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Desperation Rising in Philippines; Democrats Near Revolt Over Obamacare?; Sinkhole Shallows Up Part of Home; Free After A Decade In Prison

Aired November 14, 2013 - 08:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome back to "NEW DAY", everyone. It's Thursday, November 14th, 8:00 in the East.

Six days after Super Typhoon Haiyan, much needed aid is finally arriving on the shores of the Philippines. The challenge now, getting it to thousands of people who are stranded without food, water or shelter. The looting we've been talking about is more widespread now, people there just resorting to any means necessary to simply survive.

Nick Paton Walsh is live from the battered Tacloban province this morning.

Good morning, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, behind me is what you should normally see the lights of Tacloban City, but it's totally dark obviously because of the destruction brought by that typhoon. People living in the debris, trying to light fires to keep themselves going in these conditions.

We've seen appalling devastation in the past five to six days, and only now really today when I drove through in the remaining hours of daylight a sign the government giving out food and finally the government collecting bodies from the streets. We've seen a trickle of aid build up in pace in the past few days.

And now, the USS Washington, a monumental size aircraft carrier arriving in the region. There are 5,000 sailors on board and dozens of aircraft. That brings in their capabilities to get aid moving perhaps faster.

But bear in mind, the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people in need across this entire region, they need the Philippine government to step in. They need an almost industrial level of food, debris removal on the ground. That's to keep disease at bay. That's to stop people from going hungry in the immediate short term.

You talked about looting. There are fears security can get worse across this region, fears of disease setting in to people really looking to see how fast aid can be delivered upon.

Back to you, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks, Nick. Appreciate the reporting.

Back at home, Democrats are starting to break ranks over Obamacare, specifically the rock bottom enrollment numbers we just found out about. Are they bad enough to make Democrats back a Republican plan to change the health care law so millions who lost their insurance can get it back? That's the political question right now.

Jim Acosta joins us at the White House with a look for the answer.

Jim, what do we know about this?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It could happen, Chris. And one thing we should point out, the president has an event in Cleveland, Ohio, later today. We may hear the president talk about those discouraging Obamacare enrollment numbers for the month of October.

Meanwhile, over here at the White House, officials seem to be saying after that rough first month for Obamacare that they only have to go up from here.


ACOSTA (voice-over): It's not July the numbers that are in for the first month of sign-ups and Obamacare, so are the reviews.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Just another day in a series of mess-ups in Obamacare.

ACOSTA: And it's not just Republicans who are giving the October enrollment period a thumb's down.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I don't think anyone is satisfied, but, you know, the promise of the Affordable Care Act is worth fighting for.

ACOSTA: Of the roughly 100,000 consumers who signed up for Obamacare during October, less than 27,000, about one quarter did so on the federal marketplace, on the troubled website.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: We have every reason to expect more people will enroll.

ACOSTA: A website embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims is now improving daily.

SEBELIUS: I would say, first of all, it is running right now. Every day people are coming through. Every day people are getting enrolled.

ACOSTA: But mark your calendars for November 30th. The White House says it will be working for, quote, "the vast majority of users by the end of the month."

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is our conviction that we can, with the fixes that are being implemented, reach that goal by goal by November 30th. ACOSTA: The administration is under pressure to act fast, with frantic Democrats rushing to support a bill proposed by Senator Mary Landrieu that would allow Americans to keep their current insurance plans -- an idea White House officials worry could undermine the entire program that has yet to deliver.

REP. JOHN DUNCAN (R), TENNESSEE: If we have spent $600 million already, does anybody have any idea how much this all is going to cost us in the end?


ACOSTA: Meanwhile, as for those relations between the White House and nervous Democrats, we should point out that White House chief of staff Denis McDonough is expected, he will be headed up to Capitol Hill to meet Senate Democrats about various proposals to fix the Obamacare program and we do know, we can report that administration officials are now saying that the president will unveil some kind of proposal to address many of these concerns out there, quote, "sooner rather than later".

