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Kathleen Sebelius Apologizes Before Congress For Obamacare Website; Chocolate and Wine Prices May Rise; It May Be A Wet Halloween For Many Trick-Or-Treaters This Year; Coaches Under Fire For Blackface

Aired October 31, 2013 - 06:30   ET


KATE BOULDAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's time for our political gut check of the morning. Apologies all around it seemed yesterday on the botched Obamacare website rollout. Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama taking responsibility for it. Vice President Biden saying we apologize but what -- but will it restore confidence?

CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King is here joining us from Boston, of course, to break it all down. So John, we could talk baseball. I hope we can use some kind of baseball analogy in this whole thing. What did we learn in three and a half hours of testimony yesterday from Kathleen Sebelius do you think?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We learned, number one, that the Republicans just feel emboldened, Kate. And Chris used the term "pinata," I think rightly so. They just kept coming at her and coming at her and coming at her. And it was very important. We had talked about this earlier in the week and last week. As she traveled the country, you know, she was saying, well, you know, we didn't have enough time to test this. And one of the problems is Republicans trying to keep defunding the program. Yesterday she flipped from that, flipped from -- stopped trying to make excuses. And she said, "I'm sorry. I'm responsible. We're going to get it right."

You say is it enough? It won't be enough if we can start every morning like this with you saying, "Well, the staff just tried to logon to the website, and the website still has problems. It won't be enough if we keep getting surprises like the president promised people wouldn't lose their plan. Some people are losing their plan.

But you have to go through this to turn the page. You can't start rebuilding confidence until you take accountability and take responsibility. So in that light, potentially a page turner, but underline potentially.

BOULDAN: And they know that, especially in today's partisan environment, the hits are going to keep on coming on the administration from Republicans and others. Where does the administration, the White House, the president, go from here?

KING: Inside the hearing room yesterday, the Republicans were so tough, the Democrats did rally to the secretary's side quite a bit even though they asked some tough questions, too, on the politics. They were trying to help her a little bit.

Where did you go from here? The president came to this town yesterday to try to get people to lift their heads, to look over the horizon saying when Mitt Romney's healthcare plan, a bipartisan plan rolled out, only 100 people, 123 signed up the first month. Now the people of Massachusetts, years later, are quite happy, pretty happy with that program. So the president was trying to say, look, if you lift your head and look six months or a year or two down the road, this is going to be a good program. He may well be right.

We don't know the answer to that question yet. It was a good try by the president. They have to get through these embarrassing day after day stories to start rebuilding confidence. And one of the things that will help, Kate, is that Congress is going home for the year soon. So the volume, at least in Washington, will get turned down a bit. They'll have a chance to restore some faith in this.

BOULDAN: Now, that's a very good point. But before Congress leaves, another deadline I've got to ask you about, December 13th, when this Budget Conference Committee, the selected lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to come together and need to do something about trying to pass a budget. This was part of the deal after the government shutdown that we watched for 16 days. What do you think, what are you hearing are the actual realistic expectations of what's going to come of this?

KING: They've dialed back expectations some. Don't expect any huge grand bargain. Don't expect an agreement in the next several weeks on dramatic tax reform. You have Paul Ryan the Republican from the House, Patty Murray, the top Democrat from the Senate, both saying all the right things, saying they want to talk. They're both open to compromise. They're going to negotiate in good faith.

They say the right things, but when you start asking about the details: are Democrats ready to make big changes in Social Security and Medicare? Are Republicans ready to make tax changes that include new revenues? That's where you still get resistance. So right now, the atmosphere is good. There are still a lot of problems when it comes to the specifics. So it's not time to put up a clock yet, but we should have the control room staff having a deadline clock ready because we may dance through this again.

BOULDAN: And again and again. The issue continues to be new revenue taxes, however you want to label it. We'll be talking about that much more.

Thank you so much, John. Great to see you.

KING: The issues -- the issues are not new. It's just a question of whether you can get a break.

BOULDAN: Exactly and if the political will is there to actually do something. We will see, as I hate to say, but have to say. Thank you so much, John.

A lot going on, obviously. What's going on, Michaela? MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Can't we get him to run the bases at least? I want to see -- I want to see him jump kind of jump for joy out there because I know...


BOULDAN: He's back into John King political mode.

PEIREA: Back into reporter mode. I understand.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I know John King very well. He cannot jump.

PEREIRA: He cannot jump. He can run, though.

CUOMO: He can be joyful.


PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at the headlines at half past the hour.


PEREIRA (voice-over): A nation indeed celebrating, Red Sox nation basking in its third World Series title in nine years. Boston, those bearded wonders, routing the St. Louis Cards in game six at Fenway Park. It is certainly a big boost for a city that experienced such tragedy in April when bombers struck the Boston marathon. The last time the Sox clinched a World Series at home was 1918 when their star pitcher was a fellow by the name of Babe Ruth.


PEREIRA: Top secret meetings today in Washington. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will brief senators on the impact of U.S. led sanctions on Iran. The White House, encouraged by recent talks with Iran over stopping its nuclear program is -- nuclear weapons program -- is trying to head off any congressional action that could increase those sanctions.


PEREIRA (voice-over): In the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the city of Sanford, Florida, implementing new neighborhood watch rules. Civilian volunteers on patrol will not be allowed to carry a gun. The details on the revamped rules will be announced November 5th. Back in July, as you'll recall, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Here's a little something you should know the next time you open up your cupboard for some oregano or other spices. The FDA says that 12 percent of spices brought into the U.S. are contaminated with bugs, pest parts and hair. Not only that, inspectors also say seven percent of spices they tested were contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

And apparently, you can get busted for driving under the influence of Google. A California woman claims that she was stopped for speeding, but when the officer saw she was wearing Google glass, she got a second violation.

CUOMO: What?

PEREIRA: California law forbids video screens ahead of the front seat unless it's something like a GPS map. The woman might be able to argue she was using Google glass for navigation or had it turned off. I think this might be a first. Isn't that interesting?


BOLDUAN: Absolutely, but not the last.

PEREIRA: No, no, no.

BOLDUAN: Where's the law and technology, how do they intersect and are they up to date?

PEREIRA: They'll have to rewrite a new statute that says you can't Google glass while driving or something of the like.

CUOMO: GWD, Google while driving.


BOLDUAN: And I'm lost.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): OK, let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, controversy for two high school coaches. They wore blackface at a Halloween party. Now folks are outraged. Others, though, defending the coaches. We're definitely going to talk about it.

CUOMO: And as the lights flicker here in traditional Halloween fashion --

BOLDUAN: We didn't pay our bill again!

CUOMO: -- new excuses kids may be hearing from meager trick-or-treat offerings, "Sorry for the bag of pennies. Chocolate is too expensive." It's true. The price is going up a lot. We'll tell you why. And if you're in the a choco fan, the same holds for wine. Coming up.

BOLDUAN: Wow, that's impressive.


BOLDUAN: Finally, an appropriate usage of the (inaudible). Thank goodness!

CUOMO: A huge monkey over my back.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is money time, your money. And we have a scary story for you this Halloween. Chocolate lovers, wine lovers, listen up. The cost of buying your favorite treats may soon be skyrocketing. So what does this mean for your shopping budget? Christine Romans is here with more on this. Say it ain't so.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is the kind of story that qualifies as an economic emergency, quite frankly. When you're talking about chocolate and you're talking about drought in West Africa and chocolate prices, the cocoa bean prices going up, skyrocketing, quite frankly.

Look at cocoa bean prices, and look at cocoa butter prices up 63 percent. Now, so far they haven't really been passing that on to us, but you just wait, just wait. You might see they're going to put more raisins and nuts and other stuff--

BOLDUAN: Sacrilege.

ROMANS: -- in your chocolate bars so that they can put lower cost products in there to make up for the higher cost it's costing them to make chocolate. But watch this space. Also huge demand from emerging markets who, as they get more wealthy, want delicacies, sweeter delicacies. That means we're all competing around the world for a finite supply of chocolate.

PEREIRA: But we -- I've been hearing this for over a year. Are we now already seeing either a supply shortage in chocolate? Or am I going to see the prices already rising? Because I've been hearing this story for a while.

ROMANS: Watch for prices to rise. But I think you're going to see -- what I think you're going to see first are smaller packaging and other things in there. And they're gonna have to start to try to figure out other things to put in there to make up for the higher cost of the cocoa butter.

BOLDUAN: Portion control.

CUOMO: So same thing with wine? Are we just dealing with production cost? What's going on?

ROMANS: Wine is so interesting, too. In the United States, we consume more wine -- not me personally.


BOLDUAN: Sure. You are wearing purple.

