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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 26, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EST

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saying it's going too easy. orlando tamayo was a plumber and brick layer by trade, dead, some would argue for speaking out against the government. it's been a good week, folks. thanks for being with us. we return next monday. off to my colleague and friend wolf blitzer in "the situation room." have a great weend, rick. democrats vow to move forward on health care reform with or without republicans. did the summit create any new hope for bipartisanship? i'll ask michael steele and tim kaine. they're tanneding by live. also this how, new york governor david paterson says he won't run for a full term in office after all. will that satisfy his critics and cool down a red-hot scandal? seaword says on with the show, keeping the giant whale that killed a trainer. is the park doing enough to make sure that no one else dies? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room."
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president obama's only days away from revealing what's called a way forward for health care reform. the white house says he'll consult with democratic leaders in congress and then make an announcement next week. today the house speaker nancy pelosi all but confirmed an open secret here in washington, democrats are making tentative plans toia a controversial legislative shortcut known as reconciliation, that could allow them to pass health care reform without any republican votes, all this playing out a day after the summit at blair house across the street from the white house. by cnn's count, they have a total of 257 minutes of talking time, gop lawmakers got to speak for 111 minutes joining us is tim kaine. we'll be joined fairly soon, we
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hope, by the chairman of the republican party michael steele as well. but let me start with you, governor kaine, is it a forgotten concluding that the democrats one way or another will try to pass this including the 51-vote majority procedure known as reconciliation? the president sought republican ideas and heard a couple good ones he acknolled, ideas about sale of insurance across state lines. there's a piece of that already in the bill, but perhaps it can be augmented. ideas about eliminating frivolous lawsuits, so the president acknowledged the republicans had a good point, but there's a process for going to an up or down vote to try to find a path forward and you will see the two houses and the president roll out a strategy very soon. >> how worried are you? the republicans say if you try
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to ram this through, you'll pay a huge price in november in the midterm elections? >> wolf, let me do two things. first, the bill has passed the senate already with 60 votes, so it wasn't rammed through. in fact, it's been played out in slow motion. senator bachus kept his committee open and extended for some period of time so that the bill that the senate has passed already has a number of republican amendments to it, but you're right, it looks like there's some possibility that what the senate might do is pass a second bill on financing adjustments through a reconciliation process. the reconciliation process is every bit as much a part of the senate rules, as the filibuster is, for example. and it has been used repeatedly in the last 30 years, mostly by republicans, but often on health care matters. so the cobra protection that workers have when they lose their jobs to continue health insurance, the "r" in cobra stands for reconciliation.
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>> you heard john mccain say this is, what, a sixth of the whole gd. of the entire u.s. economy and it was never meant that this kind of process was never meant to enact this dramatic change in american economic policy. >> wolf, it's hard to take the republican claims of good faith seriously when they so misstate the rules of the senate like that. the balanced budget act, one of the most important pieces of legislation that was passed, passed under the reconciliation project. the s-chip program that insures millions of low-income american kids passed with reconciliation. this is a rule every bit as much as the filibusters. i know the republicans like the 60-vote requirement and trying to use it as much as they can, but this 50-vote requirement is part of the senate procedure that the republicans have used obvious when it was in their interests to do so. i think what the american public wants is not debates over process, they want an end
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result, an end result that will -- it's not just senator mccain, but robert byrd, he wrote an op-ed piece say this reconciliation procedure was never meant to deal with something like health care reform. >> but it has been used, wolf. >> he knows a lot about the rules of the senate, robert byrd. >> and i'm going to defer to him on that. i'm not a senate rule expert, but i know the history. reconciliation has been used to balanced budget act, for s-chip, for key procedures. again, what the american public wants is why shouldn't we be able to have an up or down vote. the bill has already passed, as you know, with 60 sloets the it met that super-majority requirement. reconciliation is not something you would traditionally use for shrchs reforms, things like that, but on revenue adjustments or the financing of the bill, that's exactly what reconciliation was intended for. the american public's entitled to an up or down vote on whether
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the system will be reformed, whether people with insurance will be protected from the horrible rate increases that you've been seeing all across the country in recent weeks, so it is important that we get to a final vote in this matter. >> are you heard, on a totally different matter, that david paterson will not lead of democratic ticket, won't seek election as governor in new york? >> i respect his decision. i heard it this morning. i was on another television show, and somebody just handed it to me, and i respect the decision. it's a tough time being a governor right now. he's had a lot of issues that i think have been distracting, and he's made a respectable decision. we're going to take that race very seriously. we want to make sure the governor's mansion in albany staying in democratic hands and we'll work hard to do that. >> governor kaine, thanks for coming in. >> always good to be with you, wolf. >> we hope to speak with the chairman of the republican party michael steele, that's coming up
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later. we're following a surprise inside the white house today. the woman at the center of that security breach at the white house a few months ago will soon be out. let's go straight to our white house correspondent dan lothian. we're talking about desiree rodgers, dan. tell us what happened today. >> reporter: that's right, the social secretary, now the white house is confirming she will be stepping down in the next month or two. as you know, she did come under fire when the salahis managed to get into the state dinner. after that she came under fire, there were calls for her to resign, she declined to go up on capitol hill when there was a hearing looking into the security breach. now, the president and the first lady released a statement this afternoon saying, quote, we enormously grateful to desiree rodgers for the terrific job she's done as the without social secretary. when she took the position, we asked her to help make sure the
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white house was the people's house, and she did so. from wounded warriors to local school children to nascar drivers, she organized hundreds of fun and creative events. we will miss her. we thank her again for her service and wish her the best. so why is she leaving now? i asked robert gibbs. >> many of you i think saw the interview that she did where she was asked to tim here and donnell many of the things i talked to jake about she told them that she thought it was that it's time to go bag to doing. >> she is now on her way back to chicago, and did communicate,
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and told me it has been incredible, setting a foundation ar and she said she's headed back to the private sector. >> suzanne has an exclusive interview with van jones, that -- we'll have that interview later here. dan, thanks very much. jack cafferty is next. also coming up, what's next for swift most powerful members of congress? and does george w. bush support the vocal -- host: did the waltons take way too long to say goodnight? mom: g'night john boy. g'night mary ellen. mary ellen: g'night mama. g'night erin. elizabeth: g'night john boy. jim bob: g'night grandpa. elizabeth: g'night ben. m bob:'night. elizabeth: g'night jim bob. jim bob: g'night everybody, grandpa: g'night everybody. @y jim bob: g'night daddy. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
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let's check in with jack cafferty. >> as predicted, that day-long health care summit amounted to a little more than a lot of political theater. the democrats are now taking a hard look at using a 51-vote shortcut in the senate to ram a health care bill through. it's a procedure known as reconciliation. it's supposed to be used only for legislation that affects taxes and the deficit. democrats are trying to figure out how this complicated process might work, and whether they even have enough votes in both houses to make it happen. the plan would be for the house to pass the bill that's already gone through the senate, and then for both houses to pass a package of changes that mirror the president's plan. under those rules, the democrats could only need 51 votes in the senate, but there are a lot of problems. for starters, senate democrats aren't even sure they would have the 51-vote simple majority they
