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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Details on a Potential Deal Emerge; Interview with Amy Klobuchar; Interview with Michael Grimm; Obamacare Sign-Up Snafus; Possible Break In Missing Girl Case
Aired October 14, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Good evening, everyone.
We begin with the very latest, on talks to end the government shutdown heading off a debt ceiling breach. It's been a fast-moving day on Capitol Hill, where the timetable is shrinking fast. The debt ceiling now just three days away. The shutdown entering its third week, after working over the weekend, Senate lawmakers were back at it today.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continuing their talks behind closed doors. And then on the Senate floor, making a point to say they were optimistic, they'll reach the deal soon.
A key meeting between congressional leaders and the White House was supposed to happen this afternoon. That was postponed. Now between all the huddling and public statements, a lot of moving parts to try to keep track of tonight, the question, is the Senate actually close to a deal?
Chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash and senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar have been following all the moving parts all day. They join me now.
Dana, I understand you're getting some new information about the framework of a possible deal.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This has to do with the debt ceiling. Earlier today sources in both parties told us that the framework of this deal increased the debt ceiling until February 15th, now we're told by sources in both parties that that is going to be a week shorter, likely February 7th. Might not seem like a lot.
But that is key for a couple of reasons, the primary reason is because that is the area where Republicans feel like they're getting more of what they wanted because Democrats had initially wanted to extend the debt ceiling all the way through the next election because they don't want to be -- have this issue to be used as ransom, if you will.
And Republicans wanted to do a shorter debt ceiling increase because they do want to use that issue as leverage for all the things that they want in the future. Entitlement reform, tax reform. Anything that they can get as a broader deal, dealing with the debt and deficit. So that is a bit of a change, but with regard to reopening the government, the framework of this deal still seems to be to pass a bill, fund the government until January 15th, and then making sure that budget negotiators have a deadline of a month before that, the middle of December.
So that -- the hope is we don't have this crisis again, that they actually get a deal, do their work to put together a budget that lasts throughout the fiscal year. And the government would be funded until the middle of January.
COOPER: And it's interesting, Dana, because there are some Obamacare provisions on the table. Is that a serious probability even though we know the president and Senate Democratic leaders have adamantly refused such a thing in the past?
BASH: It does seem like a real probability, a real probability, and this is from sources in both parties, Anderson, even some Democratic sources who had vowed never to put anything on the table with regard to Obamacare, because they didn't want to use that as ransom to either open the government or extend the debt ceiling and make sure the U.S. doesn't default.
But on those Obamacare provision, they're not huge, but they are dealing with the people who are getting subsidies, making sure that they're verified with regard to how much income they get. Make sure there is no fraud, which I think people in a bipartisan way agree on. And then actually something that Democrats have really wanted and that is to make sure that employees -- there is an employee fee, that that is waived for a year.
And that is something that unions, a huge Democratic constituency, did not like in this Obamacare law. So those are two things that are being changed, but, you know, they're not major, it's not like the individual mandate or delaying or defunding, but they are changes and they are part of this deal at least as it stands right now.
COOPER: Right. The question is, is it going to be enough for those in the house.
COOPER: Particularly for those Republicans who ran on de-funding -- you know, or delaying Obamacare.
BASH: And the answer right now, Anderson, is we don't know. I mean, the House just had a series of votes. So our team was able to talk to a number of lawmakers, Republicans, they were very much standoffish. They said we have to wait for the details. As you can imagine, they don't love this idea, but they might not have any choice. At least when you look at the broader House, if and when they get this, they might try to change it. But ultimately it seems as though cooler heads are more likely to prevail now because of that debt ceiling deadline that we have coming just in a few days.
COOPER: But it would still be up for -- to Speaker Boehner to bring it to the floor in the House.
BASH: Yes. You're exactly right. Now Speaker Boehner was -- he was at least a part a little bit of the talks that were going on in the Senate. We saw that he was over in Mitch McConnell's office, so he knows what' going on. But you're absolutely right, it would be up to him to do something he has not been willing to do for more than two weeks which is bring something up that many of his conservative members will not like.
COOPER: All right, Dana, appreciate the update.
Senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar joins us now.
So how is this potential Senate deal being received at the White House?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, they seem encouraged, Anderson, but I also think they're cautious. You saw one of the top aides to President Obama, Rob Neighbors, up on Capitol Hill today, meeting with House Democratic leaders.
You heard Dana say that they will be instrumental if Speaker Boehner does put something on the floor. And no doubt he was shoring up support to make sure that President Obama can keep his own together in that regard.
