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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 3, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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i think of it as silver buck shot. >> well, that's a distinction that some of us who aren't hunters don't understand. joining us from the white house is vice president joe biden's chief economist joe bernstein and buck shot expert. something tells me you may not be any better at this than me. >> i think the difference between bullets and buck shots. >> heck, i covered dick cheney in the white house, i knew something about it. or bird shot, i should say. but let's talk about what joe biden had to say today. this was the vice president talking about next week's address to the nation regarding, of course, health care. >> with regard to the question of whether or not or what the health care system is going to look like that we're going to get, stay tuned for wednesday. one thing i've learned, don't step on your boss' lines. you're going to be a major speech laying out in
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understandable, clear terms what our administration wants to happen with regard to health care and what we're going to push for. specifically, it's going to be an awful lot of screaming and hollering before we get there. but i believe we're going to get there. >> let's talk about health care and, of course, intrictally connected to the economy and what you're saying about the stimulus package today. how do you bridge the gap between being just fiably optimistic and not too optimistic. when the job s numbers come out tomorrow you'll probably see worse unemployment. >> i think that may be right. i think the way you bridge that gap is the focus on something the vice president said today. it's not that we are out of the woods. it's not that any missions have been fully accomplished. it's that the recovery in tandem with some of our other interventions have pulled us back from the brink. he reminded listeners that back
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in january credible economists were talking about the threat of another great depression. what we're looking at now is an economy that is starting to show some signs of bottoming out, still fragile, but certainly improvement and the recovery act is very much responsible for some of those improvements. now, we may, i'd say we're likely, certainly the consensus is for continued job losses, but there's a big difference between losing 700,000 jobs per month, which was the average in the first quarter of this year and numbers that have been half that in recent months. >> you know, the republicans have already jumped all over the vice president pointing out that there have been so many claims from the white house about job gains, 150,000 here, 150,000 there without talking about the fact that there still is a net loss in jobs. unemployment is still increasing. >> let me tell you something, andrea, those critics have simply not been paying
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attention. by the way, you and i have had these discussions on job's day and we'll hopefully have them tomorrow, as well. we are out in front of precisely that issue very much aware that net job losses have been a huge and continue to be a huge problem for american working families. the question though, at hand, that the vice president tackled today is can you make the case that the recovery act has made things a lot better than they would have otherwise. you don't have to listen to us. he cited experts pointing out that gdp will fall two to three points faster in the absence of the interventions from the recovery act that we have created or saved 500 to 750,000 jobs. not our estimates, private sector economists estimates on the impact of how much worse things would be if it were not for the stimulus. >> when it comes to the speech next week, which the vice president alluded to and he doesn't want to step on his boss and you don't want to step on
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your boss, but at this stage, isn't it clear that the president is going to have to be very specific not just give broad principals and to not lose his audience and the audience in the room as well as the audience outside of the room and in terms of the audience in the room, the public option really is debt. >> i think the vice president said it well today. in fact, he used the word specific. i think it's important to recognize that if you look at the bills that have come out of the committees, they're about 80% similar and that the president's principals are deeply embedded in all those bills. so, it is not going to prove to be a daunting challenge for the president to collect specificities from those bills that boost his principals of competition, of reforming the insurances and making the system much more competitive and that's where the public option comes in. that's the kind of references i think you're going to hear next wednesday. >> all right.
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we'll all be watching and listening. thanks so much, gerald bernstein. senator ted kennedy his struggle to finish his memoir before his death but now we have a copy and it is drawing a lot of attention. drawing attention to, first of all, his struggle with brain cancer. he is very, very clear and very passionate in describing how he wanted to live his final months knowing what was ahead. and how his wife, vicki, and the others around him helped him to have such a meaningful final months. "boston globe" and edward both joining us now. both of you know the subject so well, but, frankly seeing and reading this in his own words. adam, first you, you read this, you breathe this, you cover him for decades and decades and you
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had many of his revelations in your book, but at the same time, when we look at some of the excerpts from this, when he talks about his cancer he says, i still recall the first evening i spent after my seizure in massachusetts general hospital eating chowder from legal seafood with vicki and my children. but not even someone as hopeful as i would have imagined that on april 7, 2009, i would be standing on the mound at fenway park. i was ready to throw out the first pitch on opening day. but i was determined so i threw a second one and hit my mark. as i told my grandchildren, i would keep throwing until i got it right, persistence matters. that's the man you knew. >> absolutely. he had an exchange with bobby once where bobby was the junior senator to him and bob asked him, how long do we have to sit here waiting for our turn in the senate? and ted's answer was they were
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passing notes like school boys, as long as it takes, robby. that was his approach to the senate. >> that's exactly why he was so spectacularly successful as a legislature. when he talks about fearing for his life. as i walked into st. patrick's day in lawrence, lawrence, mass, in march 1969, this is a year, less than a year after his brother's assassination. a burst of popping firecrackers caused me to freeze in my tracks and i prepared to dive to the pavement. i stayed upright by an act of will. another occasion i was enjoying a walk in the sunshine near the capitol with tom rollins when a car backfired down the street. even now i'm startled by sudden noises and i flinch at 21-gun salutes at arlington my reaction is subconscious. i know i'm not in danger, it still cuts through me. he managed, neal, to go through
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life and be a very public politician. you saw him in massachusetts a lot in campaigns in crowds not surrounded visibly by security. he willed himself to do that. >> he did exactly, andrea. i think he was with the people he needed to be around the people. that's the kind of politician he was. but what's interesting with ted is that he had to grieve publicly for both his brothers after their assassinations and with other family tragedies. he could never really retreat into the private. so, what you see in the public when he would have those reactions that he talked about in true compass was really the things, the subconscious things he couldn't control and publicly he could control how stiff he was and how strong he remained in public view, but when those things happened, it just took him to another place. >> he does talk very openly, adam, in this book about the hard times, the dark times after bobby's deaths and he writes in the months and years after
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bobby's death i tried to stay ahead of the darkness. i drove my car at high speeds and sometimes drove my capacity for licker to the limit. i may have driven joan deeper into her anguish, but the sad truth is, that she needed no help from me. bobby's assassination devastated her. i focus on the responsibility that now had befallen on me. at age 37. i wanted to do for them what my family had done for me when i was young, what all the kennedys always did for one another. cherish them, look out for them and show them hope and joy and the delight and the miracles of the world. >> this is a rich, personal account of things that outsiders may have understood or at least suspected, but it becomes much more real in his own words. and these are things that he would not, is not comfortable talking about with reporters. i interviewed him 20 times for
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my book. i got hints of these things, but nothing more. nothing as rich as that. >> and the complexity of the family relationships, especially in those final days, neal, he says these days simple pleasures fill me with happiness in my 77 years, i have never grown tired of sitting on my front porch looking out over nantucket's bound. i still pass many contended hours sitting in my green-cushioned wicker chair with a hot mug of tea on the table beside me gazing at the sea. that's a different ted kennedy than the man in washington that many of us knew. >> and for him, that view was one of the few things that did not change in his entire life. you know, his childhood, remember, was filled with so much change and so much upheaval, really, that continued into his adult life. he would go back to the cape cod and get rejuvenated by that. i think, you know, that
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complexity that we have seen since his death that people have been talking about. ted kennedy on capitol hill and the ted kennedy in the family life as he talked about with his children. i was struck at the funeral by the appearance of bobby's youngest child who was born six months after bobby's assassination and ted was going to walk her down the aisle when tragedy struck again that john k. kennedy jr.'s death. this was the man who held up the family. >> thank you so much. we will have more, of course, on nbc "nightly news" tonight. the aunt of kidnap victim jaycee dugard, tina dugard speaking about her return home. >> introduce tina dugard, t-i-n-a. she is the sister of terry and aunt to recovered kidnap victim jaycee dugard.
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tina was present for the reunion of her family and is here to make a brief statement today on their behalf. as you're aware, she's not prepared at this time to take questions. she will only be making her statement and there's no further comment from the family planned at this time. she does have some family photos with her today. these will be laid out on the table and she'll explain them to you and after the press conference you're welcome to film them. we will give plenty of time for that. i'm happy to provide copies for you of today's statement, as well as my own contact information for you all. and now it's my pleasure to introduce tina dugard. >> i would like to start by introducing three pictures -- >> would you step up to the microphone? >> certainly. they told me to do it at the table. i would like to introduce three photos of my darling niece, jaycee. the first is a picture of her when she was 3 year olds at her grandparents', my parents' home. the second is a charming picture
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of her on the october before she was taken at halloween. she's dressed up as -- well, her version of a punk rocker. this is my personal photo. and the last picture is a joyful picture. she and i went to the rose parade floats on january 2nd, 1991. and the picture that many of you have seen on through the magazines shows jaycee with a smile standing nebst to the car. what you haven't seen is my silly picture where i said make a face for me and she did. i brought that picture for you, as well. i'll begin. good morning. my name is tina dugard and i'm jaycee dugard's aunt. her mother, terry, is my sister. this is a joyful time for my family and i would like to say a few words. to begin with, i would like to thank all of the law enforcement personnel who have assisted us,
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including, but not limited to, the agents from the fbi, the detectives and officers from the el dorado sheriff's department and the various personnel from the victim assistance program and the el dorado district attorney office. jaycee and her daughters are wher mom and younger sister in a secluded place reconnecting. i was with them until recently. we spent time sharing memories and stories and getting to know each other again. jaycee remembers all of us. she is especially enjoying getting to know her little sister, who was just a baby when jaycee was taken. not only have we laughed and cried together, but we've spent time sitting quietly taking pleasure in each other's company. we are so very grateful to have her home. jaycee is a remarkable young woman who has raised two beautiful daughters. they are clever, articulate, curious girls who have a bright
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future ahead of them. although they have no formal education, they are certainly educated. jaycee did a truly amazing job with the limited resources and education that she, herself, had and we are so proud of her. on behalf of my sister, terry, and the rest of our family, allow me to thank everyone for the prayers and best wishes you have all sent. the smile on my sister's face is as wide as the sea. her oldest daughter is finally home. it has come to my family's attention that there may be unauthorized solicitation of funds to support jaycee and her family. the jaycee lee dugard trust fund has been set up for anyone inclined to do doinate and details on how to go about doing that can be provided by my press representative. we appreciate the public being respectful of our privacy. i have no further statements to make at this time. if you have further questions or
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would like a contact for our family, erica schulte is authorized to speak to you. thank you. >> and that was the aunt. the first television interview from the family. talking about her reassimulation into the family. president obama prepares to address a joint meeting of congress next week, there is hope for health care compromise or is it in jeopardy? some republicans want the president to scratch his plan and start over. is there any hope left for a bipartisan deal? carol joining us now, national political correspondent for "time" magazine who has a big piece in today's edition. first of all, you had an interview which goes to the heart of why senator grassley bolted from the bipartisan negotiations. what is your reporting telling you about the state of any bipartisan solution? >> you know, i think that certainly senator snowe of maine
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is in the middle of negotiations now but the white house's hope at the beginning of this was to get a lot of republican support and the personification of that hope was senator grassley, the ranking republican on the finance committee. i think he's basically gone. >> and what were his main concerns? >> a number of concerns. i think that he says that he himself was surprised at the degree, not of anger, but of fear that he heard from his constituents when he went home for the august recess. and i think that that probably was what did it. although senator grassley had all year long been sending mixed signals about whether or not he was, in fact, going to be there for a deal. >> david axlerod in an interview with chuck todd talked about the way grassley was at the same time sitting at the negotiating tables sending out mailers trying to kill obama care and now senator grassley spokeswoman responding to axlerod accused
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him saying attacks by political opreceives in the white house and drive senators away from the table. anyone who is working on an alternative plan, one that would drive down costs and not drive up the deficit knows how difficult the issues are. it seems like this is the old-fashioned kind of shooting match and that we're not getting back to any real conversations. >> exactly. and there is no senator that the white house has been more focused on this year, i think, than senator grassley. but they were never able to get a fix from him. they knew what he didn't want in the bill, but never able to get a fix from him of what he would accept and at one point, in fact, in a private meeting, the president was fully expecting to deal on these so-called public option and senator grassley never brought it up. >> at this stage, do you think that there is any possibility, first of all, for the public option? do you think that the president has to give that up, try to hold on to as many, you know, parts of the house caucus as he can,
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but get something through the senate? >> i think all the signals right now coming from the white house and coming from the senate is that the most that is likely to be in a bill, if it passes the senate, is going to be eeth arvery watered down public option or a so-called trigger, a public option that would only come into play if other things, including private insurance competition failed. >> and so that trigger would mean phasing it in, if these other things happen and that would be enough to persuade the house to go along or they work something out in conference? >> no, the house is almost certainly going to pass a bill with a strong public option. what is going to happen is they're going to go to conference, the betting at that point is the public option would drop out in conference and then the house would be face would the choice of a bill with no public option or no bill at all. >> karen, how high are the stakes for this speech next wednesday night? if this sounds like the news conference of last month where
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he's just going through broad principals, he will lose the audience completely, he will have lost the moment. >> the white house seems to feel like every problem there is can be fixed with a barack obama speech. but the president, not only has to be specific, but he has to make some choices and be clear on those because as gerald bernstein said, they are down to fighting over 20% of the bill, but barack obama is going to have to make it clear where he stands on that 20%. >> and he's got a lot of other things on his agenda as we move into september. by the third week in september he's at a u.n. in a major speech and talks with u.s. negotiators and september 24th, 25th, 26th, he has so many other things. the afghanistan report, general mcchrystal's report being evaluated and we'll hear within the hour from bob gates. he doesn't have much of a window to salvage that. >> no, this goes back to probably the most fateful decision that barack obama made all the way back in january against the advice of a lot of
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his advisors who were telling him to try to do health care this year might be adding too much to the agenda. >> the agenda that he inherited for better or for worse. >> exactly. >> thank you, the best reporting consistently on health care. we really appreciate that and this is the new issue of "time" magazine with our own jay leno on the cover. how cool is that? jay leno whom we will interview as he is about to launch his program on september 14th. coming up next, more flames prompt more evacuations in the west as firefighters struggle to gain the upper hand of a massive wildfire now burning over los angeles and related areas. a live report next on "andrea mitchell reports." my doctor said the bayer aspirin saved my life. please talk to your doctor about aspirin and your heart. i'm going to be grandma for a long time.
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here is a battle against mother nature right now. fire crews trying to gain the upper hand on the raging wildfire outside los angeles. the station fire has already scorched an area the size of chicago. we're expecting governor arnold
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schwarzenegger to give us his assessment of the damage. michael okwu is live from lakeview terrace. any progress on getting under control? >> definitely some progress, andrea. the fire is 38% contained and that's up from 27% last night. so, clearly, overnight firefighters made great progress, but this is clearly now the largest fire in the history of los angeles county. and i believe that the nasa satellite imagery we got in will tell viewers part of the story here. we all smoke columns that have been rising some 20,000 feet into the air covering, shrouding los angeles basin and drifting as far west as the pacific ocean and as far east as colorado where some health officials have issued advisories. smoke has been so thick that the firefighters were concerned about launching fixed-wing aircraft into the sky yesterday. that is not the case this morning.
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we understand that the fixed-wing aircraft are now dropping retardant as well as making water drops on this fire. one area they're concentrating on is the western flank of this fire. last night they had to issue some evacuation orders for some 15 to 20 homes because they had a bit of a firefight there. andrea? >> thank you so much, michael okwu. extraordinary pictures and extraordinary efforts by those heroic firefighters. thanks for the update, michael. and still to come, president obama's high stakes speech on health care next week, will a public option survive his revamped strategy? plus, private security contractors in afghanistan engaging in hazing drunkenness and deviant behavior. the organization that blew the whistle on the lord of the flies environment at our embassy there. tomorrow on the show, governor tom ridge, former homeland security secretary talks about politics and terror in his new memoir "the test of
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knowing doctors recommend tylenol... more than any other brand of pain reliever. after a summer of contentious town halls, a big move by president obama to regain control of the health care debate. the president will be addressing a joint meeting of congress on wednesday. he will have a difficult past to win over moderates without alienating his democratic base. let's go to mike joining us from the white house today. mike, this is a big challenge. a heavy lift for him. >> andrea, you put your finger right on it. a balancing act between the blue dog moderates and other moderates within the democratic caucus and the liberals or progressives as we call them these days. if you want to look at it this way, andrea, he has a choice of doing it through the
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reconciliation process and ram it through with the public option because he would never get 60 votes for that in the senate, they would need simple majority and then having that vote in the house, which would also be a very heavy lift, a heavy lift all the way around or he can try to do it without a public option in the house and that would surely infuriate the base of his party. so, no good choices here as the president doubles down next wednesday night on what is so far has been a stumbling along here in fits and starts. you don't want to call it a losing hand, but things not looking good for the president through the course of august in this effort to reform health care, andrea. >> what is your reporting telling you about the reconciliation, rather. everything i'm picking up is that they're prepared to go ahead and ram that through if it is a choice between that and nothing. >> chuck schumer very recently has said that that is something they're actively considering doing. andrea, having been to a few of
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the town halls i have to say those things were contentious before. if they do that, the people who oppose this are very well aware of the process, surprisingly so in my estimation. if they try to do it, try to be seen as ramming it through. the left wants the democrats to flex their muscles and got big majorities in congress and use them, they say, but those within the democratic caucus including max baucus and others who say they don't want to do it. it's not a slam dunk. they have hurdles to climb to get over, if they decide to go that route, andrea. >> to even get to the reconciliation. and the state department has launched a full investigation into allegations that a group of contractors at the u.s. embassy in kabul engaged in lewd and deviant behavior, this after photos surfaced on the web as part of an independent watchdog report showing guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity with alcohol at parties looking like a glorified frat party.
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project on government oversight, an independent nonprofit and investigates and exposes corruption joins us now. this is your work, you got the whistle blower information and turned it to over to the state department ten days to two weeks ago. have you been satisfy would their response? >> we have been disappoint would the response from the state department, but the comments that are coming out of the spokesmen are frankly inaccurate. >> what inaccuracies so far from the folks in some of those briefings? >> sure. some of the things we're seeing, for example, this is all events that just happened quite recently and they got the photos dayed after the events took place two weeks ago. but, in fact, we have many other photos that extend back several months and the idea that this is a very recent occurrence that they were right on top of is simply not true. >> perhaps it's in their interest to say it was very recent because how else to explain in july that they renewed the contract to this
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contractor. >> the reality is, the state department has been raising performance of this contractor for nearly two years but has never done anything about it. >> why did they renew the contract? it always escapes me, why no other choice besides blackwater, since now renamed but still is blackwater and the same people why hired as we understand it in iraq. why do we rely on these contractors. more contractors than uniformed military personnel in afghanistan. >> it is really extraordinary. no good explanation to me why they renewed the contracts under our circumstances and in our letter we're making some recommendations that include rethinking whether we should be relying on contractors, particularly when they're defending diplomats in a war zone, but whether that decision, which is a big policy decision is arrived at in the near term. we think it's urgent that the military be brought in to provide supervision over these contractors. >> a lot of joking around in some quarters that why it's such a big deal. why is it such a big deal to have this kind of behavior in
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places like afghanistan? >> the people who are joking really need to hear from those guards themselves. remember, i only know about this because there are guards over there who are, themselves, horrified at this behavior. the reason they care is not because of the lewdness and the sort of, the obvious misconduct, because of the impacts on the morale of the workforce. the fact that it's supervisors either engaged in this behavior or aware of it and condoning it and that rips apart at the fabric of the chain of command which is necessary. >> what about the local cultural sensitives sensitivesties, as well, for sexual behaviors and treatment of women and alcohol? >> there's no question. the fact that there's alcohol in these photographs where they're afghan nationals and just shocking in a conservative, muslim country. >> we long, you know talked about the fact that abu ghraib and we're not saying this is the same, but the kind of contractor behavior because some of those prison guards were contractors
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at abu ghraib and the damage to american posture, american foreign policy was set back decades by those pictures of abuse. the cultural sensitivities are similar here. >> i think there's no question about that and it's so important to recognize that it is the contractor responsible for this misconduct and also the state department's responsibility to be providing oversight over this contractor and they just seem to have been asleep at the switch. >> have you heard anything briefly about pentagon response to this even though it is a state department responsibility, it affects morale for the military, as well. >> we haven't heard any response from the pentagon. >> secretary gates is having a news conference at 2:00, maybe he will be asked. thank you and we'll continue to follow your work and your efforts. >> thank you. straight ahead, president obama's back-to-school address has fire from parent today.
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why? now, some are even threatening a national truancy day.
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the white house is now promising details most specifically on the public options when the president speaks to congress in his primetime address next week. it is arguably the biggest setting that a president can command, but it didn't help president clinton win the health care fight back in 1993 after he took a similar route and addressed the joint sessions. that was in september of 1993. so, let's bring in former congressman from michigan, democratic congressman david bonnier and chairman of american rights at work and john ferry. welcome, both. john, do you think that president obama will do better than bill clinton did with the big health care speech? i hope the teleprompter works better for him than for bill clinton. the wrong speech was loaded in
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the teleprompter and at the time one of his aides had to sit there trying to figure it out. what kind of president could ad lib like that for 20 minutes? what about president obama, assuming the teleprompter works? >> i was in the chamber for bill clinton's speech and i was listening to the speech and i won't be this time, but i don't think it will have much of a difference. the president doesn't need to make speeches, he needs to make deals. i don't think any of these speeches over the recess have helped him that much, i don't think it's about rhetoric, what people are worried about and their concerns to really get votes and david knows more about counting votes than anybody and he knows at the end of the day members of congress need to feel comfortable in their votes and i don't think this speech will help them. >> david, listening and talking to carol on the subject of chuck grassley and sh viability of public option, it's just not there if you're going to get anything out of the senate. what would be wrong if you think
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about your former colleagues on the house side accepting something less than a full-blown option or accept it with a trigger or accept something called a co-op and lead to a public option. >> i don't know, andrea and john, what the final outcome on this will be. i will tell you, there will be a bill at the end. >> that means compromise. >> the memories of '94 are too clear and the fact that we weren't able to pass a health care proposal or do labor care reform and eroded our base and was responsible for part of the problem we had in the election and republicans made tremendous gains and those memories are too fresh in people's minds and they would pass something. the pieces that will be there will be portability and insurance reform and pre-existing conditions and a lot of things -- >> consumer protections. >> consumer protections and also a universal mandate that everybody provides insurance and hopefully there will be some public option and that's what i'm supporting or a cooperative,
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as well. you could have a cooperative and a public option, as well. these are just options. they're not demands that people take out a public health insurance plan. so, we'll see how this unfolds. a lot of factors that are at play here that are still very tricky. for instance, i'll just mention one very quickly, andrea. how is the swine flu or the h1n1 flu going to play into all of this when they get into conference? to say there is not going to be a public options at this point, i think, is going too far. >> john feehery, can you imagine the public response. let's say they pull the trigger and go for reconciliation, 51 votes, not 60. how badly would that fracture whatever is left of comedy in the senate? >> i think it would be betfer they went the reconciliation route. i think it's very difficult because all you can put are revenue measures which really means tax increases and i don't know how they're going to get 51
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votes even for just tax increases. they need to have other things in there to make it more palable for a lot of the democratic senators. i will say this, though, i think david bonier is absolutely right. at the end of the day, they'll have to pass something that is more scaled back than the president has currently envisioned. portability and pre-existing conditions and perhaps a mandate that would help with the insurance companies. i think there's a deal out there, i just don't think right now what the president or house leadership has proposed is that deal. >> now, talking about that education speech, david bonier, how do you get to the stage where you have republican congressman in florida for giving a speech about parental responsibility and educational responsibility to kids. is this an attempt by the white house to indockrinate the children because they're not planning now to ask the kids to help the president pass his program. >> well, i think it's sad that
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when the president of the united states who is an example to our young people in this country of what can happen in your life agrees to talk to young people and that people will say this is an attempt by the left to indoctrinate children. that's just absolutely crazy. he's not a socialist. if he was a socialist, would he have picked larry summers and geithner and raum emanuel who are all basically finance people to run his economic position. of course, he's not. i think it's wonderful that the young people can look up to the president of the united states. i don't care if it's barack obama or ronald reagan, i mean, the fact that they're in that position and they have a responsibility to speak to young people, to give them hope and vision and i think it's a good thing that he's doing it. >> john feehery, how about that? >> david and andrea, i think this is a symptom of a bigger problem with this white house is that they're losing some
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credibili credibility. the right wing base doesn't like them and they're losing credibility with independent voters and has more to do with this actual speech than the actions of earlier this year of taking over the auto industry and different industries and the cap and trade vote and then this vote on health care. all these things kind of make people very uneasy about too much of a government presence in their lives and then the president give the speech and i think that six months ago the president would have had no trouble giving this speech and now there's just deeper concerns and a symptommatic of a bigger concern with this white house and overreaching with government. >> and, david, i know one of the things that you will try to do with your coalition next week is revive card check. what are the prospects for this? this is something labor really wants. >> we met with the president, had an hour meeting with him in the middle of july and we talked about health care and we talked about employee-free choice act which is to give people the
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right to collective bargaining and join a union. 93% of the private sector people don't have a right of collective bargaining and that's one reason that middle class is declining or maintaining but sustaining itself. he promised us at that meeting that he would be actively engaged. >> you'll hold him to it. >> we have a labor day list coming out and it's all great companies in the country that have wonderful partnerships and relationships with their workers and this is something you'll be reading about and hearing about over the labor day weekend. >> happy labor day in advance. thanks to you. what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? (announcer) your doctor knows tylenol doesn't interfere with certain high blood pressure medicines the way aleve metimes can. that's one reason why doctors recommend tylenol more than any other brand of pain reliever.
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and here are some of the top headlines at this hour. u.s. and nato forces say two american service members were killed when their patrol struck a roadside bomb in southern
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afghanistan. further details are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. more than 50 students at emory university in atlanta have now been diagnosed with swine flu. students are now living in their own dorms and being kept away from other students while they recover. nasa is keeping a close eye on space junk, which is floating near the international space station. nasa says the debris should not delay today's rescheduled space walk. lawmakers will be getting a visit from president obama next week straight out of the august recess at a joint session of congress. the president is aiming to regain control of the health care message. anne corn but the, white house repo -- even cornbluth, the white house correspondent for the "washington post" is this what he should be doing? >> the white house said they only had a few options for taking back the soap box on health care and could have done
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a prime time address from the to oval office. they could have done another press conference. instead, chose to give this story an address. though recognize time is running out this is the last shot to give it but they have to come to the table with real detail instead of public appearance. >> a way to redefine public options, define it with a trigger, other options like a co-op, keep the left, keep the house on board but pick up some votes on the senate? >> that is the needle they are going to try to thread. they are looking at the whole spectrum of the democratic party and figure out what he can say, addressing public option, hard to imagine he could get away with not talking about it. reconciling in his own language, anyway, all of the bills that are there the four bills that have so far passed out of committee. and dealing with the 20%, as they describe it haven't been dealt with anybody, people all over the map. trying to bring their pa party together without losing that
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liberal base on the liberal side. >> what about vice president joe biden? going to see the new job numbers, the vice president was out there pretty much bragging on the economy, the beginnings of the recovery but still facing this lagging unemployment factor? >> yes, that's right. i have to say the vice president is not going to be known for lowering expectations here. he talked about the economy and the speech next week so there are going to be new details. this has been his issue, of course, one of the two big issues he has been in charge of, making sure the sometime shrubs working so he was talking about that, describing it as being at a certain point in a marathon, the nine-mile mark, i think in a marathon we are out right now but really raising expectations for what we are going to see. >> i love it when he says i'm not going to step on the boss's message and then he goes and steps on the boss's message. you got to love t thanks so much, anne kornblut. that does it for know hour, i'm not going to step on contessa
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brewer's message. i'm andrea mitchell washington. tomorrow on the show, former homeland security secretary tom ridge talks politics and terror with his new memoir, "the test of our times." the coverage next on it's the economy with contessa brewer. what do you got? >> thanks so much. calls for reform grow as the report details how the s.e.c. just dropped the ball, they didn't spot the warning signs with bernie madoff and his huge ponzi scheme. >> plus, going to be talking to a high school student who is facing a new school year with no football games, no homecoming and no prom because of drastic budget cuts. >> that and more straight ahead on it's the economy. stick around. upbeat rock ♪ singer:wanted to get myself a new cell phone ♪
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vice president joe biden is playing cheerleader for obama's stimulus plan. how he says the president saved the nation from another great depression. a $65 billion ponzi scheme, thousands of victims and turned out to federal investigators
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dropped the ball, again and again. was it stupidity or laziness that allowed bernie madoff to keep his scam going for so many years? plus, millions laid off. it's been especially bad for men, but giving women an advantage on the job. tell you how the recession is the great equalize negotiate the workplace. a tell-all battle over the health care gets physical. forget sticks and stones, someone got a finger bitten off. good tuesday, everyone. thursday. i think i actually wrote that, tuesday. day late, dollar short. maybe we need a long weekend. welcome to "it's the economy." melissa francis has the day off. joining me is cnbc's mandy drury. >> great to be here. >> a stint from australia here in the united states. how is it going? >> fantastically. heading out next week, almost coming to a close. >> good to have you here for a day long at msnbc. >> thank you. >> big story today we are following, vice president joe biden says the stimulus bill is working faster than the white house expected.
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>> the vice president talked about how far the country has come, as we mark the 200-day mark since the american recovery and reinvestment act took effect. >> all adds up to this, in my view, at least, the recovery act has played a significant role in changing the trajectory of our economy and changing the conversation about the economy in this country. inis stead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we are talking about the end of a recession. >> well, joining us is jim petacukos, write for reuters. good to have you on the show again, jim s it possible to quantify what is attributed to the stimulus and what is attributed to other factors? >> other factors, none of which the vice president wanted to talk too much about. number one, far dwarfing is the federal reserve, effort cutting interest rates, all the various lending facility it is has come up with, this by far is number

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