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"I Am Going To See This Through"; Obama Announces Health Care "Fix"; CIA Tracking Money Transfers; Pivotal Day For Rob Ford; Mystery In Miami; Incognito Files Grievance; Anderson Cooper in the Philippines

Aired November 15, 2013 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: That's on me. We fumbled the rollout on this health care law.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: 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?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: 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 roll-out 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.

But the insurance industry worries the changes undermine the system. One industry source called the White House fix a total mess. Washington State Insurance Commissioner balked altogether saying we are staying the course. We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's on me. I mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care plan.

ACOSTA: Over at the White House, it was unusually contrite president acknowledging he had let the country down.

OBAMA: I'm not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president.

ACOSTA: And admitting to other fumbles in that nobody told him the Obamacare website was not working when it launched.

OBAMA: Had I been informed, I wouldn't be going out to say this is going to be great.

ACOSTA: But he said it's getting better.

OBAMA: The website will work much better on November 30th, December 1st than it worked certainly on October 1st. That's a pretty low bar.

ACOSTA: Republicans are vowing to move forward with their own fix for Obamacare until it can be repealed.

REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: This bill will hopefully begin to ease some of the pain that working families are feeling because of President Obama's health care law.

ACOSTA: While White House officials got an earful from nervous Democrats keeping an eye on next year's elections with their own proposals --

SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: We still may have to fashion some legislation and we'll continue to work in that regard. ACOSTA: The president said any other fixes to the law have to meet one test.

OBAMA: We are not going to gut this law.


ACOSTA: Now White House officials tell CNN the administration is open to legislative fixes to this law, but they are not specifying which fixes they are open to. But here's the bottom line, guys, because it is up to the insurers to decide whether or not some of the people out there who have lost their insurance can now keep it, not everybody out there is going to hang on to the plans that they used to have -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, appreciate the reporting. Let's figure this out, shall we? Let's bring in CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans and CNN political analyst and executive editor of the "Daily Beast," Mr. John Avlon. Thank you to both of you.

If this suggestion being promoted right now, Christine, if they were to put in this fix, what would it mean about the people who already received cancellation notices, does it help them?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it could help some of them, but not all of them, as Jim Acosta just reported. I mean, some of the state regulators are pushing back and the insurance regulators are clearly pushing back and saying, look, we were complying with ACA and we were doing what you told us to do.

This one-year fix is just not really fundamentally doable. So some people will keep their policies. I think some people -- others will and I think John agrees with me that not everyone is probably going to be able to keep their policy, even though that's what the White House would like.

BOLDUAN: John, I mean, the response from the insurance industry is pretty scathing. It says the requirements -- this fix could destabilize the market. So is this fix a fix?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that is the most important question right now. Look, it's a political fix, but it has practical implications that do really affect the bottom line of the insurance policy companies. This has been a rollout a long-time in the making so botched from the administration from the web site on down that this political fix in reaction to Democratic panic is creating huge problems for the insurance companies.

The question is, will it derail the effort because a lot of the Republican fixes are really designed to kill it. The cure is designed to kill. So this political fix by the president, which is necessary, the insurance companies have to see if it takes up a whole lot of the market.

PEREIRA: So the question is so it maybe a political win in the short- term, but long-term, won't this delay the inevitable? AVLON: It is not necessarily delaying the inevitable. When you have a problem where the president hit the trail and made a promise to the American people that turned out not to be true, here's a case where the devil was in the details. Originally it was true and then legislation changed and it spiraled out. I think the administration had to do something. I think the president and administration needed to do this as a political matter.

BOLDUAN: How could they not do something? The Democrats were going to vote for the Republican plan.

CUOMO: It allows them to play on ground that was never had to play on. They said all along the young people have to get in. A lot of these policies aren't the policies. People who were mea (ph) said a lot of these policies aren't the right policies. A lot of them took that into account. Now the Democrats are playing into the political spin of the Republicans saying this is the whole problem of what's going on with these policies.