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need. this could face a big-time back did up lash from the public trying to jam it through. over in the house, democrats may not have enough votes, either. the one republican that voted last time says he'll vote know, also democrats facing tough reelection battles who may change their votes to no. abortion might be the biggest obstacle of all, there could be as many as a dozen how democrats with who vote against the bill because they say it's not strict enough to make sure the tax money does not pay for abortions. so here's the question -- should they try to ram it through using reconciliation? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, and post a comment on my blog. i just want to remind our viewers, jack, right after "the situation room," 7:00 p.m. eastern, you have a "broken government" cafferty file special report. give our viewers a preview. it's an hour long that looks at
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the various problems we're encountering, deficit, a national debt that's out of control, unfunded liabilities for social programs, lack the health care reform, two wars, unemployment at 10%. pick something you like. the government is broken. if we don't get something done pretty soon, it probably will be too late. the show starts at 7:00. we'll i be watching. thanks very much, jack. you just heard jack talk about reconciliation. how do you feel about the prospect of that being used to pass health care reform? a company called crimson hexagon tracks online comments about topics. check this out. of more than 14,000 conversation on twit are, facebook, blogs, forums, it finds 39% support reconciliation. 14% think the democrats are hypocrite cal. the last new york governor
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resigned in disgrace amid a sex scandal almost exactly two years now his successor is tarnished by another type of scandal. we're talking about david paterson's problems that have caused a feeding frenzy in fork. as we've mentioned just a short while ago, he announced he won't run for a second term. let's go straight to mary snow. she's working the story for us. very, very different today, only a few days ago he was here in "the situation room" earlier in the week saying he's running, determined to run and there's no way he can change his mind, but all of a sudden he did. >> some democrats in contact with him over the last 48 describes a very different governor, very somber. we learned that he made the decision by late yesterday afternoon as concerns grew among state democrats. a state democratic leader says the decision was made before even paterson spoke to
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reporters. at that point he was opening the door to quit the race. this was just six days avalanching the campaign. with this investigation into whether he and security detail tried to exert influence in a domestic abuse case, he said he had to be realistic about politics and it was an accumulation of obstacles that led him to the decision. >> it has become increasingly clear to me in the last few days that i cannot run for office and try to manage the state's business at the same time. and right now new york state needs a leader who can devote full time to this service. in addition, i am looking forward to a full investigation of access taken by myself and my administration, but i give you this personal oath. i have never abused my office, not now, not ever. >> and that investigation is being conducted by state
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attorney general andrew cuomo who hasn't announced his bid yet for governor. this clears the path for quoema. he said in a statement late today, he will announce his plan at what he calls an appropriate time. wolf? >> how much do we know this was p pat erson's choice? >> as you mentioned. democrats in the state were outspoken about urging him not to run. al sharpton for one applauded his decision today. he was planning a meeting tomorrow with some democrats to discuss paterson's future. democrats were saying behind the scenes they were very worried this was a serious issue, this investigation, and you know, today both "the daily news" and ""new york post" saying time to go. so tern pressure on him. >> for a while that's been going on.
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thanks a lot, mary. a dret at seaworld. when should the show go on? seaworld announces when mail performances will resume after a whale kills its trainer. plus a political wife begins a new chapter in a sordid affair. we're talking about gen,sanford. wait until you hear what the judge gave the wife today. the senator who put a stranglehold on virtually all of the nominations for federal posts. talks to cnn in his first tv interview about it. and richard shelby is not sorry. benefits at greater cost to your company insurance. this is not how does it fit in my company's budget insurance. this is help protect and care for your employees at no cost to your company insurance. with aflac, your employees pay only for the coverage they want or need. and, the cost to you - nothing at all. if all you know about us is... aflac! ...then you don't know quack. to find out why more businesses provide aflac, visit getquack.com
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories. >> seaworld will resume its whale show tomorrow following the death of a trainer in orlando. the park's president is promising to keep trainers out of the water at least until the vision into duan brancheau's death is complete. they say the whale that killed her will remain an active contributor to the team. it sent an entire beachfront block up in flames. no one was in the hotel or the other businesses at the time, because it's the off-season. winds from the same coastal storm also ripped a roof off another hotel. everyone inside got out safely. family court judge in charleston has granted a divorce to jenny sanford, wife of
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scandalized mark sanford. she attended a brief hearing this morning without her husband. she discovered he was having an affair with an argentinian woman he described as his soul mate. the decree will be final in mitt-march. this is probably not the preferred way to send airmail. the cargo door on a plane carrying about 3,000 pounds of mail accidentally opening over montana. postal workers say a couple bag may have been fell out. they're searching for missing pieces. i guess if the check is not in the mail, it might have flown out the back door. >> hope they find it. thanks very much, lisa. he has power over the federal government's purse strings. now his hands have been slapped by house ethics committee. stand by. and why hillary clinton is now slamming the former federal
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reserve chairman alan greenspan. 
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happening now, a top hamas commander is assassinated. 26 suspects have been identified, all have vanished. we watched their district operation unfold. stand by for that. he was supposed to lead the country to green jobs. instead he's president obama's first top-level adviser to hit the bricks. suzanne malveaux has an
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exclusive interview with van jones, his first since leaving the white house. you'll want to see it. an $800 needle, a $1,200 stapler. dr. sanjay gupta breaks down a hospital bill for all of us. it's not necessarily a good day for two national figures who are coincidentally from new york, specifically harlem. we heard governor paterson say he won't run for a second term, but we're also watching at what's happening with charlie rangel. he holds the top spot on a committee that will play a key role in health care and tax cuts for all americans. let's go to brianna keilar. she's working the story for us. what's the fallout from this
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slap that he got? >> the ethics committee says rangel broke the house gift rule. he accepted trips to the caribbean for an annual business conference. he want to antigua in 2007, and the trips were paid for in part by corporate sponsors. under house rules, members are not allowed to do that. so the commit decree says he must repay the costs of the trips. evening though rangel told the committee he wasn't aware the corporate sponsors were in play, they're holding him responsible, because some of his staff members were aware. they're holding him response for those staff members, basically submitting false information when they wanted approve for the trips. >> this was just one of the issues? >> yes, considering he's the head of the house tax committee is one where he failed to pay taxes for a rental property for
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earnings he got from a rental property he owns in the dominican republic. we're still waiting for the ethics committee to put out rulings as well as others, but all of these create a political problem for democrats, because, remember, when house speaker nancy pelosi swept into power, the democrats reclaimed the house, she promised to run the most ethical congress in history, to drain the swamp, as she put it. and i pressed her on that today. >> the appearance, isn't that kind of damage your promise to drain the swamp? >> no, i think every member is entitled to have his day before the ethics committee. they have said he did not knowingly violate the rules. again, if this were the end of it, that would be one thing, but there's obviously more to come. we'll see what happens with in a. >> reporter: republicans seized
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on this latest news, saying that rangel needs to step aside, and could it be that he's sensing pressure from democrats as well. >> we'll follow it with you. >> let's get to michael steele. thanks very much for coming in. >> great to be with you, man. >> do you assume when the dust settles they'll have the votes to get health care passed? >> i don't know, but i would suspect wherever they are, it's not going to be in a good place. you had a lot of folks going into yesterday's event calling it a dog and pony show. i took it -- just the whole
