Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Obama: "I'm Sorry"; Is The Carter Name A Liability In Georgia?; California School Under Fire For Arab Mascot; Twitter Soars In NYSE Debut
Aired November 7, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next. Obama on offense.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: That's going to be good for business.
BURNETT: The president says, "Settle down. Obama care will be good in the end. Trust me."
Plus, another mascot controversy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the way it is. And we're proud of being Arabs.
BURNETT: And what if smoking crack was the least of your problems?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
BURNETT: The most infamous mayor in the world caught on videotape again.
Let's go "OUTFRONT."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett.
"OUTFRONT" tonight, breaking news. The president apologizing for his repeated promise that everyone can keep their health care plans if they choose to under Obamacare. It is a rather stunning reversal because as now you, us, everybody has heard him give assurance after assurance for years that if you like your plan, you are going to get keep it.
We of course know that to be false. Some people will lose their insurance plans even if they like that. Just moments ago, the president spoke to Chuck Todd of MSNBC and responded to the anger that some Americans feel about that promise right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I regret very much that what we intended to do, which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want them, as opposed to because they're forced into it, that we weren't as clear as we need to be in terms of the changes taking place.
I wanted to do everything to make sure people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this law happened. And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. We have to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: John King, John Avlon and Gloria Borger are here. John Avlon, you are sitting next to me so let me start with you. You heard the words, I am sorry, but you also heard a whole lot of things before. You know, I regret we might have misled. We were not as clear as we needed to be. He did not run into the "I'm sorry" part.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. This president has been very reluctant to really take the reins of accountability when it comes to this colossal screw-up with healthcare.gov. Now questions about where wasn't telling the truth to the American people on all sound bites, all those campaign stumps.
There is an old saying in politics when you are eating humble pie, you don't nibble in it. This president has a real problem eating humble pie. You got to scarf it down. This is an attempt to try to own it and say we are going to make it better, but you see the fundamental discomfort the president has with really saying, I'm sorry, I screwed. I was wrong when I said these things on the stump.
BURNETT: I mean, you really do, John King, you hear that. He just doesn't want to do that. Even when he said he's sorry, it is within the context of, but hold on, guys, your plan will still be better. The vast majority -- you know, he wants to keep making that point?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Was it Ronald Reagan who said facts are stubborn things. I think the timeline here, Erin, is very, very important. The administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, his administration knew in the summer of 2010 that as many of two-thirds in that individual marketplace, people who buy insurance would be impacted. That their plans might change.
As many as two-thirds of them in July of 2010 and the president went through an entire re-election campaign two years later telling the American people. You won't have to change your plan if you like it, period. That is the credibility ditch he is trying to dig out of. That might be a beginning, but it is a very modest beginning.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALSYT: You know, Erin, what was interesting to me, was the way the president seemed to be policing himself. This natural inclination given the way he sold health care reform would be to blame the insurance industry. They've always been the enemy, but he cannot blame the insurance companies now because they are in the market place together and they need each other to make this work. So they're collaborators now instead of enemies and so he can't say those bad insurance companies that canceled your policies, right?
BURNETT: With friends like these.
AVLON: Part of the frustration he is clearly feeling, on the one hand, he doesn't want to apologize for political purposes because Republicans have been railing against this forever. He is saying, look, this may be the cost of good intentions. The second point that goes to Gloria's point is that one of the reasons these plans are a little more expensive.
His subpar and optimal plan is because when the legislation was pushed through, that the insurance companies didn't want catastrophic plans because they wouldn't have gotten the necessary money to cover the new people they had to insure. So as part of the deal with the insurance companies to get this legislation through, they set up this problem. That's part of the frustration.
BURNETT: There is no one who will take that accountability. Sorry, John King?
KING: Erin, in saying sorry tonight, the president did something else though, he opened the door to something that is going to be very unpredictable. He said me and my team are debating the changes we need to make in this law. Well, he opens the door to changes. Guess what? He is not the only one who gets to suggest changes.
He has a Republican House who would love to repeal Obamacare. They know they can't, but they would love to repeal it, defund it or seriously derail it. Now you have a growing number of Democrats in the Senate who were up for re-election next year, who want to delay the penalty. Some want to delay the mandate. Some want to go even further than that. So once you open the door to changes, we go on a magical mystery tour.
