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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Clinton Challenges Obama; Summers: Rollout "An Inexcusable Error"; North Carolina Man Accused Of Assisting Al Qaeda Group; Time Running Out for Typhoon Survivors; "Tectonic Shift" to Cut Heart Risk; Creating the World's Largest Airline; SeaWorld Fights for Its Survival

Aired November 12, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, president versus president.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment.

BURNETT: Bill Clinton's strong words for President Obama.

Plus, should you be on anti-cholesterol pills?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Some of these side effects are pretty significant.

BURNETT: Researchers say millions who aren't on the drugs should be. But are they really safe?

And from bad to worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have home. We lose our homes. And we have nothing to eat. We really need help now.

BURNETT: The latest from the Philippines.

Let's go "OUTFRONT."

And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT, tonight, one president stands up to another. Former President Bill Clinton taking on President Obama's misleading promise about Americans keeping their health care plans under Obamacare. Here's what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I personally believe even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Let them keep what they got. President Obama has said I'm sorry for the promise, but is he going to do anything about it, anything to rectify the problem? John King is in Washington tonight. We begin our coverage there.

John, the president said in an interview last week, they are working to help the people who lost their plans, but it is unclear what that means. Jay Carney said at the White House today. They are looking at a quote/unquote, "range of options." These vague terms that get thrown around Washington, but obviously they know this matters.

The president's poll numbers have dropped dramatically, 54 percent disapprove of the job he's doing right now as president. Only 39 percent approve. Bill Clinton coming out so directly, so clearly, so confidently, he knew what he was doing, does that make the situation worse for President Obama?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He did know what he was doing. That's an important point. It makes the situation worse politically for the president. From a policy perspective, President Clinton was speaking a self-evident truth in the sense that President Obama had already gone on record, Erin, as you know, saying we need to fix this and I want to fix it. But what's happening here?

You have President Clinton saying he needs to keep that promise. You have Dick Durbin, a close friend of the president of the United States, a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, someone who is not in a tough race, who is not on the ballot next year, who doesn't have to have panic.

So now you have senior Democrats who have no immediate reason to worry, meaning a tough re-election ahead of them, being more open, month public in their criticism of the president. What does that tell you? The president is trying to fix this administratively through some administrative executive action.

But he has now, a former president, a member of the Senate leadership and 10 or 12 Senate Democrats who are on the ballot next year saying the Congress needs to do something. Once you open the door to the law, we don't know where it is going to take us.

BURNETT: Now, John, Jay Carney also said today, I've got a frog in my throat. He said the White House is going to release the Obamacare enrolment number by the end of the week and the numbers are going to be grim, 50,000 people, "The Wall Street Journal" reports have sign up as of last week out of 500,000 that the administration was hoping for. Those numbers are grim no matter how you look at them. They could change dramatically over time, but how big of a problem is this right now? Fifty when you wanted 500,000.

KING: Well, again, politically it is a big problem. From a policy perspective, the point you make, what do they look like in March when you get to the deadline? What do they look like six months or nine months after that? The administration is hoping that they get better news. These more bad news, bad numbers is actually masking some progress. They say the web site is working better.

They say the Medicaid expansion, part of the health care low, is actually going quite well. However, the enrolment numbers being so low, number one, the Democrats who are beginning to panic and get nervous in those key states, they need something to convince them to stop low enrolment numbers won't do it.

Number two, Republicans will say it is not just the web site. Republicans is going to say this is proof it is unpopular. The people don't want to do this. So what does the president need most of all, to have some good policy news to change the political dynamic. Erin, until he gets that, you're going to have people piling on and panic among the Democrats.

That's the state of play the president is in. There always seems to be a bit of bad news that obscured any good news and when this is happening, it's very important. The decline at this point in a second term presidency is very dangerous and it gets hard to stop.

BURNETT: And of course you don't want to be a lame duck one year in. All right, John King, thank you very much.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Joining me now is the former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. Great to have you with us. Larry, really appreciate it. You wrote in the "Financial Times" this week that the rollout, I'll quote you, "represents an inexcusable error" when you are talking about the actual Obamacare exchanges.

The "Washington Post" reports you received a memo back in May of 2010, a long time ago saying the White House was not, quote, "up to the task" of rolling out Obamacare. They should hire an expert. They say you pushed hard for an outside health care boss to come and run this so that it could be done right. But that the president had, quote, "already made up his mind." Why was that?

