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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  January 12, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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and for a long time to come, and what do you think that the lasting legacy of harry reid's influence is going to be? >> very complicated one. it is one that he relished in, that he was a complicated man, a complicated politician, and a complicated legislator, and it all comes with how he grew up. so many tales of americans kind of living the american dream coming from nothing and reaching the top of this country, but there are few as storied and real and raw as harry reid. the fact they went to searchlight, nevada, and the truckstop, and desert town outside of las vegas and i saw the town where he grew up, and
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basically a shack, and no running water. he fought himself out of there, and hitchhiking in order to get to high school in henderson, nevada, and the fact that he came from there, and clawed his way up in politics, was the reason why he said to me and probably manu, and you, kate, and jeff, many times that he wanted to fight as hard as he could for what he saw as his prime legislative legacy, which is obama care, an pushing hard to make sure that it happened. you saw over the weekend when president obama was eulogizing him, and he said point blank, obama care would not be the law of the land without harry reid's knowledge of the senate rules, and the knowledge of the senators that he worked with, and how to work them, and how not to work them. i'll just say that it is because of what he saw in his own family, the lack of health care, and his brother having a broken
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leg and writhing in pain, and having to wait it out because they did not have health care, and that is what pushed him to having to push that health care legacy, and that is probably the biggest among others. >> and we will have to wait as the vice president has entered the rotunda and the first gentleman, and then next the remains and the casket of harry reid will enter. manu, dana used the word complicated and i am trying to think of the words, but i am thinking a study of contrast, and a former boxer, and ruthless negotiator, and so powerful, but yet in appearance, he seemed slight. how would you describe him?
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you covered him as well. >> he wroez rose to be one of the most powerful sen is or thes in history. he is not at all charismatic, and he would be the first to admit it, but how the work the senate behind the scenes, and work the blunt, and sometimes the gaffes that he would commit, he would work privately with the senators from behind the isle, and try to cu-- behind the aisld even from the senators, he would work with them quietly in different ways, and republicans would remember the things that he did over the years to try to mend the fences. and senator susan collins is one of them after attacking the republic cans afterwards and he would talk to them about how he admired the what he stood for. and as dana rightly points out, if not for him, there would not
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have been affordable care act the law of the land, because it was his deal making that got it through, and not the speech fiing, but going out there to cutting can deals, and if not for him, the democrats would not have taken control of the early part of the g fooing to give th democrats control of the 50-50 senate, and shrewd player who grew up from humble roots, and very impoverished roots to give rise of one of the most consequential figure, and you will hear from senator schumer who will eulogize him today, and speaker pelosi today, and that is what you will hear from the senators on both sides of the
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isl aisle since his passing. >> yefjeff, you were in nevada s weekend, and it would not be president obama without harry reid. >> that is possible. president obama spoke about this directly at the memorial service on saturday in las vegas as he gave the eulogy there. and you know, the former staffers as well. he had relationships across the aisle, but it was the early conversation in the spring of 2006 with the freshman senator barack obama that there was a changing sense, largely because of the iraq war. if you think about it at the time, hillary clinton was running, joe biden was running,
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john edwards was running, and perhaps some others, but he saw barack obama, and he said, why don't you consider running for president. at this point, senator obama took it seriously, but it was the partnership that got everything to get done that manu and dana were talking about, and he said it best when he called him a mag matist, and he was not exactly a protagonist, and he wanted to get things done. so he is not replaceable for that, and you can see chuck grassley there, the long time senator from iowa, and how many former senators have we seen lying in this the last movrnts, and bob months co
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mind. >> and is that landra? >> yes. >> and his partner is 60-plus years, and something that must be noted as well. >> i am so glad that you said that, because what a love story. senator reid had a love of the senate, but the first love was the family, and it all started with his wife landr, and i mentioned that they met as teenagers, and he hitchhiked to go to high school. and she was a teenaged jewish woman -- >> i am going to cut you off as they begin the inshowication, and we will listen together. >> he was tireless spirit that sparred this nation, thank you. that this journey from
