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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 1, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: national parks and monuments are closed, and hundreds of thousands of workers affected on this first day of a federal government shutdown. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. there were few signs of a solution to the stalemate on capitol hill, but there was a flood of traffic to the government's new healthcare site. >> woodruff: on day one of the insurance exchanges, paul solman reports from massachusetts, which has had years of experience with them. >> it's the model for the state exchanges being set up under the affordable care act.
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some quarter of a million people now get insurance from nine private companies. >> ifill: plus, ray suarez sits down with entertainment legend rita moreno as she looks back at the challenge of her first days as a performer. >> i wore too much makeup, and i did all of that "conchita lolita" stuff. you know, i wore very tight dresses and then would be offended when... when men would make remarks about me. >> woodruff: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ >> moving our economy for 160 years-- b.n.s.f., the engine
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that connects us. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: our lead story tonight: much of the federal government was dark after congress failed to agree on a stopgap funding bill. republicans refused to budge on their demands to delay parts of the president's health care law. democrats remained adamantly opposed to those demands. newshour congressional
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correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: the effects of the shutdown were widespread and immediate. in washington this morning, the lincoln memorial, overseen by the national park service, was closed to visitors. >> at this point, we don't know how long this is going to go on for. >> reporter: park service spokesman mike litterst lamented that the pain of a shutdown will be felt by many. >> we're not talking about the inconvenience of a... of a few hundred people here and there. there are tens of thousands of people whose vacation plans and visits to these historic and national sites are being impacted. 715,000 people a day in the month of october would be expected to visit national parks, and again the ripple effect goes out into the surrounding communities to the tune of $76 million. >> reporter: among those turned away: a tour bus full of retirees on a 13-state trip. >> it ruined the trip for everybody on the bus, you know, and these trips we look forward to. >> i'm 75, and i probably won't
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be back, so this is really a disappointment. and it just makes me sad. >> reporter: across the country, all 401 national park service sites were shuttered, from the statue of liberty in new york to muir woods a few miles north of san francisco. >> it's just a national monument that we're not able to see, and it's just disappointing. and i can't be able talk to my grandchildren or children about it because we're not able to experience it. >> reporter: back in washington, other popular tourist sites also shut their doors, including the smithsonian museums and the national zoo, where the popular panda cam went dark. activities deemed essential, such as border patrol and air traffic control, continued, as did military, law enforcement and intelligence operations. last night, president obama signed a bill that guarantees active duty military personnel
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will be paid, regardless. >> your talents and dedication help keep our military the best in the world. >> reporter: on the other hand, some 800,000 civilian federal employees were forced off the job. j. david cox is head of the american federation of government employees. >> i actually prefer to call it a government lockout because employees are being locked out of their job. our members want to go to work today, they want to serve the american public, they want to provide services. >> reporter: but for those told to stay home, there were shutdown-themed events that offered everything from "political ping pong" to free food. the shutdown's effects even reached the capitol, where some staffers were furloughed and hearings postponed. but lawmakers remained at loggerheads over how to break the stalemate. overnight, house republicans passed yet another funding bill with anti-obamacare provisions and called for negotiations with the senate. that, too, went nowhere. >> on this, the ayes are 54 and the nays are 46.
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>> reporter: shortly after gaveling in this morning, the democratic-controlled senate quickly rejected that measure on a straight party-line vote. majority leader harry reid said blame for the shutdown rests entirely with house republicans. >> the government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on, on the other side of the capitol. that's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. >> reporter: on the house floor, speaker john boehner pointed the finger at democrats, saying they were unwilling to negotiate. >> my goodness, they won't even sit down and have a discussion about this. our country has big problems. today, our government has big problems. the only way these problems are going to be resolved, if we sit down amicably and keep the american people in mind and come to an agreement. >> reporter: this afternoon, the president insisted again there will be no agreement unless house republicans stop attaching items such as changes to his
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health care law, which began enrolling uninsured americans today. >> i urge house republicans to reopen the government, restart the services americans depend on, and allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work. this is only going to happen when republicans realize they don't get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands. >> reporter: as the day wore on, there was talk of the house passing small, targeted measures to reopen parts of the government, including the national parks. the white house immediately dismissed the idea, saying it showed an "utter lack of seriousness." with both sides unmoving, it remained impossible to predict when the deadlock might end. >> woodruff: we'll have more on all of this right after the news summary. wall street steadied itself and even regained some ground, despite the partial government shutdown. the dow jones industrial average
