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Is President Obama Losing His Base?; Will Obama's Health Insurance "Fix" Work?; Is Second Degree Murder Charge Justified?; "Groupon" For Pot Dispensaries?

Aired November 15, 2013 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR (VOICE-OVER): "OUTFRONT" next. No man is an island. But don't tell that to Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth of the matter is I'm accountable to the people who sent me here.

BURNETT: Democrats and even "The New York Times" turn on the president.

Plus, murder charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This monster that killed my daughter...

BURNETT: The man who allegedly pulled the trigger didn't know the woman who appeared bloody and drunk at his door in the middle of the night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't imagine in my wildest dreams what that man feared from her to shoot her in her face.

BURNETT: And it's not who you are underneath but what do you that defines you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, Caped Crusader, we need you. And bring the Bat-kid.


BURNETT: The Bat-kid saves the day for all of us. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Obama alone. The president's army deserting democrats in Congress putting their votes where their anger is, more than three dozen voting with Republicans today on a measure to permanently reinstate health care plans, canceled from Obamacare. The president, of course, says doing that undermines the whole premise of the his health care lawful. He is under pressure.

Even the "New York Times" editorial page, a stalwart ally, it doesn't get any better than, that says, quote, "It is uncertain how Obama can win back the public's confidence." We begin our coverage tonight with Dana Bash, OUTFRONT tonight, on Capitol Hill.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty nine House Democrats, one fifth of the caucus defected and voted for a Republican bill allowing people to keep canceled health policies. Democrat Ron Barber in a tough re-election campaign next year was one of them.

REPRESENTATIVE RON BARBER (D), ARIZONA: I've been home meeting with constituents. This has been a topic of concern in conversation. So I wanted to vote yes to let constituents know that I heard what they have to say.

BASH: That despite warnings from Democratic leaders that the GOP bill would dismantled Obamacare by not only allowing consumers to keep canceled policies, but letting people sign up for new policies that do not meet new benefit requirements.

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: That idea that it was helping consumers was sort of the Trojan horse whose underbelly is poisonous with -- in terms of the health and well being of the American people.

BASH (on camera): Your leadership says that your vote would undercut the entire Obamacare law.

BARBER: Well, I don't see it that way. I mean, I think any fix that we can make, particularly when as problem arises is good for the people back home. The truth of the matter is, look, I'm accountable to the people who sent me here.

BASH: The prospect of this GOP vote is the main reason the president came out a day earlier with his own plan to reinstate canceled insurance policies. Democratic sources admit without that many more Democrats would have defected. But the GOP bill still got significant bipartisan support and Republicans were eager to pour salt on the president's political wounds.

REPRESENTATIVE FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: Ask not what your country can do for you. The only thing we have to fear, tear down this wall and our current president will be no different. If you like your health care plan, you can keep it, period.


BASH: The president issued a veto threat but Erin, it probably won't get that far. Because in the Senate there are certainly are a fair number of Democrats who want to push legislation, who want to tell their constituents that they're trying to fight for them like they did in the House. But leaders who run the Senate and the Democrats, that is, they want to hold off because they want to give the president's plan a chance to work -- Erin. BURNETT: All right, Dana Bash, thank you very much. OUTFRONT tonight now, Ohio's Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor who also serves as the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. Good to have you with us, Lieutenant Governor. Now the president met with insurance CEOs today at the White House. It was a closed press meeting, closed door, we don't know much of what went on, but they did release this. Here is the president.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We know the demand is out there for that. We had despite all the problems with the web site, over a million people apply. Many multiples of that wanted to see what options were available.


BURNETT: He said we know the demand is out there. Is that true in Ohio?

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MARY TAYLOR (R), OHIO: Well, unfortunately, I don't think that we're seeing that. If you look at the actual numbers of individuals who selected a plan on the exchange, in Ohio, it is 1,150 individuals out of a population of about 11.5 million people. It is also important to keep in mind they didn't necessarily complete that last step, which is paying for the plan. So it is selecting and paying for the plan that actually means you've enrolled.

BURNETT: All right, so what I've been trying to understand so hard all this week, what Obamacare will do to costs, whether Obamacare will work and whether this quote/unquote "fix" of allowing people to keep their plans is a pipe dream or has a chance of being true. So let me throw some number at and you please tell me what's happening in Ohio.

