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Obamacare On Track For 7 Million; Christie's Top Three For 2016; Ryan's Dilemma; Transcript Reveals what Pilots Told Controller; GM Head To Face Congressional Grilling

Aired April 1, 2014 - 07:30   ET


JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": Let's start with these numbers, and let's show our viewers. Again, Republicans are going to say they're cooking the books or we don't know how many of these people had health insurance before. But look at this number. In the first month while we were going through the Obamacare website disaster, 106,000 people signed up. They are going to hit, maybe even surpass by a little bit 7 million by their deadline last night. Eight or 10 states are going to extend the deadline for several more weeks. So when it comes to the numbers, they got there.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": They got there. These were the numbers that the CBO set out. There was a lot of nay saying early on. We still have to dig into what this means. A lot of the narrative I think around health care could be baked into the cake. You had Republicans out spending millions and millions of dollars on this, and you feel like Democrats haven't really mounted a good fight yet. Now you've got these 7 million.

PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I think some of the finger wagging we saw yesterday from the White House, some of you guys didn't think that we would get there, this is sort of the web site glitches yesterday as people were rushing to sign up was an indicator of widespread enthusiasm. In some ways, it's like tax day.

KING: The politics at the moment still favor Republicans, but let's not move to the politics just yet. Even though we are inside politics here. From a policy perspective, if they have 7 million, and they have 3.5 million to 4 million more getting access through Medicaid. The goal of the law was to expand access, to get more people into the system, to get more young people covered. So people can't be, I'll use a technical term, screwed by their insurance companies.

From a policy perspective, Peter, can the Republicans still argue we're going to repeal this thing and throw it away or is it now that it is the law of the land. By the time you get to the next presidential election or anyplace where the Republicans might have enough votes, do you just change it?

HAMBY: There are some Republicans, Bobby Jindall from Louisiana is one of them saying we can't run solely on Obamacare this year. People like Jim Miller saying we should focus on jobs and the economy, education, things like that. The Democratic argument that has surfaced, which is look, send me to Washington and we're going to tweak it, seems to be actually the more compelling one. I Republicans I think are going to start adopting that and Democrats are going to be left scrambling.

HAMBY: So that's the question. Politicians are not known for being terribly brave and they fall behind the polls. The lion in the "Wizard of Oz." This is Arkansas. It's one senate race, but you're going to see if. If you have a competitive Senate race in your state, you're going to see an ad like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark Pryor voted for this law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hasn't been that responsive to the issue now. Do you think he'll be responsive four years from now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just a silence. Senator Mark Pryor voted for Obamacare. Tell Senator Pryor Obamacare hurts Arkansas families.


KING: Now look at this chart as we talk about this. This is why Republicans don't back down. This is voter intensity. If it's the most important thing in the election, most important of the people who say that, 30 percent support the law, 60 percent oppose it. If it's a major factor in your vote, 37 percent are supporters of the law, 53 opponents so a 16 point swing there. That's why Republicans think this helps them. Opposition to the law drives their base.

HENDERSON: That's right. And it's emotional, right? I mean, you have this woman that's a doctor, the bumper sticker says, "Keep your doctor, fire your senator." So it's very I think to connect with voters in oppositions in the law and Democrats haven't yet figured out how to frame Obamacare as an emotional issue.

HAMBY: Those ads are good. I was in the green room here at CNN with a man who walked up to the TV and turned away. She hadn't seen the ad before and said, wow, that was a really good ad. The "Post" reported just yesterday, they spent $7.2 million on those ads.

KING: So the question is, can the Democrats take these numbers, which are a policy achievement and change it going forward.

Let's move on. We know Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey is in a bit trouble because of bridgegate. He still thinks he's the best candidate. Listen to him here about who he otherwise thinks might be OK.


GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think Jeb Bush would be an outstanding candidate for president. I think Scott Walker would be a really good candidate for president. I think Paul Ryan would be a really good candidate for president.