Now, overall, the short-term extension of the debt ceiling, the short- term funding of the government, these are acceptable to the White House. The president wants longer. But certainly when it comes to the debt ceiling that's preferable to default at this point. And I think it's interesting, you say sort of two officials here -- you know, well, doesn't this put us right back in the same place here in a couple of months?
And their calculus is that this has been so damaging to Republicans. Polls show just how much they've been hit. They think Republicans aren't going to want to be battling this out in the same way again when it was so damaging.
COOPER: And the Senate plan, it does -- as we were talking with Dana -- include changes to Obamacare which was supposed to be a nonstarter for the president when these negotiations started. Is the White House willing to back off that position?
KEILAR: This is interesting, Anderson, because you talk to officials and they insist no way the president isn't negotiating on the debt ceiling, on the government reopening with Obamacare. But at the same time they won't pour water on some of these Obamacare provisions. For instance that income verification one. They simply won't. They won't completely dismiss it, they say.
You know, it matters on how it's going to be executed. Their concern is that if you're going to make Americans who really deserve subsidies under the law, to help pay for their health insurance premiums. They don't want the verification system to be so onerous that it actually discourages people from getting those premiums. The fact is, though, Anderson, if they go for this, then they're sort of violating that promise, but at the same time you get the sense from officials here, they feel like these are very small fry concessions compared to that individual mandate you heard Dana talked about.
COOPER: All right, Brianna. Appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has been in the thick of the bipartisan Senate negotiation on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown. She joins me tonight.
Senator, you've been in the heart of this bipartisan compromise talks. How close is the Senate to a deal right now?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, very, very close. It's been an incredibly productive day after a long, long week. And we feel very good about this. I think the two major focuses were to open up the government again, and then to make sure that we're not defaulting, that we're paying our bills and to get some reasonable amount of time to actually negotiate a long-term budget so we don't lurch from financial crisis to financial crisis.
COOPER: So at this point, what are the major sticking points?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I -- you know, I think it's probably not a good idea to negotiate it on your show, as fun as it would be.
But I think that the main points, of course, is the dates. And I think it is really important to have a shorter time period to try to get that budget negotiation going. The Senate has passed a budget. The House has passed the budget. And in that old song, "School House Rock," a bill on Capitol Hill, to get the bill done, you have to meet. And that is the process that will be started with this agreement.
Because we're going to have a limited time, you know, whether it's two months, three months, to be able to get that done. And I think that's going to be helpful, as well as a clear message to the entire world that we're going to pay our bills and we're not going to have a stock market plummet like we had back in 2011.
COOPER: I mean, I get whether you don't want to, you know, go into some of the sticking points. As we understand it, the Republicans have gotten some minor Affordable Care Act provisions into the current deal. The president has said he won't use changes to the health care law ransom for either reopening the government or lifting the debt ceiling, so why are the Democrats now on board with this? Are they so minor? Are they symbolic?
KLOBUCHAR: Again, I think we have to wait until the entire agreement is announced. But I think the main point here was the words we were hearing from the House, the bills that were coming out of there were major partisan poison pills, delaying the Affordable Health Care Act for a year. Messing around with birth control provisions. Whatever agreements they're talking -- that the leaders are talking about now, are much more focused on individual issues that have been raised in the past sometimes by both sides.
COOPER: So it's not going to be something like delaying the individual mandate for a year?
KLOBUCHAR: That is not what we're hearing, no, Anderson. It's not going to be something that would significantly change a major policy simply with the threat of a government shutdown.
COOPER: The Republicans in the House are really concerned about Democrats trying to change the sequester. They say that you're moving the goal post. To that, you say what?
KLOBUCHAR: I say that our job is to score a touchdown for the American people. And we do that by opening the government again, so we've got approvals going, cancer clinical trials going, and so that we also send a message we're going to pay our bills.
What happened here if it is similar to the agreements we have been talking about in our bipartisan group of six Democrats and six Republicans is that we want to try to get a date that hits before that next stage of sequester cuts hit, which is January 15th. That will give both sides a chance to make their cases to try to get an agreed- upon budget that could possibly still have cuts, I believe it will.
But we could change the amounts or we could do different things by replacing them with other things, whether it's revenue, whether it's government reforms. Those are the things we're going to be able to look at.
COOPER: The government begins defaulting on loans Thursday, three days. How confident are you that you and your colleagues will reach an agreement by then?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I'm confident about the Senate, simply because we've already had a strong bipartisan group led by Senator Collins. And we've been meeting throughout the weekend. But also because the Senate is a place where deals take place the last three years. We passed the farm bill, waiting action with the House, passed the immigration bill, waiting on the House.
