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THE SITUATION ROOM

Dismal Obamacare Enrollment; Interview With Sen. Mary Landrieu; Only 106,000 Sign Up For Obamacare; Terrorist Spotting Program Slammed; Mystery Obamacare Girl Comes Forward

Aired November 13, 2013 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're following the breaking news this hour. The new Obamacare numbers. Administration officials say just over 106,000 people have enrolled since the program's controversial debut on October 1st. That's just 10 percent of what was projected through the end of November. And most of them signed up through state exchanges. Fewer than 27,000 enrolled through the troubled national Obamacare website.

Let's go straight to our senior White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar. Brianna, what's the reaction over there at the White House?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, those 106,000 enrollees in both the state and federal exchanges compare that to the 500,000 which is a number, a target, that was circulated internally based on numbers that came from the Congressional Budget Office. So far short of that.

But ahead of these numbers being released, White House press secretary, Jay Carney, really downplayed what we were expecting saying that the White House expected those numbers would be low, not just because of the website, but also because they expected that many people would wait for deadlines before they signed up for insurance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My point, Brianna, is I promise you, that no one will be satisfied with the numbers because they will be below what we sought prior to the launch and that while it is fully expected and was fully expected that enrollment would be low in the first month because that is the historic experience here with Massachusetts being the best example to look to, the lowness will be exacerbated because of the significant problems with the website and the website, obviously, was a major avenue through which people would be able to enroll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, the administration is expecting peaks in interest and enrollment to come in December and also in March. In December, ahead of that January 1st deadline to get insurance for folks who don't have insurance for the New Year who may be losing their insurance and then also in March because that is the end of the enrollment period for Obamacare. That is why, that peak in December is why it's so important that healthcare.gov, the federal website for getting insurance that services 36 states, is so important. You look at the numbers today, Wolf, and what they show you is that there are three million, about three million calls to Obamacare call centers, there were 27 million unique visits to the website.

So, you're really seeing a preference there for a lot of folks to do this online rather than through the call centers.

BLITZER: Which is understandable. All right. Let's talk a little bit about I understand you had a chance to speak with the Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, today about the website. What did she say?

KEILAR: This was during a conference call where she along with HHS officials were announcing the enrollment numbers and I asked her if she could stand by that promise by the Obama administration that the website would be operational by the end of the month. She did say essentially that the website is operational, that it is open for business, and she said it's operational for a vast majority of Americans who need to use it.

Now, that is the line we're hearing from the administration, Wolf, that it will be operational by the end of the month for the vast majority of Americans who need to use it. What does that mean? She sidestepped that. She wouldn't define that. And I will tell you, I've spoken with a number of industry sources who are very familiar with technical experts on the ground and what they're trying to do and they don't actually have a very firm grip on exactly what that metric of the vast majority means.

BLITZER: Brianna Keilar at the White House, the definition of vast majority to be determined. Thanks very much.

There was bitter partisanship up on Capitol Hill today as lawmakers grilled administration tech officials about the troubled Obamacare website and the witnesses cast fresh doubt on when the problems plaguing it will be fixed. Our chief Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is here in the SITUATION ROOM with details. So, Dana, how did that hearing go?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, it was extremely intense as you can imagine because what they were talking about were all of the issues that really led to the bad numbers that Brianna was just talking about and one of the main problems is that these website issues are something that the administration says that they understand are bad (ph).

But Republicans, nevertheless, are tripping over themselves to say that they believe that this is something that they should have known better about and Democrats are saying come on, Republicans are crying crocodile tears because the Obama administration -- excuse me, Republicans never liked this plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BASH (voice-over): A month and a after half after its troubled launch, the health care website is still running at barely half its intended capacity that from the White House's lead tech official.

TODD PARK, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER: We have much work still do. We are making progress at a growing rate.

BASH: Todd Park, forced to testify by GOP subpoena, said he cannot guarantee the website will be fully functional by the end of this month, the White House goal. Republicans were eager to illustrate problems persist.

REP. JAMES LANKFORD, (R) OKLAHOMA: I went on my iPad and got to healthcare.gov and I hit this button that says create account and it doesn't go anywhere. And it just changes colors and does nothing.

PARK: Sir, I respectfully am just a technology guy trying to --

REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Don't short -- don't short yourself. You're the smartest one in the room.

PARK: That's not true, sir.

GOWDY: Trust me. I've been in this room for a while. It is true.

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: A rare lighthearted moment during a hearing marked by intense partisanship.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN: This was a monumental mistake to go live and effectively explode on the launch pad.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Nobody in this room, nobody in this country, believes that Republicans want to fix the website.

BASH: And then there was this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people do not want to see a kangaroo court here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No witness here today has been cut off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Mr. Chairman --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every witness has been allowed to complete their entire answer.

BASH: But outside this polarized hearing, frustration is bipartisan. Democrat Jose Serrano is a loyal Obama supporter.

REP. JOSE SERRANO, (D) NEW YORK: -- in this country. We've got people, you know, who got kids in college dorms that can invent Yahoo! You mean, they couldn't have helped with this?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (on-camera): Now, he was coming out of a closed-door meeting, one that I was told was pretty contentious between House Democrats and administration officials this morning. It mostly focused on a different Obamacare problem which is people getting dropped from their health care plans that they like.

Democratic sources I talked to say that anxious House Democrats in that meeting demanded that the White House come up with a way for Americans who want to keep their health plans to go ahead and do that, just as the president promised.

Otherwise, Wolf, Democrats in the House say, I'm told by many sources, that they may be forced to vote for a Republican bill which they don't want to do because this is -- the political pressure on them is so great and I should also tell you that in the Senate, there are alternatives already as you mentioned.

Senator Mary Landrieu is one of the Democrats who came up with her own plan. It's a more narrow plan, but her own plan to try to make sure that people who like their plans, health care plans, can keep them.

BLITZER: I'm going to speak with her in just a few minutes live here in the SITUATION ROOM, but the reaction on the Hill to these dismal numbers that were released, these initial numbers, a lot of Republicans I'm sure were saying I told you so. The Democrats were pretty disappointed, too.

BASH: Absolutely, they were disappointed. In fact, I just sort of give you an illustration of how much they're disappointed. The chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Marcia Fudge, told Deirdre Walsh (ph) and other reporters that the numbers are very low and disappointing and then she just said flatly, it's bad --

BLITZER: First thing they have to do is fix that website, then they've got a lot of other problems to deal with, but that's a first. All right. Dana, thanks very much.

BASH: Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, the Democratic senator, Mary Landrieu. She's standing by live. We'll discuss what's going on. She wants to rewrite at least parts of the Affordable Care Act. Is it a trap, though, for Republicans as some Republicans are claiming?

Plus, one of the major architects of Obamacare joins us this hour as well. How disappointed is he? Zeke Emanuel (ph) about the dismal enrollment numbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The troubled Obamacare website running at only half capacity according to administration officials, and other administration tech officials told a House hearing today it won't necessarily be completely fixed by the end of the month as the White House had earlier indicated. Let's talk about that and more with Democratic senator, Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana. Senator, thanks very much for coming in.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, (D) LOUISIANA: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: I know you've been meeting with administration officials, White House officials. Have you learned anything new? Are you satisfied with the progress that's going on or still frustrated?

LANDRIEU: Well, I don't think anyone is satisfied including the president of the United States. And yes, I have met with him and many members have met with him expressing our concern about the difficulty of this rollout and the disappointment and I know the he and his team are working as hard as they can. They need to work harder.

But you know, the promise of the Affordable Care Act is worth fighting for. That promise where every American, every worker, every small business, every wealthy, middle income, or low income person can have health care that they can never lose, they can never outlive, that will always be there when they need it is worth fighting for.

And that's why I've introduced legislation to fix some things, Wolf, that are broken and that's what I think we need to do. Roll up our sleeves and fix it, not defund it.

BLITZER: All right. So, what's the most important thing in your legislation that you think you can fix? Because as you know, millions of people are losing their policies despite the president's pledge that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. In California alone, a million people have been -- have received letters saying, guess what, you're going to have to find a new plan.

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, you know, California has 50 million people, not that one million is not a lot, but keep this in perspective, and the bigger picture is, is that millions, hundreds of millions of people, will be able to keep the insurance they have because they have it through large groups and they have good insurance through large groups.

This small group of people, which is, you know, a significant number but relatively small have individual plans. Some of those individual plans aren't very good. But what I've said to the president is, you told them that they could keep it. They may not be good, but they're their plans. We need to keep that promise.

And Wolf, I think we can do this, which is what my bill does, is allow people that have individual plans, a very small group of people in the country to keep their plans and not undermine the basis of the Affordable Care Act or the great promise that will bring to our country. So, there are other bills that have been filed. I think mine actually does a couple things well.

It keeps the promise and it also makes the insurance companies give some information to consumers about how the plan that they have now, which they should be allowed to keep, differs from the plans that will be available on the market.

BLITZER: So, you clearly do not regret your yea vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act. But you know, but the Republicans, they're going to go after you in your re-election bid. You're up for re-election next year, and they're already making it clear, all of the Democratic senators who they think are vulnerable, they're going to point to statements they made in favor of Obamacare including this one that you made back in 2009. I'll play the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANDRIEU: Individuals who like the coverage they already have will be able to keep their current plan. This is a very accurate description of this bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Basically you said what the president said. Any regrets?

LANDRIEU: No, Wolf, whatsoever because I meant it when I said it and when I found out that that wasn't exactly the way it was, I'm fixing it. And that's what my bill does. And I've urged the president to fix it. This is a major change for America. We've struggled for over 200 years to try to find a way for our middle-class families to have access to good health insurance or health care that they can never lose.

If this were easy, it would have been done before. So, not only is this part of the bill something that needs to be changed, we've already changed a couple of other smaller things that needed to be fixed and we'll continue to work on it. But what I resent from the Republican Party is their never being willing to put anything else on the table that could work to meet the needs of this country, to small businesses that were being priced out, to skyrocketing costs of the whole system, and so let's fix it.

Let's, you know, mend it, let's not start over again, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work and work together to do that.

BLITZER: Like the president, do you want to apologize to the people of Louisiana?

(LAUGHTER)

LANDRIEU: They -- listen, they know that I'm going to fight hard for them. This has been something that I've been working on for years, giving them better health insurance, providing opportunities for jobs and for education. They know that I am willing to fix this bill. I've always said that. So, I have absolutely nothing to be defensive about.

A lot to be proud, to fight for them, for the things that they want. And willing to say, let's fix what's broken, but let's not undermine the great promise of the Affordable Care Act.

BLITZER: A lot of people in Louisiana noticed that you flew with the president on Air Force one when he was there the other day in New Orleans. But you really didn't spend the day with him. You didn't go around with him when he spoke about Obamacare as if supposedly you were trying to distance yourself from the president. You've seen all those stories. I want you to react to it.

LANDRIEU: I don't pay any attention to those stories, because if they had just looked at my calendar, they would see that I was hosting a lunch in Lake Charles for 300 women and I wasn't going to stand them up. I'm sorry I couldn't be with the president. I flew down with him, put out a very strong statement, he acknowledged me. I am proud of what this president has done in many ways and on many issues.

We don't agree on everything. I didn't agree with George Bush on everything. I didn't agree with President Clinton. I've been serving in Congress now for almost 20 years.

You know, he won't be the first president that I disagree with on some issues, but this issue, health care for middle-class families that they can never lose, can never be taken away from you when you have cancer, your child gets into a terrible accident or your child gets a horrible diagnosis that could put your family in bankruptcy, is worth fighting for.

And I intend to do it. And when I can spend time with the president, I most certainly will. But I wasn't going to hold up 400 women in Lake Charles because I promised that I would be there and I keep my promises.

BLITZER: Are you and your staff doing the regular federal health care program or have you signed up for Obamacare?

LANDRIEU: I am signing up to the exchange as required by law which all members of Congress I believe are. At least the ones that I know that have said so. I'm looking forward to being on the exchange. And so, you know, there's a lot of scare tactics out there and I know you're the kind of reporter that wants to tell the truth to people.

And if people would just understand that this is really -- if we could -- should have been broken the website, et cetera, there are some lots of problems for the start-up, but it gives great promise for people to be able to work and live in America and have health care they can depend on in a public/private partnership. And that's what we're going to do.

BLITZER: Have you enrolled already personally? Have you gone on that website --

LANDRIEU: I will be in the next few days and enrolling in the exchange as required by the law.

BLITZER: You'll let us know about how that works out. Hopefully, you'll be able to get on.

LANDRIEU: Well, hopefully, I can get on. But I can tell you one thing, I'm not going to panic and I'm not going to be, you know, discouraged. I'm just going to continue to be optimistic and fight to fix what we can. These small groups of individual plans, the promise we made to them, we should keep and that is what we're going to do. And I hope we'll find a way to do it.

BLITZER: You keep saying small. These are millions of people. I mean, they're relatively maybe five percent of the population.

LANDRIEU: It's a small --

BLITZER: But it still could be 10 or 15 million people.

LANDRIEU: It is a small group relative, a very important population in our country that we need to address. But it is important to keep that in scale because most people, 85 percent of people that have insurance, are through a large group. Those plans are not threatened. It's this individual market, many of these are substandard plans, but as you said, they're their substandard plans. They should be able to keep them if they want to.

That's what the president said. That's what I said, and this promise should be kept. Now, no bill is passed when it's perfect. No bill. Not Social Security, not Medicaid part D, not Medicaid. And so, why are we so fighting about not being able to fix this when we've had to fix almost everything that we've done. Nothing is perfect on its first try.

So, we're going to keep working at it and let's hope if we have to push back the time, we should, to make it work for everyone in America.

BLITZER: Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck.

LANDRIEU: Thanks.

BLITZER: When we come back, one of the architects who helped design Obamacare responds to the enrollment numbers that are just coming in. Zeke Emanuel is here in the SITUATION ROOM. I'll ask him whether the program will survive these initial dismal figures.

Plus, our SITUATION ROOM special report, deadly typhoon. That's coming up at the top of the hour. We're going live to the Philippines where CNN reporters are fanned out across the disaster zone. And to find out how you can help the victims, don't forget, go to CNN.com/Impact.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get some more now on these dismal numbers, the initial people signing up for the Obamacare benefits, if you will. Let's discuss with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN political commentator, David Frum. A 106,000 people have signed up, most of them through the state, through the states that do it, but only, what, under 27,000 who did it through healthcare.gov, the federal program in 36 states. Quickly, what's your reaction?

DAVID FRUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, let's also count the 400,000 additional people on Medicaid. And one of the real sources of pressure behind this project has -- is the massive increase in eligibility without any serious program of cost control. So, 400,000 additional people, I mean --

BLITZER: Who don't have to pay. They're going to get insurance through Medicaid.

FRUM: Right. Exactly. We have a dramatically expanded eligibility and that is expensive. At first, it is going to be cut -- the state's costs will mostly be covered by federal subsidies but there's no guarantee that that will continue forever. So, that will fall on state budgets.

BLITZER: And younger healthier people were supposed to sign up to help subsidize those who couldn't afford to pay --

(CROSSTALK)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, the question is whether a lot of those end up in Medicaid because they don't have the income.

FRUM: There's a tendency also to assume that none of this affects the group market which is where most Americans still are, getting health care through their employers, but exactly the same pressures that are so visible on the exchanges are also there, less visibly in employer covered areas. Employers are going to have to pay more for their policies and those employers who have workers are less valuable are going to be tempted to shrink coverage in order to compensate for rising costs.

BLITZER: Some are suggesting, Gloria, this is President Obama's Katrina moment, referring to the blunders that President Bush made immediately after Katrina.

BORGER: Look, this is the president's responsibility, the chief executive, to make sure that his Affordable Care Act gets implemented. And you can say that the failure of the website is not the failure of the Affordable Care Act, but Wolf, it's the portal into which you get to the Affordable Care Act. So, the president has lost, I would argue, he's lost a lot of credibility. The polls show that.

And, I think there's a question of managerial competence here. You know, how is it that the president didn't know, why wasn't he told, how did the White House operate in a way in which everybody knew a piece of this, but the big picture somehow seemed to go unnoticed or unremarked upon.

FRUM: President Bush didn't design and enact hurricane Katrina.

BORGER: Right.

FRUM: So, any mistakes he made were reactive mistakes were made within 24 to 48 hours and within -- you know, it was not true that months and years after Katrina struck, that they had -- that the Bush administration had no idea what had gone wrong. It's not an analogy at all because this is a completely self-inflected, self-designed problem -- designed it different.

BORGER: The irony in all of this to me, Wolf, is that what you saw in the numbers that Kathleen Sebelius put out today, is that there are like 27 million visits. We're not sure if they're unique visits, people coming back, perhaps, but that's a lot of interest. There's a lot of interest in this country --

BLITZER: It's not so much --

BORGER: -- in the Affordable Care Act.

BLITZER: -- I think the confidence level in the president resulting from the failed website, it's from the pledge that he made repeatedly. Look at these numbers. This is a new Quinnipiac university poll. The president's job approval number is now down to 39 percent approve of the job as handling his job as president, 54 percent disapprove. That's another low for the -- for this president.

BORGER: And let me give you another number, you know, the question of whether you trust the president, consider him honest, is down 10 points since October. And that is as a direct result of saying to people, you can keep your -- you can keep your health care if you like.

BLITZER: I think it's because of the -- if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.

FRUM: And that goes to the -- a design. The administration said we are going to have a program to bring coverage to more people, many of whom will be poor and many of whom will be sicker, and that's a noble, laudable goal. But if you don't want costs to rise, you have to have a cost control concept that starts at the same time as your extended coverage did.

And the administration's attitude was (ph) we're going to get everybody into the system first and worry about cost control five years, eight years, ten years down the road. So, it was completely predictable that there would be a rising average cost level.

BLITZER: The biggest political problem the president may have is Democrats beginning to abandon him, if you will.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You heard Mary Landrieu --

BLITZER: -- on some of these sensitive issues.

BORGER: I mean, you just spoke with Mary Landrieu who said we have to get this fixed. I mean, look, you look after the shutdown, OK? The Democrats moved the needle, they had an advantage. Now, the needle has swung back. And this is a problem for these Democrats like Mary Landrieu who are up for re-election.

We have to go back to their constituents and say, what, I bought this but I didn't know what was in it or I believe the president, too, but he lied to all of us. You know, none of those are really good answers. All she can do is say I'm trying to fix it, but even fixing it is very difficult.

FRUM: They have no idea how to fix it, because -- what fix it means is you have to implement cost controls at the same time and in the same proportion as you have an expansion of the coverage. And, if they had an idea how to do that, they would have done that back in 2010. They don't know how to do that. It's a very hard problem.

BLITZER: Here's another poll number from this Quinnipiac University poll. If Congressional elections were being held today for whom would you vote? On October 1st, 43 percent said Democrats, 34 percent said Republicans. Now, Gloria, it's 39, 39.

BORGER: And that's what I was saying. This pendulum has been swinging back and forth. The problem that the Democrats have is that the shutdown is over, which gave them the advantage, but the implementation of Obamacare is not over. And the fallout from Obamacare is not over. Generically, people don't trust Republicans as much to deal with their personal issues and their income and all the rest, but, this does give them somewhat of an advantage.

FRUM: I feel sorry for the people that get asked this question, because you're asking them, which is the least dirty shirt in the bag of laundry.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: David, Gloria --

BORGER: Which is the least dirty shirt in the bag of laundry?

(LAUGHTER)

FRUM: The one I'm wearing now.

BORGER: Oh, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: Good to know.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for coming in here.

Up next, I'll speak with one of the architects of Obamacare about the very low enrollment numbers reported today in the president's pledge that Americans can keep their insurance plans if they want to.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're following the breaking news here in the SITUATION ROOM. Stunningly low enrollment numbers for Obamacare just released. Only 106,000 people have signed up, fewer than 27,000 of them on the troubled Obamacare website.

