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Another Obamacare Change; Obama Signs Up; Pregnant Texas Woman In Coma; What Makes A Holiday Classic?

Aired December 24, 2013 - 07:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know how fast he travels.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm worried about the lack of snow.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He is leaving Russia or is that the black sea that he's going over.

MARQUEZ: I don't know.

BOLDUAN: You're the only one with a cell phone.

CUOMO: I will. Being good is not over yet.

CUOMO: He's saying that to you and people on set as well.

Time now for our political gut check of the morning, the administration made yet another last-minute change to Obamacare deadlines extending the enrolment period for people seeking coverage beginning January 1st. Also, the president signing up for health care coverage as well.

Joining us with a closer look at all, CNN chief national correspondent, John King. John, you heard -- we will get to the Santa tracker in just one second. We'll get to the most important thing of the day, don't worry.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The debate question is what time did you start the eggnog?

BOLDUAN: John King, you know, that's the only way I could get to the show.

All right, so back to Obamacare, a day added to the enrolment period. Is it being seen as a good sign for Obamacare that there's all of this interest right at the end or is this seen as moving the goalposts yet again.

KING: Well, again, it depends on your political perspective largely. The administration says, look, we're giving people an extra day. If they sign up by midnight tonight now, if you haven't signed up, you can go online. That deadline was supposed to be last night, midnight, 11:59. It gives people an extra day. The administration says why not. If there's been a rush at the end. They acknowledge the glitches they've had. As we talked about many, many, many times, the more people in, the better the financial footing of the program. Critics say there have been more proof, modifications made, deadlines extended. More proof, this thing is too big, too bulky and doesn't work. Lo and behold as we get to Christmas, the political debate will continue and we'll carry it over to next year. If you want to, there's a period of grace.

CUOMO: Look, more time to sign up, it's got to be a good thing. That's what makes the program function.

KING: Right.

CUOMO: Help me understand this. The president symbolically signs up for Obamacare. Now, remind me, but I remember one of the rules of politics being, you never try to approximate normalcy as a politician. If you don't live the way other people do, don't pretend to. What do you think went into this and do you think it's effective?

KING: It's a symbolic move and the White House acknowledges that. Again, everything about this program is so black and white because it's been become so polarizing politically. The president says, look, I wanted to show solidarity with people so I'm signing up for the D.C. health exchange. He lives here in Washington, D.C. The issue is this, though, he couldn't do it himself.

When you logon to the computer, the computer verifies your Social Security number, your personal information. Well, the database doesn't have the president for valid national security reasons. He had to send an aide to the D.C. exchange to sign up. Some say good for you, you're supporting the program.

Others say, I got kicked off, I tried to go online. The system wouldn't take me. I waited online for hours or I called one of those call centers and I got put on hold. The president didn't have to go through that. This is such a black and white issue. Some say good for you and others say more proof of the problems.

BOLDUAN: And also, of course, on the flip side, it may be a damn if you, damn if you don't situation. If he didn't sign up, then there could --

CUOMO: He doesn't need it. That's what confused me.

BOLDUAN: His staunchest critics would say, if we have to do it, you have to do it, too. You can see it.

CUOMO: Yes, I can. I just feel like there was an opportunity for his party to say it's a little bit of the misinformation on the program. You know, it doesn't cover people who already get it. It doesn't cover us who are covered by the military. It's smaller in scale than some people think, but this kind of goes the other way.

KING: It goes the other way. Someone who spent a lot of time covering the White House, look, the president has pretty good health care. He always has a doctor in the house. I'm not saying that to be snarky. It's a pretty good gig. Our command-in-chief, Republican, Democrat, if we ever get to an independent in the White House, they deserve it.

BOLDUAN: And so the deadline is tonight. We will watch it. What everybody wants to know, what are those final signup numbers at least for this round? We'll see. Thanks, John.

KING: Take care, guys. Merry Christmas.

BOLDUAN: You, too. We'll see you soon.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, we are going to hear from a man battling to take his wife off life support. He says it was her wish that they had an agreement. Doctors say they can't. Here's why, she's pregnant. He'll share his heart wrenching reasons for his fight on the show.