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gained 62 points to close at 15,191. the nasdaq rose 46 points to close just short of 3,818. the markets were helped in part by news that manufacturing grew in september by the most in two and a half years. september wasn't such a good month for auto makers. g.m. and volkswagen reported today their sales dropped by double digits, and toyota and nissan sales also fell. but ford and chrysler had their best september in six to seven years. the prime minister of israel warned the world today to stand firm on sanctions against iran's nuclear program. benjamin netanyahu told the u.n. general assembly there must be a credible military threat, too, and he said israel is prepared to stand alone in defending itself. more on this story later in the program. an advance group of international weapons inspectors has arrived in syria to begin the hunt for chemical weapons. their convoy crossed the border
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from lebanon today, carrying 20 inspectors from a watchdog agency based in the netherlands. they are tasked with finding and dismantling the regime's chemical arsenal. the u.n. security council has ordered that the weapons be eliminated by the middle of next year. the u.n. reports a surge of killings in iraq brought the death toll for september to nearly 1,000. yesterday alone, more than 50 people were killed in car bombings in baghdad, many of them children. today, a man who lost two sons recently appealed for peace. >> what is the goal which has been achieved by terrorists to kill innocent children. the children are not military leaders or officials in the government. my children were going to school. one was in the first year, and the other in second year in school. they went to the cemetery instead of going to school. >> woodruff: iraq has been
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caught up in its worst sectarian violence since 2008. it began after a crackdown by the shiite-led government on a sunni protest camp last april. buddhist mobs raged through western myanmar today, attacking muslims and burning at least 70 homes. the trouble hit three villages in rakhine state, where unrest has been growing since june of last year. thousands of muslims have been forced to flee since then, and today myanmar's president arrived in rakhine, urging residents to restore calm. >> just military and police forces won't be enough to control the situation. these burnings, killings, and violence will only stop when you take part and maintain peace by yourself. >> buddhists are the overwhelming majority in myanmar, and musli >> woodruff: buddhists are the overwhelming majority in myanmar, the former burma. muslims account for just four percent of the population. one in eight people around the world is chronically undernourished, but the number is falling. u.n. food agencies reported the
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findings today. they estimated 842 million people suffered from chronic hunger between 2011 and 2013. that's down from the estimate of 868 million for the previous two years. the u.n.'s goal is to cut the numbers in half by 2015, but the agencies warned some regions may fall short. the us. supreme court took no action today on petitions to review the obama administration's rules aimed at climate change. none of the nine legal petitions were mentioned on a list of new cases that the justices agreed to hear. the supreme court's new term begins on monday. still ahead on the newshour: stuart rothenberg and susan page on the shutdown; day one on the new health insurance exchanges; we have a primer on how they work; israel's prime minister condemned iran's president at the u.n.; two marine generals fired for not protecting a base in afghanistan; and entertainment legend rita moreno.
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>> ifill: we return to our lead story, the government shutdown. the policy has gotten all tangled up with the politics in a giant game of chicken, and each side is claiming the high ground. but haven't we been here before? let's ask stuart rothenberg of the rothenberg political report and roll call; and susan page, washington bureau chief of "u.s.a. today." >> not because you've all been here before, for a long time, but you were. i want to ask you first, susan, the lead in your story today was "nobody blinked." why? >> nobody blinked, so with eyes wide open, we headed over a cliff. obama didn't blink because, of course, he is not going to give away his signature legislative achievement for a short-term continuing resolution. why didn't house republicans blink on a hand they are likely to
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pay dearly for politically speaking. i think they didn't blink because there is a core of tea party house republicans, who were elected many of them in 2010 and 2012, because of their opposition to obamacare. and it serves them well in their districts, even though it doesn't serve the republican party well nationally. >> but, sue, who really forced each other's hand. it was the white house forcing his confrontation as well? >> i think the white house is filled with confrontation, and is doing things to continue it. i give a similar answer, but i'd say the republicans -- the democrats don't feel like they need to blink. the white house and congressional democrats think they have the upper hand. they look at the surveys, they look at the polls, they think the republicans are going to get blamed. why should they blink? as far as the republicans, i guess i don't think they can afford to blink now at this point. they have painted themselves into a corner or called themselves out on to the limb, use
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whatever imagery you would like. but they have been telling their base for months they're not going to blink. if they walk away with nothing out of this, i think that really creates a lot of disappointment and republicans have to worry about turnout in the mid-term. >> but as you watched them trying -- you heard john boehner talking about compromise, and you saw these alternatives rolling out over the last 24 hours, is anybody miscalculating in the political assumptions they're making in this kind of standoff? >> i think it is possible the white house can overplay their hand. for instance, we had eric cantor, the house majority leader, call on reporters to show the conferees lined up on one side, and empty chairs on the other sigh because senate republicans haven't agreed -- >> senate democrats -- >> senate democrats haven't agreed to join a conference. and the president said he is going to veto some of the small spending bills
