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Reality of Government Shutdown Hits Home; House Speaker Slams Obama; Glitches on Obamacare Website; Shutdown May Impact College Football Game; Interview with Former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg

Aired October 2, 2013 - 09:00   ET



JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": How many are worried about the government shutdown? How many more worried about it starting back up? Yes, that's -- that's it.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And breaking this morning, will a new Republican strategy open the government back up?

Also glitched. Obamacare launched and then landed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the page just wasn't populated so there's some sort of technical glitch and it just wasn't working.

COSTELLO: Hours long wait. Web sites not working. Thousands of you left without an answer.

Plus critical condition.

YOLANDA SANTIAGO, EDWIN MIESES' MOTHER: All his ribs fractured, his lungs are so badly bruised that he's still on the ventilator.

COSTELLO: The viral video that shocked America, a swarm of motorcyclists as a family in an SUV and a chain of events with a horrific ending.

DAYANA MIESES, EDWIN MIESES' WIFE: My husband got off the bike to help the guy and whatever he did, he got scared, he went -- peeled off and paralyzed my husband on the way.

COSTELLO: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello, thank you so much for joining me and welcome to day two of your government being shut down and your plans possibly narrowed, booking a trip to Yosemite, you had better reschedule. Want a loan for your small business, sorry, that window is closed or how about a visit to the capitol? Well, today it's closed to visitors even though it's still open for lawmakers.

Not that it really matters because it's their squabbling that has left much of the government paralyzed or maybe I should say today it's government ala carte day, partially opened, partially closed and thoroughly gridlocked.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the yeas are 252, the nays are 176, two-thirds not being in the affirmative. The rules are not suspended and the joint resolution is not agreed to.


COSTELLO: That, my friends, is your people's House, Congress striking down a bill that would fund some of America's treasures, veterans programs, national parks, and Washington, D.C.'s local government.

You could call it government buffet style, take what you want and leave what you don't. It's just like pay-per-view and it was an idea floated by Republican Senator Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think we ought to start passing continuing resolutions narrowly focused on each of the things the president listed. So he said Border Patrol agents won't be paid. Fine, let's pass a continuing resolution that funds Border Patrol agents. He says that he plans to close every national park, fine, let's fund the continuing resolution funding the interior, keeping the parks open.

Let's one at a time demonstrate the same bipartisan cooperation we saw today with the military and address all of these people that he's holding out as are going to suffer.


COSTELLO: And there's no shortage of American suffering but certainly not in silence.


BOB SMITH, CAMPER EVICTED AT SHUTDOWN: It's just unfortunate that we're being held hostage by Congress in order to further their agenda, which is not our agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes no sense to us. The government, I mean, it's their responsibility to pass a budget. It's the law. Why didn't they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unfair to the public. It's unfair to the citizens of this great nation and it's just unfair that we have to experience these types of hardships because people can't get their acts together and agree on something.


COSTELLO: Anger, resentment and resolve all boiling over in a most unlikely place in Washington. The World War II Memorial.

Here's CNN's Chris Lawrence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Washington.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wheelchair bound veterans came just to see the World War II Memorial, only to be greeted by barricades.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I don't get it. I don't get it. I'm furious.

LAWRENCE: Members of Congress seem surprised, but when they vote to shut down the federal government, monuments do, too.

HARKIN: If I can walk around here why can't I walk down there? It makes no sense.

LAWRENCE: That's exactly what some are saying about negotiations on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like our government is wasting our taxpayer money.

LAWRENCE: Onlookers applauded as the veterans broke past the barricade.

JAMES BROWN, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Well, it fills you with pride, and make you proud that you were part of it.

LAWRENCE: Lawmakers who came to greet the vets also laid blame for those barricades.

REP. STEVE KING (R) IOWA: This is a spiteful decision that was ordered from the White House.

LAWRENCE: The politicians made no mention of their own role.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We're trying to protect the lives and the health care of these wonderful veterans who did for us.

LAWRENCE: But as they postured within a mile of the memorial, thousands of federal workers were being furloughed.


LAWRENCE: Sent home without pay, they're scared for themselves and their co-workers.

SUSAN LAKE, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: I just bought a house. Think of the mortgage payments.

