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THE SITUATION ROOM
Obamacare Troubles; Super Typhoon Strikes Philippines
Aired November 8, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The president is trying to find new ways to show his regret 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 are undermining his attempts at damage control.
My colleague Jim Acosta on this, on the latest Obamacare drama -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the numbers are not encouraging.
President Obama was down in New Orleans earlier today where he mentioned the problems plaguing the Obamacare Web site, but he did not touch on the apology he offered to Americans who are losing their health insurance, but administration official insist they are searching for solutions to help consumers who are losing their coverage.
ACOSTA (voice-over): In another sign Obamacare continues to be in critical condition, Senate Republicans released letters from top insurance companies indicating only five people signed up in Washington, D.C., in October. A D.C. official said those numbers don't show the whole picture of enrollment and interest.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have had this problem with the Web site.
ACOSTA: The main culprit, the bugs in the Obamacare Web site. Traveling in New Orleans, the president joked he wished he could take care of them himself.
OBAMA: I want to go in and fix it myself, but I don't write code.
ACOSTA: But the man in charge of fixing the site told reporters it's still in big trouble.
JEFFREY ZIENTS, OBAMACARE WEB SITE REPAIR LEADER: It remains a long way from where it needs to be. As we put new fixes in, volume is increasing, exposing new storage capacity and software application issues. ACOSTA: The president did not address his now historic apology to Americans who are losing their insurance after they were told if they liked their plan they could keep it.
OBAMA: I am sorry. But we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.
ACOSTA: CNN has learned White House officials met with White House Democrats on potential administrative and legislative fixes.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: There isn't any specific proposal at the table immediately.
ACOSTA: That means no comment on plans offered by vulnerable Senate Democrats like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, whose proposal would allow consumers to keep their plans even if they don't meet Obamacare requirements.
Landrieu traveled with the president to New Orleans, but didn't stay for his event.
OBAMA: She's traveling around the state today and doing unbelievable work on behalf of the people of Louisiana.
ACOSTA: As for those Obamacare enrollment numbers, House Republicans had issued a subpoena for that information by the end of today, but a House GOP spokesperson says they now don't expect the administration to comply with the subpoena.
The White House says those numbers will be released next week.
KEILAR: And we will be waiting for them. Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you.
Now to a monster storm on the move. No one in our lifetime has ever seen a typhoon like this. Its last bands are lashing the Philippines as we speak, more than 24 hours after it hit land. Vietnam now bracing for a similar pounding as Typhoon Haiyan churns west across the South China Sea.
Storm survivors are just beginning to get a handle on the death and destruction. But it could be horrific. At its worst, the storm may have been more powerful than any typhoon ever recorded. It packed wind gusts up to 235 miles an hour, the speed of an Indy race car.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joining us now from Manila.
Paula, are we expecting to get any sense here in the coming hours of just how bad the destruction is?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, I think we are going to start seeing some pretty disturbing images from the area. The sun's been up about as hour-and-a-half now, and this is the crucial time where the military can start the search-and-rescue operation. We know that the helicopters are standing by. They will be heading down to the area. They will basically be seeing if they can land in the worst-affected area as well, because there are expectations that many of the landing pads for the helicopters and the landing strips could be underwater as well.
So it may be difficult to get the aid to the people who really need it. And what the military wants to do is to get an aerial overview of just how extensive this damage is, because it's been very difficult, impossible almost to get an idea of how bad the damage is, because communications are down between Manila, the capital, and the local authorities in those areas that have been badly hit.
And we also know that the aid agencies have started to move in now it's light. The Red Cross, for one, is moving down towards that area. It's driving a convoy down there, and we understand from the Red Cross it could take about 18 hours to get to one of the worst-hit areas -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Eighteen hours. Paula Hancocks for us in Manila, we will be following up with you. Thank you.
Now, coming up, a veteran journalist apologizes for glaring mistakes in a "60 Minutes" report. What's true and what's not about the Benghazi attack?
Also ahead, Jonathan Martin's lawyers describes in new detail how the Miami Dolphins player allegedly was bullied by teammates, including what he calls a "vicious physical attack."
