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Deadly Storms; Feds to Investigate Death of Teen; Book: Biden Was Almost Replaced; Interview with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

Aired November 1, 2013 - 08:00   ET


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

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Friday, thank goodness, November 1st, 8:00 in the East.

The east -- new this hour, to say got off to a slow start would be an understatement. We're learning now just how bad it was. We're going to talk to White House spokesman Jay Carney about damage control and also this, claims that a new book they say Obama/Biden 2012 could have been Obama/Clinton.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I want to want to hear from him. How do we move forward? That's all what we want to know, right? How do we get past what's going on down there.

And also, we're going to talk to you about the mysterious death of Kendrick Johnson, a teenager found rolled up a mat in his high school. Blood ignored, evidence perhaps mishandled. Federal prosecutors now stepping in, reopening and reviewing the investigation and an answer to Kendrick's family's friends. But will there be more answers after that? We'll take a look.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has been following the trial of a Utah doctor on trial for murdering his wife. Well, Martin MacNeill could see some of his old acquaintances in court today, inmates that MacNeill met in prison are set to testify against him.

BOLDUAN: But, first this hour, it's a wet and windy mess for many of you along the eastern U.S., strong winds ripping through Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York City, trees and power lines came down.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons is tracking it all for us.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we're really talking about the strong winds into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

And take a look at all the damage we saw yesterday spreading through the Ohio Valley. We saw 173 reports of wind damage and five tornadoes reported in Louisiana and Illinois.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PETERSONS (voice-over): A massive storm moved through the Midwest overnight wreaking havoc on Halloween for millions and leaving at least two people dead in its path. Heavy rain and strong winds as high as 40 miles per hour toppled tree after tree, even flipping these semis on their side in Missouri, at least ten structures destroyed in northern Arkansas, in central Texas, more than 1,000 homes were evacuated as rivers and creeks overran their banks.

The National Weather Service reported more than a foot of rain across the area. Emergency lifeboats and helicopters rescued dozens stranded on rooftops.

ARMANDO ZAMARRIPA, AUSTIN, TEXAS RESIDENT: Water came too fast. There wouldn't have been time to get the people out of the houses.

PETERSONS: Hundreds of homes and cars left partially submerged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they don't know how to cross that water, it will get you in the ditch.

PETERSONS: In Austin, rushing waters flooded the roadways. Most drivers played it safe while others dangerously navigated through streets overtaken by floodwaters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we're pushing him out.

PETERSONS: Even pushing vehicles stalled by the rapid currents.

The city's iconic downtown statue up to its waist in water, symbolizes the immense power of this Halloween storm, as this large cold front moves east today, packing winds as high as 60 miles per hour, it may snarl air travel and cause commuter headaches in major cities up and down the I-95 corridor.


PETERSONS: It looks like we're still talking about severe thunderstorm watches right now, including Philadelphia, also just west of D.C. What does that mean? Winds as high as 70 miles per hour, can be out there, also looking at even some strong winds running through all of New England, mid-Atlantic, Northeast are all talking about winds as high as 50 and 60 miles per hour and really gusting out there this morning.

So, currently, keep in mind -- if you're heading through LaGuardia we are talking about delays over three hours out towards Philly, almost two-hour delays, thanks to the strong winds throughout the region. As far as rain, that's not the big story, but we will still see a rainy day, one to two inches in the Southeast, and Northeast about an inch, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Indra, thank you very much.

We're going to talk to you about a glimmer of hope for grieving Georgia parents. Their 17-year-old son was found dead in January rolled up inside a high school gym mat. It was very curious for a lot of reasons. Police ruled it quickly an accident.

For nearly a year, the family has fought for a review of the case, suspecting foul play but a least wanting the right questions asked. Now, federal prosecutors are stepping in and it appears they'll finally get what they wanted.

CNN's Victor Blackwell has been reporting on this story for months, pushing these questions that now hopefully we'll get some answers. He joins us from Georgia.

Good morning, Victor.