LAWRENCE: Angry, worried and incredibly frustrated. GOLDSON: Because I don't see why we the people should really suffer because of their disagreement.

LAWRENCE: Despite it all, the shutdown won't stop one woman's 93- year-old father who will get to see the memorial that honors him.

LAKE: We're just glad he got on the plane this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And you're still going to enjoy this day?

LAKE: Oh, yes, it's going to be great.

LAWRENCE (on camera): And the thing is flights and hotels are already booked for a dozen more veterans trips during the next week. Park officials say they are looking for guidance on how to handle those. Translation? We can't believe the folks in charge left us here to block elderly veterans from entering an open concrete space.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.


COSTELLO: We've been hearing all week about a potential delay on the September jobs report and this morning, we discovered this. A new message posted to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site. It reads, "This Web site is currently not being updated due to the suspension of federal government services. During the shutdown period, BLS will not collect data, issue reports or respond to public inquiries."

That's what it says. It also says updates to the site will start again when the federal government resumes operations.

As more Americans are impacted by the shutdown public anger continues to grow and that means politicians in Washington need to step up their efforts to blame the other side. In an op-ed for today's "Wall Street Journal" Republican House Speaker John Boehner accuses President Obama of a, quote, "scorched earth policy of refusing to negotiate in a bipartisan way." And that's not all the speaker has to say.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is at the White House this morning to tell us more.

Good morning.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. Little snippet of the speaker's op-ed, he says, "Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks and the stories across the country highlight the devastating impact of Obamacare on families and small businesses. They continue to reject our calls for fairness for all Americans."

This is the line we're hearing from House Republicans, Carol, that the White House and Democrats will not engage, but talking to sources here, I'll tell you the way they see it is that there's not even really a starting point that -- where Republicans are that they could agree to. They don't want to tinker with Obamacare, they don't want it defunded, they don't want it delayed, and so they don't really see the point of really engaging at this point because what Republicans are proposing for them is very much a nonstarter.

The idea that you may extend government funding, we've seen different proposals from 45 days to 75 days at this point for really delaying or completely defunding Obamacare. They say it's not apples to apples and it's not even close when you compare those two things, so at this point, we think the White House is really trying to rely instead on that public opinion where a lot of Americans are saying they would rather see this government shutdown ended and they don't want to see Obamacare really be the issue here so I think the White House is trying to rely on that, and trying to build pressure against Republicans, rather than sitting down and engaging with them.

COSTELLO: All right, we'll talk to you more later this hour and the next.

Brianna Keilar live at the White House this morning.

Despite the shutdown over Obamacare, Obamacare goes on, signups continue today. We know more than 2.8 million people visited which manages health exchanges for 34 states. That enormous amount of Web traffic simply overloaded the system. A lot of people seeing this message, "Please wait." Several state exchanges also having major bugs.

California's Web site had to be shut down for maintenance overnight. Officials say they were overwhelmed with five million hits and 17,000 phone calls in just a few hours. State officials as well as President Obama promised glitches, all of the glitches, would be worked out.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just a couple weeks ago Apple rolled out a new operating system and within days they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads.


COSTELLO: Struggling with those glitches are people like Terry O'Neal from Sacramento, California. She's a married mother of three, a freelance writer, PhD student and independent film producer. Her husband has his own business repairing computers, and Terry joins us now.

Good morning, Terry.



COSTELLO: OK. So you're excited, you're going to go to

O'NEAL: Yes.

COSTELLO: And what happens next?

O'NEAL: Well, I had a lot of trouble on the Web site itself. Well, actually directed me to Covered California. Covered California actually, it took a long time to maneuver through the site and find out where I was supposed to go and how I was supposed to apply online actually.

There was no place to apply online. So you had to actually print the application, print the paper application and send it in, or you could -- or they say when you print the application you can call the 800 number or apply online.

COSTELLO: So how long did that part of your task take?

O'NEAL: That part took about 45 minutes just trying to maneuver through the Web site and find the proper link to apply, which wasn't there. It wasn't available.

COSTELLO: Did you -- did you talk to an actual person at some point?