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for certain parts of the government. i think the white house needs to be careful to explain their efforts. these apparent olive branches are not really political traps. >> which is why the president lives in the rose garden today. 17 years since the last time we've been in this place, and we're exactly almost identical with the agreements. what has changed? >> i think the republican party has changed. i think our politics have changed. the parties have deteriorated in their strength. they decentralized. we have these new super packs and outside organizations and the tea party, and the libertarian movement and the republican party, which is very different. i think these republicans now are very scared. this senate class of -- that is up now is the same senate class that was up right after the '95/'96 shutdown. the same people. mary landro was up then and she is up now. i looked at the republican senators who were up then, many didn't run for election, but the names
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are john warner, mark hatfield, it was a very different republican party. i think particularly the house republicans are more confrontational, and less comprising than the republican class of '94. >> are you surprised, susan, there is no middle ground? even when we go through these routines, everyone knows where it is going to end? >> that's what i think is different from the 17 years ago when i was covering the shutdown at the clinton white house. then it was a different political landscape. at that point, a third of house republicans in the 1995 shutdown were in congressional districts that had been won by bill clinton. you're now 7% of house republicans that are in congressional districts that were won by barack obama. that shows you how much more partisan the whole country is. a lot of the bridges that used to be used to reach a deal when you needed to reach a compromise have been blown up in the past 17 years. and there is one other difference win 17 years ago, and that is we have this debt ceiling debate cuttincoming up in two weeks
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coming up. if it rolls into a confrontation over the debt ceiling, that has much greater consequences for the state of the u.s. economy. >> isn't that what both sides are eyeing, in two weeks they're going to have to have this fight all over again? >> i think so. most of us think we're in this extended period of a fight. it is a matter of who blinks last, the last will be a couple of weeks from now or later. >> does the public opinion play a role in who blinks? that is -- maybe it is a little soon, 24 hours to say, but do people look at this and say as we saw in our opening tape, you know what, i'm exhausted? >> absolutely. you do see some house republicans saying we ought to have a vote on what we call a clean slate, a continuing resolution without any strings attached related to obamacare. if republicans are getting hammered in public opinion polls, it seems to me that would be a factor that house republicans might look at and say maybe we
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should fold. >> and even some of the peace solutions that the president said he would keep, keeping the parks open, that would be in response to some of the feedback? >> i think so. they want to put the white house on the defensive, and harry reid and the senate democrats on the defensive. i'm amused by these polls. the worst time to take a survey is in the middle of a cataclysmic event. i think the republicans are going to want to wait and see. >> this fight is not really about the budget, as we've seen unfold. it is about a lot of things. one of the things it is about is the a affordable care act. is there any wiggle room from the white house that will allow them to give something to the republicans on that? >> interesting senator durbin suggested this morning maybe there was. it is hard to imagine -- it is easier to imagine
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getting a deal if you're willing to give just a little something, even if it is a fig leaf. he said they may be willing to do something on the tax on medical devices. >> but not with a gun to his head? >> but when it comes to the core of the affordable care act, absolutely not. we will be shut down from now until next year if that's the price. >> i think both houses staked out a very extreme position, portraying the other side as full of ill will and anger and uncompromising. we will have a deal, but somebody is going to have to give. >> whatever happened to breaking the fever of partisanship. it doesn't seem that has happened. >> ifill: the shutdown began on the very same day that one of the most critical pieces of the healthcare law began to take effect. judy picks the story back up
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from there. >> woodruff: this is the day that people can start enrolling for health insurance through new online marketplaces known as exchanges. in all, the federal government is running or partnering with local officials to run these in 36 states. the remainder of states and the district of columbia are operating their own exchanges. people will be able to enroll through march, but there were plenty of glitches on day one. when many went to the federal web site,, to learn more, they often saw a screen that read, "please wait, we have a lot of visitors on the site right now." some state-run sites had similar problems, too. during his appearance in the rose garden, the president said heavy demand had something to do with that >> president obama: we found out that there have been times this morning where the site has been running more slowly than it normally will. the reason is because more than one million people visited health .gov before 7:00 in the morning. there were five times more users in the marketplace this morning than have ever been on
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at one time. that gives you a sense of how important this is to millions of americans around the country. and that's a good thing. and we're going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all of this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. >> woodruff: we'll take a closer look shortly at these problems and what happens next. but first, we step back for a fuller explanation of how the exchanges should work. one state has already been running its own insurance marketplace for years, and in many ways it has served as a model for the new ones. economics correspondent paul solman reports from massachusetts. it's part of his ongoing reporting "making sense of financial news." >> in 1997, i was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram. >> reporter: boston filmmaker deb dorsey, whose health nightmare became a documentary. >> i went through four rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.