LAWRENCE SUMMERS, FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Look, I'm not going to get into the different parts of our internal debates. I think the president has gotten it right.

BURNETT: Even if you're on the right side --

SUMMERS: Even I'm on the right side of the debates or the wrong side. I don't think it is helpful when ex-officials try to argue, reargue the case years afterwards. The president has said that this should have been managed differently and that he is angry. He is right to be angry. He was not well served by his colleagues in the administration.

The American people were not well served by the way in which this played out. There are lessons about the information technology. You need experts. You need to trust but you need to verify. You can't go rushing the schedule when you get behind or you end up making more errors. There are lessons and those lessons need to be heeded in the future. The president has made it clear.

BURNETT: You know the president well. When I think about health care, obviously, this is his signature piece of legislation obviously very intimately involved. And perhaps it is part of the reason he's received the criticism he's received even from his own side of the aisle about what he knew and when he knew it.

For example, not knowing about the health care web sites not working that nobody seemed to have told him that right before the launch, but it is not just that, right? He didn't know about the NSA monitoring of Angela Merkel's cell phone. He's been criticized on that. When it is his administration at risk, his legacy, do you think he should have known these things? Is it an excuse to say I didn't know or is that not acceptable, frankly?

SUMMERS: I'll tell you. I met with the president just about every day for two years. The first two years of his administration. I found him to be remarkably attentive and aggressive.

BURNETT: This was on health care?

SUMMERS: With respect to what was going on all the policy issues that he faced. Certainly, in the interactions that I had with him he might have made judgments that people would agree with. He might have made judgments that the people would disagree with, but he was someone who had a clear recognition of what his responsibility was as president. I saw the very thick book he would receive every evening.

BURNETT: Do you final it hard to believe that he didn't know?

SUMMERS: He always came back the next morning having fully mastered the content of that briefing.

BURNETT: Do you think having people like you leaving, Rahm Emanuel leaving, effective -- you were friends with the people who might have said we have a problem. That there are too many yes people around? That they were afraid to tell him something he would have been angry about?

SUMMER: The president made it clear to me in the first phone call in which we discussed my taking, that he wanted there to be good news but when there was bad news, he wanted to hear it and if it was my view that he was in a different direction, then he, than would be ideal, it was his decision to decide.

But he wanted to hear what I thought even if -- he was very clear about that with me and I believe he was very clear about that with others. As to the circumstances years after I left, that's not something that I'm your best source on -- Erin.

BURNETT: Let me ask you, a lot of people wanted you to be the Fed chair. A lot of people on Wall Street thought you might be tough on the markets but they did. Janet Yellen got the nod. She is qualified. She is respected, all of that, but people say you got sidelined because you speak your mine too loudly and frankly, because she is a woman. And the president needed to check that box. This is just the truth we all know it is out there. Is there a part of you deep down that feels you took a hit for the wrong reasons?

SUMMERS: No, Erin, I'm a person who has been in public life for a long time. And I know that things work out how they work out. There are a lot of circumstances that go into every decision. I was glad to have been considered. I very much focus forward. I think Janet Yellen will do a fine job. I look forward to following her progress at the Fed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: A diplomatic answer there from Larry Summers. Go our website, cnn.com/outfront. You can hear more of our interview including what he thinks about Bill Clinton's comments about the president, Elizabeth Warren in 2016 and too big to fail.

Still to come, the latest from the devastation in the Philippines, we have a series of special reports for you tonight as horror turns to tragedy with millions begging for food.

Then a terror suspect living in America in custody tonight, a man in North Carolina police say attempting to join al Qaeda.

And Sarah Palin discusses Chris Christie's appearance. She actually sympathized with Hillary Clinton but called Christie extreme. You'll hear it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, a terror suspect busted in North Carolina. Tonight that 29-year-old man behind bars accused of trying to join al Qaeda. Now, a group linked to al Qaeda, specifically, that has claimed responsibility for hundreds of terrorist attacks. Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT. Chris, what have you learned about this guy?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, basically, this criminal complaint that was just unsealed today reveals that the man is called Basit Sheikh. He is a 29-year-old North Carolina, permanent resident of the United States and it alleges that he was trying to provide material support to the Al-Nuzra front. That is radical Islamic group that's fighting in Syria to overthrow the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Basically, the criminal complaint says he was arrested at the Raleigh Airport just a few weeks ago. He was planning to go to Lebanon and from there go to Syria. Now, prosecutors say, basically that what happened was, he had tried this before in 2012. He went to Turkey trying to cross the border. He got discouraged by some of the more moderate rebel groups that he found.

