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Monster Storm Strikes the Philippines; Preventing 20,000 Heart Attacks Per Year; Democrats Anxious Over Obamacare; Breakthrough Looming in Iran Talks?; Interview with Tony Dorsett; Super Typhoon Strikes Land; Was Yasser Arafat Poisoned?; Dancing in the Face of Adversity; President's New Apology for Obamacare

Aired November 7, 2013 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a massive storm, one of the most intense in recorded history, strikes with catastrophic force in an area where hundreds of thousands of people are very vulnerable. We'll have an update.

Steps to prevent thousands of deaths each year from heart disease, but it means your donuts, French fries, popcorn may not be quite the same.

And the NFL hall of famer, Tony Dorsett says this hit was like a freight train hitting a Volkswagen. Now decades after getting pounded on the football field, he's been diagnosed with signs of a brain disease and is struggling with some of the routines of daily life. Tony Dorsett opens up in my one-on-one interview coming up this hour. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It's a monster, one of the strongest storms ever recorded. A super typhoon, like a category 5 hurricane just slamming into the Philippines with sustained winds close to 200 miles an hour. That country desperately trying to prepare for a catastrophic assault just a month after an earthquake displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

CNN's Andrew Stevens is standing by in the Philippines but let's begin with Chad Myers right now.

Chad, how bad is this likely to be?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Probably the worst storm they've seen in decades, if not longer, Wolf. 195 miles per hour. Now they don't fly airplanes into the storms out there like we do and I'm not sure I'd want to be in that airplane anyway at 195 miles per hour, slamming into the east coast now of the Philippines. Making landfall as we speak, as what would almost be a category 6 hurricane if we had such a thing. So we call it a category 5 or super typhoon. Winds are gusting to 235 miles per hour in that eye.

But one more thing, Wolf. A lot like Sandy, which was a wide lumbering storm, this, too, is a big storm, half the size of the country. And that's going to make a tremendous storm surge. We already know from buoy data that there are winds out there over 50 feet high. Those will be crashing onshore, making a tremendous storm surge, and then going through the entire country of the Philippines south of Manila by a couple of hundred miles.

But still, they will be felt. There will be damage in Manila. And then right over here, the next stop, that's Vietnam -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So is it going to pick up steam as it heads towards Vietnam? Will it calm down? What do we anticipate?

MYERS: It's going to get a little bit churned up over the Philippines. There are some mountains there. Hurricanes don't like mountains so it will get slowed down a little bit but probably category 3 or 4 for its secondary landfall with winds about 125 miles per hour there not that far -- and just south of where we think about Vietnam itself.

A very big storm and it's going to turn to the north then on head up toward just to the west of Hong Kong. The size of this will just take in many, many countries -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a tragedy potentially in the making right now. An awful, awful storm.

Chad, stand by.

Andrew Stevens is in the Philippines. He's joining us now live.

What does it look like from your vantage point, Andrew?

ANDRE STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, in the last hour or so, it has significantly picked up pace here. Just -- I've just been talking with a storm chaser just then, he's come down to part of this, he's standing close to me. And he was saying that the last gust we had just before we started this live was about 80 miles an hour.

Now this storm is predicted to get a lot, lot stronger than this. The latest we're getting from the Philippines National Weather Center now is gusting up to 380 kilometers. That's 235 miles an hour.

And now we're just at the beginning here. The storm as we know has made landfall about 400 kilometers from where I am in Tacloban City, but is expected to move its way down towards here. We are expecting at this stage at least to get possibly a direct hit here.

I don't know how much you can see behind me, but we're about one mile or so away from the waterfront. Very, very windy. People have now basically hunkered down and getting ready -- already riding this storm out.

BLITZER: Andrew, do they have precautions there? Are there secure structures where you are in the Philippines?

STEVENS: Yes, Wolf, we actually moved. We were at a -- at a strong looking hotel on the waterfront but we decided just with the storm surge, potential storm surge, to pull back in so we'd come back into town into what appears to be a pretty strong structure. Now on the way to this hotel we are at now, we went to the main shelter which is the basketball stadium in the center of town, a big strong concrete structure. But it does have a metal roof. It's enclosed but does have a metal roof. Now whether that will be able to withstand 200 mile an hour plus winds, we don't know. 5,000 people there, Wolf, which is not many people at all.

