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THE SITUATION ROOM

Urgent Effort to Seal Nuke Deal with Iran; Interview with Mark Regev; Typhoon Lashes Philippines, Eyes New Target; Obamacare Troubles; Spacecraft to Fall into Earth in Pieces; Boosting Mental Health Treatment; A Different Kind of Pope

Aired November 8, 2013 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BRIANNA KEILAR, HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar.

And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The U.S. and other world powers are urgently trying to nail down what would be a breakthrough agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. The international community says that program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Israel is already warning that the tentative agreement would be very dangerous.

I'll be speaking with a top Israeli official.

But let's go first to CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

You have the latest developments.

And also, if this happens, it's a very, very big deal.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if it does happen -- and there's still a ways to go -- it would be a truly remarkable deal. And this after years not just of no agreement, but really no substantive talks toward an agreement.

So what made the difference here?

Really, the election this summer of a new Iranian president swept into office by exhaustion in Iran, with economic sanctions in response to its nuclear program.

Now, the U.S. and Iran taking an enormous diplomatic risk on an issue that might have brought the two sides to war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO (voice-over): They rushed to Geneva nearly in lockstep. Secretary of State John Kerry joined by the British, French and German foreign ministers -- positive signs of a brewing nuclear deal with Iran, though Secretary Kerry said differences remain.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We hope to try to narrow those differences, but I don't think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed.

SCIUTTO: A potential first step, lasting some six months, would require Iran to suspend enriching uranium to 20 percent, keeping them from moving toward a nuclear weapon, and agree not to activate its highest powered centrifuges, and the Iraq heavy water reactor, a second path to a bomb.

In exchange, the U.S. would free some Iranian assets frozen overseas and ease some sanctions banning trade in gold and petrochemicals. The two sides would then negotiate the far thornier issue of a permanent agreement to make sure Iran never builds a nuclear bomb.

The potential deal already has a virulent critic in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lashed out in public.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal. Israel utterly rejects it.

SCIUTTO: Crucially, the most crippling economic sanctions, including those severely limiting Iran's oil sales, would remain in place. And it is that economic pain -- inflation above 50 percent, joblessness above 20 percent -- that has helped drive Iran to the bargaining table.

Nicholas Burns took part in several previous nuclear talks with Iran.

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE: It essentially freezes Iran's capacity to enrich uranium, which is the critical dangerous element in their nuclear program.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SCIUTTO: Talks now stretching at least into Saturday, with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, also joining.

And this just in, Brianna. We're learning from our White House troops -- which are you sometimes ---

KEILAR: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- sometimes, as well -- that the president has called Benjamin Netanyahu to help ease some of the diplomatic crisis here. Real opposition that we heard in that piece from Netanyahu. And he said that he was, in that call, trying to make the case for why this deal is the right thing to do at the right time.

KEILAR: That's right. And just ahead, we'll hear more Israeli concern.

Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.

I'm joined now by the spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Mark Regev. And, Mark, I first want to ask, do you think that the U.S. is being foolish?

Do you have any hope that this could yield something positive?

MARK REGEV, SPOKESPERSON FOR ISRAEL'S PRIME MINISTER: We would urge skepticism. We would urge caution. We're very concerned that the Iranians want the sanction regime lifted. And they want just one little hole in the sanctions. And when there's one hole in the sanctions, the whole wall will come tumbling down. And then there will be no pressure on them whatsoever to give up their military nuclear program. That's our fear.

KEILAR: Some might say an imperfect deal might be better than no deal at all.

What do you say to that?

REGEV: Well, Secretary Kerry has said exactly the opposite, that no deal is better than a bad deal. And what the Iranians are looking for is a bad deal which endangers the whole world.

I mean, ultimately, they want the sanctions lifted and they want to keep being able to enrich uranium. They want to have breakout capacity so they can have a nuclear bomb at the time and place of their choosing in the future. We simply can't allow that.

KEILAR: But so what would it take, Mark, for you, for Israel to trust Iran?

Could you even?

Is there any possibility that -- that there ever could be any trust?

REGEV: Well, we would say distrust and verify and then verify again, to paraphrase former president Reagan. Look, the Iranians are under a lot of pressure today, a lot of pressure. The sanctions are working. And they want those sanctions lifted.

And what the international community should be saying to the Iranians is, OK, we don't want cosmetic changes, we don't want insignificant changes.

