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THE SITUATION ROOM
Report of Man on Fire on D.C. Mall; Boehner: "This Isn't Some Damn Game"; Interview with Michele Bachmann; Details on D.C. Shooting Suspect
Aired October 4, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't some damn game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The rhetoric heating up on day four of the government shutdown, as the behind the scenes talks begin on the next showdown, the debt ceiling. We'll talk about all of it with the former Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta.
And a Tea Party favorite, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, she is here with us as well. I'll ask her if she said a shutdown is exactly what Republicans want.
Plus, new details on the woman killed by police in the car chase that ended outside the capitol, including medication found in her home that may provide important clues.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news
BLITZER: But there's a breaking news happening, very disturbing information coming in, reports we're getting of a man who may have set himself on fire here in Washington on the National Mall.
Let's go straight to Brian Todd.
He's got the latest.
What happened -- Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we were just down here on the National Mall and we were diverted to an area near the Air and Space Museum. People who are not familiar with Washington won't know where -- exactly where that is, but it's in the middle of the Mall. Police have told us that they did have reports of a man on fire. It is unclear if he set himself on fire or whether it's a -- he was set on fire by other means.
But he was airlifted out. He was apparently just had -- he has expand some serious injuries.
We got there in time to see police and EMTs airlifting him out.
And that's what we know now. But a man apparently was on fire near the Air and Space Museum, right near the middle of the Mall, where we observed police and EMTs and a chopper there to get him out of there.
And, again, unclear, according to police, whether he set himself on fire or whether he was lit on fire by other means -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Do we have information on the condition of this man right now?
TODD: That's not clear at this time. I mean we were literally there just about, I'd say, about five minutes ago, maybe 10 minutes ago, when they airlifted the man out. So his condition right now is unclear to us.
BLITZER: Brian, all right, let us know what you find out. But that's a disturbing report coming a day after what happened here in Washington yesterday, that car chase and that shooting.
All right, Brian, we'll stay in close touch with you.
It's the end of the work week for many Americans. But for a growing number, there was no work, no pay, due to the government shutdown. And it's only going to get worse.
Defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, for example, says it will now furlough 3,000 workers starting Monday due to the shutdown, now in its fourth day.
Here in Washington, lots of heated talk, but little concrete action to solve the crisis, even with the next one looming. The U.S. will hit its debt ceiling in less than two weeks.
Our chief Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, begins our coverage this hour -- all right, Dana, what is the very latest on Capitol Hill?
Is there any movement at all?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, there is nothing I would like to report to you more, Wolf, than news of a breakthrough. But I simply can't.
In fact, it doesn't look like any breakthrough any time soon. This government shut down could last awhile.
BASH (voice-over): John Boehner came to cameras with a copy of "The Wall Street Journal," quoting an anonymous administration official to help make a dramatic point. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And it says well, we don't care how long this lasts, because we're winning. Well, this isn't some damn game.
BASH: The theatrics and language were vintage Boehner. Remember this?
BOEHNER: We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.
BASH: And this, during the 2009 health care debate...
BOEHNER: But, nope, we don't have time to do that.
BASH: A Democratic group released its own made for TV moment, literally -- this ad, comparing Boehner to a crybaby demanding his way or nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaker John Boehner didn't get his way on shutting down health care reform.
BASH: The problem for Republicans, it's no longer clear what they're demanding from Democrats to reopen the government.
When asked that question, Boehner said this.
BOEHNER: We sent four bills to the United States Senate, four different positions, trying to soften our position to get the Senate interested in keeping the government open and bringing fairness to the American people under ObamaCare.
BASH: Still, Republicans are right that Democrats won't negotiate.
(on camera): He needs something. He needs a lifeline in order to save face, in order to agree. You're not giving him one bit.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: How about my lifeline?
We agreed to $980 billion, $70 billion less than what my caucus voted for and agreed to.
Don't talk about his lifeline, talk about mine.
BASH (voice-over): Even as the parties battle for the upper hand in the shutdown blame game, behind-the-scenes, they're bracing for the next fight -- in less than two weeks, October 17th. Congress must raise the debt limit or face default.
BOEHNER: I don't believe that we should default on our debt. It's not good for our country.
BASH: CNN is told privately Boehner told colleagues he's willing to raise the debt ceiling with Democratic help and without a majority of Republicans, which he's unwilling to do to reopen the government.