CHRISTIE: I think he'd be a credible candidate for president. I think Marco Rubio would be a good candidate for president.


KING: Not a Rand Paul fan.

HAMBY: Not at all. Long-running tension between these two. It goes back to their feud last year over sort of the national security state. I think it's less that they dislike each other rather than they both view each other as fundamentally unserious. Christie doesn't think Rand Paul's views have a place in the Republican Party. Rand just thinks that he can poke Christie. He doesn't see him as sort of a serious figure personally. They both realize they have probably a lot to gain.

HENDERSON: That's right. I mean, Rand Paul called Chris Christie, the king of bacon. I think that gets at how they view each other and how they both benefit, right, from both being in the news at the same time going at each other.

HAMBY: And there is no sense pretending. I mean, these guys are going to go out on a debate stage together.

KING: On a debate stage, that's what I'm looking forward to.

Let's move on, another big retirement, we saw a Republican Chairman, Mike Rogers of the Intelligence Committee, he is stepping down. Now the Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. It's the huge committee that writes tax laws, Dave Camp of Michigan. Now he says he is going to retire.

Here is why this one is delicious politically. Number one, Dave Camp just put on the table and House leadership released a tax reform proposal that would ask wealthy investors to pay more. A lot of Republican megadonors are like, why. Why did you do that? Why did you put that out? And then he retires.

And so the Democrats are going to look, vote for that. But here's the thing, Peter, that makes this most delicious for me. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee. A lot of establishment donors want him to run again, yet he wants to take over that committee. Huge power in the House.

If you want to be Speaker Paul Ryan, that's your ascension. Stay in the Congress, be the speaker of the House. What the tug of war within Paul Ryan over whether to be a legislator and get the gavel or to run for president?

HAMBY: Well, Dave Camp was already going to be term limited out of this post until 2015, I believe and Paul Ryan has been on the record in the "Wall Street Journal" saying, I want that job. He definitely wants to have his hands in sort of this policy meet in the House. But it is very hard to say, I'm going to take over this hugely important committee on the House and then immediately pivot -- we're talking November -- to running for president. And he wants to be in the presidential mix too. He's been very quiet about it, methodical, but he has gone to Iowa -- KING: He's going to have to make a choice.

HENDERSON: Yes. He's going to have to make a choice at some point, but this is the perfect role for him. He's not able to translate in the way Bill Clinton would.

KING: In the room of one with himself about who he wants to be 10, 20 years from now. As we go back to New York, a big day, keep your eye on Washington, you mentioned the General Motors hearing on Capitol Hill. A big debate over whether to declassify and release the so- called torture report about enhance interrogation tactics. And ladies and gentlemen, especially pre-noon, the most important thing in Washington today, the world champion, Boston Red Sox down at the White House.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: At least you have your priorities in order.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It turns out the same software company that set up the Obamacare is the one that suggested the Red Sox will win again this season.

BOLDUAN: He's been thinking about that reply the entire "Inside Politics" segment.

KING: We have to do NEW DAY from Yankee stadium when they're there and then from Fenway when they're there. We'll all have a nice day.

BOLDUAN: You know how to win me over.

CUOMO: I fell in love with the city. Boston strong. I'm very happy you guys won last year. But now that part is over, John. Go back to what you do best, losing to the Yankees.

BOLDUAN: And with that, I'm going to cut you off.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Air France 447 also found in the ocean, also caught by satellite images. So what do those images look like compared to what we've been seeing in the search for Flight 370? We'll line them up and compare.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: As we welcome you back to NEW DAY, want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the globe. This morning, we're getting a new look at just what the pilot said before Flight 370 went missing. A transcript showing their final words were not "all right, good night" as previously thought, but rather "good night, Malaysia 370."

That as 11 planes and nine ships are scouring the Indian Ocean looking for debris that has been spotted on satellites. What should they be looking for? That's the question. Joining us now is a man who knows very well, satellite imagery analyst and former CIA intelligence officer, Steven Wood. Really great to have you here with us.