According to a study by Health Pocket, which "Bloomberg News" reported today that I saw, I thought this gave a real sense of the numbers, premiums for people who sign up for Obamacare are going to go up an average of 26 percent, co-pays for doctors is 46 percent, generic drug co-pays, 76 percent. What about in Ohio?

TAYLOR: Well, in Ohio, in our individual market our estimates show that premiums will go up on average 41 percent. That's just the premium cost. That doesn't include the additional out of pocket expenses like co-pays and deductibles, which I think is part of what's creating sticker shock for some of the Ohio consumers when they look at the overall out of pocket costs. It is significantly more under Obamacare than it was in our existing market.

BURNETT: So 41 percent, I mean, that's pretty significant. Does that mean you like the fix the president proposed, which would allow Ohioans to keep their plans and not be subject to a 41 percent increase in premiums?

TAYLOR: Well, of course, we like for Ohioans to have choice and for consumers to choose what it is, the type of coverage they like. That's what we had before Obamacare. We're concerned about the announcement yesterday because it creates more uncertainty in an already chaotic insurance market in Ohio. In fact we're concerned that it will hasten the pace for which premiums will go up in 2015 and beyond.

BURNETT: Are you're going to allow a sustained insurance commissioner when you are going to be the one that decides whether insurers in your state can go along with this, right. Yes, you are allowed to extend your plan. Are you going to allow them to do that?

TAYLOR: We are, yes. We will work with companies that choose to continue coverage that existed in the marketplace this year. And as soon as we hear from them, we're prepared to start working with them.

BURNETT: Let me ask you, we've been a little obsessed with the young, Lt. Governor, and how they need to sign up for Obamacare to work, right? We all know the math. We've talked about how many of them, for example, are staying on their parents' plans instead, right? That's 15 million young people who are staying on their parents' plans. Not going to the Obamacare exchanges where they're needed.

In Ohio, your overall enrollment numbers that we got from the federal government were 1,150 people signed up in that first month. Less than 10 percent of the number the federal government was hoping for. Obviously a lot of that is because of the web site failures. Can you tell us how many are under the age of 35 or are we looking at older, sicker people?

TAYLOR: We don't have the exact number. I n our conversations with the company, the majority of that 1,150 are individuals who are sicker. So unfortunately, it is the opposite effect that we need in order for Obamacare to be successful.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much, Lt. Governor Taylor, we appreciate your taking the time. Trying to get the reporting and the numbers, obviously those are some pretty grim numbers. OUTFRONT tonight now, former Clinton advisor, Paul Begala, and "National Review" columnist, Reihan Salam. I'm going to give you a chance to respond to what the lieutenant governor just said and she's a Republican, OK, but she was sharing numbers here. She's saying older people are signing up. Not younger and premiums are going to go up 41 percent. How in the world is that going to work?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first off premiums are not going up. She's wrong. I've already gotten rebates. Millions of Americans have already gotten rebates because of Obamacare.

BURNETT: How do you know she's wrong? She is the insurance commissioner for the state of Ohio.

BEGALA: She's an elected politician. She's going to say whatever she needs to say to advance her political agenda. Maybe she believes it. My point is we have the slowest rate of increase for health inflation since Obamacare pass that had we've had since we started measuring this. This stuff is already working. The web site is terrible. It is awful.

But for 85 percent of us who already have insurance, this is a stone winner without ever going on race because of the medical loss ratio. I've already gotten a rebate because of the changes in Medicare. Women in Medicare now get mammograms. The doughnut hole has closed. I can keep my college age kid on my account until he's 26, lots of really good reforms. This has been good for cost. Not bad. That's the real numbers.

BURNETT: Interesting point. Reihan, I know you're going on say part of the reason costs have been in check is the economy which is true and part of it could also.

What about the point, obviously I don't want to get into an argument in the numbers with Ohio. We have to go on the facts that she's giving us. Obviously Paul is skeptical of her point of view. This does go along with the study I just showed, which shows you'll see doctor co-pays and premiums go up.

REIHAN SALAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think that it is going to vary dramatically from state to state because different states have different insurance regulations. So for example, in a state like New York State, you will see some decreases in what people will see on the individual market, but in most other states you will see pretty substantial increases. In the premium that's people will be paying. And again that depends on your health status and many other characteristics.

That I think the picture is not as rosy as I think he thinks it is. A little better in some states but in most spots, people are really seeing rate shock. This is not made up. This is not imaginary. It is a real issue that's affecting a lot of real people. That doesn't mean the idea behind the law wasn't admirable, but it does mean there are a lot of big issues that people will be struggling to fix and it will take years.