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approach of this thing represented more of a death panel for obama-care. you know, if that wasn't enough, when you come out of this thing and you're looking at the reconciliation fight that may loom ahead of us, it certainly will have represented a death death panel for the democrats this fall. >> i'm not exactly following. those are pretty sharp words. what does michael steele mean by those words as far as the democrats and health kay legislation that they want enacted? >> well, basically what they have done is they've sat in committee now before the nation and effectively by not listens to the american people, by trying to enforce on them a top-down health care system killed any meaningful efforts in my view to get health care done. you saw a president yesterday who interrupted more than he listened. i think that's an important aspect of this to take away from what we saw yesterday. this was a chance for him to sit
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back as the commander in chief, if you will, of his agenda and listen to both sides and try to find between the talking heads there in the room the common ground, the consensus among the members. instead, he engaged as if he was a subcommittee chairman trying to beat back efforts by the opposition to get just one more piece of legislation on the table. >> he convened the meeting, he was the chairman in effect of that session, right? >> yeah, but you can be the chairman of a meeting and still be the one sitting back above the meeting, listening, taking in the points. gives this is the first time he's engaged the republicans in any meaningful way. from my perspective, obama-care hit a wall yesterday and it will be an even bigger wall in my estimation if they go down the road of reconciliation. that's what i mean by a death
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panel. >> it looks like they're going to go down that road one way or another, and obama-care, as you call it, could be the law of the land pretty soon. >> i doubt it. the people don't want it. if they go down this road with reconciliation, then come november, there will be a whole new set of lawmakers in the land come to go washington, because the people will speaking very loud and clear, and then we will begin to undo the damage that has been put in place through obama-care. it's that simple. this is what the people are wanting out there, and this is what we've been talking about and fighting for. listen to the people. they're telling you wolf what they want, man, it's not complicated. >> the president made the same point in his summation at the end of that session when he said, you know what? i hope in the next four to six weeks we could get some bipartisan agreement, but he also made it clear he wants 30 million more americans to have insurance. he says the republicans are ready to provide 3 million
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americans additional insurance -- health insurance over the next ten years. he says on that issue, there doesn't seem to be any way to bridge that gap. >> >> but what is in that gap? what is in between 3 million and 30 million? it's money. it's who pays, it's how much. this administration has not adequately addressed that issue. the cbo numbers are all over the place. the impact on small businesses is all over the place. the level of unclarity to what this obama plan on health care means to me, the small business owner, to me the individual just learned he has cancer, to the individual who's struggling to pay health care costs right now is unclear. so what we've been asking for the president to do, and i applaud leader boehner and leader mcconnell in their efforts to scrap the bill, scrap the bill -- >> no, the president said he's
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not going to do that. >> let's start with something fresh. >> he says he's going forward, and the democrats are going forward. if they get their 51 votes in the senate, they just need 50 plus joe biden, and obama-care could be the law of the land pretty soon. >> it could be, but in the six hours this event went on, we had over a,000 citizens go to our website, gop.com, and sign a petition, scrap the bill petition, 50,000 americans in just that six-hour period, saying this is not what we want, you cannot turn a deaf ear to that, you cannot turn a blind out to what people said was a bottom-up solution, and not the bureaucracy and the programs that will come from the various institutions that will be created from it. >> the folks will have a chance to decide in november in those midterm elections, dig on what
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happens in the next several weeks. michael steele, always good to have you here in "the situation room." >> good to be with you, wolf. >> michael steele is the chairman of the republican party. we're getting worse by the way of a new loss for tiger woods. what the scandal is now costing him. also some veterans of the persian gulf war are getting a second chance to try to prove they have a mysterious illness and discern compensation. and president bush has refused to criticize. does she wish that dick cheney would follow his lead? when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation and with 12,000 atms and thousands of branches, we're with you in more ways and places than ever before. with you when you want the most from your bank. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far.
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secretary of state hillary clinton is raising some eyebrows with something she has said here in washington. let's bring in our analyst david gergen. david, thanks very much for coming in. she was have i contribute cal of the economic situation, and in testimony yesterday she made it clear she's upset with the former federal reserve chairman alan greenspan for the economic policies that he saw through, saying in effect this undermined u.s. national security around the world, because it weakened the u.s. economy. lit to what she said. >> i do not like to be in a position where the united states is a debtor nation. to the extent we are with the projections going far into the future. the kind of disadvantages that
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implies for our ability to protect our security, to manage difficult problems, and to show the leadership that we deserve. >> she named names, david. she wasn't shy. she said -- she went on to say i remember as vividly as if it were yesterday when we had a hearing in that alan greenspan came and testified increases, saying we didn't need to pay down the debt. outrageous, in my view. she was recalling her days as a u.s. senator. strong words from her. >> they were indeed. she's recalling -- as best we can tell there were twice when alan greenspan testified in front of her, back ten years ago, january 2001, just after george w. bush had been inaugurated. at that time her husband, bill clinton, along with the republican congress had left behind the country with substantial surpluses.
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it's hard to remember that then, but alan greenspan said basically we have surpluses as far as the eye can see, and he said in 2011, that's the year we're in now, fiscal year, we're going to have a surplus of $800 billion. so the real question at that time oddly was, well, what to do with all the surpluses? he testified, endorsed the idea of tax cuts. it was seen -- the democrats took umbrage because here was the chairman endorsing tax cuts just after george w. bush was proposing cuts. she was fundamentally right about one point. he did endorse tax cuts, and that has been become part of the problem, and we've gone from being the biggest creditor nation in the word. >> and she says that undermines the security with enormous debt,
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whether it's to japan, china, saudi arabia or whatever. >> i think the foreign policy community increasingly agrees with that view. larry summers raised this question, how long can the world's biggest borrower remain the world 'biggest power? that's a very and profound question. but i do want to say this. i shy she got one thing wrong. she accused greenspan i saying -- he said we can cut taxes, he is a spending hawk, has been all his life, did not want to raise spending. the deficits we now have are a product, yes, in part of the tax cuts, but they're also part of a whole lot more spending since then, so it's a combination. i don't think you can -- i don't think it's fair to hold alan greenspan accountable for the fact that we're the world's largest debtor.
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>> we've been spending a lo lot of time this week on broken government. is this an example of broken government? >> i'm glad you raised that. this goes an opportunity to say there are also things in government that do work. one of them is the federal reserve board. sometimes it makes mistakes, but if you look over a long period of time, the federal reserve board has been an enormous asset for this country. the most respected central bank in the world. the u.s. army, the military is a part of government. it words extraordinarily well, the guest fighting force in the world and best in our history. civil rights, medicare, medicaid, fundamentally those ver successes. so it's important to remember --
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>> david gergen, thanks very much. >> thank you. let's go right to his ooh sylvester. there's a story developing. >> this is a story that's just coming in. another lucrative being relationship bites the dust. gatorade tells cnn it's dropping tiger woods. the cosays we no longer see a role for tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship. the company adds it will continue to partner with the tiger woods foundation and gatorade is sold by peppi company. the company had already stopped selling its tiger woods drink brands in november. wolf? >> thanks very much, lisa for that. sometimes senate action come down to just one senator. how one brought things to a screeching halt. and dr. sanjay gupta takes us behind the scenes in the operating room. you're going to see what you're paying for.