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searchlight, nevada, found his spirit to our capitol, and that he would exercise his drive and passion and go to distance in this political ring. bless this gathering as we honor his legacy that has touched countless policies and people. now, as he rests from the joy of the work that he has done for this country, having spoken plainly and listened well, may he hear your own "well done" for his faithful and devoted service to this body and nation. inspire in all who yet serve the same willingness to serve pragmatism even if it is unpopular, and pragmatism that befits this institution. it is your eternal name that we
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pray. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable charles e. schumer, the leader of the united states senate. >> thank you. it is such a honor to speak about my mentor henry reid of searchlight, nevada, as he would proudly say of himself. first let me say to his family and particularly to landra, the love of harry's life of 62 years who he called his rock. the only time i ever saw harry cry is when he told me that landra had an awful car accident
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and had broken so many bones. he said over and over again as tears streamed down his cheeks, my poor little landra, my poor little landra and a few months ago i lost my father abe, but i feel his spirit with me every single day, and just as i mow that harry is with you, landra and your family and with all of us today and for many of us forever more. to celebrate harry under the dome is a few contradictions. to anybody who knew harry could count on a few things. he never said good-bye on the phone, and it was that each freshman would call me up and say, why is harry mad at me. no, no, no i did not have to tell them, and no, he did not
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explain why, but he is not mad, but he just hung up, and harry would have been deeply embarrassed and holding not one, but multiple ceremonies in his honor. ki hear him now, you guys organized an entire ceremony in nevada and invited former and current senators and you had the front man from the killer sing and still it was not enough for all of you. and on the other hand, harry may not want this pomp and circumstance, i know that a part of him would enjoy it. he was sort of like sid see czar when sid see czar gave a good line, no more applause, please. my friends, we celebrate henry mason reid's return to the capital, because we must. few have shaped the workings of this building like our dear friend from nevada. few have dedicated their lives to the work of the people quite
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like harry did, and today, our feelings of both loss and gratitude are immense. i got to know harry when we came to the senate in 1999, and we could not have been more different. me a brash jewish kid out of brooklyn and there was harry a mormon from searchlight, nevada. i learned quickly, what harry said even though he spoke lightly, carried the force of thunder. he was honest, direct, and he was original. i loved this story back in 2012 during the democratic national convention in charlotte, harry summoned me to his hotel one late night. i rushed over and i saw landra in the room, but before i could say anything, harry pulled me aside into the small little
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bathroom, and we were right on top of each other, and he lowered his voice. and he said, chuck, i want to take care of something very important, he said, and he pulled out a wad of cash from his pocket. he peeled out four $100. you have been working hard and doing the right things to become leader, but you need to dress the part, go buy some better shoes for goodness sakes. later on i asked him why he pulled me into the bathroom for that conversation. his answer, so he would not embarrass me in front of landra and that is harry reid to a tee. if you were lucky enough to be someone that harry cared about and called your friend and he cared with every fiber of his being, and the generosity went beyond everything sartorial, and he called up my wife, and he
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said, vi i have sent you and ch the greatest thing. it is a month subscription of netflix, and i didn't have the heart to tell him that we had subscribed for four years already. he did not like new technology, and he did not text or mail, and when you called him, he hung up the phone so quickly, that he would hang up that you would think that he was allergic to technology. and what he was allergic to was not getting things done in the cap capitol. he never forgot his friends or neighbors who just like harry early on struggled to get by. and he kept up with so many of them, and we remember hearing all of the stories. in harry's view, the government had a moral obligation to see to it that these people had a every
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opportunity to secure a better life for themselves and their families. he was tough as nails and fighter for the core, but within of the most compassionate individuals that you could imagine. in short, he was one of the most incredible and generous individuals that i have ever met, and the sort of person that you will only come across in a handful of your lives. when you lose somebody as special as harry, they are never gone, and they are always with you. for those of us in the democratic caucus, that was especially true last week as we observed the violent insurrection of the capitol, and on that day, we saw so many selfless acts of the capitol police, and they saw among the ranks of a young harry who served in the esteemed
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university. he took great care of the senators in the institution, but he also knew that the senate had to adapt to changing times. as we confront the challenges of the coming weeks and months, i take comfort knowing that harry is with us in spirit. walking alongside us, as we continue to work that he dedicated himself to for so many years. may god rest his immortal soul and may his memory be a blessing to us all.