BURNETT: Maybe the whole concept of providing insurance for everybody at a lower cost was not possible and it will cost more. That is a moral conversation.

SALAM: You have to acknowledge the costs.

BEGALA: We're already paying in the most bass awkward way that we can because we don't have universal coverage. Once you get universal coverage, it only makes sense. That's how insurance works and more people you get in the pool, as you keep pointing out especially this young invincibles, the better it is.

BURNETT: Paul, let me ask you, the headlines that came out today and what's happening to the president are pretty grim. I know you've seen them all, but the "New York Times," health care laws, rollout stumbles, draw parallels to Bush's hurricane response. The Katrina response, health law shakes the presidency. The "Washington Post," Obamacare's troubling "fix." Fix put in quotes. Is it possible for the president to recover? I want to know, this whole issue is happening a year earlier in this president's second term than Monica Lewinsky affair happened for President Clinton.

BEGALA: Which by the way drove Clinton to 71 percent approval --

BURNETT: A fair point. Can Obama turn this around?

BEGALA: Of course, he will. This is the two things media does. We ignore and it then over react to it. Let me read you a quote. This week we can talk about, is the presidency over? Now I don't want to say the name, but that was a national network news anchor said that on the 11th day of the Clinton presidency. Clinton went on to serve another 2,900 days. This is what we do.

The notion is like Katrina, my pal and our colleague, Donna Brazile, she had family members who lost everything in Katrina. And she said that this is disgusting. Of course, it is, 1,833 people lost their lives in Katrina. This is bad, a political problem for the president. It's a technological problem. I do wish there had been more accountability here. I think HHS has screwed this up but you can't compare it to Hurricane Katrina.

BURNETT: Reihan, what do you think about that? Is the Hurricane Katrina comparison, I guess, I see Paul's point. In terms of what did it to the Bush presidency and how he lost the legitimacy, the credibility, but "The New York Times" says he currently now does not have with his constituents. Is it a fair comparison?

SALAM: I think that Hurricane Katrina might not be the best analogy. Think about Iran contra, OK, so if you see President Obama's approval ratings, they've tended to be a lot higher than his approval on the economy and wide range of other issues. A lot of Americans just like President Obama because they trusted President Obama.

And I think what has happened now with Obamacare is that it seems as though the president has not been leveling with people and I think that a lot of that trust the people had, they thought he is not doing a great job with the economy. But we still trust the guy. That I think might erode. I'm not sure it will erode but I think it might be what happens.

Another thing is this is a big, big undertaking, a big ambitious undertaking. I think that no matter what this is going to distract the president's attention from a whole lot of other domestic and foreign policy priorities.

So I think in that sense, I think it is really fair to say that the rest of this president's presidency will be all about Obamacare and putting out fires around Obamacare. Maybe that will be worth it in the end.

BURNETT: Maybe it will be. Paul, but a quick final question to you. The other thing the president keeps saying that costs will go down for most people. Maybe he's right over time, but you know, I look at people who work for big companies who have those Cadillac plans, right. A lot of those people that work for those companies do not earn a lot of money. They earn $35,000, right. They wouldn't get subsidies in the private market. They're single, but their costs are going up 20 percent to pay for those other people. These are people who are not wealthy, whose costs are going up. That is not something that anybody said would happen. I mean, people's expectations here are being dramatically, they're falling short.

BEGALA: Well, that may be. First off, the subsidies in the individual market go for a family of four, all the way up to $96,000 a year. That's a pretty good living in America with median income at 50. So I do think, first off, costs will always go up. Health care inflation has been the biggest problem in our economy over time. We're now, 17, 18 percent of our GDP --

BURNETT: It's 17, yes.

BEGALA: Nobody else is in double digits except the Canadians and they're at 11. So we're spotting the whole world, trillions of dollars in competition. So I do think -- the president got into this to say, we're going to bend the cost curve. Sir, if it is a curve it is already bent but I know what you mean. Slow down the rate of growth. Nobody ought to promise it will be cheap or free. But this is already having a tremendously beneficial effect. It is slowing the rate of growth and the most important thing government can do.

BURNETT: We shall see, whether it works or not. Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

Still to come, accident or murder, a Detroit homeowner accused of shooting and killing a young woman who came to his door looking for help.

