time when it's supposed to be fun.

PETERSONS: The east coast is no stranger to Halloween soakers. Last year, residents in New York and New Jersey were cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy and the year before it was a record-breaking nor'easter that dumped snow across several states.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS: Detroit, St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis, I can go on and on, all the way down through New Orleans and Houston. These are major cities that are under the gun tonight. Again, we are talking about winds as strong as 60 miles and heavy rains so flash flooding concerns outside of Austin. It's 15 inches of rain possibly that has fallen, three inches to five inches in the forecast today, one to two across the area.

But again the threat of those strong winds combine and even the threat for an isolated tornado still in the forecast tonight. Just take a look at these winds, gusts as high as 43 miles per hour in Buffalo, in through New York City, also seeing some strong winds especially the system works its way east overnight.

So past trick or treating you are going to see the spread really into the northeast and mid-Atlantic overnight. So even though we mentioned the 53 million people in the severe weather threat we're still talking from the plains all the way to the northeast, all of us will be dealing with the storm tonight.

BOLDUAN: Dealing with something.

PETERSONS: Yes.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Are you impressed that Indra is able to do the weather with such serious demeanor while staring at a gorilla?

PETERSONS: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Can we show this?

PEREIRA: This is happening today.

CUOMO: The man is dressed in a gorilla suit. Then he said he was dressed as me is what his costume is.

BOLDUAN: The shocking thing, this is actually our camera, he's been wearing a suit up until now.

CUOMO: That's true. This is actually the real dean. That was very professional.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at the headlines. We are going to talk about the president's approval ratings to start off. President Obama's job performance rating has sunk to an all-time low. A new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll finds the president's approval rating singeing to 42 percent, down five points from earlier this month and 51 percent of Americans disprove of the president's job performance. That ties his all-time high.

People under 21 will soon be banned from purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products in New York City. The city council voting overwhelmingly to raise the legal age from 18 to 21. The bill also includes electronic cigarettes. The smoking restrictions will take effect six months after Mayor Bloomberg signs it into law.

All of Syria's chemical weapons production facilities have reportedly been destroyed. An international watchdog group had given the government a November 1st deadline. The group now says it has verified that equipment from all 23 of Syria's chemical weapons sites have been entirely destroyed. In the meantime, a Senate committee today will hear testimony from U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford about the ongoing civil war in Syria and the prospect of peace.

The Justice Department joining a lawsuit against the firm whose background checks helped NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis get security clearances. United States Investigations Services, based in Virginia, is accused of failing to perform quality control reviews in its investigations of potential government workers.

Check out the White House. It's getting beautified, or boo-tified, for -- well, that sounds weird -- for Halloween, lit up in orange and purple lights, decorated with jack-o'-lanterns, balloons, cobwebs, all in anticipation of very special visitors this evening. The president and first lady will welcome military families and trick-or-treating kids from the neighborhood. Imagine if the White House is in your neighborhood. What are we going to get?

CUOMO: A long security line.

PEREIRA: A long -- yeah. That's true.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, we've heard the apologies now from Kathleen Sebelius, the vice president. Why? Obvious, the Obamacare website. They're pledging to get it fixed. The question: is that enough?

BOLDUAN: And the startling new accusation against the NSA. The agency says it was not peering into Google and Yahoo's databases. But what it is not denying is also raising more questions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Happy Halloween.

Apologies all around. The White House taking responsibility and defending itself. The president also on the offensive vowing to fix the troubled healthcare.gov site ASAP as the vice president made his own mea culpa. But what has happened so far? And on Capitol Hill, members of Congress apparently thought Kathleen Sebelius was dressed as a pinata for Halloween and beat her down verbally accordingly.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is at the White House this morning. Brianna, you may use the pinata line whenever you like.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I might steal that, Chris. Good morning to you. As we speak at this point, healthcare.gov is experiencing another outage. And what's interesting is that Americans who were struggling to logon, well, President Obama can commiserate with them because Vice President Joe Biden has revealed that the commander in chief has actually tried to logon himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR (voice-over) The highest ranking administration official to apologize for the rollout of the federal Obamacare website.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We assumed that it was up and ready to run, but the good news is, although it's not, and we apologize for that, we're confident that by the end of November it will be, and there will still be plenty of time for people to register and get online.

KEILAR: Vice President's Biden's comments came in an exclusive interview with CNN's sister network HLN, and it followed another high profile mea culpa.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECY.: Let me say directly to these Americans, you deserve better. I apologize.

KEILAR: Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled Wednesday when she faced a House Committee led by Republicans looking for scalps.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, (R)-TENNESSEE: Michelle Snyder is the one responsible for this debacle.

SEBELIUS: Well, excuse me, Congresswoman, Michelle Snyder is not responsible for the debacle. Hold me accountable for the debacle.

BLACKBURN: OK.

SEBELIUS: I'm responsible.

KEILAR: The hearing got downright weird at times.

(UNKNOWN): Well, Madam Secretary, while you're from Kansas, we're not in Kansas anymore.