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then it turned out that the adriamycin that they had given me with the chemotherapy had done damage to my heart, and i went into heart failure. they said, "we think you're a candidate for a pacemaker." >> reporter: dorsey had health insurance through the company she owned with her filmmaker husband, who freelances for the newshour. but when the business tanked, dorsey's prior conditions put her in peril. >> me without insurance would have been a disaster because nobody would have insured me. >> reporter: disaster didn't happen. dorsey could buy insurance because of the massachusetts health law signed by republican governor mitt romney in 2006 and its online marketplace, the health connector. some quarter of a million people now get insurance from nine private companies. it's the model for the state exchanges being set up under the affordable care act. so, what is the connector, and how has it worked? >> good afternoon. thank you for calling the health connector. >> reporter: at a boston call center which fields consumer questions, the connector's
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executive director, jean yang, described it this way. >> the experience that you get is not going to be that different from when you typically go to an e-commerce web site where consumers can easily browse, compare options and complete a transaction. and then, that fosters competition, so eventually it leads to a more efficient market. >> you can look for health insurance for individuals and families, employers who want to shop for their businesses and for brokers. >> reporter: m.i.t. economist jon gruber, who helped craft the connector, gave us a walkthrough. so, let's say it's just you as an individual. >> okay, then it's going to ask for my income, because if i'm lower income, i qualify for special subsidies. i'm not, so i'm going to continue. >> reporter: then you type in your zip code and your birthday. >> okay, now it's retrieving all my available plans and rates. >> reporter: the connector has different levels of choices. that'll be the case in other states, too. bronze has the lowest premiums or up-front costs but higher out-of-pocket costs when you receive care.
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silver and gold are next, and the affordable care act adds platinum which has the most expensive premiums but lowest out-of-pocket. >> a platinum plan which is the highest tier, the insurance plan will be covering 90% of the cost where a consumer will be responsible for 10%. a gold plan is 80% cost assumed by the insurance company, and a silver is 70% and a bronze is 60%. >> reporter: within the metallic tiers, insurance companies offer competing plans. the benefits are the same, but prices vary based in part on which doctors and hospitals participate. but it wasn't always this simple. >> we started with very much a any-willing-plan model. >> reporter: so, i just... i would have gone to the web site and i would've just seen plan after plan after plan after plan? >> correct, yes. and it very quickly became too confusing. so, we standardized our product design. you know what is covered, what is not covered; how much is
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covered if i go see a doctor; if i go to the emergency room, how much am i supposed to pay? it's the same. >> reporter: by contrast, the new federally-run exchanges will not require that plans have the same features, at least not at first. >> hi, phoebe. >> hi, phoebe. >> reporter: we interviewed m.i.t.'s gruber at his home in lexington, massachusetts, which he shares with more than a few feathered friends-- among them, phoebe, the cockatoo. >> phoebe is going to live about 100 years. >> reporter: we mention phoebe as a reminder that long life is a key economic good. but it tends to require health care, which, for most of us requires insurance. so, from his economics perch, gruber's connector was first and foremost about insuring the uninsured. >> however, you cant just do
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that in a vacuum because if you tell insurers you have to insure everyone at the same price, but people can wait till theyre sick to buy insurance, theyll lose money and get out of the business. >> reporter: insuring everyone, therefore, is just the first leg of a three-legged stool. >> so you cant get the first goal without a second leg of the stool and thats the individual mandate. individuals, you make sure you buy health insurance sick or healthy, but then the third leg of the stool is the government needs to make this system work by making insurance affordable. >> reporter: while some of the uninsured are healthy and young, some are poor and sick, yet cant afford insurance. so, the connector subsidizes them based on income. today, 97% of residents now have insurance, the highest rate in the country. but that's caused other problems. >> who's going to take care of these patients? >> reporter: richard dupee, an internist and chief of geriatrics at tufts medical center. >> we're really covering more of the population, we don't have enough physicians to do it.