Plus Toronto's city council tries to rein in Rob Ford, a big move today. They voted to strip the mayor. One of the city's councillors comes OUTFRONT.

And buying marijuana at a discount, it's the Groupon of pot and it is OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, deadly accident or brutal murder? A Michigan man is under arrest tonight facing second-degree murder charges after he shot a 19-year-old woman in the face. He is white. She was black. Renisha McBride was shot in the early morning hours of November 2nd on the front porch of Theodore Wafer's house.

Now Wafer said he thought she was trying to break in and that he accidentally shot her. McBride's family said she was looking for help after crashing her car. We want you to understand the whole story here because this is a fascinating question of race and justice in America.

We begin the coverage, OUTFRONT tonight, with Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Was the man who shot Renisha McBride in her face through his locked screen door in fear of his life? Not according to prosecutors, now charging Theodore Wafer with second-degree murder, manslaughter with intent but not malice, and a weapons count.

KYM L. WORTHY, PROSECUTOR, WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN: I am saying we do not believe he acted in lawful self-defense.

CANDIOTTI: On November 2nd, a couple hours before she was killed, McBride crashed her car. About two hours later, at 4:30 in the morning, several blocks from the accident scene, police say she appeared on Wafer's front porch where he fired a single shotgun blast through locked screen door killing the 19-year-old. McBride was drunk. Nearly three times the legal limit in Michigan. Yet prosecutors say it did not play a role in charging Wafer.

WORTHY: We don't feel it is relevant at all in this case.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Prosecutors also rule out race playing a role. Police say Wafer told them his shotgun went off accidentally. That he heard noises and thought someone was breaking in. McBride's family wonders why he didn't just call police, that their daughter likely just wanted help from a stranger, and wound up losing her life.

MONICA MCBRIDE, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM RENISHA MCBRIDE: I can't imagine in my wildest dream what that man feared from her, to shoot her in her face.

GERALD THURSWELL, MCBRIDE FAMILY ATTORNEY: He shot her head off through a screen locked door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This monster that killed my daughter. I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail.

CANDIOTTI: At his first court appearance after turning himself in, Wafer appeared stoic. He pleaded not guilty. He is described by his lawyers as an airport worker with the highest security clearance who cares for his 81-year-old mother and his brother. Neighbors have described him as low key and law-abiding. He now faces the legal fight of his life. Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Now under Michigan law, there is no duty to retreat when you're in your own home. But a person has to show they honestly and reasonably believed there was imminent danger of losing his or her life or suffering great bodily harm in order to face self-defense. Do the charges add up? As we said, this happened November 2nd. Here we are.

OUTFRONT tonight, Sunny Hostin and Danny Cevallos, they are criminal defense attorneys and CNN legal analysts. Danny, let me start with you. The prosecutor in this case waited nearly two weeks to bring the charges. All right, they came after protests, national media attention. So to a certain degree it might seem that there is pressure to satisfy the public, bring charges because people demanded charges. Do you think this warranted second-degree murder or did public opinion play a role?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. It doesn't warrant second degree murder. This is a classic castle doctrine case. This isn't about stand your ground. It may not really be about self- defense. In Michigan, the law is clear. There is a rebuttable presumption. In other words, the law will presume that if somebody is breaking into your house, that the defendant believes someone is breaking into his house, he has a reasonable fear that deadly force is about to be used against him.

That is the law. It seems to me pretty clearly that under Michigan law, this case shouldn't have been brought. It is an extension of castle doctrine. Like you said, every American has a right to come to the door as long as they're within their own home with a fire arm like it or not.

BURNETT: All right, Sunny, the thing is, the doctrine means defending your own home. You have a right to do that, but when there are sign of forced entry, which there were no signs of in this case.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly. I mean, Danny could not be any more wrong in this. You have a man who is secure in his home when someone is knocking at the door. Then you need to call 911. You don't just open up the door which is what did, leaving the screen door locked and open up with a deadly firearm. That is ridiculous. It is not the castle doctrine at all. It is not stand your ground. It is second-degree murder. It is manslaughter.

And that I think the government charged appropriately. We have to remember they did take at least two weeks to investigate. When the police first wanted to charge him and brought the case to the government, Kym Worthy, who I happen to know, we went to the same law school. She is a very thorough prosecutor. She said no, no, let's continue the investigation. Remember they waited for the toxicology reports to come back before they charged this case and I think it is wholly appropriate.

