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Relief Effort Strengthens; "President Kennedy has Died"

Aired November 15, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president announcing a policy shift amid furor over millions of Americans finding out that their health care plans have been canceled largely as a result of the Affordable Care Act. And, of course, the president took the blame for what he called the rocky rollout of the health care law.

The president had said if you like your plan, you can keep it. And now with the change announced Thursday, you may be able to keep it for a year if your state lets you. President Obama was contrite saying that this is his fault.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's on me. I mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care plan. I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly, after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it. And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear.


BERMAN: As for what's changing, policies that were to be canceled can now be extended for up to a year at the discretion of state insurance officials. But there are states that have already said they will not let that happen because it would undercut their state insurance markets and actually hurt the Obamacare exchanges.

It is a policy fix that does not require Congressional action, but House Republicans still plan a vote today on a different type of plan that would allow insurance companies to sell to actually new customers, health insurance that does not comply with the law. The White House says that would effectively gut the Affordable Care Act.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And now, to the latest in the typhoon ravaged Philippines. The death toll shot up overnight to more than 3,600 now. Hundreds of thousands more remain without places to stay and many of them are sick and cannot find food or clean water. The U.N. says some areas have not received any aid at all. But the "USS George Washington" has arrived.

It's an aircraft carrier bringing food, supplies, and most importantly, they are bringing helicopters. That is critical to getting help where it is needed. Senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, is live in Tacloban this morning. Ivan, what can you tell us?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. the grim death toll has jumped up and part of that may be because in cities like Tacloban, the largest and most devastated in the population centers after the typhoon, with the highest death toll, here there have been government crews that have arrived from different government agencies and they've gotten through the hard work of clearing some of the debris and the rubble and also collecting some of the bodies that have been laying out for a week now.

One agency I talked to said within the last 48 hours, they'd collected 260 bodies in all. The airport here opened up, allowing flights in. One just passed, C-130. around the clock now. And, the Philippine government has pulled in ships coming in with equipment to clean up with aid and even with national broadcasters who've set up point in the middle of the city where people can come in and watch the news on a screen at night.

This city still doesn't have electricity and people have been cut off from news from the outside world. A big challenge, of course, is fanning deeper into less populated, smaller villages that probably haven't gotten this help and don't have the cars or the means to try to come into a city like this to start collecting some of the food that's being distributed now -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Ivan, we were watching some other reports coming out of there with Anderson Cooper and there was one in particular that was very gripping. It was a man on a gurney and he said this man had died overnight. Do you find that the death toll is increasing as well because people are not getting the aid, maybe the medical aid that they need?

WATSON: That could be a possibility and a contributing factor. Certainly, the evacuations have increased dramatically. I mean, there was a navy ship brought out 2,000 people from here to one of the biggest ports in the region. The flights are coming out and bringing out people. You see them arriving in wheelchairs being met by ambulances on the tarmac of cities that have not been affected.

But of course, you're putting an enormous strain on hundreds of thousands of people and the most vulnerable are going to be even more vulnerable when the hospitals aren't working. There isn't the same access to medicine. There is no electricity. It's putting immense strain on a population. So, that's likely to drive up mortality rates, of course.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ivan Watson reporting live for us, thank you.

And I want to remind all of our viewers who really want to help in some way. Go to There's a whole list of information on there. Organizations that are providing help and your money will mean a great deal to them.

BERMAN: Thirty-five minutes after the hour.

A Florida man whose home fell into a massive sinkhole near Tampa yesterday is pointing fingers at a long delayed repair.


BERMAN (voice-over): Michael Dupre says he noticed cracks two years ago and filed a claim with his insurance company. The insurer sent an engineer who made recommendations but Dupre's own engineer disagreed on the scope in what needed to be done. They were locked in a fight until earlier this year when Dupree finally agreed to go along with the insurer's plan. The work began just two days ago.


MICHAEL DUPRE, HOMEOWNER: We thought, it's going to be all good. As I said, we already looking at companies and estimates for putting a pool in the backyard after its fixed. They make it all nice. (INAUDIBLE). That's not going to be happening.


BERMAN: No pool in the backyard now. The insurance company says it followed the law and urges people who experience early signs of sinkhole damage to have repairs done quickly and it will pay Dupre for the loss of his home. Part of a second home next door is now starting to fall into the sinkhole as well. Dupre and his family are staying at a hotel, waiting to see if they can get their belongings out before the home is just completely destroyed.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): They are very fortunate because they were inside of that house when all that work began. Very lucky folks.