But Boehner also told his rank and file Friday the president must negotiate, give in on something to chip away at the country's debt.
(on camera): His message to you all was I'm not rolling over on the debt ceiling?
REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: Yes, he actually used that term, we're going to continue to use the debt ceiling as a tool, as a leverage point, to require both sides to come to this table and to negotiate for what's best for America.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BASH: Now, it's really unclear how that debt ceiling issue is going to be resolved. But it is becoming more and more likely that the government shutdown won't really be addressed until we get closer to that deadline on the debt ceiling, which, again, Wolf, is just under two weeks away.
BLITZER: All right. So I just want to be precise and make sure there's no confusion out there, Dana.
What exactly do we know that the speaker told some of his Republican colleagues yesterday about allowing a straight up or down vote to go forward to raise the debt ceiling without any extraneous conditions, like ObamaCare, for example, attached to that kind of effort?
BASH: We have not heard any Republicans say that the speaker has said privately at all that he's willing to do what's known as a clean debt ceiling, with nothing attached. What we do say -- what we do hear is what I put in the piece, is that he is having discussions about some kind of negotiation that they might be able to present -- or position they might be able to present to the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
But, again, he would have to get something in return, something dealing with the debt. And if they could do that, maybe then he would be willing to pass an increase in the debt ceiling, with Democratic support, maybe not even the majority of Republican support.
That's something he's not willing to do right now on the shutdown, but maybe he would be willing to do, we're told, on the debt ceiling, but only if Democrats negotiate, which they're saying they're not willing to do.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, well, we'll see what happens on that front.
Thanks very much for that clarification, Dana.
President Obama and the vice president, Joe Biden, they took their message out of the White House. They walked to a popular Washington sandwich place earlier in the day, where the president restated his challenge to the House speaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before I order, I just want to say that part of the reason we're here is we're starving and the food here is great. The other part of it, though, is that right now, this establishment is providing a 10 percent discount to all federal workers who are on furlough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, a cookie.
OBAMA: And -- plus a cookie. This shutdown could be over today. We know there are the votes for it in the House of Representatives. And as I said yesterday, if Speaker Boehner will simply allow that vote to take place, we can end this shutdown.
When it comes to negotiations, I've said I am happy to have negotiations with the Republicans and Speaker Boehner on a whole range of issues, but we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Strong words from the president.
Let's talk about it with Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
Congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Thank you.
BLITZER: All right, so when the president says that, he's willing to negotiate, but not with a gun pointed to his head, to the head of the American people, what do you say?
BACHMANN: Well, what I say is that the president hasn't been willing to negotiate. We want to. We've sent bills over to the president. We've said let's sit down, let's have conferees come together. And it hasn't happened.
I met with all of the Republican women in the House of Representatives today. And we're putting a letter together to the president. We come from very wide, broad backgrounds. We want to sit down with the president of the United States, too. We've got a lot of great ideas on how we could solve this problem.
So we're happy to take him up on negotiating. But he's just saying that maybe he'll sit down and have a beer summit, but he's not interested in deviating from his position.
We think that we can get to yes. That's what we want to do with the president.
BLITZER: He says he's willing to negotiate on all of these issues, including health care, but first, make sure the government shutdown ends and raise the debt ceiling. Then everything can be worked out down the road. That's what he said.
BACHMANN: OK, so let's try it -- let's pull that apart.
The president is saying fully fund the government, don't talk about -- don't negotiate on any of the programs, on how much we're spending and then keep giving him all the money that he wants in order to keep spending.
So then what is there left to talk about?
BLITZER: Well, the...
BACHMANN: This is the whole...
BLITZER: -- he's saying that they're willing to fund...
BACHMANN: -- (INAUDIBLE) right now.
BLITZER: -- the government at what the Republican -- the Paul Ryan level of spending, not what the Democrats wanted, that already represents a major concession.
BACHMANN: Well, there is no major concession, because what's called the sequester levels, the level of spending that we agreed on, that's actually saving money for the first time, two years in a row, since the Korean War. This is working for the American people.
BLITZER: And he accepts that...
BACHMANN: He -- the president...
BLITZER: -- as part of this temporary continuing resolution.
BACHMANN: And -- and we say that is great. But the president is saying, I'll negotiate after you give me everything I want.
Well, then, what is there left...
BLITZER: But the only thing...
BACHMANN: -- to negotiate on?