BURNETT: Does it matter though? I think you know these charges are too aggressive. The victim was drunk, high, she had blood on her. It is 4:00 in the morning. That could be scary, although this guy was a lot bigger than she was and in the safety of his own home. But does her physical condition is that relevant?

CEVALLOS: Well, it goes to whether the defendant, whether she behaved in a way that gave the defendant reason to believe she was trying to get into the home. That's why those facts are so critical. A lot of the other stuff is just window dressing. Despite what sonny says which is interesting from a discussion perspective, but under Michigan law it is clear.

If the defendant believed someone is trying to enter their home that becomes either a home invasion situation or an entry situation and under the law, there is a rebuttable presumption that the defendant believes that he was under lethal attack. HOSTIN: That's ridiculous. I didn't realize we were in a coffee house. The bottom line here, Erin and Danny, the one thing we're not talking about, which is sort of the elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about it is the role of race in this case. You're talking about Detroit. You're talking about a white man, secure in his home. What does do? He sees a 19-year-old black woman at his door and he uses a firearm and he shoots her in the face.

And no one ever stands up and says I'm afraid of black people. I'm a racist. I've never heard anyone say that, but to suggest that race doesn't play a role and did not play a role in this case is ridiculous. We need to talk about it. When we talk about these types of cases, these castle doctrine cases, these standing your ground cases. I think this is very much one of these racial profiling cases.

BURNETT: All right, well, thanks very much to both of you. And to all of you, please weigh in. Let us know what you think whether race played a role or whether the prosecutors are going too far under public pressure. We want your point of view as this case continues. Please tweet me @erinburnett.

Well, our third story OUTFRONT is a Groupon style web site, but this is for marijuana. Pot is now legal for recreational use in two states. It's growing. I mean, you'd be forgiven if you thought it was spying everywhere at this point. Dispensaries are popping up around the country. The new start up web site is capitalizing on it. Ana Cabrera is OUTFRONT.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How popular is pot? Just ask Neal Bigelow.

NEAL BIGELOW, DISPENSARY MANAGER: Even with ourselves growing it in a 10,000 square foot warehouse, it is hard to keep up with that demand.

CABRERA: He runs one of the 520 medical marijuana dispensaries with doors open in Colorado. His shop has 300 members purchasing pot for upwards of $200 an ounce.

BRIAN SHAPIRO, FOUNDER, CANNA-SAVER: The new green rush is what everybody is calling it.

CABRERA: Brian Shapiro plans to capitalize on what's estimated to be a $1.5 billion industry nationwide. This professional CPA doesn't use the drug himself, but believes the buds hold big business. He is the founder of, a start up cannabis coupon company.

SHAPIRO: People have been calling us the Groupon of marijuana.

CABRERA: Pot shops pay a monthly subscription fee to post deals on the site.

SHAPIRO: Here's 10 percent off concentrates. CABRERA: In the past four months since the site went live, Shapiro said he's seen 30 stores subscribed with 65 coupons currently up for grabs.

(on camera): So what kind of a deal is this? Two ounces for $300 including tax, Sunday through Wednesday. Is that a pretty good deal do you think?

DONALD CARSON, MEDICAL MARIJUANA USER: That's a very good deal. That's about a $50 savings.

CABRERA (voice-over): Donald Carson said he uses marijuana daily for headaches. He hadn't heard of Canna-Saver before we showed it to him.

CARSON: That's pretty cool.

CABRERA: It's that kind of reaction that has turned the dispensary manager, Neal Bigelow into a believer. His shop was one of the first to subscribe. He has the coupons to prove people are finding the web site where he has posted deals on everything from marijuana infused apple crisp to the night row torch.

BIGELOW: We've actually, we had to reorder them and keep on selling them. We do have a profit margin on them even with the deal.

CABRERA: It is too early to tell whether Canna-Saver has staying power, but its founder is optimistic saying the site is already making $3,000 a month.

(on camera): That's before marijuana is legal to sell for recreational use. That starts in January in Colorado. Researchers estimate more than 642,000 Coloradoans will use the drug next year. That's more than the population of Denver.

(voice-over): With the trend of more and more states around the country legalizing some form of marijuana, Brian Shapiro believes his marijuana coupon company could be his niche in the already bustling business world of online deals. For OUTFRONT, Ana Cabrera, CNN, Denver, Colorado.


