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Iran President Satisfied with U.N. Talks; U.N. Vote on Syria Expected; Senate Fails to Defund Obamacare; Michelle Bachmann Talks Obamacare, Government Shutdown; Captain Has Heart Attack in Mid Flight; Harry Reid Speaks on Passing Bill to Keep Government Open.

Aired September 27, 2013 - 13:30   ET


BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The symbolism of a handshake, a personal contact is too strong. Cool it. But made up a little bit by the two the secretaries of state talking, by the positive tone. But still, the key is going to be, are they ready to negotiate to eliminate their nuclear weapons. If that doesn't happen, we haven't moved very far.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The other big issue before the U.N. Security Council and they're going to have a meeting on it tonight, a U.S./Russian draft to eliminate eventually Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. There's, in the language of the resolution, consequences, quote, "consequences," for noncompliance. But it doesn't say what those consequences are. What do you make of what's going on there? In the end, will all of Syria's chemical weapons be gone?

RICHARDSON: Well, our new ambassador did a very good job. I've seen the draft of the resolution. It's airtight. The problem though is the consequences are under Chapter 7. Chapter 7 means military actions, sanctions, however, you have to go back -- a new resolution has to be drafted if there's no noncompliance. And that's where the Russians can still veto. But the Russians made it clear that they would veto something if there was any penalty. So it's a good step forward. If there's no compliance, I think there has to be a real concerted effort to look at option two, which is perhaps not go through the U.N. Security Council because the Russians may veto.

But I think it's a positive development. There's no question about it. The danger though is penalties, punishment. It's not there. You have to go one step forward for another resolution. This is where the Russians can veto again. Or China. You know, we haven't talked much about China. I'm worried that they used to -- when I was U.N. ambassador, all of a sudden, come in and veto unexpectedly.

BLITZER: Bill Richardson, he's pretty happy though with both of these key issues right now, Syria's chemical weapons, what's going on as far as the overtures from Iran. We'll see what happens.

Governor, thanks as usual for coming in.

RICHARDSON: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: The effort to un-do Obamacare is now the focus of the fights we're seeing on Capitol Hill. Up next, the Republican Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, she is here. We're going to discuss what's going on, her effort to scrap the law and a lot more. Stay with us.


BLITZER: The Senate has just stripped away what the House of Representatives passed to defund Obamacare. A vote in the Senate, 54- 44.

Dana Bash is watching all of this.

So, Dana, there's a clean resolution, if you will, that keeps the government funded at least for a while. It now goes back to the House. Pick up the story.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we speak, the final vote is going on to fund the government again, which, as you said now, because of the votes that we've seen so far, does not include defunding Obamacare. That was a straight party line vote as we expected. Democrats stood united in saying they don't want to defund Obamacare and Republicans stood united in saying they do.

But the more significant vote of the day, so far, certainly was that first vote that Ted Cruz, who actually is giving a press conference as we speak with Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, the three of those men were on the floor, the Senate floor for 21-plus hours talking about the fact that they did not want the Senate to go forward on the first procedural vote. And the majority of their Republican colleagues, Wolf, defied them. 19 out of 46, really, 44 who were voting, voted with Ted Cruz. So that means that it very much was a lopsided vote within the Republican caucus. And interestingly, almost all of the Republican leaders voted against him. It was sort of a rank-and file- versus Republican leader kind of vote. So very, very fascinating.

What's next? Well, he is down there doing this press conference trying to impress upon the Republican colleagues in the House, as you said -- this is where this goes back next -- not to give up the fight, to once again try to defund Obamacare. Now, whether or not they're going to do that inside the Republican leadership we don't know. What we do now, at least our understanding, is that it's unclear what's happening. And that is because there are a lot of different opinions inside the Republican caucus. This is not a new phenomenon but it is very much a high-wire act right now about what they should do, although everybody in the House says -- at least on the Republican side -- says that they think it's unlikely that they send back something to the Senate that looks exactly like what they passed, meaning they're going to change and put their stamp on it in some way.

BLITZER: Then it has to go back to the Senate for consideration.

BASH: Exactly.

BLITZER: So this could take awhile. There could, in fact, be a government shutdown midnight, Monday night. That's when the clock is ticking.

Dana, thanks very much. We have three days to go now until a possible government shutdown. At the center of the spending debate in the Senate and the House is this move by so many Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Yesterday, President Obama said this about his opponents.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And here's one more that I've heard. I like this one. We have to -- and I'm quoting here -- "We have to repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens."


OBAMA: Now, I have to say that one was from six months ago. I just want to point out, we still have women --


-- we still have children, we still have senior citizens.



BLITZER: Strong words from the president.

Here's the Republican claim he was referring to.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R), MINNESOTA: The American people, especially vulnerable women, vulnerable children, vulnerable senior citizens, now get to pay more and they get less. That's why we're here, because we're saying, let's repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let's not do that.


BLITZER: All right. Joining us is the Republican Congresswoman who said those words, Michele Bachmann.

Thanks so much for coming in.

BACHMANN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Do you really believe if this law -- and it is a law passed by the House, passed by the Senate, signed into law by the president, approved by the Supreme Court -- goes into effect that women, seniors, children are going to die?

BACHMANN: That's the greatest fear that Americans have. And the president got a big applause line when he made that statement. But it will be very unpleasant if the death panels go into effect. That's the IPAD (ph) board. If we have denial of care for women, children, senior citizens or if we have problems where people aren't given the drugs that they need, maybe they'll be denied drugs for breast cancer, you bet this can happen. That is what I'm worried about. Not just me, people all across the United States. So this is literally an issue of life and death. That's why you see this struggle.

BLITZER: So you're stand by those --

BACHMANN: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Don't you realize that --

BACHMANN: I don't -- I don't --

BLITZER: -- millions and millions of Americans --


BLITZER: -- millions and millions of Americans will now have health insurance earlier they didn't have, health insurance.

BACHMANN: Millions and millions of Americans are losing health insurance right now. They're being thrown off their employer-paid health insurance --

BLITZER: But they'll be eligible to go to the exchanges and buy insurance.

BACHMANN: Not necessarily. I was in a meeting this morning, Wolf, and we were told, again, that the people who will be thrown into the exchanges, the health care premiums that they'll have to pay, even when they're subsidized, will be more than what they're paying now. So I firmly believe that we could see that more people are actually going to be negatively impacted by Obamacare than helped. Just the opposite of what the president's hopes were.

BLITZER: Let's go through some of these points. You tell me if you think it's good or bad.

Is it good or bad that children can now be on their parents' health insurance policies until they reach the age of 26?

BACHMANN: These are benefits that are being done now.

BLITZER: Is that the --


BACHMANN: They're privately contracted in the private sector.

BLITZER: That's part of Obamacare.

BACHMAN: But, again, what we're talking about is --

BLITZER: Is that good or bad? BACHMANN: When it's done between private parties, it's a good thing.

BLITZER: That's the law now.

BACHMANN: But the mandate, government --

BLITZER: But you support that?

BACHMANN: -- is forcing it to be done.

BLITZER: You support that, right?

BACHMANN: I support freedom of choice so the people can do that. If people want to have their children on their health insurance policy until they're 45 years of age, they should be able to do that. The government shouldn't say what age you cut it off. You may have a child that is completely dependent on you for physical or mental reasons. If that child is now 56 years old and the parent wants to take care of them on their health insurance plan, they should be able to pay that company whatever it is to keep them on the plan.

BLITZER: Is it -- if you have a pre-existing condition, should you be allowed to buy health insurance?

BACHMANN: Well, of course.


BLITZER: Should an insurance company be able to deny you insurance coverage?

BACHMANN: And over 30 different states already had pre-existing condition plans. There are relatively few states that didn't. "The Washington Post" said --

BLITZER: But you support that? You support it?

BACHMANN: -- that it would be a $5 billion charge to take care of people with pre-existing conditions. I would put my name on the government check to pay $5 billion every year to help people with pre- existing conditions, make sure they have health insurance. We can do that.

BLITZER: Should there be a cap how much an insurance company can provide and, at one point, if you're very, very ill, you get cut off?

BACHMANN: The laundry list you're going through --

BLITZER: This is all part of Obamacare.

BACHMANN: Right. Right. The laundry list you're going through, what -- your premise is that government must mandate it. I don't agree that government must mandate it.


BLITZER: But they have. It's the law now.

BACHMANN: And that's what I don't agree with. I don't agree with the mandate.

BLITZER: So if you don't like the law, there are ways to try to change it, but you don't have the votes, as we just saw in that segment.

BACHMANN: But what I believe is that people need the freedom to buy what they want and buy what they can contract. And various states over the years have tried to deal with things like pre-existing conditions, like having your kids on the insurance policy. That's really what works.

BLITZER: Do you like --

BACHMANN: It's the living laboratory of the state allowing differences.

BLITZER: I'm asking you tough questions because these are --

BACHMANN: I'm glad you are. Let's talk about them.

BLITZER: Let's talk about people who can afford to buy health insurance but, you know what, they'd rather spend their money going out to dinner and going on vacations. They don't buy health insurance. But they get into a bad car accident and they wind up in the emergency room. Is it fair that you and I, taxpayers and others, simply take care of them. It could be a half a million dollars in medical expenses -- that we pay for the freeloaders?

BACHMANN: On Obamacare, there will be more people that the taxpayers are taking care of after Obamacare than before.

BLITZER: Here's the question: Is it fair that --

BACHMANN: Ask your question about --

BLITZER: Is it fair that --

BACHMANN: -- the question about taxpayers picking up the tab for other people's health care. And --

BLITZER: Is it fair that people --

BACHMANN: more Americans will pay more for people --


BLITZER: Here's the question: Is it fair that people who can afford to buy health insurance could become freeloaders and taxpayers will take care of them if they get into an emergency medical situation? Is that fair?

BACHMANN: Well, the fairness that is lacking in Obamacare is clear because President Obama has changed Obamacare over 19 times now. He has an uneven playing field. So that if you are a political favorite of the president's, you've just gotten an exemption. Big business got a huge exemption. Not the American people.

BLITZER: But you're not answering the question. Are you happy that there are people out there, who have money but they decide they don't want to buy health insurance --

BACHMANN: I think people --

BLITZER: -- but that we'll take care of them no matter what? Is that fair?

BACHMANN: What you're talking about is a very, very tiny percentage of the American people.

BLITZER: We're talking -- but it's the real world out there.

BACHMANN: The real world is now every single American, Wolf, is every single American --


BLITZER: Have you been to the emergency room? Do you see what's going on in these --

BACHMANN: My oldest son is a physician.


BLITZER: You know who shows up. These are people who don't have health insurance and we take care of them.

BACHMANN: Quite often, it's the illegal aliens.


BACHMANN: Illegal aliens showing up.


So we the American taxpayer are picking up the tab for people who aren't American citizens. I'm just telling you --

BLITZER: That's another subject.


BLITZER: What about if you're an American citizen and you could afford to buy health insurance and you don't?

BACHMANN: The bottom line of your question --

BLITZER: And you just want to take advantage of the situation.

BACHMANN: The bottom line of your question, Wolf, is it fair that the American people are picking up the tab for other people's health care? We have over 300 million Americans. The estimate was 46 million Americans didn't have health care, but that also included illegal aliens. We know now the estimate, from the government, is that about 30 million people are going to be cut off their employer's health insurance because of Obamacare.

BLITZER: I don't know where you're getting that.


BACHMANN: This is a very bad, bad conclusion.

BLITZER: I don't know where you're getting 30 million people.

BACHMANN: From the government.

BLITZER: That's not true.

BACHMANN: From the federal government.

BLITZER: You have to show me those numbers.

The point is though that people --

BACHMANN: We'll compare notes after this is all said and done.

BLITZER: People -- if this new program works, the new law, if it works -- it goes into effect January 1st -- if the employer kicks somebody off their health insurance, people will still be able to buy health insurance even if they have pre-existing conditions, even if they don't have a job, even if they have whatever, and if they can't afford it, they'll be subsidized.

BACHMANN: They're subsidized, but as I learn this morning over at the capitol, by government officials, they told us those people who lose their employer care, who go into the health exchange, will spend more on premiums subsidized than they did before when they were on their employer's health insurance.

BLITZER: Let's wrap this -- let's wrap it up.


BACHMANN: So they're worse off.


BLITZER: Are you ready to see the government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare?

BACHMANN: The government doesn't go into shutdown. The accurate term is --

BLITZER: Midnight, Monday night.

BACHMANN: -- it goes into slowdown --

BLITZER: Well, there's huge chunks --

BACHMANN: -- because the government continues to function.


BLITZER: Huge chunks of the government will not be funded.

BACHMANN: -- 17 times since the '90s --

BLITZER: Are you ready to do that?

BACHMANN: -- it's gone into this slowdown.

I hope Harry Reid doesn't do that because, in the House, we've already fully funded every part of government -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- everything but Obamacare.

BLITZER: You're going to have to consider -- Here's the simple question. This language that the Senate has just voted on to pass a continuing resolution, nothing to do with defunding Obamacare, it allows the government to go forward. Will you vote in favor of it?

BACHMANN: I won't vote for it. And I don't think a lot of Republicans will because we want -- we want to delay --

BLITZER: Were you around in '95 and '96 when there was a government shutdown?

BACHMANN: We want to delay the very bad -- well, remember, there were two government shutdowns in the month before Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1984. And he won by a landslide. The American people fear Obamacare. It's more unpopular now than ever before. They want us to fight to defund it and delay it. And that's what we're going to do --


BLITZER: But there are ways to fight without shutting down the government or raising questions --

BACHMANN: We don't want to shut it down.

BLITZER: -- about America's credit worthy.

BACHMANN: I don't know why Harry Reid or President Obama wants to shut it down.

BLITZER: They don't want to shut it --

BACHMANN: That's not what we want to do. Well, we didn't. We're the first ones to fund government. We fully funded it, but for Obamacare. And that's what the American people want us to do, tight for them. That's what we're doing.


BACHMANN: We believe in fairness.

BLITZER: But you --

BACHMANN: Obamacare is anything but fair.

BLITZER: Is Karl Rove a smart political Republican analyst?

BACHMANN: I believe that what the American people want --


BLITZER: Here's the question: Is Karl Rove a smart --

BACHMANN: I'm not here to talk about Karl Rove.

BLITZER: Because he says --

BACHMANN: What I'm talking about is the American people saying they need -- they need --


BLITZER: He says this is a real political blunder to link these issues.

BACHMANN: They need wonderful health care. They need us to for fairness. And right now, President Obama has picked winners and losers among the American people. And James Hoffa, of the Teamsters, says the unions are losers under Obamacare. We're fighting for the James Hoffa and the Teamsters union to be treated equally with big business. We believe in labor. We're fighting for them.

BLITZER: All right. I never thought I'd see the day that you're supporting James Hoffa --


BLITZER: And Teamsters and the AFL-CIO.

BACHMANN: You see it now.

BLITZER: Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, good to have you back.


BLITZER: You're going to be around a little bit more --


BACHMANN: Much more.

BLITZER: We'll have you back.

BACHMANN: Thank you. God bless you. Thank you.

We'll continue the special coverage of what's going on. Will there be a government shutdown or not? Stay with us.


BLITZER: The captain of the United Airlines 737 has had a heart attack in midflight. The plane was en route from Houston to Seattle when it happened, forcing it to divert to Boise, Idaho.

Rene Marsh has been following this for us.

What exactly happened? What's the fallout?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know 161 passengers, they were onboard. Six crew members. It happened late last night when this 737 got diverted. The airline has just confirmed to CNN that that captain who suffered the heart attack midflight, sadly, as you mentioned, he has died.

And we just pulled in the audio of the first officer speaking to air traffic control, making sure that medical assistance would be ready when they arrived. Take a listen.


TOWER: United 1603, do you have time to get information kilo?

CO-PILOT: We got man down, chest compressions going on right now. I'm not sure too much right now on status. I'll just stop on the runway and get on the other side of the aircraft and taxi off the runway and then ambulance and maybe some air care needed off the runway.


MARSH: All right, well, a passenger told a CNN affiliate that one of the crew members got on a loud speaker and asked if a physician was onboard. We should mention the flight landed safely and paramedics did meet the plane. The captain was taken to the hospital.

But, Wolf, I can tell you that commercial pilots under the age of 40, they must have annual physical evaluations. Once they are over the age of 40, they must get physicals twice a year. But just a very, very sad story.

BLITZER: Very sad. That's why there's two pilots.


BLITZER: Co-pilots on a plane in case one does get ill, the second pilot can bring the plane down.

Rene, thanks very much for that report.

Coming up, a star pitcher and an overall great guy says good-bye to Yankees Stadium, and there isn't a dry eye in the ballpark. We're going there. Stay with us.


BLITZER: U.S. Senate has now acted to keep the government running, full funding of the government at least for a short-term period, and they have eliminated what had earlier passed in the House of Representatives, the defunding of Obamacare.

The Senator majority leader, Harry Reid, is speaking right now. Let's listen in briefly.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D-), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: There were news stories, headlines. The middle class, working men and women in this country, are the ones we were elected to serve. That's who we should be thinking about. They're the ones who are going to pay the price if these Republicans force the government to shut down. Middle-class families all over America do their very, very best every day to make ends meet and provide for their families. But when they turn on the news, they see elected officials wasting time with silly games -- and that's what they are -- trying to score cheap political points to satisfy a very small number of people in America.

As I said earlier, today, they don't represent Republicans around the country, these Tea Party and Anarchists. They don't represent the Republicans in the Senate. But they have had the ability to basically stop us from doing anything.

How do you think they feel? Here's a president who, less than a year ago, won election by five million votes, five million votes. Obamacare has been the law for four years. Why don't they get a life and talk about something else?


People deserve better. So I say to my Republican colleagues --

BLITZER: So there you see Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, he's pleased. 54-44, strictly along party lines. The Democrats have passed a continuing resolution that allows the government to remain in business after midnight, Monday night. And they've eliminated any defunding of Obamacare. And now they throw the ball back to the House of Representatives.

Much more coverage coming up here in the CNN NEWSROOM. CNN's Don Lemon picks up our coverage.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf, thank you very much.