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NEW DAY

Missouri Man Freed; Fixes Possibly Coming To Obamacare; Kerry Meets With Senate Leaders; New Cholesterol Approach; Cracked Windshield Forces Emergency Landing; Pricey Art Auction; Scrambling To Help; Race Against Time; U.S. Airways, American Merger; Obama's Poll Numbers Drop

Aired November 13, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get arrested and to get charged for a crime you didn't commit is incredibly easy. And you can lose your life very fast.

CHIRS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Free at last. New this morning, we hear from Ryan Ferguson. His murder conviction overturned after ten years in prison for the death of a sportswriter. What put him behind bars? What do we know now?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Honor the commitment. Bill Clinton says President Obama should allow Americans to keep their insurance plans if they like them. But it says more and more Democrats distance themselves from the botched health care roll-out.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fears, threats. Hysterical outbursts. It looked like a scene out of one of his movies, but for Alec Baldwin, the courtroom drama was real. His testimony against his alleged stalker and why the judge almost threw her out of court.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Good morning to you on this Wednesday, November 13th. It is six o'clock in the east.

And it is a day many thought would never come for a 29-year-old Missouri man. After nearly a decade behind bars, Ryan Ferguson released from prison Tuesday. Prosecutors saying they will not pursue a new trial. Ferguson's murder conviction was thrown out last week. Now, this nightmare may be finally over.

Let's bring in CNN's David Mattingly. He's at the CNN Center with what led to this change of fate. Good morning.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Ryan Ferguson had something to say when he got out of prison last night and had been waiting a long time to say it. He found there were a lot of people last night ready to listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Ryan Ferguson walked out of prison into new clothes and in front of the cameras to taste his first moments of freedom. Celebrating with family and attorneys, he offered bittersweet thanks to the thousands following his case around the world.

FERGUSON: To get arrested and to get charged for a crime you didn't commit, it's incredibly easy, and you can lose your life very fast. But, to get out of prison, it takes an army.

MATTINGLY: And it takes time. In Ferguson's case, almost a full decade of appeals. The Missouri attorney general surprised Ferguson supporters Tuesday saying the state will not retry or pursue further action against Ryan Ferguson, this, after an appeals court threw out Ferguson's guilty verdict because prosecutors withheld evidence.

RYAN FERGUSON, RELEASED FROM PRISON: This is not an anomaly. I think we need to look at other cases and be aware that this is part of our justice system.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years for the 2001 murder of "Columbia Tribune" sports editor, Kent Heitholt. He was implicated by a former acquaintance, Charles Erickson, who claimed he had dream-like memories of committing the crime. Last year, Erickson told the court he lied and Ferguson believes it's time for him to be freed as well.

FERGUSON: The guy's a lot of things, but the thing is, more so than anything else is innocent.

MATTINGLY: Ferguson emerges from prison surprisingly poised. He's writing a book. He has a girlfriend and friends already say go into politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor.

FERGUSON: Mayor of Columbia, indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next attorney general.

FERGUSON: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: Ferguson says he was actually happier for his parents last night than he was for himself. That's because that couple had worked tirelessly for so long to secure his release -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Such a long ordeal finally coming to a close for that family. David, thank you so much for bringing that to us.

All right, to Washington now, Bill Clinton saying President Obama should keep his word. The former president saying Obama should honor his promise and allow millions of Americans whose plans have been dropped by their insurance carriers to keep their policies if they like them, even if it means changing the law.

CNN's Jim Acosta is live at the White House with the very latest. Not the first time the Obama administration has had a Clinton problem, but here we go again.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And all of this has taken a major hit on the president's poll numbers, Kate. White House officials can no longer say it's just the Republicans who are the main critics of Obamacare. Democrats up on Capitol Hill are joining forces to hold the president to his promise. If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): When it comes to Obamacare, it's not the just the president versus Republicans anymore. Even as most loyal Democrats in Congress say, it's time to fix it.

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I think we need to look at the political reality. We need to be open to constructive changes to make this law work better.

ACOSTA: One leading proposal from Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu would make the president keep his promise, if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it, for fellow Democrats including vulnerable incumbents up for re-election next year have signed on.

SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: It is very upsetting for someone who supported this bill to have this gummed up, but I think it can be fixed.

ACOSTA: Democratic defections picked up steam. Former President Bill Clinton urged President Obama to stick to his pledge.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: So I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people.

