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A Push Back on the Obamacare Fix; CNN Hero; New Book Reveals the "Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination; Interview with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson

Aired November 15, 2013 - 08:30   ET


JIM DONELON, LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: The problem is you can't change the rules at the last minute when the game's about to start. And the rules have given benefits to lots of policy holders, guarantee issue, caps on coverage for older policy holders. It threatens the solvency of the system and it threatens despite the cost to policy holders across the board.

So each state will have to make that determination for themselves. But at the NAIC level, we had two calls yesterday in the aftermath of the president's announcement, and I was pleased and surprised, frankly, at the unanimity that I found across the board in concern over what the president is proposing.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So you say concern over it -- that they're unanimous that they don't like it. So does that mean that you're not going to accept the fix and try to find your own?

DONELON: No, sir, and I don't want to say unanimous that they don't like it. I would say unanimous that there's concern about the lateness of it. How do you do it? How do you implement it? Undo that which has already been done.

CUOMO: Right.

DONELON: It's like putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

CUOMO: You know economists -

DONELON: (INAUDIBLE) - go ahead.

CUOMO: Economists that are in the business of measuring this law and measuring health care, they have a hard time seeing the urgency that's been raised politically about this issue, Mr. Donelon, which I'm sure you're not surprised to hear.

They say this has been priced in. They say they knew it would take healthy, young people longer to come in. They say a lot of these policies needed to be canceled because they were substandard. And when those people get sick, it puts a strain on the system and that insurers know this better than anyone else. How much of this is a straw horse?

DONELON: There's a lot of disagreement over the litany of things that you just clicked off. Some agree with it, some disagree. But what I do know for sure is, you can't change the rules at the last minute. And if you do, to the benefit of one group over another, you threaten the solvency of companies doing business in the system.

CUOMO: But they're so flush with cash. Health care is one of the most profitable industries we have. They change rules on policyholders all the time as you well know as commissioner.

DONELON: For the big national companies, I would tell you that's true. They can absorb this. But there are plenty of local, smaller companies that are providing health insurance all across the land. And our first duty as regulators is to protect policyholders. And the first part of that is to monitor for solvency, which we do quite well I might add, the companies that are selling insurance products in our state.

CUOMO: Commissioner, full disclosure, you're a Republican. You've been outspoken against Obamacare. Do you want this law to succeed or do you want to see it be defunded?

DONELON: I have no position on that. I am a regulator. I am not a policy maker. And I dare say, my colleagues from both sides of the aisle stay in the middle of that debate and regulate without partisan bias.

CUOMO: But you have been outspoken in the past saying you were against the law, yes?

DONELON: No, I have said I would have voted no if I had been there. Frankly, I disagree with the description that I've been outspoken in my opposition to it. I disagree with the law. That's a fact. I have many concerns about it.

I also have said repeatedly that no less a conservative than Newt Gingrich as speaker, John McCain as Republican nominee, Mitt Romney as Republican nominee all agree that the system is broke and is in need of reform. No question about that. This reform, I think, was rushed into law and the unintended consequences are playing out as we speak.

CUOMO: Commissioner, thank you very much for your perspective today. Appreciate it.

DONELON: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Chris.

Now to this week's CNN Hero of the year nominee. Every year more than 10,000 children in America are diagnosed with cancer. For many of them, just getting to the hospital, though, can be a challenge. Richard Nares is trying to fix that problem.


RICHARD NARES: It's paralyzing when you hear those words "your child has cancer." My son, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was such a horrifying time. We were fortunate. We had rides to the hospital to bring Emilio. Many of the families don't have that support.

Good morning.

We find out that many of them were missing appointments. My name is Richard Nares. No child should miss their cancer treatment due to lack of transportation.

Ready to go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to go?

NARES: All right.

We give over 2,000 rides a year. Our furthest cancer patient is 120 miles away. Riding with Emilio plays an important part of their treatment. We get them here in a nice clean environment and on time. Seventy percent of our families are Spanish speaking. Having a bilingual staff is extremely important. I feel like it's my obligation to help them navigate the system.

Take good care of yourself.


NARES: From someone who's been there.


NARES: Even though he's passed away almost 13 years, he's the main force of this, and I feel that I'm the right person to help.

KIDS: Cheese!


BOLDUAN: So who will be our CNN Hero of the year? You get to decide. Go to, online and on your mobile device of course, to vote once a day, every day if you like, for the most inspirational hero. Can't wait for that celebration to begin.

CUOMO: Coming up on "NEW DAY", we are closing in on the 50-year mark since JFK's assassination and, of course, we're all still asking the same questions and looking for answers. Who killed him? Did the gunman act alone? We'll talk with the author of a blockbuster new book when we come back.



