tv Inside Politics CNN May 18, 2014 5:30am-6:01am PDT
getting married. what's marriage mean to you, baby? >> that's the thing you need in order to get a divorce. >> in one week kim will walk down the aisle, take her place at the altar and watch me ride down the aisle on a male elephant. >> elephants are the best. >> what better place for a cultural icon like kim to get married than florence, italy. >> cheerio governor. >> no, no. >> make some great memories. "inside politics" with john king starts now. another obama cabinet agency accused of incompetence, in this case with deadly results. >> any adverse incident like this makes me as -- makes me mad as hell. >> the white house voices confidence in eric shinseki, but
republicans pose this question. how many veterans have to die before the president fires someone? house speaker john boehner turns philosophical in saying he can't force fellow republicans. >> a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk. >> bill clinton. >> first they say she faked her concussion. >> firing back at his wife's republican critics, yet making the case hillary's health is a major issue "inside politics," the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now. welcome to "inside politics," i'm john king. with us to share the reporting and insights, atlantic's molly ball, robert costa.
a scandal is now a midterm election headache. federal prosecutors investigating whether crimes were committed, veterans waiting for months to see doctors for urgent problems. va hospitals in texas and colorado accused of keeping similar waiting lists. it's a huge political problem for the white house, fueling new and bipartisan complaints that the administration lacks competent managers. julie pace, you covered the white house, they're standing by veterans affairs secretary as they stood by the health and human services secretary. do they understand the depth of the political problem sf. >> i think it's finally starting to hit home. they eve been slow in responding to this. you saw an important action by the white house last week, that was the president dispatching rob neighbors, not known outside of washington, largely seen as a competent manager. that's his biggest skill set.
they sent him over to the veteran affairs department to basically oversee a review of what's happening there, the basic takeaway is that the white house doesn't feel like the people at the va are capable of carrying out this review. >> they also felt that way when healthcare.gov went down. it raises the competence question. i believe firmly that was the undoing of george w. bush. even people who supported the iraq war, people questioning the federal response. george bush lost confidence, his ratings never came back up. does this president face the same? >> in this case it's less single catastrophe but more a death by a thousand cuts where there seem to be these scandals not on the scale of katrina, but very serious. people died because of what was happening at the vshlgsa. the administration always seems to be reactive to these kind of scandals in cabinet agencies.
there have been gao reports going back more than a decade on exactly this problem at the va. the question remains, why doesn't someone proactive. in the case of healthcare.gov, why did it have to become a crisis for the administration to send in their s.w.a.t. team. >> we heard the hearings in congress this week. congress was not happy with all the answers it got from eric shinseki. on the campaign trail, scott brown running for senate posed the question, how many veterans have to die before somebody gets fired? here is mitch mcconnell who has a primary campaign of his own saying he doesn't see the urgency now in the president that he saw in the health care crisis. >> that was on the website fiasco. when he led it be known his people would not rest until a solution could be worked out. incredibly so far the president has made no such pledge when it comes to the treatment of our
veterans. >> that's mitch mcconnell. house majority leader eric cantor said the same thing, why haven't we heard from the president on this. sounds like the republicans are trite to bait him. >> i spend much of the week listening to concerns. they talk about the internal revenue service, benghazi. they're not really talking about veterans affairs. however, when you have kantor out there and mcconnell out there, what they're really doing is not sipping nalg to the gop base to make it a campaign issue, but to the swing voters in the suburbs who really care about competence, much more, perhaps, than the irs and benghazi. >> i would add that part of what they're trying to do is not necessarily make this a campaign issue ability veterans. that's a very difficult thing to do, to make this about the veterans who tragically died because of the failures of the va, instead to make it about the president and the president's failure to act. after all, this midterm cycle is going to be about a reflection, how people feel about the president's job. >> part of that, and we talked about this before in other
instances, can the republicans maximize their opportunity. a six-year itch. you're right, it's usually about the president's approval rating and performance. the question is can republicans capitalize. this is speaker john boehner this week talking about i would like to have immigration reform, love to bring it to the floor, but i'm the leader of conservatives, and they don't want me to do this. listen to him here. a little whimsical, a little frustrated. >> one thing i've learned is you have to play the cards you're dealt. those are the cards and i've tried to do my best to play those cards as well as ki. >> you mentioned talking with a lot of conservatives this week, they're not happy with boehner. you get whiffs from time to time after the primaries are gone by that he might want to do an immigration reform bill of some sort in the house this year. talk or real? >> i think it's just talk. it's a miss con 1e7gs that john boehner wants to do this in terms of bringing it to the floor. personally, we'd like to see immigration reform happen?