BORGER: By the way, once you -- if you think about delaying enrollment, the problem is going to be that the policy, the cost of the policies is going to increase. So the president doesn't want to be responsible for an increase in policy costs as a result of delay because the web site was screwed up, right. So it is a kind of domino effect.
BURNETT: And of course, you do already have, you know, Senator Manchin already putting out tonight formally the legislation CNN had reported on. He wants to delay the penalty for a year, but to John King's point, you're going to start seeing people want the delay more than the penalty the mandate itself.
But what about when you say, OK, no matter how lukewarm it was and how, you know, unenthusiastic it was when he said "I'm sorry." It also opens the door to me of who is actually going to take the fall for this if someone is going to. And Chuck Todd also asked the president, John King, about Kathleen Sebelius. I wanted to play that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I think Kathleen Sebelius under tremendously difficult circumstances over the last four and a half years has done a great job in setting up the insurance markets so that there is a good product out there for people to get. You know, Kathleen Sebelius doesn't write code. You know, she wasn't our I.T. person.
I think she would be the first to admit that if we had to do it all over again, that there would have been a whole lot more questions that were asked in terms of how this thing is working. But my priority right now is to get it fixed and you know, ultimately --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she still the right person to do it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ultimately the buck stops with me. I'm the president. This is my team. If it is not working, it is my job to get it fixed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, the buck stops with him. He is not running for re-election. That doesn't really answer the question. Is he going on stand behind her, John?
KING: Nothing starts the conspiracy theories in Washington more than a non-answer and that was a non-answer. He didn't simply just say, of course, she's my secretary. I have full confidence in her. We all make mistakes. The president said the right thing the buck stops with him. It's something he had been reluctant to do, stepping forward and saying, I am responsible, is the right thing to do.
The American people give you a lot of grace when you say I'm sorry, I messed up and I am going to try to fix it. But he did leave some wiggle room there in the question and whether he -- I suspect he didn't. You know, when you interview a president, you get limited time. I know Chuck very well. He is a great journalist.
I'm sure he was thinking, I want to come back to this, but you're running out of time. The president did leave a little wiggle room there. But you know, he is in the middle of a mess right now and so firing her would create more of a mess for him.
He has to think about who is going to replace her. Would it be admitting that Republicans were right all along? You know, he doesn't want to create another set of problems. What this sounded like to me was for now she's here.
AVLON: But you know, obviously, the White House is in damage control mode. They're trying to contain it as much as possible, but from their perspective, their best case scenarios is that these will be hiccups, screw ups to be sure, but hiccups on the road to something better than what existed before. BURNETT: He's hoping once it starts working, the sign-ups are great, and all of a sudden, the math comes in and it works and in six months he's proven to be a hero and he could be. But that's what he's betting on.
AVLON: That's right. He is trying to put the focus on fixing it realizing there are so many other folks who really want to take this as an opportunity to derail it once and for all.
BURNETT: I'm just so excited, John King, that we're going on a magical mystery tour to talk about all these changes in Obamacare.
KING: You and john make a great case at the end, Erin, but patience and politics have never met.
BURNETT: I love it. He is full of the witticisms tonight. All right, thanks to all three of you. I really appreciate it.
Well, up next, will a Carter return to the governor's mansion in Georgia? Then a mascot controversy is actually, I may not this makes the redskins look time. Should a school be allowed to keep the nickname Arabs?
And then he admitted to smoking crack just two days ago, but tonight it got so much worse. We're going to have to play it for you. We'll be back.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, is the Carter name an asset or a liability? The 39th president's grandson, Jason Carter, is running for governor in Georgia. Democrats say he is one of the party's strongest candidates in 2014. Some argue he could actually win in a state known for being Republican to the core. Will the Carter name help? OUTFRONT tonight, our David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has the family name and the unmistakable Carter smile. But for Democrat Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, it is a tough road to becoming Georgia's next governor.
JASON CARTER (D), CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR: I never hear anybody who thinks my grandfather wasn't a good man, and again, that's the most important thing though.
MATTINGLY (on camera): How are you different from your grandfather?
CARTER: Well, you know, it is a different time, a different era and we've certainly got policy differences and we don't agree on every issue. I love him and he is my grandfather. He gives me advice and sometime I take it.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): And he'll probably need all the advice he can get. Georgia voters haven't elected a Democrat governor since 1999. Republicans control every statewide office. Partisan lines are defined strongly by race.