If you actually close down your military nuclear program, then the sanctions can be lifted. Anything less, you take the most powerful leverage the international community has and you take it off the table.

KEILAR: How do you want to verify that?

Is there a way to do that that you think Iran could agree to that Israel would be happy with?

REGEV: Iran says it wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only. That's what they claim. That's their statement. Now, we're, of course, skeptical because, as you know, they have enough oil and gas for 100, 200 years. But they say they want nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. OK. So there are many countries on the planet who have peaceful nuclear programs. Next to the United States, you've got both Mexico and Canada have peaceful nuclear programs.

But none of them, neither Mexico or Canada, have nuclear enrichment. And neither Mexico or Canada have heavy water reactors that can produce plutonium. You don't need those aspects for a peaceful nuclear program. You do need them if you want a nuclear weapon, if you want nuclear bombs.

KEILAR: If this does move forward, what does that do to your trust -- to Israel's trust in the relationship with President Obama, with the United States?

REGEV: We're still hopeful that caution and skepticism will prevail. We don't think the Iranians should be given a prize. We don't think the Iranians should be given any sanction relief until they actually take the steps that they need to take.

And it's important to remember, the Iranians are putting on the table proposals that are just cosmetic. They don't mean anything. They're saying we will give up 20 percent enrichment.

The Iranians don't need 20 percent enrichment today to get a nuclear weapon. They have the technological capability to jump straight from 3.5 percent to 90 percent, to nuclear weapons grade enrichment. They can do that.

And so we're seeing cosmetic changes, meaningless change -- concessions being put on the table that don't mean anything. And we can't allow the Iranians to sell us a bad look of -- bag of goods.

KEILAR: But, Mark...

REGEV: Ultimately, what they can't do...

KEILAR: -- if the U.S. is pursuing that...

REGEV: -- is have this...

KEILAR: -- if the U.S. is considering this at this point, and it appears that a deal, a framework could be close, then let me ask you again, how do you not think that the U.S. is foolish if they go for this?

REGEV: Well, this came up in the discussion between my prime minister and Secretary Kerry earlier today. We've been discussing this with the American side extensively, obviously, over the last months and years. We have a common goal, and that is to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

And we say it's important now -- if you want a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, it's important that the international community use the leverage that we've got. And that leverage is the sanctions. And prematurely easing the sanctions, you remove that tool from your tool kit. It's a mistake of historic proportions.

What the Iranians want is they want sanctions lifted and have their nuclear military program intact. They want their yellow cake and eat it, too. We can't allow them to do it.

KEILAR: High stakes discussions going on there in Geneva.

Mark Regev, thank you so much for joining us from Israel.

REGEV: My pleasure.

KEILAR: Now ahead, ObamaCare suffers another blow. This time you won't believe the shockingly low enrollment figures from one state and from right here in the nation's capital.

And next, a monster storm of record proportions devastates one country and now has another target in its sights.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: It may go into the record books as the most powerful storm in history -- a monster typhoon far stronger than Katrina or Sandy, covering vast stretches of territory.

It has pounded the Philippines with winds as strong as 23 -- or, pardon me -- 235 miles an hour. Now, this is what Typhoon Haiyan looked and sounded like when it hit.

(VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: It's about to leave the Philippines behind. We can still only guess at the toll, at this point. And the typhoon is eying a new target.

Let's bring in Chad Myers -- Chad, where is this heading?

CHAD MYERS, JATS METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now, it's heading to Vietnam. This is the next stop on its tour. It's in some very warm water again. It could get stronger as it gets into this water. And it will make landfall very close to probably Da Nang.

Now, this has been one for -- though I don't know if we're to call it record books. It is certainly one that has moved over some bigger cities, especially Tacloban, back over here to Omach City (ph) and then across the islands here. And was all super typhoon, as it just slammed right through this area.

We believe now that every area through here, in the white, probably experienced 150 mile per hour winds or greater as it moved over. And that is just a devastating look at what this storm did.

Sunday into Monday, it's going to start to die off. But when it dies off, it's going to put down a lot of rainfall into Vietnam. We're probably looking at 15 to 20 inches of rain, mudslides, flooding and the like, not so much of a wind event for Vietnam, but certainly a flooding event for Vietnam.