A number of bills have passed after the midst -- in the midst of financial crisis, like the fiscal cliff on the end of the year last year, that was passed in the Senate first and then had had to go over to the House. It was a very difficult time in the House but they finally got it done.
So this is a pattern that we've seen developed. That despite the Senate hard filibuster rules and despite disagreement, we have in the end found common ground and come together on a bill. And that's what you're going to see in the Senate.
COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, CNN "CROSSFIRE" host Newt Gingrich was of course involved in two government shutdowns when he was House speaker. He knows what these talks are like. He joins me tonight, along with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Cornell Belcher.
Mr. Speaker, you're not upbeat at all about this compromise that's coming together. Why?
NEWT GINGRICH, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Well, I think it's going to be the usual Washington last minute deal, kick the can further down the road. Very limited change, if anything. And I think that we face very real problems as a country. You know, my bias is simple, when we were elected in '94, we decided we would reform welfare, reform Medicare, balance the federal government.
And we did balance it for four consecutive years. So I look at this kind of stuff, secret deals, secretly agreed to, secret meetings, you know, leaders who come out and say to us, we're having really good conversations. That frankly in a free society doesn't encourage me. I'd like to know what are they discussing, what's on the table, what's not on the table. And I'd like to know it before they vote.
COOPER: Cornell, are they just kicking the can down the road?
CORNELL BELCHER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let's not escape the context of this. This was -- this is a crisis created by the House Republicans. And don't be surprised, Anderson, that guess what, it's the Senate that's actually moving things forward, because in the Senate you actually have Republicans who have to move statewide.
You know, they don't have the luxury of these very gerrymandered districts where they can only speak to one audience. So I'm actually -- I'm actually upbeat that the Senate has actually taken this up. And I knew if we were going to, you know, reach any sort of deal it had to begin in the Senate.
The question is, Anderson, when this -- when the Senate -- when Democrats and Republicans vote on something up or down in the Senate and it moves over to the House, will the Speaker Boehner be able to sort of put it on the floor without having majority of the majority, which has quite frankly handcuffed him in the last couple of weeks.
COOPER: Mr. Speaker --
GINGRICH: But -- let me start with a very simple fact here that I think was just recognized. They're actually negotiating. Now what has John Boehner said for three weeks? We need to negotiate. Why we're all celebrating the Senate tonight? Because they're negotiating.
Who was the one person who would not negotiate? President Obama. For a long time, it was Harry Reid up through Friday, he would not negotiate. So we're finally having some people talk to each other. And hopefully they'll come up with an agreement. It has to be an agreement acceptable to the House or it's just a press conference. It's not the law.
And I think there's a certain childish attitude among Democrats in the media on the left, about trying to isolate John Boehner, as though the speaker of the House and the House of Representatives doesn't matter. In the end, if it doesn't pass the House, it's not going to become law. So Boehner will, in fact, end up being a part of this negotiation.
COOPER: Hold that thought, Mr. Speaker. Cornell Belcher, as well. We're going to continue right after the break.
Let us know what you think. Join the discussion Twitter, #ac360. I'll be tweeting tonight, as well.
Also ahead in the hour, the mess otherwise known as healthcare.gov. Turns out there were plenty of warnings that the Obamacare Web site was not ready for prime time. We're "Keeping Them Honest," ahead.
COOPER: Got some breaking news. New details about the Senate deal that's taking shape to raise the debt ceiling and end to the government shutdown. Dana Bash reporting that the deal would lift the debt limit through February 7th, a week earlier than was indicated earlier today. The deal would also fund the government through January 15th. That's what Democratic sources are telling Dana Bash.
Back now with CNN "CROSSFIRE" host and former House speaker Newt Gingrich and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher.
BELCHER: Quite frankly, what the Republicans have been trying to do is get out of the process, what they can't get on an up or down vote. You know, the elections actually do have consequences. And what they've tried to do is extort. They've tried to sort of -- knowing what they cannot do from an up and down vote in the Senate and with the presidency, trying to extort something from the president and from Senate Democrats, and that's not the way democracy works.
Democracy works this way. You know what, if you have enough vote in the House or the Senate and then the president will pass it, you can pass it. What they're asking for, Anderson, they don't have enough votes in the Senate and the president certainly will not pass it. And the senators and the president both elected.
GINGRICH: Yes. But what's funny about this conversation is, I agree with that. Elections have consequences. In 2010, they passed Obamacare. They lost 63 seats in the House. Seats that were elect by Republicans who were elected on an anti-Obamacare, anti-tax increase plank. Those Republicans are still in Washington.
So two sides, one in 2012. This is why the president should negotiate because elections have consequence. The House Republicans can't demand everything and they didn't expect to get everything. That was the start of a negotiation. The president can't demand everything and shouldn't expect to get everything. That's the start of a negotiation.