ROMANS: It's a one-year delay. Let's be clear. Yesterday when there was cry from the left and right, we fixed all the problems, there were health care economists saying, it's a one-year delay. The individual market is relatively small. You will eventually get these young people into the exchanges.

Remember, even the CEO had two years, was the projection before you get the young people into this. You need 40 percent under new exchanges to be relatively healthy to keep premiums low. What we need here is the young people to get in. It's a one-year delay.

AVLON: Look, you strip out the political spin in the fog of where you get it --

BOLDUAN: That's almost impossible.

AVLON: That's almost impossible but not entirely. Here's the point, view this, this has been an enormously screwed up rollout, but what we are trying to put into place has worked in individual states. So we're buying a little bit of time. It is rare in politics or in practicality that you're making the better decision.

CUOMO: Will this destabilize? They make more money if they get to do it the way they want to. They get to sell the new policies. If you have to sell your policy, they will make more money off you because the policy won't be as cheap as the one you had. Of course, they want this change. No, no, you have to do it this way now. We can't fix it because they're making more money this way.

ROMANS: They're going to have so many new customers over the next few years and their stocks are doing fine.

BOLDUAN: The only honest reaction has been from the states so far, the one toss say, this doesn't fit with our exchange, we won't be able to allow this.

ROMANS: We were tagging along, everything was going fine, even states real supporters of Obamacare and implementation are saying, wait a minute, don't throw your exchange at this.

AVLON: And Kate, you raise a great point because the individual exchanges are working a lot better than the federal changes. That's important to keep in mind. I think to Chris' larger point here, look, this is an inherently, this is why complex can be incredibly difficult. Comprehensive is unwise. We do things better on a local level in this country.

But because so many people politically want the cure to long-term kill the ACA, that's why everyone needs to keep their powder dry. The administration by pivoting is making a political concession. It's a practical concession that doesn't necessarily mean the end of this. There are a lot of crocodile tears from politicians and insurance companies on this. Everyone, take a deep breath, and this is probably a wiser political and practical move for the vast majority of people.

CUOMO: Take a deep breath but don't start hyper ventilating.

BOLDUAN: I've been waiting for that all day.

CUOMO: I'm going to say it ten times today.

PEREIRA: We'll get to the other headlines making news. International money transfers are under the watchful eye of the CIA. The agency is collecting bulk records under the Patriot Act; the vast majority of them are said to be non-U.S. transactions. The CIA's efforts are intended to catch terror-funded transactions that could elude programs at the Treasury Department and National Security Agency.

It could be a pivotal day for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. The city council there is scheduled to meet today to try to map out a plan to take away much of his power, potentially even force him out. You'll recall Ford admitted last week that he smoked crack cocaine in a drunken stupor a year ago, but he has defiantly ignored calls to step down. Since then several staffers have come forward with claims of verbal and physical abuse as well as sexual harassment for his part is threatening to sue them.

Quite a mystery in Miami. There's a search going on for a man who fell out of a small plane plummeting into the bay. The pilot sent a mayday call yesterday afternoon telling the control tower his passenger opened the door and fell out of the plane. It was flying at about 1800 feet at the time. The FAA and Miami police are investigating whether this was accidental or if the man intentionally jumped.

Suspended Miami Dolphins lineman, Richie Incognito, has filed a grievance to get back on the field. He is asking for a hearing saying he never bullied Jonathan Martin and his communications with his teammates have been misunderstood. Later today, meanwhile, an NFL investigator will meet with Martin who left the team last month claiming he could no longer endure harassment.