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>> landies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house of representatives. >> good morning. madam vice president, distinguished congressional leaders and our special guest, the family of harry reid. today as speaker of the house, it is my solemn and official honor to welcome back to the united states capitol the legendary leader of great integrity, a pioneering patriot, and a dear friend, harry mason reid. on behalf of the congress, i extend a special welcome to his loving wife and rock, leandra
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with whom he shared happiness, and their happiness was a joy that they shared, and their children, all of whom and his grandchildren all of whom he was very, very proud. on saturday, we gathered in nevada for a celebration of harry's life. listening to the leadership of his church, and the adoring comments of his children, it is clear that harry's strength sprang from the family, and the church, and his patriotism from the love of our country and future. and it is fitting that we pay final tribute of harry here in the united states capitol. it is here where he served as a sentinel of the capitol police
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workforce as he worked through law school, and served three decades representing his beloved home state of nevada including two terms as the house of representatives. chuck always says he was decades in the senate, and it is here that his portrait hangs in these hallowed hall offering a sense of strength and ins pags to amount al. from the highlights of capitol h hill, he and i served as leaders in the respective houses, it allowed md the privilege to watch him defy the odds everyday. indeed, to see him lead and legislate was to see a master at work with a brilliant strategic
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mind and command of the rules and respect for the senator, and despite the long odds with the leader of the president obama, and then president biden, we forged the recovery act, and the dodd/frank act, and the affordable health care act, and as everybody knows he loved the home state of nevada. he fought for them in every possible way, and preserving the natural environment or protecting the coveted role in the presidential slelection process. for someone who served 12 years, there is much more they wanted to serve, and he is a man of a few words, and he would want us
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all to be of a few words. as referenced by the leader schumer and others who knew him. we spoke on the phone every every rej slaytive day, so i hold the record of being hung up on more than anybody. many times i would call him back, and say, "harry, i was only going to thank you and praise you for what you have done." i don't want to hear it. i don't want to hear it. he was so modest. as he came and -- referenced his retirement, and announced the retime, i would say, harry, we will have a big dinner, and have all of the friends from your family, to come to pay tribute to you. he said, feed it on feeding the
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poor. i don't want to have any praise. needless to say, the humility made him unique in the political arena, and also beloved by so many who work in the halls, whether it is the colleagues or the friends and the house and the senate or the capitol police or those who uphold the institution of the capital police loved harris. at the end of his term, he came over to my office and he said, they have something for you, and i want you to remember me by. i thought a note or a photo something. instead, he brought in a unwrapped a bald eagle. an american symbol.
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a bald eagle, stuffed, but still with the breeze fluttering its wings. i said, harry, what happened? did you go hunting and accidentally shoot a bald eagle, an endangered species. he said, no, he flew into a live wire, and so i call him sparky. i said, okay. well, accepted sparky, but with his permission, and appropriately, we have named him harry. sparky flew from the leader's office to the speaker's office now harry. as we know, when harry entered the political arena, he could hold his own in the boxing ring, and so it is fitting to quote muhammad ali and his immortal words capture harry's fighting
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spirit. muhammad ali said that "impossible is not a declaration, it is a dare." harry would be the first to admit that he was the not the biggest, the loud or but he was tough, and he conquered the impossible and he made the world a better place. history will remember him as one of the consequential senate majority leaders of all time, but those of us fortunate to know him and love him will also remember his character and compassion, and his goodness. his goodness. to his many loved ones, thank you for sharing harry reid with the country, and the congress. may it be a comfort to you s, a
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to the great state of nevada, the grateful nation mourns your loss, and so many people are praying for you at this sad time. god truly blessed america with the life and leadership of harry reid, leader harry reid. may he rest in peace. thank you. all right. the program will continue, and kind words from house speaker nancy pelosi, and let me bring in dana bash, and manu raju, and your words from what we are hearing here. >> again, it is hard to capture harry reid, because of the