So, that means perhaps as soon as today but no firm schedule as to when that proposal may come out -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, I guess they have to deal with the politics before they deal with the problem.

All right. Breaking news -- we've been following this story all morning -- a sink hole has swallowed part of a home along Florida's Gulf Coast. First responders right now are on the scene in Dunedin, in Florida. Six homes have needed to be evacuated. Thankfully, no one has been hurt.

The owner of that first home that started all this, his name is Mike Dupre. He joins us now by phone.

Mike, can you hear us?

MIKE DUPRE, HOMEOWNER (via telephone): I can hear you. Good morning.

CUOMO: What makes this more frightening you're 35 miles away from where Jeff Bush got swallowed up in his bed, the story we all had broken hearts about earlier this year. What happened this morning?

DUPRE: My daughter woke us up said there's somebody trying to get into the house, there's banging on the door, I looked around and saw the back room that the screen room is just sticking out about three feet from the ground so I knew the sink hole opened up, so we just got out of the house as fast as possible.

CUOMO: I hear that the hole is 30 feet deep, may have swallowed two houses. How did you get out? What happened next?

DUPRE: We ran out, called 911. Sheriff's department and fire department arrived. They helped us try to get a few stuff, important belongings out of the house. The sink hole was getting bigger and bigger; it started affecting the neighbor's house. The pool broke down. My boat sunk into that crater. It's a nightmare.

CUOMO: That's your boat, the one on the screen with the Evinrude E- TEC on the back of it, that's your boat?

DUPRE: That's probably mine, and they were working on the house to get that sink hole fixed, we're back and forth with the insurance company, they just wanted to do a grounding fix. We had a different engineer said it needs more fixes done, more efficient work.

After the incident, we decided, well, we're scared to sleep here. Let's get it fixed the way the insurance company wanted it and they started two days ago and, well, that's the result.

CUOMO: Wait a minute, let me make sure I understand what you're saying. You're saying that this wasn't a complete surprise, that there was some type of risk involved here that you had been dealing with this situation with an insurance company?

DUPRE: That's correct. We had small cracks that we saw two years ago. The insurance company sent an engineer out, they did test sporings (ph) and told us there's a little sinkhole activity on that house and we should grout it. A different engineer looked at the results and he said no, we should have done more. This is not efficient what they're offering.

It was just back and forth with lawyers and as I said, after the other incident we caved in, told them go ahead, fix it the way you think it should be done but if something happens afterwards, we will come back, you know, because we don't think and the other engineer thinks it's not efficient.

CUOMO: Thank God you can come back. You're saying you caved in to the lawyers but literally now your house is caved in.

How much of it is gone?

DUPRE: I cannot tell. I'm in front of the house. I can just peek to the backyard. I don't see what really is gone. I know that the Florida room seems to be gone. I know our neighbor's pool is gone.

CUOMO: Do you have a place to stay? Do you have family in the area so you can take care of the family?

DUPRE: Yes, we have lots of friends here and I think we're going to be OK for the next few days.

CUOMO: You know, it's hard to judge by the video we're watching right now. To your best knowledge, is the hole continuing to grow or has it settled for now?

DUPRE: I think it's still growing. That's what I heard, and just from educating yourself after two years, dealing with things like that, usually they keep growing over the next few hours.

CUOMO: Luckily -- I mean, it's terrible that you had suspicions about this and you got what seems to be bad information about what needed to be done but at least you escaped with your lives and now you're going to have to figure out how to move forward.

I'm going to let you go to get back to deal with this situation but we're going to get your information and let us know how it goes with the insurance company, to make sure your accommodations for the family moving forward is done the right way, OK?

DUPRE: I will and thanks for offering that help.

CUOMO: Good luck and thank you for talking to us this morning.

DUPRE: Thank you.


BOLDUAN: The boat hanging right there. It's unbelievable.

CUOMO: It was a preexisting risk? That's a really bad situation.

PEREIRA: That's a bad situation.