BLITZER: -- he's asking for is that there be no government shutdown and the debt ceiling is increased.
BACHMANN: That's everything.
BLITZER: Why is that everything?
Isn't that your job...
BACHMANN: That's -- that's everything.
BLITZER: -- to fund the government and to make sure the U.S. Does not go into default?
BACHMANN: Well, our job under Article One of the Constitution, we hold the purse, so to speak. We hold the credit card for this country. We're the ones who make the decision, in the House of Representatives, the most powerful part of government was meant to be, by our founders, the House of Representatives. We're the closest to the people. We're elected every two years. We're the ones who decide how much to raise taxes or lower taxes. We decide the spending. That's our job. So that's our...
BLITZER: But you need the Senate, as well. And they disagree with you.
BACHMANN: Yes, we do. We do...
BLITZER: So you can't...
BACHMANN: -- need the Senate.
BLITZER: -- you can't do it by yourself. You have to be willing...
BACHMANN: But spending originates in that...
BLITZER: -- to work together.
BACHMANN: -- spending originates in the House.
BLITZER: It originates in the House, that's true.
BACHMANN: And also taxing. And that's our job. It isn't the president's...
BLITZER: But they -- the Senate has to approve it.
BACHMANN: That's our job.
BLITZER: After you finish your job, the Senate has to approve it. They're not willing to do what you want.
But in the meantime, there's 13 days left, for example, until the debt ceiling has to -- you appreciate what would happen to the U.S. Economy if the debt ceiling were not increased?
BACHMANN: I'm a former federal tax litigation attorney. I absolutely appreciate and understand what will happen. That's why I signed a bill...
BLITZER: So if Boehner puts...
BACHMANN: -- (INAUDIBLE) bill...
BLITZER: -- a bill out there...
BACHMANN: -- that if the full faith and...
BLITZER: -- to raise
The debt ceiling without any strings attached, will you vote for it? BACHMANN: That's why I signed a bill that is the Full Faith and Credit Act, to make sure we never, ever default. The markets need to know that under no circumstances will the United States government default. No Republican will be willing to allow the government to default.
BLITZER: So you won't allow it to default...
BLITZER: -- on October 17th?
BACHMANN: -- not.
BLITZER: All right.
BACHMANN: Absolutely not.
BLITZER: All right, let -- here's what the president said yesterday, because, once again, you're one of his favorite Republicans. He was ridiculing...
BACHMANN: Of course I am.
BLITZER: He was ridiculing...
BACHMANN: Of course I am.
BLITZER: -- something you said in a speech in Rockville, Maryland.
I'll play the clip.
BACHMANN: I'm getting under his skin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Another said that a shutdown is exactly what we wanted. Well, they got exactly what they wanted. Now they're trying to figure out how to get out of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, that was...
BACHMANN: Well, amazing...
BLITZER: -- he was quoting you...
BACHMANN: -- you know, a lot of times...
BLITZER: -- supposedly.
BACHMANN: -- the media gets it wrong. Now the president of the United States...
BLITZER: Well, let me read to you...
BACHMANN: -- is getting wrong the quotes.
BLITZER: I think this is where he got it. It was a quote in "The Washington Post," where you were quoted -- and I wanted to give you a chance to tell us if this is accurate...
BACHMANN: Yes, absolutely.
BLITZER: -- where you were quoted in "The Washington Post" as saying, "We're very excited. It's exactly what we wanted and got it."
BACHMANN: Right. And what we wanted is the ability to be able to put on the floor what we agree on, because we were having problems getting to yes, getting to agreement on ObamaCare.
So we had our full Republican Conference that was agreeing on the strategy of let's put bills on the floor that Democrats can agree on, too. Let's start funding the parts of government that we can both agree on.
That's why we decided veterans, we can all agree on that. We can all agree on opening up these memorials in Washington, DC. That's what I was saying, this is what we can all get at, this is what we were all very excited about.
It was an excellent strategy because it's the ultimate olive branch...
BLITZER: But you weren't -- in that quote in "The Washington Post," you weren't referring to -- you didn't want a government shutdown?
BACHMANN: No. Absolutely not. No. The quote was wrong. And the president...
BLITZER: All right.
BACHMANN: -- had misquoted me, as well, probably taking it inadvertently from "The Washington Post" that got it wrong.
BLITZER: All right.