There have been evacuations, thousands evacuated, but in the storm's path, there are millions of people and it's not just the low-lying areas, too. Not just the storm surge. It's the hillsides. It's the potential for flash flooding, the mudslides, the landslides, it's all that as well. And you can't take too many precautions other than evacuate.

And what we've been hearing so far, and the information is quite patchy, Wolf, is there hasn't been mass evacuations. The president of the Philippines has been on national television last night to say that we are doing all we can and we are standing by and we will help those affected in every way, but certainly no news of mass evacuations at this stage.

BLITZER: Well, good luck to all the folks in the Philippines.

Andrew Stevens, we're going to check back with you, so be careful over there. A massive, massive storm heading your way. Thanks very much.

Let's move on to some other important news we're following. Including a news involving stuff we eat. Doughnuts, fried chicken, French fries. We all eat them but guess what, they may never taste exactly the same.

The FDA now says that the price we'll be paying for preventing thousands of deaths from heart disease every year is a change in these products. It took a big step forward today, eliminating or moving the process forward, the process of eliminating trans fats.

Let's bring in our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, to explain how this impacts all of us -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'll tell you, some people say that this change or this proposed change has been a long time coming, getting a dangerous ingredient out of our food.


COHEN (voice-over): Many of these foods will likely need a makeover, from margarine to pecan pie to quiche to microwave popcorn because many of them contain trans fats. And today the Food and Drug Administration took the first steps towards saying no more.

MICHAEL TAYLOR, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, FDA: Well, trans fat has long been recognized as a significant cause of heart disease. We are taking this action because we think it's time to address and really phase out the remaining uses of trans fat in the diet so that we can reduce the incidents of heart disease and deaths resulting from heart attack. COHEN: It used to be thought that trans fat, which comes from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, was healthier than animal fat. But now scientists know that trans fat is terrible for your heart. Trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. The FDA estimates that getting trans fat out of foods will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

(On camera): The FDA is actually a little late to this game. New York City, the state of California and many other places banned trans fat in restaurants years ago, so Wendy's took it out of their frying oil, so did McDonald's and many other big chains.

Now the grocery store, that's a different story. In the grocery store, you can find pies that have trans fats, margarine, cookies, biscuits, and one of the biggest culprits of all, microwave popcorn.

(Voice-over): Trans fat won't come out of foods immediately. It will take at least several months. The FDA has yet to set a definite timetable.


COHEN: Now a consumer group petitioned the FDA to get trans fats out of foods 10 years ago. So while many people applaud the FDA for what they did today, some say they really could have saved tens of thousands of lives if they had done it earlier -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Elizabeth, thanks very much.

Just ahead, are we about to see the next big showdown between the White House and Congress over Obamacare? Lawmakers demanding to know how many people have actually signed up.

And I'll interview the NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. He's now suffering from the signs of a major brain disease, likely brought on by those devastating hits he took on the football field.


It's like it's a freight train hitting a Volkswagen.



BLITZER: Wiped out on the football field by brutal hits like these, now the Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett is suffering from devastating consequences. He's opening up to me about his recent diagnosis.


BLITZER: So is another showdown brewing between the White House and Congress over Obamacare?

As the administration struggles to defend the program lawmakers are now demanding to know just how many people have actually signed up. Let's go live to our chief -- our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, who is standing by.

What's the latest, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, fair to say the White House did not answer the question today on whether the administration will comply with the subpoena issued by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp for those Obamacare enrollment numbers. Camp wants those numbers by the end of tomorrow and asked whether the agency issued that subpoena, the Center for Medicare and -- Medicaid services would deliver those numbers.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney accused Republicans of trying to score points but Carney reminded reporters that the White House has already pledged to release that information next week and he echoed what the president said last night in Dallas, that they believe the Web site will be fixed by the end of the month, but as for those numbers, yes, they will be underwhelming.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If the purpose is to point out, which I'm sure it is, that enrollment numbers will be low for October, take it from me, they will be low in October.