And his plans escalated this summer. He was on one of those Jihadi sites. He got in touch with what turned out to be an FBI informant. That FBI informant put him in touch with a so-called trusted brother who actually turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. That undercover agent busted him and basically he is now charged with providing support to a noted al Qaeda affiliated group -- Erin.

BURNETT: What kinds of charge? Say he was convicted of the charges. What kind of punishment does someone look at? I know there are others that have gone through this. How long would he go to jail?

LAWRENCE: Basically 15 years and pay about a quarter of a million- dollar fine, But he is the third person to basically be arrested and charged with trying to aid Al-Nusra already this year. One other man in Chicago. Another man right here in suburban Washington.

One of those men was a former U.S. Army veteran. He plea-bargained down. And I'm told by some legal officials that that is the likely case here. That that 15 years is basically used to sort of pressure these men into a plea deal. Especially when you consider that sheikh doesn't have a criminal record. He will likely plea down to just a few years if that.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. We shocked a lot of people. Thanks very much to you, Chris Lawrence.

And our third story OUTFRONT is big airlines getting bigger. The Justice Department says it's reached out -- it's reached an agreement to allow American Airlines and U.S. Airways to merge creating the world's largest airline. These guys have struggled to get this done for a really long time so this is significant.

The deal makes the airlines take steps, though, to help lower cost competitors and reduce their hold in certain big cities. Now American Airlines shares surged on today's news but what does this merger mean for the rest us? Because that's all we care about.

That's tonight's "Money and Power." Richard Quest, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is here.

Here's what we care about. Big airline gets bigger.

RICHARD QUEST, HOST, CNN'S QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Right.

BURNETT: Do air fares go up?

QUEST: Yes. But not as much as you would expect. This is not really about fares going up. This is about service, it's about delivery. And the Justice Department was very keen that American Airlines kept its promises to fly to certain destinations in certain states. Arizona, Texas, for example, Tennessee.

It also wanted to ensure hubs would remain open and American Airlines has agreed to keep all its existing hubs open for the next few years and crucially give up slots at some major airports, DCA, Washington Reagan National, LaGuardia, just a few stilts there. Boston, Miami, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Love Field --

BURNETT: They make it impossible for an airline to ever make money. OK.

QUEST: No, no, come on.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Why so negative?

QUEST: Consolidation is here. Delta bought Northwest. Continental, United merged. American and U.S. Airways had to do something. Now the DOJ came in at the last minute and tried to scrap it. But what's come out of it is probably a slight rebalancing.

I've spoken to people very familiar with this deal. And what they tell me is that they -- the airlines rather not to have gone through it, but they can live with it and now it's all about execution.

BURNETT: All right. So here you've spun me now. You're saying, yes, your fares are going up but not as much as you would think. Now here's the other thing I always here when I talk about U.S. Air or American. People complain about the planes. They say that this is a really old plane.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: They've got two engines and wings.

BURNETT: OK. They fly but they're -- you know, they're not the newest things on the planet and you tell me that here again, there is another side of the story.

QUEST: Now, look, I'm not going to sit here and do American Airlines or U.S. Airways PR job for them. But what I am going to tell you is American Airlines has put in the largest order for narrow bodied planes, A-737s, new generations, A-320s Neos. So that is going to take its time over the next five or six years.

But this is an airline that's been in bankruptcy for the last few years. And it's still managing to turn itself around.

BURNETT: Yes

QUEST: What I'm hearing from passengers, particularly on long haul international destinations.

BURNETT: Sell me on that. Go ahead. Come on. Tell.

QUEST: Is that there was a huge improvement in quality.

BURNETT: OK.

QUEST: Over the last years. The investment is -- as it has been with Delta. Dealt is eating everybody's lunch at the moment.

BURNETT: Yes.

QUEST: Delta is on a roll. Absolutely. United is also improving its quality. But what I'm saying is, American is shifting itself around.