MERLE BLACK, EMORY UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Right now, statewide candidates in, for the Democratic Party in Georgia have a hard time getting more than 20 percent to 25 percent of the white vote. Jason Carter's challenge is to really increase the share of the white vote in Georgia. At the same time, really mobilizing large number of minorities to come out and vote for him.
MATTINGLY: And Carter may have to distance himself from his family's legacy to reach conservative voters. The Carter presidency is often labeled a failure by Republicans. Jason's father, Jack Carter, lost a bid for Senate in Nevada in 2006. Jason's cousin, James Carter, enraged Republicans by leaking the now infamous video of Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment in 2012.
(on camera): Is that going to help you or hurt you going forward?
CARTER: Well, you know, at the end of the day, this race is going to be about me and my ideas and whether the people of Georgia trust me to lead the state.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Carter knows he will need more than a famous grandfather to win in his home state. He says the Carter name is just a reference point for voters. The hard work comes in filling the rest in. Investing in education, making college more affordable, supporting the middle class are early themes behind Carter's campaign and fundraising is underway. For OUTFRONT, David Mattingly, CNN.
BURNETT: And our third story, OUTFRONT, a high school in the California desert feeling the heat for a controversial mascot, and in this case, it has nothing to do with American-Indians. It is not redskins. It is Arabs. Casey Wian is OUTFRONT.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this American high school, a belly dancer performs at halftime of football games. There is a sneering turbined mascot with an oversize nose and campus mural seemingly ripped from a 1920s Rudolph Valentino movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the way it is. We're proud of being Arabs. Coachella Valley High School teams have been known as the Arabs since the 1930s. The mascot's appearance has evolved, but the American Arab anti-discrimination committee says it remains offensive.
ABEB AYOU, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: It is portraying stereotypical images of Arab and Arab-Americans. The image of the Arab with the hook nose and the growling face coupled with the belly dancers and the murals on the wall really portrays stereotypical images that are adverse to who the community really is.
WIAN: They school district superintendent promises to work to address the group's concerns. DR. DARRYL ADAMS, SUPERINTENDENT, COACHELLA VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT: I understand what they're talking about, you know, being raised in the Deep South, I understand how things can be taken as stereotypical. I definitely look forward to meeting with Mr. Ayou to address his concerns.
WIAN: At the Coachella Valley History Museum, there is an exhibit dedicated to the link between this desert community and the Middle East. It began when date palm shoots from Iraq and Algeria were brought there by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1900s.
SARAH SEEKATZ, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE: It produces 95 percent of the dates grown in the United States. So it is a multimillion-dollar industry today and it is all from those date offshoots that were originally brought over from the Middle East around the turn of the 20th Century.
WIAN: Every year this community hosts a world renowned festival celebrating the date where they crown the queen. It is held at the local fairgrounds, which look like "Arabian Nights" movie set. They even hold camel races. Coachella Valley alum says their mascot about celebration, not discrimination.
RICH RAMIREZ, ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: It wasn't to discriminate. It was to say, thank you, Middle East, Iraq, Algeria, all those areas, we bought it from them, the date shoots and now the date industry.
WIAN: One of the closest towns to Coachella High is named Mecca.
WIAN: Both sides say they want to work together to resolve the controversy over the mascot. The school board is scheduled to meet later this month to discuss the concerns of the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Casey Wian, thank you very much. A fascinating story, I love that story. Still OUTFRONT, Twitter explodes as it goes public on Wall Street. How much did they make today and should you buy it? And it would be hard to believe a mayor smoking crack would have a worse day but we have new video.
Plus more from what the president is saying, a big change on a promise that he has made on health care and whether that web site is working. We have that. You'll hear the president as we break it down. We'll be back.
BURNETT: Money and power tonight. Twitter's huge day, the stock made a dramatic debut on the New York Stock Exchange. I haven't seen a crowd like the one that was around a trading post in years. I spent years reporting from that trading floor. There were so many people there crazy about Twitter. And while Twitter's stock was priced way above original expectations at $26 a share, it surged closing the day at $44.90 a share, up nearly 73 percent in a day.
After its IPO, Twitter is valued at about $24 billion, which makes it worth more than companies including Kellogg, Delta and Mattel. So how did Twitter get here?
BURNETT (voice-over): It was a hot day for a hot company on Wall Street for a reason. Twitter is young and growing fast. The powerful and the hip rely on it. Katy Perry released her new album "Prism" last month. She instantaneously received more than 46 million followers, 46 million people. The site is now a must have for celebrities, politicians and journalists. If you're not on Twitter you're not connecting with people. "New York Times" writer, Nick Bilton, is the author of "Hatching Twitter."