ACOSTA: And I did talk in just the last few minutes with a spokeswoman for that committee who said that they have not yet heard from the White House as to whether or not they are going to be receiving those numbers tomorrow. Meanwhile, Republicans are keeping up the pressure on the president's pledge, if you like your plan, you can keep it.

House Speaker John Boehner released a Web video today showing the various times the president repeated that vow but White House officials are standing by that pledge -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes. That's not going away, this debate.

All right, Jim Acosta at the White House, thanks very much.

It's not only Republicans who are putting the pressure on the White House when it comes to Obamacare.

Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. There are a bunch of Democrats now who are nervous, they are worried, and they are putting some pressure on the president as well.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: They're putting a lot of pressure on him. It's why the White House invited 15 Democrats, senators who are all up for re-election, Wolf, to the White House yesterday. They did it because they need, these folks need to be able to go back home and say to their constituents you know what, we're putting pressure on the White House to get this thing fixed, but these senators are concerned about a lot more than the Web site, Wolf.

They are concerned about the people who have lost their insurance, what's going to -- happen to them. They are concerned about the security issues. They are talking about the potential increase in prices that people will pay, and they also believe quite frankly that the White House has not focused enough on these potential landmines down the road on the Affordable Care Act so they're trying to keep the pressure up.

BLITZER: Do both parties basically need to go back and reassess where they are, where they've been, where they're going, go back to the drawing boards, if you will?

BORGER: Look, obviously, the Democrats realize they've got some problems on Obamacare beyond the Web site. They also know that coming down the road, Wolf, they might have their own little civil war cooking over the question of spending cuts which is going to be another issue we'll be dealing with around Christmas.

But Republicans are clearly trying to figure out what happened in this last election. It didn't settle any arguments for them but I think overall, when you look at the Virginia race, the social issues loom large, the question of immigration looms large, and I think these are things Republicans understand now that they better have one single game plan or they can't get elected to the White House. So nothing's settled.

BLITZER: Listen to a little clip. This is the president last night in Dallas.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing drives me more crazy than the fact that right now, there's great insurance to be had out there, choice and competition, where people can save money for a better product except too many folks haven't been able to get through the Web site.


BLITZER: Now he's obviously frustrated, as we --

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: As we all know. Probably no one is more angry about this than he is. He didn't mention the line --


BLITZER: About if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.


BLITZER: He did on Monday, he added a conditional clause if --

BORGER: That didn't go over so well for him, did it? Yes. (LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: And he avoided the whole subject yesterday.

BORGER: Yes. He avoided it because he was trying to thread the needle. That didn't work out so well for him. Look, what I'm told was the president was originally going to go out and kind of try and push traffic to the Web site, drive young people to the Web site. Obviously, that plan has changed, because if you're driven to the Web site, you are going to be driven to distraction at this point. So what he's trying to do is say to people don't give up on the policy because they understand more than anybody that if you don't get those young people who might be discouraged right now to log on and to sign in eventually, then the whole risk pool is a problem for them, and then the whole paradigm collapses.


BORGER: So they really need to get people eventually to sign on. So what he's trying to do now is not sell the Web site, but sell what you will get from the Affordable Care Act.

BLITZER: Gloria, thanks very much.


BLITZER: Coming up, the NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, after years of head trauma on the field, he's now been diagnosed with a debilitating brain disease. He talks to me about how it's impacting his life. A candid interview coming up.


BLITZER: Direct talks resumed today in Geneva as the United States and other world powers are trying negotiate with Iran about its nuclear program.

We're also learning that potentially a major step may have been taken and big step could be imminent, in fact.

Joining us now, the "New York Times" columnist, Nick Kristof and Bill Kristol, the editor of the "Weekly Standard."

Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

Christiane Amanpour spoke with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, today and he said this. I'll play the clip.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I believe it is possible to reach an understanding or an agreement before we close these negotiations tomorrow evening.


BLITZER: Wow. A deal between the U.S., these other powers and Iran on nuclear -- potential nuclear program there. You must be thrilled.