Now, don't get me wrong. They have got just a -- they have got one massive task to do.

BURNETT: Yes.

QUEST: And that is to merge and by jingo, if you look at the way Delta-Northwest had problems, Continental United had problems, it's only just beginning for American-U.S. Airways.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. Richard Quest. Can't wait to check out that long haul when I am sure it is ready.

(LAUGHTER)

Still to come, a man spent a decade in a maximum security prison. But a month ago on this program he said he was innocent and tonight he is free. And he's about to speak. We're going to be having that for you live right here on this program.

Plus, SeaWorld takes on Uncle Sam. The theme park's very survival could depend on the outcome of this.

And another very strange day in Toronto. Mayor Rob Ford takes a crack at selling toys.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our fourth story OUTFRONT, a fight for SeaWorld's survival. The amusement park is taking on the federal government today trying to get its killer whale trainers back in the water.

Now I don't know if you know this and if you've been at SeaWorld, but trainers have been banned from the pools ever since a veteran trainer was killed by a whale named Tilikum. Now the government says the rules are needed to keep trainers safe but SeaWorld says the ban is hurting business big time.

Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The stakes are as big as the star performers at the heart of the matter. SeaWorld appealing to a three-judge federal appellate panel asking them to overturn an OSHA ruling restricting trainers in the water with killer whales.

No cameras were allowed but there was such high interest, the hearing was held at a law school auditorium. The 2010 death of veteran SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau brought an end to breathtaking performances like these.

Brancheau was mauled by the killer whale she was working with and was the third death connected to the same killer whale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden the whale just latched on to her and took her under.

SAVIDGE: OSHA ultimately fined SeaWorld $12,000 but more important it banned close contact between humans and killer whales during performances. SeaWorld argued that interaction is the crucial part of its business.

(On camera): Is that a legitimate argument?

BENJAMIN BRIGGS, LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: I think it is a legitimate argument. Again they're taking the position that this isn't just the way we do work. It's what we're -- it's our product.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Benjamin Briggs has argued corporate appeals to OSHA rulings and says what the government agency has on its side is history.

BRIGGS: There is a long and well-documented track record of these types of animals behaving aggressively towards humans to the point that they've caused a number of fatalities. Not only at SeaWorld but at other places.

SAVIDGE: Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, argued in the hearing that OSHA has no more right to impose restrictions on SeaWorld than it does to regulate tackling in the NFL or speed limits in NASCAR. The judges took note but didn't give any indication of which way they may rule.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: It's amazing when you think about that, Martin, and what you're saying is that, you know, they don't have authority on things like NASCAR? Kind of surprising. Was there anything else that seemed to resonate with the judges in terms of the arguments made?

SAVIDGE: Well, actually, you know, the judges, Erin, did pick up on that theme of talking about football and talking about NASCAR. And they said OK, maybe OSHA wouldn't consider saying, making contact football into flag football or putting a speed limit up for NASCAR. But they do regulate thing like, say, seatbelts or helmets which are designed to make both of those sports safer.

In other words, there are ways to advance the idea of safety protocol without putting somebody out of business -- Erin.

BURNETT: Amazing. When you think about how important those trainers are to what SeaWorld stands for. Whether you like it or not.

All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much. You've been covering this story of black fish.

Still to come the latest from the Philippines. We're going to go there live. Millions of people tonight desperate for food, crying out for help whenever a camera is near. Needing food. We're going to go live to the scene. We have a series of special reports for you.

Plus the 19-year-old accused of hacking into Miss Teen USA's computer and attempting to extort her enters a plea. You remember when she appeared on this program.

And what made Sarah Palin say this about Chris Christie?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: It's hard for some people not to comment on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

Sarah Palin goes rogue again. In an interview with our Jake Tapper, Palin takes on the appearances of Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie. She says any woman running for the presidency can speck there will be sexism but can overcome it with thick skin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Yes. Hillary Clinton was mistreated when it came to appearances, when it came to wardrobe -- you know, petty, superficial things that the men don't ever seem to hear much about. But a woman candidate will.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Governor Christie hears about his appearance.

PALIN: That's because it's been extreme, OK? So, it's hard for some people not to comment on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Christie's appearance is, quote/unquote, "extreme." You heard her. But she did defend Hillary Clinton. Interesting.