Joining us now is Ezekiel Emanuel. He's the vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, also formerly worked for the president, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Emanuel, thanks very much for coming in.

EZEKIEL EMANUEL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: No problem.

BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about these numbers. Everyone assumes these are pretty dismal numbers on the federal level. How disappointed are you?

EMANUEL: Well, they're low, but what do you expect when the website doesn't work and there hasn't been any publicity around it. I think, you know, these are low, because you have a website that wasn't working and you have -- you haven't informed the public about the availability.

BLITZER: You were in the White House working on this. Did you ever imagine that the website October 1st, 2013, would be such a disaster?

EMANUEL: No.

BLITZER: How did that happen? I mean, it's mind boggling when you think that three years to get it ready, some of the smartest people working for the president, you were directly involved, what happened?

EMANUEL: Well, I don't know exactly what happened. I wasn't -- I left in -- at the end of 2010, January 2011, and I don't know exactly how the contracting went, how the oversight went. I do think one of the problems which we now have discovered is that there was no CEO in charge who had the requisite experience of management, knew something about health insurance, worked with the health insurance industry and knew enough about e-commerce to make sure --

BLITZER: So, who's to blame for that blunder?

EMANUEL: Look, Wolf, I'm not about blame. I'm about we've got to get it fixed for the American public's good, because a lot of people will get insurance here. It is going to work. Again, this isn't complex computer science. Lots of people can put up a website as I suggested, value pegman can do it, three guys working in a room.

BLITZER: These numbers remain this dismal, 26,000, the model, it's not going to work, because you need healthy, young people enrolling in order to get the system to work.

EMANUEL: Correct. You need a wide swath of the population to create a pool. Absolutely agreed. But this is not a technical problem that is insuperable. It will work at some point. And further, I do think lots of people as we've seen the numbers of people who want insurance is high.

And so, I do think this is going to be a solvable problem. I think the bigger issue is that it has sort of tainted the whole process and made people negative and that's I think --

BLITZER: And they're so worried about not only, you know, getting online, but the security, they think if you give your private information, Social Security number, date of birth, all that kind of sensitive information, they don't know if they're going to get, you know, if they're going to be in trouble.

EMANUEL: Yes, of course. But I think that part of its overblown. The fact that it's not -- doesn't work easily and well, has led to the problem of not a lot of people enrolling, a lot of people who got cancellations being mad because they have no alternative and it's snowballing.

BLITZER: But they've acknowledged that even the facilitators, the people who supposed to help individuals sign up, they have no background checks, they could be criminal felons, they could steal your identity. People are nervous about that.

EMANUEL: Again, I think this goes back to the fact that we need a CEO to run this whole operation.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Zients is trying to -- you know Jeffrey Zients --

EMANUEL: I think he's terrific. I think he has a job to do come January 1st at the National Economic Council. I think you need someone who's going to be permanently there to the end of the administration and run this thing.

BLITZER: Which they should have done from the beginning as you correctly point out. When the president kept saying if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it, if you like your doctor you can keep it. Did you know that was wrong?

EMANUEL: I don't actually think it's wrong. No one is forcing the insurance companies to cancel.

BLITZER: The president says it's wrong.

EMANUEL: There's nothing --

BLITZER: The president of the United States says it's now wrong.

EMANUEL: There's nothing in the bill that requires insurance companies to change the plan and knock people off. Let's go through why the insurance companies are doing it. First, they always change these plans. Let's remember, in the pre-Affordable Care Act days, they changed the plans a lot, knocked people off, they canceled people --

(CROSSTALK)

EMANUEL: In California right now, a million people in California alone, have been told they have -- they have to get new insurance because of Obamacare.

EMANUEL: The -- nothing in Obamacare requires them to knock them off. Insurance companies always change their plans. They have been doing it in the past. It's their business decision. That's the first point.

BLITZER: But Obamacare mandates that all these policies have --

EMANUEL: No --

BLITZER: -- mandatory things, like maternity, even if you're a guy.

EMANUEL: Anyone who was in the plan at 2010 when the bill was passed could have been grandfathered in. The insurance companies want to change their plans, second of all, they see this as a dying market. They don't want to participate. That's why they're issuing --

BLITZER: So, you disagree with President Clinton when he said they got to do something to honor the commitment that the president of the United States made to all those millions of people?