NICK BILTON, AUTHOR, "HATCHING TWITTER": I think that is really, it exemplifies what is happening with twitter and how it gives the people like the Katy Perry's of the world the control that they need to be able to talk to their fans.
BURNETT: When the co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, sent the first tweet in 2006 saying, just setting up my Twitter, Twttr. It was hard to imagine the success. Dorsey teamed with Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Christopher Stone to make Twitter what it is tonight, a site that generates 500 million tweets a day in more than 35 languages.
BILTON: Twitter started as an accident. It was an idea to be able to share what you are doing, to be to connect with friends and things like that.
BURNETT: So how did Twitter go from being a fun thing for four friends, an accident, into something so powerful? Well, Twitter has done thing like this, providing the first images of the U.S. Airways emergency landing in the Hudson River and giving the world real-time updates from a closed country showing thousands demonstrating in the streets of Tehran.
But the instantaneous nature of Twitter is a double edged sword. A bogus tweet from the Associated Press sent the Dow plunging 145 points earlier this year and the power of the tweet is strong enough to ruin a career. But success is about growing and making money. And Twitter so far has failed to turn a profit.
ROBERT PECK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SUNTRUST ROBINSON HUMPHREY: We have a situation where investors are paying for profits that they hope will come in the future.
BURNETT: But is it too soon to count Twitter as a failure on making money? Ad revenue, for one thing, is on track to more than double this year. Bob Peck follows the company for Internet equity research.
PECK: The Oreo commercial for the Super Bowl ad was absolutely fantastic. They immediately sent out a tweet with a picture of an Oreo covered half in darkness, half in light, and said you can still dunk in the dark. That ad immediately went viral and went to 16 million people almost instantly over the course of a day or so.
BURNETT: The key to whether it just another quick flash on the web or the real deal may come down to its youngest users. Surveyed showed Twitter has achieved one key landmark already passing Facebook in popularity among teens. While many of the tweets from teens and every one are mundane and meaningless, Twitter proves you can do everything from flirt to topple dictatorships in 140 characters or less.
BILTON: The way we interact with people it has changed the way we do politics, religion, revolutions, business.
BURNETT: Whether you're the leader of the free world, a regular person with ten followers or the most followed person on the planet, the truth is, Twitter has changed your world.
BURNETT: Would you buy it in let us know. You can reach me on twitter@erinburnett.
Up next, a massive storm, I mean, the most epic storm of the year and many, many decades and then the mayor video that you will not believe and then the sound of terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): I work here. I'm inside the store in the office with the door locked by myself. I'm scared and I want to get out of the mall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.
Well, we're going to be focusing for the next half hour on Obamacare and the news that the president has just made, saying for the first time, "I am sorry," but only under extreme pressure.
In an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, he also refused to fully back his Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and made some news on when that Web site is going to be working again, possibly opening the door -- Republicans in Washington, if you're watching -- opening the door to changes in the health care law itself.
We have all that coming up.
First, I want to get through some of the other key news we're following at this hour. I begin the Toronto mayor. A new video of the Mayor Rob Ford has surfaced. This time he is seen staggering around, making violent threats, that he's going to kill that guy. What guy, we don't know, nor do we know the full context, but that's what he said, and we want to play it for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY, THE TORONTO STAR) MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Because I'm going to kill that (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I'm tell you it's first-degree murder.
You think so, brother? But when he's down, I'll rip his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) throat out.
I will, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), when he's dead, I'll make sure that mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Just two days after admitting he had smoked crack cocaine, Ford yet again faced the media. This time he was a man of few words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORD: I just wanted to come out and tell you that I saw a video. It's extremely embarrassing. Obviously, I was extremely, extremely inebriated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Beyond that, all he could say he made mistakes. As we said, he is standing by his job and says he will run again.
CNN has obtained 911 tapes that show just how panic hundreds of shoppers were when Richard Shoop opened fire at New Jersey mall earlier this week. Some were so scared they went into bathroom stalls -- one woman frantically whispering in fear the gunman was near.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIPS)
CALLER: I don't hear any sirens here, so please hurry.
CALLER: Someone is shooting up Garden State Plaza right now. I'm in the bathroom.
911: OK, all right. Stay on the phone with me sweetheart. How many people in the bathroom with you?