WILLIAM KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It's kind of easy to make a deal if you give up on most of your negotiating positions. Iran is not going to stop enrichment, of course. It's not even going to reverse anything they have done. They may stop parts of their program, allegedly, not even all of it, and nothing gets moved backwards. So this deal is a -- collapse, really, by the United States and by the West in these negotiations.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: I have a different take, not surprisingly. Look, we don't know what the terms will be but it looks as if Iran will stop enriching at 20 percent which is the most dangerous kind of enrichment and it would also slow down under Iraq a plutonium nuclear reactor which are the two things that most threaten us and would lead most to some kind of nuclear hardened Iran.

So at the end of the day we have -- you know, we have three options. We can do a deal or we can have a military strike which is disastrous for many reasons, or we can watch Iran go ahead and continue toward a nuclear state. And of these, some kind of tentative deal is so much better.

BLITZER: Let's say they do this deal. Let's say they do what the United States wants them to do. Now under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty they are allowed to enrich but only at a certain level per civilian nuclear power, if you will. So they are allowed to have some enrichment if they want to do that.

What's wrong with doing what Ronald Reagan used to say, trust but verify?

KRISTOL: Well, given that they have cheated and lied for so many years, the U.N. Security Council, not just the U.S., agreed that they shouldn't be allowed to enrich. And in any case, they don't need 19,000 centrifuges enriching at 3.5 percent which does give them breakout potential, even for civilian nuclear power.

Nothing here reverses their progress towards nuclear weapons and I don't believe therefore that it's worthwhile. Incidentally, we are giving up something. This isn't a -- they're in violation of --

BLITZER: What is the U.S. giving up?

KRISTOL: We are apparently relaxing sanctions.

BLITZER: Well, they haven't agreed to that yet.

KRISTOL: We haven't agreed to that yet?

BLITZER: They haven't -- you think they will.


BLITZER: Immediately make these kind of sanctions --

(CROSSTALK) KRISTOL: They'll be -- and they'll say it's reversible. We're going to turn off some of these sanctions, we can always turn them back on. Dream on.

BLITZER: Is it worth the risk?

KRISTOF: Absolutely. And -- I mean, Bill is right that it doesn't reverse Iran's progress. It does need to freeze its progress. And in this context where we've seen Iran steadily develop its capacity, freezing it as we work out a deal --

BLITZER: Should the U.S. ease the sanctions if they agree to freeze where they stand right now?

KRISTOF: I don't think we're going to get a deal unless we suspend some sanctions. I think that that is the only way we will get that deal.

BLITZER: So there's strong opposition in Congress to that.

KRISTOF: There is strong opposition in Congress and that would be a real problem with the administration. There is also strong opposition from hard liners within Iran. I mean, so in a sense, we have some reciprocal structure here and each -- moderates on each side have to convince the others to bring them in and go for some --

BLITZER: You wrote an article in the "Weekly Standard," the first sentence jumped out at me. "Watching the Obama administration at work this week, a friend offered this judgment. Under Obama, Iran keeps its nuclear program and Americans lose their health insurance."

You're the only one who made the link between Iran and the Affordable Care Act.

KRISTOL: Just a factual statement. You know, the Obama administration is tougher on Americans who'd like to keep their old health insurance. Then on Iran -- they can't do that. If you have health insurance you like, you've got to go right into (INAUDIBLE). Iran has a whole nuclear program going, maybe they'll freeze or suspend some of it. And in return, we don't incidentally freeze the sanctions. We reduce the sanctions. That is not a good deal.

KRISTOF: You know, for the last 10 years, we've had this inexorable progress both with Iran and frankly with North Korea as well, and there are more problems in international relations than there are solutions. But here we have for the first time a chance to actually freeze progress in time to work out a deal. Compared to the alternatives of a war or watching Iran become nuclear, boy, I think this is a huge step forward.

BLITZER: If the president of the United States manages to end Iran's nuclear program, eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, maybe that Nobel Peace Prize he got in the end will have been worth --

KRISTOF: He would have finally --

BLITZER: Well, finally he'll deserve that.