BACHMANN: But the whole point is that, let's do what we can do for the American people. There's a lot of things we can agree on. Let's get that done and then work on the part that we don't agree on.
BLITZER: Here's from today's editorial in "The Wall Street Journal," which is a conservative editorial page. I'll read it to you and get your reaction. "Mr. Obama is simply not going to delay or defund his signature legislation. And the political irony is that instead of learning about the glitches and problems of the health law's rollout this week, the public is hearing only about the GOP willingness to punish other Americans to get rid of ObamaCare. The Cruz Republicans" -- Ted Cruz, the senator -- "the Cruz Republicans have helped Mr. Obama change the subject from his faulty program to their political tactics."
Are you -- do you agree with "The Wall Street Journal" on that point, that this was all a blunder to link ObamaCare to keeping the government open?
BACHMANN: Absolutely not. Because all we've seen is the disaster of the rollout of the president's plan.
BLITZER: A lot of people aren't even focused...
BLITZER: -- on that...
BACHMANN: -- remember...
BACHMANN: -- oh no, no, no.
BLITZER: -- the shutdown has...
BACHMANN: They absolutely have.
BLITZER: -- has bypassed that.
BACHMANN: All you have to do is go to the Facebook page of the official site for the health care exchange and look at the comments from single moms, from minorities, who are saying I can't afford this health care bill. It took me three days, maybe 60 hours worth of trying, to finally get on. When I got on, I found out that I'm making $8.55 an hour. I can't afford this insurance. My insurance was cheaper before I got to ObamaCare.
That's not Michele Bachmann, that's the people who are going on the site.
This is a disaster, a rolling disaster. And that message is loud and clear...
BLITZER: The message is...
BACHMANN: -- particularly with people.
BLITZER: -- it was loud and clear maybe on the first day...
BACHMANN: -- particularly...
BLITZER: -- the second day, third day...
BACHMANN: Oh, it's a...
BLITZER: -- fourth day...
BACHMANN: -- oh, it...
BLITZER: -- it's sort of quieting down right now.
BACHMANN: Not at all, because the disaster continues to roll. As a matter of fact, now we know that something like over 2,000 people's Social Security numbers have been breached. That happened in Minnesota before. We had over 1,000 Social Security numbers that were breached. People are very nervous about the privacy. There's -- people are very, very...
BACHMANN: -- unsure about what's happening.
BLITZER: -- when you say that Social Security numbers have been -- I haven't heard anything about that.
BACHMANN: Well, there -- there was an inadvertent disclosure of people's Social Security numbers...
BLITZER: By whom?
BACHMANN: -- through the exchanges. In Minnesota, it was a state employee who was working on our ObamaCare health insurance exchange. They hit a button and sent it out publicly. It was -- the information wasn't secured or encrypted. And well over -- I think it was over 1,600 Social Security numbers were dispersed.
There's another report of another over 2,000 that were also dispersed, as well. Privacy is a big issue for Americans. It would be for you, it would be for me. No one wants their Social Security number disclosed. That's what people are worried about.
Plus, one of the health sites on the Health and Human Services has gotten hacked into. So these are the kind of things that are continuing to happen.
BLITZER: All right.
BACHMANN: It's a disaster rollout and we're going to keep hearing more about it.
BLITZER: And we're going to keep talking about it.
BACHMANN: I look forward to it.
BLITZER: Michele Bachmann...
BACHMANN: Thank you.
BLITZER: -- the Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota.
BACHMANN: Yes, sir.
BLITZER: Thanks for coming down.
BACHMANN: Thank you. BLITZER: Up next, the new Democratic attack ad against the House Speaker John Boehner. It portrays him as a crybaby. Will it change anything?
Also, he was the White House chief of staff during the last two government shutdowns. I'll ask Leon Panetta what advice he has about this current crisis.
Plus new information we're getting in to THE SITUATION ROOM about the young mother who led police on that car chase to the capitol, ending with her being shot to death with her daughter in the backseat. Investigators have some important new clues. We'll share them with you.
BLITZER: So it's day four of the government shutdown, with no end in the crisis in sight. The language and the tone are even getting harsher as Democrats and Republicans continue to blame each other for the impasse that has closed government offices, national parks, the Washington Memorial, thrown hundreds of thousands of work for now.
Let's talk about this and more with CNN political commentator, the "New Yorker" Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, the anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION" and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.
