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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 13, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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just a week left for the obama family in the white house. this is "cnn tonight with don lemon." i'm don lemon. at this time next week donald trump will be the president but today this explosive statement from congressman john lewis speaking to nbc. >> i don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you don't consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in having this man bet elected. >> that as senate intelligence committee says it will
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investigate any possible links between russia and the campaigns. and more questions are raised about the president-elect's national security adviser michael flynn and his contact with the russian ambassador. meanwhile the house joining the senate in taking first steps to repeal obamacare. let's get to it. david gergen, kiersten powers and -- happy friday evening. tonight the committee announced going to investigate any links between russia and individuals in this presidential campaign, cyberactivity in the election and interview and subpoena if necessary individuals from the trump and obama administration. what is your reaction? >> it was a surprise wasn't it? earlier in the day, statements were they were not going down all those trails. now for whatever reason, maybe because looked at more evidence,
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they decided they should. what it means is these investigations are going to be shadowing president trump as he takes office and into the first hundred days. going to make a higher hill for him to climb. >> this is surprising because donald trump also telling the "wall street journal" tonight he's going to keep sanctions against russia for a period of time but added quote if russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody is doing really great things. what is your reaction? >> he's bridged the gap hasn't he, between original position of lift the sanctions and seen some of the appointees wanted to but second look, compromise position, keep the sanctions but obviously a time when there are
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republicans, hawkish republcans who want to increase the sanctions, donald trump is saying keep them for a while but moment may come. could be a bargaining chip for the russians. i don't think we ought to dismiss it entirely, might make the russians more anxious to cooperate with donald trump and united states. >> seems like the relationship with them is negotiable, and lots of other things, asked if supports the one china policy with taiwan, everything is under negotiation. what do you think? >> he wants to do things differently and have his own rule book. seen this with taiwan before, he's made it clear that he believes the way we've been doing things is not necessarily the right way. i wouldn't assume you pointing to precedents is anything he's concerns about. he's going to look at each issue individually and decide what he
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wants to do based on his opinion and people around him versus what the u.s. has usually done. >> you get the controversial one now. congressman john lewis. >> i don't see this president-elect as legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in having this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy for hillary clinton. >> douglas this is really extraordinary step for john lewis, a living legend, civil rights icon, to say this about incoming president, is he -- is questioning his legitimacy fair game do you think? >> i know john lewis very well don, i wrote the introduction to
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his recent memoir at his behest. i visit with him in selma when he does the faith in politics events. he's moral authority on capitol hill. many conservative republicans love john lewis, usually not infamtory and tries to be a healer. fact he said this is surprising to me and speaks to the frustration that many democrats that donald trump is turning a cold shoulder on anybody who voted against him. he seems to want to be trump the leader for his group, the make america great again crowd and not really reached out to african-american community in particular except for harvey and don king. he should have met with john lewis earlier and this is a problem for donald trump that leading figure of the civil rights movement and moral
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authority in our country is calling his presidency illegitimate. >> david you've worked for democrats and republicans. john lewis said first time not attending inauguration. this is beyond politics for him. different about it than conservative and liberal for john lewis isn't there? >> i think there is. and i think he's a national hero. on this question, we don't have the facts or evidence, nothing verifiable that the russians threw this election to donald trump. i think it's given where we are premature to argue that. just disagree with him on the phrasing. but do agree with douglas brinkley. in the past new presidents have reached out to heal divisions in the country and as a result they
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have -- their approvals have gone up. this is the first president in recorded history whose approval ratings since the election have actually gone down. new gallup poll has him at historic polls. only 44% of the country approve of him in the transition. compared to george w. bush, 61% approval during the transition. bill clinton 68%, and barack obama, 83% approval during his first transition. so i do think donald trump has been a divisive figure and he needs to be more presidential and reach out to the john lewises of the world. >> says it's problem for civil rights icon to say this.
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should donald trump do more to reach out? >> would be great if he would but he's not going to. and i think john lewis is free to choose not to attend inauguration for moral objections but agree with david and little concerned if democrats moving forward with this story as fact that the election -- somehow was swayed by activities of the russians. >> are starting to hear more and more of that. >> i don't think from analysis standpoint that the e-mails had that much to do with why hillary clinton lost the election. so i don't think should start countering trump's fake news with their own because frankly they're going to have to make a better case than just saying it because -- >> how do you explain the poll numbers that david gergen referenced? transition approval ratings?