KEILAR: One of the most popular news programs in history now apologizing for mistakes in a controversial report about the Benghazi attacks.
The "60 Minutes" piece added fuel to Republican criticism of the Obama administration. But now the correspondent behind it is publicly admitting that it was wrong.
And our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, is here with the details.
It's stunning, this revelation.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a tough day for CBS.
After strongly defending this report for the better part of two weeks, now CBS is basically saying our source lied to us. It's raising some really serious questions about whether the producers ever double- and triple-checked this man's story with the U.S. government.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAWRENCE: It's a stunning administration from a veteran journalist.
LARA LOGAN, CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: We were wrong. We made a mistake.
LAWRENCE: CBS' Lara Logan apologized for a "60 Minutes" story on Benghazi. It relied heavily on a security contractor whose credibility has been compromised.
DYLAN DAVIES, CONTRACTOR: As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face.
LAWRENCE: Speaking under the pseudonym Morgan Jones, Dylan Davies told CBS he climbed a wall to get into the compound where Ambassador Chris Stevens died. He claims he took out an attacker and later saw Stevens' body in a hospital, the same story from the book he wrote.
LOGAN: What we now know is that he told the FBI a different story to what he told us.
LAWRENCE: A U.S. official says Davies told the FBI he ran into roadblocks and went home that night. That jibes with an incident report from Davies' employer, Blue Mountain Group, first revealed by "The Washington Post" and later obtained by CNN.
It says Davies was never at the compound or hospital that night. CBS says they investigated the story for a year, but didn't know this report existed.
PAUL FARHI, "THE WASHINGTON POST": For them to retract the story, to apologize for getting it wrong, is obviously an admission of the fact that they did not do their homework.
LAWRENCE: Paul Farhi is "The Washington Post" media critic.
(on camera): What did this do to the overall narrative of Benghazi, the investigation into what happened?
FARHI: For CBS and for "60 Minutes" to get it wrong really does create, you know, a real question about the veracity of the story and the claims by conservatives about what actually happened in Benghazi.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): "60 Minutes" did raise legitimate questions about whether the government had enough security at the compound.
LOGAN: But we were misled and we were wrong. And that's the important thing.
LAWRENCE: Yes, just about every news organization, including ours, has made mistakes in the past. As for Davies himself, he has not talked to anyone, CBS included, since this entire story started to fall apart, but, Brianna, the publisher of his book, The Embassy House, is now suspending publication. They're pulling it off the shelves, taking if off online sales, so it's a big signal something is wrong.
KEILAR: That's a big signal. Chris Lawrence, great report. Thank you very much.
Well, there is a new development in the bullying scandal involving the Miami Dolphins. Suspended player Richie Incognito suddenly flew from Miami to Los Angeles today. He's accused of harassing teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins last week as this controversy exploded. Martin is in Los Angeles. It's not clear if that's why Incognito may have gone there.
Let's bring in CNN's John Zarrella now. He's outside the Dolphins training facility in Miami.
We actually learned more about the bullying allegations today, John?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: That's absolutely true, Brianna. In fact, the new allegations indicate there may have been more than one player involved, and that Martin befriended the players harassing him, in hopes they would stop, and that the harassment lasted a season-and-a-half.
That's about the entirety of his time with the Dolphins.
ZARRELLA (voice-over): Jonathan Martin's alleged bullies was not, his attorney says, just one voice-mail laced with profanity and a racial slur.
In a statement, attorney David Cornwell alleges -- quote -- "Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate and daily vulgar comments."
It does not specifically name Richie Incognito or any other players and gives no details of the physical attack, but it does mention a quote that threatened sexually brutal acts and harm to Martin's sister. We reached out to Incognito's camp for a response, but have not heard back.
Dolphin players have maintained almost to a man they had no idea anything was going on.
RYAN TANNEHILL, MIAMI DOLPHINS: It's really surprising. The whole thing is kind of mind-blowing to me, it's kind of mind-blowing to most of the guys on the team right now.