911: Are they in your store?
CALLER: Yes. I work here. I'm inside the store, in the office, with the door locked by myself. But I'm scared and I want to get out of the mall.
(END AUDIO CLIPS)
BURNETT: Shoop later shot himself in the head. His family has said the only life he intended to take was his own.
And one of the largest storms in recorded human history, a super typhoon with the strength of an extreme category 5 hurricane making landfall in the Philippines at this instant. Wind gusts -- get this, get this, because you've never heard of this in the United States -- 245 miles an hour. The storm so large in diameter, clouds are spanning at least two-thirds of the country. That is the equivalent of a storm in New York reaching all the way to Chicago.
Well, President Obama spoke tonight to MSNBC's Chuck Todd on a range of issues, but the primary one was Obamacare. He defended, went on the offense about the fiasco that the government has experienced with the Web site, Healthcare.gov. Responding to charges the White House considered dumping President Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton in the 2012 election.
Here's what the president said when he was asked what would happen if the Obamacare Web site is not ready on November 30th?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FROM MSNBC "POLITICS NATION WITH AL SHARPTON")
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident that it will be even better by November 30th. And that the majority of people will be able to get on there. Having said that, given that I've been burned already with a Web site -- well, more importantly, the American people have been burned by a Web site that has been dysfunctional -- what we've also been doing is creating a whole other set of tracks. Making sure that people can apply by phone effectively, making sure people can apply in person effectively.
So, what I'm confident about is that anybody who wants to buy health insurance through marketplace, they are going to be able to buy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. I want to bring in our John King in now. Jim Acosta, of course, who covers the president and the White House, will be with us in a moment.
But, John King, let me start with you -- what do you take away when you hear that? They have put this hard and fast deadline and said look, it's just glitches, bumps in the road, stop using words like fiasco and debacle. It's going to be fine by November 30th. If you hear that, what do you think now?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard the president say, though, that he's not quite sure, he trusts what people are telling him. That he thinks it will be better but he's been burned before. And as he put it, more importantly, the American people have been burned before.
That tells you something -- that even the president now is not positive that this is going to get fixed in time. And you can understand his legitimate understandable skepticism.
So, what does that mean? The president is dead right, Erin, when he sees, you know, the enrollment period is through March. So, in terms of the large scope of the program, these problems -- let's use the word problems, other people use stronger language -- you know, can be resolved and we have time to get through it.
However, it's not just what is happening, it's when it is happening that makes it so important, because the other problems as well. The president's competence, the administration's competence is in question because of the Web site issues.
The president's credibility is at issue because of what he said, if you like your plan you can keep it, period, and he said that throughout the campaign two years after the administration started to realize that was not the case. So his credibility is in question.
But, Erin, where are we? We're just after the 2013 elections. The president's approval rating is somewhere in the low to mid 40s. There are a lot of Democrats on the ballot next year in 2014 who are very nervous and Republicans are already gearing up not just for 2014 but 2016.
This is dangerous political point for the president in a second term. If he starts to lose his own party and the American people start to doubt both his own confidence and his credibility, he is heading into some quick sand.
BURNETT: And a mysterious quick sand because, John King, you know, another question he was asked, which is something we've talked so much about, right? Which is, there's a growing perception, I'm quoting Chuck Todd here, that you're not always on top of some things. The idea you don't know certain things. He's referring to the Web site, he's referring to the NSA, he's referring to Snowden, he's referring to Angela Merkel's cell phone being tapped, to all of those things.
And, you know, the president doesn't really answer that question. He doesn't say, I know all of these things. I mean, partly, I guess, because he doesn't want to say he knew it if he knew it. But I mean, not exactly confidence inspiring.
KING: Part of it is, he didn't want to talk about the intelligence when it came to the Merkel thing --
KING: And he gives sort of takes you on a bit of a wandering answer, understandably so in some cases. This stuff is very sensitive and there's some stuff the president doesn't want to say publicly and sometime he hurts himself by keeping it private. But that's the call the president makes.
But I'll give you a moment for comparison. Remember when George W. Bush looked out from Air Force One at New Orleans during Katrina? Well, President Bush did not land that plane because at that sensitive moment, he didn't want to take all the police and the firefighters and all the political energy away from the first responders doing their job.
However, what did that picture come to depict? Because of other things that happened, other mistakes that were made both in Washington and in Louisiana. It came to depict a president who didn't care.