Huge legal victory for Alec Baldwin, the Canadian actress who claimed she and Baldwin had a romantic relationship was found guilty of stalking and harassing "The Thirty Rock" star, the judge sentencing Genevieve Sabourin to 210 days in jail. There is a video of Baldwin using a gay slur, but he denies it.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks, Michaela. We'll get a check of the weather and hopefully a good weekend forecast.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: As long as it's warmer, we'll be happy. There could be a little rain out there, but we'll talk about the temperatures. That's what we are so happy about. Finally we are better off than the last several days. New York, above freezing, that's the first thing, 46 degrees feeling better. Philly is 36, seeing a lot of 30s out there near Pittsburgh, but above freezing.

That's the key. The reason for that, the dome of high pressure, again, that brought all the cold air from Canada originally is now offshore. We are looking at the source of the air coming from the gulf and when you see that, you actually warm up. The winds wrap around the backside of the high and bring all that warm in a little bit farther north. You can see that on the water vapor satellite.

You can see all the moisture making its way farther north so it's warmer, but it does mean a slight chance for showers going throughout the weekend as the system makes its way across the country, kind a double-edged sword there. Temperature wise though for the weekend, this is the good stuff, look at the numbers. New York City will be above average, even some 60s as you go through Sunday.

Same thing for Boston looking for the upper 50s and even down to the south where they were really struggling with frost warnings for the last several days in the morning hours, look at that, you're getting closer to 70 degrees this weekend. So it is gorgeous. Of course, nothing lasts forever, so there's a change out there. Notice in the Pacific Northwest today, the next system is already dumping some snow.

As we're talking about almost two feet of snow possible today in the cascades in Washington, even through Idaho, and in through Montana, now this system will eventually make its way across the country. A little bit of a computer glitch this morning, so I can't show you where the rain is, but Saturday and Sunday this guy traverses across the country.

You'll be looking for showers. Enjoy the weekend even with a little bit of rain. You don't want to complain because Monday and Tuesday, thanks to the cold front going across the country, will be cold again. So I will take warm and rain any day over chilly.

BOLDUAN: Enjoy the weekend.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Let's take a break here. Coming up on "NEW DAY", government officials in the Philippines are saying their response has not been slow despite reports from those on the ground. We'll show you the reality in a live report coming up.

BOLDUAN: And it is growing. A sinkhole in Florida quadrupling in size, two homes now condemned. We'll take you live to the scene to get the latest on that.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY".

The Philippine government defending its efforts to get relief to victims this morning, despite concern for people who have seen little or no help so far.

Our Anderson Cooper has been reporting live from the Philippines all week where he and other reporters have now faced criticism for their reporting. The comments coming from broadcasters there and the Philippine president who asked the media to try to focus on stories that show how strong the Filipino people are.

Anderson responded last night on "AC360." Take a listen.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I would say that all week long in every report we have done, we have shown how strong the Filipino people are. The Filipino people, the people of Tacloban and Samar and Cebu and all these places are so many people have died, they are strong not just to have survived this storm, but they are strong to have survived the aftermath of this storm. They have survived for a week now often with very little week, with very little water, with very little medical attention.

Can you imagine the strength it takes to be living in a shack, to be living, sleeping on the streets next to the body of your dead children? Can you imagine that strength? I can't. And I've seen that strength day in and day out here in the Philippines. And we honor them with every broadcast that we do.


BOLDUAN: Yes, you do. And he continues to be on the ground. Anderson Cooper joining us from Manila this morning.

Anderson, you made excellent, fabulous and very accurate reporting there on the ground there. Besides the back and forth of what the president is asking the media to do, I know what you care about is what's happening on the ground to the victims of this typhoon. So what are you seeing on the ground?

COOPER: Yes, I mean, that's obviously where all the emphasis is, that's the only thing that matters here. You know, we left Tacloban yesterday, it is now Friday morning, excuse me, late Friday night here.

There has been, you know, an uptick certainly in the amount of aid being received. You see it at the airport in Tacloban, and you see it in Cebu. You see it in other places, in Samar, where they are starting to build a forward operating base to get more distribution supplies, you know? And there's been greater distribution to communities. But again, it's still slow. Everybody there on the ground will tell you that. They would like, everybody would like to see it faster. There are still hundreds of thousands of people in harm's way in desperate need of food and water. Many in need of medical attention, millions have been affected by this storm.