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compl complicated need of him. one look at chuck schumer who said that he did not text, but he did text. he was fighting pancreatic cancer, and checking in on how he was, and he said, not feeling good enough to spar, but last saturday, landra and i celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary, and that sums it up before the ceremony began, but it is looking like he has, she is holding his hat there, and the love of his life, and his partner, and obviously she did not serve, i know that she was
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very influential on him with a number of policy issues quietly, kate. >> and very kind good-bye happening from the senate, and well, from congress right now, as we are taking a look at landra. manu, chuck sumer said that they will continue to work that reid continued his work for so many years. very appropriate now that the debate over the filibuster is back again, because he had a real impact, and major influence on that debate as well. >> yeah, no question. his move in 2013 to change the senate's filibuster's rules to fulfill the party lines, and that is ramifications that is still rewe saw the institution that needed to evolve, and reid was dead set against that, because as worried as joe
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manchin is today, and kierstin cinema needed to do, and because of the way that the institution is performing, and fast forward nine years later, it is exactly what the senate is debating, and trying to pass through the sweeping reform laws as the democrats are trying to do. and it is interesting to hear schumer and reid. reid elevated schumer through the reins of the caucus, and after reid announced he would retire, it was reid who decided that he would elevate schumer to succeed him in the post. and so harry reid's impact was so significant. while hoe did not want to talk about the legacy as we heard from nancy pelosi, the words are very real, and one that people
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on capitol lead for years to come. >> manu, and dana, thank you very much. this program will continue, and we will turn our attention to other big headlines that we are looking at today. including the highest inflation we have seen in decades. and what will the biden administration do in thatication. visit your local t-mobile store today. it's epiq here. it's epiq here. it's epiq out here, too. introducing the epson epiq vision mini projector. so epic, so mini. the top-rated epson epic vision mini is the new immersive way to enjoy your favorite content. like streaming movies, tv shows, sports, workout classes, and even gaming, wherever you like. the picture is so big. up to 150
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supply chain issues and all that is wrapped in with it. john harwood is at the white house with more on this, and that this is not the worst of it. what are you hearing, john? >> it is not unexpected, but it is underscoring why this is a big concern for the american people, and the biden white house, and as you mentioned, the highest year over year inflation in four decades. now we have a reaction from president biden and i want to read it to you here. the president says -- today's report shows a meaningful headline of inflation with gas and food prices falling, and means that we are making progress in slowing the rate of inflation, and at the same time this report means that we have to make work to do with this economic slump. we have one of the best
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economies to sustain strong economic growth. that is my goal and i am focused on reaching it everyday. so as a matter of policy, this is a problem for the federal reserve and through the monetary policy, it has the greatest influence on regulation, and so last year it did spur inflation because of the amount of money it pumped into the economy, but it is a big political problem for president biden, because the inflation sours the mood on him, and the state of the things in the country, and also more specifically, because there are some members of congress including joe manchin, the holdout senator of west virginia, including the build back bettered a agenda is goin influence the agenda. >> thank you for that. i want to turn to the surge. hospitalizations continue to hit new records and close to 146,000
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americans with covid are in the hospital right now. the u.s. is now averaging nearly 750,000 new cases of covid everyday. and now, dr. anthony fauci is offering a blunt assessment. >> the omicron is offering a degree of transmissibility is going to ultimately find just about everybody. >> joining me now for more on this is dr. john reiner, and medical adviser to the george bush white house, and what do you think about what dr. fauci said there, and it is a change in the tone, because it seems a significant shift saying no thaw everybody is going to, is going to get it, and what do you hit the means? well, i don't think
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is saying that everybody is going to get omicron, but, everybody is going to encounter omicron, and how prepared are you when the virus does find you. and for the people who are unvaccinated, this virus will make them sick, and can kill them. for people who are vaccinated and boosted, illness, either they won't contract the disease at all or illness will be mild and quite limited. that is really what he is saying. the virus is everywhere, and it is going to find you, and it is really your decision about how protected you are when the virus does find you. >> is it saying this and the acting fda commissioner said that as well yesterday. is it defeatist or realistic, because when and if people should be changing their behavior with them giving this assessment now.