BOLDUAN: Then later which holiday movie do you consider must-see classics? Would the film "Love Actually" make that list? The raging debate, ahead.


BOLDUAN: This song, doesn't it just scream classic to you? Yes? You know the tune. You know that cute face. "Love Actually," classic, Chris Cuomo?

CUOMO: I would have to say no, Kate. I'll take the no on this part of this robust debate we're going to have this morning. Some people believe this should get entry into that kind of -- that huge --

BOLDUAN: That special class, Christmas classic.

CUOMO: Pantheon.

BOLDUAN: Good word.

CUOMO: Indra Petersons is somebody who believes that "Love Actually" --


CUOMO: You put it up there with the biggies.

PETERSONS: It's my only one, hall of fame. We'll get there, OK? We'll get there. First a little favor from Mr. Chris Cuomo himself. This is what he defines as a white Christmas, anyone who has snow on the ground already. Breathe it in. The plains, Midwest, even a tiny little bit in the northeast. This is the amount of country, about 47 percent of you, technically have a white Christmas.

Let's do it my way, who will be talking about a white Christmas today. We'll get to play here, Sherri and talking about these temperatures making their way across. See if we can get the maps. There we go, seeing the first system exiting off the coastline that's the one that brought the trouble for the weekend. That is gone. Little system, tiny wave over the lakes that will bring more snow and a clipper will make its way across.

So these are the two systems that are going to actually have actual snow falling for Christmas Eve and Christmas day and a good amount of it. Just south of Buffalo so that's 6 inches of lake-effect snow is possible even a dusting possible into New York City as some of the energy makes its way east. The clipper that we're hoping for, notice as you go into midnight mass, east coast time, Chicago, Minneapolis, starting to get snow and then again making its way farther towards tomorrow morning, Christmas day itself.

The best time ever, having that fresh snow falling, Indiana and Michigan as well looking for the snow and the thing quickly dissipates out thereof. Not a big guy but enough. Enough to get 2 inches to 4 inches of snow, Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, you guys got the lucky straw. You're looking for a beautiful Christmas. I am a little bit jealous of that.

Otherwise, temperatures are cold, Chicago, negative 16 degrees. Yes, it may feel like some of you have some snow, but it also means very, very cold. It's negative 16, that's too cold. Merry Christmas, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Indra. We'll check back in throughout the morning.

Now to a heart breaking story out of Texas raising all kinds of legal and ethical questions, a young husband and father is asking that his wife be taken off life support. But under Texas law, he can't because she is 18 weeks pregnant. CNN's Pamela Brown is joining us here. This is such a difficult story.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. You know, two main heart wrenching issues at hand for this Texas man, Chris and Kate. He says he was blindsided by this broad Texas law that basically puts the rights of the couple's unborn child over his brain dead wife's wishes to be allowed to die. He says the doctors have no idea what kind of health issues this baby will have once it's delivered from his wife's oxygen deprivation. The hospital says it is just following the law.


BROWN (voice-over): It's a crushing decision Texas paramedics, Erick and Marlise Munoz hoped they would never have to make for one another.

ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND OF WOMAN ON LIFE SUPPORT: We talked about it. We're both paramedics. We've seen things in the field. We both knew we didn't want to be on life support.

BROWN: Last month, Munoz found his wife collapsed and unconscious on the floor inside their home. She was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. Doctors suspect she suffered from a pulmonary embolism.

MUNOZ: We reached the point where, you know, you wish your wife's body would stop.

BROWN: But the hospital won't let Munoz honor his wife's wishes and remove her ventilator. The reason, Marlise is 18 weeks pregnant and Texas law specifically protects the life of a fetus in its Health and Safety Code.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Texas has taken the approach of an expansive view of police power, specifically that the state has a compelling interest in preserving the life of its unborn citizens. And that interest is superior to even the interest of the remaining family that might be charged with raising an ill child.

BROWN: The hospital says it's just following the state laws of Texas.

JR. LABOE, JPS HOSPITAL SPOKESPERSON: We have a responsibility of making sure that we follow the laws, whether they are state or federal, when it comes to providing care to patients and that's what we're doing in this case.

BROWN: Munoz says he wants time to grieve, but their 14-month-old son, Mateo, he understands his fight is unpopular, but maintains it's deeply rooted in love for his wife.