What's amazing is, until the last two days, you haven't seen either Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, or the president willing to negotiate as though there were, you know, two sides winning elections.
COOPER: But, Mr. Speaker, the -- Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, I mean, President Obama ran on that twice and won beating Republicans who ran against it. They lost. The Supreme Court passed it. Said it was constitutional. And it was passed by Congress into law. So at some point, doesn't it have to actually start?
GINGRICH: No, because in -- I was there when they passed a -- what was called the catastrophic medical bill for senior citizens, and they hated it so badly that within two years they repealed it by even bigger margins that they had passed it. So laws can change --
COOPER: But they haven't been able to repeal -- there's not enough votes to actually repeal it.
GINGRICH: This is going to be an ongoing process, though, and if you look at the current rollout and you look at the number of people reporting that their insurance prices are going up, not down, I suspect we're going to be debating Obamacare at least through the 2016 election.
BELCHER: Well, Mr. Speaker, if you're correct, if prices are actually going up, which by the way a lot of indications say, you know, that the health care prices are actually stabilizing, beginning to go down. But if you're right, well, then let the process play out. Why try to extort something from this process by which you know you can't win on a straight up or down vote in the country?
And here's what -- here's sort of the beauty of all this. And this is sort of the cherry on top of the Republicans to (INAUDIBLE). You know what's actually sort of going up in favorables as this debate goes on? The Affordable Care Act. Right now, you know, "Washington Post" just put another poll out to having Republicans under water 53 points.
That's worse than what -- when you did it, Mr. Speaker. Right now the president is under water 11 points on this whole negotiation thing. You all are losing, and quite frankly the Affordable Care Act and the polling is actually going up as your ratings go down. This is a losing proposition for Republicans.
GINGRICH: Well, look, I think that this is the beginning of a long conversation. I think the country does understand we've got to get our deficits under control. The country does understand we can't keep going down the road where we have $17 trillion in national debt. And we're going to pay over $4 trillion in the next decade, just in interest on the debt. That's $4 trillion that's not gone to schools, not going to the environment, not going to health care. It's just going to pay bond holders of the U.S. debt. And that's if interest rates stay low. So I do think there's a historic reason to be worried about all this. And I think you're going to see us back at the same argument over and over again between a party that wants to increase spending and a party that wants to control spending. I think that's what you're going to see.
COOPER: Newt Gingrich, Cornell Belcher, gentlemen, thank you.
BELCHER: Thank you.
COOPER: More breaking news this evening. A veteran's group is condemning the political nature of the rally over the weekend which is protesting the closure of the World War II memorial and other sites. Sunday's event in Washington was put together by the Brats for Veterans Advocacy Group, which now says on their Web site and Facebook page that, quote, "We feel disheartened that some would seem to hijack the narrative for political gain."
Erin McPike has a look at what happened at the rally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're being shut down.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rhetoric in Washington has boiled over. Protesters gathered outside the gates of the White House on Sunday. Long-time Republican activist Larry Klayman issued this inflammatory message to the crowd.
LARRY KLAYMAN, FREEDOM WATCH: To demand that this president leave town, to get out. To put the -- to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees and to figuratively come up with his hands out -- up.
MCPIKE: It was built as march for veteran. But it had a hint of a political rally with some surprise high profile guests, like new Tea Party star Senator Ted Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?
MCPIKE: And fire brand Sarah Palin.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: We will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political gain.
MCPIKE: Some the of the veterans who organized the rally took to Facebook to complain. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, more Republicans are starting to feel that way about the far right, in general.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Certainly Republicans have been in a place that was not going to lead to success for, you know, the last six weeks or so.
MCPIKE: All of this is taking a toll on the party's image. This week's "New Yorker" cover features the ghosts of Boehner and Cruz haunting the Capitol. Veteran Republican strategist Ron Bonjean says this time the Tea Party strategy isn't working.
RON BONJEAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We have shut down the government basically for no -- for nothing. And it hasn't made a lot of sense strategically. And Republicans in Washington are frustrated. But the Tea Party has -- it has not been helpful to link delaying or de- funding Obamacare to shutting down the government.
MCPIKE: Also on the hill, Democrats can't resist partisan trash- talking themselves.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: When you start acting like you're committing domestic abuse, you've got a problem.
I love you dear, but, you know, I'm shutting down your entire government.
COOPER: Erin joins me now.
It's really interesting. So Sarah Palin flies in, says veterans shouldn't be used as political pawns, but now the veterans group which actually put together this rally is essentially saying people were using these vets as political pawns.