O'NEAL: Yes, after waiting on hold for about an hour, I actually spoke to a representative there and she said there were glitches in the system and they were unable to process any applications but I was lucky enough to -- she actually processed it for me over the phone. She took my information and processed it -- I'm sorry, over the phone.

COSTELLO: At least that's good. So all of that took what?

O'NEAL: Yes.

COSTELLO: About three hours but you don't know right now whether you qualify for any plan. Is that right?

O'NEAL: Correct. Yes. They said by the end of the week, maybe next week, they will let me know.

COSTELLO: So after three hours of your time, you still don't know?

O'NEAL: Yes. No, I still don't know.

COSTELLO: So -- OK, so that must have been very frustrating. And it's probably still frustrating for you but do you feel it's worth it?

O'NEAL: Well, I mean, absolutely, I think it's worth it. Going years without health care, three hours a week, you know, I mean, it's worth a try. It's worth my effort, you know, for me and my kids. So yes, it is. I mean, it's frustrating but, you know, it's -- millions of people, you know, were online. So, I mean, it's -- I mean, I think I expected it. I guess I expected it so I wasn't too disappointed.

COSTELLO: OK. Terry O'Neal --

O'NEAL: I knew I wasn't the only one.


O'NEAL: I wasn't the only one, you know.

COSTELLO: No, you were definitely not alone in your pain. Terry O'Neal thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

O'NEAL: Thank you.

COSTELLO: So let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. He's on the CNN express bus tour in Lexington, Kentucky, and you're also examining the pitfalls and the benefits of Obamacare. So how is the administration addressing the glitches in the system?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, they say it's going to be better today, Carol. You know, obviously the proof is in the pudding. They said the same thing sort of yesterday afternoon.

I could tell you I was in Greenville, South Carolina, and we spoke to hundreds of people over there who came by the bus just to ask questions and share their stories and we couldn't find anybody who said that they convincingly were able to register, apply and be approved for a plan.

So a similar story to what you just heard, and now we're in Kentucky and they say that things were a little bit better here in Kentucky yesterday, about 2900, close to 3,000 people were actually able to get registered, but keep in mind about three million people across the country apparently were trying to do this yesterday and the number that actually succeed much smaller.

And, Carol, if I can share with you just a -- maybe a little bit of irony in all of this, we've been talking to the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius' office, and the primary person whom we deal with was -- is now furloughed so we had a hard time getting information from HHS specifically about what the numbers look like across the country in terms of registration. So the government shutdown even affecting the ability to get information here.

COSTELLO: So what's your best advice? I know Terry, I mean at least she got an application in and she's being processed and eventually she'll find out whether she qualifies but what advice would you give people trying to get onto the system who might have given up yesterday?

GUPTA: Well, I think that the best advice is, you know, this is -- this is considered an open enrollment period, and grant that a lot of people who are doing this have never had the luxury of going through an open enrollment before. They've not worked for a company that offered them insurance, but keep in mind you know, Carol, I know that open enrollment lasts a while.

This open enrollment is going to go through the end of March, March 31st, and if you -- and if you do actually apply and register before December 17th, your benefits will start January 1st. My point is you got some time. It seems like at least according to what we're hearing there was a lot of attention, certainly a lot more attention than people estimated there would be this first day yesterday.

So my guess is in the weeks, even in the months to come, that's going to -- that's going to taper down significantly, probably even today. So you got a lot more shots at it. It's a three-page application ultimately when you do get on. It's fairly straightforward, and the thing that's most notable I think, Carol, we talked about this yesterday but the most notable thing on this application is what it doesn't ask you, which is your medical history because that's no longer relevant to how they determine your cost.

COSTELLO: Yes. Based on your income. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. I know you're going to be in Maryland tomorrow with the questions people are asking about Obamacare and you can check out "SANJAY GUPTA M.D." every weekend right here on CNN.

Sanjay, thanks so much. I know you're going to be in Maryland tomorrow with the questions people are asking about Obamacare and you can check out "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." every weekend, right here on CNN. Sanjay, thanks so much.

Before I take you to a break a final ouch, because of the government shutdown -- college football may take a hit. Saturday's big time rivalry game between Navy and Air Force is supposed to be aired on CBS but CBS could have nothing to show because the teams might not be able to play because of Uncle Sam and here's why.