Two major developments over the past two days and possibly one more to come today or on Monday. The Johnsons never believed the official story their son Kendrick went into a gym, in a middle of a school day, climbed into a six-foot mat for his shoe, got stuck and died. They believed he was beaten, rolled up and put into the corner and the story about the shoe is a lie, that they believe it is a cover-up.

They've asked the U.S. attorney to look at this case and Michael Moore, the U.S. attorney for this region has said he would. He said, "Facts, not feelings and opinions no matter how sincere are the basis of a legal investigation." He knows a lot of people are passionate. He's calling the FBI to get the facts. That's the federal case.

On the local level, a tech expert will continue working today to try to retrieve almost 2,000 hours of video in and around the gym where Kendrick was found dead. That's a result of a lawsuit filed by the Johnsons, joined by CNN. That video could be handed over as early as next week.

Now, the coroner in Lowndes County, he will make an announcement possibly today, more likely on Monday about his decision to open an inquest, the result of a second lawsuit by the Johnsons. They want a court to force him to order this inquest.

If the coroner gathers a jury of five people with one alternate and they determine that Kendrick died as a result of a homicide and not an accident, as his death certificate reflects currently, no matter the opinion of the Lowndes County sheriff's office, Kendrick's death certificate will be changed to a homicide. It will be forwarded on to the district attorney and that will open a parallel local investigation as well.

Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: This is a very developing story as we speak. Victor, thank you so much for the update.

Let's talk more about this, now that the investigation will be launched into the death of Kendrick Johnson. What are the next steps?

Steve Moore is here to tell us about it. He's a retired supervisor, special agent for the FBI, joining us from Washington this morning. STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Steve, thank you very much for coming in.

A lot of moving parts with this investigation now being reopened. I think what many people will wonder is why is the U.S. attorney getting the FBI involved? What is the motivation?

MOORE: I think right now there could be several things. Number one, there could be somebody on the side saying there's information that you, that the locals don't know that I want to give to you because I don't trust going to the locals with it, but more likely, it's that they're after the Trayvon Martin case and because of this region, and some real strong concerns about whether certain people get justice.

I think it's important that the United States attorney go in and answer questions about a crisis of confidence there.

BOLDUAN: And what are the next steps? What should people be expecting?

MOORE: Well, you're going to have to go back through the autopsy step by step by step.

BOLDUAN: That's confusing and conflicting just that element.

MOORE: That is immensely confusing because you're going to see certain things that will indicate a certain type of death, but they can also be consistent with a different type of death. For instance, like petechia, the little -- almost like gin blossoms that come from a person who's been mechanically asphyxiated, say they couldn't get a breath like they're saying down there, that could also happen if a person's been laid with their head far down after death, same kind of thing regardless of the cause of death.

So, there are conflicting indications, even in the autopsy.

BOLDUAN: So clear this up. So the FBI is now involved. They're going to be starting to look into this. Does that necessarily mean though that there will be a federal crime, a federal crime, any federal jurisdiction here?

MOORE: No, excellent question. I think again there's a crisis of confidence among people of color in that area, because of the Trayvon Martin case. The United States attorney, in my opinion, is going in with an abundance of caution to make sure that regardless of the outcome, it's been looked at carefully. You can't just have this many people say we're very concerned about this and ignore it and say oh, don't worry about it.

I think they need to go in and think of this as a medical second opinion, somebody's coming in, and they're either going to side with the, not side, they're going to say that the evidence supports what the Georgia authorities say or they're going to say they didn't get it right, and then they proceed from that point.

BOLDUAN: How quickly do you think this will move?

MOORE: I think it will move very quickly. This is something where the FBI is real good at moving resources around the country. They can put as many resources as they need right on site immediately and I think this could be something that's being directed from where I am, Washington.

I think the attorney general might be saying we have got to, we can't have another Trayvon Martin here. Go down, find the true story, wherever the chips fall, we're going to come out and tell you the truth.

BOLDUAN: Of course, they made clear they're not going to pre-judge the outcome of the investigation but at least the family can take comfort in the fact the death of their son will be getting another look.

MOORE: They deserve that.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Steve Moore great to see you as always. Thanks.

MOORE: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Michaela?