(UNKNOWN): I was in the third grade there, and I thought I saw you on a tricycle.

(UNKNOWN): Ever used a coupon?

SEBELIUS: Yes.

KEILAR: One White House official told CNN that actually helped their cause as they confront a flood of criticism, but Republicans continuously pointed out the website was suffering an outage during Sebelius's testimony. And this comment seemed out of touch with reality.

SEBELIUS: The website has never crashed. It is functional, but at a very slow speed.

KEILAR: President Obama made his own case in Boston, addressing his campaign pledge that if you like your plan, you can keep it for the first time since some Americans have seen their policies canceled. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law, and you really like that plan, you are able to keep it. That's what I said when I was running for office. But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans, what we said under the law is, you've gotta replace them with quality comprehensive coverage.

KIELAR: Obama spoke at Faneuil Hall, where Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts's universal healthcare plan into law in 2006. And he took aim at Republicans for opposing Obamacare.

OBAMA: If they worked with us like Mitt Romney did, working with Democrats in Massachusetts, or like Ted Kennedy often did with Republicans in Congress, including on the prescription drug bill, we'd be a lot further along.

KIELAR: In a written statement, Romney countered Obama before the event saying his state's plan, quote, "should not be grafted onto the entire country."

(on-camera): And Romney called the installation of Obamacare, quote, "a frustrating embarrassment." He did not take kindly to President Obama showing up on his turf, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Brianna, thanks so much. The back and forth will no doubt continue. But I can just say, at least for our staff, the website is still experiencing problems. Folks on our staff still not able to get on this morning. That is a big problem for the administration.

Let's move now to another controversy. This one for the NSA. A new report is claiming the spy agency is secretly monitoring internet traffic between two online giants, Google and Yahoo!, and in the process snooping on millions of Americans. It's something the agency directly denies, sort of.

Let's bring chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to explain. He's in Washington. Good morning, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, good morning. It's been interesting to hear from the NSA on this, denying they spy on the servers themselves but not on the links those servers. Picture cables under the ocean carrying billions of bits of data a second. Now, the agency will argue that's its job to spy on foreign targets overseas. But it is another way the NSA seems to have expanded its global reach, exposed by not the kind of document you'd expect out of the NSA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Explained in this simple hand-sketched drawing, complete with a smiley face, may be a newly disclosed way the NSA is monitoring the internet. The Washington Post citing documents stolen and released by Edward Snowden reports the intelligence agency has tapped into the communications link such as undersea cables connecting Yahoo! and Google data centers around the world. And because those links are overseas, they can do so without any oversight from the U.S. government.

This is not NSA chief delivered a partial denial.

GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, NSA DIRECTOR: This is not NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that.

SCIUTTO: As did a written statement from the NSA to CNN saying, "The assertion that we collect vast quantities of U.S. persons' data from this type of collection is not true." But the NSA did not deny it accesses links between the servers or communications of foreigners carried on those links.

Reaction from Google and Yahoo! was swift and angry. "We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping," said Google, "which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links." Yahoo! said, "We have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency."

Two European delegations upset at allegations of NSA surveillance in their countries met face-to-face with the White House and the NSA chief who told them all NSA intel gathering in Europe is done in collaboration with European intel agencies.

So I asked them, does that make the Europeans hypocritical for criticizing the U.S.?

CLAUDE MORAES, HEAD OF E.U. DELEGATION: We want to get to the truth of why there was mass surveillance. We have a set of allegations that talks about mass surveillance of our citizens.

SCIUTTO: By and Americans and Europeans, or just by Americans?

MORAES: Whoever it was, whatever partnerships there may have been, whoever it was, we want to get to the truth of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO (on-camera): That E.U. delegation and a German delegation both went to the White House yesterday to talk spying. The White House telling the -- they talked, quote, "how the dialogue can best proceed in order to provide the necessary assurance and strengthen our cooperation, the White House putting the best spin on it. But the Europeans are looking for an agreement that sets clear rules and limits on what allies spy on and what they don't.

Kate and Chris, as I've said to you a number of times, what really gets them is the spying on leaders of allies. And that's something the White House has said it is going to take a look at.

BOLDUAN: And when you're working in the business of secrets, though, hard to come to that kind of an agreement, I guess. Jim, great to see you. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Remind me, the president has an encrypted Blackberry and all that stuff for a reason, too, right?

BOLDUAN: For a reason, I would think.

CUOMO: Seems a little one-sided right now, this discussion.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, it was a grilling on Capitol Hill. Kathleen Sebelius facing very tough questions and apologizing for the problems with the Obamacare website. Did she do enough or is the damage already done?

John King will be back with our political gut check in the morning.

CUOMO: And this is really scary. Gotta grab a lot of extra chocolate when you're trick-or-treating today. No joke. Prices are on the rise. We'll tell you why. It's a supply issue.

BOLDUAN: What's going on on our set?

CUOMO: I don't know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)