So, sometimes perception overwhelms reality. That's one of President Obama's problems at this moment in time, because when that happened for President Bush, the Katrina problems happened.
At the same time, the American people just gave up, even a lot of Republicans gave up on his ability to confidently execute the Iraq war. Not just opposition to the policy, even people who supported the policy gave up on the administration's competence to administer the policy in Iraq. And the second term for President Bush just disappeared at that point. There was nothing else he could get done. We reached a pivot.
President Obama, he's not there, but he is dangerously at that point. If you talk to some Democrats -- I ran into a very, very loyal friend of this president. Someone who served very high in the administration earlier today, who said this president better get and it get it quick because he is at a dangerous moment.
BURNETT: Get it and get it quick because then, of course, he is asked -- you know, the revelations in double down, right, which we've been talking about. That Rahm Emanuel had been involved in looking into focus groups of whether to replace Joe Biden as the vice president with Hillary Clinton. And he's asked, how could you have not known about that? That is pretty darn significant, right?
Let me just play how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MSNBC)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: Did you really not know your campaign was researching this idea of swapping Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton?
OBAMA: You know, I am in charge of 2 million people in the federal government. And that was true, by the way, even when I was running for president. So people do all kinds of stuff. Some of it, they clear with me. Sometimes, they're trying to figure something out, particularly on the political side. And I'm not somebody who delves into polling and all that data.
Here's the one thing I can say for certain. That if they had asked me, I would have said there is no way that I'm not running again with Joe Biden I genuinely believe that he has been one of the best vice presidents in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, obviously defending Joe Biden. But, you know, to say -- Biden is employee number one, right? He's like I watch over 2 million people. I might not know about this kind of thing.
Maybe true, but it comes off a little funny.
KING: Let me split that one in two. Again, not to make another Bush comparison but George W. Bush used to say I never read the polls. Sorry. That's like saying I don't like beer. President Obama studies the polls. President Bush studied the polls and mostly deeply involved in politics.
But his answer on Joe Biden, I believe 1,000 percent. Look, it would have been campaign malpractice for the Obama team not to research everything. That's what all campaigns do. Remember when the reelection campaign started, we're still at a very, very, very sluggish period of the recovery.
The Republican polling numbers were pretty good at that point. His history told you with unemployment so high, it would be very hard for the president to win re-election.
So, of course, they started everything. Did they share all that with the president? He seemed to indicate there they did not.
But this president has been very loyal to Joe Biden and I take him at his word. I do take him at this word, that if they had come to him with that idea, they would have had to have some pretty overwhelming data, because he does believe Joe Biden has had his back and they have developed a very good relationship.
BURNETT: All right. Certainly that made -- as you say, that appeared very genuine there.
Let's bring in Candy Crowley, she, of course, is the host of "STATE OF THE UNION", along with Jim Acosta, our White House correspondent.
Jim, you know, I want to ask you how hard it was for the president to apologize and to do that, I want to play exactly how he did it. So, I mean, we keep showing below on the screen --
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
BURNETT: -- the president saying "I am sorry." But you had to -- it didn't come out quite that cleanly so let me play what he said on that. He kind of, he talk around it a little bit. He said, you know, we regret, here are some other issues.
Here's that sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I regret very much that what we intended to do, which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want them as opposed because they're forced into it, that, you know, we weren't as clear as we need to be in term of the changes that were taking place. I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position -- a better position than they were before this law happened.
And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. We've got to work hard to make sure they know we hear them. That we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta, you sit every day in a room with the president. You see him interact with people. You see him interact with journalists like yourself.
He didn't want to go there but he did eventually say he was sorry.
ACOSTA: Yes. It is not difficult to imagine how this would have been very, very hard for this president to get to this point because presidents don't apologize every day. To hear that on national television, that is a big moment in the history of this presidency, in the presidency of Barack Obama.
But having said all of that, a couple things to point out, Erin, and that is -- one, the president did not apologize for misleading the country. He did not acknowledge that he misled the country when he said, if you like your plan, you can keep it. He basically apologized to those people who are getting those letters of cancellation in the mail saying that you're not going to get to keep the insurance whether you like it or not. So, that's one thing.
The other thing that I think is important to note, Erin, is that this is the apology that launch ad thousand bills on Capitol Hill. House Speaker John Boehner just put out a press release saying, OK, fine, Mr. President, you've apologized. You've said you are sorry about the fact that there are people who can't keep their health care plans out there. Well, how about you keep your promise and allow those people to keep their health care plans as they stand now?