KRISTOL: The last agreement, Wendy Sherman, our negotiation, negotiating with the end to the North Korean nuclear program which he proudly proclaimed. And when was that? '99 and 2000?


BLITZER: That was during the Clinton administration.

KRISTOL: Two or three years before they exploded a nuclear weapon so count me --

BLITZER: So you're skeptical about Iran, Syria, too?

KRISTOL: Exactly. Yes.

BLITZER: Over chemical weapons?


BLITZER: You're hopeful about the chemical weapons in Syria being destroyed?

KRISTOF: I'm hopeful. I mean, I think there is some possibility of some cheating but I think that there has been real progress in Syria.

BLITZER: Bill Kristol, thanks very much. Nick Kristof, see you later tonight. Big dinner here in Washington honoring some really courageous young journalists who are being brought to the United States. Thanks very much.

Up next, my very personal interview with a former NFL star Tony Dorsett. He talks candidly about the brain disease he's now suffering from after years of head trauma and why he says league owners didn't do enough to prevent it.


BLITZER: Up next, a Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett suffering devastating hits on the football field, he's suffering devastating consequences right now. He's opening up very emotionally about his recent diagnosis.


BLITZER: A wrenching revelation from one of the greatest NFL players of all time. The Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett says he's been diagnosed with a debilitating brain disease known to affect football players, some of whom went on to actually commit suicide. It was so bad. I'll talk to him about all of that in just a moment.

First some background. CNN's Brian Todd is here in the SITUATION ROOM.

This is such a heart-wrenching problem for so many of these veteran players. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's getting a lot of attention now, Wolf. You know, the NFL has just told us it's going to look at a new test, a new brain scan, that Tony Dorsett and eight other former NFL players have just taken to determine whether they have symptoms of that disease.

For Dorsett and others, this may offer hope to possibly treat the disease that comes from years of vicious pounding.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First and 10, at the 20, here's Tony Dorsett is down.

TODD (voice-over): This hit in 1984 against the Philadelphia Eagles was the worst one Tony Dorsett ever took.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tony Dorsett is still on the ground.

TODD: Dorsett now says hits like that have left him with some menacing symptoms. Memory loss, outbursts of temper and depression. Dorsett doesn't know how many concussions he got in his 12-year Hall of Fame career or during his four seasons in college, but he's one of nine former NFL players who've had a new brain scan that may help identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a brain disease caused by head trauma linked to dementia and depression.

Dorsett says he's tested positive for symptoms consistent with CTE. Previously, the only way to find out if someone had CTE was after their death, with an autopsy on the brain. Now --

DR. JULIAN BAILES, NORTHSHORE NEUROLOGICAL INSTITUTE: This test involves a tracer which is injected into a vein and then it will bind to these abnormal proteins that we see in CTE so if you have them in your brain, it can diagnose this in the living person.

TODD: Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes, former physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is part of a team that devised the new brain scan. Bailes acknowledges it's too early to tell if this test is reliable. The sample size is too small, he says, and the results need to be peer reviewed.

It's believed CTE played a role in the deaths of former NFL players Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and others. But Alan Schwarz who covered many of those stories for the "New York Times," says the NFL brushed aside some key early research.

ALAN SCHWARZ, NEW YORK TIMES: Each one of those steps from 2005 through 2009 was met with a response from the NFL that this evidence did not really mean anything. One of the doctors on the lead committee called an important study virtually worthless, that's a direct quote.


TODD: But the NFL changed and in late 2009, acknowledged some of the lingering effects from head injuries. It also recently settled a lawsuit by thousands of players, former players, for $765 million.

Contacted by CNN, an NFL spokesman wouldn't comment on Tony Dorsett's case, but did say the league will review that new brain scan devised by Dr. Bailes and his team and he says the NFL remains committed to making the game safer for players of all levels -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.

And the great NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett is joining us now.

Tony, thanks very much for coming in.

TONY DORSETT, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Wolf, it's good to be visiting with you.

BLITZER: When did you realize you were suffering from what's called CTE?