PEREIRA: All right. Let's look at the headlines at this hour. Biden out, Clinton in?

A new book quoted "The New York Times" claims the Obama campaign considered replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the 2012 ticket. Top Obama advisers reportedly researched whether the former first lady could boost the president's re-election chances. The book says it was determined she would not substantially help with voters and that is why Biden stayed.

Ten schoolchildren from Kansas safe after a scary bus crash. Their school bus plunged off a bridge into a creek flipping onto its side. The children were amazingly not injured. They managed to climb out through a hatch and were safely rescued on top of the bus. The bus driver, though, was trapped for more than an hour before a swift water rescue team pulled him to safety. He's now being treated for hypothermia.

The stepmom of a girl charged in a deadly cyber bullying case in Florida is out of jail on bond. Vivian Vosburg was in jail on child abuse charges. The sheriff in Polk County says a video on Facebook showed Vosburg beating her children. She, for her part, denies the charges. Her stepdaughter is one of the two girls charged with bullying a 12-year-old girl leading to her suicide.

A dangerous chase in Michigan caught on camera, that car being driven by 22-year-old mom, her children are in the back seat, those children 1 and 2 years old. Police say the mom sped away from the scene of a hit-and-run and led them on a high-speed chase.

When she finally stopped it took three officers to subdue her. She is in jail, her kids are okay and reportedly with their father.

PEREIRA: Look at this billboard in Hollywood. It's sparking all intense debate in social media. It shows a U.S. soldier embracing a Muslim woman with #betogether. What is it promoting you wonder? Snore prevention spray and pills of all things.

The company says the idea behind the ad is that the product keeps marriages together. Provocative and not for what you think it might be.

BOLDUAN: That is a head scratcher.

PEREIRA: It's a head scratcher and a head turner.

CUOMO: As a result I don't get it, because for me it's got to be that obvious.

PEREIRA: If you have to think about it --

CUOMO: If I have to think about it forget it, calories burned, idea wasted.

PEREIRA: At least the calories are burned.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: dramatic dash cam video, a hero police officer shot in the face and get this, she keeps pursuing the bad guys. We're going to tell you her story.

CUOMO: We've been talking about the provocative questions, political dish and this new book. Was Joe Biden the vice president almost pushed off the ticket? Was that a real thing going on?

And we have White House Press Secretary Jay Carney here, he'll talk about that and also the things that matter to you about what's going on with Obamacare, what's going on with spying. We'll get answers, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

A new book says Vice President Joe Biden, nearly knocked off the ticket ahead of the 2012 campaign. There are also reports that despite huge amounts of hype, only six people signed up for Obamacare on its first day. A lot to talk about, so joining us now to give us answers to pressing questions, White House press secretary Mr. Jay Carney.

Jay, thank you for joining us.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Chris, thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right, let's start with dessert first, shall we?

CARNEY: Absolutely.

CUOMO: This book, these reports about the vice president --

CARNEY: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: -- that there was due diligence being done, maybe Hillary instead. You're aware of these. Important perspective coming from you. You work with the president now. You worked with the vice president as director of communications. Do you believe it? How true is it?

CARNEY: Well, what I can tell you, Chris, is two things. One, campaigns test everything. They -- they run everything through the polls and focus groups. Whatever proposition it is, they test it out. What matters here is I know for a fact that President Obama never considered this, never thought about it, never entertained it.

The vice president has been a partner of his from the 2008 campaign on. He's been an excellent governing partner and an excellent campaign partner, so, you know, again, campaigns test everything. But as the book itself says, this was never considered by the president.

CUOMO: You think there will be surprises to the vice president in this book?

CARNEY: No, I don't think so. Again -- well, I haven't read it. I've seen some reports about it. But look, campaigns are filled with emotion and ups and downs and highs and lows. But when it comes to this particular issue, you know, do campaigns test things, the answer is yes, but that doesn't mean that they're seriously considered, or, in this case, even entertained by the president.

CUOMO: All right, and we know that there are a lot of people around who may have been entertaining it, but that's the intrigue of politics.