ACOSTA: White House officials say President Obama agrees, but they won't say what changes he will support.

(on camera): So the president agrees even if it takes a change in the law --

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What I just said, Jim, is that the president has instructed his team to look at a range of options.

ACOSTA: The Obamacare fiasco has damaged the president's image. A new Quinnipiac poll finds just 39 percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing. What's worse, 52 percent say they don't think the president is honest and trustworthy, his lowest numbers ever in that poll in both categories. LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: He is angry. He is right to be angry. He was not well served by his colleagues in the administration.

ACOSTA: Former administration official, Larry Summers told CNN's Erin Burnett, the president and the White House have learned some important Obamacare lessons the hard way.

SUMMERS: You need experts. You need to trust but even more. You need to verify. You can't go rushing the schedule when you get behind or you end up making more errors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: On another front, the White House was resisting the idea of allowing its chief technology officer, Todd Park, to appear before the House Oversight Committee later this morning. Park is working to fix the bug-riddled Obamacare website, but late last night, the White House decided not to defy that congressional subpoena.

They will allow Park to testify later this morning. That website by the way, guys, is not going to work at full capacity at the end of the month. A White House official now concedes it will only work for the vast majority, those are the words they used, the vast majority of consumers who try to use that site.

BOLDUAN: Those fixes to that web site seem to be proving much more difficult than originally anticipated. Not what they need right now.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Jim, thank you very much for starting us off.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at our headlines. More conversations going on in this Senate making news. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Senate leaders behind closed doors this afternoon, trying to head off a new round of sanctions against Iran that the White House fears could derail nuclear talks in Geneva. These talks to reach an agreement to freeze Tehran's nuclear program broke off this weekend, are expected, however, to resume later this month.

A new approach to treating heart attacks and strokes could mean millions more people could end up on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issuing new recommendations including a new formula that lets doctors calculate heart attack and stroke risk in patients. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us a little later in the program to break down these recommendations for you.

A crack in the cockpit windshield forced an American Airlines plane to make an emergency landing Tuesday night in Orlando. Flight 160 from Miami to Boston had just reached cruising altitude when the crack was noticed on the exterior glass on the double pane window. I want to show you a picture from inside the cockpit after they landed showing the crack windshield taken by a passenger on board the flight. The Boeing 757 carrying 156 passengers and crew landed safely.

Hawaii's governor expected to sign same-sex marriage into law as early as this morning making it the 15th state to legalize it. Gay couples could start saying I do on December 2nd. Meanwhile in Illinois, lawmakers there approved same-sex marriage last week. Governor Pat Quinn says he'll sign Illinois's bill next Wednesday.

How much would you pay for that painting I ask? It's the "Three Studies of Lucian Freud", painted by Francis Bacon back in 1969 auctioned at Christie's in New York last night. You want to know how much it went for, my friends, $142 million.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What?

PEREIRA: Christie says it is the most ever paid at auction for a piece of artwork. The three-panel painting was expected to fetch $85 million. The identity of the winning bidder is unknown.

BOLDUAN: Here's the best part about the whole thing. At that point you round up, you're like $142 million. You don't realize it's $142.4 million.

PEREIRA: The 0.4 seems inconsequential.

BOLDUAN: What have we done wrong?

PEREIRA: I know, I know. There you go, art world information for you, keeping you well rounded.

CUOMO: Indra, help us out over here. What do you know with the weather over there, Indra Petersons?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: What do I know about art? I don't have the point four, that's all I know about that. What I know is really cold this morning. Here the temperatures are as you are waking up and trying to go to work, D.C. right now 33, Chicago 21. Now, these are the current temperatures without the wind chill. We have winds gusting out there. Take a look at the numbers now.

Now let's take a look at the numbers once we add in the wind chill. We're talking about 12 degrees in Chicago. That's what it feels like outside right now. Also the teens in Minneapolis, they're used to it. New York, though, just into the 20s even Boston right now feels like the teens at 16.

So why, yes. By now I think we know it's that dome of high pressure that brought that cool air in. Even as far as down to the south, look at the temperature drop here. We're talking about highs today. Not warming up very much, New York City looking for the 30s. Same thing for Boston, that's like 15 degrees below normal and same story as you go all the way down to the south.