Navy Stadium -- Andy Scholes, I'll let you explain it, because Air Force, they have to come up with money to travel to where Navy is, which would be Annapolis, right?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Yes, that's right.

COSTELLO: And the government usually funds that because, you know, it's Air Force and now they got to dig up some money, and if they can't dig up the money, they can't go.

SCHOLES: Exactly, you know, because the good old shutdown, the Defense Department, they temporarily suspended all athletics for Navy, Air Force and the Army and big problem, right? They have to get from Colorado, all the way to Annapolis.

Now, Air Force, they fund their program with ticket sales, TV money. But part of it comes from government funding and because of the shutdown can't use that money and there's no rules in place for something like this, we never expected the government to shut down.

So, the lawyers they're sifting through the paperwork. They're trying to figure out if they can use non-government money to fund a trip from Colorado to Annapolis. Of course they can get private donors to pony up for the trip or Air Force in the Mountain West conference they can maybe pay for the conference themselves for them to go but it's a big problem.

Air Force and Navy, they played every year since 1972. The game is a sellout. It's going to be on national TV. So, of course, you wouldn't want something like this to happen, but we should have a decision by tomorrow whether or not they're going to play the game as well as Army and Boston College, Army whether they can get to their game in Boston College. So, it's a decision tomorrow.

COSTELLO: So, this could be -- the travel is expensive. I mean, just to put it in perspective, this could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars for Air Force to get to Annapolis.

SCHOLES: You're taking over 100 people on a chartered flight across the country. So it's pretty expensive and of course they had a plan in place but now that plan, of course, because of the shutdown got to come up with a new one. We'll see if it happens. You don't want to miss a rivalry game like that.

COSTELLO: No! Andy Scholes thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM: U.S. veterans came to visit the World War II Memorial and found it close, but guess what? They were having none of it! They broke through the barriers. Now, the GOP is trying a new approach to make sure that never happens again.


COSTELLO: Checking our top stories at 20 minutes past the hour.

Suspicious packages that led to an evacuation of Jacksonville International Airport in Florida were a hoax. That's what a federal law enforcement official tells CNN. The suspicious bag was x-rayed, nothing was in it. CNN affiliate WJIX reports the suspect was arrested at the airport.

Ground beef used in national school lunch program is being recalled. Central Valley Meat Company says almost 90,000 pounds of the beef may contain small pieces of plastic. The meat was shipped to Arkansas, Nebraska and North Carolina. Similar recall last month affected meat shipped to Arkansas, California, Montana and Texas. No one has gotten sick.

Looks like a normal landing, right? Except that is not a runway, that's the highway. The pilot told CNN affiliate WESH that the plane lost power during an inspection flight in Florida. According to the station, drivers on the road saw the plane and managed to get out of its way.

Talk about bad optics, war veterans, war veterans in wheelchairs breaking down barriers to visit the World War II Memorial, government shutdown or no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first, I didn't think I'd come, but I'm glad I did now.

REPORTER: Were you worried when you saw the barriers up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, didn't bother me a bit.

REPORTER: You're still going to enjoy this trip?



COSTELLO: Yes, he did. A catalyst though perhaps for government ala carte. In an effort to make sure America does not see this anymore, the House of Representatives will attempt again to pass small non- controversial bills to fund what it likes. National parks and veterans affairs, yes. Obama care, no.

Judd Gregg is a Republican and former senator who served until 2011 and was a member of the Senate Banking Committee. He now runs a company that promotes job creation.

Welcome, Senator.

JUDD GREGG (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Thank you. Thanks for having me on, Carol.

COSTELLO: Aren't you glad you're in the private sector now?

GREGG: Well, I am. It's a little frustrating to watch what's going on.

COSTELLO: I can't even imagine. This idea of passing a series of bills to fund certain parts of the government, is that a good idea?

GREGG: Well, it gets to the same end. It's ironic and a little amusing that at some point, you basically have a clean resolution. You have a clean continuing resolution if you fund in parts most of the government.