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let's get to our "strategy session." democratic strategist paul begala and alex castellanos. thanks very much for coming in. did you see that story in politico that had a headline, buenning holds floor, and there's a tough, and then bad word, tough something? he used that word? >> i goods we would say tough doo doo. i like swearing, but i think it's good. young people should swear. it's better than smoking or drinking, so i'm pro-swearing,
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but what he said it about is appalling. senator buenning alone is stopping unemployment benefits from continuing. the entire house, 100% of the house voted for it, and i'll bet you 99% of the senate -- >> because it's about to lapse. >> on monday. so 1.2 million americans will lose, and because of his stunt. the republicans ought to call him down. >> no one ever thought buenning full of civility, but what he's doing has a good side to the story. it's $10 billion, which used to be real money that we can't pay for. you know why republicans are trying to hold democrats for this, because there's a senator, barack obama, voted for a 2.9 trillion budget, 3.8 in '09, the t.a.r.p. package, and he says he
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inherited this from george bush. he inherited this from senator obama. >> it's not just unemployment benefits that will run out on monday, but also the cobra program, the benefits they get for insurance will run out as well. >> and the money has run out. if it's worth while, if it's worth doing, let's find the money. >> let's -- >> medicare? social security? that's what the republicans always want to cut. >> i would cut the department of education in washington, because no kid is ever taught there. i would cut the department of commerce, because commerce ought to occur where people are, not where politicians are. >> yes, we had this fight in the '90s, and we balanced the budget, the republicans destroyed that surplus, and it has weakened our country, as secretary of state hillary
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clinton is saying is right. they lost their job because the economic policies buenning voted for, which ran up the deficit. buenning is not a deficit hawk. he helped create these deficits. and they have caused this pain. >> david gergen -- i love it when paul gets excited. don't curse. >> i think david gergen made a good point. that's tax cuts don't necessarily cause deficits. >> yes, they do. >> when you spend money you don't have, that's what causes deficits. that's what president obama did when he was senator obama. he inherited these deficits. >> look, the notion that a guy like mine in a party like the republicans has squandered the greatest surplus in american history, a surplus that democrats built, when it's going to help big fat cats on washington, republicans are -- it's appalling what's occurring
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to those poor people. >> dick cheney the former vice president, today the former president bush had a reunion of his star here in washington, and he said you know what? he approves of the way dick cheney is going after the obama administration, even though say approves of the way that dick cheney is going after the obama administration even though president bush has remained silent. >> and the president is very clear he does not want to get into the politics of this stuff, but the policy of keeping the country safe in foreign affairs is safe to him. when joe biden says that being president is very hard, because you don't have to work at it, the vice president, well, apparently dick cheney is apparently willing to work at it, still. what he is doing is important still. he is calling out the obama administration and raising the red if flags and making it more difficult for them to be weaker and move to the left. that is why they have had to say, look, we will fight a war on terror and not a criminal action. >> dick cheney can speak out and president bush can speak out and finally he has a first amendment
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spokesperson he can endorse. dick cheney did not hold a task force on terrorism that he was required to attack until 9/11. we were attacked on part on 9/11 because bush and cheney were asleep and now they want to criticize president obama, good luck. i think that dick cheney is so discredited, that he can be a spokesperson for the republican party. thank god he is healthy and has good healthy, and but he is the embodiment of weakness, unfairness and ma'am feez sans. >> i think that joe biden was trying to be cute and funny when he said that the vice president is not that tough. >> and second career as a comedian could work out. >> sometimes the cute and funny does not work out. >> well, you are a better moderator though than the president, wolf. >> thank you, guys, very much. >> it is called reconciliation, should the democrats try to ram health care through with 51
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votes? jack cafferty ready to read your e-mails. and he was to be obama's green czar and after a few months van jones says he is about building bridges and speaks to suzanne malveaux and the first interview since leaving the white house. and a stunning cost of surgical procedures. take an itemized tour of the o.r. with dr. sanjay gupta. ♪ ♪
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♪ [ male announcer ] all we ask is that you keep doing what you've always done. ♪ the lexus rx. never has a vehicle been designed to feel so natural. ♪
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right over to jack with the cafferty file.
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jack? >> question this hour, should to democrats try to ram health care reform through the senate with 51 votes using that reconciliation process? tom writes, ram health care reform through, yes, at turbo speed. we took the banking industry off of the leash and they ran away with tril enyons of our dollars and the insurance agency is doing the same thing. i am all for capitalism, but not immoral greed, greed and more greed. donna in canada, it is a stupid idea and it will split the country even more. being from canada, i would love for america to adopt universal health care system and that should be the eventual goal, but america is seriously facing bankruptcy right now. you can't go out to buy an expensive car when you can't afford mortgage payment and the grocery bill. joanne in minneapolis, that would not be wise. the maximum cap on the deficit is $5 billion over ten years using the reconciliation rules. if they do that, they will more than likely be removed from office for illegal activity.
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robert byrd has written a letter that this law is not for this policy, because it is for deficit reduction and adjustment of taxes only. greg in georgia, we live under a democratic republican whether the majority rules. if the republicans want to whine about losing a vote to a majority, i would remind them that they lost the election by a majority. deal with it. justin in sacramento, they most definitely should and must. the 22 times that the reconciliation budget procedure has been used in the inception 1974, 14 have come from a republican-controlled congress, including ramming through the patriot act, middle-class americans need reform now and we cannot afford to wait. darrell in lake forest, california, yes. what we have here is a failure to communicate. we need health care reform with or without the republicans. andrea in illinois writes that i don't think that a majority vote is ramming anything anywhere, jack. you want to read more about this, you will find it on my
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blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile. don't forget my special hour-long program about this and related toppics beginning to night at 7:00 clm. >> right after "the situation room." we will be watching, jack. tim kaine made a point and he said they got 60 points at one point in passing the senate health care reform and if they have to do 51 votes the next time, they had 60 the first time so it is not ramming it through. that is the point. >> but the idea is that when one version of a bill passes the senate and one passes the house, then it is supposed to go to a conference committee where the differences are reconciled and then be resubmitted for a vote of both chambers. this has no similarity to that process anymore at all. >> that is also a good point. thank you very much. we will be watching "broken government" 7:00 p.m. eastern tonight. investigators on the trail of a cold, precise and elusive assassins. we will get an update on a
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murder mystery in the middle east that is proving hard to follow.
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to our viewers in "the situation room," happening now, a killing carried out like clockwork. 26 suspects wanted in the assassination of a top hamas militant. the trail may have gone cold. dubai is blaming israel. looking at your hospital bill is enough to give you a relapse. $280 for an i.v. bag and $800 for a biopsy needle.