And he says there's going to be a bill that will be voted on in the House next week. So, that's another thing.
And then I think the third thing you know, this maybe a pivot for this White House. The president is going to be going down in New Orleans, in Miami, tomorrow to talk about jobs in the economy and so forth. They may have want to get this out of the way, get this interview over with so the president can move on and do these other things. That's going to be very difficult.
The House Ways and Means Committee wants enrollment numbers by the end of the business day tomorrow. Darrell Issa's committee wants the chief technology officer for the White House to testify next week. The White House has said, no, you're not going to get them. And now, Issa's committee is basically saying, we may subpoena you.
So this is not over and this is a mess that's going to continue to be a problem for this White House.
BURNETT: And, Candy, what about the legislation that we're going to see? Because as Jim is saying, as John said earlier, the door has been open to modifying Obama care which historically the president has been open to. He was not in the context of the government shutdown.
But how much modifying of Obama care? Just delaying how long you have to sign up or real significant changes in what Obamacare means?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as much as the Republicans get and as little as the president has to give. So, somewhere in there it will be changed.
And here's what makes the difference is the Democrats that are saying we've got to delay this penalty. West Virginia's Joe Manchin now co-sponsoring a bill that would delay the penalty for those that did not get insurance.
So, something is going to happen. But the president is not going on want to give up most, I mean, give up much.
And certainly -- let's remember, this is his legacy. Yes, it's health care and it's policy but this is his baby. And so to disrupt it in any way, it is something that he doesn't want to do. I think that explains some of the reluctance of the apologies.
So, you will see a lot of bills. The question is, where will they meet with as little as the president can give and as much as the president, as the Republicans and some Democrats can take?
BURNETT: And John King when you hear the president give that apology, as lukewarm as it is, but he is getting, as we know it, a meeting at the White House yesterday with Democrats who are up for re- election, who are worried this is going to hurt them, how much is going to be willing to say eventually, if he does get more isolated on it, time will prove me right? If it doesn't prove me right before the next election, I don't care if you lose. Is he going to be able to do that?
KING: Now, you're asking a difficult question.
KING: Does the president -- at one point, they were saying do we have a remote possibility of taking back the House? Could we have a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate?
Most Democrats who are smart about politics think it's insane to have that conversation, history tells you the Republicans will make some gains next year, likely keep the House and possibly get Senate back.
So, this president, number one, personal survival dictates a lot of people's politics. But number two, Candy hit it right on the nail. Once he opens the door to changes here, you know, how much does he have to give? And what expense does that come, Erin?
Go back and read the president's State of the Union Address in the beginning of this year. Nothing he asked for. Nothing has been done.
And so, if we're going to spend another two, three, four, six months on health care when we're also just a month away from an alleged budget agreement that has to be made and then a couple weeks from then, we're back into debt ceiling mode again. And then we're into the midterm elections and people will start throwing around lame duck. If you're the president of the United States and you're looking at what you hope after a huge reelection win was going to be at least a moderately productive second term, you've got almost nothing so far.
BURNETT: And, Jim Acosta, that has to eat him alive.
ACOSTA: Right. Absolutely. The president had John McCain at the White House earlier today to talk about immigration reform. Where is that going to go right now with all these problems with Obamacare? How can they possibly have time to push that through Congress when there are all these hearings going on over the state of Healthcare.gov?
So, this is going to consume this White House right up into the holidays, perhaps through the holidays, and can you imagine what will happen to this town if that Web site is not working on December 1st? I can guarantee you that you, me, and every else on the show and everybody else in Washington will be on that Web site on November 30th or December 1st to see whether or not you can create an account. And if you can't create an account, this White House has a major problem on their hands because they said by December 15th, people to have sign up to have coverage starting January 1st.
Yes, they have three months in 2014 to avoid a penalty but you have to think that if this continues to go on, they're going to have delay all these deadlines because --
ACOSTA: -- from a practical standpoint, it's just not going to work anymore.
BURNETT: Which they haven't wanted to acknowledge up to this point.
John, I want to ask you one other thing, though, because they did also talk about Iran. When you think about the president, you talk about the issues he's having, right, saying that Syria could not have chemical weapon or else. And now, of course, Barbara Starr from the Pentagon has been reporting they're keeping the chemical women's. He's got all kinds of problems.