ZARRELLA: Most players paint a picture of Incognito as a fun- loving guy, a good teammate. New details are emerging outside of the locker room that suggest a vastly different portrayed of Incognito. CNN has obtained this police report from May of 2012. In it, a volunteer at a Dolphins golf tournament accused Incognito of touching her inappropriately with a golf club.
The report says -- quote -- "He finally finished his inappropriate behavior by emptying bottled water in her face." Charges were not filed. In a new interview with "The Los Angeles Times," one-time teammate Cam Cleeland says of Incognito -- quote -- "I'm not afraid to say that he was an immature, unrealistic scumbag." Cleeland adds, "He was a locker room cancer."
According to Cleeland, Incognito wanted to fight everybody all the time, a similar description to what is seen in this one video of a shirtless Incognito in a Fort Lauderdale bar, calling for any takers. Overnight in Los Angeles, Martin's dad was asked about the controversy involving his son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I normally read many newspapers. I know. So, anyway, have a good night.
ZARRELLA: As the saga plays out, Incognito has play kept a low profile, only seen briefly behind the wheel of his new black Ferrari.
ZARRELLA: Dolphins camp is closed today, so it was impossible to get any reaction from players or coaches. That's because they're playing Monday night at Tampa Bay -- Brianna.
KEILAR: That will be a big game. John Zarrella, thank you very much.
Now, ahead, I will ask CNN's Rachel Nichols about alleged bullying in the NFL, and those new details from Jonathan Martin's lawyers. She's standing by for us.
And Rachel will also share some of hers rare interview with Tiger Woods. She asked him not only about his golf game, but his girlfriend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do have to ask you about your girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn. I believe when someone asked to described you, they asked her, they said -- she said he's funny and a little bit dorky. Is that fair?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now to some big names and big controversy in the sports world.
CNN's Rachel Nichols is here. She is the host of "RACHEL NICHOLS UNGUARDED," which airs tonight only here on CNN.
So, Rachel, we're going to talk about your rare, very big interview with Tiger Woods in just a moment, but, first, I want to talk about the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. We heard from Jonathan Martin's lawyer. He released a statement. He said that Martin suffered -- quote -- "a malicious physical attack" and vulgar were comments aimed at him.
His teammates though say these two, Richie Incognito, and Martin were friends. Where's the real story here?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a bit of both.
Jonathan Martin's lawyer explained that in his statement. He said, look, he said Jonathan Martin felt as if he maybe tried to play along with the jokes, that if he went along with the "hazing" as it was presented, that maybe he would pass whatever test these guys were trying to give him, or maybe that if did became friendly with them that they would see him more as a real person and stop abusing him in this way. That was his tactic.
And as his lawyer presents it, it didn't work. The reason why that gets more complicated is if that is what happened, you have these order Dolphin players saying, how were we supposed to know? There's all this criticism of what kind of locker room did you have? The others leaders should have stepped up and interfered, and the other players are saying to the outside, to us, it looked like they were buddies. This is where all the layers of this story come in.
Everybody can be right in this situation, but the situation can still end up being terribly wrong, which is what we're finding out here.
And, Rachel, you also have this big interview I talked about with Tiger Woods for your new -- for your show "UNGUARDED." It's airing tonight at 10:30 on CNN. Let's play a pretty interesting clip from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLS: As that stretch gets longer and longer without a major, what's that pressure like as it builds and builds?
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well, for me, I look at it, the fact that it takes a career. You know, for Jack, it took him until he was 46. It takes a long time to win a lot of major championships.
And you're going to have your years where you play really well. You may clip two or three out of there. And then you're going to have years where you just don't win anything. But you're there. You just don't happen to win. And you know, quite frankly, over the last -- well, since '08, I have been there with a chance to win about half of them. Just haven't seemed to have won one.
NICHOLS: I have to ask about your girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn. I believe when someone asked to described you, they asked her, they said -- she said he's funny and a little bit dorky. Is that fair?
WOODS: I guess so. My teammates used to call me Urkel back in college.
NICHOLS: Oh, OK .