ROMANS: We consume more wine than we make. And the Chinese are drinking more wine. The biggest wine consumers are still the Europeans. They're drinking more wean, but we're making less of it because of, again, weather related things. But basically, wine production down at a time when wine consumption is actually up. And that means prices rise.

CUOMO: Coincidence or, you know, supply/demand conspiracy? BOLDUAN (?): Or a world of lushes?


ROMANS: No, I mean, it is supply and demand out of balance. And, again, you're finding this issue, where -- a lot of people ask me about the boutique American vineyards, right? Maybe this is good for them. I think it is good for them. I don't think they necessarily fill the hole. Most of them are small, you know? So they don't fill the gap. And so, you could see wine -- start hoarding now, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's been happening for months.


CUOMO: Drunk pumpkin.


PERIERA: Spirit makers will also benefit from it, you know, like the vodka and rum makers and those other.

ROMANS: I think so.

BOLDUAN: When you're dealing with weather, and you're dealing with commodities like this, there's not much we can do about it.

ROMANS: When you look at the production, there's only so much land, right?


ROMANS: There's only so many places you can make the stuff, especially when we talk about cocoa and wine. Sometimes a vineyard, for example, takes a long time to add production or capacity.

BOLDUAN: Several years.

ROMANS: Right. So I think it's a really interesting space to watch, especially when other emerging markets are -- you know, growing middle classes, people want to live like middle classes. That's eating chocolate, and it's buying wine.


BOLDUAN: Go big on coffee and be careful on chocolate and wine when you're shopping this week.


ROMANS: Chris is scared to death.

CUOMO: I know. I'm trying to figure out what it all means. I do know this. It's all weather-related, right, because it's about their ability to supply. So, I will use that as a segue to Indra Petersons to talk to us about the forecast. It's going to be a good day for cocoa growing?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I so knew this was coming my way, especially on two things all women love. That is not fair that it's all my fault. Actually the big major storm I do want to talk about today for Halloween. And you can see how expansive (ph) this is. If you're anywhere from the plain all the way to the mid- Atlantic and the northeast here, even down to the southeast, you're going to be affected by this storm.

Fifty-three million of you will have the threat for severe weather. And look at the major cities here, from Detroit all the way down through Houston. We're going to have the threat for heavy rain, strong winds, even as strong as 60 miles per hour, and even an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. So, why? Why this late in the season? Look at all of the moisture that's coming in out of the south.

Look at this relative humidity. This is something you typically see in the springtime. This system that just produced snow in Colorado is now moving into this region. So, you have these two clashing air masses out there. And again, we can actually see all this moisture in the water vapor, really kind of filling into the Midwest.

So with that, and then you have this jet stream right over the area. You have that threat for severe weather. That is what we're watching. Heavy rain again in through Texas. We're talking anywhere from three to five inches where yesterday overnight they saw over ten inches of rain in a short period of time. So, flash flooding also going to be a concern.

And of course, winds even as high as 50 miles per hour. So, the big thing is it's Halloween. A lot of you are going to be affected. If you have any video, send it to us at tonight. We're going to show it out here tomorrow, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. Can't wait for those. Thanks so much, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, this Halloween, we're asking when does a costume go too far? Why? Celebrities and also you're looking at some football coaches from a high school that are being criticized. Why? They wore black face. Is that ever OK? We'll talk about it next.

PEREIRA: And watch out for vampires, scaring innocent bystanders on the street. It is our "Must-See Moment" today coming up.

CUOMO: I like that it was a big guy.


PEREIRA: I actually am concerned about that. I'm a little concerned about Nischelle Turner being after her Cardinals -- welcome back to NEW DAY. Real issue to talk about here.

Two high school football coaches near San Diego are now under investigation after a picture of them surfaced dressed up on Halloween and it was put up on Facebook. Take a look at this. Shows them dressed up for Halloween in blackface. They're dressed as the Jamaican bobsled team. The local chapter of the NAACP is calling for them to be fired while parents and some of the parents are rushing to their defense.

We'll bring in Nischelle Turner to talk about this. Halloween brings out all sorts of costumes.


PEREIRA: But let's back it up. Tell us a little bit more about where the coaches were and exactly what happened.

TURNER: First of all, just last week, we were talking about the University of Colorado dean who was putting out this letter to students about what kid should not do for hallowed. One of the things was don't dress up in blackface.


TURNER: So, we have these coaches in San Diego at Sara High School and they apparently did dress up like the Jamaican bobsled team for Halloween. They put this picture up on Facebook with the caption "cool runnings." Now, the fallout begins here because there was a parent who saw the picture on Facebook and thought it was offensive, called the school, and now, the coaches are under investigation.