All right. Tense moments at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. This is in Milwaukee. A man shot after police say he came to the newborn unit with a gun. Ashanti Hendricks (ph) was at the hospital visiting his baby when police say they tried to arrest him on gun charges. He has a history of drug and weapons convictions, but they say he pointed a gun at them, so they shot him.

BERMAN: We'll find out today if charges will be filed against a suburban Detroit homeowner who shot and killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride (ph). Police believe McBride got into a car accident the morning of November 2nd and approached a house in Dearborn Heights looking for help. Just released toxicology reports reveal she had alcohol and marijuana in her system. The attorney for her family says that should have no bearing on the case.


SAMBOLIN: If you happen to be old enough, you will remember exactly where you were when you heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Americans were paralyzed by their grief that day. For many, the wounds still remain open, because 50 years later, there are still so many questions, so many conspiracy theories with dots that simply cannot be connected. Here's Randi Kaye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several thousand enthusiastic Texans are on hand.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fifty years later, we are still asking, did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? Former "New York Times" reporter, Philip Shenon is the author of "A Cruel and Shocking Act," a new and revealing book about all the questions that too many remain unanswered.

PHILIP SHENON, AUTHOR, "A CRUEL AND SHOCKING ACT": They used to call Oswald the pip squeak. That this pip squeak with a 21-dollar mail order rifle could bring down the most powerful and glamorous man in the world in a millisecond. It just didn't make sense. It made more sense that there was some sort of grand conspiracy, evil men behind closed doors who did this.

KAYE: Evil men like Fidel Castro whose name is often connected to Kennedy's assassination. Oswald's possible connection to Cuba is at the center of Shenon's book, which details Oswald's trip to Mexico City just seven weeks before the assassination. There, Shenon says, Oswald met with Cuban spies, Castro sympathizers who wanted President Kennedy dead.

How likely is it do you think that Oswald was working with the Cuba's revolutionary government?

SHENON: It appears that he actually made the statement in the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, "I want to kill President Kennedy. I'm going to kill President Kennedy." And at that point in the cold war, it seems that, you know, somebody might have whispered in his ear that he should do it if he ever got a chance.

KAYE: It's not just Castro. Some conspiracy theories believe the man caught on film in the Grassy Knoll opening and closing his umbrella was to blame, suggesting he was either signaling the shooter or shooting a poison dart at the president.

(on-camera) It's also been suggested by some conspiracy theories that Kennedy's vice president, Lyndon Johnson, ordered the hit on his boss. In fact, it was Johnson who set up the warrant commission in part to put an end to the chatter that he was responsible for the assassination.

(voice-over) But the chatter continues, especially since Shenon found so much evidence was destroyed.

SHENON: President Kennedy dies on Friday. On Saturday night, his original autopsy report and all the notes from the autopsy room are pushed into one of the doctor's fireplaces where it turned to ash. The next day, you have FBI agents in Dallas shredding a note that Oswald had left for them a few weeks earlier.

A handwritten note. We'll never know exactly what was in that note and has flushed down the toilet. Over time, more and more and more evidence would disappear from government files.

KAYE: Which only feeds the conspiracy --

SHENON: Absolutely. Absolutely. So many of the conspiracy theories are created by the government that was supposedly trying to combat it.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: People still talking.

All right. Coming up, theory at the airport. A blind man kicked off a plane because his seeing eye dog would not go under a seat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as I'm walking to the front, I'm like, wait a second, why am I the only one getting off?


BERMAN: You're not going to believe what the other passengers on the plane did after this to show their support. Stay with us.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. A real controversy is brewing involving a man, his guide dog, and U.S. Airways. Albert Rizzi was flying from Philadelphia to New York's Long Island on Wednesday with his guide dog. He's legally blind and said he needs a dog to get around. Shortly after he gets on this U.S. Air flight, he says the flight attendant told him his dog needed to go under a seat.

The problem he was seated in a row, he says, with no seats available for the dog to sleep under. The dog is trained, he says, to stay at his feet. So, since he couldn't imply, he was kicked off the plane.


ALBERT RIZZI, KICKED OFF PLANE: I said, look, I don't understand what you want me to do. I mean, he's as best as he can, he's where he needs to be. And she's like, we're not going take off unless you get that dog under a seat. And I said to her, I really don't understand why, you know -- she was like, sir, I can't do anything. I don't have a seat under here.