MCPIKE: Yes, well, the veterans group put a statement on its Facebook page today, Anderson, I'm going to read part of that to you. They say, "The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington, D.C. yesterday," and they're referring to Larry Klayman, "was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle was and remains about all Americans honoring veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Our love for and our dedication to remains with veterans regardless of party or affiliations or political leanings."
Now you may take that statement to mean they are talking about Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin. But we spoke to Ted Cruz's office today, and they're agreeing with the statement. I want to tell you part of that. Katherine Frazier, Ted Cruz's spokesperson said to me, "It's unfortunate the media has allowed one person's misguided action to distract from the real purpose for countless veterans to rally in D.C. to urge their government to fund veterans which Senator Cruz continues fighting for."
So a little bit of confusion there, but obviously the veterans group is actually referring to all of these politicians who joined in with the rally today -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's really fascinating stuff. And a lot of stuff was said in front of the White House, and there was some of those images about the police officers and some very critical stuff about the police officers there, saying they looked like they were from Kenya, and things like that. Erin, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.
For more on the late developments in the shutdown battle, go to CNN.com.
Up next, Republican Congressman Michael Grimm has been critical of the Senate. Tonight we'll see what he thinks about the deal that is being considered.
Also ahead, Obamacare off to a terrible start for those trying to enroll. Turns out the White House ignored warnings its Web site was not ready. We're "Keeping Them Honest," up ahead.
COOPER: Words spread around Capitol Hill today, the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate were trying to work out a deal. House Speaker Boehner released a simple one-line statement saying that if the Senate does reach an agreement, members of the House will review it.
Congressman Michael Grimm is a Republican from New York. He joins us now.
Congressman, so you've heard the details of the deal that's coming together in the Senate. Government funding through January 15th, a debt ceiling increased through February 7th. Is it something you could accept at this point?
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: Well, I think only because of the circumstances we will accept it. We're likely to change something nominal and paying it back because procedurally it's ready come from the House. Things can work actually quicker because of procedures. But putting that aside it would be substantially the same package, it probably will pass here.
But I think it's unfortunate that we missed an opportunity. You know, both sides behind closed doors admit we do have a debt problem. And this was an opportunity to fix at least part of it. To take some steps forward. We didn't do that. But at least the sides are talking right now. And from where we were, that's a glimmer of home. And the fact that Vice President Biden is involved tells me that the president is serious this time about getting something done.
COOPER: When we spoke last week, you said that this was really more of a fight between the House and the Senate than a fight with the president. You said that Senate were acting like the House of Lords. Is that going to be obstacle for you and for your colleagues?
GRIMM: Well, I think some, for sure. But I think, you know, again, part of this was long overdue. And when I say that about the Senate it's not about egos. It's about regular order. I mean, let's be honest. There would be no CR issue, there'd be no continuing resolution if we funded the government the way were supposed to, with regular order, meaning we pass appropriations bills. But, you know, four years, the Senate, which is defiant, wouldn't pass a budget. They've yet to even pass one appropriations bill. That's the type of stuff that makes the House feel like they ignore us and that they don't even want to do the job that the American people demand of them and that the constitution demands.
So it is not just about egos or bad feelings, it is actually about doing the people's work and getting back to regular order so that you don't have a continuing resolution problem because you pass appropriations bills and that's the way it really should be done.
COOPER: For the House Republicans who have run on defunding or delaying Obamacare, where do they go from here? I mean, if this deal is done and it has some nominal changes to Obamacare, but there is no delay on the individual mandate or the major things that they have been talking about, that they have been fundraising on, how do they explain that to their constituents?
GRIMM: Well, I think with honesty. I mean, in all sincerity there are some that have to recognize, Obamacare is bad policy. I've said from the beginning and I do believe that, but it was created during a super majority. Remember you have to go back to the first two years of this president's presidency. The gavel was held by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, obviously Harry Reid and then the Democrat president, all three.
So you had us in the minority, we couldn't do anything. To change this law, we're going to need a super majority again to get rid of it. We can tinker around the edges, where there was bipartisan support. We're going to have to explain that to the American people and say we've done the best we can. But we can't ruin or destroy the country because of it.
This law, in my opinion, will crumble under its own weight. As people recognize all the problems with it, then they will understand why we fought so strongly against it. But now, unfortunately, we're going to have to let the American people see you know, how bad it is for themselves, so I think those Republicans just simply need to be honest with their s constituents.
COOPER: Congressman Grimm, appreciate you being on. Thanks very much. We'll get some analysis in today's developments. I'm joined by John King, our chief national correspondent, Gloria Borger, chief political analyst and Rana Foroohar, CNN's global economic analyst and "Time" magazine's assistant managing director.
So Gloria, you heard the congressman there, what did you make of what he said?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what sort of struck me, Anderson, was how Republicans have stepped on their own message. I mean, the congressman came out and said look, I don't like Obamacare, but now we have to explain to the American public what was really so bad about it and why we started it in the first place. The irony of this entire fight is that if you look at the polling, Anderson, people are now encouraged about Obamacare whereas, you know --
COOPER: It has actually gone up --
BORGER: It has actually gone up in the polling despite all the procedural nightmares that people have had trying to log onto it. So they've stepped on their own message. They're down by some points, 20 points in the polls. They haven't gotten anything by it. My question still is, will the majority of the Republicans vote for this in the House and I don't know the answer to that. I suspect not, though.
COOPER: But John, do a majority need to vote for it?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the question is will Speaker Boehner bring it to the floor, if he doesn't have a majority? That is a big question, as Congressman Grimm just noted. He seems to think this is going to come over right at the deadline where they have no choice. That is the big question mark, Anderson.
It's a big question mark as we assume we're getting closer to a deal. Part of this optimism is a front. Leader Reid and Leader McConnell don't want the financial markets to go in the tanks. So they're saying their optimistic, not that they're not making progress or making negotiating efforts for it in the Senate, but they're not there yet.
At noon they were optimistic, here we are eight hours later plus we don't have a deal yet, do we? So part of the public optimism is to keep the financial markets from tanking and if they don't have a deal by this time tomorrow --
COOPER: And in 2008 after the first TARP vote failed, we saw a huge loss in the stock market. The Dow lost more than 700 points in a single day. The fact that the markets have not been reacting all day, how significant is that?
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, I think it is interesting and there are a few reasons for this. One is that the markets know that there is a cash cushion in the treasury. There's about $30 billion if we were to go over the debt ceiling on Thursday. You still have enough money that the government could pay its bills for another week or two.
Now if we got to the point at the beginning of November, which is when a lot of bills like Social Security and disability checks come due, where you didn't have an agreement then. I think you really would see a wholesale panic, but markets have been here before. We have had 18 government shutdowns since 1976.
So there is a little bit of a fingers crossed situation, but you can see over the last couple of weeks, the first week, markets were OK, the next week, a little more unstable. I think we get to Thursday and there really isn't any glimmering of a deal. You're going to see a lot more volatility.
COOPER: And Gloria, let's look at that ABC News/"Washington Post" poll because congressional Republicans are not faring well, as you said, I mean, how key is this moment for the Republican Party? BORGER: Well, I think it is very key. We don't know how key it is going to be in the long-term, but just look at this poll, Republicans in Congress, disapproval on handling this 74 percent. You know, President Obama at 53 percent, still not a great number, but a huge disparity there almost 20 points. So you know, I think this is a moment, Anderson, for the Republican Party. We do not know if this will be a long-term issue for them in the way that say Hurricane Katrina was bad for George W. Bush, or the 47 percent was bad for Mitt Romney.
But we do know there were certain times in history where the American public was focused on an issue. They take a look at it. They decide and they recall and they remember somewhere down the road. So we don't know the long-term impact, but I would have to say as a presidential party you see such a split in the Republican Party. I don't know how they reconcile their differences in a presidential campaign.
COOPER: And John, for President Obama, is the damage done already? What happens down the road?
KING: It is fair to say the president is losing even by winning here. In the short-term he is losing less by winning the budget battle. But Anderson, we're now in October of the first year of his second term. We are heading into a mid-term election, listen to what Congressman Grim. Let's step back a little bit. Listen to what the congressman just told you.
Imagine this confrontation as a dinner party, the president doesn't trust the speaker, the president doesn't have a relationship with the Senate Republican leader, the senate majority, a Democrat doesn't want the Democratic vice president involved. The Tea Party members don't trust their own speaker and are suspicious of their own leadership. Nobody here trusts each other. Nobody wants to get along.
COOPER: Why didn't he want the vice president involved?
KING: Because he thought the vice president the last time he got involved cut a deal too generous to the Republicans and he is essentially saying the Senate is my turf, let me negotiate. So the dysfunction here and the distrust is so deep and multi-layered that even if at the last minute get a band aid deal to get through this one.
If you're the president of the United States in your second term, you're still going to have a divided government. It is very hard to see the Democrats taking back the House next year. I know that's a big goal. It is impossible to do the math. So every day that passes, where is the immigration reform, the grand bargain, this president is not getting his second agenda?
BORGER: And you know, I suspect, Anderson, if you were to ask the American public, you know, who do you blame for this that it would break down on party lines, that Republicans would still blame the president, you know, and Democrats would blame Republicans. So I still think you have that divide in the country, but I do believe the Republicans have done themselves absolutely no favor.
COOPER: and over the weekend, the director of the IMF said the U.S. must raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government or risk, quote, "massive disruption the world over." There are Republican lawmakers who said these warnings are totally ever blank.
FOROOHAR: Well, you know, I go back to my first point, which was that, no, we're not going to go off the cliff on Thursday. But in a couple of weeks if you don't have a deal, yes, there will be major implications. The dollar is the world's currency. This is what most of the world's business is done on. So if the value goes down, you're really hearing pressure from the Chinese government to cut a deal.
And you know, going back to who gets blamed here, I think one thing that is very interesting is that the business community is increasingly blaming Republicans I think for what is going on. You're seeing a complete plummeting of consumer confidence, business confidence, spending for the next half of the year, which will be very much down.
I'm just hoping whatever sort of deal we get that it doesn't kick from you know, into the Christmas shopping season because then you're really going to see growth go down I think quite precipitously.
COOPER: Yes. John, Gloria, Rana, I appreciate you being on. Thank you.
Up next, we're going to investigate why the Obamacare web site is such a big mess. What is being done to fix it, and why getting information out of the White House is almost as frustrating as using this web site.
Also ahead, a new clue in the search for Madeleine McCann. Kidnapped from a resort in Portugal when she was only 3 years old. Some new information.
COOPER: Breaking news, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate working on a deal that would reopen the government and fund the through January 15th and increase the debt ceiling through January 7th. The government shutdown and the fight over the debt ceiling, have overshadowed the roll out of Obamacare.
Keeping them honest though, generally considered to be a mess since October first when the Obama administration's official web site healthcare.gov went online, countless numbers of Americans have been unable to log on or they have been booted off the site. The administration has been unable to say how many people have successfully signed on for insurance.
Tomorrow, they are looking into a source to determine what happened. They still will not say how many have signed up. Drew Griffin gives us a look at the web site's problems.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since day one, CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has tried day after day, night after night, even in the wee hours of the morning to sign up for Obamacare. It was not until today, day 14, she was able to log on.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, even with your own computer you have to be very, very diligent. I mean, I sat there and tried to log in three times and failed and had to create three new accounts in order to get success. It took a lot. Not everyone is going to want to gain the gain the way that I did. It took a huge amount to get in today and this was on day 14th.
GRIFFIN: What is troubling here is that the fail the rollout was not a surprise to anyone involved with it.
ROBERT LASZEWSKI, HEALTH POLICY AND STRATEGY ASSOCIATES: Insurance executives have been warning the administration bluntly that this whole system is not ready for prime time.
GRIFFIN: Bob Laszewski heads a consulting firm trying to help guide physician groups, HMOs and major health insurance companies through the industry changes.
LASZEWSKI: The administration didn't seem to understand the seriousness of it. They were blase about it. They continued to assure the industry that there were not going to be any problems.
GRIFFIN: Back in June, two more alarms. The government's own accounting office found the roll out was having technical problems, critical deadlines not met, and one report concluded that despite the $394 million spent, nevertheless, much remains to be accomplished within a relatively short amount of time. In fact, even before the rollout, the Obama administration was warning there would be glitches, no big deal, a theme the president himself even repeated after it got off to a troubled start.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Consider just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile 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, or threatening to shutdown the company if they didn't.
GRIFFIN: The main problem with the system according to the administration is that it is just overloaded. Suffering from its own popularity, too many people needing health care rushing to sign on all at once, even though they have until March 31st to sign up. That sounds good, but is it what is really going on? Short answer, it is impossible to tell because the administration won't tell us how many people have signed up and have changed their story in the process. At first, the administration said it didn't know.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In 48 hours, no, we don't have that data.
GRIFFIN: Then we were told to ask somebody else. CARNEY: You should ask HHS. I don't have --
GRIFFIN: A few days later --
CARNEY: I want to clear this up. We will release data on regular monthly intervals just like was done in Massachusetts and was done and is done when it comes to Medicare part D.
GRIFFIN: So while we can't get national numbers, we got a hint from individual states. As of this moment, the states gave the actual numbers of people who signed up and paid for Obamacare. That number, 20,994. There are another 96,980 who have not paid.
COOPER: Drew joins me now. So we've been trying to get some information from the administration to answer some of these questions. I know you did as well. What was the result?
GRIFFIN: Well, it is our keeping them honest tradition here, Anderson, we requested an interview today with the White House to ask one question, if the administration knew there would be so many glitches, why did the administration plan ahead with the rollout? We were told no one was available to answer that and we were still waiting to find out when the point person for all of this, Kathleen Sebelius will be able to talk to us. We're still waiting.