The wind event was right there through the Philippines. At some spots, I now have one report of a gust to 175. It certainly could have been higher than that, because it wasn't perfectly in the eye. We know that this storm, at some point in time, probably had the lowest pressure ever recorded, although there's nothing there to record it. And if there was something there, it might not be left to even take a look at it, because this storm really did so much damage as it moved over the islands here, south of Manila. That's the great news, because the major population centers here, right through the Philippines here. But the eye went south of that population center by about 100 miles, thankfully, because we would have lost a thousand times more people than we're going to lose with this event because of the way it moved across the islands a little bit farther south than those millions of people that live in Manila with no place to get out of the way.

KEILAR: And, Chad, how big is this, when you're looking at it from top to bottom?

MYERS: We looked at it, we superimposed it. It goes all the way from Ontario to Florida and the eye itself, we believe that there were hurricane force winds at 60 miles from the center in the diameter as it rolled across. So, you're going to -- like a 60-mile wide bowling ball that rolled right across those islands, and in the middle, you're going to see those winds at 150. It's going to be devastation.

It's going to be like an EF-4 tornado that's ten miles wide, not just two city or five city blocks wide, and not sitting over a house for 30 seconds. These winds we're talking about, 140, 150, 160, they were over these areas for 20 or 30 minutes as the eye passed over. So, the destruction -- we don't even have the worst pictures yet. We may not even get some of these pictures until early next week.

Areas are -- you can't get to them. You're going to have to fly to them. There's no other way about it. The people there are suffering right now. It's neighbor helping neighbor because you can't get anything across these roads. All of the trees are down, all of the power lines are down. There's no communication whatsoever in the hardest hit areas.

KEILAR: It's unbelievable, Chad. And we'll be getting a better sense now as the day has dawned there in the Philippines. Chad Myers, thank you so much.

The terrifying force of that storm can be seen in these images. Two cargo barges that took shelter in a port were just swamped by the waves and the ferocious wind. There was an urgent rescue effort that was launched for crew members who were thrown into the water. Fifteen of them were saved. One at this point remains missing.

Now, while the federal government isn't giving enrollment numbers, we should like to see them, one state is releasing some stats about healthcare.gov and the numbers aren't great, to say the least. Here's Chris Frates from CNN investigations unit. So, Chris,what are you learning here? CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Well, Brianna, all day we've been calling states. we called every state in the union and we found out that North Dakota has only had 30 people enroll in the exchanges between October 1st and last Friday, and to give you some sense of what that means, more than 35,000 people will be getting cancellation letters later throughout the next year because their plans don't meet Obamacare.

So, this is certainly a concern for the administration and for folks in South Dakota. We should point out, though, that the insurance commissioner is a Republican. He's being critical of Obamacare. So, certainly, you know, it is something that is still a non-partisan number coming from his office.

KEILAR: You know, obviously, there are problems enrolling. You talk to administration officials, and they'll say yes, but there's a tremendous amount of interest. Tens of millions of people have looked at the website and they'll say 700,000 people have started the process. So, there's this difference between trying to start the process and actually going through it right to purchase insurance.

FRATES: Well, that's exactly right, Brianna. We saw that in D.C. today. Two Republican senators, they told us that only five people have signed up for the Washington, D.C. exchange, but when you talk to district health officials, they'll tell you that more than 12,000 people have started that process. So, they are enrolling and they have until December 15th to finish that enrollment.

So, this is a rolling process and the administration will always point out that this is not over and they expect that people will do more at the end of the process than they will at the beginning.

KEILAR: It's interesting, we heard this week from administration officials, it seemed like maybe the initial goal was to have about 800,000 people enrolled by the end of November. We're looking for numbers now in the middle of the month. Do we have any idea what that enrollment, and I should say, we know the administration's really kind of back pedaling from that big number, right?

FRATES: That's absolutely right. And we've seen from Secretary Sebelius back that up during her testimony earlier this week, and as you know, because you've been covering this as well, we've seen the administration say next week we'll have some numbers. They've certainly been downplaying those numbers, making sure that they can set the bar as low as possible, and I think everybody is watching to see what the enrollment numbers will be later this month.

KEILAR: Yes. We are anxiously awaiting to see just what the interest is and how people have been able to move through the process. Chris Frates, thank you so much.

FRATES: Thank you.