DORSETT: Well, obviously I have been having symptoms for maybe about a year and a half, two years, and this past month, I decided to -- we went out to UCLA to get tested, and the results from that test were given to me this past Monday and I came to find out that I have CTE.

BLITZER: What are the symptoms?

DORSETT: And so -- well, memory loss, more so than anything it's been my big deal. Sometimes you can have, you know, sensitivity to light and things like that. But my thing was, you know, not remembering. You know, I've been taking my daughters to practice for years and all of a sudden, I forget how to get there. I have to ask my wife how do you get there. Or I'm driving down the freeway and I'm forgetting where I'm going. Things of that nature.

It's becoming more and more frustrating to me. My temper -- I was short-tempered, you know, flying off the cuff when, you know, it's really not a necessity. So it's just those things, obviously some more, but that were the symptoms that I had for quite some time, and then now it comes to the realization it's all because of CTE.

BLITZER: And it's changed your personality a bit as well, and not for the good, especially your relationship with your kids, right?

DORSETT: Well, not so much my relationship with my kids. My kids at times were -- I guess you could say a little bit afraid of me because of the unknown, not knowing whether daddy was -- is he going to be in a good mood or is he going to be in a bad mood, is he going to just go off on somebody? I mean, go off, meaning, you know, just lose my temper a little bit and maybe raise my voice.

You know, my daughters understand that I love them and I would do no physical harm to them, but the thing is, just the fact that to have that mentioned to me that sometimes they're afraid of me, it really cut deep. It really touched me. It really -- it hurt and it made me look in the mirror, Wolf, and I look in the mirror and I say who are you, what are you becoming? And it's very frustrating, you know, to be a person that's been so outgoing and moving around and doing some of everything, and then all of a sudden, you know, I'm like a couch potato.

I'm sitting at home and I'm watching TV. I'm watching CNN, ESPN, you name it, and the TV's on, I'm just sitting in front of the TV not really watching it but I'm listening to it. And it's like what's wrong, something is wrong with me.

BLITZER: A lot of us remember when you played in the NFL, and you were amazing, but you did take some major hits, including a major hit at a Cowboys/Eagles game in 1984.

DORSETT: That's right.

BLITZER: We're showing our viewers some film from that -- from that hit, and there you're running right now and then boom, right to your head. You remember -- you remember that game.

DORSETT: Well, this is -- I don't remember -- to that point, I don't remember that point. I don't remember the second half of that game. But I do remember being hit. The thing about it was when I looked at that hit after the game, my explanation of that was like it's a freight train hitting a Volkswagen.

Ray Ellis was the defender there. I didn't -- I didn't see him and when he hit me, as I explained before, it's like he blew me up is the terms we use in football. He blew me up. In other words, he just demolished me. It was a devastating hit.

BLITZER: What are your doctors telling you now about progressing, getting treatment? How do you deal with CTE?

DORSETT: I'm going to beat this. Trust me, I'm going to beat this. I'm going to put it in God's hands and my doctors' hands. But my doctors are telling me that we can slow it down and we can stop it but someone asked me, would I -- would I do it all over again. Yes, I would do it all over again obviously but knowing what I know now, there's a lot of things that were unknown during the time that I was playing football so there's a lot of things, a lot more things that have come to surface. So we'll know how to get better attention and care for a football player, myself included.

BLITZER: As you know, the NFL settled with players, and I assume including you, for, what, $765 million because of all of these head injuries. Of that, how much are you going to get?

DORSETT: I really couldn't tell you. And as far as I'm concerned, that's not nearly enough. You know, you're talking about $765 million when these owners make billions. It's a lot of money, Wolf, and you know, from the quality of my life, I can't put a price on my health.

The owners knew this for years and they looked the other way and they kept putting us those players out in harm's way. That in itself right there really, really was hard for me to understand why one human being would do that to another human being, to keep putting them in harm's way when you knowingly know that there's a possibility that down the road, they are going to have real serious issues like I'm experiencing right now. BLITZER: Tony Dorsett, we are all praying with you. Good luck to you. Thanks so much for what you've done for all of us over the years, all of us NFL football fans. We love you, Tony. Good luck.

DORSETT: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Great guy.