Yes, New Orleans today looking for temperatures just into the 50s so for that reason especially in the morning hours, we're chilly out there. We're talking about frost and freeze warnings, stemming from Texas all the way even in through Georgia right now. Here's the good news. This changes that high pressure eventually makes its way offshore quickly by tomorrow.

That switch in position changes everything. It starts to pull in all that moisture out of the gulf for that warm air. Let's look at the three-day temperatures. Today New York City 39 and tomorrow back to feeling pretty good, 51. Same thing for Boston and even D.C. 40s, go back to 56 degrees.

CUOMO: Feel like you bury the lead.

PETERSONS: I buried it.

CUOMO: I know that you have to give the weather now today, I get it. We're all leaving and getting ready. But I think you start with the good news. I go right to the Fridays with the 50s then I come back.

PETERSONS: I thought you thought good news was cold.

BOLDUAN: Good come back. I welcome the cold.

CUOMO: It's easy to say a side against me. Supporting me is what's difficult.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

PETERSONS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: We'll fight this out again.

Next up on NEW DAY, a race against time in the Philippines, food, water, medicine, all slow to reach stranded survivors, still, five days in. We go there live ahead.

CUOMO: Remember cnn.com/impact, that's how you get involved.

Also we are witnessing the birth of the world's largest airline, U.S. Airways and American reaching an agreement to merge. Cheaper flights, better service, right? Right? We'll find out what it may mean for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Relief is arriving in the Philippines. Four additional American aircraft are on their way from Japan, but desperation is increasing. Demand for food, water, medical supplies is simply overwhelming. People trying to stay alive are being forced to take drastic steps.

Andrew Stevens joins us from the hard-hit Tacloban province this morning with more. Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Take a look behind me. You'll see hundreds of people still waiting to get out of this shattered city. On the other side of the camera, there are hundreds more doing the same thing. The situation is indeed desperate. There have been positive moves today. We've seen trucks with the food program going into town and more trucks are expected to arrive over the next couple of days or so. So relief is on the way. It's a slow process, particularly for the people in this shattered city. As I said, it is a dire situation for the residents here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVENS (voice-over): For the first time in six days, small signs of relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need more people to help the current situation.

STEVENS: Desperately needed food, water and medical supplies are finally getting to some of the hard-hit areas of the Philippines, but much more needs to be done. The U.S. military has two Navy ships heading for the region and at least 250 service members on the ground. The extent of the devastation becomes more real by the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything is gone, our houses, everything. There's nothing to eat. There's nothing to drink.

STEVENS: This first wave of recovery isn't enough to help the thousands who have lost everything. Filipinos like Jovelyn Taniaga (ph) aren't searching for hope. She's desperately looking for the rest of her family, her husband and three of her six children found among the dead.

Countless images of desperation and intense human suffering, victims praying for help, looking to get out and waiting for answers on what to do next. People living and eating in makeshift homes alongside the remains of their children. Husbands and wives whose lives were cut short by this apocalyptic storm.

As survivors help in the cleanup effort, they make heartbreaking discoveries like this, a makeshift coffin along the side of the road, baby Marian Alcain just 1 year and 3 months old. Lit just by candle light, the city of Tacloban makes their plea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have home. We lost our homes. And we have nothing to eat. We really need help now. I hope you are there watching and you see in TV. We really need the help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEVENS: Chris, the latest death toll is now 2,275. That's the official death toll. There are many unofficial estimates, expecting it to go much higher. But the graphic and grisly illustration of the death toll here is there are still so many bodies in the streets, very, very clearly visible. There are people, teams going around with body bags.

I was speaking to the mayor of this city today, and he told me 700 body bags have gone missing. He doesn't know where they are. They were supposed to have been sent from Manila and they never turned up. This is the sort of problem they're facing. The coordination, getting the organization here still has a long, long way to go before that effort gets into that efficient stage which we often see when the U.S. get involved, things move much more quickly. At the moment, they're moving far too slowly.

CUOMO: All right. Andrew, painful but true. The need is very great. Thank you for the reporting, from the ground.

Remember, CNN.com/impact. That's how you can help the relief effort going on there. In the next hour, we'll be joined by Anderson Cooper who is also in Tacloban.

BOLDUAN: We have a major airline merger to tell you about -- ready to be cleared for takeoff. U.S. Airways and American Airlines have reached a preliminary deal with the Justice Department that would let them create the world's largest airline. So what do the changes mean for you? That, of course, is the question.