KEILAR: Now, coming up, wait until you hear this. Joe Biden tries to deliver some election congratulations and he dials the wrong number again. And secretary of state, John Kerry, dropped some bombshell remarks about the Kennedy assassination. We have some stunning details there for you. And you'll hear Obama's latest damage control effort.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: The bad news just keeps on coming for Obamacare and the president, and it's pitting his administration against Congressional Republicans who are demanding answers but not getting them. CNN senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has the latest here -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Republican staffers with the House Ways and Means Committee tell CNN they do not expect the White House to comply with a subpoena to hand over Obamacare enrollment numbers by the end of today as requested. Administration officials have said for days now those numbers will be released next week.

Meanwhile, all week long, White House officials have tried to downplay the expectations for those figures saying they will be very low. The reason, of course, is the Obamacare website which is still not fixed. The man in charge of that project, Jeffrey Zients, said on a conference call with reporters today that the site will be ready for the vast majority of users by the end of the month but he said quote, "It remains a long way from where it needs to be."

At an event in New Orleans earlier today, the president said he remains frustrated with the site and joked he could fix it or he would fix it if he could. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've had this problem with the website. I'm not happy about that. But we're working overtime to make sure that it gets fixed because right now, we've put in place a system, a marketplace, where people can get affordable health care plans.

I promise you, nobody has been more frustrated -- I wanted to go in and fix it myself, but I don't write code.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, as for those enrollment numbers, administration officials have said they've been scrambling to put this information together for weeks now. Part of the issue, because of the website, the insurance companies have been receiving a lot of bad enrollment files, Brianna, and the companies have been having to go through those files, really sifting through those files one by one to sort the good data from the bad data.

As one administration official described it to me, it is a painstaking task and is still not finished yet, Brianna.

KEILAR: That's right. It sounds like those numbers are in disarray. Senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, thank you.

And let's get more now with CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN chief national correspondent, John King, and CNN chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, the anchor of "State of the Union."

So, we heard from President Obama last night. He's trying to fix this issue of folks who get booted off their plan, their option on the exchange is going to cost more. Are there risks in trying to do this?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it might not work. I mean, you know --

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CROWLEY: You know, you promise something and if you don't deliver, it tends to kind of make you not look good. And it opens up for other fixes that other people have in mind say maybe on Capitol Hill.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, the question is, do you fix it administratively which is what they'd like to do, meaning not open the Pandora's box of legislation so they'd rather try and do it through their newest best friends, the insurance companies, whom they have to work with to get this done if you want to get the penalties delayed, you know, all kinds of things, they've got to work with the insurance companies on. It's uncomfortable.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a different political environment, they might get away with saying give us four weeks, six weeks, we'll try to do this administratively and work it out internally, but they don't have that political environment. They have Republicans who think there's yet another opening to go after the program and more importantly for the politics in Washington, they have nervous Democrats.

He's in Louisiana today, Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin, the senator from West Virginia, Jeanne Shaheen, the senator from New Hampshire, what are these growings -- what are these growing list of Democratic senators have in common? They face re-election next year. They want to tell their constituents back home, they force the president to reopen the law. So, with Congress gets involved, the president wants small fixes, other people want more.

KEILAR: That's right. They are very worried and they told the president that this week at the White House. Let's talk about the new book "Double Down." It reveals, of course, something pretty interesting which was that the re-election folks for President Obama looked into swapping out Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton in the hopes that it might, you know, might do something.

They at least checked into it. President Obama was asked about this for the first time and he responded. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If they had asked me, I would have said there is no way that I'm not running again with Joe Biden, because I genuinely believe that he has been one of the best vice presidents in our history. He also happens to be a friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Strong endorsement there, John, but what do you think?

KING: Look, campaigns study everything, and I think that's a fact. And so, there -- some things, they're hedging and fudging about to a campaign study and everything, yes they do. Had they come to the president with convincing polling data saying you'll lose unless you swap out, his answer might have been different but it never got to that point.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

KING: The president is loyal to Joe Biden. I think that's a fact.

CROWLEY: I mean, I have to say, he had a chance here to sort of really give a big push to Joe Biden.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: Look, he's already been on "60 Minutes" with Hillary Clinton, I mean -- and here it was like oh, he's been the best vice president in history and he's my friend.

BORGER: Well, it was better than he gave to Kathleen Sebelius.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: All right. So, Texas governor, Rick Perry, he was in Iowa. He's clearly prepping for another run for the White House. Let's listen to what he said. Rather interesting.

GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: We're losing the country we love to a government that is too big, too arrogant, too controlling of our everyday lives. Our leaders have forgotten how to govern. And believe me, I know a few things about forgetting.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Obviously, during the key debate moment where he forgot --

KING: The three agencies he would eliminate. KEILAR: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: Should he have even brought this up?

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: Because he's still battling this going into another cycle.

CROWLEY: The surest way to get rid of something is to make fun of yourself.

KEILAR: OK.

BORGER: And he's been joking about that now for how many years, right, since he first --

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: Might voters forgive him?

KING: Look, a lot of people think it's crazy for Rick Perry to get back out there because his campaign was so disastrous. Yes, voters do forgive people. Often if you make fun, as Candy note, self- deprecating humor is great and is it a long shot for Rick Perry to rehabilitate himself cycle to cycle? Yes. But people are so disgusted with Washington. He had good relations with the base. He's a better grassroots campaigner than he showed in the last campaign.

Something happened to him in the last campaign and he was just off. So, you're looking right now at a race where a couple senators from Washington, Chris Christie from New Jersey, governors tend to win these things. And he's got good relationships with the base. Why not at least test it?

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: And he'll have time on his hands.

BORGER: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: What he was talking about today, though, was he was praising other governors, so he praised Terry Branson of Iowa, Rick Scott of Florida, Nikki Haley, Martinez --

KEILAR: Is there someone he didn't praise?

BORGER: Well, there are some he did not praise who happen to possibly be running against him, although his staff said that was an oversight. KING: So he failed the math test the last campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: He really forgot.

KING: Yes. He got the geography right this time.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: OK, so another oops moment, Joe Biden trying to make a -- congratulatory call to Boston's mayor-elect, "Huffington Post" caught this. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. Mayor, congratulations, Marty. It's Joe Biden. Nice to see you win and nice to see labor win. Anything I can do to help you from the White House in terms of the needs of Boston, holler man. Congratulations. Enjoy the night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Well, it is a very nice call. Holler man. But it's to the wrong guy.

BORGER: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: I don't even think that was a guy --

KEILAR: How does this -- how does it happen? It wasn't a guy.

BORGER: Well, you know, look, I don't --

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: How does it happen?

BORGER: I don't know how it happens.

KEILAR: How does that happen?

BORGER: But I know what happens is that you get a call list when you're a politician.

KING: Right.

BORGER: It's election night, and you're congratulating people. Your staff gives you a call list, not to say that Joe Biden doesn't have a wonderful staff, but he's going down the numbers, somebody's saying, Mr. Vice president, we got Marty Walsh on the line for you.

KEILAR: But how does his staff -- how does that happen?

KING: Look --

CROWLEY: We don't know. How do you mess up a Web site that you tried three years to put together? I mean, stuff happens. This is a pilot error somewhere along the line but he wasn't the pilot. It's not like he's calling 411.

BORGER: Right.

CROWLEY: Hey, give me the number for --

KEILAR: No, he's not. He's not. But there's a degree to which -- I mean, it's a small -- it's a moment but does it make --

CROWLEY: Yes.

KEILAR: Does it play into this sort of hapless --

KING: It plays into the caricature of Joe Biden. Look, a good staff -- and he does have generally a very good staff.

BORGER: Yes, he does.

KING: But they made a mistake here. They made a mistake here. A good staff calls first. Mr. Mayor-elect? OK, great, we got you, the vice president is going to call you in five minutes or I'm going to walk into the room and hand the phone to the vice president.

BORGER: Right.

KING: So that's --

KEILAR: And this happened not once but --

KING: Yes. I happen to be from Dorchester, Massachusetts.

BORGER: How many Marty Walsh is there?

KING: There are a lot -- I grew up --

(LAUGHTER)

I grew up in with a lot of Marty Walsh. I understand the problem. However, I could have given him Marty's cell phone if he had called me first. But he didn't.

CROWLEY: However, this was -- he did leave a message. They didn't get anyone on the line. And so he may just have said, I'll leave a message.

KEILAR: I know. It's a nice message.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Yes.

KING: It was a big win for Marty Walsh. CROWLEY: Yes.

KEILAR: You know, it's such a -- it's a terrible moment I think for him on the heels of the other moment in the book where that must have been such a tremendous embarrassment as vice president.

BORGER: Well, and it's kind of the same. It does unfortunately play into the caricature which is not exactly what you want to do if you're going to run for president.

KING: Guess what? Like Rick Perry, Joe Biden will be making jokes about it in his speeches for a couple of months.

CROWLEY: Right.

BORGER: Exactly.

KEILAR: Yes. And he may be calling -- he'll probably be calling a lot of random people and leaving messages on purpose, I would say.

BORGER: If I were Joe Biden, I'd go appear somewhere with Marty Walsh.

KEILAR: That would be --- all of them maybe.

BORGER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: Gloria, John, Candy, thank you so much.

Well, next, a top Obama administration official throws fuel on smoldering conspiracy theories. Details of what John Kerry says about who was behind the JFK assassination.

Plus, details of a disintegrating satellite expected to rain giant chunks of debris right here on earth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Bombshell remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry about one of the darkest days in American history, and what he says is sure to reignite the many controversial theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Fifty years ago this month, CNN's Brian Todd is working on this story for us today.

So, first off, tell us what Kerry said.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, he was interviewed by NBC's Tom Brokaw for a series that the network did on the Kennedy assassination, where people were at the time, et cetera. Brokaw spoke to several well-known people about where they were at the time and other things. He also made it a point to ask some people where they came down on the conspiracy theories on the Kennedy assassination, whether they thought Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Here is the exchange between John Kerry and Tom Brokaw on NBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think he was inspired somewhere by something and I don't know what or any, I can't pin anything down on that.

TOM BROKAW, NBC: Where do you come down on the conspiracy theories?

KERRY: To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

BROKAW: Really.

KERRY: I certainly have doubts that he was -- that he was motivated by himself. I'm not sure if anybody else was involved. I don't go down that road with respect to the grassy knoll theory and all of that. But I have serious questions about whether they got to the bottom of Lee Harvey Oswald's time and influence from Cuba and Russia.

BROKAW: And what about the CIA? There are some who believe --

KERRY: I have never gone there. No. I don't believe that.

BROKAW: But you think the Russians and the Cubans may have had something to do with it?

KERRY: I think he was inspired somewhere by something and I don't know what or any -- I can't pin anything down on that, Tom. And I never spent a lot of time --

BROKAW: More than a dotted line, do you think?

KERRY: Beg your pardon?

BROKAW: Do you think it was more than a dotted line --

KERRY: I'm not going to speculate now. I just say to you that's my belief. And I'm not even into trying to document it or anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Now you'll notice there he was a little bit contradictory saying he has doubts that Oswald acted alone but then saying he was not sure if anyone else was involved.

We have tried but not been able to get any response from the State Department to Kerry's remarks, Brianna, not that they would have to respond. It's his opinion. No big deal. But it was kind of surprising.

KEILAR: It is amazing, though. And also you kind of get the sense that maybe he started talking about it, then realized whoa, I realized -- I realized the road I'm going down here.

TODD: He clearly pulled back a little bit.

KEILAR: Exactly.

TODD: About the CIA and things like that.

KEILAR: That's what I noticed. And so he wasn't the only person of note --

TODD: No.

KEILAR: -- who was asked about this, right?

TODD: That's right. Brokaw interviewed several people. Tom Hanks was one. Hanks kind of dismissed the conspiracy theories about the mafia doing it and about the Cubans and the Russians. Hanks kind of brushed that off and said that the facts really state that Oswald acted alone.

Steven Spielberg also was interviewed. He also said, you know, he didn't really believe the conspiracy theories but Spielberg had a caveat, saying, he's not sure how Oswald could have fired several rounds with that crude rifle and kept pulling the bolt back with that really crude rifle and fired with such accuracy. So Spielberg maybe had a little bit of doubt there.

KEILAR: And -- you know, it just speaks to how many questions there are still.

TODD: Absolutely. Fifty years.

KEILAR: Fifty years later. Brian Todd, fascinating. Thank you so much.

TODD: Thanks.

KEILAR: Now some other stories that we are following in the SITUATION ROOM.

Incredibly impressive, that's how one analyst describes October's job report. The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs last month, much more than expected. But the employment rate ticked up a notch to 7.3 percent, partly because of the hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed by the government shutdown.

Wall Street welcomed the employment news. It helped send the Dow to a record high, closing up more than 167 points at 15761. The Nasdaq and the S&P also posted strong gains.

And, you know, a familiar name will be on George's ballot next year. Jason Carter, the grandson of former governor and President Jimmy Carter, he's running for governor himself. He's been a state senator now for three years. Republicans have held the governor's office for the last decade. She's teething. She's crawling. And soon, she will be walking. Yes, the National Zoo says its hugely popular panda cub right on track. You know those kids need to hit those benchmarks, right? Well, the 11-week-old now tops eight pounds and the zoo says her mother has carried her outside the den several times now.

Her name will be announced next month. And you can help pick it at smithsonian.com.

Just ahead, chunks of a disintegrating satellite expected to plunge to earth in just a matter of days now. Some of them could weigh 100 or -- pardon me hundreds of pounds.

Plus a crisis at "60 Minutes" prompts a rare apology.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: This spacecraft, a European satellite, is running on empty. It is about to fall apart and it will soon come crashing to earth in pieces. Some very big pieces, we should add.

CNN's Brian Todd is here once again to tell you what you need to know on this fascinating story.

TODD: Information you need to know, Brianna, this satellite weighs about a ton and as you mentioned, it is about to re-enter earth's atmosphere this Sunday or Monday. When it does, it is going to disintegrate, it's going to break up into 25 to 45 fragments. Some weighing possibly up to 200 pounds.

Now a lot of the fragments will not survive reentry, they'll burn up, but some will survive and could weigh up to 200 pounds. This satellite has already run out of fuel, running on empty, and it's going to re-enter on Sunday or Monday.

Going to stop the video and show you a map now of where this is in real time. This is really kind of cool. This is from the Web site N2YO showing you the latitude and longitude of this satellite right here. And again you see it's changing by the second. The altitude right now, it's about 110 miles above the surface of the earth and is crossing right over Brazil heading south. It's going to arc back up north when it hits Antarctica. That's kind of the arc that it takes.

This satellite was launched in March 2009. We have some video of the launch here, I'm going to play that for you. Launched in March 2009. It was only supposed to be up for about 20 months and now of course it's been up for more than four and a half years, Brianna. So very impressive.

This was -- this was launched to measure the gravitational pull of the earth and of course, the irony here is, Brianna, that the earth's gravity is now pulling it back. The chances of it hurting any of us, minuscule according to the European Space Agency. That they say it's really just almost a nonexistent chance that any of these fragments are going to injure anybody because, of course, the likelihood is that any fragments that come into earth will probably hit water. The earth is covered, of course, mostly by water -- Brianna.

KEILAR: OK, that said, you spoke to someone who --

TODD: Yes.

KEILAR: Who the odds did not fall on this person's side. Right?

TODD: That's right. They didn't. Her name is Lottie May Williams, she's 61 years old, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In January of 1997, Lottie May was hit by a piece of falling space junk that came -- that just -- did the same thing this was -- this thing is about to do, broke off when it entered the earth's atmosphere. She says it only weighed about the weight of an empty cola can. And I asked her how it felt when it hit her. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOTTIE WILLIAMS, SPACE JUNK SURVIVOR: Well, it was small, it was about 4 by 6, it fits in the palm of your hand. It's not heavy, but you can feel it, you know, like if it hits you, you can feel it. Because when it my -- I heard something rustling through the trees, and then it hit me.

And when it touched my shoulder, I actually thought that somebody was tapping me on my shoulder. You know, somebody ever tapped you on the -- on the shoulder just to get your attention. And that's what it felt like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Tapped on the shoulder by a piece of falling space junk. She was not injured, Brianna, but she, of course, in keeping with American tradition saved that piece of junk as a souvenir. She's still got it.

KEILAR: Of course you save the space junk that, you know, taps you on the shoulder.

(LAUGHTER)

TODD: Sure.

KEILAR: Brian Todd, thank you so much.

Well, it is a five-year-old law that was rarely enforced. And now the Health Department is putting new rules in place that require doctors and insurance companies to treat mental illness the same as physical illness.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, I would tell you, I think this has been a longtime coming. Again, some of these -- the law has been passed in 2008, but now getting enforced. But the background on this is, you know, for decades the health care system has pretty openly I think discriminated against the mental health field.

