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Playing Politics With White House Security; Christie: Obama Should Share Blame For ISIS Intel Failure; First Ebola Diagnosis In The U.S.; Interview with CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden

Aired October 1, 2014 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's take a look at the headlines right now.

The Ebola virus diagnosed for the very first time inside the United States. The CDC says the patient travelled from Liberia to Dallas on September 20th, but did not show symptoms for a few days.

Now the race is on to find people that he came in contact with after showing symptoms. It could be four days there in play. The paramedics who transported him to the hospital may have already been isolated.

The U.S.-led coalition launched 28 airstrikes on ISIS, the biggest barrage since the air campaign began. The strikes included two from Britain, that's their first as part of this coalition. But ISIS still moving toward major parts of Iraq and Syria.

Now a big development, Turkey has deployed soldiers and tanks along its border with Syria and is considering further action against the terror group.

So the NFL says a referee botched the call when he flagged Kansas City Safety Hussein Abdullah for unsportsmanlike conduct Monday night. Hussein is a devout Muslim who got on his knees in prayer after returning an interception for a touchdown.

Now the NFL prohibits players from excessive celebrating. Praying is not really included in that. The league makes it clear that praying is permitted. Remember Tim Tebow did it.

After he was penalized he received complaints from the Council on American Islamic Relations. Had he just slid and not prayed, that may have been a penalty. You're not allowed to go to the ground in the end zone.

You can spike the ball, jump up and down, but when you get on the ground, that's what NFL reps do not like. The no-fun league. But the minute they made that call, everyone on planet earth knew it was a bad call.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It won't be the last. All right, speaking of bad calls, you know what that takes us to? The world of politics, "Inside Politics" right now.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: When you're talking to John King, you can't use that.

CUOMO: John King in his contract has a mandatory introduction. May I do it? Let's take you "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": That game was no fun as a Patriots fan, I'll leave it at that.

CUOMO: It's called the future, buddy. Get use to it.

KING: Chris, Michaela, Mr. Berman, good morning to you. Let's go inside politics. With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Molly Ball of "The Atlantic" and Margaret Talev of "The Bloomberg News."

Let's start with the Secret Service hearings. It is an outrage obviously that an intruder was able to get into the east room of the White House. Now there are questions on Capitol Hill and at the White House as to whether the director should stay in her job.

Let's listen to a little bit of the outrage. Two Republicans and one Democrat on Capitol Hill yesterday.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Why was there no guard stationed at the front door of the White House. And yes, how much would it cost to lock the front door of the White House?

REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: Someone opens a window, or a window is broken at my house, I have an alarm. Have you heard of these guys?

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I wish to God you, you protected the White House like you are protecting your reputation here today.


KING: The White House, do they see this as straightly a question of agency accountability? There are some suggesting that these Republicans perhaps in their outrage at the Secret Service are also trying to have a two-fer and make the case that yes, we want to protect the president, but this president can't get anything right and nothing in his government works.

MARGARET TALEV, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": It's the only time these guys have ever cared about President Obama's safety or well-being and if there's a move to privatize the Secret Service, head over to ADT. You'll know it's happening.

But this is a real problem for the Obama administration. Forget about the politics, in terms of the security, he's the president, he's married. He has two young children in the house. Like they want to get this right, publicly they're standing by the Secret Service director. But privately there is a lot of tension inside the White House.

KING: How do they deal with that? She was just brought in not that long ago. Her charge was to clean up the agency. Agencies getting prostitutes, out drinking too much. That's a cultural issue perhaps.

In those cases they say the president's safety was never at risk. In this case the president's safety or at least a member of his family's safety, he was out of the building, was at risk.

This person -- I used to cover the building. It's nearly 100 yards from the fence to the White House. There are several different layers to stop somebody. The east room? That's nuts.

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Absolutely. I think you raise a good point, which is when you are brought in as a reformer, when you're brought in to clean house and these things not only keep happening, but seem to get worse, that's a real problem when it comes to the director of the agency.

I think also, when you talk about lapses like the drinking, that can be ascribed to culture, but when you don't disclose an incident or when you mislead the public about an incident, like what was done with the recent intruder, that's a serious problem that goes to the top of the agency, that goes to how it's being run.

So there's a real accountability issue here. I think after yesterday's testimony, the demands for some kind of accountability are going to continue. It doesn't seem particularly political. I mean, Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings, the Republican and the Democrat on the committee don't agree on very much, but they're both very outraged.

KING: When Democrats think Republicans have some under-handed two-fer to raise questions about the administration, maybe a little paranoia there. Maybe.

All right, let's move on. Chris Christie, you know, he is the governor of New Jersey, made a big splash yesterday by outlining his policies on addiction.