Michele Bachmann, you just saw her here. She's not budging at all and no, it's not just Michele Bachmann. There's a whole group in the House and in the Senate who are with her, with Ted Cruz, your guest this Sunday, they're not willing to budge and the president is not willing to budge when it comes to no negotiations, at least not in the context of the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. So where do we go?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Who knows. And I think the reason that we don't know is they don't know. I just don't think there's anyone around there with a plan D. Everybody is sticking with their plan A which is not to budge.
I would also add that it's not just that 35 to 45 Tea Party type. Let's remember that all but a handful of the Republican Party voted for each and every bill that went over to the Senate that had to do with -- so it's not just oh, he's being driven by these 35 or 40 people. This is the entire caucus.
So -- and from what we heard from John Boehner today, no movement. What did we hear from Reid, Majority Leader Reid in the Senate and from the president? No movement.
BLITZER: So how do we get out of this mess? Right? You've been writing -- you've been reporting on it, and you have even suggested there may be a way for the president to help John Boehner get out of this mess. RYAN LIZZA, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Maybe the two big developments over the last 48 hours are one, that Boehner reportedly told some of his colleagues that he will put a debt ceiling increase on the floor and pass it with Democratic votes if it comes to that. That's potentially good news. May undercut his bargaining position, the fact that that's out there publicly. And then the second thing is that Boehner has been trying to get what might be called a mini bargain, not the grand bargain, but trying to get some proposal go back to entitlement cuts, basically deal with entitlement cuts and get rid of sequestration, increase discretionary spending.
I don't see, one, how he really sells that to his Republican conference. They got into this fight on Obamacare, not entitlements or sequestration. And two, I really don't see any evidence that the White House is about to throw him that lifeline.
Now, look, as things go -- I think the White House strategy right now is increase the pressure, increase the pain on the House Republicans, get them to cave and absolutely stick to the no negotiation posture. At some point, they may have to come off that because at some point people may be fed up with Obama as much as the Republicans.
BLITZER: And, Jim, the people -- people all over the world are watching what's happening here in the United States and there are real national security concerns emerging from this government shutdown. It will be a whole lot worse if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. I mean, it's image and substance. From an image perspective, it's disastrous. And this is not just superficial. It's about soft power. When you're trying to market the U.S. system as a model around the world, this does not look good.
The State Department was even reading some of these headlines out in the briefing today. We found some of our own in Spain, "El Pais." "Politics of hate are pushing the U.S. to the brink of economic collapse." A Russian state newspaper, "The elephants are robbing the U.S. government." Elephants, of course, Republican Party. My favorite in "Le Monde" in France, "Jefferson, wake up, they've gone crazy."
But there is substance here as well. The president was going to go to Asia in part to sell a new free trade agreement for the region, a priority in the second term for Asia.
BLITZER: Supposed to leave tomorrow.
SCIUTTO: It's not going to happen. John Kerry, a very capable diplomat, but the Asian countries are going to notice the president is not there.
On Iran sanctions, the Treasury department says they don't have the teams in place to monitor these sanctions. And also the pivot to Asia, this was another priority in the second term, rebalancing to Asia. When the president doesn't show up for these conferences, that has weight.
BLITZER: It's a big deal.
BLITZER: Candy, there's a new ad the Democrats plan on running in John Boehner's home district in Ohio during the football game on Sunday. Let me play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaker John Boehner didn't get his way on shutting down health care reform, so he shut down the government and hurt the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. This is -- this is getting tougher and tougher and tougher.
CROWLEY: It is, but I wouldn't say that Speaker Boehner is in trouble in his district. I mean, the last time around, he ran unopposed. Last time I looked, he scores in the 60s and the 70s generally. So I think this is meant more, as we play it, other people play it, you know, a tweak at him rather than anything with specific political intent. Maybe they drive down his numbers. It's just tough to see John Boehner in trouble in his district.
BLITZER: You've got a world class lineup Sunday morning at "STATE OF THE UNION." Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, 9:00. We'll be watching.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much.
When we come back, dramatic new details emerging about the 34- year-old suspect killed in that chase on Capitol Hill yesterday. What authorities now say they found in her home.
Plus, did police have any options other than to shoot and kill that woman? Just ahead, we take a closer look at whether the use of force in this particular case was appropriate.
Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Just one day since that dramatic car chase that ended in explosive gunfire on Capitol Hill, we're now learning dramatic new details about the suspect, the 34-year-old woman, Miriam Carey, shot and killed by police.