EMANUEL: I think -- no, I do think -- I do think that they've got to make restitution because a lot of people feel as if they were -- as if they were not told the truth and they don't have an alternative place to go like the exchange. That combination, if they had the exchange, I think this wouldn't be a big problem.

BLITZER: Is there anything the president can do realistically now without legislation to honor that commitment to tell those millions of people, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?

EMANUEL: I think the main thing that probably can be done is adjusting the regulations around grandfathering and to make those more flexible. That, as I understand, will apply to about 30 percent of the people.

BLITZER: So, that's an executive order the president might be able to do.

EMANUEL: Well, it's not an executive order, it's a change in the regulations.

BLITZER: Here was a memo that was written to Larry Summers who was the key adviser to the president on economic affairs back in 2010 from your colleague, David Cutler. Do you know David Cutler?

EMANUEL: Yes.

BLITZER: He's a smart guy.

EMANUEL: Yes.

BLITZER: He wrote a memo suggesting that and I'll read it -- I'll read a line to you from that memo, May 11th, 2010, "I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president's vision or have the capability to carry it out." He told Larry Summers in effect, you got to come up with a better way of implementing Obamacare, otherwise, this is going to be a disaster. Did you know -- did you see that memo at the time?

EMANUEL: You know, I can't -- honestly, I can't recall having seen it but many of us inside were arguing and advocating for a CEO kind of person who primarily responsibility would be implementation of the policies and I think that is -- that was, you know -- it's not David Cutler who only had that view. And, you know, seeing it from the outside, David wasn't involved in things on a day-to-day basis. And --

BLITZER: So, what was the biggest blunder that was made, with hindsight, all of us are obviously smarter with hindsight, looking back it was passed, signed into law, what was the biggest blunder after that?

EMANUEL: Look, again, I've said you needed a management. You need a person at the top who is responsible for managing it who reported directly for the president who had the requisite management experience and was really dedicated every morning getting up, the number one thing --

BLITZER: Maybe that should have been you.

EMANUEL: It wasn't me.

BLITZER: Why wasn't it you?

EMANUEL: I don't know.

BLITZER: Did you want to --

EMANUEL: First of all, I'm a policy guy, OK? And there are other people who are managers, who have much more experience in insurance -- working with the insurance industry, much more experience in getting an e-commerce site up. And you know, that I think is the characteristic of the person you need.

BLITZER: And just to button it up, so when the president repeatedly said if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. At that time, you didn't have a problem, you didn't say to him, Mr. President, maybe you should tweak those words a little bit?

EMANUEL: I believed that the -- that the ACA does not require cancellation of those policies. The ACA does not require changing of those policies. Insurance companies have done that on their own for their own business reasons. That's my view of it. And I thought the grandfathering clause that we had.

If you have something on the day the law is passed and they don't change it radically, you can still work even though it doesn't meet the minimum standards, I thought that satisfied his pledge and I still do.

BLITZER: You're in a minority.

EMANUEL: I know I'm in the minority.

BLITZER: because even the president and former president and --

EMANUEL: I don't mind having a view different from the majority. I've had that many for my years.

BLITZER: Zeke Emanuel, thanks very much for coming in. EMANUEL: No problem.

BLITZER: When we come back, millions of dollars spent by the TSA to keep you safe. Has it worked? We have details of a disturbing new report that has just been released.

Plus, the mystery face of the botched Obamacare site no longer a mystery. The so-called Obamacare girl is now speaking out and she isn't very happy about all the attention she has received.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This disturbing news just coming into CNN. Four United States Marines have been killed during a maintenance operation at Camp Pendleton in California. The spokesman tells us the cause of the accident is under investigation right now.

More information will be provided as it becomes available. The identities of the victims will not be released until 24 hours after next of kin are notified.

Almost $1 billion spent on a TSA program to spot terrorists and now a government report is slamming it saying it could be a giant waste of money.

CNN's Rene Marsh is here in the SITUATION ROOM working the story.