But he also took a question from CNN's Dana Bash about the president's handling of ISIS specifically the president's comments in that "60 Minutes" interview where he was asked about ISIS.

Did you underestimate ISIS and he put the blame on the intelligence community specifically the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Listen to Chris Christie take after the president.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: He's the president. He needs to be accountable. I hope that he says that he corrects what I hope was a misstatement. It wasn't they who underestimated, it was we, he, his administration who underestimated. As I've shown before, if I think the president is doing something well, I don't hesitate to say that he is. But I think the jury is still out on this because we shouldn't be in this position to begin with.


KING: We shouldn't be in this position to begin with. Meaning Christie is making the point he thinks they should have gotten after ISIS quicker, more earlier, to the idea that he throws people under the bus? You're hearing that from Republicans.

TALEV: Great. I mean, the first thing I thought of was bridgegate. If this is the standard you're going to hold President Obama then Chris Christie needs to be really attuned to the standard to which he's holding himself accountable for anything that happens inside his administration.

BALL: Well, there was a comment by Christie. He sort of alluded to it. He said I know something about being accountable for things people under you do and that's the problem for Christie and why bridgegate was so damaging for him was that he does have this reputation as the take-charge guy who makes things happen and so then to have something that he says he didn't know about.

TALEV: I had nothing to do with that, right.

KING: Make an intellectual consistency argument. If he wants to comment on President Obama, if he'll take that question on ISIS, why won't he take questions about immigration? But he says only if I'm a candidate for president.

TALEV: Almost as if it's selective, isn't it? I think he's trying to sort of box out two spaces for himself. The one where he's critical of Obama, which gives him maybe enough space to slide a little toward the center on some of these issues that he may have trouble with in the primary.

KING: Here's why we are going to be talking about, I think, straight through the 2016 primaries and caucuses, Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky is running for president, yes, he is already. He is trying to reach out to younger voters.

He says the Republican Party needs to have a bigger tent. Listen to his views here on birth control and start thinking about how is this one going to play with social conservatives in Iowa.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I'm not opposed to birth control. That's basically what plan b is, plan b is taking two birth control pills in the morning and two in the evening. I'm not opposed to that I don't think there should be any laws opposing that.


KING: That's his position on plan b. But many social conservatives consider plan b, the morning after pill to be abortion.

TALEV: That's right. I was talking with Rick Santorum last week at the Values Voters Summit. He was criticizing Republicans, who are trying to move away from the birth control and the abortion issues and saying, why would we cede this fight before we even have it.

I think it's interesting that you're seeing Rand Paul and Chris Christie to some degree sort of staking out these issues that are more centrist or libertarian.

Whether it comes to legalizing drugs or birth control. Trying to look ahead to preservation in a general election. Understanding what the cost is in the primary.

BALL: I think also you see Paul sort of relying on his medical expertise here and he thinks that sort of provides an out for him. That he can say, I'm a doctor, an eye doctor, but as a doctor, I understand this is the same pill and this is what it does.

I think he may hope that there's a little bit of a loophole for him there, where he can make that case. This is a problem for Republicans because nobody is against birth control, very few people.

And it always drove Republicans crazy, in the 2012 debates when they got depicted that way. But there is this gray area of things that some people see as birth control and others see as abortion. That's a tough needle to thread as Margaret said with the general electorate.

KING: It's a tough needle to thread and we're going to watch on this issue on immigration, on so many other issues that have divided and had a civil war, tug of war within the Republican Party.

That's why we are going to have a lot of interesting debates when we get around to putting all the candidates up on the stage for debates.

TALEV: If we have any debates.

KING: Molly, Margaret, thanks for coming in. Mr. Cuomo, as we get back in New York, if we have any debates, we're talking about 2016. But remember we do have a 2014 election that is sneaking up on us very quickly.

CUOMO: It's not really that sneaky, though, if you think about it. Seeing how it's completely stalled the debate on the war that's ongoing right now. It's definitely being felt in terms of its impact. John King, thank you so much. Great to see you and see you tomorrow.

Now a big alert going on here is the Ebola crisis. Why is it a crisis? Because it's here in the U.S. that's why. The first diagnosis has been made. So the question is what are the risks? And could it be an outbreak? Are we going too far with that?

We'll talk to the people who know, the point man, the director of the CDC is going to tell us about the real risks are and we have Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent for you. So stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that a man in Dallas has the first case of Ebola, diagnosed in the United States. This patient came to the U.S. from Liberia last month. He became sick after his flight.

So the question is, is there a risk of a large-scale outbreak here in the United States? Are the resources in place to keep this contained?

Let's ask Dr. Thomas Frieden. He is the director of the Centers for Disease Control. We are also joined by CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Both gentlemen are there at the CDC in Atlanta. Good to have you, Dr. Frieden. Sanjay, I'm going to talk to you in a second.

But Dr. Frieden, since we have you here, let's jump into it and talk about the patient right now. Obviously, we understand there's patient confidentiality. Can you tell us how this patient is and if his or her prognosis is good?

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Well, you have to refer to the hospital for that. Our understanding is that he remains critically ill. But what we'll do is make sure we get him any support and treatment that might help.

If he and the family want it, and do everything possible to insure that those caring for him minimize any risk they may have of getting infected.

PEREIRA: To that end, obviously, there is a concern about anyone that has come into contact with that patient. Talk to us about that contact tracing. What is being done to make sure that nobody came in contact with him and if they did, that they are tested? How big a group are we talking about here?

FRIEDEN: This is a tried and true reliable public health strategy. We go from the moment he could have been infected, which is probably around the 24th, last Wednesday and we retrace every step, every contact where he might have had direct physical contact with somebody.

And for each one of those contacts, we will monitor them for 21 days after exposure in conjunction with the local and state health department and the hospital to see if they develop symptoms.

That's how you stop an Ebola outbreak. That's what we'll do in this case. There's no doubt in my mind that we can stop it in its tracks here.

PEREIRA: You feel confident in that because there are a lot of people waking up to this news this morning, realizing a patient has been diagnosed in the United States of America. He is on soil here in America. He is in a U.S. hospital and there's going to be concern. You can understand that.

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. But you know, the plain truth is, we've stopped this outbreak dozens of times in Africa, in much more difficult conditions. In fact even in Lagos, where there were almost 900 contacts identified and about 19,000 home visits to monitor, for fever, we were able it appears to contain the outbreak.

There's no doubt we can contain it here. But really we need to continue to engage with West Africa because the most efficient and effective way in the long-term to make sure that we don't have to worry about this, is to stop it at the source and that's what we're doing.

PEREIRA: I do want to get to you in a moment about screening. And if there's a potential for doing that before people get on the plane from Liberia.

Sanjay, I want to turn to you, though, I know one of the things you're very concerned about as a medical professional, is the fact that this patient came to the U.S., felt ill, went to hospital and voiced concerns about Ebola, yet was sent home.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's a concern. If you look at the timeline now, the patient arrived on the 20th, by all reports, was doing fine at that time. Four days later, this person became ill two days after that they went to the hospital seeking medical care.

But it wasn't until two days later then, so four days total of sickness before the person came into the hospital. Let me ask you, Dr. Frieden, this person goes to the hospital on the 26th, has this travel history, has symptoms at this time. Should they have been tested?

FRIEDEN: Well, that's one of the things that we'll be looking at. We're reiterating the message for every health worker in this country, to think about travel history. If someone's been in West Africa within 21 days and they've got a fever, immediately isolate them and get them tested for Ebola.

GUPTA: I appreciate that this is an ongoing situation, but what is the guidance? Should that person have been tested?

FRIEDEN: We weren't there. So I can't tell you exactly what that person said.

GUPTA: You're advising public health departments, the last time I was here, there was a call with many primary care doctors to educate them on this exact issue. That was a couple of months ago, should this person have been tested?

FRIEDEN: You know, we know in busy emergency departments all over the country, people may not ask travel histories. I don't know if it was done here. But we need to make sure it is done going forward. That's the bottom line.

GUPTA: Because right now -- this could be playing out right now in other emergency rooms around the country. This exact situation where there could be somebody who has a fever. Ends up having Ebola, but they're not tested. As a result they have many, many more contacts. That's why outbreaks occur.

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. It's a big country. It's a big health care system. That's why we do extensive outreach to provide information so that all over the country people are thinking about that. If people come in, they get their history taken.

Have you been in West Africa in the past 21 days? If they have a fever, immediate isolation and testing. We've already fielded about 100 calls about patients from around the country who may fit that description, only 14 of them actually met criteria for testing and this is the first who is positive.

GUPTA: And again, I won't belabor that point, but you know, we've been covering the story for a long time and I imagine the fact, it sounds like somebody fell down on the job, to be perfectly frank, in Dallas. This person came in with concerns about Ebola themselves, had this travel history and had symptoms and was not tested.

That meant for two extra days this person could have had more contacts. I imagine if you look at all the priorities that's the number one priority, the number one thing you would have hoped to have prevented.

FRIEDEN: Really there are three levels that we are protecting Americans. The first is working to stop it at the source in West Africa. We have the largest CDC response in CDC history on the ground doing that.