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so, as a result, patients are ending up in clinics and waiting to be seen. many are going to the emergency room with their insurance card, but waiting to be seen. >> reporter: and that's another problem. reform hasn't reduced expensive e.r. visits as much as hoped since many newly-insured now go there for care. >> the reason for that is that we don't have enough primary care doctors, and we also have a lot of physicians who feel that the reimbursement structure for patients who are in the connector is not sufficient to be able to help them support their practice overhead. >> reporter: its just they're not going to get paid enough money. is inadequate. >> yeah, they feel the payment is inadequate. >> reporter: dupee's 6000- patient practice is big enough to absorb new subsidized patients even if he's paid less to see them. plus, he's helping people.
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>> i've seen a ton of new patients, all of whom were pretty sick or were going to be sick, and now they're not. for example, they come in and they get their physical and they'd find out their cholesterol's over 300 and they never knew that. their blood pressures 160/100, they never knew that. and now its all controlled. >> reporter: but despite reform, costs continue to climb in massachusetts, which still spends more on health care than any state in the country. so, what does all this imply for the success of exchanges in other states? we asked the bird man of lexington. >> the effectiveness of this law depends on broad participation. that requires outreach and social agreement to be part of this new social contract where everyone gets health insurance. that worked in massachusetts. we ran ads between the first and second inning of every red sox game in the summer of 2007. >> the state's health connector has affordable plans, lots to choose from and easy signup.
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>> no one ran ads saying don't get health insurance, there were no protests. that may not be true in some of these states. >> reporter: indeed, it already isn't, as this ad from a group called generation opportunity makes clear. >> if they convince healthy people to stay out of the pool, that raises rates for everyone else and makes the law less successful. >> reporter: on the other hand, some 24 million people like deb dorsey are expected to get insurance through an exchange over the next two years. >> i have to have insurance. i have a pacemaker. i have to see my oncologist once a year. i have medication that im on that i have and its expensive, it can be very, very expensive >> reporter: but as more people requiring expensive care sign up, the system's success will depend on getting the young and healthy to sign up, too. >> woodruff: it's not clear yet just how many people tried to sign up on the various exchanges around the country today, but we look at what we do know so far with two reporters who followed this story extensively: julie rovner of n.p.r. and louise radnovsky of the "wall street journal." >> welcome back to the "newshour" to both of you.
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without talking about birds, and it is great to hear the economist with the birds in the background, but how did it go today in general? julie? what was the sense, over all, of how it went? >> classic good news/bad news story. i think the administration's biggest fear is they would open up and nobody would show up. that's definitely not what happened. lots and lots of people tried to show up, and it overwhelmed the capacity of the exchanges to deal with them, both in terms of the websites and the call centers and places to try to get held. it was the federal exchanges and the state-run exchanges, too. everybody seemingly got overwhelmed and people had trouble getting on and in. >> louise, the administration was reporting over a million people tried to look at the website before 7:00. >> they said it is 2.8 million since midnight tried to go on. we don't know how many were journalists, trying to see if everything was running smoothing, as opposed to people who were
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actually trying to sign up for coverage or consider their options. the administration said previously they didn't expect the sites would crash, and they mentioned their success running the medicare website. they didn't expect 2.8 million people. they've had to add capacity over the day but they didn't expect it this morning. >> tell us about the major of the glitches. how much was just the crush and the number of people trying to get on, julie? >> we had a call with federal officials late this afternoon, and we asked them that question. we didn't quite find out how much was they weren't ready and how much was the overwhelming nature. they said it was seven times more than the amount of people they ever had on the medicare website. it wasn't just the federal website, but state websites, also. there were particular places where people got hung up. you have to create an account to really get on to some of these websites to start looking and compare some of the plans. a lot of people got hung up at the security question place. you have to create an account and have a
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security question, like what was your first car or pet's first name. they couldn't tell us why the security questions seemed to stop so many people. whether that was a software problem or the nature of too many people on the website problem. they say by later in the day, it did seem that some, not all, of the problems were being taken care of. some of it seems to just have been capacity. again, a lot of people trying to get on this first day. >> louise, what would you add to what you can glean so far today. both of you have been talking to people around the country, in terms of the glitches and the problems people were having. >> in addition to hearing it is difficulty loading the website and the security questions when creating accounts, we have been hearing not everybody who was trying to enroll has been able to do so. the administration says that some people have been able to enroll. we're saying many people are not, based on what we're hearing from
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insurers. that seems to be with the data hub itself. something seems to be going on. >> and it is not clear yet what it is? >> it is not clear yet how many people were not able to complete their enrollments. >> and we made the distinction earlier that some of the exchanges are run by the state, and many more are run by the federal government in partnership with the states. is there a difference in how they're running based on who is running them? >> um, there seems to be. in some states they're running better. some seem to be having no problem with people getting on and creating accounts, but when they deget to that last enrollment hurtle, they're having trouble. not very many people were expected to enroll today. it is like christmas shopping season. this is like black friday. people are going in and looking around and seeing what is there. you don't have to actually sign up for coverage that starts in january until