So that's kind of where we are at this point with this. We don't know what's going to happen to them. They have apologized to their team, but they are still being investigated by the school.

BOLDUAN: There's been mixed reaction in the community about this, some understandably upset that they're not setting a good role model. They are coach in football team. They're not setting a good example for the players or anybody, but some of the players who've spoken out to some local media there, they're defending them, saying that this whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

TURNER: You know what, I have to tell you, Kate, this is what floored me, guys, because there are both black and white people that are coming to their defense and saying what's offensive about this? We really don't see the big deal. They were just dressing up like this for Halloween. There's a lot of players who said the coaches came to them.

They were very upset. They were very contrite and they apologized. They said that the coaches are good men. And they always tell them to have good morals and to be good people. One of the things that one of the players said is, they always tell them you have to represent Sara High School when you're outside of Sara High School.

Maybe they should have taken their own advice in this situation. But there are some parents, too, who are saying, no, no, no, you know what, this is not right. This is disrespectful to African-Americans and they need to be held accountable for this. So, there is a lot to be --

CUOMO: You think they're being defended because of the lack of intentionally involved?

TURNER: You know, and maybe so. And I think we've seen that in a couple cases that have popped up recently with Julianne Hough, as well, the actress, who dressed up in blackface like one of the characters --


CUOMO: My favorite character.


TURNER: But there you. But she dressed up like her for Halloween. And a lot of people are saying she's such a good person. She's such a nice lady. There wasn't malice and there wasn't bad intent behind it.

PEREIRA: But it does have a lot to do --

TURNER: But you got to think about the history behind blackface -- shows.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

TURNER: And a lot of people including myself just don't see the fun and the funny.

PEREIRA: Exactly. Hopefully, at the very end of this, obviously, investigation will happen. They can have a conversation at that school. There has some other school about the significance of black people, what it means to the African-American community.

BOLDUAN: And you've said, why do we even have to talk about it --


CUOMO: But it's also the part of the conversation always gets neglected. Mich is right that, you know, with political correctness, we focus on saying the right thing but doing the right thing usually in the back, the follow conversation. We always say we'll never have it. Why it's offensive? Why you want to be more sensitive about these situations? Hopefully, that's what comes out of it.

TURNER: And a lot of kids these days don't know the history of the menstrual shows and don't know how Black people were portrayed then and why it's so offensive. So, yes, they need to be educated.

PEREIRA: Got to start talking, folks.

TURNER: Exactly.

PEREIRA: Nischelle, thank you. And girl, we send you a big collective hug --


TURNER: I'm here, but I'm struggling. (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You have to say that the Red is because you support the city of Boston this morning.

TURNER: That is true. On both fronts. I'm a Cardinal till I die, but I do believe Boston strong.

PEREIRA: That's right.

CUOMO: Just like for us in the Yankee world, it ends today.

BOLDUAN: There you go.


TURNER: We start anew. It's a clean slate.

CUOMO: New story next year.

TURNER: I love you all.


CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, the Sox getting it done. Winning the World Series, more importantly, bringing joy to a city beaten down by an act of terror. We're going to take you live to Boston coming up.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, we're hearing from Vice President Biden in an exclusive interview, giving his response to the botched rollout of Obamacare and how long it will take to fix it. He's also speaking out about an issue close to his heart, coming up next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2013 World Series championship trophy.

CUOMO: The champions. Red Sox nation erupts in celebration as Boston takes the World Series. A city that endured so much this year. Is Boston now stronger than eve? We're live at Fenway.

BOLDUAN: Halloween soaker. A monster storm slamming the eastern half of the country. Strong winds and non-stop rain set to soak trick or treating plans across the region. We have the forecast.

PEREIRA: One-on-one. An exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden, apologizing for the Obamacare fiasco and opening up about a subject so few are willing to talk about.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold me accountable for the debacle.



ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been sick for so long that people start to forget about you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Halloween for a heart. It's a family friendly event to benefit Anna.

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


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, October 31st also known as Halloween judging by Kate's pumpkin costume this morning.

BOLDUAN: Unintentional.

CUOMO: Forget Disneyland. Boston is the happiest place on earth this morning and for good reason. Sox nation celebrating its third World Series title in the last nine years, well-played, and more importantly, well-deserved. Boston closed out the St. Louis Cardinals last night 6-1 in game six.