CUOMO: Now I say let's move on to the matters of the people's business at hand, Jay. The numbers about early returns of who is signing up with Obamacare are terrible. That's just how it is. They're very low. The real question is, how are you going to handle not getting to critical mass, which is the key to making this affordable Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act? That's the affordable piece, is this pool of coverage. What do you do if you don't get the numbers you need?

CARNEY: Well, first of all, we are going to get the numbers we need. We believe we're going to get the numbers we need. We have a six- month open enrollment period for that reason. And, look, the numbers that have been cited in these reports are from notes, and by definition, when you have a website that isn't functioning well, you're going to have problems, and we've owned up to that repeatedly.

This is a -- nobody is more upset than my boss, the president of the United States, with the fact that the website hasn't been working well. That's why he's made sure that we have, you know, really smart people, extra eyes, extra brains on this problem working 24 hours a day to improve the user experience.

When it comes to low numbers early in the enrollment stage, I think we have to look at Massachusetts, which under Governor Romney introduced a health care reform plan very similar to what the president is introduced here, and in their first month of enrollment, only 123 people enrolled for premium paying plans in Massachusetts. In the end, they had massive enrollment towards the end of the enrollment period.

So, you know, we always expected enrollment figures to be low. We were saying that before October 1st. Obviously the website problems have made it worse, but that's why we're working every day because the website is just a means to an end. The end here is getting affordable health insurance to Americans who haven't had it in the past.

CUOMO: I got a question/suggestion about what you're gonna do to fix the website in a second. But a tangential point is, 5 percent of plans that may have to be switched over, you don't get to keep your doctor; you don't get to keep your plan even if you want to, playing on what the president's original promise was -- plays out into millions and millions of people. Is there a fix there that you're considering? Are you considering having your side sit down with the Republicans and come up with a fix for those millions of people?

CARNEY: Well, sure. Thank you for -- for saying in the top there that we're talking about the only possibly affected population here is 5 percent, and so it's only a fraction of that 5 percent that is getting letters from insurance companies saying, you know, your current plan doesn't meet minimum standards. You didn't have that plan prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so you can't be grandfathered in. Then you have other options, all of them with better minimum benefits than exist now.

CUOMO: Right, but they force a lot of things --

CARNEY: And, what they need to do --

CUOMO: -- on people, Jay. They force things on people they may not need, maternity care for people who don't want it, levels of care for people who don't want it. They want the bare bones. Does there need to be an adjustment? They're more expensive.

CARNEY: Well, first of all, what is very important is for everyone watching here, if you're a part of this small sliver of the population, you need to make sure you find out what your options are because in so many cases many, many, if not most of the cases, you're going to find out that you get better insurance -- that's a guarantee -- better minimum coverage, and at the same or lower cost because you'll qualify for a tax credit.

So, look, if the argument is, you know, over whether or not there should be minimum standards for health insurance plans, we absolutely believe that there should be. That is the point. And, yeah, if you're a single male, you may not need maternity coverage, but you may need mental health services and you don't want your insurance company telling you that they, in the fine print, carved out an exception and won't cover the very condition that you have.

That's what the individual insurance market has been like for decades, and that's what the Affordable Care Act fixes so that people have the security that they need and deserve. That's what the president wants, and that's the goal here. We have a website that's not functioning properly. We have other issues to deal with, but we can't forget what the end goal here is, which is health security for the American people.

CUOMO: The idea of how to fix the site, OK?

CARNEY: Mm-hmm.

CUOMO: Now this is a little bit of a segue, but what's going on with the NSA and with spying? It seems like every day there's a new page of revelations about how they can figure out anything online, get anybody's information anywhere in the world whenever they want. Are you using the best people, like the people at the NSA, to consult and help fix the Obamacare website?

CARNEY: Well, that's an interesting proposition, but I would say that we have brought some highly qualified experts to bear on the problem with the Affordable Care Act website. Those professionals in the National Security Agency and elsewhere in the intelligence community are focused on one thing and one thing only, and that's keeping the American people, keeping our troops abroad and diplomats abroad safe, and keeping our allies safe.