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>> no, i think it is realistic. the virus is everywhere. if the united states is reporting or announcing 750,000 cases a day, the number is a multiple of that, because many people are now testing at home. so, it is clear that 1 to 2 million people are contracting this virus per day. i will tell you that there is some good news, and certainly evidence now where i live and work in d.c. that the peak has passed and daily cases are now dropping. there is some ed that it is ha happening in new york as well, and early signs that it is happening in massachusetts and boston. so, we are starting to understand that, this kind of the surge has a very, very sharp rise, and then hopefully a sharp decline, but it is moving through the united states, and it is going to go all over this country. it is not too late to get vaccinated, and if you are not
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boosted, you should be, because we have only boosted one-third of the people in the country, and it is going to increase your protection. so to say that everybody is going to encounter this virus, but the outcome depends upon your vaccination status. >> and glimmers of hope. and for all of the time that we talk on television and off, you are not afraid to call out any politician or anyone when needed, and i am curious about the latest statement from donald trump, because what he now says about vaccines and boosters and about people who don't get them. and let me play this. >> i have taken it. i have had the booster. and many politicians, and have you had the booster, and they are answering it like, the answer is yes, but they don't want to say it, because they are gutless. you have to say it. whether you had it or not, you
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have to say it. but the fact is that the vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world. i have had absolutely no side effects, and i have had it like other people have had it. nothing special. i have had it. >> the reality is that his motivation here is not necessarily about the public health, but it is about undermining a potential political rival in the florida governor, but hearing this now coming from donald trump? >> i welcome it, and i hope he says it everyday. where have you been everyday for a year? we have been vaccinating for a year, and the president who takes credit for the development of the vaccine has been silent. he was vaccinated in private. he was boosted in private. he tried to speak to the crowd about this, and he got booed, and he stopped doing that, and now i welcome it. great.
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keep doing it, but it is frustrating to me, because how many tens or hundreds of thousands of his supporters have needlessly died, because he has kept quiet about the vaccine. i love the unambiguous support of the vaccine, and i hope he does it more. >> thank you, dr. reiner, and also now, the number one world tennis player in the world novak djokovic is saying that he did not quarantine, and he is also answering whether he submitted false information before he entered the country. paula hancocks is in melbourne with the developments, and every day, more developments happening, paula, but there has to be some resolution on this one way or another, and the question is whether he is going to play. what are you hearing? >> well, kate, there does need to be some resolution, and at
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this point, we don't know when it is going to happen. the immigration minister is considering whether to step in and revoke the visa, and there is an expansion of the board to look into the pcr result as well, and the movements after he has tested positive, and we don't know when that is coming, too, and we know he gave that statement wednesday, and he has also given more documentation to the investigation, which could stloe it down, but what he has been talking about is what we are talking about, and when he tested, and who knew about it, and he has admitted that even though he was tested december 16th, he did not know that he was positive until after all of the events maskless on december 17th, but the next day, december 18th, carried out a photo shoot,
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and media event. he has pointed out that since he went home after that, and decided it is not the best idea, and quote, on reflection, this was an error of obstruction and even after he believed it was an error of judgment. even on the declaration, it was not him who did it, but the support team saying that he had not traveled and it was clear that he had. and so in less than 12 hours, we will have the draw for the men's tournament, and assuming that novak djokovic's name is in that. >> okay. we will follow it. now, big developments in the u.k. boris johnson is apologizing for attending a garden party, and strick guidelines in may of 2020, and he did stop short of admitting any wrongdoing. we have more on this in london,
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and selma, what are you hearing? >> a massive about face from the prime minister, and weeks of outdoor parties, and bring your own booze parties, and he admitted that he was at one of the parties. >> and so number 10 is an extension of the office and it has been in constant use because of the fresh airsh and when i went into the garden as an extension of the office to thank the groups of staff before going into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, i believed implicitly that this was a work eve event. >> as you heard there, kate, admitting, and apologizing and not admitting to breaking any covid rules, but still
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significant that this is a prime minister who is feeling cornered, and he feels that he has to respond. what that means that he is increasingly weak and vulnerable. so there is a political aspect, and does thiz own party back him, or the supporters turn on him, and there is the case that he losing. >> sellma, thank you. a new york judge has rejected a request of britain's prince andrew to dismiss a sexual lawsuit against him. this morning, a woman's lawsuit can proceed against him. she claims that he and ghislaine had shielded him from the
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lawsuit, and there is no other word on the judge's ruling. i will speak with democratic senator tina smith next. ♪ my name is austin james. as a musician living with diabetes, fingersticks can be a real challenge. that's why i use the freestyle libre 2 system. with a painless, one-second scan i know my glucose numbers without fingersticks. now i'm managing my diabetes better and i've lowered my a1c from 8.2 to 6.7. take the mystery out of managing your diabetes and lower your a1c.