So, I mean, I'm not sure what point is made by that. It seems to me they need to find the ground where they can reach an agreement on some sort of fiscal policy that's going to improve our deficit problem, improve our debt problem and settle the debt issue, settle the continuing issue, settle the debt ceiling and settle the sequester issue all at ones. That's the best proposal. It's the best pathway. Hopefully, that's something they can do that.

COSTELLO: That seems impossible to achieve.

GREGG: I don't think so. I don't think so.

Actually, I think as you see the smoke start to clear on this. It is very obvious that the continuing issue this shutdown is going to roll into the debt ceiling issue. So, you're going to have them both on top of each other soon, according to the secretary of treasury, by October 17th. That means they're going to both have to be addressed.

The only way you can address them both is take up the issue of how you deal with the sequester because that's the forcing mechanism for getting spending reductions. So, I think there's a chance to do something and if the parties would sit down and talk, then we could probably get something done.

COSTELLO: Let me ask you about the partisanship, because you left the Senate in 2011, and that heavy duty partisan seemed to start while you were still in office. I suspect that was not all that comfortable for you. Is that fair?

GREGG: Well, I've always thought that the purpose of government is to govern, and in a constitutional system built off of checks and balances as Madison gave us, that you have to go across the aisle to govern. I mean, that's just a simple fact. I mean, there are rare occasions when the majority controls both the Senate and the House with large majorities and has the presidency first two years of Obama's -- President Obama's administration and Lyndon Johnson's administration have, but that's the exception.

In most instances, our system is built on the basis that you got to go across the aisle and compromise or else you don't get anything done.

COSTELLO: But, of course that doesn't happen anymore. Do you recognize the Republican Party anymore?

GREGG: Well, to begin with, it's not the Republican Party. There are a few folks in the Republican Party who have staked out this ground which is untenable, which is that you got to repeal Obamacare or you're not going to open the government.

Now, that's not a tenable position. The president's not going to repeal Obamacare.

I mean, there are two issues which really aren't on the table for negotiation, one is repealing Obamacare, the other is raising taxes. Republicans aren't going to do that.

But between those two issues there is a huge opportunity to get something done. I genuinely am optimistic that sound and reasonable people are going to come to the table fairly soon and try to get something done on an agreement that will deal with the debt, deal with the deficit, and address the debt ceiling, address the continuing, and hopefully address the sequester.

COSTELLO: Maybe it will start. But let me run this by you. Bruce Bartlett, former George H.W. Bush administration official, this is what he tweeted recently. He says, "There's a slight possibility that Boehner is a genius and the Tea Party will die a well-deserved death in the next few days. Fingers crossed."

Extreme language, but is that your hope, too?

GREGG: Well, my view is that the Tea Party is not homogenous, that it's not one group of people. There are some folks who grabbed the microphone here who are not constructive in my opinion to getting governance, to getting things done, and to getting the debt down and the deficit reduced.

And what has to happen is that people like Speaker Boehner, who is a very responsible and strong leader in my opinion who is trying to deal with the cards that have been dealt him, he's going to get the microphone back and in the Senate, thoughtful Republicans who want to get something done have to get the microphone back.

And most importantly in my opinion the president has to get in to the room and negotiate. You know, we're a nation built off of presidential leadership and he's got to be in the room negotiating.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what happens. Former Republican Senator Judd Gregg -- thank you so much, Senator, for joining us this morning.

GREGG: Thanks.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

Like many stories, it's not simply a good guy/bad guy tale, a black and white issue. I'm talking about this violent confrontation between a group of motorcyclists and the driver of an SUV, helmet camera went viral and there was outrage about the driver being dragged out of his car, and beaten and slashed.

But the family of one of the bikers wants you to know he's paralyzed and in a coma. Police say that Edwin Mieses was one of the three bikers hit by the SUV when the driver pulled away. Here is what his wife is saying this morning.


DAYANA MIESES, BIKER'S WIFE: My husband got off his bike to help the guy and whatever he did, he got scared, he went and peeled off and he paralyzed my husband on the way.


COSTELLO: The biker's mother was so emotional she could hardly bet her words out.


YOLANDA SANTIAGO, EDWIN MIESES' MOTHER: I'm devastated. I'm devastated. All his ribs fractured, his lungs are so badly bruised. He's still on the ventilator.