Fifty years after the assassination of President Kennedy, the country is still riveted by his assassination and the investigation into just who killed him. A survey conducted in April found that 59 percent of Americans think that multiple people were involved in some sort of conspiracy to murder the president. One man who can shed some new light into this topic is Philip Shenon. He is author of "A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination."

It's interesting; we were commenting on the side, 'Look at the breadth of this book.' It's gigantic. It's a huge book, but it contains so many -- Chris is measuring it for us. Talk to us about the things -- some of the things that you've uncovered in here. The conspiracies abound.

PHILIP SHENON, AUTHOR, "A CRUEL AND SHOCKING ACT": Well, you know, this was meant to be sort of an insider's history of the Warren Commission, but it became so much more because I kept stumbling on to evidence that had been denied to the Warren Commission, witnesses that had been denied to the Warren Commission, and I discovered that there had been a tremendous amount of evidence that had been destroyed or disappeared over the years. And so I just kept stumbling onto the stuff and it became a big book but I hope it's a pretty readable book.

PEREIRA: Did that seem shocking to you, the fact that there was all of this evidence that had been destroyed? As it - did it seem like it was sort of emotionally fraught and people reacted in a sort of an impassioned way, or did there seem something more nefarious behind it?

SHENON: Well, I think in many cases it's people just trying to hide their incompetence. You know, the fact is, I believe that the president's death was really preventable. And so people did not want to be blamed for the fact that the president had died.

But, you know, the destruction of evidence begins within hours of the president's death. You know, the night after the autopsy, the original autopsy report is destroyed. Then a handwritten note from Oswald to the FBI is ripped up and flushed down a toilet. And that's just the first weekend.

BOLDUAN: Why do you think -- what do you think it says that there are just so many conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of JFK still today?

SHENON: Well, I think it's sort of natural. I think people could not accept the fact that the president of the United States, the most powerful, glamorous man on earth could be brought down by a man that was known on the Warren Commission as the pipsqueak, you know, with the $21 mail order rifle.

But, you know, I do fault the Warren Commission for having really rushed this investigation, left so many questions unanswered, and I think people filled in the gaps of the Warren Commission with their conspiracy theories.

CUOMO: And that's one of the things in reading the reviews about the book that can be helpful in the discussion I think. One of the reasons many of the conspiracies persist is because of the vacuum of information. You traced that to the Warren Commission, in that there was a cover-up that was done within the commission to cover up its own lack of findings.

SHENON: Yes, I think - I think we have to make a distinction between the seven members of the Warren Commission, these gray-haired men, and the staff of the Warren Commission. There were these young lawyers recruited from all across the country, real hot shots, very smart people and they were determined to get to the truth. They wanted to find the facts. They thought there was a conspiracy and they wanted to uncover it. But they were rushed, and they were up against these enormous bureaucracies at the FBI and the CIA that were determined to hide a tremendous amount of evidence from them.

CUOMO: Do you think you'll ever know whether or not it was, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald walking -- working alone or whether or not there was something more grand?

SHENON: Well, I think all of the most credible evidence points to Oswald as the shooter in Dealey Plaza. But for me that's really only where the questions begin because there is this whole missing chapter of the history of the assassination, which is what was Lee Harvey Oswald doing in Mexico City seven weeks before the assassination when he's dealing with Cuban spies and Russian spies and Mexicans who might have been eager to see President Kennedy dead. And the CIA and the FBI seemed determined not to figure out what happened in Mexico.

PEREIRA: It's interesting you talk about the fact that you set out in -- on one road and went down a very different path. At the end, did you have -- find a different conclusion than you anticipated you were going to find?

SHENON: Well, I'd say -- much of the questioning I'm left with at the end of this is, did somebody know what Oswald was going to do and did somebody encourage him to do what he was going to do? And there is this incredible document that J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director, sends to the Warren Commission in June, 1964, right in the middle of the investigation, in which he says that Oswald apparently marched into a communist embassy in Mexico, and presumably the Cuban embassy, and announced he was going to kill President Kennedy.

And this document, which should have reached the Warren Commission, appears never to have reached the investigators on the Warren Commission staff, who would have had a million questions about who else knew that Oswald might be thinking about killing the president.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating. Still the conspiracies remain.

PEREIRA: They do. They do. And the title is very catching, "A Cruel and Shocking Act." Tonight you can catch the re-airing of the CNN Film, "The '60s: The Assassination of President Kennedy," at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only right here on CNN.

I want to thank you so much for joining us, Philip.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

PEREIRA: This interesting conversation. A very interesting read. A lot of things to get through in that book.

SHENON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: And a lot of pages. CUOMO: I'll start reading it right now during the break.