We see that in so many ways. Mental health, substance abuse illnesses. What would happen is insurance often wouldn't cover treatment and it was often looked at as a taboo compared to physical illness. So someone might -- come to the emergency room with a significant psychiatric problem but they would need to check their insurance as opposed to somebody who came in with chest pain, who would obviously get treatment right away.

But today HHS says that's going to change because the new law -- this is specifics now. The new law requires health insurance companies to cover mental health and substance abuse just as it would physical illnesses like diabetes.

So what does that mean? It means you can't limit how many visits someone could have with a therapist, for example, co-pays, out-of- pocket expenses. They can't be higher. Health insurance plans have to provide the sort of behavioral health coverage and make it on par, parity with physical health coverage.

Now if you think about it broadly now, in the medical community, they're often thought of as in two separate categories. And what the law today says is that mental health, how we treat it is going to be in the same category, and the same -- just as important as physical and surgical care.

Also the secretary of health, Kathleen Sebelius, she also said today that all health care providers are going to have to follow these rules. So this is going to be implemented across the board, and that the passing of this law and now the specific regulations is estimated to help about 62 million Americans who can benefit from this.

Remember, about 1 in 4 people have some episode of mental illness at any given time. And many of those people are underinsured or uninsured, or who are on group plans, for example, that may not adequately cover this behavioral care.

So, again, this has been a long time coming, a lot of people talking about this, this struggle for mental health and substance abuse coverage, actually dates back to President Kennedy, and now we're in 2013, with what a lot of people would agree is some substantial movement.

Brianna, back to you.

KEILAR: Sanjay, thank you.

And coming up, the president says he's sorry for the Obamacare debacle, but the crises just keep coming.

And straight ahead a papal picture worth 1,000 words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Pope Francis is making headlines in a way few of his predecessors ever did. Shaking up his embattled church and winning wide admiration in the process.

Here's CNN's Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The embrace that has gone viral, melting hearts around the world. Pope Francis laying his hands on a disfigured man. It's already one of the most widely shared images on CNN.com. Ever.

To many it symbolizes the new man in charge of the Catholic Church, that he's compassionate, real, inspiring, a pope of the people.

How about this moment of holy hilarity? And could this be the first pontifical selfie?

Unlike some predecessors, Pope Francis lives a simple life declining the luxurious papal apartment, carrying his own bags, even driving around in something akin to the family truckster.

(On camera): Why are we so moved? What is it about him?

DANIEL BURKE, CNN BELIEF BLOG EDITOR: I think we see a lot of religious leaders who are reaching out to the poor and the marginalized, and the disenfranchised, but we finally see a religious figure who's actually putting his hands on it, who's actually embracing these people physically.

SAVIDGE: It's not just the imagery. He's chastised the church for being too obsessed with gay marriage, contraception and abortion. When asked his thoughts on gays in the church, he answered simply, "Who am I to judge?"

Just this week he announced he's taking a survey to find out what's on the minds of Catholics the world over.

BURKE: He's kind of bringing them out of that age of the bad -- really bad P.R. scandal and the sex abuse, and so they loved that part of it. It's good news about the church. On the other hand, this is a Pope who likes to color outside the lines. And I think when it comes to doctrine, that makes a lot of conservative bishops in particular very nervous.

SAVIDGE: Barely a month on the job, Pope Francis washed the feet of juvenile delinquents, including a Muslim girl, demonstrating another trait not often associated with powerful leaders -- humility.

The surprising Pope is winning over many, including arguably his toughest critics. Like this tweet. "I may be an atheist, but there's something about Pope Francis that makes me want to be Catholic. He's so inspiring."

Martin Savidge, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR: Happens now, the president may have more reasons to be sorry about Obamacare today. There's eye-popping new evidence of the Web site's failures.

Plus CNN is live in the disruption from an epic storm that is on the move. We are getting a better sense of its huge pull and raw power.

And Tiger Woods opened up about his girlfriend's remark that he's kind of dorky. The golfing superstar spoke with CNN's Rachel Nichols. She is standing by to give us a first look at that rare interview.

Wolf Blitzer is on assignment today. I'm Brianna Keilar, and you're in the SITUATION ROOM.

The president is trying to find new ways to show his regrets for the Obamacare debacle a day after he finally used the S word and said that he's sorry. But some stunning new enrollment numbers were undermining his attempts at damage control.