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>> i think he's obviously divisive and not even trying to be healing. he's on a daily basis divisive. but also say, doesn't account for all of it but some of it, in the last eight years country become much more polarized and gets harder and harder to get high approval ratings like we saw before. i think could be higher if he wasn't being antagonistic all the time but maybe not that possible to get that high. >> want to talk about the house taking steps to repeal obama and speaker paul ryan saying wants to repeal and replace at the same time. how likely is that david? >> darn hard. longer this goes on, republicans are discovering this is a very tough problem. somebody has got to pay -- if you're going to put whole lot
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more people on insurance which the country agreed is good thing to do, somebody's got to pay somewhere, pin the tail on somebody's donkey. i don't know where the republicans are going to come out. but they made extravagant promises about how they could save the best of obamacare and have a new system that's going to work perfectly but serch or eight years in, haven't seen a plan from the republicans. i think that's incumbent on them to come up -- present the plan to the country first and then vote on the repeal and replace. >> douglas, have you ever seen a big government program like this taken away and if so what was the outcome? what happened? >> not just taken away, repealed apparently on day one or two. this is the signature achievement of progressive democrats of the past eight years and it's clear to me that trump is going to repeal it.
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replacement is what we're going to argue about. there have been times when people wanted to get rid of social security or medicaid or medicare, it's harder than you think. obamacare has become a right americans have. not able to put 20 million people out on the streets looking for medical care. not sure how republicans will play it. also the problems of rand paul and susan collins, some don't like this and play along. not a rubber stamp. looks like health care controversy is going to carry over and be dominant late january early february. >> and problem is also quickly, if they repeal it, main constituents, older americans, may end up paying more and those people voted for donald trump. >> one other thing, this is not a government program in the way
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we normally think about. government doesn't run it, its subsidizing it but program was built on a model from the heritage foundation, conservative foundation, very market based. when you start peeling away things insurance companies, private companies may withdraw from the market and market could collapse if you don't do it well and give assurances. much more difficult to repeal and replace if straight government program. >> thank you so much. coming back, questions about donald trump's national security adviser and his contact with the russian ambassador. coincidence they were in touch on the day president obama announced retaliation for russia's election hacking? all right says i dare, and sometimes i do.
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questions being raised tonight about president-elect donald trump's adviser general michael flynn and his contact with the russian ambassador. discuss with "new york times" columnist nicholas kristof and -- senior adviser to the trump campaign. there's brand new information that donald trump is saying will keep the sanctions against russia but added if russia is really helping us, why have sanctions if doing great things.
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what is your reaction? >> would be surprised if russia started doing great things but i imagine what donald trump has in mind is cooperation against isis. it's been i think in the forefront of the mind of a lot of people who work on national security matters that russians ought to be concerned about islamic radicalism in their own country and would be wise to cooperate with us in dealing with it. if something like that should come about, i suppose what donald trump said is understandable. i think the chances are pretty small. but perhaps not zero. >> do you think it's understandable that sanctions might be removed nick? >> you know, i mean the fact he said for a time makes me think maybe that's on the agenda. and every new president seems to come into office thinking these are reasonable people, i can make things work.
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jimmy carter and almost every president since, president obama tried to have reset and almost all disappointed. we have different values and interests and i don't think russia will be cooperative. they have not been helpful on ice and oo isis and ukraine is major stumbling block. michael flynn contacted the russian ambassador the same day that president obama was imposing sanctions about the election. do you have questions? >> i do and put them through to the trump organization. been a bunch of reports about what days those contacts were, text messages or phone calls or purposes. >> one of the spokes people, sean spooirs said the 28th but we're reporting 29th, the exact
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day. go on. "post" first reported the 29th. and also reports had to do with the u.s. being invited in syria conference, setting up trump and putin conversation, i don't know. but made me nervous there was conversation about easing sanctions or allowing russian diplomats kicked out of the country to be allowed back and asking russia not to png u.s. diplomats it was unusual they didn't tit for tat kick us out then. >> david ignatius said he reported on the contacts between flynn and russian ambassador to the u.s. >> we have a piece of legislation never enforced,
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never been a prosecution but called logan act. says that u.s. private citizen, somebody not representing the government should not be involved in country that the u.s. has a dispute. had a dispute with russia about hacking and skpumgs of the diplomats eminent. that president was not donald trump on the day this conversation happened. >> so ambassador, could flynn be in violation here? >> it's possible. logan act point they've made it right on. it's confusing and complex situation. i don't blame anybody for getting mixed up in it. reminds me of the old abbott and costello routine "who's on first," we know who the
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president is, barack obama, and know who it will be after the swearing in but strange situation with policies advocated, adopted and announced and three players in it. it's confusing. someone could have placed a phone call before he was supposed to or taken a step that was innocuous to set up a phone call but done at the wrong time. it's possible that definitely possible mistakes were made. >> that's the reason nick you want to get into it. that's why we have the one president at a time unwritten rule. >> seems to me it's not really a legal issue here. last prosecution in 1803 but certainly an issue of propriety. it's completely inappropriate to be negotiating policy in competition with the sitting president. >> that's true absolutely. >> let's talk about the fbi
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director james comey, feeling the heat right now. in addition to inspector general's investigation into his handling of the hillary clinton's e-mail we're hearing that debby wasserman got to him -- about why the fbi never reached out to her or her team. is he going to keep his post? seems like not have many friends left on either side of the aisle. >> lost friends on both sides and maybe those that matter most are on the republican side. i have sympathy with him on this issue. i think he made a bad mistake anoungs the hillary e-mail issue toward the end of the campaign, violation of their standards about bringing in new information at end of a campaign. but do think end of the day he's
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been a man of integrity, i don't think he's politicized. he's been respected by colleagues within doj. people make mistakes. i think he made a big one. i hope he's not forced out. >> "wall street journal"'s conservative editorial board said he should resign. dmongsds that he has lost the trust of nearly everyone in washington along with every american who believes fbi must maintain its representation as a politically impartial federal agency. should he resign? >> if it was one slipup would say no. for a while seemed lielk the federal bureau of narrative production rather than federal bureau of investigation. i can't account for public interventions and zripgsz of where the investigation was
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going and not. its not the way they run investigations, the way anyone would run them. >> do you think he should resign? >> think it's reasonable proposition given the fact it was a series of i think fundamental errors and not just a slipup. >> thank you. have a great weekend. when we come back, extraordinary statement from one of the elder statesmen of the democratic party. ill. do something about it! no, not that. straight talk wireless let's you keep your phone, number and 4g lte network... ...for half the cost... ...with the bring your own phone activation kit. it's time to ask yourself... ...why haven't i switched? unlimited talk, text and data for forty-five dollars a month, no contract. straight talk wireless. only at walmart. wis that they contourt tempur-peto your body.s...
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strong words, very strong words today from congressman john lewis, georgia democrat and civil rights icon saying he doesn't see donald trump as legitimate president. lonny chen is here, fellow at hoover institution, policy directory mitt romney. maria cardona, andre bauer, republican former lieutenant governor of south carolina. thanks for coming on. maria, you're a democrat, get your response but listen again
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to what the civil rights icon congressman john lewis said to "meet the press" about president-elect trump. >> i don't see this president-elect as legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president. why is that? >> i think the russian participated in having this man get elects. and they have destroyed the candidacy for hillary clinton. that's not right. that's not fair. it's not open democratic process. >> not a legitimate president, not fair to an open democratic process. do you agree with congressman lewis? >> i think that he is voicing something that frankly a lot of democrats and hillary clinton supporters are starting to believe, and first of all, let me just say, congressman lewis has earned the right to say
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whatever the heck he wants. start there. but also say clearly what he's saying, way he's saying it comes from a place of a lot of pain and lot of angst that i think he is feeling for the majority of the american people who didn't vote for donald trump and i think a place of sadness because of a lack of support and outreach from donald trump himself. i would also add though he mentioned russians in terms of being a piece of this, that lends to the aura of illegitimacy of donald trump's election, i would also put in there the fbi and comey's letter 11 days before the election. put all of that together and frankly donald trump himself with rants against hillary clinton and lack of understanding that he needs to support the investigation into the russian hacking.