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december 15th. it is kind of surprising that people would try to sign up and enroll today. >> and there is not a penalty. if people don't sign up today, or even in the month of october, they're not penalized. >> no. january 1st is the date when you are supposed to have coverage and while there are some people who have exemptions, you could go a little past january 1st. the administration is exercise the december 15th date for enrollment, because by january 1st you could have a policy that covers you subsequent to the requirements under the law. >> and, julie, what kind of folks would have been looking to sign up today. these are people who don't have insurance right now, right? >> pretty much. there were some concerns that if there were a lot of glitches people might get discouraged, but i think the people who were there are the really motivated people. these are people who are likely to come back if
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they had problems today. they're going to come back tomorrow or next week or next month. these aren't the young people who are thinking, oh, i really should get insurance. they're probably not going to show up until they're getting pushed by their parents. the concerns about glitches discouraging people are probably not a big issue with this first day. these are the very highly motivated people, frankly, that insurers are worried about signing up. >> louise, what are you picking up about who is trying to sign up? >> interestly, we're hearing people going to the websites are people who have medicare or employer insurance who are curious about the effort. the exchanges are primarily aimed at people who don't have access to insurance. >> if you already have coverage and you are looking to compare -- >> they're browsing, mostly, and they're probably not going to the sign-up process, and if they were, they would be told at various points, they're not going to be
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eligible for a subsidy. >> julie, just quickly, what is the administration looking for? how will they know this is going successfully or not? i mean, we know they wanted to sign up several million, and we heard paul's point that they really want to sign up the younger, healthy people. >> their goal for this first year is to get seven million people signed up. they want 2.8 million of those to be younger, healthier people. there will be a lot of outreach and advertising. they're hoping that the people will not be discouraged by some of the negative ads. pyti.i think as frustrated they are by the turnout, they're also pleased. there is still a lot more people than they expected showed up today. >> and quickly, louise, they're going to extra lengths to try to appeal to these young people? >> they are. they put a lot of stock around thanksgiving conversations with parents, and maybe after people have completed their christmas shopping, to try to get them to sign
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up. we've heard this an awful lot in the last couple of days, this is a six month run, and not a sprint. >> and julie and louise, we thank you. >> ifill: last week, at the united nations, iran's new president made waves by mounting a charm offensive directed at the white house. but today, israel pushed back. margaret warner reports. ( applause ) >> warner: benjamin netayahu took the stage at the u.n. general assembly and issued one of his strongest denunciations yet against iran and its nuclear efforts. >> israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. against such a threat, israel will have no choice but to defend itself. i want there to be no confusion
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on this point. israel will not allow iran to get nuclear weapons. if israel is forced to stand alone, israel will stand alone. >> warner: netanyahu bluntly dismissed recent overtures by iran's new president, hassan rouhani, which culminated in a 15-minute phone call with president obama last friday. in fact, he insisted, rouhani represents no real change from his hard-line predecessor, mahmoud ahmadinejad. >> when it comes to iran's nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing; rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing. i wish i could believe rouhani, but i don't because facts are stubborn things.
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and the facts are that iran's savage record flatly contradicts rouhani's soothing rhetoric. >> warner: and so, the prime minister warned, the world must maintain unrelenting sanctions coupled with a military threat. >> if you want to knock out iran's nuclear weapons program peacefully, don't let up the pressure. keep it up. we all want to give diplomacy with iran a chance to succeed. but when it comes to iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance. >> warner: it was the same message, but more strongly worded, that netanyahu brought to his meeting at the white house yesterday. and president obama agreed that as negotiations begin, iran's actions are what matters to the u.s. >> given the statements and actions from the iranian regime in the past, the threats against
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israel, the acts against israel, it is absolutely clear that words are not sufficient. >> warner: even before netanyahu's speech today, iran fired back with broadsides of its own. foreign minister mohammad javad zarif, who's in new york for the u.n. session, flatly accused the israeli leader of lying. he spoke to iranian state television. >> ( translated ): this is in his nature to lie. a country or regime that over the past 22 years has been saying iran will have nuclear arms in six months. the continuation of this game, in fact, is based on lying, deception, incitement and harassment. >> warner: after today's speech, an iranian official rejected israel's allegations it was pursing nuclear weapons and denounced netanyahu for saber- rattling. what most upset iranian officials, however, was not the diatribes by netanyahu, but the comments president obama made in
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their meeting yesterday, when he referred to the newly elected iranian government as a regime and said that military force remained on the table. zarif, who will lead the iranian negotiating team, tweeted last night that he found the president's tone was macho and disrespectful. in washington today, state department spokesman jen psaki said the president is fully committed to exploring the talks. >> the president made clear just yesterday that we would keep options on the table, but certainly we have an obligation and an opportunity to see if there is a path forward, and that's what we're pursuing now. >> warner: what sort of path there is will become clearer when nuclear talks resume in weeks in geneva with zarif, the u.s. and five other world powers. >> woodruff: you can watch all of prime minister netanyahu's speech and the speeches of other world leaders at the united nations on our homepage.