COOPER: She was on the "Daily Show," and didn't do a great job there maybe that is why they're not putting her out again. Why don't they at least giving out the national numbers? I don't believe that they don't have national numbers. They must have them. Is it just for PR reasons that they don't want to give them out?
GRIFFIN: Well, as to why they wouldn't give us actual numbers, I don't know, other than to say people have until March 31st, the administration probably wants to give it time to get better numbers. And it may be related to those numbers, Anderson. Numbers is what this is all about. You need lots and lots of people, lots of healthy people signing up to make this work. If that is not happening and the administration knows it is not happening it could explain why the actual numbers are being held in such secrecy.
COOPER: All right, they say a month into it they will release numbers, we'll see. Drew, appreciate it. Thanks for the reporting.
Up next, a possible break in the case of the missing little girl, more than six years after the 3-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished. Police may have identified a suspect. The latest on that ahead.
COOPER: Could be a major new lead in the case of Madeleine McCann, the little girl who went missing on a family vacation in Portugal. Two different people called London's Metropolitan police after they saw computer generated sketches of a man witnesses say was carrying a blond child around the time that Madeleine disappeared. Those two people gave police the same name for the man in the sketches. So now, more than six years later, a possible break in the case, Erin McLaughlin reports.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the face of a man who police want to find in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Six years after the preschooler went missing while on a family vacation in Portugal, Scotland Yard released these computer generated sketches of a man they say was in the area at the time Madeleine vanished. Witnesses describe him as a white male, 20 to 40-years-old with short brown hair and a medium build.
CHIEF INSPECTOR ANDY REDWOOD, METROPOLITAN POLICE: He fits are clear. I'd ask the public to look very carefully at them. If they know who this person is, please come forward.
MCLAUGHLIN: It's a part of an appeal to the public for information of a clue of the reconstruction of the events that unfolded that tragic night. Madeleine disappeared from her bed while her parents were eating at a nearby restaurant. The appeal is now the focus of an exhaustive investigation that has spanned some 30 countries. They've analyzed phone records and interviewed over 400 witnesses. Police say they now have a better understanding of the time line in which the kidnapping could have taken place.
JOHN O'CONNOR, FORMER COMMANDER, SCOTLAND YARD: Everything that is -- that can be of value has been examined and looked at, things which weren't done before. There is no guarantee that we will get answers to this, but at least everything has been tried, but I think at the very least, we owe the McCann's that.
MCLAUGHLIN: Madeleine's parents say they have never given up hope that they will find their little girl alive.
GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE MCCANN'S FATHER: There have been a number of cases over the last few years of children and young women being phoned after been taken and held for very long periods of time. As parents, we wouldn't accept Madeleine is dead until we see evidence, clear evidence that that is the case.
COOPER: So Erin, why are investigators coming forward with these sketches now?
MCLAUGHLIN: Hi, Anderson. This is the latest stage of an exhaustive investigation. Police have questioned hundreds of witnesses and gone through thousands of documents. What they have done is establish a timeline that enables them to start new theories and do away with old ones, and now police are starting to take a look at this individual very carefully -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, so they hope somebody with a new time line will look at this sketch with fresh eyes. All right, Erin, appreciate the reporting. Thanks. Still to come tonight, an alleged al Qaeda operative who is suspected in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa is now in New York after being captured by American forces in Libya, we'll tell you what is next for him coming up.
COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks is here with the 360 News and Business Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Abu Anas Al-Libi, the alleged al Qaeda operative taken off the streets of Libya in a raid by U.S. forces earlier this month is now in New York. He is expected to face trial in the U.S. federal court for allegedly playing a role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Jury selection begins tomorrow in Utah where Dr. Martin McNeal is charged with murder and obstruction of justice in 2007 death of his wife, Michelle. Prosecutors Dr. McNeal he was living a double life and that his motive for the alleged murder was a desire to be with mistress, a woman named Gypsy.
A 6-year-old Florida boy drowned in the pool of a Carnival cruise ship over the weekend. The cruise ship does not have lifeguards and requires parental supervision for kids under the age of 13.
And a Florida woman got trapped on a railroad drawbridge as it was lifting in the air, and held on for her life for about 20 minutes until firefighters rescue here. Pedestrians are not supposed to use the Fort Lauderdale crossing, which is controlled, by the way, by someone in Tallahassee, more than 400 miles away. But again, she was rescued.
COOPER: Amazing. Susan, thanks very much. That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for our new panel discussion show "AC360" LATER. Hope you join us for that. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.