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shows he's insecure about his legitimacy. >> andre? >> i respect congressman lewis, entitled to opinion and delegitimizing trump's victory. democrats, say what you will that trump didn't win, biggest election for republicans in the last 80 years. not just donald trump. and whole message. now moving forward should be like the guy who wants pilot to land the plane. he's the president for the next four years. we're in it together. doesn't move our country forward to keep pounding to delegitimize the election. he won, if you say only because of this, how did the republicans clean house all across this opportunity country? >> maria, that's a good question for you. >> if trump actually said the words that you just said andre, would make a lot of us feel better. fact that we need to move
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toward, do it together, we're all in this together. he's done anything but. been as divisive if not more in the days after the election and during this transition process than he was during the election. so again for majority of the american people, let's not forget, donald trump won the electoral college but hillary clinton had three million more votes than he has in popular vote. doesn't have mandate and not acting like somebody who wants to be the president of everybody. >> lonnie is john lewis just saying what many believe or going too far as member of congress? >> i think that's the point. may be people who feel this way and can't begrudge them for feeling that way. problem is congressman lewis is an icon, lot of people have great respect for him and when
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he says that doesn't affect our ability to move forward. there are factors that influence the elections. go back to 2012 and look at all those things and mit romney, not sure it does any good to litigate that now. figure out way to come together and advance the country on important issues and can't do that if we have people questioning the fundamental legitimacy of our president-elect. >> i have to bring this up -- >> donald trump didn't want to do it either. >> maria hold on. two people saying he's questioning the legitimacy of a president and can hear a chorus of people at home saying dlt did the same thing for years when it comes to this president. what is the irony in this it's just amazing to me and probably to many watching this. maria and then --
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>> that was going to be my next point. karma is tough right mr. trump? for five years you tried to delegitimize the first african-american president with ridiculousness of pushing birtherism. now go on twitter and rant and rave against the people pointing out frankly what we are now starting to really see as facts, number one that russia had a huge role in this election and wanted to -- it to go to trump. >> there's no proof it swayed the election maria. >> and number two that comey and fbi and letter 11 days before the election had a huge effect on the outcome of the election. so irony is heavy here and he kind of has hisself to blame. >> andre you have to see the irony in that. >> i do see the irony in it but
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hearing this comey thing, could easily -- this was on the cusp whether he could have prosecuted or not, could have slam dunked this thing if he wanted to. comey treated her with kid gloves, lot of people question whether she should have been prosecuted. keep hearing this but not moving the country forward, it's not progressive. give the guy opportunity to get into office. if stubbing toe then beat on him. i didn't vote for president obama but i pulled for him, hoped he would do well. i don't agree with everything he passed but had good things along the way and tried to give fair atta boys when he deserved them at least let the fellow get sworn into office, then judge him. >> we'll continue after this. don't go anywhere. feline's new quick-charge brush captures every lash. instant volume. ferocious full-lash density. new feline mascara from l'oreal makeup designer paris
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heavy, labored breathing heavy, labored breathing coughing breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask covered california. it's more than just health care. it's life care. breaking news tonight. senate intelligence committee opening investigation of russia's meddling in the election. will include a review of possible links between russia and the political campaigns. also today the trump transition team confirming that top aide to
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the president-elect has been in touch with a russian official. back with me now, pick up our conversation. andre, we're learning that trump's national security adviser michael flynn was in contact with russia's ambassador the exact same day the obama administration was announcing retaliation for russia's hacking. is that of concern? >> no, all along president-elect trump has said he wanted to reach out to world leaders all around. he's extending the olive branch and giving opportunity to work together. make no mistake. we hear about russia hack, we've hacked and meddled in elections. hold ourselves as holier than thou country but we've done these things. >> you don't think it's
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thwarting the current administration trying to put on sanctions having the president-elect not in office yet, one of his people reach out to do the exact opposite, not problematic? >> i think it's reaching out to start dialogue, find ways to find common ground and get past this. >> can't reach out after he's inaugurated? >> sure he can but then accuse him he waited until he got in office. >> that's when he actually the president is when he's in the office. he's not the press now. >> less than a week away. president-elect, a week away and taking steps to hit the ground running. >> this was weeks ago. this was not just now. >> well, several weeks ago, they immediately when he got elected starting taking steps in every
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form, picking folks, lining up policy. if they didn't, everybody would say why didn't you wait until sworn in, should have been working on this. >> maria. >> i do think it's concerning, not because of the substance of what they talked about, although we don't know, they said they told us but we really don't know. perception is terrible. i just don't think it is politically savvy to have those conversations in the midst of what this trump transition team knows is going to be a huge issue for this president going into january 20th and into his new administration. they know this is going to be a huge achilles heel for trump, especially its more that he tries to not admit or pretend it's not true, everything that the 17 intelligence agencies