BERMAN: U.S. Air says the dog was not being kept in one place and Rizzi was being disruptive. But, you know, other passengers backed his version of event and many of them actually protested after he was kicked off saying that Rizzi should be allowed back on the flight and that anger apparently led to the flight being canceled. The passengers had to take a bus for the rest of the way home.


BERMAN: The flight attendants and the pilot decided they didn't want to take off because the passengers were too upset. SAMBOLIN: Really? It's so unusual that they wouldn't just let him re-board and put him somewhere where maybe the dog would be comfortable at his feet.

BERMAN: Or change the seat.


BERMAN: I understand he was in the back of the plane and he was trying to get him underneath his seat when there was no space there.

SAMBOLIN: That's what I'm saying. So, OK, move some people around and put him somewhere where the dog would be --

BERMAN: Seems like that would be a reasonable --

SAMBOLIN: Odd. Very odd. Yes

All right. So, let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, good morning to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. Happy Friday.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where is the love, John and Zoraida? That story about the airplane, we're going to talk about that as well.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I agree.

CUOMO: It just gets you, where is the love? A question you could also ask down in Washington maybe more than ever. It is so ugly down there. We know Obamacare that the rollout is having its problems but, wow, the fight is all about the blame game maybe more than ever. So, the president comes out. He says it's on me. He apologizes. He takes the blame.

The question is, what's the solution to these problems? We're going to talk about the political impact but more importantly the impact on you of what's going on with Obamacare.

BOLDUAN: We're also keeping a close watch on the Philippines. The Philippine government is defending its efforts to get relief -- victims of typhoon Haiyan this morning despite concerns that people have received little or no help, too slow to get aide out. We're going to talk with Anderson Cooper who's live on the ground in Manila, has been there all week and seen firsthand the desperate situation that continues to unfold there. We'll bring you an update.

BERMAN: Let's really hope the people there get the help they need. All right, guys. We'll see you in a little bit.

It is time now for our "Morning Rhyme." These are the best tweets of the day. Today comes from Laura Holloway (ph) who is talking about what maybe the strangest story on planet Earth, Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto. She writes, "Crack mayor, TV show, kind of obscene, maybe he co-hosts with Charlie Sheen."


BERMAN: I got to say --

SAMBOLIN: Well done, well done.

BERMAN: That was a fantastic rhyme for the end of the week. Kudos to you. Thank you so much for participating. You can come up with your own rhymes. Tweet us at EARLY START or morning rhyme --


BERMAN: Those are the hash tags. Those are the hash tags. That's all I'm going to say.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up, how much are you planning to spend this holiday season? A little less?

BERMAN: So much --


SAMBOLIN: You're not alone. Christine Romans will have the numbers in "Money Time." That's next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is now "Money Time" which means that Christine Romans is here.




ROMANS: It is Friday. And as your grandfather might have said, the Dow has been spitting range of 16,000. It's Friday and stocks have been doing great. To be a little more precised, it's just one percent away from hitting -- the rally doesn't show any signs of slowing down at least not yet. Another record on the Dow yesterday. The NASDAQ is one percent away from 4,000 and the S&P closes at a new high.

When you put it all together, the Dow is up 21 percent so far this year. The NASDAQ is up 32 percent, and the S&P 500 is up 26 percent. Your 401(k) is rocking, folks. Of course, one of the drivers yesterday was Janet Yellen's soothing comments that there would be dangers in ending the fed stimulus program too soon.

Dr. Yellen was quizzed, I think you can say, in her Senate confirmation hearing as she becomes the first woman to run the Federal Reserve if confirmed. And investors also got news yesterday that investing icon, Warren Buffett, betting big on ExxonMobil. He has a $3.7 billion stake in the huge oil producer, and then Carl Icahn, another billionaire, stealing some of the spotlight when documents reveal he now owns a $2 billion stake in Apple. As you know, we've been reporting he's been pressuring the company to return some cash to shareholders. We talk about wealthy investors, by the way. Art might come to mind. I have a feeling both of those billionaires might have some art. They've certainly been pumping cash into the art market this weekend.

It's even caused some dimension that "B" word in art, that's right, bubble. In the past week alone, Francis Bacon's painting sold for 142 million, highest price ever for a piece of art sold at auction. Jeff Koons' balloon dog fetch 58 million, the highest ever paid at auction for work by a living artist. So, your Jeff Koons is worth a lot now, John.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly. So glad (INAUDIBLE)

ROMANS: Here's a tale of two cities, if you will. The rest of us probably won't be buying master pieces this holiday season. In fact, we're going to be spending less money this year. Gallup says we're going to be shelling out 704 bucks (ph) on gifts down from 786 they estimated just a month ago.