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>> ifill: next, we turn to the unprecedented fallout from a deadly strike on u.s. forces in southwestern afghanistan. on september 14, 2012, 15 taliban insurgents mounted a surprise attack on a huge coalition base in helmand province. two marines were killed, eight wounded and half a dozen fighter jets were destroyed. yesterday, the commandant of the marine corps fired two generals in connection with the incident, charles gurganus and gregg sturdevent. it was the first time such high ranking officers have been fired for negligence since the vietnam war, forced out for failing to provide adequate security. for more on this rare punishment, we turn to the reporter who first uncovered details of the attack last april, rajiv chandrasekaran of the "washington post." >> thank you for joining us, raja. tell us what happened at the camp that night. >> this was a remarkable, audacious taliban assault. what happened is 15
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insurgents dressed in u.s. army uniforms literally walked on to this coalition air base. it was a nato air field that was supposed to be protected by both british soldiers, as well as u.s. marines. and they managed to get on the flight line and destroy $200 million worth of u.s. fighter jets and other equipment, the largest single loss of allied material in the 12-year long afghan war. and the allegation here that has been substantiated by the investigation is that as the marines were drawing down their forces from that part of afghanistan, they cut back on the number of troops to patrol the area around that base, and so they left the area around that base pretty much uncovered. >> who was supposed to be covering that area around the base? >> a combination of both british troops, soldiers from the nation of tonga, who were supposed to be manning watch towers, and the watch tower closest to the point of entry was left unmanned on the night
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of the attack. the american marines were supposed to be patrolling the areas around it, a broad perimeter of desert where there were a number of sort of en campments that had been set up by poor afghan farmers. and these insurgents managed to get in those encampments and circle the base and they weren't scene because in fact the patrols were cut back on. >> they actually had maps of the base? >> sophisticated maps, yes. >> the general told you and the "washington post," maybe the taliban got lucky that night. that was the first initial response to this. did they not do their own investigation? >> there was not much of an investigation done. the general ordered the investigation on the base, and the top commander ordered a british commander to look at security and do an investigation for nato. you had essentially a british general evaluating the role of british
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troops. you had general garganus to come in and look at his forces. but you had nobody looking at whether general garganus and his officers were negligent. no report was done that could have held american service members to account. it wasn't until members of congress started to ask questions, or senior officials in the pentagon said, hey, wait, why hasn't this been looked at mour thoroughly, and an article in the "washington post" that helped lead them to order this investigation. >> let's go back a moment. this wasn't the first incident at this base. >> certainly not. there was an incident called "the burning man" incident where an afghan translator working for british forces tried to drive a van, and rammed a plane carrying leon panetta. and when he missed, he almost ran over general gargganus, who later on told an untruth to
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reporters who were on the plane with panetta, saying there was no real incident. that translator drove his van into a ditch and tried to light himself on fire. there was already a heightened concern about attacks on that base. >> security bases in afghanistan a different ball of wax than other places we've been in part because of the ongoing withdrawal of the troops? >> it certainly complicates the matter. as troops are being reduced, and yet bases remain open, there is a need to protect those facilities and protect all those lines of communication. all of the roads that are being used to pull equipment out. unlike the withdrawal in iraq, which proceeded are there peacefully, afghanistan is still very contested, and very hostile in areas where we're reducing forces. so it adds a whole other complication for american commanders, and they want to be focused on training the afghan army, conducting combat operations, at the same time they need just as many soldiers in many
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cases as they did a year or two or three ago to protect their bases. >> so what is it about this particular offense that brought such a severe punishment? we know once an investigation finally got under way, they must have discovered something to lead to the firing of two generals, something so unusual. >> what the investigation -- and i've read an unclassified copy of it -- found was just a systemic pattern of failure by these two generals in terms of assessing the threat, taking it seriously, rec reciting the necessary resources to protect the base, and an arrangement with coalition forces for who was to protect the compounds. so this investigation was pretty hard-hitting, pretty scathing. and you had the commandant of the marine corps wanting to demonstrate he
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was going to seek accountability at all levels of the service. it is coming days after when the commandant has taken steps to try to increase discipline in the barracks on bases for junior officers. and the marines have faced their share of disciplinary charges in afghanistan. some marines have been brought up on charges for urinating on the corpse of dead taliban. and you had the commandant saying, look, i'm going to seek accountability at all levels of of my service. >> thanks for your reporting. >> good to talk to you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the remarkable career of an entertainment legend. actress rita moreno has put her life story into a new book. ray suarez caught up with her yesterday. >> suarez: born rosita dolores alverio in small-town puerto rico in the midst of the great depression, moreno headed to work as an entertainer at 13 and