The second is we've helped Liberia and other countries screen every single traveler who leaves and Michaela, you were asking about this before we've made sure that every single traveler who leaves that country is tested to see if they have a fever before they get on the plane.

If they have a fever, they don't get on the plane, so the situation is essentially under control, the bigger challenge is when people come in and they have symptoms a few days later.

They weren't infectious traveling, but they may have been infectious while here then we have to do the tried and true public health contact tracing mechanism to find everyone who may have been infected and make sure that if they develop symptoms they get isolated.

PEREIRA: Dr. Frieden can I -- go ahead, Sanjay.

GUPTA: With regard to these contacts, let's say somebody -- you identify these contacts, what happens to them? They're asked to take their temperature for 21 days twice a day. They're not quarantined, though, so the family members of this person, for example, could be walking around Dallas, not necessarily in any kind of quarantine.

FRIEDEN: We make sure that their temperature is taken every day for 21 days and if they have any symptoms then they would be isolated. There are forms of isolation that are supportive, if we isolate people who are sick that protects their family, their caregivers. We don't want to isolate parts of the world or people who aren't sick because that's going to drive people underground and actually make it harder to control this outbreak.

GUPTA: The ambulance drivers are in quarantine, who brought this patient to the hospital. They don't have any symptoms. They are presumably not infectious or contagious. Why are they being quarantined?

FRIEDEN: I can't comment on individual contacts or what's being done --

GUPTA: Does that follow scientific guidelines, though, that they are quarantined?

FRIEDEN: We will look at that situation closely. If someone has had a high risk contact with someone who might have infectious then we might have them not come to work for that 21-day period.

GUPTA: I asked this question because I want to make sure we're clear on this the fact that ambulance drivers are quarantined, even though they presumed they've protected themselves. Whereas family members are not quarantined, they may not have protected themselves, yet still had very close contact.

This is a little bit confusing and we want to make sure we are very clear here. I want to be able to give this information to people so I want to make sure you're being clear on this as well.

FRIEDEN: Well, our recommendation is not to lock people up who have had an exposure. Our recommendation is to make sure that we can track them every single day to see if they have fever and the moment they have fever get them isolated.

PEREIRA: Again, it's really important to reiterate because this is something that you're making a very clear point on with us all the time on the air, Sanjay, this is not a highly contagious infection or virus or disease.

It is a highly infectious virus, and it's really important to clarify that, because I think when we hear Ebola is in the U.S., people panic, so again, talk to us a little bit about that again, Sanjay, for people that are tuning in now because that clarification might help people back away from a bit of the panic.

FRIEDEN: Well, actually, Sanjay and I, if one of us had Ebola, the other would not be a contact right now because we are not in contact, just talking to someone is not a way to get infected. It's not like the flu, not like the common cold. It requires direct physical contact.

PEREIRA: But if he sneezes on you it's a different story.

GUPTA: I mean, look, this is really, I think there's a utility here because we're having this conversation, but I am within three feet of you. Wouldn't I be considered a high risk? My understanding reading your guidelines, sir, within three feet or direct contact if I were to shake your hand, for example, we'd both qualify as being contact.

FRIEDEN: We look at each situation individually, and how sick the individual is and what the nature of the contact is. Certainly if you're within three feet that's a situation we'd want to be concerned about. In this case, we haven't hugged. We haven't shaken hands. We have not had any contact that would allow either of our body fluids to be in contact with the other person.

GUPTA: So to Michaela's point, the reason we talk about coughing and sneezing not being a concern, if you coughed on me you would say that would not be a concern?

FRIEDEN: We would look at that situation very closely to see at what point in the person's illness and we're always going to err on the side of caution.

PEREIRA: That's what we have seen is that out of an abundance of concern, Chris was even asking why then scrub down the inside of the ambulance. Out of an abundance of caution, because we don't want to have any stone left unturned is what I can guess is what you're saying here, Dr. Frieden.

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. Ebola does not spread nearly as readily as flu or common cold, but we are taking a very intensive effort to track every person who has been exposed and make sure that we stop it in its tracks here in the U.S.

PEREIRA: All right, Dr. Frieden and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, excellent --

GUPTA: We're going to shake hands.

PEREIRA: Safely under your own advisement, Doctors, shake hands. Robust conversation there. We appreciate you hammering him a little bit and Dr. Frieden, thanks for taking it because again it is the health of the American public we are very concerned about and obviously the health of those around the world. We appreciate it.

All right, we're going to turn to another story that has certainly been getting so much ground. The Secret Service is trying to explain how an armed contractor without clearance was able to get into an elevator in Atlanta with the president. Talk about the fallout ahead.