Bottom line according to Gallup, stocks may be rallying to new highs, but consumer are feeling more restrained about spending than they did in October. And I was on a conference call yesterday with the McDonald's -- I'm sorry -- with the Wal-Mart CEO, they're talking about pressures on their core customer, a lot of pressures on their core customer.

Number one pressure, jobs and job security, even though gas prices have been going their way. Quickly, the McDonald's in its quest to build a fatter bottom line as trying to take a cue from smash burger. Smash burger, as you know, caters to fussier, older fast food eaters who want premium offerings like toppings and cooked to order format.

You guys been to a smash burger? They're growing fast. They're really growing fast. Typical McDonald's experience would be changed dramatically in test restaurants in Illinois and California. Diners there -- those McDonald's will get to build your own burger with more than 20 toppings and sauces and you find employees wearing chef's aprons and using iPads.

A very different McDonald's experience. You should check out smash burger, though. They're growing very, very quickly and some very different kind of --

SAMBOLIN: Is it a premium quality meat?

ROMANS: Everything -- the whole experience is premium quality. The French fries have time sea salt French fries. I mean, it's a very different fast food experience and they're growing quickly and making money.

BERMAN: I'm willing to try anything with the word burger in it.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up for us next, she was stuck in the water unable to get out until a guardian angel came to her rescue. We're going to tell you this amazing story coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. We're ending our week on the story of a Good Samaritan who saved a life with the help of his flatbed truck. This happened near Orlando. Cynthia Garza (ph) was driving alongside a pond when she says her steering wheel locked up. The car, look at it, it went into the water. She called 911 pleading for help. Luckily, Brad Rupert was driving past.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if I should try to open the door, but water is coming in the car.

BRAD RUPERT, GOOD SAMARITAN: By the time I jumped the curb, I already had tunnel vision in my head that I knew what I had to do.

CYNTHIA GARZA, TRAPPED IN THE CAR: By the grace of God, they came right at the perfect moment and got me out before the car completely submerged.

RUPERT: It went all the way under. You couldn't even tell the car was there.


SAMBOLIN: Garza says her young daughters were supposed to be in the car, but luckily, she left them at home. She calls Rupert and the others who helped her angels! Look at that!

BERMAN: That's fantastic. And I like Brad Rupert, man, with his tunnel vision.


BERMAN: He seems like a cool guy.

SAMBOLIN: That's a great way to end the week, don't you think?

BERMAN: It is a fantastic way to end the week.

SAMBOLIN: Have a great weekend, folks

BERMAN: But before you start, have a great time on "New Day" which starts right now.


OBAMA: That's on me. We fumbled the rollout on this health care law. CUOMO: That's on me. President Obama takes the blame and agrees to allow those who've been dropped by their insurance to keep it, but is the fix worse than the problem and is there political will on either side to find a solution?

BOLDUAN: A Florida sinkhole has quadrupled in size in 24 hours. Two homes are condemned. More are in danger, but if the homeowner's insurance company knew about the sinkhole two years ago, why couldn't anyone prevent the disasters?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A blind airline passenger kicked off a plane because the airline says his guide dog wasn't cooperating. But his fellow passengers so outraged, they took matters into their own hands. Wait until you hear what they did.

CUOMO: You're "New Day" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning and welcome to "New Day." It is Friday, November 15th, six o'clock in the east.

How can people keep their policies under Obamacare. The question is like a disease to which there seems to be no cure. The president has taken the blame, but the solution may be the real problem here. Today, the House prepares to vote on a bill that Republicans like and Democrats think would gut a big part of the health care plan. So, you know what that means.

Jim Acosta is joining us live from the White House. Conflict inevitable. Fair statement, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Yes. I think that's right, Chris. And you just said, Republicans in the house are expected to pass their own fix to Obamacare later today. Late last night, the White House issued a presidential veto threat to that bill, calling it an act of sabotage. That's a sign of a president who is desperately trying to get back on offense.


ACOSTA (voice-over): President Obama's new message is that he likes his health care plan for the nation and he's going to fight to keep it.

OBAMA: There's no question the rollout on the Affordable Care Act was much tougher than we expected, but I want everybody here to understand, I am going to see this through.

ACOSTA: The new Obamacare fix leaves it up to insurance companies and states to decide whether to let consumers keep plans not in compliance with the law and that forces carriers to advise Americans of the choices available under Obamacare.