Well, an OUTFRONT update on the sextortion scheme targeting Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf. Jared Abraham is a 19-year-old who was arrested for blackmailing Cassidy and other women with nude photos has pleaded guilty to four violations, including extortion. According to court documents, he hacked into her computer and used her webcam to take pictures of her during her most private moments.

Now, Wolf appeared on this show in September, just a day after discovering she knew young man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASSIDY WOLF, MISS TEEN USA: In my head, I created this monster. You know, somebody who was attacking me and now putting a face to a kid I went to school work it's kind of a mix emotion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Abraham will remain on bond until he is sentenced, and that will be in March.

And now, the Robby Bobby. Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was at city hall this morning, doing the whole running the city thing that he does, autographing limited edition Rob Ford bobbleheads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Thank you, sir. How are you doing? Now, you can hit it on the desk every time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. But he was doing this for a good cause. Proceeds from the thousand bobbleheads sold for $20 each. And they went to the United Way. The bobbleheads were in hot demand, because -- you know, Ford is, I don't know, what is the right word, everyone? I'm going on settle for household name.

He, of course, has admitted to smoking crack cocaine, making him an internationally known mayor. Signing bobbleheads shows Ford is fearless, funny and charitable. But can that or any PR move make people forgive and forget his indiscretions or addictions? Your views, please? Send them in.

And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: running out of time. So, it's been four days since Super Typhoon Haiyan leveled the Philippines and the situation tonight is dire. Two Americans are among the dead, as the death toll has scaled back to about 2,000 people. But for survivors, the crisis is growing more urgent. And that death toll could rise because of the situation now.

The U.N. says more than 2 million people are desperate for food, water and shelter. More than 580,000 people have been displaced. And American general on the ground says immediate help is needed and that one week from now could be too late.

So many lives could be lost. Relief efforts have struggled to get aid on the ground. The threat of a deadly outbreak of disease continues to grow, because as you may remember, our report last night, there are bodies littering the streets and some of them lying in the very water that the people who are surviving are forced to drink because there's no other choice.

OUTFRONT tonight, Anna Coren. She's in Cebu, where relief efforts are being staged.

Anna, I know you've been in ground zero of this storm. And now you look, people might say, oh, it's a miracle, if only 2,000 people perhaps died in the storm. But those numbers obviously could surge given the horror that you've been seeing now. How dire is it?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, the situation is desperate on the ground. The problem is that aid is trickling in very slowly, logistics and resources. That is the challenge facing the military here in this disaster relief operation. They don't have enough planes to get the basic necessities to these places. Once they get there, it's the roads and the airfield that are damaged.

So, a lot of these places haven't been accessed as yet which, as you say, is frightening, because when they enter those places, that's when we'll get a real idea as to the full extent of this massive typhoon. But as you know, we traveled with the military to one of the hardest hit places and this is what we saw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COREN (voice-over): As the disaster relief operation shifts into overdrive, the roar of engines from C-130 Hercules fills the air.

We've been given permission to board this military cargo plane, carrying vital aid and dozens of soldiers and police to one of the worst-hit areas in the Philippines.

As we fly over the township of Guiuan in Samar Province, all we can see is utter devastation. This community was the first to be hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan. And since then, there has been no communication.

While the plan is to conduct a search and rescue mission, these men know all too well they're likely facing a recovery operation.

(on camera): The police and military on this flight have enormous job ahead. We have just landed at the air field. And as you can see, all around us, these enormous palm trees have been snapped like twigs. Everything has been flattened.

You can see that the local people over here, standing under a shelter that its roof has been completely ripped off. They have been without supplies now for days. This typhoon hit this point first. This was the first town, really, that was devastated.

And these soldiers, they have no idea what they're about to face.

(voice-over): As the troops unload bags of rice and boxes of bottled water, the locals desperately watch on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food to eat, we want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's shortage of food, tents, everything. Everything's gone. So, we need help.

COREN: Of the 50,000 people in this town, almost everyone is homeless. Dozens of people have lost their lives and many more are still missing.

CHRISTOPHER GONZALES, GUIUAN MAYOR: I don't know where to start. If you take a look at our municipality, it was totally hit, total damage, 100 percent damage.