BURNETT: Thanks to Ana. Still to come, a desperate search for loved ones in the Philippines, we're going to go live to the scene for the latest and absolutely horrific images today.

Plus dramatic video of the New Jersey mall shooting, it's new this afternoon, what the shooter did just moments before he opened fire. We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT on a Friday. CNN tonight obtaining surveillance video from the New Jersey mall. It shows gunman Richard Shoop calmly walking around on the night he opened fire. If you look closely, you can make out the gun and motorcycle helmet that Shoop is seen carrying. Shoppers then, as you see, send into a panic, fleeing. Shots at a ceiling, a store front, an escalator and an elevator. Shoop then shot himself in the head. His family continues to say the only life he intended to take was his own.

And a new sinkhole swallows a house, others on the verge tonight. Before one house was demolished today, firefighters removed some family items, basically all they could get to. The homeowner, Michael Dupre, was started away by his daughter. She thought someone was breaking into their home. So, he went to look and their back room had just disappeared, plunged into the earth.


MICHALE DUPRE, LOST HOUSE TO SINKHOLE: It is bizarre. It hurts, obviously. It's your home.

REPORTER: Your family is taking it OK? I know --

DUPRE: Well, you know, as good as possible.


BURNETT: The family's insurance company actually knew there was sinkhole activity on the property. For two years, Dupre had work with the company to try to get it fixed. Now, he is lucky to be alive.

Our fourth story tonight is burying the dead. One week after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, bodies are being pulled from the rubble -- bodies upon bodies. Those are black body bags you are looking at. And as we have heard again and again and you will see, what the images here cannot convey is the smell.

The death toll now stands at 3,631. That number will rise. At least 1,100 more missing still. The hope of finding survivors is obviously more unlikely with each passing day.

Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Where it ends for so many, without ceremony, or even the names spoken softly. The corpses that have littered Tacloban. So much of the city lives come to rest here, and tell parts of the horror of how they must have died.

But they leave many questions, too, among the overpowering smell of looming disease.

(on camera): It's a cold but necessary process, the accounting of the dead that happens here. And the condition they arrived after days in the open, and the impact of floodwaters, gruesome, sometimes unrecognizable. But for the relatives who come here in search of their loved ones, it's here that they hear the toughest answers.

(voice-over): Some endured the search for mothers or brothers but just find more not knowing. These had ways of identification, cards, witnesses. These didn't.

(INAUDIBLE) came here to look for her son, Gerald. On the night of the storm, they shared cake and soda before he said the rain wasn't that bad and went out. His brother George has more gruesome task. It is clear he'll have no answers here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's all I wanted. Even if it's a corpse, I'd like to see my son. It is why I'm here every day looking.

WALSH: The death toll official gives may vary, but this torturous process won't -- bodies brought in and then taken away. Driven to the outskirts of town where young police hesitate over their grim job, about 100 already here. The man said the grave is just temporary but the holes they leave in the families' hearts and homes of Tacloban is permanent.


BURNETT: It's hard to imagine, Nick, what you saw. And I think, obviously, you so eloquently conveyed it there. But I know that earlier this week, you've been reporting on the relief efforts. They were too slow. People weren't able to get food. They were resorting to eating all kinds of horrific things.

Is it better?

WALSH: Yes, it is better, certainly. It is interesting to see what we left as yesterday. People putting telephone poles back up to get electricity, food being handed out, water literally being handed out from the back of trucks. Kind of what you'd have liked to have seen happen on day two or day three, or expected to see happen then, happening roughly on day seven or so.

So, yes, the government is there in evidence now. There are people flown in from across the country, helping people get their lives back together. But there's a massive task ahead. I mean, I flew out on an enormous American C-17 cargo plane that was full of Filipino people just trying to get out of there, but there's nothing really to support life. There is still debris all over streets. The job of cleaning that up is massive, before you can even think about a normal life.

There are still bodies within that rubble. You can smell it. Although the job of protecting the corpses that risk giving everyone disease for so long is now underway, as you just saw. There is a massive task ahead. There's nothing really to support the community there at this point apart from emergency food being handed out.

So, the question now is becoming much less about the short term sustenance of those staying behind and more kind of the medium term thing of how would you actually get people back to some sort of lifestyle that they can tolerate in the weeks and months ahead. Of course, when the international community's eyes come off that town, can they continue? And at the airport where they went so much time, plane coming in so regularly. So much material coming off -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much.