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cnn's dr. sanjay gupta looks at why some hospitals charge so much. days after a killer whale fatally attacked a killer, seaworld orlando is ready to resume shows. what does that mean? we will find out. i'm wolf blitzer here in the cnn studios, and you are in "the situation room." it was carried out with reconnaissance and surveillance and then an assassination carefully choreographed. 26 suspects have been identified in a top hamas commander. there were hidden identities and much surveillance captured on tv. the footprints lead all over the world and then disappear. cnn international security correspondent paula newton shows us why the clues are so tough to
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piece together. >> reporter: here at m.i. 6 in london, the global spying headquarters they know how tough it is to crack this case. there are a handle of assassinations that have never been solved in this country. now, some suspects who have had their passports used in this operation are telling cnn, they are getting nowhere in this investigation despite what they call a meticulous dubai investigation and all of the tv footage. the problem is that the mug shots here could depict the assassins already in disguise or maybe some in the hit squad have already changed their appearance. now, let's take a look at the operation, itself. it spans the globe really. dubai officials say it was all staged in austria. operatives funneling all of the information through a central command there with false identities and passports came from ireland, britain, france and even australia. interesting here, dubai
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authorities say there must have been at least one reconnaissance mission, and maybe more. now, let's go through the cc tv footage with bob eires, a cia operative. you see him up there going in bald. >> he goes in and comes out with the disguise. >> freeze. and come out, and this surveillance is watching for this bald guy and suddenly, he is gone and now a dark hairy guy with glasses in front of them and they are looking for the bald guy. so, it is another way of extra added security to throw off any surveillance. at this point in time, in is really interesting, because the woman is looking right into the cctv camera. >> she spotted it. >> she looked up and she is not afraid of having her picture taken and looking right at it. >> so the suggestion that they were sloppy by having their identities exposed on cctv. >> it is a suggestion that it is not founded in reality and
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somebody doesn't know what they are talking about to make that suggestion. the man on the right is going to go to verify the room number that the target is staying in and this man is staying behind to perform surveillance to make sure nobody is interrupting the other guy to check out the room number. >> reporter: nothing from your training appears strange here? >> no. >> reporter: textbook? >> good operation. good operation. they had advanced notice of the target's movements and prepared people to travel and assassinate the target, and coordinated multiple flights from people all over europe to arrive at the same time and they got in place and killed their target, and they all went back and disappeared into the mist. that's a pretty professional operation. >> reporter: even though so much of it was caught on cctv, we are here now at the serious organized crime agency, and they are the ones in charge of investigating this here in britain. there are clues from the credit cards used issued by a bank in
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the united states and information on the escape routes to frankfort, hong kong, rome, doah with many of the suspects tracked to the same city, zurich, but from there, the trail goes cold. some things were confirmed to cnn. they say that this investigation would be easier if they had the original travel documents used, and they say they expect the citizens to get a lot more scrutiny when traveling to the middle east. finally, they tell us, israel is still not cooperating with the investigation. paula newton, cnn, london. joining us now is israel's ambassador to the united states michael orrin. thank you for coming in. >> good to be here. >> this individual, this hamas leader who was assassinated. abdul mehed.
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>> well, he was responsible for two israeli killings, but beyond that, no nothing. >> because within 20 years, he is am ledgedly was involved in kidnapping two israeli soldiers and killing them. >> not allegedly, but he took great pride that he killed these two men. >> so the point is that israel would have a motive to go after him. >> again, i don't know anything about the incident, wolf, and i cannot comment. >> because obviously, a sensitive matter, but the whole world thinks that israel is responsible. >> i cannot comment on it, but i want to comment on something that occurred the day before this and that is a summit meeting in damascus between the hamas leader together with the president of syria and the head of hezbollah, and the president of iran mahmoud ahmadinejad, and
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that is the headline missed. ahmadinejad called for israel's annihilation and israel without israel in it, and you had the leaders of terrorist organizations and leaders of the terrorist states to call for the annihilation, and genocidal massacre of an entire people. that was an article missed. >> see him on our saturday show which airs tomorrow in "the situation room," 6:00 p.m. eastern, and we will have a lot more of what is going on here and other subjects that we talked to with the ambassador. tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. meanwhile, an earthquake off of the coast of japan near okinawa of 7.0. there are about 20,000 u.s. military personnel there stationed at okinawa, and there are no reports or casualties or
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major damage, but our folks in japan are watching this very, very closely. jack cafferty is coming up with the cafferty file. also, washington announces funding for the first new nuclear reactors in decades, but it does not know what to do with the waste from the previous reactors. i will look at that report. and he was one of the most controversial figures in the obama administration until he stepped down in a form of controversy and now the so-called green czar van jones is speaking out with suzanne malveaux, and seaworld makes a surprising announcement even as investigators ask tough questions about the death of a trainer killed by a killer whale. [ male announcer ] how can rice production in india
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right to jack for cafferty file. jack? >> it has been more than two years since i have first addressed the subject of our broken government on a special broadcast on cnn. in that time sad to report, things have gone from bad to worse. at 7:00 p.m. eastern time, you are cordially invited to join me and wonder if the government can be broken with the deficit growing everyday. 75% of you think that government officials are dishonest and 86% of you think that the government is broken and $25 million of
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stimulus money spent on airport scanners sitting in storage while some of the busiest airports go without. the congress, they should go home. the house has passed 290 bills and the senate has acted on none of them. by 2019, it is estimated that the national debt will rise to $23 trillion. that is more than 33% of the gross domestic product of the world. at 5% interest, it will cost the u.s. taxpayer more than $1 trillion a year without paying a single dime on the debt, itself, just interest. and there are tens of trillions of dollars of unfinded manddates for health care. and there are nothing but ious for the trust, and it is a long list. if you have an hour to spare, i hope you will join me, because if there is any chance for the country to stop circling the drain, it is the average american citizen who makes it happen, and not the government. the show airs immediately
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following this broadcast at 7:00. here is the question then. what do you consider the single most serious problem facing the united states today? you can go to my blog at cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment. >> looking forward to the show, jack. thanks very much. all this week, cnn has been looking at broken government and the obama administration has given the green light for $8 billion in loan guarantees to build two new nuclear plants in the united states. these would be the first new nuclear plants in the country in three decades, but what about the nuclear waste they will produce? it question that the country has not resolved and another sign of broken government. jessica yellin is here looking at the story. what have you found out? >> well, it is an intractable problem, what to do with the nuclear waste. the topic itself is politically toxic. going back to the carter administration, washington had been trying to figure out where to put leftover radioactive