Rene, what are you finding out?

RENE MARCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely just that. this is what this report says is that the government truly could be wasting money there. Slamming this TSA program use to spot possible terrorists at airports.

The report says the agency has spent about $900 million taxpayer on a program without any scientific proof it actually works. We're talking about behavior detection officers. And if you've been to an airport you may have seen them. There are about 3,000 of them at airports across the country.

Like other TSA officers, they are in uniform and here's how they work. They spend about 30 seconds summing up an individual. There's a checklist of behaviors that they're looking for that indicate either stress, fear or deception. And if you exhibit enough of those indicators, you are sent to secondary screening for a pat-down possibly on to the police. But this report says decades of scientific research shows the ability for a trained individual to detect deception is the same or slightly better than chance.

Essentially they're saying if Congress continues to fund this program, Wolf, they could continue to waste millions and millions of tax dollars.

BLITZER: It was $1 billion, as you hear.

MARSH: Yes. BLITZER: That's a lot of money. So what kind of behaviors are -- the TSA supposedly looking for?

MARSH: Well, they have a long list. There are about 70 indicators that we're talking about here. Of course, the TSA, they don't want to give out too much information about what these indicators are, simply because they don't want to tip off the terrorists. However, we have had a chance to take a look at that list.

And it would be some of the things that you would expect, you know, if someone is nervous, possibly sweating, and many of the other things that appear on the list, essentially, it's anything that you or I may observe and think as absolutely odd.

BLITZER: What's the TSA is saying about all of this?

MARSH: Well, they're defending their program. They're saying that this is a technique that is used across the country at different law enforcement agencies. And they also say that it's substantially better to use this sort of technique to find high-risk passengers rather than random screening. So again they are really standing behind this program.

BLITZER: All right, Rene. Thanks very much. We'll see if that program continues in face of this criticism. Appreciate it very much.

Coming up at the top of the hour, a SITUATION ROOM special report, "Deadly Typhoon." We're live from the disaster zone where the desperate pleas for help, they are only getting louder.

But first, she was the mystery face of the government's botched health care Web site, now the so-called Obamacare girl. She has surfaced. She's not very happy about all the buzz.

Jeanne Moos is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The so-called Obamacare girl has been found. She's not very happy about all the publicity.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We called her the enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care. The actual Mona Lisa remains mysterious 500 years later, while the answer to "Who is that girl" is now known after a month and a half of searching.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": I have made a composite sketch, OK? If anyone sees this woman.

MOOS: For week she was the face of the dysfunctional healthcare.gov Web site. And then suddenly she vanished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notice anything missing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That lady.

MOOS: Well, she's no longer the missing mug on the milk carton. ABC News managed to track her down.

ADRIANA, APPEARED ON HEALTHCARE.GOV: I'm a mother and I'm a wife. And I'm not a professional model.

MOOS: "Good Morning America" identified her by first name only. Adriana said that in order to get free family photos taken, she signed a release allowing the pictures to be used on the healthcare.gov Web site. She was not paid.

COLBERT: I even did a stock photo search for vaguely ethnic smiling woman.

MOOS: Well, she is from Colombia, living in Maryland, married to an American. She has permanent resident status. While gracing the homepage she was the target of scathing comments.

"You're the most despised face on planet earth."

ADRIANA: It's sort of bullying.

MOOS: Cyberbullying, which made her come forward.

ADRIANA: I have to do this. For my child. I'm here to say enough for myself and defend myself.

MOOS: While she's eligible for Obamacare, she hasn't yet signed up and says she neither favors nor opposes it. She told ABC she's able to find humor in her situation. She better because after becoming famous --

(On camera): Next thing you know, she's an action figure, even though healthcare.gov is better known for inaction.

(Voice-over): She sells for 30 bucks. You can find her at Heroesbuilders.com just above a bobble butt figure known as the twerker. They're trying to sell Obamacare girl as a series along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and a talking version of President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.

MOOS: And now you can keep Obamacare girl on the Web site. The real one said she was relieved to be off of it. She sounds like a woman with heart, but if she ever decides to sign up on healthcare.gov, good luck trying to get on it.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)