Still to come, another strange turn in the Toronto mayor drug scandal. One of the people who turn his back to him the other day. Remember that? We'll show you the picture. He's OUTFRONT.

And a story that will make you smile on a Friday. San Francisco's cape crusader ends the Riddler's reign of terror. It is a beautiful little story.


BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: stripping Toronto's mayor. Toronto City Council is in -- it's about a leader who refuses to resign despite admitting he smoked crack. And today, the council overwhelmingly suspended Rob Ford's powers. But in another show of defiance, Ford says he will fight the council's decision.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: If I would have had a mayor acting the way I conducted myself, I would have done the exact same thing. I'm not mad at anybody. I take full responsibility. Unfortunately, and I think anyone in my situation, like some people on council that got in some trouble, they had to get legal advice and they had to go to court and defend themselves. I have to do that.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Toronto Councilor Adam Vaughan.

And, Councilor, thanks very much for taking the time to be with us. I mean, this whole situation, I have to tell you covering it is surreal. It seemed funny. It seemed comedic. It seemed tragic.

You've been one of Ford's toughest critics. You're one of many in the city council who literally turned their back to him when he speaks at this point. There you are. We're zooming in so people can see you turn your back.

Did you ever expect that it would come to this?

ADAM VAUGHAN, TORONTO COUNCILOR: Rob Ford -- voters didn't know what they were getting when they elected him to the mayor's politics. They should have. I mean, there was, you know, a drunk driving charge come opponent to it. There was a famous incident where he went just ballistic at a hockey game and started really assaulting people verbally in front of him and lied about it.

He is a damaged individual. He was before he became mayor and he certainly is now. And so, he is a very strange guy and we just have to simply, you know, shoulder on through this.

BURNETT: Allegations against Ford, as you know, are growing. You're talking about something that was on the record before he even became mayor. But now, we're hearing about 500 pages of allegations.

VAUGHAN: He's been like this for a while.

BURNETT: Yes, drinking, driving, bringing a woman who looked like an escort to his office, lewd comments, it goes on and on. And I want to play for you -- obviously, you've heard this but in case our viewers have not, his lewd response to these allegations.


FORD: The last thing was, Olivia Gondek, it says I wanted to eat her (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Olivia Gondek, I've never said that in my life to her, I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home.


BURNETT: I always, when that happens, I'm sort of speechless. I mean, this is the mayor of the fourth biggest city in North America. Can you get over what he said, Councilor?

VAUGHAN: No, it's vulgar. He is a power unto himself.

But, luckily, the powers that council had invested in the mayor's office, not in Mr. Ford, the mayor's office, the power has to pull back from the mayor's office. That's what we're doing, containing the damage that he's hopefully not going to do to himself. We're containing the damage he could do to the city government, damage he could do to the city of Toronto. And we'll put him in a box. Wait for the next election and hopefully we won't see him ever again.

BURNETT: We're going to wait for the next election. I mean, that's just kind of amazing, right? There is nothing you can do.

VAUGHAN: We are, we evolved. Unlike the United States, we did not have a revolution and we evolved where cities don't have the same powers as they do in the United States. We are creatures of what effectively are state governments, our provincial governments and we have got to weather this storm. I mean, the province can move in and act. But I'm not one of those people that likes having people from one town decide who the mayor in another town should be any more than I should decide who should be the mayor of Ottawa.

So, we will weather the storm. We will basically shun him. We'll isolate him and make sure he stops doing damage to the city.

And the real task that we now have as city is to start healing those neighborhoods where crack cocaine and gang violence are creating problems in the city and make sure those families who are addicted to crack or have young people that are falling in with the crowd, have opportunities to turn away from that lifestyle. We cannot continue as a society here, on this side of the border or in your country, frankly, continue to criminalize and declare a war on drugs and not understand it as a medical issue.

Mr. Ford is a very damaged individual. He needs help. He has a lot of privilege. He's got a trust fund. He's got the mayor's office.

There are a lot of families, a lot of people in this country and yours as well that don't have those advantages, that are crying out for that help. And our job as elected officials, quite frankly, is to start providing that compassion and providing the opportunities for people to make better choices with their lives and make sure the services and the Medicare that's needed to make those choices a reality come into existence. And that's the work that's now in front of us as elected officials.

BURNETT: All right. Councilor Vaughan, thank you very much.

And still to come, a story we've been following from the beginning. A controversial high school mascot, a sheikh. The fate of the Arab is next.