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material that comes from nuclear power plants. in fact, every single president since jimmy carter has dealt with the idea of burying it deep inside of yucca mountain, but as you can guess, that is is a political hot potato with the folks in nevada not keen on the idea. every one of the presidents, democrat and republican, and every one of them have passed the problem on to the next guy until now. broken government at the most ineffective and dysfunctional with nuclear waste. it is not like the spent fuel is gone. it is at nuclear power plants across the nation, and that used fuel is stored in vast containers and containers like these go into concrete bins sitting there waiting for a place to move it. now, here is the astounding part. while government has been too broken to move forward, science has moved leaps and bounds. in fact, in france where they goat most of the power from nuclear energy, they have what is called used fuel reproce
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reprocessing, and they have one plant that takes nuclear waste, breaks it down into nuclear, into usable material leaving much less to be stored and you only need one for the whole country. nuclear scientists say we can and should be doing the exact same thing here. >> well, a country such as france is doing is recycling used uranium plutonium and putting it back into the same reactor to get more energy use out of the initial fuel that they use. we could definitely do that there and we have the technology for it. >> in fact, she says we have newer technology to take us farther than france. so why aren't we doing anything about it? well, some people object to this idea. the union of concerned scientists saying that reusing the broken science breaks down the components and if it is in the wrong hands, that would make it easier for the terrorists to
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acquire nuclear weapons materials, but the bottom line is that the obama administration wants to move ahead with two nuclear plants and they have said they won't use yucca mounta mountain. they need a solution. so there is a blue ribbon commission studying on how to handle the waste, but ultimately, this is up to congress to decide, and wolf, that is when we will see how broken our system really is. >> i am holding my breath not to see congress decide on this one. this is a real hot potato. >> it is. >> thank you, jessica. >> it is a time-honored tradition in the united states senate, a single member can hold up presidential nominations. critics say it is a blatant example of broken government, and our senior correspondent dana bash spoke exclusively to one senator who is using that power to his advantage. >> reporter: a refueling tanker is long overdue for retirement. this senator wants the replacement made in his home state, alabama, but richard shelby says that the air force competition is a sham. so, in protest, he did something
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drastic. he blocked most of president obama's nominees to an array of federal agencies that had nothing to do with his issue. near blanket hold and near 50 nominees. >> 40-something, that is right. >> reporter: that is extreme. >> i did it to get the attention of the administration. >> reporter: did he ever. he made headlines and became a symbol of gridlock, but on the first tv interview on the subject, he makes no apologies. what it makes you sound that you would put money and jobs back in your home state of alabama. >> well, ultimately, i am a senator from alabama, but i wanted fairness. if there is fairness, the jobs will go there. >> reporter: shelby lifted the hold on all but four nominees for senior air force possessions. geoff morrell tells cnn without these highly qualified professionals we are not firing on all cylinders.
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are all of the nominees qualified? >> i have no idea. >> reporter: so they are leveraged? >> it is part of the life here. >> reporter: it is part of the life here in the senate and not this the official rules, but by tradition, any senator can put a hold on any presidential nominee for any reason and both parties do it. hans was nominated by the bush administration, and a democratic senator held him up over a voting rights issue. which senator? >> senator obama. >> reporter: that is right, senator barack obama. >> it is not because i didn't have the qualification, but it is because he disagreed with me on a substantive issue. >> reporter: now the president has a different perspective. >> well qualified public servants should not be held hostage to the grudges of a few senators or their pet projects. >> reporter: but looking at barack obama's success with the nominees with the senate, and it looks similar to the
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predecessors. in 2009, the senate confirmed 353 of 569 and compared to 360 out of 513 in bush's first year. missouri senator kit bond put the longest hold on a obama nominee. he says that the general services administration is dragging the feet to move 1,000 federal employees out of a dilapidated kansas city building so he blocked martha johnson for gse administrator. >> i have one way of getting their attention, and i put a hold on the nomination of mrs. johnson. >> but it has nothing to do with martha johnson? >> no, martha johnson will be a fine administrator and i voted for her. >> reporter: that is right. when the democrats forced a vote after an eight-month delay, bond voted yes. people looking from the outside in wondering why the senator held up someone who he thinks is qualified for a separate issue. >> because an unresponsive
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bureaucracy will not respond to the needs of the people we represent unless you have a means of getting their attention. >> reporter: nominees in limbo and broken government to some, but to senators in both parties -- >> it is not a sign of broken government, but it is a sign of ohow it works. >> reporter: dana bash, capitol hill. reaction after libyan leader moammar khadafy calls a jihad against switzerland. what did the swiss do that has him so outraged? and plus, plunged int darkness. we will show you what is going on with venezuela's hugo chavez. and what are their goals. and then we plan. it's a very good feeling as an advisor to work with people and help get them to their goals. once people perceive that they can control their destiny then they accomplish unbelievable things. [ male announcer ] we're america's
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lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what else is going on, lisa? >> hi, there, wolf. gulf war vets who say they returned with a mysterious illness will have their disability claims re-examined. the government's second look could bring compensation to thousands of service members two decades after the war. while praising the decision, veteran advocates say that processors must be better trained so they don't reject the same claims again. libyan leader moammar khadafy called for a jihad against switzerland which is met with condemnation of the united nations. ban ki-moon calls the remarks unfortunate. he is calling for more dialogue between the countries. khadafy made the remarks
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yesterday after switzerland banned minarets, and khadafy asked them to participate in a total swiss boycott. it was light's out for hugo chavez. the presidential palace was plunged into darkness interrupting his mid-sentence yesterday. emergency lights came on and then chavez quipped, we are still here. power outages are common venezuela and they say that chavez has not invested enough in the electricity production, so maybe they will put some money in that area now. >> that is embarrassing for the president of venezuela. >> yes, it is. >> thank you, lisa. he was president obama's green czar, but van jones didn't last long in the white house, but he is back in the spotlight now. we have a rare interview coming
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up. our suzanne malveaux spoke with him. plus, $1,200 for a surgical stapler and $280 for an i.v. bag. dr. sanjay gupta will show you why your hospital bills are so high. even as the feds open up investigations into the fatal killer whale attack on a trailer, seaworld is saying it is ready to resume its shows. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] the cadillac cts sport sedan. one of car & driver's 10 best for the third year in a row. ♪ and now, cadillac announces the new luxury collection lease.
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goodnight. goodnight. (door crashes in, alarm sounds) get out! (phone rings) hello? this is rick with broadview security. is everything all right? no, my ex-boyfriend just kicked in the front door. i'm sending help right now. thank you. (announcer) brink's home security is now broadview security. call now to install the standard system for just $99. the proven technology of a broadview security system delivers rapid response from highly-trained professionals, 24 hours a day. call now to get the $99 installation, plus a second keypad installed free. and, you could save up to 20% on your homeowner's insurance. call now-- and get the system installed for just $99. broadview security for your home or business - the next generation of brink's home security. call now. he was president obama's so-called green czar, but he
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made opoe opponents sea red. van jones is about to get a prestigious award from the naacp. suzanne malveaux has an interview with van jones, but some background, and brian todd is here to tell us how van jones became so controversial. >> so controversial because so many things from the past caught up with him. while he was under fire, he tried to distance himself from his own remarks, but he got a lesson on how social and journalism advocacy can move against you. >> reporter: months before the blizzards hit, van jones was the perfect washington storm. he resigned last september as president obama's environmental adviser and converging on him, a white house vetting process that was blistering. in his own actions before he joined the administration that provoked them, like this
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exchange captured on youtube. >> how are the republicans able to push things through when they had less than 60 senators or somehow we can't? >> i know. well, the answer to that is they are [ bleep ]. >> reporter: if that comment was his on tempest, he might still be at the white house, but animosity builds quickly in washington. it was learned that he signed a petition on truth.org website demanding an investigation of whether high governmental officials allowed the september 11 attacks to occur. jones said that never reflected his views, but a truth group disputed that. there was also a quote from jones in 2005 saying that he was a communist when describing his radicalization of police acquittals in the 1992 rodney king beatings. fox host glenn beck used some of the instances to question who
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president obama is surrounding himself with. >> you have people who are saying that white people are intentionally poisoning communities of color. what the hell is that? >> jones had quoted others on that comment, but beck did correctly relay what he had said. i asked why jones' past had not been reported. did the mainstream media not investigate because of the nature of the job? >> i think that the main street media was avoid, because if officials had said some of the things that van jones said, but because it was on fox news, it was discounted as a conservative campaign. >> reporter: jones claimed that a vicious smear campaign forced him to resign, but conservatives say they didn't fight hard for him to stay as validation of the criticism. now, jones does get bipartisan credit for resigning early in
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the scrutiny and not dragging it out. on the vetting of jones, a white house official said they did miss some of his comments. >> thank you, for the background, brian todd. he has a reputation for tearing apart opponents, he now says he is about building bridges. our correspondent suzanne malveaux traveled to hollywood to speak to van jones. here is her interview. >> i gave a speech at exeter, and some of the tea party people came to my speech. >> reporter: you are kidding? >> yeah, and the guy sit on the front row, and he had glenn beck's book right there on the front row, like, you know, maddoging me. i started talking. i started talking about american jobs and the future and how we can be one country, and the guy's book starts to get lower and lower and lower and at the end of the speech, he asked me to sign glenn beck's book. >> reporter: you are kidding?
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>> i wrote, we are one country, van jones. >> reporter: your critics point to a number of things, first of all the petition of 9/11 the so-called truthers where they call for an investigation of the bush officials which indeed may have allowed 9/11 to happen as a pretext to war. you sign this petition and then you say you never believed in that statement and it did not reflect your views. which is it? >> well, first of all, let me be clear what my beliefs are. i believe that 9/11 is a conspiracy by osama bin laden, al qaeda and nobody else to hurt america. that is what i believe. i learned a tough lesson on this one. i never saw that language, and i never signed anything. a group came up to me at a conference six years ago and they said, we represent 9/11 families. and i said, you know, okay. what's going on? how can i be helpful? we need your help, will you support our cause. they then, i did not know the
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agenda and put my name on the most abhorrent crazy language and language that i never would have signed on to, and it sat there on an obscure website for years. >> reporter: they also pointed to a youtube video when you used an expletive to describe republicans, but you saw the camera rolling and maybe you should have thought, i should have curbed my language here? >> well, first of all, that was a horrible mistake on my part. camera or no camera, sometimes we get into the partisan kinds of things and trying to be funny and whatever, and you know, we don't stay true to our true selves. >> reporter: david axelrod, one of the president's advisers said he was not aware of this and one of the other top advisers valerie jarrett said they were following you for years and your work in oakland and wanted to get you to the white house, so
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is it hard to believe when they say they don't believe about these things? >> look, i was fl fully candid about the ideas and explored. i was a mid level white house staffer and i reported to a senate-confirmed nominee. mid level white house staffers go through a vetting process that is very, very rigorous. but i was not a cabinet secretary. i was a worker in the white house. some people decided to give me this crazy title of green job czar in the media. i came out and said, i'm not the green job czar, but i'm the green czar handyman. >> randy lorr leveled this criticism saying that the secret service under previous administrations if they saw your background they would not allow you a visitors' pass at the white house much less the job you had held, and do you believe that the white house could have done a better job in vetting you
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and basically preventing this whole thing from happening? >> i am somebody who is at the top of my field globally, nationally with regard to the literature. i was imminently qualified for that position. >> reporter: that weekend before you resigned, it was radio silence at the white house. did you feel betrayed at all? >> absolutely not. nobody told me to resign. i gave my resignation. i said, i don't want to be a distraction. >> reporter: so you think it was a good thing and you have learned lessons from this? >> i am a green guy. so, if you want a healthy plant, you have to have a lot of sunshine and a lot of crap, and they call crap fertilizer and you put those two things together, and you will get a good strong plant. i have had a lot of sunshine in my life, and i have also had a lot of crap, but you know what, the successes give you that confidence, and the setbacks build your character. >> tell me how you got involved in the environmental movement. you are obviously a pioneer in the field and you had a
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friendship with literally a tree hugger if you will julia butterfly hill who was living in a tree trying to save it from being chopped down for two years and the two of you used to do lectures together. was she the one who inspired you? >> well, first of all, everybody has a soft spot for nature somewhere. not many people wake up and say, i hate bunnies and trees, like most people are. most people have a soft spot for nature, so i grew up on the edge of a small town and grew up in the woods, so i always had that, but it was buried someplace. and actually, it was when i burned out on some of the more angry politics and tried to heal myself that i started going to the woods, and i met julia butterfly and i said, hold on a second. you have all of the kids in urban america, rural america who need job, and we have important work to be done and what if we connected the two. it was a revolution to me, fight pollution and poverty at the
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same time. >> reporter: you have no resentment that you lost the white house job? >> i had six great months to have a chance to do things i never thought i would do. i walked away. it is america and a land of second chances and that is what the country is built on, second chances. >> susan is joining us from los angeles. i take it, he is getting this major award now from the naacp, so i suspect he feels he will get a second chance. >> wolf in the interview, van jones feels like he took a fall, and he is trying to get back up and really this award and naacp image award helps him with a second chance. he is going to go on the teach at princeton university and also in a liberal think tank based out of washington. this is really a chance for him to celebrate tonight, he said, and share this award with people he admired who have also gotten this award. muhammad ali, and president bill clinton and condoleezza rice and
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his family joked to meet beyonce tonight, which is a prize for him he says, but in all seriousne seriousness, he says this is a fresh start for him. >> suzanne malveaux, thank you for the interview and the report. it is part of the reason that health care costs are soaring. cnn's dr. sanjay gupta ready to take us inside of the operating room for an eye-popping look at the charges.
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one day after president obama's health care reform summit, both parties are as entrenched as ever. democrats are going forward with a plan to pass the bill without republicans in a system called reconciliation. nancy pelosi is dismissing gop opposition. listen to what she told candy crowley. >> when we looked at the polling numbers from yesterday, we had almost 75% of americans who said they need to drop this bill. just stop talking about health care and move on to something else, or they need to start new. so don't the republicans have a point? >> the point is that we have a responsibility here. and the republicans have had a field day going out there and misrepresenting what is in the bill, but that is what they do. >> it has been a message you are saying? people don't understand -- >> no, i don't think -- there isn't a bill. when we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, that
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is the bill we can settle. the house and senate bill had major differences which we are hoping now to reconcile, and then when we have a bill, you can -- as i say, you can bake the pie and sell the pie, but you have to have a pie to sell. when we do, we will take it out there. i feel confident about what is in there. >> you can see the full interview with the house speaker on "state of the union with candy crowley" airing this sunday at 9:00 a.m. eastern. cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta looks at the reasons for soaring health care costs, and prices you won't believe inside of the operating room. >> reporter: one of the questions that comes up all of the time is what about these hospital bills and how do they breakdown? how do you make sense of it? it leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. so i want to give you a little example by taking you inside of the hospital operating room. this is the hospital where i work where i'm a neurosurgeon. a room like this costs $3,000 per hour for starters.