CNN's Rene Marsh is in Washington with much more on this news.

Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.

You know, the merger may be good news for investors, but is it good for us, the consumer? Well, consider this, less than a decade ago, there were nine major airlines, but the industry has gone through merger after merger after merger and now with this new deal, only four major airlines would remain.

Now, some experts say prices could go up on certain routes where American and U.S. Airways went head to head because obviously that competition would disappear. Some experts also say fares could drop at seven major airports where under this Justice Department agreement the two airlines will have to sell their takeoff and landing slots to low-cost carriers.

But really, Kate, we won't know the true impact until this merger is complete.

BOLDUAN: And are you getting any idea, of course it matters when the merger is complete, we get a better idea. But any idea what kinds of changes flyers could expect to see right away?

MARSH: Right. So the court, they still have to approve the deal. And most likely they will. We expect that process will wrap up by the end of the year. But you won't see the changes right away. It could take months before flyers even notice the difference. Obviously, there's the cosmetic changes, the paint job on the planes. The checkout counters will merge.

But then comes the integration of the two airlines computer systems, and that could be a challenge. So there could be some computer glitches that could impact things like your reservations, but here's the good news -- if you already have travel booked on either airline, experts say you should be fine because that integration of the computer systems, that is many months away.

Also, big question, frequent flyer miles, they are safe. There is a but -- with one less major airline, royalty programs could become less generous. Obviously that would be because of lack of competition. But they could start requiring more miles for a flight. Kate?

BOLDUAN: It seems we're already seeing that with some other airlines that have merged recently. So, we'll watch for that.

All right. Thank you so much, Rene, for the latest on that.

So what do you think of the merger? We all fly, what do you think? Good, bad, indifferent? Let us know. Tweet us #newday.

CUOMO: All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back, the president's approval ratings, they plunged an all-time low. The big issue, trust surrounding the health care Web site. And there's more bad news about the site. We'll tell you about it.

BOLDUAN: And disorder in the court. A wild scene as Alec Baldwin comes face to face with his alleged stalker, bringing him to tears. We'll have more on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: It is time now for a political gut check of the morning. Do Americans think he is honest and trustworthy? A new national poll showing some pretty unprecedented opinions about President Obama and the new health care law coming out just yesterday. So what is behind all of these numbers? What does it mean?

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here, as always.

Talk about some tough poll numbers, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the president's -- I've used the word quick sand in the past. He's stepping deeper in, as we begin to see -- he's taking a personal hit for the lack of faith, Americans have zero faith in Washington, period, that's beginning to impact the president in a more dramatic way.

If you look at those numbers -- who do you trust more, the president or Republicans in Congress? If you look at that, the Republicans are essentially tie or ahead of the president by a point or two on issues like health care, on issues like the economy, who do you trust will handle health care? You see the numbers right there.

Remember as you look at the numbers, the approval rating for Congress is somewhere around 6 percent, 8 percent, 9 percent. It's not like people love the Congress. And so, they love the Congress, so the president is suffering. They don't like the Congress, and yet the president is suffering in comparison.

BOLDUAN: And he's also taking a hit on other issues, not just health care.

What's going on behind -- is this more, do you think, bad press or is this a bigger problem that the administration needs to be paying attention to?

KING: It's a bigger problem. It's partly as the coverage of the health care roll-out. You can call that bad press. You can call that fax.

You know, they've had a problem with the health roll-out. People were skeptical of the program to begin with and whether it's the president's credibility on his promise, if you like your plan, or you like your doctor, you can keep it, the president's credibility has been hurt there. The competence has come into play with all the problems with the Web site.

And so, you have this cumulative effect, and a bit of a trap door has opened under the president, because now, you're also seeing his personal favorability. Questions like, as you mentioned -- is he honest? Is he trustworthy? Do you approve of him personally even if you question his job performance?

Those personal numbers for this president have always been his political safety net.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: Because they've always been higher than his performance numbers. Now, when you see the hit on is he honest, is he trustworthy? When you see the hit on those numbers, Kate, that's a serious problem for this president.

And because of when it's happening at this point in the second term, moving into the midterm election year. It gets dangerous for the president. You're seeing more and more Democrats not backing him up, willing to speak out and criticize him publicly. So it becomes part of a cycle.