A source says authorities found medications for certain mental disorders in her home. We're also learning from a source that her boyfriend suspected she was delusional. CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick has been working this story for us and is joining us now with the very latest on the investigation.
Deb, what -- what do we know?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we're learning is this. First of all, her family traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this afternoon and did identify Miriam Carey's body at the medical examiner's office. That was earlier this afternoon. The sister sat down with Anderson Cooper and says that Miriam did experience postpartum depression with psychosis, that she'd had a momentary breakdown and that she did undergo treatment, both medications but also counseling as well.
And we do want to clarify something. That is when authorities searched her Stamford, Connecticut, home, what they found was discharge papers from a mental health evaluation back in December. And on those discharge papers, there were actually prescriptions for medication to treat both schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, as well as a prescription for an antidepressant. So clearly, something was going on.
Now we spoke to a source who said that, in fact, the boyfriend had been questioned by police because he'd called police saying that she was acting delusionally, that she thought that President Obama was electronically surveilling her house, had put her town on lockdown, and so he notified police because he felt that the baby, who at the time was 4 months old, was in danger. So clearly, there was something going on.
What they're investigating now is why Carey felt the need to go to the White House. What was it that she was trying to accomplish. All of that right now under investigation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: A mystery indeed. What about the child? The little girl, what, a year and a half years old, what do we know about her condition, where is she right now?
FEYERICK: Well, the amazing thing is this mother put that child in the car on Thursday for this drive down to Washington, D.C. It's a couple hundred miles away. And police had no idea that that little girl, 13 months old, was actually in the back seat of the car. There was some clothing that had been taken with her. When they opened fire, they killed the mother but the child miraculously survived.
She is in the custody of Child and Family Service agency in Washington, D.C. She is with a foster family but efforts are being made in order to connect her with her biological family -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And let's see what happens on that front. We're going to stay on top of this story.
Deb, I know you're working and we'll check back with you as well.
When we come back, we are also looking at some very serious questions about the use of force in this dramatic car chase. Stay with us. Brian Todd has new information.
BLITZER: Up next with the shooting death of that young mother on Capitol Hill in the car chase, justified? Brian Todd is investigating. We have new information.
BLITZER: Lots of questions being raised now about how police here in Washington handled the entire incident up on Capitol Hill yesterday and whether they were justified in shooting Miriam Carey.
Our Brian Todd is working this part of the story for us.
So, Brian, what's going on? What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you mentioned, very serious questions being asked all day today by legal experts, law enforcement experts, and others. One central question, could this have ended without the suspect being killed? The police are not saying anything about that right now, citing an investigation. So we asked our experts.
TODD (voice-over): An emergency dispatcher delivered an early warning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got news reports of shots fired near the capitol. Use caution approaching the scene.
TODD: Here's a description of one of the scenes where suspect Miriam Carey was stopped and police shot and killed her.
MATTHEW COURSEN, WITNESS: As soon as she made a move and was trying to put the car in reverse and speed away, shots were fired.
TODD: But now, some questioned whether police used enough caution.
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: At that precise moment, if the police did not see an imminent threat to themselves, if she did not turn on them, look like she was going for a gun, something to at that point say the threat is ongoing and it is immediate and imminent, then maybe the police should have taken a breath, waited --
TODD: Neither the Capitol Hill Police, Washington Metropolitan Police or the Secret Service would comment on that, citing an investigation.
As we dissected the car chase drama on video, I ran the question by CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.
(On camera): Why not, as Mark O'Mara said, take a breath, assess it and try to avoid shooting her there? TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Because how do those police officers know she's really stopped? She was stopped once by the barricades at the White House. That didn't stop her. She was stopped theoretically at the beginning of this video on three sides with half a dozen officers pointing guns at her. That didn't stop her.
TODD: Another law enforcement experts say there's another reason why police may have felt that they had to shoot at the suspect. The fact that this chase played out near two high profile potential terrorist targets -- the White House and the capitol.
(Voice-over): Fuentes says at that moment, officers didn't know anything about the driver or what she had in that vehicle.
FUENTES: Does she have explosives in it and pose a greater danger? Is she just looking for a large gathering of people that she can drive up close to them and explode a bomb?