Coming up on "NEW DAY", she can handle big roles, but can she handle the fame? "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence speaks out.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Let's give you a quick look at your top stories.

The House set to vote on a measure that would get a big part of the president's sputtering health care law. Insurance CEOs are set to meet with the President today.

One week after typhoon Haiyan sickness, hunger, thirst are setting in. The Philippine government is defending its response despite issues with the delivery of relief aid. The death toll now stands at more than 3,600.

An apology 150 years in the making, the "Patriot News" of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania retracting an unfavorable review of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It now says the staff at the time failed to recognize its importance and significance. 150 years later -- about time.

CUOMO: All right, Nischelle Turner has some good stuff with us, an interview with Jennifer Lawrence where she talks about fame.


CUOMO: You know where we have to be for that, on the couch, please.


BOLDUAN: So, so, so, Jennifer Lawrence is having an epic year. She won an Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook" -- great movie. Well, now she's back in the blockbuster sequel to the "Hunger Games" called "Catching Fire". Our Nischelle Turner chatted with the 23-year-old superstar and her co-anchor. She is fascinating, Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she is and you know, they are so much fun together -- Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.

BOLDUAN: She's funny every time she steps up to a mike.

TURNER: Absolutely. And there's something about her, like her talking, that just makes people take notice. I've had a lot of people tell me, 'She's a friend in my head; I just want to hang out with her.' She's got that girl-next-door appeal and superstar wattage at the same time -- kind of like Kate Bolduan. But like here character Katniss in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" she says she just wants to be regular and live a drama free life.


JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: I volunteer as tribute.

TURNER: To say the first "Hunger Games" was a hit would be like saying its star Jennifer Lawrence is kind of successful.

DONALD SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: Katniss Everdeen is a symbol. You don't have to destroy her, just her image.

TURNER: Talk about an understatement.

LAWRENCE: Haymitch please, please -- just help me get through this trip.

WOODY HARRELSON, ACTOR: This trip doesn't end when you get back home.

TURNER: The first film made almost $700 million worldwide, and Lawrence is now an Oscar winner and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. That's all clear now, not so much the day the first film opened. Jennifer found out the hard way.

LAWRENCE: Literally the day the movie was released I had no idea I was like famous yet or that anybody had seen it. I don't actually think I knew the movie came out that day. It was the worst experience of my life. I will not go --

TURNER: What happened?

JOSH HUTCHERSON, ACTOR: That's hilarious.

LAWRENCE: They had to call the police, and I had to go down the cargo elevator and I was crying. It's really sad.


TURNER: Life's pretty good now though.

LAWRENCE: I have such a wonderful life that it's great just being able to travel and the freedom and being able to be creative every day. It's such a blessing.

TURNER: Are there any pitfalls, downfalls?


TURNER: Me sitting here asking you questions?

LAWRENCE: No, no, no. The paparazzi.

TURNER: Yes, you've been open with that.

LAWRENCE: Yes. There's also -- like there's ups and downs to every job. That's a down that we have to deal with.

TURNER: How do you handle it?

HUTCHERSON: I've only had a little bit of experience with it.

LAWRENCE: You had the star tour -- do you remember that?

HUTCHERSON: Oh, yes. They pulled up to my house one day, I had been away for like a month or two months and got to my house and there was one of those like Hollywood tours van in front of my house with people there taking pictures out side of my house.

LAWRENCE: While he's, like, unlocking his front door.

HUTCHERSON: And I'm unlocking my door, I'm like --

LAWRENCE: They were like, wave.

TURNER: How do you handle? Are you nice or do you just say leave me alone?

LAWRENCE: I mean, it's like how you deal with anybody, you know. Sometimes I'm nice and sometimes I'm in a bad mood if I'm at dinner and I'm eating and somebody wants me to stand up and take a picture. That's actually helped with my anxiety, knowing that I don't have to say yes, that I can say no because it used to be I didn't want to go out, didn't want to go to dinner. If I went to dinner, I was like wrapped up, and then I was like, 'I don't have to do it. I can just say no.' And that's helped a lot.

HUTCHERSON: It's harder for you.

LAWRENCE: So it is hard and you don't want to feel rude because they're people but at the same time, like I have to defend my life and you know, what my mental wellness.

HUTCHERSON: Of course.

TURNER: Jennifer's thought of by many in Hollywood as refreshing, candid, not afraid to speak her mind but also America's newest sweetheart, keeping the industry on its toes. She's open, whether it's laughing at herself about an awards show wardrobe malfunction or comforting an overwhelmed crying fan at a premiere.

Her inner circle will tell you that's just Jennifer -- that she's fearless, funny, and a fierce friend. You can see it in the bond she's formed with co-star Josh Hutcherson. I did read where you said she's a good kisser.



LAWRENCE: Well, did you read the part where I said he was a good kisser?

HUTCHERSON: I didn't see that part.

LAWRENCE: We are great together.

TURNER: Can we talk about the elephant in the room? And it's the hair of course. HUTCHERSON: Very little elephant.


HUTCHERSON: Very little --

LAWRENCE: Just the teeny tiny.

TURNER: What was the decision? Was it for a role? Because I do love it.

LAWRENCE: Thank you. No, it was just for my life. It had just gotten to that awkward length and I just kept putting it back in a bun to get rid of it. And I was like, 'I don't want this.'

HUTCHERSON: I'll get rid of it for real.

LAWRENCE: I'll just get rid of this in a big way.

TURNER: Do you love it?

LAWRENCE: I do, yes, I'm happy with it.

TURNER: Yes. You are.

LAWRENCE: It's so easy to blow dry. It's like perfect for my skill level.

HUTCHERSON: A little Peter Pan.

LAWRENCE: It is kind of peter pan. It's OK.

HUTCHERSON: I'm happy with it.

TURNER: And happy in her own skin. 23 years old, Oscar winner, toast of Hollywood, and somehow seemingly still grounded.


TURNER: Now "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" opens November 22nd. You guys saw -- they were really giving each other the business. Jennifer said the guys did that incessantly when she came back from winning the Oscar, that she'd miss a line. Woody Harrelson would go "Hmm, you better give that Oscar back." They won't let her get away with anything.

PEREIRA: Sounds about right. Got a good head on her shoulders.

TURNER: Yes, she does.

BOLDUAN: It's nice to see someone who's not playing for attention, playing for headlines. She's getting it for a different reason.

TURNER: Absolutely. The work speaks for itself, hers does.

BOLDUAN: Doesn't happen very often anymore. TURNER: That's true.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Nischelle.

TURNER: Thank you guys.

CUOMO: Good stuff. Good stuff.

How about this, they say don't mess with Texas, what about Rhine, Georgia? A man there thought he could rip off a convenience store in that tiny town. That's the last time he'll make that mistake. We have good stuff coming up for you. And it's something.


CUOMO: Ray Charles, fitting for Friday, and so is this good stuff. Welcome back to you.

We started the morning posing the question about whether people are getting meaner. And I will end it on an entire town showing that virtue still bests vice.

Witness the entire town of Rhine, Georgia, all 422 people there. The local gas station there was recently held up in broad daylight. What happens if you see this happen in a major city, you call 911, you run and hide, you look the other way, whatever. Not this town.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE; A nice lady like that working and trying to make a living and some thug coming out trying to rob her? People around aren't going to put up with that.


CUOMO: That's what I'm saying. Some 30 people, all of them neighbors found the suspect, chased him until he hid in a nearby garden shed and kept him there until some really impressed cops could make the arrest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might not want to come down there and mess with the Rhine folk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad I stay in a town like this. Rhine is good town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't come to Rhine to mess with us because if you do we're going to mess with you.


CUOMO: Amen. We should point out that, of course, you're not supposed to take the law into your own hands. But in this case, the police say the residents of Rhine acted appropriately, nobody got hurt and the arrest was made. I say it's the good stuff. I say it shows that virtue beats vice.

PEREIRA: They took care of folks, I love it.

BOLDUAN: You say it is the good stuff so it is the good stuff.

CUOMO: Exactly. Thank you, Rhine people, for being good and showing us that virtue still exists.

PEREIRA: Rhine people?

BOLDUAN: Rhine people

PEREIRA: Rhinians?

CUOMO: The Rhinians, the Rhinos the way they charged after that bad guy. What do you think, Carol Costello, Rhinos, Rhinians, what works?

CAROL COSTELL, CNN ANCHOR: I think all Georgians are pretty darned nice people.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: There you go.

COSTELLO: Come on down and visit. We'll welcome you. Thanks to you all. Have a great weekend.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Good morning, I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

If you like it, you can keep it, maybe, and only for a year. President Obama has a temporary fix to his health care blunder. Oh, but his fix isn't the only fix.

This is a look at the House floor. They just gaveled in, actually. They're holding some sort of press conference now. But in just a few hours around 12:30 Eastern the House votes on Republican Fred Upton's plan. It goes two or three steps farther than the President's fix, and it could actually gut Obama care.

Also, later this afternoon, the heads of some of the top insurance companies will come to the White House for a meeting with President Obama.

But let's go back to Mr. Obama and his extraordinary mea culpa.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's on me. I mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care thing. There are a whole bunch of things about it that are working really well, which people didn't notice.