CUOMO: So when you deal with perception reality, we talk about trust a lot in politics and it's usually a weakness. But lying that you can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor, almost half of the people polled think it was a lie, that was intentional, that he knew. And as a result, you have this other number, John, that only 19 percent think that the law is going to help them. You know, it seems to have been a real crisis of confidence.

But lying -- isn't that an unusual negative even to see in a poll?

KING: It is an unusual negative. And, again, when you remember, where this president started. If you go back to the very beginning -- you know, he was the aspirational, hopeful candidate in 2008 that was going to change Washington, right? He was going to call it like he sees it. No more of the same old politics, no more shading the truth. People were going to get along.

And so, some of this is directly related to the health care problem. Some of this cumulative slide of people's faith in government, people's faith in Washington and now, people's faith in him.

The president has lost the middle of the electorate. People are questioning his ability not only to deliver on the specific promise of things like health care , but to lead, to get things done in Washington. And when your personality credibility, people think you lied about something that is central to his presidency, it's a huge problem.

What happens there, it's a political problem on its own, because of when it's happening, you watch, more Democrats start speaking out because they get afraid. You're going to see all this talk about he needs a staff shake-up, he needs something new to happen in Washington, bring in a new team for the White House.

Some people start using the term lame duck. Some of that will be silly season. But it becomes a fog in Washington that it's hard for the president to fight through.

BOLDUAN: So, now, it's not only a problem with Congress. He now has a problem with President Clinton. I mean, this isn't the first time President Clinton has caused, let's call them, headaches for Obama.

But what do you think about what Clinton said? What is, number one, what do you think Clinton's doing? Because he's a smart man; he doesn't speak unless he's trying to do something.

And what is President Obama supposed to be -- going to do about it?

KING: Well, in some ways, in the past President Clinton has said things that make your head snap back a little bit. In this case, the president was already on record saying he needs to do.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: The president was already on record in the NBC interview last week saying, 'I know I need to fix this. I know I need to make right by people who feel burned when I said you could keep your plan or keep your doctor.' Now, it turns out you're getting cancellation --

BOLDUAN: So is this less of a problem than we're making it out to be, do you think?

KING: It's less of a policy problem because it was a self evident truth. But again, it's part of the political dynamic. You have President Clinton willing to speak out. You have Dick Durbin, the president's friend from Illinois, speaking out saying, let's face the political reality. We have to make some changes in this law.

Those are loyal, leading, ranking Democrats. These are not back benchers trying to get in the newspaper back home. These are not back benchers who may be in their first re-election campaign or getting a case of the jitters, so they're speaking out. These are seasoned politicians.

And if that -- again, remember George W. Bush after Katrina, when the Iraq war on popularity was soaring, everybody turn on him. Once people start turning on you, they don't have your back, they're not loyal to you, it gets really hard to get things done.

BOLDUAN: You have to stem the tide but can they? When all they get is worse news and worse news and worse news.

"Washington Post" coming out with reports that the Web site is not going to be fully functional when they thought it was going to be by the end of the month. So, it doesn't seem to be over quite yet, to say the very least.

John, thank you.

KING: To say the very least.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Thanks, John.

KING: All right.

PEREIRA: It's almost half past the hour. Let's give you a look at your headlines at this time.

Ryan Ferguson is a free man after spending nearly a decade behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit. The 29-year-old Missouri man was released last night. He will not be retried.

Last week, an appeals court threw out his 2005 conviction for the murder of a local newspaper editor, ruling prosecutors illegally withheld key evidence from his defense team.

New controversial guidelines could double the number of Americans talking cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins. The new guidelines recommend that statins also be considered for people at high risk of stroke. That advice could lead doctors to prescribe statins to millions more people, a huge departure from doctors' usual procedure.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us with more on this very topic at the top of our next hour.

A House Intelligence Committee will begin two days of classified, closed door hearings this morning, with the focus on last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Security officers who were there that day are on the witness list. They are former Navy SEALs, marines and members of the Army Special Forces, all hired to guard CIA agents at the mission. Republicans are hoping to get new details about what exactly happened that day.

Caroline Kennedy has been officially sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Japan. Secretary of State John Kerry presided over the private ceremony Tuesday. Kennedy has little diplomatic experience but was national co-chair of President Obama's 2012 campaign.