WOODS: Yes, I do have that little nerdy side of me. That's probably why I got into Stanford. I like to have fun. I enjoy life. And I'm very competitive. And I think that's one of the reasons we get along so well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That's kind of interesting, Rachel. He didn't get upset by his girlfriend calling him dorky. Were you surprised?
NICHOLS: Urkel Woods, that's what we're going to call him from now on, right?
It was fun to get a little bit of insight. They have been protective about their relationship, but I think that both of them will tell you that it's been good for them to be with someone who is as ultra-competitive as the other, somebody who's been at that elite level. They certainly understand each other.
And Tiger also talked to me about the other big joys in his personal life, his two children, and the fact that 10 years ago he really couldn't have imagined that anything would have been as important to him as being a professional golfer, but now being a dad is really the most important thing in his life.
It's definitely changed him, matured him. I asked him about how he is as his kids' soccer and T-ball game. He said he's the dad who has the watermelon, so that every time the kids are feeling sort of low-energy, they come over to him and he tops them a slice of watermelon.
I love the idea that Tiger Woods is the guy sitting on the sidelines of the soccer being the watermelon dad. When I was a kid, it was oranges, but I guess now it's watermelon.
KEILAR: I guess so, yes. It was oranges when I was a kid as well.
That's intriguing, too, because he has that experience of having sort of a father who as an athlete obviously influenced him a lot. Did he talk at all about that? Or did you just get the sense that he is kind of the relaxed dad how just give out the snacks? NICHOLS: Yes.
Tiger definitely has had that reverse experience. When he was younger, we saw his dad waiting for him at the end of tournaments, that great big bear hug after he won his first Masters, really iconic pictures and images. And just you could see the relationship between the two of them and how close they were.
We talked in this interview about how this summer Tiger's young son, Charlie, who is 4 years old, finally watched his dad win a tournament for the first time in Akron, Ohio. And there's this amazing image of Charlie giving being at the side of the green and giving him this enormous bear hug. Just you can see Charlie actually squeeze him a little bit tighter.
It's so reminiscent of Earl and Tiger Woods. To see that generational continuance is really striking and something that Tiger is experiencing. He told me he's not pressuring Charlie to play golf or his daughter, Sam. He and I have talked about this a couple times this summer. He just wants them to have fun. He takes them out. He noodles around with them. He has a little course set up in his backyard, a little mini-course.
It's just fun for him to share that part of the game with them.
KEILAR: It's interesting from what he learned from having I think a rather intense father.
I want to move on and talk to you about what we have seen in the NFL lately when it comes to really brain damage stemming from so many concussions that these players have had. On Thursday, Wolf spoke with NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. He's been diagnosed with what we call CTE, and he's suffering from serious memory loss. Let's listen to what he told Wolf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY DORSETT, FORMER NFL PLAYER: The owners knew this for years, and they looked the other way. And they kept putting us players out in harm's way. That in itself right there really, really was hard for me to understand why one human being would do that to another human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Rachel, today, we're hearing reports that Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw is now experiencing memory loss and depression. There's been this big settlement, but now we're really starting to see these icons who have been affected. Does the NFL need to do more?
NICHOLS: Well, there's a lot of people who think so.
And when they did settle that concussion lawsuit, there was some talk of, hey, this is the end of this situation. But it's certainly not, because there are going to be new players having new problems all of the time. And, as, you say, it is some of the icons of the game.
Tony Dorsett, Terry Bradshaw, these are guys that are near and dear to people's hearts. And when you talk about identifying a person with a problem, and that's really when fans start to get involved. When someone that they love the way they love some of these players are suffering the way they are, people start to get angry. It's scary, too.
NICHOLS: The NFL has several former players who have, very sadly, committed suicide.
You hear a guy like Tony Dorsett talking about how, yes, I have thought about killing myself. That's the kind of thing that gets people's attention and will get people wanting to ask more questions.
KEILAR: And be sure to watch all of that -- Rachel, thank you so much -- on "RACHEL NICHOLS: UNGUARDED." That's tonight at 10:30 Eastern, only on CNN.
And this other programming note: The season finale of "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN" airs this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern.