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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  June 28, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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versus gore in 2000 that it was very partisan court. but this today showed roberts had kind of a deep thought. he really played the constitutional lawyer and justice here. and i think his stock goes very high just as charles evan used it with fdr and social security. a republican that backed social security. >> doug brinkley, we appreciate you. thanks for coming on. >> thank you. >> what a day it's been. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. i'm going to turn things over to wolf blitzer. he's in washington. "the situation room" begins now. thank you, brooke. upheld landmark u.s. supreme court ruling with some surprise twists. cnn's jeffrey toobin was inside the court when it all came down. is the ruling a political game changer? we're going to hear what president obama and mitt romney had to say. plus, what all of this means for you. cnn's dr. sanjay gupta has the real world impact of the health care reform ruling. and a historic house vote on
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whether to hold attorney general of the united states, eric holder, in contempt of congress. that vote expected this hour. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." it's the most anticipated supreme court decision in more than a decade. and one that impacts the lives of almost every american as well as the presidential campaign. in a 5 to 4 split, the supreme court upheld the affordable care act, a law so tightly bound to president obama that both critics and supporters call it -- and i'm calling it now what they are calling it, obama care. behind the historic ruling and meticulous legal reasoning that caught many observers offguard as well as the surprise split that saw the chief justice of
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the united states, john roberts, siding with the courts' four liberal justices. kate bolduan begins outside. >> reporter: absolutely, wolf. a bombshell ruling. the individual mandate, the centerpiece, but getting to that conclusion was a surprising revelation. the chief justice writing for first unconstitutional under the commerce clause and later writing it would be upheld under the taxes cause. congress' power to tax a very unexpected legal route and reasoning barely got any attention in oral arguments when they were hearing this case. now, here's a little bit of the chief justice writing in the majority opinion explaining the reasoning here, chief justice
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writes "the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. the mandate would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command." . he's talking about the commerce clause but goes onto say, the federal government does have power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. it can be reasonably read as a tax flt i'll tell you, wolf, that reasoning seemed to be supported by the chief justice alone. but on the basic question of should the individual mandate stay or should it go, he was able to get the four more liberal justices to join in to form the majority. a very surprising coalition, wolf. >> very surprising indeed. the dissent was very harsh as well against the chief justices opinion. tell us about that. >> reporter: absolutely. a very harsh dissent being read from the bench by justice anthony kennedy. he was joined by the four more conservative justices on the bench. those four justices joined
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together arguing that not only the individual mandate should have been thrown out, but they thought the entire law should go as well. here's what the dissenting justices said really speaking about that taxing clause, the reason behind upholding the individual mandate and the reasoning that the chief justice wrote about, this is what the dissenting justices wrote. to say that the individual mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. inverts the scheme and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry. pretty scathing criticism directly squarely at the chief justice, wolf. >> kate bolduan, thanks very much. let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. his new book is coming out in september. also joining us, senior editor and legal correspondent for "slate."
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she and jeffrey were both inside the court when the decision was read. jeffrey, let me start with you. take us through those historic moments you were sitting and you were listening -- >> we were practically this close in the courtroom too. i have to tell you the five minutes between 5 of 10:00 and 10:00 were some of the longest five minutes i've ever been through and also some of the most silent. that room nobody was breathing. chief justice roberts said at 10:06 he would deliver the opinion of the court, it was one of these great moments where no one outside of those nine people and the people behind the curtain knew what he was going to say. what made it even more extraordinary is that the beginning of the opinion was so critical of the law. his first summary, his first probably ten minutes of what he was saying was about the commerce clause. and i remember saying to dalia, that's it, it's over. then he went into the taxing power. and you thought, wow, he's really going to hold it up. but you didn't know even as he
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was going that it was going to be upheld. it was just stunning. >> yeah. you must have been shocked when he said that but and changed the entire decision basically from what you thought it looked like it was going to be. >> it was an amazing moment, wolf, in the fact he was giving the challengers everything they wanted. between activity and inactivity, forcing them into commerce. what he gave was so extraordinary beyond what anyone had thought he would give and to yank it away and say, but, it's a tax. and that was really an amazing moment. everybody got whiplash because it just happened so fast. >> the taxing argument has been part of the government's brief all through this process. >> not part of the president's plit #political statement. >> no. that's why. there's been this contradiction in the government's position. its public/political position, it's not a tax, and its legal position. they always did raise it. it came up very little in the
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oral argument -- >> except from the solicitor general. he made this point. we have the audiotape. they released the audiotape. no videotape. i want to play this exchange he had with the chief justice on whether or not this mandate was constitutional. listen to this. >> they thought of it as a tax, they defended it on the tax power, why didn't they say it was a tax? >> they might have thought, your honor, calling it as a penalty as they did would make it more effective in accomplishing its objectives. it's collected by the irs on april 15th. >> that's the reason. they thought it might be more effective if they called it a penalty. >> that was very significant obviously with hindsight. dahlia, did you realize when listening to the oral arguments that the entire basis of saying it was constitutional the mandate would be based on the tax as opposed to the commerce clause, which they rejected as
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unconstitutional? >> i wasn't savvy enough to catch it. i didn't think that was an a-ha moment. but i would say there are some people immediately after saying, huh, they hooked roberts here. former acting said it talking votes memoed a short time after. i think he likes this tax argument. so there were sharper eyes than mine who thought they'd picked off maybe a fifth vote. but i have to tell you even though it's an idea circulating in the blog sphere, i don't think anyone thought the court was going -- >> solicitor general deserves credit for coming up with that. >> he deserves credit especially from me because i was so critical of his performance. look, i called it like i saw it, but i was wrong. he was right. and he's the winner here. and it's no surprise that the first phone call that barack obama made after he got the news was to donald to congratulate him. >> he deserves a lot of credit. at the time he was being slammed that he was ineffective, didn't
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make good arguments, but obviously made one very good argument and gave the chief justist of the united states that opening. how surprised were you, dahlia, that the decider was chief justice and not the decider anthony kennedy. >> we've all been walking around with the what would kennedy think moment for the past three months thinking this is all about kennedy. he's a traditional swing voter. it looked at argument as though he was in play. so i think everyone thought that the chief justice was going to offer the opinion, but you're quite right to say that people thought that the big, big decision was anthony kennedy. >> i'm sure you did and dahlia, you did as well, if justice kennedy had gone with the majority, then justice roberts may have gone along as well. but for justice kennedy to go with the minority and justice roberts to that i can what some
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would argue a profile-encouraged moment, that was pretty extraordinary. >> it was extraordinary. and, again, predictions are hard. and i sure blew this one. but what's so incredible is that kennedy wrote a dissent that could have been written by justice slee ya. it was not disagreeing with the majority and the individual mandate, he would have struck down the whole law. all 2,700 pages. >> when you heard the questions he was asking during the oral arguments, kennedy, you thought it was over. >> that's one area where we disagree. i thought he was very hostile in oral argument. and i did think roberts asked some questions of both sides that were somewhat more skeptical of both sides. but, look, i didn't predict this result. and i was as surprised as anyone. >> what does this say to you, dahlia? you've been watching this court for a long time. what does this say to you about the chief justice? >> it says when he got up there at his confirmation and he talked about minimalism and humility and putting the
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institution of the court first and a lot of us scoffed and said he's a movement conservative and he's here to act on the very, very strong right wing will of the party, i think we were a little bit mistaken. i think that this was an act of true statesmanship. people talking about john marshal and likening him to the great leaders of the court. i think he made a lot of people very mad today, but i think he fell on his sword for the integrity of the court. i think it says he puts the court first. >> i'm going to disagree with some of that. john roberts was and is a liberal man. it's still the chief justice of parents united, parents involved which may end civil rights affirmative action and that's something they're going to get next year. don't let's kid ourselves that john roberts has turned into the second coming of earl warren. he's not that conservative on that issue on this day. >> what a day it is. all right, guys, thanks so much.
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we're going to have more to discuss obviously in our next hour as well. meanwhile, president obama had a hint of a smile on his face as he approached the microphones after the ruling. we're going to hear his reaction. and his rival, mitt romney, energized by the decision. his reaction as well. plus, the impact on the race for the white house. and the historic house vote on whether to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. it's happening very soon. [ creaking ] [ male announcer ] trophies and awards lift you up. but they can also hold you back. unless you ask, what's next? [ zapping ] [ clang ] this is the next level of performance. the next level of innovation. the next rx. the all-new f sport. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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we're awaiting a vote on the house floor. they're voting in fact right now on a democratic alternative to send this motion back to committee. a motion that would hold attorney general of the united states, eric holder, in contempt of congress. this democratic motion will be defeated by the majority republicans in the house. then the republican version to hold eric holder in contempt will come up for a formal vote. we expect that to pass given the
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lopsided republican majority in the house of representatives. there will be some democrats who will vote for this as well. we'll continue to monitor what's going on on the floor of the house of representatives. never before in the history of the united states has an attorney general of the united states been held in contempt of congress. we'll let you know what's going on on this historic vote. let's go to jack cafferty right now. he's got the cafferty file. jack. >> biggest day they've had in washington in quite some time, isn't it? >> yes, it is. >> all right. the supreme court reminded all of us in an instant this morning what a tremendous impact these nine people can have on the lives of hundreds of millions of americans. and what came as a surprise to many, as you've heard, is that chief justice john roberts, a george w. bush appointee, broke with the conservatives, sided with the court's liberal justice in favor of obama care and the individual mandate. in a way it was curiously refreshing whether you agree with the court's decision or not. that's because a lot of people have come to believe that politics has played an outsized
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role in the supreme court's decision in recent years. probably really got going back in 2000 with bush versus gore, when the supreme court effectively handed the presidency to george w. bush. then two years ago came the citizens united ruling allowing unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections as long as it's independent of the campaigns. whatever the reasons, there has been a marked decline in the supreme court's approval rating with the american public. a recent poll found only 44% of americans approve of how the high court does its job. that's down from 80% in 1994. the "new york times" cbs poll shows an overwhelming 76% of those surveyed say the supreme court justices sometimes let their own personal or political views influence their decisions. only 13% think the court's decisions are based only on legal analysis. but the court's critical ruling today might move the needle once again when it comes to how we view the highest court in our land. and that's the question we're
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dealing with, how does today's health care ruling affect your opinion of the supreme court? go to post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. in school used to think, supreme court, what a boring branch of government. not today. >> you're absolutely right, jack. there are several supreme court justices who are well into their 70s right now. the next president of the united states, whether that's mitt romney or barack obama, probably will have at least one, maybe two openings. and that new supreme court justice, whoever it happens to be, probably will be late 40s, early 50s, could have a role to play for 30 years, maybe 40 years if they live -- this is a lifelong appointment as you know, jack. you're absolutely right. this is a high profile issue for millions and millions of americans as was evidence today. >> there you go. good point. >> thank you, jack. president obama was visibly pleased as he made a statement after the ruling came down.
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he called it "a victory for people all over this". >> good afternoon. earlier today the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the affordable care act. the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. in doing so, they've reaffirmed a fundamental principle, that here in america in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin. that's why i knew it wouldn't be politically popular and resisted the idea when i ran for this office. we ultimately included a provision in the affordable care act that people who can afford to buy insurance should take the responsibility to do so. in fact, this idea's enjoyed support from members of both parties including the current republican nominee for president. still, i know the debate over this law has been devicive. i respect the concerns millions of americans have shared.
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and i know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically. well, it should be pretty clear by now that i didn't do this because it was good politics. i did it because i believed it was good for country. i did it because i believed it was good for the american people. >> the president reacting in the east room of the white house. the ruling adds new fire to the already-heated presidential campaign. mitt romney is making it issue number one, at least right now. our national political correspondent, jim acosta's joining us with more reaction. what is the republican presidential candidate saying? >> reporter: well, wolf, until today health care reform had been on the back burner in the general election phase of this campaign. but in response to the supreme court's ruling, mitt romney said the american people now face a choice. and he's right. walking out to a podium that was bearing the sign "repeal and replace obama care."
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mitt romney said what the supreme court got wrong, he will make right. >> what the court did not do on its last day in session, i will do on my first day if elected president of the united states. and that is i will act to repeal obama care. >> reporter: using the term obama care 18 times. >> obama care, obama care. obama care. obama care. >> reporter: romney presented himself as the voters' last chance to strike down the president's health care law. >> this is now a time for the american people to make a choice. >> well, it should be pretty clear by now that i didn't do this because it was good politics. >> reporter: across town and minutes later the president acknowledged his signature legislative achievement remains unpopular, but then he threw some jabs of his own. explaining the law's most controversial element, individual mandate came from his republican opponent. >> in fact, this idea's enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current republican nominee for president. >> reporter: both sides seized on the justices words from the health care ruling.
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pointing to ginsburg that it came from massachusetts, ie romney. and chief justice roberts held the mandate was constitutional because its penalty is really a tax. >> this is a middle class tax increase. you know why we know it's a middle class tax increase? not because i'm saying it, because the supreme court has said it. it's the basis for them upholding it. >> reporter: something the president denied three years ago. >> still a tax. >> that's not true, george. for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. >> reporter: if he repeals the laws, president romney said he would keep some of its consumer protections. >> got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and not lose their insurance. >> reporter: but house democratic leader nancy pelosi noted as the insurance companies have, the mandate pays for those protections. >> i don't know. >> reporter: now the romney
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campaign says it's raised more than $1 million since the supreme court ruling. oddly enough the decision is uniting the gop behind the man once dubbed by democrats and even a few republicans as the father of obama care. wolf. >> jim, thank you. let's dig deeper with gloria borger. how does this move the ball in the presidential race? >> i think what it does is draws some knneon lines. as jim pointed out, took mitt romney nanoseconds to give a press conference and say he's going to repeal and replace the president's health care reform bill. and it galvanizes those conservatives who have been so skeptical about mitt romney as the father of massachusetts's health care reform, they're now galvanized around him because he's the only horse they've got to fight the president. makes the congressional races that much more important. if you want to repeal it, you have to have congressional majorities. on the democratic side, i think in an odd way, first of all,
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this is not a failure for the president. this is a victory. but in an odd way, it also liberates him to a certain degree to talk more about health care reform. it was kind of on the back burner before because he kind of had this axe hanging over his head, the supreme court. now that's gone, you'll hear more from the president talking about the virtues and benefits. >> can you just imagine if they ruled against the health care reform law, what an embarrassment and huge disaster that could have been. listen to what the republican leader, mitch mcconnell in the senate, said today reacting to this decision. >> well, the supreme court has spoken. this law is a tax. the bill was sold to the american people on a deception. >> you heard the president in that interview with george as a
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not a tax but you hear the irs will administer this penalty. >> they're going to have to hire agents. >> that was the basis for the chief justice saying this is constitutional. >> you can almost read between the lines that the chief justice was sort of admonishing the administration for saying, you know what, call a tax a tax. if it looks like a tax, walks like a tax, it's a tax. call it a mandate, a penalty, a fine, it's a tax. so i think you're going to be hearing a lot more about what mitch mcconnell just said with republicans saying -- they're going to say this is the largest tax increase to come down the pike. maybe in history. >> it's a little awkward for the romney campaign to be doing that because romney supported a mandate, an individual mandate in massachusetts with penalties, ie, tax increases in massachusetts. >> right. >> so it's an argument he's going to have a tough time making. >> that's wlie during the primaries, wolf, as you recall,
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rick santorum was out there making the argument, mitt romney is not the man to argue against obama care. >> he didn't say that. he said he was the worst man to make the argument. that's what rick santorum said then. >> and now of course he's supporting mitt romney, but for that very reason he said he can't make the case. however, i do believe now that there's one candidate against the incumbent president that mitt romney will be making that case and that republicans have no choice but to follow him because he's their presumptivive nominee. >> he certainly is. you heard the president call him the nominee although technically he's not the nominee. he's the presumptive nominee. >> i think he'll get it. >> i do too. the health care ruling may be a big win for obama but the setback is unfolding on the floor of the house of representatives right now. the house may hold the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, in contempt of congress. this is the first time that would happen in u.s. history.
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the vote expected any moment now. they've been voting on a democratic alternative which will fail. the republican version will pass. we're going to tell you what's going on. this is an historic day in washington. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." if you made a list of countries from around the world... ...with the best math scores. ...the united states would be on that list. in 25th place. let's raise academic standards across the nation. let's get back to the head of the class. let's solve this.
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the house of representatives about to vote to determine if for the first time in u.s. history a sitting attorney general may be held in contempt of congress. republicans are spearheading the attack on eric holder because he won't share documents concerning a now discredited program called fast and furious. it was supposed to trace weapons smuggling but ended up helping mexican drug cartels acquire guns from the united states. joe johns is covering the story for us. joe is watching what's going on. i take it, joe, they have just rejected a democratic motion to refer all of this back to the committee. the republicans had the majority on that. i assume they're going to have a
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majority in the next few minutes to hold eric holder in contempt. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. this measure that was just voted down was a measure brought to the floor of the house by democratic congressman john dingle, the deen of the house. he's from the state of michigan, which happens to be the home state of the border agent, brian terry, who was killed in the operation fast and furious which launched this controversy on capitol hill which has led to a contempt vote against eric holder probably in the next few minutes. democrats had wanted to vote for this measure to try to send this over to committee. they of course would lose that vote. after that a large number of democrats were also expected to walk out of the house of representatives. that is expected to happen very soon. expected to go down the center aisle there of the house of representatives on the floor and then go down the house stairs out to the elm tree, which is a site typically used for news conferences and such and talk about their reasons why they
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want to walk out on this vote in the house of representatives. i talked a little while ago to the house minority who told me that this idea has sort of mushroomed. it started fairly small just with the congressional black caucus, and then it sort of grew and grew. he said a lot of people in a meeting of democrats were talking about it this morning and decided they thought they needed to do more to make a statement because of the unprecedented nature of this vote. nonetheless, even if they do walk out, it is still expected that republicans have enough votes joined by perhaps as many as 20 or 30 democrats to go ahead and pass this measure. i think we may even have some pictures now of the democrats beginning to walk out. not just the congressional black caucus, also members of the congressional hispanic caucus, members of the congressional asian-pacific caucus and a number of progressives all
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saying they are leaving the floor of the house of representatives and do not want to participate in the vote against eric holder proper. they also got some wind in their sails from the house democratic leader, nancy pelosi, who moved in her position from saying she'd stay on the floor to vote to agreeing that because of what she considers the egregious nature of the vote, she too said she would also leave the house floor. again, though, this is expected to pass. and eric holder likely to be held in contempt of the house of representatives. the first sitting attorney to be hit with a contempt of congress citation in this way. wolf. >> not likely, he will be held in contempt. look at that tally so far. 133 yays, that's in favor of holding him in contempt of congress. only 23 nays. but there's going to be not many more because so many of these democrats, you can see them walking out of the floor of the house of representatives in protest. they won't even vote on this.
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they are so angry. this is their way of protesting what they see as totally inappropriate motion to censure, if you will, to hold eric holder in contempt of congress. you need 218 votes to pass, the republicans already have 165. you see 11 democrats though already, joe, 11 democrats have voted with the republicans. i suspect that number will go up a little bit more. but how surprised should we be that some democratic members of the house of representatives will vote with the republicans? by the way, you see members walking down the stairs of capitol hill. nancy pelosi, the right in the white in the middle of your screen among those. they're walking out in protest. you said it was organized by the congressional black caucus, but others have now joined including stenni hoyer. you see him walking out as well. this is a dramatic moment in washington. >> reporter: it certainly is a dramatic moment in washington. to answer your question, no, we
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should not be surprised that a certain number of democrats are joining with the republicans. that is because of the influence of the national rifle association. the national rifle association's actually counting the vote here and will count the vote against any democrats in nra-leaning districts because they want the contempt vote against eric holder. i spoke yesterday with one of the top officials of the national rifle association. he says in his view he thinks that operation fast and furious, which was a gun-running operation that turned bad, was essentially a precursor, if you will, to open the door to more gun control, at least more gun control reporting in the united states. of course the national rifle association doesn't want -- >> i'm going to interrupt you, joe. you see the total now. 222 yays, 46 nays, this will
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pass. you need 218. eric holder, the attorney general of the united states, will be held in contempt of congress for refusing to provide documents in regards to the fast and furious gun smuggling operation. 241 now voting in favor. only 53 opposed. 53 democrats as you can see, no republicans voting nay. 17 democrats so far voting along with the republicans. what we're seeing now are live pictures outside the capitol. these are members who have walked out in protest. they're holding hands. they're walking in solidarity to protest this con tempbt motion against eric holder, the attorney general of the united states, the first time in american history that the nation's highest ranking law enforcement official will be held in contempt of congress. there you see nancy pelosi, the democratic leader, the former speaker, walking with other members of the house of representatives. i assume they're going to go to
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microphones and make some sort of statement. but, joe, you're watching all of this unfold. you know, who would have thought it was all going to come down to this? >> reporter: that's true, wolf. it's also important to say this is sort of a two-part vote. first we have the criminal contempt. that is the criminal contempt that will be then referred to the united states attorney for the district of columbia as is the custom. of course so many times we've reported, the united states attorney for the district of columbia happens to be an employee of the justice department, therefore an employee of attorney general eric holder. not very likely that they're going to get very far with trying to get him to prosecute his boss. nonetheless, the second part of this contempt citation is to authorize the house oversight committee to go to court to sue over these issues in federal court. that of course is a different story. and where likely we'd see all these questions of the president's executive privilege
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coming up. it could be a very long process and go weeks, months, by that time there could still be a negotiation as to the information the congress has been asking for from eric holder, which they say he has no provided them. which of course has led to this contempt issue in the first place. >> and this is a immanuel cleaver. let's listen to him. >> as you can see, this represents the whole diversity of the democratic caucus of the 112th congress. and one of the things that we are attempting to do is to make sure that at least a group of members of congress express to the nation that we believe to be a calamity.
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this is a terrible day for the house of representatives. what this is about, we can't decide for sure, but it's certainly not about eric holder or holding back documents. and so we did not want to participate in something that we believe to have some kind of smell to it. and we are declaring by walking out that we're not participating in this activity. so we hope that americans will understand that we've done everything conceivably possible through the committee process to respond to what has been asked. and so the tricaucus believing that we needed to do something did make a presentation to the democratic caucus. and we received the support to do this from the total caucus. and as you can see, our caucus
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chair's here as well as our leader and our whip as well as our assistant leader, all of the caucus chairs. so we would bring to the microphone now judy chu, who is the chair of the asian-american-pacific caucus. >> this is an historic moment right now. we're going to stay on top of it. i want to bring joe johns back into this coverage of what's happening. the attorney general of the united states held in contempt of congress. 255 to 67. but most democrats simply walked out in protest. joe, you heard congressman emanuel cleaver say -- and he was i think using some signals, some code language if you will, that this has some kind of smell to it. and i know what a lot of members of the african-american community have been implying, have been suggesting given the fact that the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, is himself
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african-american, but how do you interpret what emanuel cleaver has just said? >> reporter: i think you interpret it as some very angry members of congress who essentially sort of to use legal terms, don't believe due process was used here. probably the pointman for eric holder throughout this entire controversy has been the congressman from the state of maryland who's pushed this thing again and again and again pointing out that, look, there are something like 100 different reasons why the investigation has been imperfect. probably chief among them the notion that the attorney general has been asked to provide information to the congress that he is bound by law not to provide because of investigations that are ongoing, prosecutions that are ongoing, a question of grand jury secrecy and so on. so it sounds as though they're
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saying eric holder is in a position where he can't win. and he's being taken to the mat for political reasons, they say during an election year by the republicans simply because republicans see this as a value to their base and a value to getting, for example, the national rifle association and others excited and that it would pay off for them in november. that is sort of the back story, wolf. >> so the republicans managed to pass overwhelmingly the first resolution, first of two as joe points out, this for criminal contempt of congress. this motion will be referred to the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia. they're about to vote on a second resolution, a civil action if you will, a second contempt resolution that would send this motion to the courts for adjudication. i want joe johns, gloria borger, jeffrey toobin, everyone standby. we're following two critically important stories here in the nation's capitol hill on this day. the reaction to the supreme
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court decision upholding the president's health care reform law as well as the house of representatives now for the first time in american history holding an attorney general of the united states -- the highest ranking law enforcement official in the country, in contempt of congress. our coverage resumes right after this. our cloud is not soft and fluffy. our cloud is made of bedrock. concrete. and steel. our cloud is the smartest brains combating the latest security threats. it spans oceans, stretches continents.
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overwhelmingly to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. we expect to hear directly from eric holder. he's getting ready to make a statement. we'll have coverage of that as well. let's assess what's going on on this historic day. joining us now the democratic stat gist and cnn contributor, paul rig la and former spokeswoman for the john mccain presidential campaign. let me start with you, nancy. never before in the history of the united states has the attorney general been held in contempt of congress. and you saw that walkout in protest. these members, these democrats are very upset. you heard emanuel cleaver say something smells to this whole notion. what do you think? >> forgive me, i'm having a hard time believing they're so upset about violations of process when they violated process after process to ram down the health care act that the supreme court ruled on today. so i think it's a little selective for them. and the republicans passed this with double-digit democratic
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support. again, i think once you hit that double-digit, it's hard to claim there's not bipartisan support. >> there's about a dozen democrats who voted along with the republicans. >> under enormous pressure from the nra. congress has an obligation to look into. but they've crossed the line, i think in most people's eyes to looking political and partisan. the attorney generals supplied thousands and thousands of documents. so far "fortunate" magazine has done review and said actually it's not even clear that bad guys, cartels, drug cartels, got guns under this. inspectors general investigation going on, they've jumped the gun here. they look so partisan now to hold the attorney general in contempt when we don't even know if there's been a scandal. >> he's been held in contempt. nancy, hold your thought for a moment. i want to take a quick break. resume this conversation. we're also going to talk about
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what the united states supreme court did today as well. much more coming up right here in "the situation room." ♪ >> got an earring. don't step on it. >> yeah, my earring. good earring. and kept turning the page, this is the next chapter for the rx and lexus. this is the pursuit of perfection. this is the next chapter for the rx and lexus. see life in the best light. outdoors, or in. transitions® lenses automatically filter just the right amount of light. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe even a little better. experience life well lit, ask for transitions adaptive lenses. visit your local walmart vision center today to discover how authentic transitions brand lenses enhance your vision. walmart. save money. live better.
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you're looking at a live picture, this is the office of the united states attorney in new orleans. the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, about to walk into that room, go to the microphone and give a statement reacting to the motion in the house of representatives. an overwhelming vote, 255 to 67 to hold the attorney general in criminal contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to the so-called fast and furious gun running sting. as soon as the attorney general starts speaking we'll of course have live coverage. anxious to hear what he has to say as we await the attorney general. he could be walking in momentarily. let's bring back our former spokeswoman for the john mccain campaign. also paul begala, our senior strategic analyst, shall we say, also senior advisor to priorities usa action, which is
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the super pac that supports the president of the united states. is that right? >> absolutely. i'm a sophomore advisor. >> i think a senior advisor works for you. >> what do you want to hear the attorney general say? >> that he's doing his job and he's doing it well. i also want him to say we have to be careful in overcorrecting. this looks like an undercover operation. >> here he comes. hold on a second. here's eric holder. >> good afternoon. today's vote is the rebitable culmination of what became a misguided and politically-motivated during an election year. by advancing it over the past year and a half, congressman issa and others have focused on politics over public safety. instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement agents like agent brian terry, who keep us safe,
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they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome. during this time, the men and women of the united states department of justice and i, have remained focus on what should and must be our government's top priority, protecting the american people. when concerns about operation fast and furious first came to light, i took action. and ordered an independent investigation into what happened. we learned that the flawed tactics used in this operation began in a previous administration, but i made sure that they ended in this one. i also made sure that agents and prosecutors across the country knew that such tactics must never be used again. i put in place new policies, new safeguards and new leadership to make certain of this. and took extraordinary steps to
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operation fast and furious. any suggestion to the contrary is simply not consistent with the facts. i had hoped that congressional leaders would be good faith partners in this. and some were. others however have devoted their time and their attention to making reckless charges, unsupported by fact and to advancing truly absurd, truly absurd conspiracy theories. unfortunately these same members of congress were nowhere to be found when the justice department and others invited them to help look for real solutions to the terrible problem of violence on both sides of our southwest border. that's tragic. and it is also irresponsible. the problem of drugs and weapons trafficking across this border is a real and significant public safety threat. and it deserves the attention of every leader in washington.
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in the face of these and other challenges, the justice department has continued to move forward in fulfilling its critical law enforcement responsibilities, whether it is with regard to prosecuting financial and health care fraud, achieving a record mortgage settlement, taking aggressive action in protecting the most vulnerable among us, or challenging proposed voting changes and redistricting maps that would potentially disenfranchise millions of voters. this department of justice has not been afraid to act. nor have i been. now, some of these enforcement decisions were not politically popular and helped to explain the actions that were taken today by the house. as attorney general, i do not look to that which is politically expedient. on behalf of the american people who i am privileged to serve, i seek justice. in recent weeks the justice department secured its seventh conviction in the most serious terror plot our nation's faced
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since 9/11. just two days ago the department awarded more than $100 million in grants to save or to create law enforcement jobs including more than 600 jobs for recent veterans. this, this is the kind of work that leaders in washington should be striving together to advance at a time when so many americans are in need of our help, i refuse to be deterred from it. and i will not let election year politics and gamesmanship stand in the way of continued progress. today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is at base both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the american people. they expect and they deserve far more. as a result of the action taken today by the house, an unnecessary court conflict will ensue. my efforts to resolve this matter short of such a battle were rebuffed by congressman issa and by his supporters.
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it's clear they were not interested in bringing an end to this dispute or even obtaining the information they say they wanted. ultimately, their goal was the vote that with the help of special interest they have now engineered. whatever the path this matter will now follow, it will not distract me or the men and women of the united states department of justice from the important tasks that are our responsibility. a great deal of work for the american people remains to be done. i'm going to be getting back to it. i suggest that those who orkhestrateed today's vote get started. >> eric holder explaining his position reacting to this unprecedented and historic move by the house of representatives to hold him in contempt, in criminal contempt of congress for refusing to provide documents related to the
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so-called fast and furious scandal. and i think it's fair to say it has been a scandal. we're going to have white house reaction, much more coverage on this. also the supreme court decision on health care in the united states. stay with us. "the situation room" will resume in just a moment. yet the house is considering a bill to close thousands of offices, slash service and layoff over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains $5 billion a year from post office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. house bill 2309 is not the answer. ask me how i've never slept better. [ male announcer ] why not talk to one of the six million people who've switched to the most highly recommended bed in america? it's not a sealy, a simmons, or a serta. ask me about my tempur-pedic. [ male announcer ] did you know there's tempur-pedic for everybody? tempur-pedic beds now come in soft, firm,
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breaking news, attorney general eric holder held in contempt of congress. this action only moments ago. we're standing by for more action against eric holder. in the house a second motion is about to pass, civil contempt of congress. plus, president obama's supreme court victory today, it's getting some republicans even more fired up about trying to boot him out of the white house. this hour, the politics of the health care ruling and what it means for your family. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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a day that began on a very high note for the obama white house is ending with an unprecedented slap at the president and his attorney general. the breaking news this hour, the republican-led house of representatives has voted to hold attorney general of the united states, eric holder, in criminal contempt of congress. we heard eric holder live on cnn call the vote in his words misguided and politically motivated. it all stems from the failed fast and furious gun running sting operation and the refusal to hand over certain documents related to it. some democrats, a lot of them in fact, walked out of the house in protest just before the contempt vote. they refused to even vote. now another vote is coming up to authorize civil action against eric holder. the first vote that passed cited criminal contempt of congress flt let's bring in our crime and justice correspondent, joe johns.
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he watched it all unfold. set the scene for us. history unfolding on this. it's never happened before, joe. >> wolf, i think it's certainly true that if anybody was asking for eric holder to hang his head and walk away in shame, that certainly did not happen. this was a defiant statement from this attorney general, the first attorney general held in contempt of congress ever in the united states. reading now today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but at base both a crass effort and great disservice for the american people. they deserve far better. and then he made the turn to the future battle that will occur in the courts over this very issue of the fast and furious gun running operation. he says as a result of the action taken today by the house, an unnecessary court conflict will ensue. my efforts to resolve this matter short of such a battle were rebuffed by congressman issa. and he goes onto say ultimately their goal was the vote that
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with the help of special interests talking about the national rifle association now, that they have now engineered. so clearly a defiant statement from him. meanwhile, as you said wolf, there were a number of members of congress, democrats all who walked out of the house of representatives rather than vote on this contempt citation. i talked earlier today to one of the men who spoke at a news conference outside the capitol just a while ago, that would be house minority whip stenny hoyer. let's listen to what he said outside the capitol after the walkout. >> and the reason we have walked down those stairs and into this courtyard is to call the attention of the american people who are angry about confrontation, angry about gridlock, angry about the fact that we are not focused on their priorities, jobs, investment and
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infrastructure, the environment, education, innovation, building our economy, who are angry at the po litization of the deliberations of the people's house. that's why we're here in this courtyard to say to our republican colleagues, shame on you. shame on you. >> reporter: strong symbolism on both sides and begs repeating, house republicans say they've been trying again and again and again to get information from the justice department led by eric holder about operation fast and furious and the justice department simply has not complied. so the symbolism then of the attorney general being cited for contempt of congress also with the symbolism of democrats walking off the floor of the house of representatives in protest and in support of holder. quite a day here in washington,
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wolf. >> indeed. standby. i'm going to get back to you with certainly a high-stakes weapons crackdown with a catching name. but there are apparently misconceptions out there about the so-called fast and furious program, at least that's what a new "fortune" magazine investigation suggests. brian todd is taking a closer look at that for us. what are you finding out, brian? what did "fortune" magazine report? >> wolf, this investigation by cnn's partner "fortune" magazine, dissects the fast and furious program and reveals what it says are distortions in media reports and accusations by media of congress. the atf did not intentionally allow guns to walk into mexico as an operational tactic. five law enforcement agents involved in the program tell "fortune" that it was just the opposite. they seized weapons whenever they could, but they were hand strung by weak laws and prosecutors who often insisted they didn't have enough evidence to wiretap or to bust people. now, what really blew up this case, the murder of this man,
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brian terry. he was 40 years old. a detroit area native, a former u.s. marine, part of an elite border patrol unit that was attacked by mexican bandits on december 14, 2010. terry was killed in that attack. we have some pictures of the scene right here. he was killed in that attack. and the bandits left two semi-automatic weapons at the scene. a trace of the serial numbers reveal they were purchased nearly a year earlier at a phoenix gun store by a fast and furious suspect. ten weeks after terry's murder, an atf agent told cbs news that his supervisors had intentionally allowed firearms to be trafficked into mexico. then congress got involved four months after that agent's allegations and several months after brian terry's murder, brian terry's family appeared before a house committee. >> brian was about making a difference and justice. and i just feel that this country owes it to him because
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he spent his whole life fighting this country in some way or another. >> if the guns used in brian's murder were part of this operation, then we'd want to know, will everyone in that operation that had to deal with those specific weapons be brought up on charges of facilitating the murder of brian terry? >> so as with so many scandals, this started with a personal story, the tragedy of brian terry's death. it started with grudges within that atf unit in arizona tracking the guns. grudges which led to this getting blown up in the media and in congress. and now a year and a half after the death of this border patrol agent, brian terry, we've got a contempt of congress vote against the attorney general, wolf. >> brian, what happened to some of the key members of that atf unit? >> well, "fortunate" magazine
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says that unit's been blown up since this all has come out that that unit's been basically dissipated. the leader of the unit transferred to a desk job in washington. much of that was on david roth's account. others were transferred to atf field offices and still working for the agency, wolf. >> brian todd with some good background. thank you. the white house now reacting to the house of representatives' decision to hold attorney general of the united states, eric holder, in criminal contempt of congress. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin. i take it they have released a statement, jessica. what did they say? >> reporter: hi, wolf. they have the the statement says in part "at the beginning of this year republicans announced one of their top priorities was to investigate the administration and insure that president obama was a one-term president. despite the major economic
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challenges facing the country, they talked openly about devoting taxpayer funded congressional oversight resources to political purposes." the statement goes onto say that the gun walking program was a "field-driven tactic," wolf, that started under president george w. bush's administration and dan fifer says it was this administration's attorney general who ended it. he also calls this vote "political theater, a transparentally political stunt." those are his words. and he points out the administration has turned over 7,600 documents and offered more this week. this is full battle for the white house which sees this as a baldly political move by a congress that is making an effort just to try and embarrass the white house in an election year. as you know when they said they're trying to make the president a one-term president, that was a reference to senate
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minority leader mitch mcconnell who made that statement in 2010, wolf. >> jessica, standby because there's other important news we're following as well. i want to get some immediate reaction to this historic moment right now. angry reaction from eric holder. angry reaction from the white house. but what does it practically mean? nancy is the former spokeswoman for the john mccain campaign, paul begala, our democratic strategist, also senior advisor priorities usa action, the pro-obama super pac. and our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. for all practical purposes, jeff, the criminal contempt of congress will be referred to the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia, that's probably not going to go anywhere. the civil contempt of congress will be referred back to the courts. that could take two to four years to do anything there. so this is largely a symbolic move by the republican majority of the house. >> this is very embarrassing for eric holder. that's all it is.
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nothing is going to happen. there are no consequences. he is not going to be led off in handcuffs because he's been found in criminal contempt. at best, this will wind up in the courts. and with -- you know, 132 days before the election, there's not time to have this resolved probably even in the district court much less on appeal and the d.c. circuit and potentially the united states supreme court. this was designed to embarrass eric holder. i think it is embarrassing for the attorney general of the united states to be held in contempt. but in terms of practical ramifications, i don't think there are any. >> same thing happened to the republicans during the bush administration when top white house officials were held in contempt. but it took so long for the courts to consider what was going on, the bush administration was long out of business by the time anything could have been resolved. >> yes. that's true. i think that the primary political ramifications though is this is now clearly with it all being about executive privilege, the president owns this moving forward. so the american people will ultimately decide who was more
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reasonable? was it chairman issa? was he doing the exact -- was he playing the exact role he's supposed to play in oversighting this where a u.s. border patrol agent was killed, more than 300 crimes committed in mexico? is he playing his role or notd? executive privilege is a serious issue and president obama now owns this going into the election. >> it's clear also, paul, if there were going to be more documents, more cooperation from the executive branch to the legislative branch of the government, i expect that's over with certainly between now and the election. this will be a political issue going forward. >> it will. i disagree with nancy on this point, the house republicans own this now. under the republicans, congress' approval rating of an-time low of 12. after this it will go to 6. this is i say again a legitimate thing to look into. and mr. issa has not been extreme as many democrats feared. i want to defend him on that. but i think propelled by the national rifle association, this thing has gotten in the hands of
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the craziecrazies. they're going to take it too far and hurt themselves. the same clowns holding eric holder in contempt impeached bill clinton and now all my friends think he's the greatest president of their lifetime. 20 years from now they're going to say -- >> but the democratic leadership that did the publicity stunt of walking out of the u.s. congress are the same people that don't hesitate to trample on process if it achieves their political objective. they did that multiple times on health care. >> the other thing i just find puzzling as a journalist in all of this is, you know, we talk about executive privilege, these documents are covered, they're not covered, what are the documents? could we have a little more about what the documents are rather than -- >> i agree. >> so we can make an independent judgment about whether executive privilege is valid or not? >> close to 2,000 documents that they got from some source. >> but they're supposed to be a log of the specific documents and what they are in order to exert executive privilege. we're still waiting on that log. >> now they're voting on the civil contempt charge against the attorney general. that will pass overwhelmingly as
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well. all right. we'll take a quick break. we'll continue to watch what's happening on the floor of the house of representatives. an historic day for the first time ever in u.s. history an attorney general of the united states has been held in contempt of congress. there's other breaking news we're following getting more reaction on the historic decision by the united states supreme court to uphold, uphold the president's health care reform law. much more on that. all the day's breaking news right after this. on in years. in florida we had more suntans...years. in alabama we had more beautiful blooms... in mississippi we had more good times... in louisiana we had more fun on the water. last season we broke all kinds of records on the gulf. this year we are out to do even better... and now is a great time to start. our beatches are even more relaxing... the fishing's great. so pick your favorite spot on the gulf... and come on down. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. [ engine turns over ] [ male announcer ] we created the luxury crossover and kept turning the page,
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the other historic news we've been following today, the united states supreme court ruling that president obama is right in supporting his health care reform law. he is saying the president this is a victory for all americans, democrats and republicans are scrambling to put their spin on the bombshell decision upholding the president's health care reform law. the debate over what's called obama care may be an even bigger presidential campaign issue. now let's bring in our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin. she filed this report. >> reporter: inside the white house, officials describe elation over the court's ruling. but on camera, no spiking the ball. >> they've reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here
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in america in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin. >> reporter: the president emphasized the more popular parts of the bill appealing to key constituencies. >> young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parents' health care plans. seniors receive a discount on prescription drugs. they can't charge you more just because you're a woman. >> reporter: already republicans are campaigning off the ruling. governor romney quick on the assault. >> obama care was bad policy yesterday. it's bad policy today. our mission is clear. if we want to get rid of obama care, we're going to have to replace president obama. >> reporter: on capitol hill house republicans vow a vote to repeal the bill next month. from the senate, a new line of attack. >> well, the supreme court has spoken. this law is a tax. the bill was sold to the american people on a deception. >> reporter: what's he mean? the court found it's constitutional to require people
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to pay a fee if they don't -- >> what the chief justice said today is, look, quacks like a tax, looks like a tax, functions like a tax, it's a tax. >> reporter: it's no secret taxes are not politically popular. when the president was selling the bill in 2009, he told abc news. >> for us to say you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. >> reporter: and, wolf, expect the fight over whether this is or isn't a tax to continue through election day. as for how the president found out about the decision, well, initially he heard just like most of the public, by watching tv. and initially he was watching two stations, fox and cnn, that reported it wrong. and then he was standing there when his white house counsel walked in and gave him two big thumbs up telling him that the health care mandate -- that the health care law would stand. we are told that there were hugs
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and smiles all around. and his first call went to the solicitor general who argued the law. we're told he told him congratulatio congratulations. >> jessica, thank you. let's dig deeper into this health care law. the ruling upholding it. joining us once again senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. he was inside the supreme court when the decision came down. also joining us our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. i think it's fair to say, san y sanjay, for a lot of americans this was a life and death decision by the u.s. supreme court. >> i think you're absolutely right, wolf. i think you can say that for many different reasons. just life and death. that statement alone about 26,000 people according to a lot of estimates people die prematurely because of lack of health insurance every year. just think about that. 26,000 people a year dying prematurely. but it's also the number one cause of personal bankruptcy as well in the united states. lack of health care insurance.
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and, finally, wolf, you know there's a certain population of people out there who have significant illness that cannot get health insurance at any price. they've not been able to do that starting in 2014 for a lot of these people, they're going to be able to get health care insurance for the first time. i think you're absolutely right, wolf. >> jeffrey toobin is here. this is the decision, jeff, and you can see light reading if you have some free time. >> yes. >> it goes on for page after page after page. it's a pretty thick document. what's going to be -- in your analysis and your authority on the supreme court, you've written one best-seller, a second one about to come out, the impact on the chief justice of the united states who made this decision to go with the four democratic appointed supreme court justices and rule in favor of what's called obama care? >> john roberts was supposed to be and has been the perfect george w. bush appointee. someone who embodies the modern
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republican party. someone who is very conservative. who has ruled with the conservative colleagues in citizens united, in cases striking down integration plans in schools, in ruling against civil lawsuits in many, many different cases. this was an exception. this was a dramatic exception where he sided with the four liberals. the number of cases in which the court has split this way, roberts along with the four liberals, that is ginsburg, so to mayor is tiny, it's stunning to me. what makes this more remarkable is that the main issue in this case we all thought was the commerce clause. did the president and the congress have the power under the commerce clause to enact this law? roberts joined the conservatives and said no. but he said the taxing power was enough to justify the individual mandate, the requirement that
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people have insurance. he departed companies with his conservative colleagues and saved the law for president obama. >> sanjay, it's looking to take years for all aspects of this affordable health care law to be implemented. several years. but when all is said and done, right now there are 15 million uninsured americans. this will deal with maybe 30 million of them. there will still be 30 million or so uninsured americans. so what happens to them? >> well, significant percentage of them are undocumented workers as well. throughout the sort of inception and creation of the law, they took that into account. and they're not part of the affordable care act. so i think that that's -- but then there's also a certain number of people who can opt out. they won't for various reasons will not be a part of this, or they can pay the penalty and not get health care insurance that way. we talked about the penalties earlier, wolf. when it's fully implemented in 2016, penalties will be roughly $695 or 2.5% of your income.
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the greater of those two numbers you'd pay in penalties. so that accounts for a lot of the disparity. >> we'll have more on this story coming up. sanjay, thanks very much. jeffrey toobin, thanks to you of course as well. a lot happening -- and they're voting on the second contempt of congress charge against the attorney general of the united states. he's already been filed with a criminal contempt of congress. this is a civil contempt of congress. we're watching the breaking news on the floor of the house of representatives. democrats though simply protesting this vote. many of them not even participating. they're disgusted by the republican tactics against the attorney general. more on this and the u.s. supreme court decision coming up. i have to know the weather patterns. i upgraded to the new sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ chirp ] [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ chirp ] [ chirp ] [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done." with access to the fastest push-to-talk
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a second, repeat, a second contempt motion against the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, about to be approved by the republican majority in the house of representatives. already 199 votes. you see right there, 74 democrats opposing. most democrats simply not participating. they're disgusted by all of this. they walked out in protest. now you see 200, you need 218 for a majority in the house of representatives. they'll get that momentarily.
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joe johns has been watching all of this unfold. joe, just want to remind our viewers never before in american history has the nation's highest ranking law enforcement official, the attorney general, been held in contempt of congress. >> that's right, wolf. and in some ways this vote that's just wrapping up now on the house floor is the most important of the two votes because it's the vote that's going to allow the house oversight committee to go into court to seek a judgment to get the information that the oversight committee was requesting in the first place, which led to the contempt citation against the attorney general. the previous citation passed with the help of something like 17 democrats voting in favor of it. and two republicans actually voting against it. i think it's important to say, wolf, that even though this is a very partisan atmosphere here on capitol hill, there is some common ground on these issues relating to the operation fast and furious gun running deal
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that has caused so much controversy here. republicans say they want to get to the bottom of it. but i think the other thing that's very important is that everybody says the operation didn't go right, there were big problems. the bottom line question is whether the attorney general ought to be held in contempt over that. and that's what the fight's about, wolf. >> it's just went over the 218 mark, 221 you see there. yays so far, 80s nays. 19 democrats going along with the republicans. now 223. so the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, held in criminal contempt of congress, also in civil contempt of congress. but, joe, very quickly. now it's going to go before the courts. the civil contempt goes to the referral of the district of columbia. this may take years and years to adjudica adjudicate. >> it's not clear which way it could go. the attorney general says he's got a case and his case says there's a lot of information he
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can't give the congress. he's bound as an officer of the united states court, the highest law enforcement officer in the united states government, he says he can't give out certain information. and there are other reasons. there is the executive privilege that's been cited by the white house over these very documents. so those are his reasons. on the other hand, the congress has a right of inquiry and right of investigate that's been upheld again and again and again by the courts. there are these two ideas that will clash in civil court. and it could take a long time to resolve if the sides don't get together and negotiate something out, wolf. >> certainly will. all right, joe, thanks very, very much. joe johns reporting from capitol hill. the other big story we're following, the united states supreme court decision. the supreme court decision upholding what's called obama care, the health care reform law. romney promising to repeal it on the first day of his presidency if he's elected. what would he really be able to do to make that happen?
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much more on that coming up. also dramatic photo of house consumed by fire. imagine it's your home and you found out it was gone, gone, by looking at a newspaper's website. you can see more of those photos at and you can hear more about this dramatic story, the fires in colorado and a lot more news coming up right here in "the situation room." ♪ [ male announcer ] its lightweight construction makes it nimble... ♪ its road gripping performance makes it a cadillac. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with advanced haldex all-wheel drive. [ engine revving ] it's bringing the future forward. delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet the house is considering a bill to close thousands of offices, slash service and layoff over 100,000 workers.
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he'll do what the supreme court refused to do today, get rid of president obama's health care reform law. that's a tall order even if romney is certainly elected president. let's talk about what is ahead. joining us two guests, the former u.s. senator, missouri republican, senior advisor to the romney campaign. also with us, senator democrat of connecticut, the state's former attorney general. he says repeal and replace, the first thing he does on day one if he's elected, mitt romney. a lot easier said than done given the legislative process. you need majorities in the house and the senate. >> that's true. it's one of the reasons he's campaigning so explicitly on this. he thinks this law's a loser for the american people. raise premiums, throw people off their private health insurance under the government rules, cost $2 trillion to the federal government, but we can replace it with a series of empowering individuals to have different choices for health care. things like health care pooling across state lines, we think they'll be popular and able to
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pass. >> you think those alternatives are better than exist right now? i suspect the answer is no. >> no. and i think between now and then more and more people will see. i combatted the misuse of pre-existing conditions, the caps on coverage. the other kinds of practices, very unfortunate practices, that this bill is designed to eliminate. and i think the american people will realize the benefits of the bill. and i think also we're going to turn to jobs and the economy. >> would mitt romney repeal some of these popular aspects of obama care as it's called for example allowing children to remain on the parents' health insurance program until age 26, for example. pre-existing conditions, if you're pregnant for example, you're not going to lose your health insurance. >> look, there's lots of ways of doing that without doing it in the context of a law that's going to throw cbo set up to 20
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million people off their private insurance onto government rules. something is wrong with the law you have to force the states -- >> but romney did that in massachusetts. he forced people in massachusetts with a mandate in massachusetts. they had to buy health insurance otherwise they would be penalized. >> very different proposition. >> why? >> because there was hardly any additional state spending, there was no burden on small business, it didn't force people off their private health insurance. big difference between saying a state saying you have to buy one of a number of products in a market where costs are going down and the federal government says there's a one-size fits all product you got to buy in a product where -- >> you're from connecticut. right next door to massachusetts. is he right? >> you know, i think, wolf, if you look at the total law, there are such great benefits in terms of health care -- preventive health care without deductibles or co-pays. the young people that will stay on their parents policies toll age of 26, more and more people will realize that the whole law fits together. but most important i hope we
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will not be relitigating or rebattling these old issues and move onto jobs and the economy. and i think both candidates -- >> you remember rick santorum, the republican presidential candidate. he always used to say in the debates that i moderated that mitt romney was the worst person to represent the republicans when it comes to health care because of what he did as governor of massachusetts. >> we've got an awful lot of support from the republicans today just because the governor reaffirmed his pledge. i don't think it's relitigating, senator. the supreme court said -- as you know, the question of the constitutionality is different very distinctly different from whether this bill is good for the american people. that's a question the people will resolve in the election. they have a clear choice. >> will this be a winning issue? was the president really going to talk about it on the campaign trail? so far he talks about it occasionally, but certainly he hasn't been using it as a wedge to try to beat up on the republicans. >> i think the president's going to talk about what's really on the minds of the american
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people, which is getting america bark to work, getting connecticut back to work. and the benefits are going to become increasingly apparent and dramatically so the american people as they realize to take another example, no discrimination against women. no unreasonable increases in premiums. 68% of the people in connecticut are already covered under their employer's policies. the numbers of people affected by these issues, this so-called tax, are -- >> same question to you, senator talent. is the republican nominee in this particular -- is he going to be making this a major issue despite some of the so-called baggage. >> you've heard him doing it today. we're also going to talk about economic issues. and this is economic issue. additional burden on small businesses is going to cost a lot of jobs in this country. he's going to keep litigating at least in the campaign context. >> i'm sure you'll be debating this and a lot more coming up, four months or so to go before
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the election in november. >> four months is a long time, but i think the benefits of this law will be apparent. and i agree we need to care about small business and the president does. but ultimately this will drive down the costs. >> what about the benefits? the costs are already apparent. premiums going up already around the country. >> all right. thanks so much for that jim talent and richard blumenthal. good discussion. we're going to colorado right now. pain staking heartbreaking, live report right after this.
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what a day here in washington, d.c. let's talk a little more about the historic u.s. supreme court
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ruling upholding president obama's health care law. joining us now "time" magazine managing editor, rick stangel. you had one cover already out, rick, correct me if i'm right, but another cover now coming out as well. that one cover, "the revolution that wasn't." and you have a second cover as well. what happened? >> well, wolf, this really is a historic day and a historic decision and something that will be a flash point during the rest of the election. we thought it needed to be explained to the readers around the world. so we're closing tomorrow a cover on the supreme court's decision upholding obama care. >> so you have one cover on what's called obama care, the other cover on what's going on in egypt. that's the revolution that wasn't. that was the original cover story why the generals remain egypt's real rulers. tell us what the gist of that cover story is. >> the gist of it, wolf, is that
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we have gone through this seemingly transformational period in the middle east with arab spring. and yet in the centerpiece of that in the case of egypt, what you had is the reassertion of power by the military, by the generals who have in effect been ruling that country for decades. so the revolution that we had been talking about, the arab spring we had been talking about, hasn't really happened. >> because you have a line in there in the article, let me read it and put it up on the screen "though sheered of much of its own power, the presidency is still a huge opportunity for the muslim brotherhood, a push for social change. hour a morsi presidency who was elected president may also be of some advantage to the military. you're suggesting that there will be an alliance, if you will, between the muslim brotherhood and the military, is that right? >> yes. i think they become an alliance of strange bedfellows. i think it's enormously significant that you have a muslim brotherhood president of
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egypt. but it is in the interest of both the muslim brotherhood and the generals to have stability for them to work something out. i mean, the muslim brotherhood as you know, wolf, they have become as pragmatic as they can be in order to rule. and i think what we'll see is if the muslim brotherhood continues to cooperate with the military, you'll have them gain even more power. >> let's get back to the second cover that's going to come out tomorrow on health care reform. the president scoring a major, major win today. were your guys over there at "time" magazine surprised by this? we see roberts rules. i remember a few weeks ago you had a cover on the decider, anthony kennedy. >> right. >> he wasn't the decider, john roberts was. >> i thought the individual mandate would be struck down. in some sense roberts did strike it down in a sense that he redefined it. he redefined it as a tax rather than a mandate.
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something that wouldn't work under the commerce clause but does work under the constitutional taxing power. it's a fascinating decision on roberts' part. he himself has straddled the middle by embracing the doctrine of the four liberals. in fact, it's starting a new narrative, i would argue, in american politics of the kind of return to the center of a determination to find some compromise. i think it's terribly significa significant. >> indeed. rick stengel is editor of "time" magazine. i'm looking forward to both covers. thanks so much. roberts rules, i should say. >> thank you, thank you, wolf. what you can expect from the health care law, much more on the supreme court decision coming into "the situation room." standby. ♪
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so whether you agree or disagree with the united states supreme court, the ruling today upholding the president's health care reform law certainly a lawe deal for the entire country. after all, every american needs medical care at some point in his or her life. cnn tom foreman joins us to talk about what the decision means for you and your family. what are you finding out, tom? >> you're right, we all need it at some point. a lot of us haven't seen this. when it was signed into law, if you had college kids in the family, might make a difference. these are high points from it. this day saw the supreme court ruling that this is going to be okay, going to stand. ratchet up a lot of people as it moves on. next year, cap on flex spending accounts, tax free money.
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a limit how far you can go with that. 2014, this is a big year in this. that's the year you're going to have to buy insurance. the penalty up front if you don't do it, $285, or 1% of your income, whichever is bigger. to help you, insurance exchanges at the state level, they will be established where you can buy affordable care if you can't get it through your employer. no disqualification for existing conditions that year, and expanded medicaid for the very poor. big year in 2014. but look at the top number. look what happens when you get to 2016. penalty jumps up, 2.5% or 2,085. changes from there. by 2018, a tax on cadillac plans, big insurance plans some
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employers offer. these are the high points of what we will see as years march on here, many more of us haven't seen a result so far will see them, and the big question hanging over all of it, how will this effect us individually. this is generally how it effects the population. you may fall under this or that provision. some that right now think they don't have cadillac plans may find the plan they have by this time is a cadillac plan. they're paying taxes they didn't expect to. that's the devil in the details, wolf, that democrats and republicans have been fighting about all along, and the only way we're going to know how the money works out is by that march of years. >> over the next 6, 8, 10 years. now the law of the land will be implemented. we will learn more as it unfolds. tom, thanks very much. meanwhile, a family learns their home was destroyed in the colorado wildfires after seeing it in a newspaper photo engulfed in flames. stay with us, we'll tell you
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weeks to get under control. 36,000 people have been chased from their homes. cnn's jim spellman met up with one family that learned their home was destroyed after they saw it on a newspaper cover. >> reporter: as the flames tore through his colorado springs neighborhood, major ted ste fanny, an army sergeant, knew it was time to get out. >> saw the mountain, saw flames shooting over top of the mountain. >> reporter: with minutes to spare, he packed up the car, raced out of the neighborhood, meeting his wife and sonata friend's house. then the wait began. would their house be spared? the answer the next morning when they saw this picture on denver post website. the neighborhood in flames, their house on the left, a bonfire. >> we saw the photograph initially, it was shock. >> that's our house and it is in flames and i just started crying. there was no way around it. i was never going to go home again, so it's pretty sad.
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>> reporter: the photo went viral. also published on and the front of "the new york times." more photos can be seen at >> it was total shock to see our house in a fireball. but i think that was also therapeutic, too, because we knew over the last couple days where there's a lot of families that don't know the outcome of their home, we knew from pretty much the get go that we lost the house. >> we got these boxes, top boxes from iraq and afghanistan. >> managing to escape with books an important documents, there were many precious items left behind. ted's medals and one of caleb's toys. >> it is this teddy bear thing, scout, he played with that all the time. >> they saw another scout for sale at a bookstore, caleb lit up. >> it was an emotional event. >> yeah. we both about lost it in the
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store and our son beamed when he saw that bear, and hugged him and he just said scout, scout. >> reporter: piece by piece, they insist they will rebuild, beginning with a small bear. wolf, they're still battling this fire with helicopters and on the ground. you can see smoke here in the mountains. this is the u.s. air force academy behind me here. the good news is all day today and yesterday, they didn't lose any more homes. so hopefully they'll be able to get control of this fire, no more people like the stefanis will have to get bad news from the newspaper or officials that they lost their home. >> how far are the fires from downtown colorado springs? >> reporter: well, they got into colorado springs proper, where they live was in the city of colorado springs. the city is divided by a freeway that goes north and south. the whole west side between the mountains and highway was evacuated. so it got into the city of colorado springs. weather has been a little better
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today, wolf, they hope it won't return to the actual city, and will stay in the hills. >> let's hope so. jim spellman, thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks very much for joining us. wolf blitzer in washington. follow me on twitter@wolfblitzer. twitter@wolfblitzer. the news continues next on cnn. -- captions by vitac -- divided supreme court and the rally cry. we will breakdown the changes you face as that law is fully implemented. history in the house, vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of congress. republicans say eric holder is stonewalling a critical investigation. he calls it an election year stunt. and full circle, going back to day one, a voice worth rehearing this important day.
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let's begin with the dramatic developments on capitol hill, the house of representatives voted to cite attorney general eric holder for contempt of congress. >> the resolution is agreed to. >> hear that low nay count, 67. 100 democratic lawmakers walked out as voting started, among them, minority leader nancy pelosi. she called that contempt vote heinous. >> just when you think you have seen it all, just when you think they couldn't possibly go any further over the edge, they come up with something like this. it's stunning. >> majority republicans approved criminal and civil contempt citations against the attorney general, eric holder, because he won't share documents about a
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program called fast and furious. it was supposed to trace drug smuggling but it helped them get guns from the united states. holder told congress at first he didn't know anything about authorizing those to go across the border. turns out that wasn't the case and one of them showed up at the scene of a murdered patrol agent, brian terry. >> we are here because when we asked legitimate questions about brian terry's murder, about fast and furious, we were lied to. we were lied to repeatedly and over a ten month period. >> the white house and the attorney general himself condemned today's vote. >> today's vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year. >> more on what that contempt citation means, how the case goes forward in a moment. now to the historic day at the supreme court and next chapter in the health care debate. in a 5-4 decision this morning,
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the supreme court let stand the affordable care act, known as obama care. it ends a grueling legal battle, but not the contentious political debate. >> it should be pretty clear by now that i didn't do this because it was good politics. i did it because i believed it was good for the country. i did it because i believed it was good for the american people. >> this is a time of choice for the american people. our mission is clear. if we want to get rid of obama care, we have to replace president obama. >> we're very, very excited about this day, it's a start. it ranks right up there when they passed social security and medicare and now being upheld by five justices of the supreme court. >> there will be no hope of economic recovery between now and the election. we exhausted leap solutions to rid the nation of obama care. now we have to look for a political solution. >> let's go inside the court's
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decision and assess political fallout with jeffrey toobin, gloria borger. you are in the room when this decision is announced, chief justice says you can't do it under commerce clause, mandate would be unconstitutional under commerce clause but found a reason it is constitutional. chief justice writes the the affordable care act requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax, because the constitution permits such tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or pass on its wisdom or fairness. he is saying you can have this law. >> he was doing what he said he would do in confirmation hearings. he said i am not going to be an activist. i am not here to pass judgment on whether if i were a congressman i would have voted for or against it. he said is this law permissible under the constitution. what was so flabber gasing about the opinion today was that the
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core of the debate had been about whether that commerce clause permitted congress to pass this. that's what most of the attention was on, and he began his opinion from the bench by saying the commerce clause does not allow the congress to pass this. but then in a stunning, stunning development, for me, he said the taxing power, which was a relatively minor part of the legal argument in this case allowed congress to do it. and he completely joined the four liberals on the court in upholding the law. >> let's show the viewers the split. you have the chief justice appointed by a republican president, george w. bush, and four democratic appointees. and to the right, literally to the right, four justices on the dissent side. it is anthony kennedy everybody thought would be the swing vote here if in the end john roberts starts to build a legacy for the
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roberts court. >> yeah. it was. we were watching the wrong guy. kennedy joined a fairly blistering dissent. we were all surprised roberts played this role. there's a quality about roberts in effect reaching for an argument he thought would uphold it. the constitutional scholar, someone that backed obama care argued some time ago he thought roberts would do this because he would want to protect the legacy of the court. had roberts come down on the other side, joining the conservative justices, there would have been a cry from mainstream media and others on the left that the court was entirely polarized, entirely a partisan decision. while this decision angered and frustrated a lot on the right, it may help the court in the long run. >> and gloria, the question is the law will be implemented.
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eric cantor, house majority leader, people think it will come down to the election in 130 days. the house republicans say they'll try even earlier. >> when we return the week of july 9th, i scheduled a vote for total repeal of the obama care bill to occur on wednesday, july 11th. >> i assume they have a majority in the house. but democrats control the senate. the president has the veto pen, even if by some miracle you get through the senate. that is a stunt, if you will. important stunt for a campaign. >> it is a show boat, and being done to galvanize republicans, to make divisions in congress clear, to raise the stakes in this presidential election, not only for the presidential race but for the congressional races. i think what this really does for mitt romney and for republicans is brings enthusiasm to their ranks that mitt romney may not have been able to garner before. so ironically, even though he was the governor of massachusetts, which enacted a health care law, with a mandate, he is now the standard bearer
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for repealing the health care law, legislatively, with a mandate. >> there are many ironies on this day. i want to go back to 2005 when a young senator barack obama was explaining to the senate and country why he was going to vote no on john roberts to go to the supreme court. he said in 95% of the cases on the court, they're easy calls, you look at the precedent and make the call. said in those 5%, said that's the last mile of the marathon, tougher cases where it is not just the law, it is your heart. >> that last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspective on how the world works and the depth and breadth of one's empathy. it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf
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of the strong in opposition of the weak. >> david gergen, chief justice roberts today was the deciding factor in upholding the signature achievement of first term of the obama presidency. what does the president of the united states say next time he sees the chief justice he voted against? >> well, he should not say thank you, but he said i respect what you did on the court. i don't think that john roberts uses the frame at all that president obama used about what distinguishes a good justice. to go back to jeffrey toobin's point, what he said in the confirmation hearing that is, rather than being an activist player on the field, a justice should be an umpire, and he showed a certain kind of umpire like quality, restrained if you would, that i don't think had much to do with empathy or favoring to strong over the weak. >> i don't want to underestimate the significance, it is enormous, but let's not turn
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john roberts into some liberal. he voted with conservatives on citizens united, race cases, all sorts of cases about keeping individual plaintiffs from going to court. he will be with the conservatives most of the time. what made today so extraordinary -- >> restraint in the role of the court than left or right? >> made it clear he didn't like health care reform. he is not a fan of it. and he ruled in the narrowest way that he possibly could by saying mandate is a tax. >> he did. no doubt about it. >> citizens united was about invalidating an act of congress and they did invalidate that act of congress. this is more exception than the rule. >> the point is that going into today, there were the widespread view that roberts was the leading ideolog, and i think that can't be thrown at him after this is over. it seems to me at least he earned the place to say he tries
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to decide more on the merits, and came down in a way many conservatives sharply, sharply disagreed with him on. >> david, jeff, gloria, stay with us. still to come, what the health care ruling means for you and closer look at the provisions to be implemented. in contempt of congress. what it means when the house sanctions the nation's highest ranking law enforcement official. [ manager 1 ] out here in the winds, i have to know the weather patterns. i upgraded to the new sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ chirp ] [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ chirp ] [ chirp ] [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done." with access to the fastest push-to-talk and three times the coverage. now when you buy one kyocera duracore rugged phone, for $49.99, you'll get four free. visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. [ chirp ]
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visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. how did the nba become the hottest league on the planet? by building on the cisco intelligent network they're able to serve up live video, and instant replays, creating fans from berlin to beijing. what can we help you build? nice shot kid. the nba around the world built by the only company that could. cisco. assure my patients get evthe very best care.ake but look at our health care system. everyone agreed we needed reforms -- but this new health care law -- it just isn't fixing things. president obama promised my patients that they could keep me -- but what if because of this new health care law -- i can't keep them? i've looked at this law. i know the consequences: delayed care and worse yet -- denied care. studies show the president's health care law is projected to add hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit -- and increase spending by more than a trillion dollars. and the truth is -- we still don't know how
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much this law will eventually cost. i don't want anything to come between my patients and me -- especially washington bureaucrats. we need real reform that improves care, and the president's health care law just isn't it. it just isn't worth it. this is where health care decisions should be made. not in washington.
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historic day in the nation's capital, not just bought the supreme court held up the health care act. more on that in a moment. a short time ago, the house voted to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt for failing to hand over documents in fast and furious, a drug trafficking sting program. this is a first. final vote, 239 to 17.
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many walked out and feel the same way eric holder does. >> today's vote made for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is at best both a crass effort and grave disservice to the american people. they expect and deserve more. >> jeffrey toobin and gloria borger and david gergen. jeffrey, from a legal standpoint, the house found him in contempt. they send a criminal citation to the justice department, which is run by the attorney general of the united states, essentially saying investigate this to see if he is not only in contempt but if he has done anything criminally wrong. where does this go? at best, goes to court. this is an embarrassment for eric holder, that's all it is. nothing will happen to him. this might get tied up in court. if it winds up in court, it will take months to resolve itself, and as you point out, 131 days
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to the election. this is designed to embarrass him, which it does, but there will be no formal legal consequences. >> unprecedented, david gergen. you advised four u.s. presidents, a member of cabinet now found in contempt of congress. normally when there's this threat, sometimes they get up to the last second. in 99 out of 100 cases, they find a way to negotiate a resolution. what does this signal to you? >> it is more than embarrassment for eric holder, it is embarrassment for the political system in washington once again. there's a reason this is the first time ever a sitting attorney general has been cited for contempt or voted for contempt, and that is because in the past, reason has prevailed and people found when they were in these difficult situations, there were searches for documents in the past, on a regular basis, people found ways to work it out. the fact that there's legitimate data on the part of congress to exercise scrutiny, that's part
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of the overall responsibility, at the same time, there are maybe documents involved that have executive privilege legitimately, but you can work this out. i think this is sort of crazy. >> listen to more of what the attorney general said. normally people try to be careful, especially someone that's the highest ranking law enforcement in the country. try not to use political language, but -- >> others however devoted their time and their attention to making reckless charges, unsupported by fact, and to advancing truly absurd, truly absurd conspiracy theories. >> not a happy man. >> he's mad, and i think he has a right to be because the republicans going into this knew that it wasn't going to go anywhere, as jeff was just saying. there's one legal precedent on this from 1984, written by a republican in the reagan administration, none over than ted olson, and that precedent says the u.s. attorney is not required to refer a
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congressional contempt citation to a grand jury or otherwise pursue legal action. so going in, republicans knew this isn't going anywhere, so it is a side show. >> so the administration says we have given you thousands of pages, we don't want to give you thousands more, they're protected or irrelevant. that's their argument. republicans say in the first documents, you lied. so you can understand the mistrust, on one hand, and understand president bush invoked similar executive privilege with congress. when do reasonable adults go into a room and figure this out. >> that's what usually happened historically. this is a wonderful test case of the way politics has degenerated in washington, and when you have the house of representatives in particular is ground zero for the distrust and distaste that these parties have for each other, and then you get things like this. >> coming on a day of health care reform, a monumental decision for people in the country, looking at the games
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being played on the house floor doesn't look good. >> david gergen, jeffrey toobin, gloria borger, appreciate your help. tonight's truth, there's one way to stop obama care. we will remind you what it is in a few moments. next, firefighters get a little cooperation from the weather in colorado.
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welcome back. kate baldwin has the latest news you need to know. >> hi there. nice to be inside in the air conditioning today. hello again, everyone. bring you up to date on some headlines. wall street didn't like the supreme court ruling. a big selloff started after they ruled it constitutional. they fear health care costs will hurt economic growth. by today's close, dow gained back the earlier losses. in colorado, firefighters got some welcomed relief today as calmer winds and lower temperatures replace dry conditions that have been fueling the historic blazes there. barely contained waldo canyon fire consumed 18,000 acres and over 300 homes. many are offering support like president obama who is visiting tomorrow and the denver broncos that donated to relief efforts. it is getting hot out there, if i need to remind you. excessive heat warnings for much of the u.s., including kansas and oklahoma. temperatures linger in the 100s
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there and 90s for much of the northeast. more than 50 million will be effected by what the weather service called a life threatening heat wave. be careful out there. forget lawns and picket fences. three out of five people opt for life in the big city. new york, l.a., chicago, the rt, most populous cities. getting bigger in texas. they claim eight of the top 15. new orleans grew the fastest last year. find those stats fascinating. >> why do you think, out of the suburbs, into the cities, gas prices? >> kids are leaving, moving into the city. i have been thinking about it. i can't figure it out. >> i'll give you more time. see you in a bit. thanks. the supreme court says health care law is constitutional. it is important to look at how
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you will be effected. and we will talk about the political fallout are the house vote for eric holder for contempt of congress. let's do this i am from baltimore south carolina... bloomington, califnia... stin.. texas. we are all here to represent the country we love this is for everyone back home it's time. across amera, 're all committed to team usa. male spirit present.trong it'she priceline negotiator. >>what? >>sorry. he wants you to know about priceline's new express deals. it's a faster way to get a great hotel deal without bidding. pick one with a pool, a gym, a great guest rating. >>and save big. >>thanks negotiator. wherever you are. ya, no. he's over here.
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this half hour, five supreme court justices decide president obama's health care law can stand. what it means on the campaign trail and what does it mean for future visits to the doctor's office. and on day one of this program, health care reform was the big story. we will go back to hear thoughts
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on the supreme court saying that law is constitutional. now that the supreme court gave the green light to the health care law, its impact on your life will grow. many provisioners in place, discounts for prescription drugs, children allowed to stay on parents' insurance until age 26, free preventive care like mammograms. increased medicaid payments, creation of health care exchanges, and implementation of the mandate, and prohibition on insurance companies from denying any insurance because of pre-existing contions. let's discuss the road ahead with melanie barns, president obama's policy adviser, and former top official at health and human services. melanie, republicans most don't like the decision, but say at least the supreme court called the mandate a tax. the penalty a tax. take us through how this plays
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out. i want to tell folks this is what happens. when the mandate kicks in 2014, if an individual doesn't buy insurance, initially $95 or 1% of taxable income is the penalty or the court says a tax. 2015. $325 or 2%, by 2016, $695 or 2.5% of your taxable income, to pay for health care if you don't buy insurance. the courts say it is a tax. what say you? >> first of all, the republicans say they don't like this provision of the law, don't like aw at all. i have to say i think today is a great day for all americans. i think about people like my friend that grabbed me because she couldn't believe her young daughter was born with a pre-existing condition would get health care. my assistant that e-mailed me this afternoon, out of college a few years, said thank you, this means in a tough economy, i can have health care. so that's what today is for all
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americans. and i think the other important thing to remember is this will bring down costs for all americans. but at the same time, it ensures those that can afford health care, that those who are able to partake in the system, who did partake in the system, will never be effected by the individual mandate and concerns that the republicans are addressing. it is about 1% of americans that are going to be effected by that. and in fact, this is a bipartisan provision that even governor romney supported when he was in massachusetts. so all of the fire and brim stone and dire predictions i don't understand. these are bipartisan suggestions we took into the affordable care act and got passed by congress and has been upheld by the supreme court today. >> teddy, you hear melody say it can be implemented easily, will only effect a small portion of americans. you hear people talk about the new internal revenue service monster out there, are they overstating the impact? >> i strongly agree with melody,
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republicans don't like it, but not just republicans, it is democrats as well, many democrats as well. it is an unpopular law. a lot of polls suggest it is unpopular, and it was passed in a unipartisan way, only part son votes were for it, some democratic votes against it. it is not a popular law. a lot of provisions that are probl problematic, and what the supreme court did today, while they kept the policy in place, they said there's a limiting principle on the commerce clause, and you can't impose mandates willy nilly. >> expanding access through expanding the medicaid program, the court had nuance. you can leave it in place, but important but. nothing in the opinion precludes congress from offering funds under the affordable care act to expand availability of health care and requiring states accepting such funds comply with conditions on their use.
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what congress is not free to do is penalize states that choose not to participate in the new program by taking away their existing medicaid funding. how will that play out. some states say we'll do this, get money. what happens in a state where a governor says i don't want to do that, i won't take your money. >> well, what we know and contrary to what he was saying, we have governors all over the country and states moving forward with implementation of the affordable care act. i hope today tells everyone it is time to stop the bickering and stop stirring the pot. this has been upheld by three different portions of the government. the executive, courts, and the legislature. and it is time to move forward. what we also know is that this is an important provision. we expect and we're confident that states will move forward with medicaid provisions, talking federal assistance. otherwise, states have to deal with this on their own. otherwise, we have a situation where you have families, small business owners and others who say hey, these people are in
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dire need of health care. we need the resources, why not work with the federal government to get resources into our states, opposed to continuing to try to repeal a piece of legislation that pieces of it all americans like, and as this comes online, we know more americans will appreciate the affordable care act. >> teddy, what is it about the medicaid provisions that may cause a governor to opt out, which would cost them considerable amount of money. >> it could cost money but they're afraid they will be left holding the bag. governors are concerned down the road they have to pay for t i think the supreme court decision put it in the political realm, makes the election a referendum on health care. last time we had it in 2010, i don't think it worked out so well for the democrats. they lost control of the house and a bunch of seats in the senate. >> thanks to melody barnes.
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will this turn the tide of the presidential race? i have to know the weather patterns. i upgraded to the new sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ chirp ] [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ chirp ] [ chirp ] [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done." with access to the fastest push-to-talk and three times the coverage. now when you buy one kyocera duracore rugged phone, for $49.99, you'll get four free. visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. [ chirp ]
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every election has consequences. this one felt bigger than most even before today's supreme court ruling that elevated it more. list tone mitt romney. he says help us, help us defeat obama care, help us defeet the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and is killing jobs across this country.
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it is true, but many don't consider romney the best messenger on health care. here is a bigger truth, he is the last best hope for obama care opponents. >> what the court did not do on its last day in session i will do on my first day if elected president of the united states, and that is i will act to repeal obama care. >> the supreme court's 5-4 decision ended any conservative hope that the high court would block the law. even if republicans kept the house and took control of the senate in november, a second obama term would mean a veto of any repeal effort. elections have consequences. in your vote in 131 days, it will settle the repeal debate. here tonight, cnn contributor ryan liz a, and ann a navarro, and donna brazil. contributor, contributor, contributor. let's start with the basics. i know policy is done. how do politics play out. i want to read from erick
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erickson, another contributor, editor in chief of red he says that all or nothing repeal has always been better ground for the gop and now john roberts has forced everyone onto that ground and he probably just handed mitt romney the white house. they're make the case, never mind, let's have an election. >> i think erick erickson is right. if this leads to a replica of 2010 when the health care law was first litigated within the american public, it's not good news for democrats. 2010 led to 52 democrats losing in congress and nancy pelosi losing the gavel in congress. i think today, john, the supreme court did frankly what mitt romney or barack obama had been able to do for themselves, energize and unite their bases. >> you're smirking, i don't know what the right word is, ready to commit. last time there was election, health care wasn't the only issue in 2010, but one of the big issues. >> we know mid term elections
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are different than presidential years, and if it energizes those on the right that come out, fine. it will also energize those on the left to come out, protect gains we made. 54 private health insurance already received some of the benefits of this new law, and it is now the law of the land. i think we should focus on how it helps ordinary americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions. young people still want to remain on their parents account, and senior citizens that need resources to help pay for their life-saving drugs. i think the republicans will find ways to make this something for their base to be happy about, but i think a lot of progressives are also happy. >> how does it fit into the narrative, the campaign, i assume myself in a couple weeks if not sooner, we will be back this will be a subset. >> something seems to have changed. the whole campaign we talked about two strategies, obama wants it to be a choice, a big ideological election, and wants to smoke out romney on his what
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he would actually do, talk about things like the ryan plan, wants romney to get specific because he thinks that's better terrain for him. romney meanwhile said i just want to be the default candidate, i want the focus on obama, focus on his bad record on the economy, i want it to be a referendum. today is the first day i heard republican leaders saying you know what, this is a bold ideological choice, i don't know how that plays. does that change romney strategy, does it become a polarized ideological election and make romney's life more difficult? it is energizing conservatives. they're donating money. i don't know. we don't know how these things go. and the choice referendum thing seems to have been scrambled. >> there are ironies in this decision, one throughout the health care debate, which was contentious, the democrats said this is not a tax, this is not a tax, this is not a tax. the chief justice of the united states, the guy with delicious
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irony barack obama voted against, sides with liberal justices and says the only reason it can stand is it has become a tax. go back in time. george stef nop loss interview in 2009 saying this is not a tax. >> for us to say you've got to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. what it's saying is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you any more than the fact that right now everybody in america just about has to get auto insurance. nobody considers that a tax increase. >> the chief justice says this law can go into effect, the president should send a thank you note to, says it is a tax. >> first of all, i don't think he should send a thank you note. this is the right thing for the country. we like to get into partisanship, she's wearing red, i am not wearing my blue tonight. the truth is mitt romney who fathered that individual mandate
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provisions of the obama care law also have a videotape saying this is an assessment for those that can afford to have health insurance, to get health insurance. whether you want to call it penalty tax, this gets us closer to making sure every american has affordable health care. >> they are seizing on the court did something we don't like but has proven the argument during the debate, it is a huge tax plan, more big government and taxes. old republican play book, but sometimes it works. >> donna is right, it is a moral and legal victory for barack obama, the question will remain will it be a political victory. what could be short term gain could be very well long term pain. there's no doubt this has helped mitt romney because it really erases a lot of what he did in massachusetts. we're no longer talking romney care, he is now the messenger. >> you say that now. donna made a point that as governor, he supported
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individual mandate, and democratic group got a hold of old tape from 2006, spreading it around. here it is. i wonder if this will come up in the campaign down the road. >> with regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program, which i propose, i was very pleased to see that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility principle, that is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone, and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need. >> he makes the distinction, fine, that was the right thing for my state. i was a republican governor, had to work with democrats. not saying the whole country. but this is what rick santorum and newt gingrich were saying in the primary, if health care becomes an issue and today it did, he is not the right messenger. does what he did in hazm massachuset
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massachusetts matter? >> even roberts said under the commerce clause you can't do this. roberts drew a bright line, right? he bought the broccoli argument, if government can mandate health care, they can mandate anything else. that's a victory for conservatives that a lot of legal scholars thought were crazy to make that argument. and romney now has a stronger case to say what i did at the state level was okay, but if you put that at the federal level, you have commerce clause issues. i think he gets into trouble where republicans are sayi the obama mandate is this tax. well, it is very fair for democrats to come back, say if it is a tax at the federal level, what you did in massachusetts is a tax. that argument is hard for romney to make. >> interesting when the two guys debate. when a big thing like this happens, we live in a world of social media, twitter, best advise, sometimes put it down, take a deep breath. patrick used to be white house political director, now dnc executive director. show you one of his tweets. read part of it.
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it's constitutional, word begins with a b, ends in s. i think that's the bush barbara bush said rhymes with rich or geraldine ferraro back in the day. a republican congressman running for governor walked into a meeting so mad, he compared this day to 9/11. >> well, you know, as a self described twitter follower and lover, i try to take a deep breath. people say things they regret. it was a great moral victory for the country. when i thought about it, i thought about the late ted kennedy, all of the work, all of the effort. thank you, ted kennedy, wherever he is, watching us, god bless him. >> great way to pin it from what
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patrick said. >> what's your personal theory, how many times do you count to ten before you start tweeting when emotional? >> i am hispanic, i am always emotional. i don't get to count to ten. i go on one. but i would tell you look, before people used to say stupid things, now they tweet stupid things. john, my hope is if i am involved in a scandal, it is not a twitter scandal. want them something better to look at than that. >> hang on. everyone will stay with us. talk in a second. still ahead, we have come full circle on john king usa, revisiting our first show when the big story was health care reform, and the words from our guest that night just as poignant now. >> read from it. i assume this is ra bittersweet moment for you. recently, students from 31 countries took part in a science test.
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the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards. let's do what's best for our students-by investing in our teachers. let's solve this.
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we'll continue our conversation now. on the big day of the health care ruling, you see all the campaigns out sending e-mails, trying to raise money. how will it play out? we also got new polls that remind us 131 days and, wow, do we have -- you remember this because you were al gore's campaign manager. this one looks more like bush v. gore than mccain versus obama. look at these polls. in michigan, 47 to 43. a statistical tie. in the state of north carolina,
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46 to 43. the president on top. again, that's a statistical tie. in the state of new hampshire, that's a tie. 45 to 45. you think back to 2000. 130 days out. was it this? did you feel it when you go state by state by state? do you look at every one of them and go "wow"? >> remember, back then, we had larger playing fields. we were still targeting 13 states. we went back to 15, then 18. we're look at 9 or 10 states that will determine this election. i can tell you, nobody's sleeping in chicago or in boston tonight because that's what should worry them most. >> at this point, it may break in the end. usually when the tossup states are close, in the end they break one way. we don't know, we'll see how this one plays out. what is the most important thing a campaign is doing now? this is traditionally not the lull period but the quiet period, preconvention. >> i think they have to prepare. they've got to prepare. they've got to raise money. they also have to make sure that they're not making mistakes and
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hoping thatter there opponent is making a mistake. hoping for an october mistake would be a very good thing because it would clarify things. we're also going to be look at polls in the battleground states in health care. health care is not popular. it is one of the biggestground states. it is 53% of the people in florida say we don't like health care. i think we'll be seeing a lot of health care ads -- >> if you think that's true because you read the health care polling, it's mixed messages. the majority poses the health care law. some of those people are liberals. so, some of the opposition is people saying no, we want everything. >> the top republican, the top democratic issues. what they're doing in the states, when i was doing some interviews with the obama people recently, one of the things they're trying to do is make this about a statewide election. if the economy really tank, they
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can, in virginia, and in north carolina, they can make it about local issues. almost a senate campaign that can defy national trends if the economy tanks. >> organization, early vote, absentee ballots, though things are really going to matter. >> thank you for coming in. now, latest news you need to know. >> hello. it's one explosion after another in syria's capital city. just a day after bombers attacked a pro-government tv station, a pair of blasts shook the heart of damascus near the justice ministry. nationwide, that leaves 120 people that died in brutal clashes today. all of this as turkey moves soldiers and tanks to the boarder it shares with syria. syria shot down a military jet last week and tensions are high between the two countries. also, it's official, newscorp announced today it's splitting into two companies. one will include its television and film assets such as fox news and 20th century fox. "the wall street journal," "new
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york post" and the other publishing assets will make up a second entity. rupert murdoch says the split will take about 20 months and he also will serve as chairman of both companies. take a look at this. dramatic video of a dust storm barrelling through parts of phoenix. pretty maizing stuff. the storm at times was reportedly more than 2,000 feet high. thousands lost power but there are no reports of injuries. still, pretty amazing video to look at. it also looks like the popular kid unfortunately does not always get picked first. david beckham did not make the cut for britain's soccer team this year. the l.a. galaxy midfielder says he's very disappointed but hopes he'll win the gold. they lobbied for england to host the games and he was part of the olympic flame handover ceremony just last month. a lot of thanks he gets. >> really, hoping to get to the games then "see you later, bye." maybe he'll get some nice seats. >> i don't know if that's a
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consolation prize. >> i promise, he'll have nice seats for the soccer match. now, finally tonight's moments you may have missed. this is my last day anchoring this program. like the first day, health care reform was the day's driving story. on that day one, the night before president obama signed the affordable care act into law, among our guests was vicki kenne kennedy. the widow of the senator edward m. kennedy who for decades was the leading champion of health care reform. in his final days, he sent the president of the united states a letter. i want to read from it because i assume this is somewhat of a bittersweet moment for you. you get this victory but without your husband here. he wrote the president, when i thought of all the years, all the battle, and all the memories of my long public life, i felt confident in these closing days that while i will not be there when it happens, you will be the president who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society.
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it was the cause of my life. sadness in writing those words, when he was writing the words, i will not be there, while i will not be there, was there any ex-or tation on your part do not write those? >> no, never. of course, i was personally sad, but no, never, because he didn't have self-pity. he isn't, wasn't a man who had self-pity. ever. so no, he wasn't feeling personal sadness. he was thinking this is an important thing to do. i won't be here. it was really almost a matter of fact sort of thing. so this letter will only be presented if i'm not here. he was certainly hopeful that he would be here. but he said, you know, this -- i want you to give this letter to the president if i'm not here. >> we talked to those we lose and we miss. how have you communicated this in terms of talking to -- >> i went to arlington
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yesterday. and spent some time. you know, i do that frequently. and i thought yesterday was an important day to be there. because i had hope and confidence and, you know, certainly, you know, wished that the bill would pass. >> today, not long after the supreme court issued its ruling, vicki kennedy released a statement that reads, we still have much work to do to implement the law and i hope we can come together now to complete that work. the stakes are too high for us to do otherwise. as my late husband said, what we face is above all a moral issue that is at stake, zblouft the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country. fascinating for her to come on, on day one of the program, kate. i thought maybe we'd go back in time. little irony health care was the driving issue on this day as well. >> i think you put it well, a really point guardant way anan way to came o