Just ahead, take a look at this. This is the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. When I met with him a decade ago in Ramallah on the West Bank, that was a couple years before his mysterious death. Now scientists have come up with evidence that may, repeat, may support his widow's claim he was murdered.

And one of the most massive storms ever recorded slamming into the Philippines with terrifying force. We're going to have an update from the scene. Stay with us.


BLITZER: A royal visit to the operating room. Details of Prince William's unusual visit to a London hospital. Much more news straight ahead right here in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Our breaking news this hour, one of the strongest storms ever recorded is now slamming into the Philippines, packing winds close to 200 miles an hour. The super typhoon has catastrophic potential.

Let's go live to the Philippines right now. CNN's Andrew Stevens is on the ground for us.

What's it like, Andrew?

I think Andrew may have lost us. Let me see if we can reconnect, Andrew.

Andrew, it's Wolf. Can you hear me?

Unfortunately, obviously there's a huge weather issue there. We'll check back -- check back with him shortly. Once we can -- once we can reconnect.

Let's check in with Chad Myers, though, right now. He's got the latest on what's going on.

Chad, what are you seeing?

MYERS: It is really honestly probably the strongest storm I have ever seen in my 27-year career. 195 mile per hour sustained winds and gusts to 235.

Now in this area of the world, they don't fly planes in like we do to see what it truly is. It's all satellite-based. But tremendous potential with this storm, not only in the winds around the eye like we had in Andrew, but a tremendously wide storm like Sandy coming together with waves offshore, I'm sure coming onshore now, because it is coming right on land here in the Philippines, waves at 50 feet.

And if you push those waves on land, they will get higher than that. It's almost tsunami type waves hitting the eastern coast of the Philippines.

Our reporter right there, the eye right there. He is 220 miles from the center of this very dangerous storm, and it is headed his way. We could see some very dramatic pictures in the hours to come -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And, Chad, it's heading towards really populated parts of the Philippines, where hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people live.

MYERS: Sure. Sure, you know, this is a wide storm. You're not going to get missed even if you're in Manila. And Manila will probably pass 150 miles north of the eye pass but you're still going to have winds of 100, and so many of these places that are built on land and on mountainsides and on the shore are going to get knocked down.

There are very few homes in America that could withstand a 195 mile per hour wind. That's like an F-4 tornado. That's 30 miles wide, going to run right straight through the middle of the country, and then an F-2 farther out, then an F-1 damage farther out. It's going to be a wide swath of devastation.

BLITZER: We'll check back with you and with Andrew in the Philippines. All right. Thanks very much for that.

Moving on to some other important news. This question, was the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat murdered? His widow has insisted that's the case. Now, nine years after his death, scientists have confirmed traces of what's described as a radioactive poison in his remains.

So what does that mean? Let's go to our senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance. He's joining us from Jerusalem right now.

Matthew, what are they saying?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know, more than many people, if it were true that Yasser Arafat were poisoned with a radioactive toxin, it would be earth-shattering, sending shockwaves around the region.

The forensic teams, though, in Switzerland who carried out these latest tests, have made it clear that their results are not entirely conclusive. They are saying there were problems with the samples. They weren't big enough to get totally conclusive results.

Also, they said one of the problems was that the sample were taken from Arafat eight years after he died. That may have influenced the results they got, but I'll tell you this, you speak to Palestinians in the West Bank, elsewhere in the Palestinian territories as well, and they have no trouble believing whatsoever that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned by a radioactive substance.


CHANCE (voice-over): In the Palestinian territories, his memory still looms over the people he once led. Few here, including Nasr, the falafel maker on Arafat Square, can believe Yasser Arafat died in natural death.

"It's certain he was poisoned," he says. "There are mysterious hands involved."

Those suspicions have been heightened by the latest forensic report examining Yasser Arafat's sudden illness and death. In it Swiss scientists say tests on Arafat's tissue and personal effects revealed unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, levels which moderately supported the poisoning theory, but not conclusively.

PROF. FRANCOIS BOCHUD, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF RADIATION PHYSICS, CHUV (Through Translator): Would you polonium the cause of death? Can we say with certainty that polonium was the cause of the death of President Arafat? The reason, unfortunately -- the answer unfortunately is clearly we cannot give a clearly defined answer.

CHANCE: It was the death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, a former KGB agent turned Kremlin critic, that brought polonium-210 to the fore. Police in London where the poisoning took place say minute quantities of the highly toxic substance was administered to Litvinenko in a cup of tea. Moscow has always denied involvement.

Israel, too, denies any part in the death of Yasser Arafat, but for many skeptical Palestinians, the forensic report, however inconclusive, is a smoking gun.


CHANCE: Well, Wolf, Palestinians are now calling for an international criminal inquiry into the death of Yasser Arafat. Among them his widow, Suha Arafat. She says that the results have revealed a true crime and a political assassination.

Back to you.

BLITZER: All right. Matthew Chance reporting from Jerusalem, thank you.

Coming up, very disturbing video raising questions about possible abuse, torture and even war crimes by troops in Afghanistan.

Plus tickets to a Lady Gaga concert just part of a Navy bribery scandal that includes prostitutes, cash and more.


BLITZER: Prince William was in an operating room not once, but twice today. He wasn't the patient. He was observing two surgeries, a bladder operation and a breast reconstruction procedure. The prince is president of the Royal Marsden Hospital Trust. His mother, Princess Dian, held the post until her death in 1997.

We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Dancing in the face of adversity. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is one patient who decided -- to spread her wings moments before getting a double mastectomy, as she fights breast cancer, and she managed to convince most of the surgical team about to operate on her to move to the beat of Beyonce.

The song is "Get Me Bodied." And for six minutes, the bodies in the operating room at Mt. Zion Hospital at the University of California San Francisco gyrated to it.

How did a patient pull this off? Well, she's affiliated with the hospital.

(On camera): Deborah -- Dr. Deborah Cohen is an OB/GYN who specializes in treating pregnant women with HIV.

(Voice-over): But now she was treating herself in what was dubbed "Deb's OR Flash Mob." As she told the Web Site right this minute --

DR. DEBORAH COHEN, MT. ZION HOSPITAL OB-GYN: I was more nervous about how the flash mob was going to go than how the surgery was going to go.

MOOS: But how can you be all smiles before a scary surgery?

COHEN: Yes. Well, dance transforms me.

MOOS (on camera): But Deborah didn't just danced. She asked her friends and relatives to dance to the same Beyonce song.

(Voice-over): Colleagues at San Francisco General sent her a video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're with you, Deb.

MOOS: So did friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booty shaking is tough.

MOOS: A stranger did a hula hoop dance. And this trio was watched by a very calm dog. Though the kid risked hospitalization.

Their moves were no match for Deborah's. Check out how she swings that sterile sleeve. As the O.R. dance went viral, posters gushed, "What an inspiration, so uplifting. Wow, you go, girl." And "Beyonce, are you watching?" We know she was because on Beyonce's Facebook page she posted a link to the video saying, "Deborah, you are awesome."

But does she feel awesome after being released from the hospital Wednesday?

COHEN: I am doing great.

MOOS: The video ends with hugs and kisses.

COHEN: It's been an amazing flood of love.

MOOS: And boy, did that hospital gown get a pre-op workout. It takes nerve to dance across the table upon which you'll soon be unconscious. Said one poster, "I want to know what was in her pre-op IV?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll have what she's having.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: And the breaking news just coming into CNN. A new and very personal apology from President Obama about the failures of the Affordable Care Act.

Let's go to our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

Jim, what happened?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we can tell you is that in an interview with NBC News, President Obama did issue an apology saying that he is sorry that people who are told, if you like your plan, you can keep it are losing their insurance coverage in many, many cases.

I want to put this quote up on screen. This is from an interview that the president did earlier today with NBC News' Chuck Todd. The quote says, "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. So that is basically a mea culpa, Wolf. Maybe not for what he said and how he said it. Of course, we haven't see the entire interview, but it is an apology to those people out there who are losing their coverage and that -- that number is in the millions after the president said, if you like your plan, you can keep it.