And on Iran, one of the biggest decisions the president has to make is how to handle Iran. Tonight saying that -- I'll quote him here, what he just said in this interview. "There is the possibility of a phased agreement in which the first phase would be us halting any advances on their nuclear program, rolling some back and putting in place a way where we can provide the modest relief by keeping the sanctions architecture in place, keeping the core sanctions in place."
That to me, John, is big news, because that's not saying I'm not going to up the sanctions. That's saying we're going to give them some sanctions relief, maybe without them making changes in the program. KING: Rule number one of negotiations on something so sensitive, that you normally have to give to get. The problem here is that the president has a very weak relationship with the Israeli prime minister and that sentence you just read is going to drive Bibi Netanyahu crazy.
KING: Because he does not want carrots extended to Iran. He's skeptical of this deal anyway. And, look, the president maybe on the verge of a landmark agreement and we want to see if they can get to the finishing point here. They believe that they're on verge of a landmark agreement that will actually get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. And if that's the case, that is a game changer in world affairs, not just Middle Eastern affairs.
However, at the moment, Bibi Netanyahu has been saying give them nothing. I'm skeptical they would do this any way and what he has said all along he thinks they will do, is give you a dale on paper so that you ease up the sanctions and then they won't follow through. And the president seems to be opening the door to some easing of the sanctions. He does say we can dial them back up if they don't keep their end of the deal.
But you can bet in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, tonight, they are reading this interview and they are not happy.
BURNETT: Certainly about that.
Well, thanks to all three of you. We appreciate it.
Next, of course, the president, will he be proven right if Obamacare works? Will he get last word and what will that mean for 2016?
BURNETT: All right, well, the president, yes, he said I'm sorry but he didn't really want to apologize because me believes in Obamacare, he believes in it with his heart and soul. And he believes he is going to be vindicated despite all of the problems. Here is what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MSNBC)
OBAMA: I've been very clear what I'm trying to do, and I think most people know that even if they disagree with me on certain issues, I'm every day working hard to try to make life a little bit better for middle class families and folks trying to get in the middle class who are doing the right thing and being responsible.
I think what most people I hope also recognize is that when you try to do something big like make our health care system better, that there are going to be problems along the way. Even if ultimately, what you're doing is going to make a whole lot of people better off, and I hope that people will look at the end product and they're going to be able to look back and say, you know what? We now have protections that we didn't have before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Joe Concha joins me now with Mediaite.
So look, he does believe in this and believes he's going to be proven right. So, here is the question -- let's just say he is proven right, and let's -- doesn't even have to happen before midterm. Let say he doesn't and the Democrats get slaughtered but he does get proven right and people end up being happy about this, does that -- what does that mean for the White House?
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: That's a big stretch you're saying, by the way.
BURNETT: Right, exactly.
CONCHA: Given the first five weeks, this is something I think this is going to go on --
BURNETT: Exactly that may not even happen. If it does, does that mean you have a Democratic White House sealed for --
CONCHA: Absolutely, but living in reality, being pragmatic, what you're witnessing here and I don't like to go into hyperbole but I'm going to do it. This is the end of the Obama presidency. This is lame duck status, and I'll tell you why.
Democrats have a hard time winning back the House in 2014. If you listen to Nate Silver, who's like Nostradamus, he was saying it's very slim already. Then the government shutdown, and they said, maybe there's a chance. Now this story will live this year, next year, higher premiums, higher deductibles, all these horror stories about losing your doctor because the press, media likes to focus on these things.
So, when you get to 2014, Republicans keep Congress, he can't get through anymore big ticket agenda items, he needs Democrats there controlling the House in order to that.
BURNETT: So, you don't think -- you're calling this too early, the lame duck.
CONCHA: No, I don't. I think it even goes worse than that. I think for Hillary Clinton, this is a big problem. Here's why: when she was in the Clinton White House, or at least she was in charge of the health care bill and she basically laughed out of the room, it didn't fly. Now, she's going to have to support Obamacare and if she doesn't, then she's going against her own party.
In order, she's going to own this as well and that's good news for somebody like a Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or whoever is the Republican nominee.
BURNETT: Ted Cruz as Republican nominee and that's a whole another conversation I'd love to have with you, Concha. CONCHA: Absolutely.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much.
And as you heard Joe saying, look, he thinks this is the beginning of what you're seeing right now of a lame duck presidency, let us know whether you think that's going too far or far.
Thanks so much for watching, "AC360" begins after this.