TODD: Should police have instead shot at her tires to disable the car?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: If they did shoot the tires out, the car can keep moving. And if it did have a bomb, if it did have some -- other kind of weapon they were trying to get to the White House, trying to get into the U.S. capitol, it still would not do any good.
TODD: Mike Brooks and Tom Fuentes also say the fact that Miriam Carey didn't turn out to have a firearm or a bomb in the vehicle doesn't mean she did not have a weapon. They say she was driving a 3,000 pound weapon and she used it twice to strike police officers -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you very much. And please be sure to tune in to "ANDERSON COOPER 360" later tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Anderson will have an exclusive interview with Miriam Carey's sisters. He'll join us, by the way, with a preview of that exclusive interview coming up at the top of the next hour. Stay with us for that.
Just ahead, my interview with Leon Panetta. He's held so many positions, top positions in Washington over the years, played a key role in the last government shutdown. I'll ask him how to fix the current crisis.
And we're following the breaking news. We're going to hear from witnesses to that horrible scene, a man here in Washington on fire on the National Mall.
BLITZER: Calls the government shutdown a tragic moment for the United States. Leon Panetta played a critical role in ending the last shutdown some 17 years ago. We'll get his advice on the current crisis, what needs to be done to end it.
BLITZER: Many Washington veterans are viewing the current shutdown with dismay, especially those who went through the last shutdown some 17, almost 18 years ago, and the damage that resulted from it.
And Leon Panetta is joining us right now. Leon Panetta has a wealth of experience here in Washington, not only serving as the defense secretary, the CIA director earlier, the White House chief of staff, the budget director, a long-time member of the House of Representatives.
So, Mr. Secretary, if anyone can come up with a solution to solve this crisis in Washington, I suspect it's you. How would you fix this immediate crisis, the government shutdown?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, Wolf, you know, I think the first thing is that everybody's going to have to kind of put politics aside for the moment and take the steps that are necessary to deal with this crisis. I think it's a two-step process. Number one, the speaker has to allow the house to vote on both a clean CR as well as a lift in the debt ceiling and extend both of those through mid- December.
And at the same time, I think they ought to convene a conference on the budget so that they can negotiate, both sides can negotiate, on the issues that are important for them to focus on -- on entitlement programs and discretionary spending, on tax reform, with the hope that they can come up with some kind of deal that could deal with both the deficit and the sequester problem.
That's -- that is a way to try to put government back in the place it should be.
BLITZER: Well, that sounds like a pretty reasonable idea to get through this immediate crisis on the government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling. Why aren't they, both sides, accepting your advice? I assume they appreciate the possibility of a two-tier program like that as well.
PANETTA: Well, I would hope that they would. I mean, I think right now, you know, both sides are kind of caught up in trying to stare the other side down, and I understand the politics of that, but you know, this shutdown is doing terrible damage to this country. Members of Congress are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
This shutdown is not only hurting innocent people in this country, it's not only hurting our economy, it's hurting our national defense and they have an obligation and a responsibility to get the government going again.
BLITZER: If you -- if the president asked you for some advice, what should he, as the commander in chief, as the president of the United States, be doing right now to end this shutdown and raise the debt ceiling?
PANETTA: I think the president needs to have a quiet conversation with the speaker, you know, not with a bunch of people around, not with cameras around, not with the rest of the leadership around, but just a quiet conversation to try, first of all, to restore some degree of trust so they can talk about how they do deal with this. But I think the path forward is pretty clear.
I mean, the speaker is going to have to allow the House to do what he has always talked about, which is regular orders. Allow the House to be able to express itself through a majority vote, get a clean CR passed, get a -- get a lifting of the debt ceiling so we don't face that crisis, move it all to December, and then begin negotiating. That's what everybody's talking about. That's what the speaker's talking about. That's what the president's talking about.
And you can negotiate on the key issues involving entitlements and discretionary spending, tax reform, and try to come up with some kind of deal that would help restore confidence in this country that we can govern.
BLITZER: If the president were to call John Boehner in, the speaker, just the two of them, without Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell or anyone else, just the two of them, let's say they came up with an agreement and they worked it out.
Here's the question, could Boehner deliver his own Republican caucus?
PANETTA: Well, you know, I understand that, you know, that's the concern. Obviously it's the concern that the speaker has, as to whether or not, you know, his Republicans would back him up, but this is a point at which the interests of the country are a hell of a lot more important than the parties. This country is hurting right now. And I think that what you need to do is to allow the House of both Democrats and Republicans to vote on this issue.