MUNOZ: Everything I do will be sort of what she was. I can't do her justice. She's a great woman.


BROWN: Texas is one of several states with this law that invalidates pregnant women's do not resuscitate directives. Meantime, it could be several more weeks before doctors can even make a decision about taking the fetus out of Munoz so really a lot of issues at play here.

CUOMO: You have law and you have ethics and we are very fortunate we have Arthur Caplan, PhD from NYU's Langone Medical Center. You are an expert in medical ethics. Thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: We heard on the tail end that Texas has a specific law that removes your do not resuscitate concern if there is a child at play. Is that the end of the decision making process with that aspect?

CAPLAN: It shouldn't be because what you want is a law that recognizes the difference between a one-day-old embryo and almost a baby due to be delivered. Pregnancy, in other words, is not a single condition. So the law, I think, is way too broad. Plus the dad is worried in this case. Was the fetus harmed when his wife went through this terrible medical incident?

We need a law that would say, OK, we want to look out for fetal interest, but you don't want a law that says if the fetus isn't viable, if the fetus can't live, then you've got to continue care for this poor mom.

BOLDUAN: What does the hospital and kind of if you're looking at the law, a judge, what are they struggling with here? If it isn't as clear cut as the statute states, you get into gray area.

CAPLAN: I hate to say it, but these cases are gray. You're almost going to have to say this fetus is 12 weeks. It's not viable. This fetus is now up to 14 weeks, still not viable, 24 weeks, it is. I think you need to have a more fine-tuned instrument. I hope the dad decides to challenge the law. It's too restrictive. Individual liberty should, if you will, be followed unless we have a viable baby.

CUOMO: But what a horrible situation for this man to be in in an absolute sense. His wife, they believe, is gone. His child may be gone, but for him to be put in the position to argue to kill his child is very difficult.

CAPLAN: It's the worst. You know, he's so well informed. You usually don't get that he's a paramedic, the wife is a paramedic. They know about resuscitation. They understood all of these details, if you will. He faces a horrible burden, but at the end of the day, it's the wife's decision that should drive this.

CUOMO: They don't have it in writing.

CAPLAN: They don't have it in writing.

BROWN: It wouldn't even matter.

CUOMO: Under state law.

CAPLAN: Under state law.

CUOMO: Because of the draw they have, which is why the doctor says maybe you challenge the law.

CAPLAN: Exactly and I think what we try to do is follow the (inaudible) of what you wanted to say. We know she was well informed. We know that many people heard these conversations. Too bad it's not in writing. That would be better. All of us should put it in writing, but I think we know what she wanted and it's not happening here.

BROWN: You also wonder if she didn't want to be put on life support when they had those discussions with be too, it obviously changes the equation if you say that if you're pregnant or not pregnant.

CAPLAN: It does. Texas is saying protect fetal interest. OK, but not a nonviable fetus, not a fetus than can't make it deterrent.

BROWN: Survivability, viability issues here.

BOLDUAN: No one, everyone hopes that they would never be in such a horrific position to have this choice or lack of choice before them. What do you think people should learn from this situation?

CAPLAN: Two things. One, we have to pick someone to be our decision maker and write that down. That's not so hard to do although it's important to tell the person you pick that you've asked them to be the decision maker. Two, put into writing some of your wishes, these living wills or advanced directives. They would help us in this case. It wouldn't kick out the Texas law that still has to be challenged if you will. At least we have a firm basis to say this is what she wanted, we know what she desired, even with a pregnancy this is what she wanted.

CUOMO: That we certainly don't know here. Even in his reckoning of the conversation, it wasn't when she was pregnant.

BROWN: Exactly.

CUOMO: How do you figure out the viability of this fetus? That's the much bigger issue, when life begins, that we struggling with all the time in this society. Here in this specific, the oxygen deprivation, 14 versus 16 weeks.

CAPLAN: So we know up until about 22 you don't really have a viable fetus. They don't have lungs, can't survive outside the body.

BROWN: Do you know what kind of harm might have been done to this fetus given --

CAPLAN: We don't. There what we usually do with a preemie baby is give more discussion to the parents. If this baby was born at 17 weeks and the mom had said, don't treat it. It's too iffy for me that wouldn't be respected. So that changes just because she can't tell us that anymore?