Plus, the feel good story of the day.


BURNETT: Our sixth story OUTFRONT, outrage over a unique and controversial mascot, the Arab.

Casey Wian is OUTFRONT again tonight.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coachella Valley High's sneering caricature of an angry Arab as its mascot may be nearing extinction or at least getting cosmetic surgery.

DR. DARRYL ADAMS, SUPERINTENDENT, COACHELLA VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT: I feel like what I've received with information from alumni and students, that the mascot may need a facelift.

RICH RAMIREZ, ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: We'll put in a young hand some Arabic fellow in there with a beard and mustache looking really good, and that should be OK.

WIAN: Who knows what fate awaits the belly dancing student who gyrates for the Arab at halftime of the school's football games. The controversy erupted last week after the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the district, complaining about its portrayal of Arabs.

The Arab mascot was conceived in the 1920s as a way to honor the region's links to the Middle East, the original source of Coachella date palm industry, not as an insult to anyone. The area is 96 percent Latino, yet they hold an annual date festival with camel races and as a ceremony crowning a queen Shahrazad. Students and alums are fiercely loyal to the Arab.

ADAMS: It's pride. It was not anything meant to be any other way. It's a prideful. I'm an Arab. I'm a mighty Arab. We keep fighting. We keep moving forward.

WIAN: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says it is glad the school district is discussing the issue, and appears willing to go along with the name Arab remaining, just not this face.

ABED AYOUB, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Any reasonable solution would be one that eliminates the stereotypical images and the stereotyping of Arabs as a whole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Times change and some things that might not be offensive today might be offensive tomorrow.

WIAN: One possibility under discussion, re-introducing one of the school's less cartoonish mascots design from decades ago or perhaps even an Arabian horse.


WIAN: After tonight's meeting, the Arab-American group plans to fly out here next week and discuss the proposed changes with school officials -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. We'll be following the story and find it one of the most fascinating stories out there right now.

Up next, a story that will renew your faith, we promise, in humankind and it's great for a Friday.


BURNETT: Our seventh story OUTFRONT: Batkid saves the day today.

A 5-year-old cancer child's dream came through, and it's all thanks to the money and power of social media and the Make a Wish Foundation.

Here a story with Dan Simon OUTFRONT.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has the cape, the mask and the famous car and although he may not be old enough to drive this custom-made Batmobile, today, this 5-year-old is teaching an entire city what it means to be a super hero.

His name is Miles Scott, and while he's never fought crime, it turns out he knows a thing or two about putting up a good fight. He was diagnosed with leukemia at just 18 months. He's been battling it since.

Well, today, he's in remission and that seemed like a pretty good reason to celebrate. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Miles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your wish was to be Batman?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you like Batman so much?

SCOTT: Because he's my favorite super hero.

SIMON: What started out as a request to the Make a Wish Foundation, turned into something far closer to a dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been plenty of super hero wishes that we have had, nothing like this happened.

SIMON: The organization's requests for volunteers snowballed on social media. Twitter caught fire, more than 10,000 people signed up, even more showed up to transform San Francisco into Gotham City. And over several hours today, this adorable little guy lived out his enormous dream. He rescued this damsel in distress from the city's famed cable car tracks.

He was summoned by the police chief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring the Batkid.

SIMON: There was even a bat signal and with the citizens of Gotham cheering him on, little Miles set off to save the San Francisco Giant's mascot Lou Seal from evil clutches of the felonious the Penguin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nicely done dynamic duo. You saved the city.

SIMON: "The San Francisco Chronicle" printed a special edition, "Batkid Saves City". The president gave him a shout-out on Vine.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Way to go, Miles. Way to save Gotham.

SIMON: The Justice Department put out a press release saying, quote, "If it wasn't for Batkid, I guarantee you that these two villains would still be at large."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kid of Gotham City by the bay.

SIMON: Five-year-old Miles even got a key to the city at a special ceremony, but the people here got something more. Today, they didn't leave their hearts in San Francisco, they gave them to little boy who proved what it really means to be a super hero.

BATMAN: Good job, Batkid.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIMON: It was just last month when Miles had a tube taken out of his chest used to dispense medication. The director of the Make a Wish Foundation, said today, I think we gave him back a little bit of his childhood -- Erin.

BURNETT: Dan Simon, thank you, and thanks to all of you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

I'll hand it over to Anderson now.