So, you know, we need -- we need talent across the board. And that's what they do. There's no question that these revelations have caused some tensions in our relationships, but I think the fundamental fact that the American people need to know is the National Security Agency is focused on foreign intelligence targets, those individuals and groups out there in the world who have as their primary focus doing harm to the American people, doing harm to our allies, and they do a great job every day.

CUOMO: So isn't leadership on that issue then for the president to push off all of these attacks about spying and who we're spying on and whether it's right? If it's so important, especially in a post 9/11 world, isn't the strength of leadership saying, 'Look, we spy. You may not like it; that's how it works. We're not going to reveal too much about this. If you don't like it, think about it in the next election,' these ideas of reviewing plans that the president may say don't spy on certain people anymore, is that dangerous, playing politics instead of leadership?

CARNEY: No, I take your point. Look, the president's been very clear. You know, our intelligence community is there for a reason because there are threats in the world against us and our allies, and we have to meet those challenges. But he's also said that over the past decade, because of the explosion of technological advances that have given our enemies new tools and have given us new tools, you know, we have a different world when it comes to intelligence gathering.

And it's absolutely appropriate that we review what we do so that we can make sure we're not just doing what we can do because we're technologically capable of doing it, but we're doing what we need to do to get the intelligence we need to keep us and our allies safe. So he's committed to the review. But he's also committed principally to protecting the American people.

CUOMO: Jay Carney, thank you for your time this morning. Appreciate the access.

CARNEY: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a Texas police officer is shot in the face during a routine traffic stop, but she wasn't about to let the suspect get away, if you can even believe it. Her remarkable story is just a ahead.

Also ahead, you've seen the ads of course for men's Axe body spray. It's supposed to make women weak in the knees, right? Well, it had a very different effect in a school classroom. Why did it send eight grade schoolers to the hospital?


PEREIRA: And welcome back to NEW DAY on this Friday. It's time for the five things to know for your new day.

At number one, much of our nation taking a hit from a massive storm system that's being blamed now for at least two deaths in Texas. Today heavy wind is expected all along the east coast.

A White House bombshell in a new book. "The New York Times" says the author of "Double Down" reveals that top Obama aides considered taking Vice President Joe Biden off the 2012 ticket and replacing him with Hillary Clinton.

CNN has learned CIA security officers will testify before a House intelligence subcommittee. They are expected to give a more detailed explanation of the terror attack on the Benghazi compound in Libya that killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last year.

A harrowing ordeal and a narrow escape after a school bus plunged off a bridge and into a creek. Those children on board escaped unharmed. The driver's now being treated for hypothermia.

And at number five, que the duck boats (ph), the victory parade for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox being held tomorrow morning. The parade route is the same as 2004, when the Sox won the first of their three World Series in nine years. We always update those five things to know, so be sure to visit for the latest and freshest. Kate?

BOLDAUN: Thanks Michaela.

An amazing story to tell you about now from Texas, a police officer going truly above and beyond and doing her job despite being shot in the middle of it all.

CNN's Pamela Brown is here with much more.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she is truly a hero. It was supposed to be a routine traffic stop Saturday morning, and it took a terrible turn. It was all caught on dash cam video. Today Officer Ann Carrizales is recovering from her injuries and pleading with the public to help find two suspects still on the loose.


ANN CARRIZALES, VICTIM OF SHOOTING: Shots fired, shots fired. I'm hit.

BROWN (voice-over): This dramatic dash cam video shows the terrifying moments right after Stafford police officer Ann Carrizales made a routine traffic stop around 4:00 a.m. Saturday. As she approaches the car, a passenger suddenly pulls out his gun and shoots her twice according to police.

CARRIZALES: I'm still conscious.

BROWN: One bullet hit her police vest. The other pierced her face. Wounded and in serious pain, police say she managed to return fire before getting back in her car and pursuing the suspects in a high speed car chase.

CARRIZALES: We went over Green Briar (ph) onto Trinity (ph).

BROWN: Despite her injuries, Carrizales, a former Marine, chased the suspects for seven minutes through the streets near Houston.