We want to tell you about another bad situation yesterday, some stories making news right now, tense moments on board a Southwest flight this week. Now, the actions of the pilot are coming into question, the flight was on its way to North Carolina when the plane suddenly lost much of its altitude and the pilot's message to passengers sent a chill through the cabin.


PEREIRA (voice-over): It's what you don't want to hear at 41,000 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says, "We're going down". And everybody's looking around like, is this a joke? Is he serious? And then you felt the nose dive.

PEREIRA: Those are the words one passenger says she heard from the cockpit, mid air, from Tampa to Raleigh-Durham, on Southwest flight 3426 late Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I was going to die and that's what everybody on that plane thought, that we were all going to die. Just by one word of the captain.

PEREIRA: That was followed by a steep dive from 41,000 feet to just 9,900, in about 10 minutes. Communications between the pilot and air traffic control confirms the sudden descent.

PILOT: 3426 out of 20 for 17,000 like to have it at 10,000 please.

Still working it out. We just want to get down to 10,000 feet in case it trips again.

Down to 11,000, is that correct? Southwest 3426.

Thank you. PEREIRA: An imagine alert was sounded, tripped by an irregular cabin pressure reading, and then the harrowing descent. Southwest Airlines disputes the account by Shelly Wills (ph). It insists the report from this customer Wills is not accurate, that the pilot never uttered those terrifying words.

But another passenger on the flight, Gray Stroud (ph), tells CNN the captain said clearly, "We're in trouble. We're going down". He thinks it was something they weren't supposed to hear, like he accidentally hit the PA button. She also said a panicked flight attendant was calling and asking them to deploy oxygen masks.

And she, like Shelly Wills, thought she was going to die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think of your kids, your family. I think they just have could have handled it a little bit differently.

PEREIRA: Thankfully, the flight made a safe landing at Raleigh- Durham, two minutes early and the issue that caused the entire deal took only an hour to fix but Shelly Wills had already prepared for the worst, sending her daughter this text message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Alyssa (ph), my plane is going down.


PEREIRA: Terrifying moments. Southwest Airlines provided this explanation in a statement to CNN, saying, "The captain was communicating his plan with the flight attendants and he inadvertently activated the PA system. We certainly regret any confusion caused by the relay of the information." CNN has already learned recently this morning that the FAA is now investigating that incident.

Now to the other stories that are making news, four marines killed at Camp Pendleton in California. Their deaths are under investigation this morning. Base officials telling CNN the victims were working on a firing range used for weapons training, but that the death did not happen during any live fire exercises. Military spokesman says explosive could have suddenly blown up.

A woman reported overboard during a cruise in the Pacific Ocean northeast of Hawaii. Princess Cruises says the 54-year-old woman did it intentionally. The cruise line says witness accounts were confirmed by closed circuit cameras, this happened on the third day of a 15-day cruise on the Grand Princess, sailing from San Francisco to Hawaii. A search for her turned up nothing.

The FBI and police in Oregon seeking a possible serial bomber after an improvised explosive device blew out windows and started a fire in a prosecutor's office in Medford, Oregon, Wednesday. Two similar devices were found in nearby, one inside a church and another at a Vietnam War Memorial. Police released a composite sketch of the person believed to be in the vicinity of the church when that IED was found.

Comprehensive immigration reform is dead in the water on Capitol Hill. Speaker John Boehner says the House will not negotiate with the senate to work out differences in their respective immigration bills. Democrats want a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Republicans are avoiding that issue, instead working on several piecemeal bills dealing mostly with immigration informants.

Almost quarter after the hour, those are your headlines -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

CUOMO: Yes, let's head over to Indra Petersons is keeping track of the cold for us. Where is it? How is it?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It gets better every hour. That's the best news we can have, right?

And the cold leaving the area and each hour in the morning, of course, as the sun comes out we warm up just a hint more and we need it. Temperatures have been chilly out there, a lot of 30s especially in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast and even into the South, but we add in the winds out there and the wind chills in a lot of places feeling like the 20s this morning. Really tough especially in the South, where temperatures in many places below freezing, Memphis 31, Mobile also about 36. And for that reason, they do have a freeze warning still out there, again, pretty much extending even as far back as Texas, all the way in through Georgia.