CUOMO: Could also make the argument that as any parent she would want to do whatever it took for her child, even if that means ignore her do not resuscitate, keep her alive through the point of viability, make sure the fetus is there and give it its best chance at life.

CAPLAN: I think we can presume moms want to save their children. This couple is a loving couple. We don't have reason to doubt that. Given these variables, I don't think the Texas law gives enough room to have this discussion we're having, which is are you sure that's what she would want? Are you sure the fetus can live? Are you sure the fetus hasn't been harmed? Really difficult, you want this to fine-tuned, but the law isn't giving us that discretion.

CUOMO: All along the way, that man and his little boy, they have a son, is waiting, waiting. Thank you, Doctor.

CAPLAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Pamela, thanks to you also.

We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, "A Wonderful Life, "Miracle On 34th Street," "Love Actually," really?, do you really put that movie in the same group with the other ones that I just said. I don't know. It's from 2003. It's not about time. Is it about impact? We're going to debate.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. That's from the movie "Love Actually." We are asking a very important question this morning, is it a Christmas classic? With some movies, it's pretty obvious, right. You've "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street."

CUOMO: "Christmas Story."

BOLDUAN: "Christmas Story," but this one really seems to draw the battle lane. Yes, people are up in arms about this. One critic, Christopher Orr, at the "Atlantic," had this to say about the movie.


CHRISTOPHER ORR, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": I think that "Love Actually" is not merely an un-romantic movie, but an actively anti- romantic movie. It's almost a series of money shots. It's like a matchup of the first and last scenes of a variety of other romantic comedy without any of the middle part in which people actually get to know each other and fall in love.


BOLDUAN: There you have it. Let's debate. Where are you guys on this?

PETERSONS: My absolute favorite of all time.

CUOMO: What?

PETERSONS: The girls, right, we like it?

BOLDUAN: I don't know. I wonder if it does -- no, no, no. I'm not saying I don't love it. You don't like it, Miguel?

MARQUEZ: I like it. I wouldn't put it up as a classic.

BOLDUAN: Where is the bar for when you become a classic?

PETERSONS: When it's all you want to do on a holiday. So many people, I asked, Michaela as well.

BOLDUAN: I love the movie as well.

PETERSONS: Already nervous.

CUOMO: Can we ask, though, why do you like this? I understand it's the only one you want to watch. That's what your big plan is. I get it. Why this movie?

PETERSONS: There are so many real moments you can relate to. So many movies that you consider classic, you can't relate to them. I don't know what the word is boring. I'm afraid to say it, but that's the truth. There's nothing relatable anymore, almost cheesy.

CUOMO: Zu's petals, boring?

PETERSONS: Classic for me not be a classic for you?

CUOMO: No, because then it wouldn't be a debate.

PETERSONS: Who will be the decider?

CUOMO: The people will decide. When it becomes a classic is when it moves into generational significance. When you have parents with children that it carries through, where it becomes a big part of the season itself. I can't wait for that movie to come on. That's when it means it's Christmas.

PETERSONS: Only time will tell.

MARQUEZ: And you will shoot your eye out.

CUOMO: That's exactly right. That's a famous line.

MARQUEZ: There you go.

PETERSONS: I've decided classic.

CUOMO: That's good enough for me. Coming up on NEW DAY, astronauts out on a crucial Christmas Eve spacewalk. We'll bring you the latest and talk with an astronaut here on earth about what's going on outside the International Space Station. He has done four spacewalks like this. That's a live picture. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To believe in miracles, but I got the hitch pin on the first try.


CUOMO: Breaking news, two Americans now outside the space station nearly one hour into their critical spacewalk. Are their suits holding up? Live coverage this morning.

BOLDUAN: Trapped in the Middle East, he is the 29-year-old American sentenced to a year in prison for what he says was just a joke. Now his mother speaks out for the first time about their fight to get him back.

CUOMO: A festivus for the rest of us, the holiday made famous by Seinfeld is alive, well and real, Senator Rand Paul even talking it up on Monday. Now the writer who introduced us to it joins us live, the truth behind the story. Your NEW DAY continues right now.