COREN: With the aid off, the sick and injured are carried on board, some suffering spinal cord injuries. In less than 20 minutes, the engines start up again, ferrying these traumatized survivors to safety.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And, Anna, when you've -- just hearing those people begging for food and saying they need food. I mean, it's really hard to watch and I can't imagine how it feels from your perspective as a journalist being there. But as we try to figure out how much worse this could get, you've seen a lot of people who still don't know where their family members are. COREN: Yes. Absolutely. The people who evacuate out of those areas may end up congregating here at the Cebu airfield waiting for news. You have to remember that communications are completely down on so many of these islands. These people have not heard from their loved ones since that super typhoon hit.

You know, these C-130 Hercules that are picking up aid and delivering it and bringing back people who have evacuated from these hard hit towns, you know, they are really the life line between these islands and the outside world.

But definitely, a lot of the missing and there are thousands of them. Many of them are presumed dead. That is the frightening reality, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Reporting as we said from Cebu.

Well, as Anna has been saying, the big challenge has been that aid can't get in in time. That's where you have this potentially incredible loss of life. The United States has 250 troops on the ground now, 107,000 pounds of supplies have been delivered and they're trying to get Navy ships to help with the rescue, some of them with the amphibious ability to come up on the shore and crossing some of the destroyed areas that you've seen because the roads are impassable.

OUTFRONT tonight, Nick Paton Walsh. He's in the center of the destruction in Tacloban.

And, Nick, I know the survivors are running out of time where you are, and I know where you are, there is been horrific stories about bodies on the streets and just the horrible things that people are seeing. What have you seen?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, when we arrived here late last night, we went through a town, frankly a ghost town now. Very few people still living inside. They're tying to eke out a life in the skeletons of buildings by simply to keep warm. The corpses lining the streets of the roads that we went down.

One man trying to locate his family. A dog helping rescuers find a body of his son, but also, then as we came across him, the body of his daughter, and the search continued in the darkness to there, with their bare hands in many ways, looking for his ex-wife there, a terrible scene for him. He went further down the road and came across the church.

The Catholic faith is so central to life in the Philippines, a church which people were not looking to find spiritual solace. It's simply physical shelter, using that enormous building , and about a thousand women and children hiding out there. Their main complaint, where is our government, Erin? They're not seeing the aid they expected and they're feeling left to fend for themselves, Erin.

BURNETT: And, Nick, what's your assistant when -- you know, you hear Anna talking about asking for food, begging for food. Obviously, aid organizations, the United States government, they're all trying to get supplies in.

But, you know, how hungry are people? We had reported one general from the U.S. Army said if the food doesn't get in in the next week, it's going to be too late for a lot of people.

WALSH: We didn't see people on the edge of starvation. There is no real lethality here, but there are the very young at risk here. We're hearing mothers telling us they're having to feed their daughter dirty water, the children suffering from fevers. That's going to get worse as days go by.

Erin, there is a capacity problem here, and air strips simply trying to get planes in fast enough. The Philippine Air Force don't have enough to bring enough aid and assistance. The U.S. military trying to help them out, too. But until we see convoys coming in by road, until we see that industrial scale of assistance, people are going tot be counting the hours here to see exactly what the decay and destruction is doing to health and the possible of more loss of life, Erin.

BURNETT: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. And, of course, to our Anna Coren, who is nearby as we said in one of the first hit cities in Cebu.

Still to come, a man spent a decade in a maximum security prison. A month ago on this program, he said he was innocent. Well, tonight he is free and he is about to speak and you're going to hear it live.

Plus, a controversial new rule -- why millions of Americans who are not on anti-cholesterol drugs could be soon. I mean, I'm talking about tens of millions of Americans.

But are those drugs really the panacea they're cracked up to be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And we're back with tonight's "Outer Circle."

Tonight, we go to Italy where a Costa Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial facing charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. The big question is whether Schettino fell into a life boat or jumped into one. And, obviously, you can tell why that is so central.

I asked our Barbie Nadeau who's covering the trial what witnesses said they saw.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we heard more damning evidence against Captain Schettino and his manslaughter and abandoning ship trial in Grosseto today. A crew member who was following the captain that night testified how the captain did not fall into a life boat as he has maintained. In fact, he jumped on to the top of a life boat to make his way off the ship before all the rest of the passengers made their way to safety.