So hopefully, in the coming days, we're going to see an even greater uptick. They are focusing on retrieving those who have died. The death toll is all over the place. We haven't really been reporting numbers because frankly it is all inaccurate at this point.

No one really knows the full scale of this, but they are starting to focus on that. So, it's starting to get more organized. It has taken a long time and it's frustrating for people on the ground.

BOLDUAN: Understandable. And often what we see in these desperate situations, it is not necessarily most difficult to get the aid into the country, it's getting it out of, say, the airport or the -- yes, the airstrips and out into the community. Is that still what you're seeing, is getting it from the airport into the community into where people need it most?

COOPER: Yes. Yes, without a doubt. I mean, first there were roads that were blocked. Then they were able to clear kind of the main arteries, but then there was question of lack of vehicles. And then lack of fuel.

In Tacloban, everything has been destroyed, so there's not a lot of vehicle to move equipment. There's not even a lot of forklifts. In fact, the airports or the runways to even move some of these palates. The U.S. has brought in a number of forklifts and Marines are going to be bringing in vehicles once the ships get offshore. The Philippine government is going to be bringing in more vehicles as well.

But it takes time. And time is what people just do not have when you're living out on the street, when you're searching for your missing children. You know, time is the last thing you have when you need water, time is your enemy. So that's been the difficulty, getting that aid out there.

You know, and it's not even necessarily to really remote communities. We would walk half a mile to a nearby community from the airport, and they didn't have any water. They didn't have any food.

The clinic at the airport in Tacloban for days, doctors were telling us, we don't have the medical supplies or food and water for the hundreds of people cycling through here. For the thousands who have waited in line for hours and all night long and often days, you know, there are no tents set up. There have been tenths set up in the past to give them food and water, a lot of people still in desperate straits.

BOLDUAN: Anderson, you know, as this drags on, when you are watching it from afar, watching all of this play out from back here in the U.S., often you can see people getting kind of lost in tragic story after tragic story, desperate situation after desperate situation, but you're on the ground there. Is there one story or one victim or survivor that you've come across that you know you'll be following up with?

COOPER: You know, I've -- I've been struck by just about everybody I've met. I mean, it sounds like a cliche, but it's really not. You know, and I said it in last night's broadcast, can you imagine the strength that it requires to be sleeping out on the street near the body of your child? Near the body of your three children while three other children are still missing? I mean, that is -- that's an awe- inspiring strength.

And, you know, I met mothers searching for their children who, you know, you would ask them, how are you? How are things? They would say, 'it's OK, we're OK.' And then, you know, they are resilient. Their ability to get up each day and not completely despair or give into despair.

I don't know how -- I don't know how so many people have survived the last five, six, seven days. And those are people, when I close my eyes every night, I think about and will think about for the rest of my life.

BOLDUAN: You're doing great reporting on the ground, as you always do, Anderson. Thank you so much for what you're doing and for bringing the stories of the people from the Philippines. Thank you so much.

I want to remind our viewers, as Anderson talking about how, they need help there. You can help. You can go to We've got all the sources there for you to help you donate.

But also, a programming note, to remind you. You can see more of Anderson's reporting live tonight from the Philippines. "AC360" airs at 8:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on "NEW DAY": the focus on Obamacare is all about people who may lose their policy. Two big questions. Will the president's fix work? And, could Obamacare really be in trouble or are we all catching a case of the political flu? Our gut check is next.

BOLDUAN: And also ahead, 90 feet wide, 56 feet deep and growing. A Florida sinkhole threatening to swallow up two homes this morning. Is there any way to stop it? We're going to take you there live.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.

It's time now for our political gut check of the morning.

President Obama gave a rare mea culpa Thursday, apologizing again for, as you said, several times, the fumbled Obamacare rollout, and offering up a solution to help Americans whose policies have been canceled.