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>> president biden is challenging senators to in his words stand against the voter suppression and asking them to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass two bills without needing the republican support and aimed at restricting voting nationwide. listen to president. >> do you want to be on the side of george king or george wallace? do you want to be on the side of john lewis or bull conner? do you want to be on the side of abraham lincoln or jefferson davis? this is the moment to decide, to defend >> joining me now for more on this is democratic senator tina smith of minnesota. senator, thank you for being here. you support the filibuster. we talked about this in the
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past. your colleagues krysten sinema and joe manchin, they do not agree. so despite the impassioned speech yesterday, what is the answer here? >> hi, kate. i do support the filibuster. it's important to understand that these old archaic senate rules, which have changed many times over the senate, can be tweaked many different ways. that's what we're working real hard to figure out. my colleagues like john tester, others who have not supported changing the filibuster, are now on board with trying to find a path forward with senator manchin and senator sinema and that's a good thing. there are a lot of ways to restore the filibuster to where it used to be. i came on as senator and i thought about mr. stewart on the floor of the senate, arguing for the way it should be. maybe that's the way we should restore the filibuster so it
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isn't just used as an instrument to block all legislation. those are ideas we have to find a solution to between now and monday, dr. king's birthday, when we're going to be voting on the senate floor. >> notthose are ideas. those ideas are out there of how to reform, and another option is just completely blow up the filibuster. but the fact of the matter remains that if joe manchin and krysten sinema are not on board, you're not doing it. and schumer said there are constant discussions happening right now with everyone in the democratic caucus and joe manchin and krysten sinema about this. have you spoken to them? >> i have spoken to them, and i'm going to continue those conversations. i think the way senator schumer put it is exactly right. this isn't something we gather once a week to talk about, there is constant -- >> i imagine you're not going to
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disclose private conversations, but what is your pitch to manchin here? >> my pitch is first that there is no freedom that is more precious, no power that is more precious to americans and their power to exercise their voices through their votes. we're looking at an unprecedented attack on that power, and we cannot use old rules as an excuse for not taking action. this is a vote we're going to remember all of our lives, i'm sure. that's the argument on the policy of it. but the other argument is that these senate rules are not written in cement. they change from time to time. in fact, senator byrd, who is senator manchin's mentor, also said that the senate rules change as circumstances warrant. so the question is then figuring out, okay, how do they change in order for us to get support amongst 50 of us to move this legislation forward? and i'm hopeful that we're going to be able to figure it out. we have to figure it out.