We also heard from a technician in the engine room when the captain hit the rock that ultimately sank the ship. He said he was hit by a 10-meter jet of water that pushed him out of position as the ship's engine room filled with water. We're expecting to hear more testimony from crew members who are on the ship and eventually we'll hear from passengers who talked about their trauma trying to get off the ship and the captain is expected to take the stand in his defense sometime before the end of the year -- Erin.

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BURNETT: Thanks to Barbie. Everyone has been watching that.

Well, our sixth story OUTFRONT: jail for a decade but tonight a free man. So, here's the story. After 10 years in prison for murder, a murder he says he never committed, 29-year-old Ryan Ferguson was released just moments ago because last week an appeals court threw out his 2005 murder conviction. He was going to have to spend the rest of his life in jail. They said the prosecution withheld evidence and Ferguson has been serving in a maximum security prison for the murder of a local sports journalist.

I want to bring in David Mattingly OUTFRONT. And as you know, he's been following the story, been to the jail, met with Ryan.

And, David, we're going to -- I know as he is clearing through getting out of jail, we're going to be hearing from Ryan any moment directly live here. What are you hearing? Because I know you have spoken to him.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I spoke to him before all this happened today. He was trying to be very guarded in his anticipation of this. Trying to look forward to that day where he might be free. But knowing that so many things could happen along that way where he might actually have to stay in prison.

Well, today, all those doubts dissipated late this afternoon when the state attorney general surprised everyone. They had 15 days to make their intentions known if they were going to retry Ryan Ferguson. But it took them only seven for them to release a very simple statement today, and it basically said, the state will not retry or pursue further action against Ryan Ferguson. That was his get out of jail free card that he has been waiting for for almost a decade.

The wheels of justice then which have been turning very slowly so far in his case picked up the pace a little bit and now just within the last hour, he walk out of courtroom a free man.

BURNETT: Walked out a free man. As we can see that podium looked like some hotel set-up, right? That's a live picture where Ryan is going to be speaking in just a few moments. Now, David, because you've spoken to him, you've had a sense of what kind of a man he is. You've spoken to his family.

What's their reaction to this?

MATTINGLY: Well, to put it in perspective, you have to look at what the family for Ryan Ferguson has been doing, the extraordinary amount of support that they've given him for the last decade. They have been going across the country pleading his case. His father has acted as part attorney and part investigator, trying to come with information in ways to free his son over the years. They've been relentless trying to reach that day.

So you can imagine that this day, both for Ryan who has been behind bars and denied his freedom and for his parents who have been denied their son for so long, this is truly, truly a joyous moment.

And the first thing he's going to do in public is give his press conference. That's what you saw the set-up there in that hotel room. He will probably have a lot of thing to say about where he wants to go from here. I've been talking to the family. They say that they were looking forward to having him home for Thanksgiving but the way the courts were, they really didn't know if that was going to happen until today. So, they know that wish has finally come true, and the father saying that he can't wait to play his son in a game of basketball.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, David Mattingly.

Our seven story OUTFRONT: a new prescription for your heart. So, just hours ago, new guidelines from the American Heart Association were released and it could mean millions of Americans, including you would have to start taking a statin. That's one of those drugs like Lipitor known for lowering cholesterol, but it could do something else. It's already one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States, 32 million Americans are on statins.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT.

And, Sanjay, let me start off with -- I mean, you know, people have already sort of characterized statin as, you know, statin a day keeps the doctor away, sort of tuck everlasting of drugs.

But what is significance of the new recommendation when it comes to the heart?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is, first of all, a sort of tectonic shift as some doctors have put it, in terms of the way doctors will approach heart disease, the number of people likely to be taking these statin medications and I think the big difference is that there were some general guidelines in terms of cholesterol numbers. If it was over a certain amount, you could be more likely to be prescribed a statin drug.

But now, they have very specific guidelines. And sometimes it's just one risk factor that sort of triggers a potential recommendation. If you're a diabetic, for example, you can be recommended a statin drug. If you have any evidence of heart disease, you could be recommended a statin drug.

Bad cholesterol over there at the bottom, because of congenital causes, statin drug. And if your 10-year risk is over 7 1/2 percent, statin drug. But to your point, Erin, right now, about 32 million people taking this medication, if you do the math, it could double that number, it can be closer to 64 million, 65 million people.