Tonight should be the last night or morning which ever way you want to look at it. You're going to have those temperatures really that chilly. The big change is taking place today. The high pressure that brought the cold air from Canada is now pushing offshore.

So, with that, you're on the back side of the high and you actually warm up, moisture and the warmth out of the gulf. So, with that, temperatures warm up not only in the gulf, but it goes all the way back up into the Northeast and things start to recover for really everyone. and look at the change, almost about 15 degrees warmer -- really notice Boston about 12 degrees warmer, yesterday you were feeling like 18 in the morning, it's going to feel a lot better in the afternoon when we start to see those 50s in there, in fact close to 60 in Atlanta today.

So huge difference and the best news of all, of course, as we go towards the weekend, we're going to be talking about temperatures warming up each day just a little bit more. So, even upper 50s, maybe some people will be lucky and get some 60s this weekend, which means I'm going outdoors. We're going out.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on "NEW DAY", a decade behind bars, but now, Ryan Ferguson is free. A judge said prosecutors hid evidence. So now, should they face a judge? Legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, will be here to weigh in.

CUOMO: And remember that secret service scandal down there in Colombia? Well, now, there's another one. Another scandal. Two high ranking officers not protecting the president the way they're supposed to. We'll tell you why.


CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Ryan Ferguson walked free Tuesday after spending nearly ten years of his life in prison from the age of 19 to 29. Ferguson's conviction overturned last week when a judge ruled prosecutors withheld evidence that could have helped the defense. We have the opportunity to speak with Ferguson yesterday just hours after his release. Take a listen.


CUOMO: What did it mean for you to have to grow up big years, 19 to 29, inside?

RYAN FERGUSON, RELEASED AFTER 10 YEARS IN PRISON: You know, you can't even put that into words because you know, they've taken my 20s, and I'll never have that back. You know, nothing in this world can get that back to me, and those are amazing years, obviously. That's when you're an adult, so thus far -- I'm 29 but I've literally never really lived as an adult in the free world.


CUOMO: It was the wrong result. The question becomes as Ferguson begins the process of rebuilding his life, who should take the fall for the time that he lost? Let's get some perspective and bring in CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Mr. Jeffrey Toobin. Great to have you --


CUOMO: As always. So in these situations, the motivation is to make this right. What are we looking at from a conceptual standpoint of how this can be the prosecutor's fault, what could be done about it?

TOOBIN: The custom to the extent there is one has been to compensate the unjustly accused financially. Some states have laws that allow for some compensation, there are lawsuits and that's usually the way it works. Recently, though, there has been an effort in some places notably in a famous case in Texas where prosecutors have been held personally liable.

There's an extraordinary case. I think a lot of people may be familiar with it, in Texas, where a man named Michael Morton went to prison for 25 years for a crime he didn't commit. And just this past week, the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, agreed to give up his law license and serve ten days, a small amount but 10 days in prison, for contempt of court. So, that's impossible model.

BOLDUAN: What do you think of that model? Are we talking about a larger problem right now with prosecutorial misconduct or are we seeing just some very high profile cases? Because I remember in local news days, I covered the Duke Lacrosse case and what happened for the D.A. Mike Nifong there.

TOOBIN: Who was disbarred which is the other celebrated occasion --

CUOMO: But not prosecuted.

TOOBIN: Not prosecuted. Although it was close, but he got disbarred which was --

BOLDUAN: Humiliated.

TOOBIN: Pretty extraordinary. This is all the result of DNA evidence, the revolution in law enforcement, because you know, before DNA came out, we could never really say with great certainty that innocent people were in prison. And even though the Ferguson case wasn't technically a DNA case, it all comes out of the investigations that have come up by the innocence project and others.

And a lot of people are saying, you now, it's not enough to give people a few thousand dollars or even $1 million for all those years. We have to create incentives for prosecutors never to engage in this kind of misconduct.