But will Obama's plan actually fix the problem or will it make it work?

CNN's national correspondent John King is here, as always.

John, I want to get your take, we just saw Jim Acosta, our White House correspondent, reporting this morning that insurance industry -- the insurance industry CEOs are going to be meeting with the president today at the White House. What does that tell you? They want to fight with him about it or do they want to get an update of where things stand?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I want to try to get on the same page. And I think, Kate, their first and foremost request is that the president now has their back, because the president has kind of put this back on them saying, OK, I'm going to let them reissue these policies that Obamacare forced to be canceled at least one more year, to let people who are mad at me for breaking that promise, that if you like it, keep it. Well, then, I'll let them keep their policies.

However, the industry is worried they are going to do this in a rush. It is up to state commissioners, by the way, not every state will you get your old policy back if you want that. It's up to your state commissioner.

But now, the business is worried this gets done in a rush. Some companies may have to raise premiums and I think people are going to say, hey, the president said you have to give me my old policy back and be mad at the industry.

So, as one industry representative put it, the president is changing the rules of the game at the ninth inning. So, they want to get on the same page and compare notes, you might say.

CUOMO: Yes. If you also notice their, John, Ignagni, the woman who gave that quote who is head of one of the trade groups, didn't have any solution. You have to consider the source here. They are going to make more money if it stays this way. They get to offer new plans to new people at new prices, and they have never been in favor of the fix any because it deals with ultimate caps and pre-existing conditions and all these things they were making money on.

So shouldn't we be mitigating the strength of their unrest at this point?

KING: Of course, we should be watching and consider the source, that's just the exact right way to put it. If you're President Obama and you are sliding in the polls, probably the one industry in which you have a favorable comparison in public opinion might be the insurance industry.

But, look, they need each other. They need each other. The president ran against the insurance companies when he was passing Obamacare. They worked together to try to implement the program as you know. You know, the insurance companies, they lose some things here, they lose some of the high-end lucrative policies they might have, but they get a lot more people in the pool and in the end, they make more money. But this is an awkward partnership, but they need each other right now.

BOLDUAN: In an awkward position in many respects, because you had such intense pressure on the White House to do something, you had Democrats in Congress basically giving them a deadline today, if they do something, we're going to revolt and vote with Republicans. And then, after they proposed this fix, you have "The New York Times" editorial board, normally friendly to the president, saying that he's damaged his credibility and is uncertain how to earn back the public's confidence. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

KING: That is the defining problem of this presidency at this critical moment. He has undermined his credibility both on a policy perspective and probably more importantly, on a personal perspective, because the fact that Americans like this president has always saved him. When he has gotten into political trouble before and he's gone places maybe the American people were not fully with him, they've also said, 'We like this guy. We trust this guy. Even though we disagree with him here, all right, we'll have some patience.'

You see that now when people say, as we were talking about the other day, did he lie about this policy? Did he know that he couldn't keep the promise? Was he untruthful to us? When people start to think about that about a president, the personal characteristics start to decline. It's very hard to get that back anyway.

And, Kate, Chris, consider the moment -- we are heading into the midterm election year. Every passing second gets you closer to the midterm election year, he's gotten almost nothing done in his first year of the legislative term. And even if he had 100 percent approval rating, next years is midterm election year, Congress is hardly in town -- they are all worried about their own jobs and their own re- election.

So, this is a very defining moment for this president, if he's going to get back to being a productive president. Yesterday, he said he wasn't perfect. His goal shouldn't be to be perfect. It needs to be to be productive. That's a steep hill because of the disloyalty, growing disloyalty and doubts in his own party.

CUOMO: Especially when it is so much easier for the Republicans to sit back and watch the Democrats stew in their up fat, as the Democrats did during the shutdown debacle. You know, turn-about is fair play.

KING: You know, it's sad. You make a very important political point and you're dead-on. It can be at times sad when you think, could they find something?