BURNETT: I mean, that is a stunning statistic and, obviously, if this really does help the heart, a wonderful thing for so many people.

But let me ask you this, because of all of a sudden, you double the numbers, I'm just looking at last year. You know, the FDA added to the side effect of statins concerns about memory lose, right? And there's been conflicting studies. I pulled them up today, right?

There's one here, statin may prevent dementia. Well, that sounds great. Common statin can impair memory.

GUPTA: Right.

BURNETT: But dementia and what that means to society and when we all think what I could mean to our own lives, I mean, there is nothing more significant than that. I mean, if there is still a risk these drugs could cause memory loss, is it worth having the number of people take them double?

GUPTA: It's a very important question. These are important questions, and I tend to ask a lot of questions about when guidelines like these get released.

Look, somebody's side effects are pretty significant, even muscle aches can make it so a personal can't exercise or be active, the very thing their doctors telling them to do. Memory loss as you point out, liver problems as well -- these are significant problems.

Let me throw another point into that, Erin, and that is that despite the fact there is good evidence it could reduced a number of heart attacks, if the question is this going to make us live longer, if now, doctor you prescribe this medication, am I going to live longer as a result? The evidence actually isn't that compelling in that regard.

So, it's not one of these things that we say, we're going to dramatically reduce the number of people dying of heart disease. We may reduce the number of heart attacks. We may reduce cholesterol numbers, but what we really want to know is how long will people live as a result of this and we don't know the answer of that conclusively.

BURNETT: And when are we going to know all of these questions? Again, to your point saying it doesn't make people live longer, I guess my metaphor was off tuck everlasting, it was a little bit off. But still, the kind of -- the perception that statins could be a panacea is a little out there, I think, in a lot of people's minds. When are we going to know?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it could take some time and let me say something. I mean, there are a lot of doctors for sometime who said we should put this type of medication in drinking water, it's that good. Luckily, I would say, we backed off from that and common sense has prevailed. But it takes sometime to get the data back on this and to say, OK, we suspected that lowering cholesterols dramatically was going to increase survival. And now, we have proven it. We're not there yet, but some of the guideline information that's leading to these guidelines, it's been out there for a long time.

But just now, you know, after American Heart Association, other organizations put it all together they arrive at these conclusions.

BURNETT: Thanks very much to you, Sanjay.

And let us know your thoughts on that.

Next, the rivalry between New York and Chicago. This one, this is a great story.

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BURNETT: Time now for the OUTFRONT Outtake. There's been a rivalry between New York and Chicago since, well, the city it is were founded. People in both claiming the best comedians, pizzas, sports teams and now, buildings.

The current fight is whether the new World Trade Center in New York is taller than Chicago's Willis Tower. And today, an answer.

In press conferences in both cities, the height committee of Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, no joke, there is such thing, announced that 25-member team has determined the new World Trade Center is, in fact, 1,776 feet tall, more than 300 feet taller than the Willis Tower.

The only good thing about taking 25 people to figure this out and to press conferences to announce it is that it makes the Obama Web site look efficient. But I digress because the top line is that New York wins the building contest. The decision was not without controversy. It seems these 25 engineering wizards (ph) couldn't decide what defines a building.

But the problem is the mast at the top. According to this council, spires that are integral part of the building's design count towards the height, while the antennas that can be removed do not. No joke, people sometimes a stick on the top isn't just a stick on the top.

Just listen to the Chicago Mayor Ron Emanuel.

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MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: If it looks like an antenna, acts like an antenna, guess what? It is an antenna. Not that I'm competitive.

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BURNETT: Antennas can be part of the integrals, you know, look. Anyway, the council, after much deliberation, decided the World Trade Center spire is necessary for the building and the chairman of the council told reports, they had made a little part of history in this decision.

And he's right, picking New York over Chicago is a little part of history, a very little part because while the new World Trade Center is now officially America's tallest building, it's a shrimp in the world stage. Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the Shanghai Tower, and the Mecca Royal Clock Tower in Mecca are much bigger than anything America has and there is a slew on new towers that are going to will rank higher than anything in the U.S. So, we're just getting bumped in.

So, many billions of dollars to beat another city, two press conferences, 25 judges, all to decide which U.S. city is number four, for now.

AC starts now.