PEREIRA: Ferguson was even saying in your conversation with him yesterday he wants to make sure this doesn't happen to somebody else. He lost a decade of his life. He has his life ahead of him arguably, which is a wonderful thing. How hard is it, though, to get these guys if there's prosecutorial misconduct?

TOOBIN: It is so, so difficult. It's hard enough to re-open these cases in the first place and get these people out of prison. The legal system always talks about the importance of finality. You have to have cases resolved. And prosecutors hate going back 10, 20 years to try to figure out what happened.

And frankly, let's remember, most people in prison are guilty, but there are of course these cases. So the first thing everybody wants is to get out of prison, and then we have to start dealing with the implications, including possibly criminal liability for the prosecutors, but it's really unlikely.

CUOMO: Well, you got to make sure that it's the wrong result, but it was found the right way. See? So how does that play out? Well, in this situation, you didn't turn over evidence. Why not? Well, we didn't think it was that important. OK, that's about your discretion. There's going to be some kind of immunity because you're just working the furtherance, but what about when it's not? You mentioned Duke. What about when I'm making it up? What about when I'm lying about what was told to me?

BOLDUAN: But how do you prove that?

(CROSSTALK) TOOBIN: You did in Duke Lacrosse because you had some of the best defense lawyers in the country swarming into that case. Most defendants don't have those kinds of options and I think you make a very important point. Prosecutors like journalists, like everyone else, they make mistake.

Those people are not and should not go to prison. What you need to do is discourage the intentional misconduct, the lying, the making up evidence. But again, it's often hard to draw a distinction and identify those people with precision.

BOLDUAN: A counterintuitive question and I could just be completely wrong on this, is there any kind of a chilling effect on how a prosecutor would handle their side of the case if there is this lingering threat. Is there -- could there be a counterproductive result from this threat?

TOOBIN: Well, that's one of the arguments that are made against these sort of cases. Frankly, I'm not very persuaded by that.

BOLDUAN: Do a good job --

TOOBIN: And also, we're not even talking about doing a good job. We're talking about don't intentionally violate the law.


CUOMO: -- find inculpatory evidence, it's to find exculpatory evidence, and that's ignored a lot. There is supposed -- cops and prosecutors are supposed to look at a situation and say here's why Jeffrey did it. Oh, but look at this, this is why Jeffrey wasn't the right guy and that's often ignored and pursued --

TOOBIN: There is a legal requirement a famous Supreme Court case called Brady versus Maryland in 1963 which said the prosecution is obliged, is required to turnover any evidence that tends to help the defendant. That was what was violated in the Ryan Ferguson case. That's why he was freed because the prosecutors didn't comply with their Brady obligations, with their obligations to disclose helpful evidence to the defense.

That's the kind of thing that really does suggest you might want to have some sort of liability. And you know, the prosecutor in the Ryan Ferguson case, Kevin Crane, is now a judge in that community. That often happens with prosecutors. They move on to being judges which makes this all that more difficult because judges tend to be pretty off limits in the legal system.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Jeffrey. Thanks very much. That was a good discussion. I learned a lot.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, something you also might want to learn about, a sexy e-mail, a D.C. hotel room, and a bullet, mix them all together and what do you get? Another big problem for the secret service. We're going to talk about it. CUOMO: And just days before the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, we will hear from someone very close to Lee Harvey Oswald. What was he like, his relationships, and the big question, did he act alone?


ANNOUNCER: You're watching "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". It is Thursday, November 14th.

Coming up, you're going to hear the frantic 911 calls made by the owner of a big cat sanctuary in Oregon as he finds the mauled body of his head keeper, all while more big cats are closing in on him, on audio, coming up.

BOLDUAN: Plus, we're going to be hearing from a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald. He's got a lot to say on this anniversary. You see a little bit of him right there. We're going to hear much more from him and the relationship with the Kennedy family, much more on that ahead.

CUOMO: But first, another scandal unfolding at the secret service. Two supervising agents removed from the president's detail. They're under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct. The incident in question taking place at a hotel just steps from the White House.