We know that satellites are playing a big role in the search. We know it's a tool certainly. Let's recap the objects spotted on the 16th, 18th, 23th, 24th, all this in search area. They then refined their data and moved the search area up here. Have we seen good data from satellites in the new search area?

STEVEN WOOD, SATELLITE IMAGERY ANALYST: It is continuing to be collected. In fact, I was just looking right before this morning began, imagery was being collected yesterday, I know. The imagery looked good, from what I could tell.

PEREIRA: Not too cloudy?

WOOD: I know there's still weather in the area. Weather has continued to be a challenge as it has from the very beginning.

PEREIRA: I think it bears repeating, how is it that the data is analyzed, deemed credible and then scuttle the crews out to try and get those items.

WOOD: It's a great question. The answer is, it's complicated. This is a good example. These are coming from multiple countries. It's the United States, China, France, Thailand, each of these of nations have their own analysts. They're volunteers scouring the oceans now looking at this imagery to see what they can do.

PEREIRA: Teamwork.

WOOD: Absolutely. It's really a variety of people.

PEREIRA: You say that we can learn from -- we know that we can learn a lot from the Air France disaster about the investigation this time. But you say the satellite imagery can teach us some things. This is a map of where debris was found. Tell us what your thinking is?

WOOD: Interestingly enough, this actually came from here. A number of the guests that had been on your show repeatedly, David Soucie and Jeff Wise, were all talking about this about a week ago and saying what lessons could we learn from what happened last time?


WOOD: As David and Jeff were asking me, I said of course, the first thing you do in an investigation from my perspective analytically I want to go back and see if I have any other examples. So the first thing we did we started going back to see what happened with the Air France crash back in 2009. This map, it came from French Civil Aviation, their safety report that came out afterwards.

This is a map showing all of the debris that was found floating after the Air France plane crashed. So this is in the Southern Atlantic, different area, obviously, compared to the Indian Ocean. But you can see the distribution --

PEREIRA: We should point out, we figure that this area from side to side is about 300 kilometers. Are you surprised that we haven't spotted any field this big?

WOOD: Here's the critical point, look how tight the circle is. People knew where to look.

PEREIRA: They had the ACARs transmission.

WOOD: That's right.

PEREIRA: OK. Let's look at the satellite comparing that. This is from Air France.

WOOD: Right. Let me caveat a little bit. This is taken by a U.S. imaging satellite. It's actually looking now for the missing Malaysian airliner.


WOOD: Fifty centimetre resolution is about 2 feet. In hindsight of course, we can go back and say there's an object here that lines up with that debris map.

PEREIRA: And it was debris.

WOOD: So we can start coming up with a better signature, if you will, or fingerprint of what aircraft debris on the ocean looks like on a satellite.

PEREIRA: You're pretty comfortable seeing these French satellites and Thai satellites of debris fields. We don't know definitively do we that these were not -- because we never got to them.

WOOD: It looks like objects. We have been unable to conclude they were from the missing Malaysian airliner.

PEREIRA: An untrained eye like myself would say, well, if we know that that was a plane that sure looks a lot like what we've seen over there.

WOOD: So this is the critical part. Now we can start looking at this more carefully. We have a much greater confidence that this was part of the aircraft from Air France, the shape, the size, the scale of it then you start mapping it up and you now have something you can train analysts with. You can start looking at your computer programs and training them more effectively.

This is all part of that methodical process you have to go through to learn some of those lessons from the past. One of my colleagues was on a couple nights ago and he said that same thing. If we don't actually learn that lesson and do something different, it's just an observation.