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was on broadway and in hollywood before she was 20. she was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by president george w. bush in 2004, and the national medal of the arts by president obama. the library of congress has called her a living legend. ♪ >> suarez: she is one of the few performers in history to win an emmy, a grammy, a tony and an oscar. now, after a long career and a long life, rita moreno can take the long view, and she does that in her new self-titled memoir. rita moreno, great to see you. >> you, too, ray! >> suarez: i sat down with moreno in washington. she says for today's rositas, breaking in is still hard. >> it's different. it's different, and it's better. but, you know, i have to say-- and i'm quoting ricardo montalban, who really said it best a number of years ago, but it's still... it's still apt-- he said, "the door is ajar, and
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it's a big, heavy door, too. so, if you're going to look for opportunities, you're going to have to have some strength to push that door." it's certainly better, and it's wonderful to see more hispanic names on the professional scene from my end, in show business. but i'm still waiting to see an actor or actress of hispanic descent being offered a role that is worthy perhaps of an oscar nomination. i've talked to a lot of young people, and i always do; it's a part of my modus vivendi. and the one thing they always ask is, "why are you the only one?" and i really don't think it's that complicated. i think it is because i don't think the... our people who are actors have yet gotten something
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that's really very, very strong and meaningful. >> suarez: moreno learned the hard way how being different in hollywood could shape or deform a career. in the pbs documentary series "latino americans," she told of being pushed into role after role as an all-purpose ethnic peasant-- clothes and hoop earrings, brown makeup, speaking a language you might call "not from here." >> i've played polynesian, i've played an arabian girl, an east indian girl. and what was so confusing about that, which i mentioned in my book, is that i assumed i had to have an accent. nobody said anything, so i made up what i call the universal ethnic accent, and they all sounded alike! didn't matter who i was playing. polynesian? they would all talk like this. >> suarez: moreno, now 81, sees today's performers as more free to be themselves, less often forced to play to stereotype,
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and she's glad. >> what happens is that you begin to live a double life. your life at home with mami and papi and your friends, and your life out there where... and i did. i accommodated that almost completely because i really believed that's how it had to be. i'm no longer ashamed of it. i was for many, many years, especially during the years when i was dissembling that way. but i didn't know any other way to do, any other way to be. and i wore too much makeup, and i did all of that "conchita lolita" stuff. you know, i wore very tight dresses and then would be offended when... when men would make remarks about me. ♪ >> suarez: moreno told me she's always been an optimist.
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she says the doors are opening, if slowly, to the professions, to positions of power, to influence in the culture, in a way she couldn't have imagined when she was young. >> i think it has changed. as i said earlier, the door is certainly more open than it was for us. and when i say "us," i'm really speaking of so many other people. i mean, let's face it, how often do you see an asian face in films and tv? they are practically invisible. now and then, you'll get one, and interestingly he gets the role of a scientist. isn't that interesting? well, at least he's not a spitfire. he's not wearing, or she, off- the-shoulder clothes. yeah, it's changed, and it's good, but i don't think that a lot of people think of us as contributors to the culture of this country. >> suarez: rita moreno is the author of "rita moreno, a memoir." great to talk to you.
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>> thank you. >> i want to be here when i grow up. >> me, too. the final installment in the series, "latino americans," runs tonight on pbs. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: the first day of a federal government shutdown passed with hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed and numerous parks and agencies shuttered; congress remained deadlocked on a bill to reopen the government; and uninsured americans began signing up for health insurance under the affordable care act, but technical problems made for long waits. >> woodruff: online, even though the health care marketplaces are finally open, we know many of you still have a lot of questions. so, our health reporter put together a little cheat sheet: how to enroll, who's eligible, what kinds of plans are available, plus a look at the different types of state exchanges. you can find that on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, and that's the newshour for
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tonight. on wednesday, we'll get the latest on the government shutdown and efforts to end the congressional stalemate. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for of all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway.
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>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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