yes. when it comes to the politics, john boehner has been a hesitant leader, not one to push around people in the cloak room. i doubt lit happen this year. >> what's interesting about what boehner has done, by leaving this option out there and at least saying i personally want to do immigration reform, he's basically frozen everything in washington. the white house has internal review going on looking for options for executive actions. as long as there's the slimmest chance boehner can put something on the floor, they'll hold off. >> why do republicans want to do that? they can win the senate right now, why ged into a difficult i have visive fight? if they don't get this done next year, there's fear next congress won't happen. >> that's my question i guess. do any of the republicans, especially mitch mcconnell is vulnerable. he has a tight race. do any of them feel pressure to show congress can do things? that's one of the attacks
against all incumbents. you work in washington and can't get a damn thing done. >> there's never a good time for immigration reform. as soon as this election is over, then the next election starts. there's never a good time to do this. tom donohue from the chamber of commerce saying the republicans might as well not run a candidate if they can't get immigration reform done by 2016. they think they're waiting for this to be easy and it never will be the. >> valerie jarrett was quoted in the las vegas review journal saying i think we have a window between now and august to get something done. we have a commitment from boehner. this morning she pulled back and said he has said she wants to do this. is there some secret conversations between the president and the speaker? >> that got a lot of attention. boehner made clear that isn't what he said. they now say they have a commitment from boehner to at least try. that may be forward leaning from what boehner has actually told them. again, as long as they think
there is some possibility that john boehner will wake up one morning and saying i'm going to the floor with immigration, the white house is going to hold off and activists will be frustrated with them. >> this won't happen. we'll have an election first. maybe there's a lame duck session after the election. stay put. next, karl rove stirs a huge controversy. proof hillary clinton's 2012 concussion was a major health care. >> in this week's installments of politicians say the dardest thing, an idaho gubernatorial candidate. >> i don't like political correctness. it sucks, it's bondage. i'm as politically correct as your proverbial tird in the punch bowl. a cowboy, kur muj on, biker or normal guy. take your pick. thank you very much. we're leaving it up to you. ♪
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our puzzle this week sets the record straight on the controversy stoked by karl rove, republican strategist democrats love to hate. how big a deal was the concussion hillary clinton suffered back in december 2012? it was on sunday the 9th, that week that we first learned hillary clinton, secretary of state had fainted and fallen at home. then later that week, the end of the week, the state department put out a statement on saturday, "the new york times" reported she suffered a concussion in that fall. as a result she would not testify as planned the next week about benghazi. that testimony was delayed. carry this story over into january 2013, wednesday the 2nd, secretary clinton, you see former president bill clinton, chelsea clinton leaving the hospital on wednesday, january
2nd. it was back to work the next wednesday. her deputies gave her a football helmet. not joke there. and the spokeswoman at the time said that she appeared to be fully recovered. listen here to bill clinton this past week suggesting the recovery actually took a lot longer. >> i was sort of dumfounded. they went to all this trouble to say that she had staged what was a terrible concussion that required six months of very serious work to get over, something she never low balled with the american people, never tried to pretend didn't happen. >> molly ball, six months to get over. she didn't talk about it that much. she did do an interview, in the joint interview with "60 minutes," steven kroft asked her about her health. listen to this. >> how is your health? >> it's great. it's great. i still have fingering effects from falling on my head and having the blood clot.
the doctors tell me that will recede. thankfully i'm looking forward to being at full speed. >> i notice your glasses -- >> i have some lingering effects from the concussion that are decreasing and will disappear. >> that was january 27th, about a month after she got out of the hospital. when bill clinton said it took six months, didn't he prove karl rove's point, that maybe he did this in an underhanded way, maybe saying she had a traumatic injury, everybody in our business is going to demand to see the medical records and talk to the doctors. >> i think we would anyway. that's commonplace for presidential candidates. democrats are accusing karl rove of dirty tricks for the way he put it on the record, making it seem like she wasn't right in the head, not that she just had a health scare, but it somehow affected her mental functioning. that's a really tough
insinuation for her to have to deal with. so there will be an examination of the medical records, but conspiracy theories seem to orbit the clintons like flies. this is going to be yet another whisper campaign, particularly on the right, every time she forgets a word in a debate, this is going to be something that people start buzzing about. >> are folks on the right happy that karl rove did this, robert, or are they word? i talked to paul begala. he said karl rove was stupid here, this is going to ang ser many conservatives who think it's not the right way to play business. >> i've sat down with a lot of national republican consultants, they think rove made a mistake because he's trying to personalize it efficiently. by doing this, they come back to that '90s mentality that the clintons are nimbly able to target them and saying the right wing conspiracy out of control
again. >> some people say it's sexist or ageist to talk about her. i think anybody who runs for president, whether 35 or 65, should fully disclose their health history, even if you've had no scares in the past. let's just look at the numbers. jeb bush is 61, chris christie is 51, rand paul 51, ted cruz, 43, marco rubio about to turn 43. on the democratic side, hillary clinton, 66, elizabeth warren, 64, joe biden, 71. mark o'malley one of the prospective candidates, 51. was this an age issue, a sexist interview? >> i think it was a little bit of a clinton issue. whenever we find out who is actually running, chris christie, this is something people talk about with him all the time. we'll go over all the medical records, ask these questions. to molly's point, sometimes it's not just the fact that you're asking the question or raising the point, it's how you're doing it and what you're putting
behind that. i think with a woman and a woman who is older, i think this is an area where men in particular are going to have to be careful. >> bill clinton, i made the point that he made it a legitimate issue by saying it took six months. what was so unusual or maybe not unusual was for him to come out to squiggly and defend her. he defended her on benghazi. manu, i don't know if you loved it, they were loving it. talk about that. you know it's going to happen, but to see it. if she runs, he does, too. >> exactly. some of it has to do with his health, whether or not she runs does not necessarily have to do with how healthy she is. of course, that's very important. how healthy is bill clinton? he's going to be on the trail, defending her, her chief spokesman in a lot of ways. he'll have to put in the hours and stump for her. he's had the health problems over the years. that's a big question going
forward. >> this week it sounded like he was red on the gas, ready to go. >> they're afraid he's going to go into kentucky with allison grimes. >> he already has. >> the clintons feel like they've cracked the code on how to respond to these personal attacks, to lean into them, to borrow a phrase, go hard on the idea they're being personally targeted. hillary has a very active base of people eager to see him as a victim. i think the clintons have an effective way -- >> interesting to see how she deals with the rollout of her new book, how does she appear. >> stamina questions. questions about health will come up, policy questions as well. democrats think her age is experience. that's a good thing. one of the youngest republicans is marco rubio. listen to him here talking to abc's jonathan karl about, hey, i'm ready. >> do you think you're ready to be president? >> i do. but i think that's true for
multiple other people that want to run. i'll be 43 this month. the other thing people might not realize, i've served in public office by a better part of 14 years. >> sounds odd, i'll be 43. some of you haven't met 43 yet. you can argue the flip side, right? you wrote a piece about this. republicans have been arguing for years about president obama. nice guy, wasn't ready. can their freshmen senators, ted cruise, marco rubio, rand paul, can they make the case to be president after for years saying the problem with the current president is he was too young? >> they're going to have to clear the hurdle that republicans have set in this race. i talked to each of those candidates -- potential candidates about the possibility that this experience argument would come up with they run. ted cruz said, you know what voters are looking for is a fighter, someone who is going to lead on the issue.
rand paul said having senators have that lots of experience has not been a good thing for our party. marco rubio points back to not only what he did in the state legislature, but a number of the policy platform ts he's been rolling out methodically, he's sort of an ideas guy. the question is not whether or not they have ideas, but whether they can manage such a sprawling government after republicans have raised the question of whether the president is ready for this. >> i can see whether it's jeb bush, chris christie, rick perry turning to those freshmen senators in a debate to make this point. everybody sit tight. up next, tomorrow's news today. our reporters get you ahead of the curve on the plight political stories to come. (mother vo) when i was pregnant... i got more advice than i knew what to do with. what i needed was information i could trust on how to take care of me and my baby. luckily, unitedhealthcare has a simple program that helps moms stay on track with their doctors
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vrnlths time to around the table for the big political stories to come. molly ball? >> i am going to plug a bit a big story i wrote about the politics of genetically modified food. if it's not on your radar as a political issue, it's going to be. last week vermont was the first to pass a gmo labeling bill that requires foods sold in vermont to have a label on it if it's genetically modified. 89 bills being considered. on the ballot in oregon this
fall. a passionate activist movement that will keep coming. >> i love that, passion. robert? >> on saturday, former florida governor jeb bush gave his only commencement address of the year in western pennsylvania at a small christian liberal arts school called grove city college. laura bush, the former first lady gave the commencement address in 2011. it's in the rust belt in western pennsylvania, for him to pick that strategically is an interesting side of what's on his mind. >> leaning in there. julie? >> democrats are starting to feel increasingly optimistic about the marks. this is mark pryor of arkansas and mark begich of alaska. they're starting to show strength in recent polls. pryor appeared with the president in arkansas when obama went down there to see tornado damage. this allows him to push back against critic whose say he's running away with the president
but appears in a setting to make it tough for opponents to use it against them. >> those two races, big for the republicans if they lose those. >> battle royale in georgia. tuesday is a critical primary day. we'll see a nine-week runoff. the question is going to be what do the outside groups that have sat out in this race, the groups on the right, senate conservatives fund, big spending groups that got involved in primaries. whether or not they'll galvanize behind the candidates. who they're looking at is karen handle, the former secretary of state in georgia. if she gets into the runoff, expect the groups on the right to start to put money behind her potentially and this becoming another tea party versus establishment war. >> in that note, i had a peek at private but reliable polling that shows mitch mcconnell will coast to a big win over matt bevin in kentucky on tuesday.
don't expect a big mcconnell celebration, even though this is key to crushing the tea party. that polling also shows he's in a very, very tight race with allison grimes. straight to general election in that state because democrats seeing a shot to knock off the senate republican leader. everybody involved thinking the spending in that race will surpass. $100 million, making it the most expensive in history. "state of the union" with candy "state of the union" with candy crowley starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com the day when 20 boys and girls from topeka, kansas, changed the world through their classroom. today after weeks of ugly words that opened racial divides, comes the 60th anniversary of the supreme court decision, brown versus board of