I suspect you can get a majority of Republicans, along with a majority of Democrats, supporting a clean CR, supporting a lifting of the debt ceiling, in torrid to allow room to negotiate. That's what you've got to do here. And I think responsible people on both sides ought to have a chance to be able to express themselves.
You know, you can't let the extremists control the party. We had extremes when I was in the Congress, there were extremes always on both sides of the aisle. But you don't allow them to govern the country. You've got to govern by people that will take a responsible approach to what needs to be done in order to protect this country.
BLITZER: I'm really worried about those 400,000 civilian Defense Department employees, who have now been furloughed. The longer this goes on, the more the national security risk grow, but you're a former Defense secretary, former director of the CIA, is this a real source of concern?
PANETTA: Absolutely. I am very concerned about the message we are sending our adversaries in the world. We are sending a message of weakness, that the United States cannot govern itself. And that's the worst kind of message to send to a very dangerous world.
At the same time, over 70 percent of our intelligence personnel are on furlough, so we're not gathering the kind of intelligence we absolutely have to gather to protect this country. We have cut to 50 percent of the civilian work force at DOD, who are also on furlough, so that our military, even though they are there, are not getting the support they need.
So all of this is impacting on our readiness and our ability to be able to defend ourselves. This is -- this is a tragic moment for the United States. And a very dangerous world, we are taking steps to weaken the United States, in terms of our national security. Members need to understand, that that is a price that we cannot afford to pay in the kind of world we live in.
BLITZER: And as serious as they national security concerns are, from what I'm hearing from all sorts of economists and Treasury Department officials, if the debt ceiling is not raised, it won't only impact the U.S. economy, the economy could go into deep recession, it would impact the global economy, but speak as a former budget director, head of the Office of Management and Budget.
PANETTA: Well, you know, the debt limit is something that is critical to our ability to maintain our economy. It's that simple. You know, if the debt limit is not lifted and we don't maintain the full faith and credit of the United States, then it's going to badly damage our economy, and it's going to, again, hurt not only our economy but people. That's what bothers me most of all about all of this, Wolf, is that, you know, when you're elected to represent people, you're elected to protect them, not to hurt them, not to hurt our economy, not to hurt our national defense.
You swear to not only defend this country, but to fulfill your duties as a representative of the people. When people are being deliberately hurt, when our economy is being deliberately hurt, these members in many ways are violating the very oath of office.
BLITZER: Leon Panetta, former defense secretary -- Mr. Secretary, thanks very much.
PANETTA: Thank you, Wolf. Good to be with you.
BLITZER: At the top of the hour, the sisters of the driver killed in the Capitol Hill chase speak exclusively with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Anderson is standing by to join us live.
BLITZER: Want to get back to that breaking news we told you about earlier. The report of a man who was on fire on the National Mall here in Washington. One eyewitness in a very dramatic account.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ADAM STIFLE, WITNESS: I was on a run, across Seventh Street here. And when I got to this block at the mall, in the middle of the mall, I saw a man sitting in flames. He had already doused himself in gasoline, I believe. I saw his gas can. And there was about six or five people with (INAUDIBLE) trying to put out the fire on, trying to bat it out.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was the man screaming at all?
STIFLE: No, could hear a word from him. He was also facing away from me. I was probably 30 yards away from him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's go to Brian Todd right now.
Brian, what else do we know?
TODD: Wolf, we just found out that the man is now at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. No word yet on his immediate condition. We were there as he was airlifted out of there. It was just next to the air and space museum her in Washington. You heard that witness talking about five or six people trying to tamp out his fire with their T-shirts. And as one witness said he saw his gas can. Not clear -- the police are not necessarily saying right now whether they believe he set himself on the fire or not.
The fire is out now. That scene is pretty much cleared, and what we were told was that at the scene, the man was reported to be conscious and breathing -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd will stay on top of the story. Thank you.
Happening now, a CNN exclusive with the sisters of the woman who led police on a wild car chase here in Washington.
Anderson Cooper spoke with them. He's standing by live.
Plus shut down the lunch orders. The president gets takeout, tells Republicans to end the shutdown, but Speaker Boehner isn't biting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This isn't some damned game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And a shutdown outrage. A Republican congressman berates a Park Service ranger for doing her job. How government workers are coping with the cutbacks and stress.
We want to welcome or viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.