PEREIRA: Steven Wood, always a pleasure, thank you so much. Really great information for us -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, is an apology enough. GM' CEO Mary Barra is about to testify on Capitol Hill. What will she say about those faulty ignition switches? The editor and chief of "Popular Mechanics" magazine is going to be joining us live with his take. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: It could be the biggest moment in the short time that she has been CEO of General Motors. In just a few hours, Mary Barra goes before a House committee to apologize once again for the recall of millions of cars, vehicles for faulty ignition switches, a flaw linked now to at least 13 deaths.

Let's talk about this and the big challenge ahead for GM with Jim Meigs. He is the editor-in-chief of "Popular Mechanics" magazine. Jim, thanks for coming in. I have a million questions. This is a very big day for GM, for Mary Barra, and for the families, victims who want answers.

One of the questions Mary will face, you can be sure, how and why did it take GM 10 years to order this recall? Is there a way for her to answer that?

JIM MEIGS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "POPULAR MECHANICS": It's going to haunt them. It looks like they were dragging their feet from the beginning on this. They were aware of some kind of problem. If you put yourself in their shoes in early days they might have thought it was a quality a problem more than a safety problem. No question about it, this looks bad they moved slowly on it. They let the recalls dribble out in a couple of stages instead of taking care of it at once in a very open way.

BOLDUAN: Look, recalls are unfortunately nothing new and happen to almost every company, but for some reason, this one seems more significant. There seems to be more to it. You tracked this and watched this more closely than most. What do you think?

MEIGS: Big recalls happen all the time. Companies get past this. This is similar to the Ford Explorer recall back in the '90s where this was a much more serious safety problem involved. It seemed to take too long to acknowledge the problem to do the recall. GM is facing a similar kind of public backlash I think today to this problem.

BOLDUAN: Now how do you think Mary Barra has handled this to this point? I mean, she will be in the hot seat. What we can see from testimony that they have released is that she will not answer the question how did you get here. She'll focus on going forward. Is that enough?

MEIGS: I think she's going to try to focus on that. She's a brand new CEO. I think she's handled herself well so far. She's appointed a new vice president for safety. She's launched --

BOLDUAN: Is that real? Do you take that as a real change?

MEIGS: We'll see. Too soon to say.


MEIGS: But it sounds like a good step. Appointed an outside investigator to go back and look at this problem in a transparent way. So she's taken good steps and coming clean with the all-inclusive recall finally I think is also an important step. So the fact that she's a relatively new CEO helps her. She is a GM lifer. Part of the criticism of GM over the years it's a sort of bureaucratic company. Maybe you see that in the history of this problem. They were trying to fix hit behind the scenes instead of getting in front of it.

BOLDUAN: One of the things they'll absolutely be looking at some point if not now, the allegation that back in 2006 this part, this ignition switch, it was redesigned. The allegation is that it kept the same part number, same serial number. That sounds a little inside baseball. That is important.

MEIGS: If at last true they tried to improve the part or solve the problem without really disclosing it by changing the part number, that really does not look good at all.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely not. So in the end, we had the family members of a victim on earlier in the show. They said clearly victims believe GM in this situation put its bottom line, put the look, expense and cost of recall ahead of the safety of customers. How does GM handle that?

MEIGS: Well, that's the toughest question for any company. You know, the hard fact is, companies make decisions about quality and safety all the time that have a financial element. You could make a car completely safe but it would cost $200,000. Once a problem is exposed and you see there's accidents, not to deal with that aggressively, I don't think people will get past that. Now especially now that it's a public issue. They could have fixed the problem sooner. I don't think there's any way of getting around weather.

BOLDUAN: You really can't. The question of why did it take you ten years to order a recall? If they don't have an answer that will absolutely hang over them going forward. Jim Meigs, we'll have to bring you back on. Want to hear what Mary Barra has to say today. Want to get your take on it later. Thank you very much -- Chris.

CUOMO: Well, that is a story we're going to have stay on, Kate. Let's take a break now. When we come back on NEW DAY, we have the official transcript and it reveals new last words for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. They also reveal a lot about the flawed investigation. Was this search doomed from the start? We'll take a look at all the angles coming up.