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>> you are hopeful. the reality of it, and you know it, the fear is that it opens the floodgates, then, to what comes next. that stands to be seen. before you go, i do want to ask you about the hearing that you were a part of yesterday with top public health officials, including dr. anthony fauci. senator rand paul went after fauci again in a personal way that he has at every hearing. and also so did senator roger marshall. i'm going to play this. >> you see things before members of congress would see them so there is an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on. i assume that's not the case. i assume -- >> what are you talking about? my financial disclosures are public knowledge and have been so. you are getting amazingly wrong information. >> our office cannot find them. where would they be if they're public knowledge? where? >> it is totally accessible to
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you if you want it. >> to the public. is it accessible to the public? >> to the public. and you are totally incorrect. >> senator marshall, dr. fauci has answered you that it's public information and he's happy to give it to you if you would ask. >> what a moron. jesus christ. >> dr. fauci off mic calling someone a moron. you would assume he's talking about senator marshall. there are tough questions to ask dr. fauci, senator. why do you think they're getting personal instead? >> well, i think they're getting personal because we can see that there are republicans that are using this as a way of raising money and building their own platform on social media. this is really outrageous. we have elected people not only in the senate but around the country, republicans, targeting dr. fauci, disseminating bad
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information about him, generating this level of hatred against him from their supporters, and then they come before the senate committee and say, oh, people really don't like you, dr. fauci, when they're the ones that are generating all of this hatred. it's completely irresponsible. i don't blame dr. fauci for getting frustrated. here we are in the midst of a significant surge of covid caused by the omicron virus. we have important policy issues that we ought to be coming together and trying to resolve, and this is what we end up doing, wasting our time on things like this. it's just really outrageous. >> senator, thank you for coming on. >> thank you. i want to turn now to this. officials in new york city have now identified all 17 victims of sunday's apartment fire. eight children were among the victims. a two-year-old, two five-year-olds, a six-year-old, an 11-year-old and three
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12-year-olds. unbelievable. the medical examiner's office said all 16 victims died of smoke inhalation. joining me now for more on this is david banks. he's the new chancellor of new york city public schools. thank you for being here, chancellor. you visited four schools that lost students in this fire, four schools. you spoke to their teachers. what have you learned about these children and what do you say today about this tragedy and the impact now on the community? >> kate, thank you so much for having me today. it's just truly heartbreaking. mayor eric adams and i both went to visit the schools where all these young people who passed away, where they went to school. it's one thing to talk about it, there is a name you see on a report, but when you go to the school and you look in the eyes of the teachers who taught them and to see all of those educators heartbroken, in tears, in a state of shock.
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it was a lot to deal with, but they were so appreciative that we were there. i'll remember one teacher in particular who read a letter from one of the students who died who just said, you know, i appreciate you so much for being a great teacher, and when i get older, i want to grow up and just be a kind person. and everybody in the room was just in tears. it was -- to realize that's a life that we lost and it was so personal. we're all still grieving. >> yeah. i mean, that's -- that's gut-wrenching to hear those sweet words from a child whose life was cut so unbelievably too short. you're also dealing with so much now in your administrative capacity of a tumultuous return to school after the winter break with this omicron surge. just a reminder to everyone, new york city public schools is the largest public school district in the country, and you and the mayor have been determined to return to full in-person learning. the positivity rate, we were
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just looking, among students was about 13%. i think now it's about 10%. how is it going? is that a success right now, when you know so many other school districts are not returning to full-time yet? >> it is absolutely a success. the mayor and i have only been in office a little over a week, and what a week it's been. but the top priority was ensuring that our schools are safe and that they're open. and i think that we are absolutely meeting that mark. i visited schools in every borough across new york city, and i will tell you the parents overwhelmingly have said, thank god that you have kept these schools open. continue to do that. we certainly heard from lots of parents who are still concerned and would like -- >> from students, too, right? you have about 200 students walking out of some schools yesterday demanding remote learning because they said they don't feel safe, they want a
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hybrid option. they don't feel safe. what do you say to them? >> i'm going to be meeting with many of those student leaders. we saw them walk out. i certainly appreciate any time students raise their voices to be heard, and those young people are saying, we want to be heard, and we're going to meet with them, we'll listen to them, we'll consider everything they're feeling, because i understand and kempathize with where they are, but i want to focus on keeping our schools open. our schools are sanctuaries, kate. they're not just buildings that you open and close. they are relationships with young people and their teachers and all the adults who are in that building. and we saw, during the height of this covid-19, when we had so many schools that were closed and we were teaching virtually, the amount of loss, the significant loss that so many of our children have suffered from. so it has been our goal told everything we can to keep it open and to keep them safe, but we're absolutely going to be talking to these young people
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and trying to figure out the best ways to meet where everybody is. >> you have a huge job before you. you knew it taking over the post, and you got to get it right. so thank you for coming on, chancellor. i appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> appreciate it very much. thank you all so much for being with us this hour. i'm kate bolduan. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thank you, kate, and hello and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. a record number that spells trouble for president biden, inflation spiking to its highest level in nearly 40 years as everything from gas to your couch to your sweat pants is getting more expensive. today big pressure on two senate democratic moderates to change their minds about the filibuster and voting rights, and big questions, too, from activists about why was president biden, they say, awol until just now. and mitch

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