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quick example, when you look at the hospital bill, you might see i.v. charge, and if like this, this is $280 for this i.v. bag and that strikes people as high. stapler, and this is a stapler used in surgery and something like this costs $1,200. a chest tube, if someone has compression of the lungs they may need a chest tube like this which costs $1,100, and you will find examples like that all over the room in here. suture which is used in every operating room in the world, and this suture over here costs $200. if you look at even devices like -- this is a needle that is used for biopsies, so if there is a concern that someone has a tumor, they would use a needle like this and that costs $800. it is important to keep in mind if you ask the manufacturers of a device like this, why so much money? they will say it took years to develop something like this and the research and development costs are significant and also the guaranteeing of certain level of effectiveness of that needle costs money as well, but
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maybe something that you didn't know when you look at the hospital bill, it is not just the cost of the supplies, there is also administrative costs that are built in, and the cost of covering people who simply don't have insurance or can't pay, and that is built into the costs as well, and finally keep in mind that what is charged and what is ultimately paid are two very different numbers. >> the typical hospital collects about 4% of every dollar that they collect, or four cents of every dollar they bill. so it is no coming out in massive profits, but coming out as a result of underpayment from the government. >> i will tell you, that the cost breakdown like i gave you on lots of the different supplies, a lot of people simply never see. what we have found is that a lot of people don't care as well. if you are insured, some people may not open the hospital bill. but there are about 50 million people uninsured out there and they care very much about hospital bills like this. what you can do is to call the hospital and get a detailed breakdown. while you are on the phone with the hospital, if the costs seem
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still too high or hard to understand, you might be able to negotiate some of the prices down. >> thanks, sanjay. hospitals will say they are not making the profits you would expect because of the low reimbursements and half of u.s. hospitals are unprofitable. a fatal shooting this morning in washington state. special ed teacher gunned down on her way to school. police are still sorting out how one man's obsession led to her death and his own. fear of a similar fate led to panic and evacuation on a campus in oklahoma. this came down to miscommunication. stick around, details coming up right here in "the situation room."
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back to lisa monitoring the other top stories in "the situation room." what is going on, lisa? >> hi, there, wolf. police in tacoma, washington, say that a man apparently obsessed with a special ed teacher shot and killed her this morning as she walked into her elementary school.
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the suspect was killed in a shootout with a deputy a short time later. the father of the teacher says she had obtained a protective order against the man in september of 2008. because of the tacoma incident, the campus of oklahoma city community college was locked down today amid fears of a gunman on the loose. but police say it was all a big misunderstanding. it seems that a part-time employee misread a bulletin about school shooting awareness, but police eventually figured it out to school stayed closed for the rest of the day. and now to a kay wine cowabunga, and a surfing school off of the island in china is using a dog, yes, a dog to promote the sport. the owners are hoping for a surfing explosion in the country, and the instructor says he hopes to show that if dan-dan there can learn to surf, anyone can, even if he is not immune from a wipeout. where is the dog again? i want to see the dog. >> the dog is adorable and cute and good surfer dog, too.
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>> yes, he stayed on for a while, until i guess that wave took him out. >> yes, very good dog. >> well, maybe it is time to take up surfing. >> dan-dan the surfing dog. we are counting down to jack cafferty and the cnn special "broken government" report coming up at the top of the hour. there is still the question of the hour, what do you consider the most serious problem facing the u.s. today? jack and the e-mail is coming up. and a orca-trained whale kills a trainer, and seaworld wanting to get back to business. the ceo of seaworld fields tough questions. for toys, say two. toys ! the system can't process your response at this time. what ? pleaseall back between 8 and 5 central standard time. he's in control. goodbye. even kids know it's wrong to give someone the run around.
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the question this hour is what do you consider the single most serious problem facing the united states today? dan writes, the wealthy and major corporations' control over our political process is the most serious problem. this is the root cause, everything else is just a symptom. yls would we give tax breaks for exporting jobs? looked the other way for years while illegal immigrants take over jobs here and cost the middle class their treasures for their education, social programs and health care costs while the corporate ceos reap the benefits. richard writes, my suggestion for the single most serious
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problem facing the u.s. today: unmotivated, lazy, greedy americans who not only care about money, and a society that allows itsz population to worship wealth and material possessions. hayden writes, a lack of comprehensive science and political education early on in kids' lives. without a good foundation for skeptical and rationale thinking and an understanding of politics, we can't possibly hope to have a well-he had indicated population. we used to be the best. what happened? cheryl in denver writes, unemployment. my husband has been out of work for a year. we had to move out of our beautiful home because we can't afford the payments. i'm getting close to retirement, but my question is when? sher sherry writes, my many are
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feeling helpless, and hopelessness is the only thing they see in front of them. the times have broken many people's spirits. it's this unique spirit that america seemed to have in the past that keeps us going, keeps our compassion for one another alive, keeps us, the u.s., moving forward. if you want to read more on this, you can go to my blog, cnn cnn.com/caffertyfile. straight ahead, what's next for the whale in the death afinogenafter the death of a trainer? straig what you pursue,
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charlie:hat's how you do it son. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. today's seaworld announced itsz popular killer whale shows will resume tomorrow, with new safety protocols. >> these animals were suspended immediately after wednesday in all three seaworld parks. this includes all the shows and our dining programs. we will resume performances of our killer whale show tomorrow in our seaworld parks in orlando, san antonio. >> you have four deaths and you
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have three of the four. >> i need to correct you. we don't have four deaths in our company. >> it is my understanding four deaths. >> that's not true. >> how many deaths have there been? >> we have had in our system, this terrible incident that occurred the other day, and unfortunately in 1999 we had somebody who snuck into the park and jumped into this same pool. that's what occurred in our system. >> but there have been three deaths that have been tied to this whale? >> realize the whale was at another facility before it joined ours. if you can get to your question. what i'm telling you is we've had two incidents -- >> the whale is involved in three deaths. how do you explain the combination of circumstances that all lead back to the same whale and the judgment call to put people back in the water with this whale? >> what i'll say the events surrounding the other incidents that he was part of are quite varied. and there is information available on those and beck make that available to you.
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we can talk more about that separately. but i will tell you those incidents and the nature of them really had nothing to do with this particular event. those are separate interactions, separate events that occurred and really are not relevant to this particular altercation. >> it's the same whale. >> yes, but very, very different circumstances and events. >> let's take a closer look at orcas. they're commonly known as killer whales but they're actually a member of the dolphin family. they feed on anything from small fish to giant blue whales. they're currently listed as an endangered species. killer whales are found in all the world's oceans. their total number is unknown, but it's believed there are at least 50,000. there are 40 or 50 in captivity worldwide. seaworld alone holds at least 20 of them. remember, you can always follow what's going on here in the situation room. i'm on twitter. you can get my

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