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have said with high confidence is that russia hacked and russia hacked in order to get trump elected. more that he tries to deny that and more we hear about conversations they were having between them before even the new year, it is concerning, i don't think it helps from perception stand zblnt and don't know exactly what they -- go ahead andre or -- go ahead. >> think the broader issue here is that you have this open-ended outreach to russia and argument that we're getting from the president-elect is look, we should be willing to work with countries will be to work with us, problem is russians haven't indicated willingness to work with us, latest interaction is hacking of various offices and institutions here in the u.s. before that all of their collaboration against us in
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syria, everything they've done to conclude with iran and aggression against ukraine, we have no evidence the russians are looking to work with us, engaging with open hand when every time we try, slapped us in the face. >> they have. russian reset, iranian deal, putin directly calling bill clinton. had outreach but with the other team, now the other team is upset because they didn't win the election. >> the other team can speak for themselves, democrats but i'm talking about the mixed message it sends to american people and world at large, one president saying one thing and incoming saying another. heard from republicans and trump supporters, they're uncomfortable with having two presidents at the same time. week from now won't be a problem but does send a mixed signal and to maria's point if you're
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trying to tell people you're not in conclusion with the russians and having conversations with them not in office yet, doesn't make sense. andre? >> again, i think they're trying to form outreach with a lot of different countries, not just russia, this is the way they're going to approach policy make and dproemcy, start with the outreach. >> i don't think you understand what i'm saying i don't think anyone has a problem with that. that's the reason you have inauguration is to transfer power from one person to another. once that power is transferred to the other person they can call anybody they want in tim buck tu or russia or wherever but not in office yet and making policy decisions in conflict with the current president. >> not making policy
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decisions -- >> sends a mixed signal. doesn't help your case you're not in ka hoots with russia. >> i don't think making policy but outreach. >> we don't know what they talked about we don't know what they talked about. but i think overall again -- >> quickly please. >> this underscores the negative perception that donald trump is already suffering from. and frankly the people who already don't trust him about this, goes to what hillary said in the debate rs of course russia wants trump to win, will be a puppet for them and he's doing it. >> but folks in the street -- didn't say smirking and laughing. still doubted it, think everything on the news is kaft of everything in the streets and people in the streets are
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michelle obama ends her eight year tenure as nation's first lady when president obama leaves office next week. senior vice president of content and brands at interactive one and author of "first women." watching all the farewells including on cnn, "the legacy of michelle obama" was controversial in the beginning, hard to remember that. >> it is. >> why was that? >> i think very real. interesting the way that black audiences received michelle obama from day one, this person the most familiar person i've seen on the political landscape maybe ever. every auntie, every kind of sophisticated mom but who keep it's funky when it needs to be
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kept real. michelle was grounded in a way we had not seen on political landscape and we loved it. took the rest of the nation a bit longer to get comfortable with the fact that michelle was so self-possessed. >> didn't the campaign have to rejigger, say maybe you shouldn't be so real, kate i heard you reacting when saying different audiences perceive michelle obama differently. >> i think every first lady comes under a lot of scrutiny but especially michelle obama, the fact she saw herself entirely apart from the women who came before her because first african-american first lady. that's her greatest legacy is just being there and reaching out to young african-american girls and showing them anything is possible in this country. that's the legacy we'll remember
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her for. laura bush was criticized for being too boring and taking up literacy, too traditional, and hillary clinton criticized for having a west wing office, damned if you do, damned if you don't. >> just like every president has to grow into the role, every first lady does and gets her groove. if you look at anyone, michelle obama is no different in that respect except she's the first african-american first lady, some people really had trouble -- how to perceive her. but about tonight, the documentary kate, what did you think, portrayed michelle obama as you see her? >> yeah. i think it was lovely look at her accomplishments. i think that this sort of -- the way she's able to communicate and relatability was showcased. you see her hugging people a lot. and just i think young girls
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look at her and see hope for their future. that was communicated very well in the documentary but to your earlier point, we forget how on the campaign she was surprised at backlash over some of the comments she made when said proud of her country for the first time. >> yeah. it's interesting to me, because she is -- i don't know her that well, we were in chicago together. i was local anchor and when they were coming up, came up together. but always the warmest person you could ever -- and most mom-like, always to me, probably read something about me in the paper, you know how i am, hey don lemon, you keeping out of trouble? she was the warm one and he was stand offish one. how did the perception of her
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being cold or hard come about? >> it's loaded with racial stereotype in some respects right? >> how so? >> i think you can't extract how michelle obama looks from how she was first perceived. she's statuesque, very deep chocolate gorgeous brown, she's not a size two. there are many things that kept her outside of the lens of appearing as a docile and kept woman. she looked like hardworking sophisticated, clear minded black women that you see on the bus let alone anywhere else. >> and she was the smart one in the family and professional and bread winner, i hate to say that but really smart. two ivy league degrees. >> she's going to leave the white house with high approval
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ratings, even higher than her husband's, what's she doing moving forward. >> i think she feels relieved having freedom right now but worried about the legacy and shocked about the election results and concern about what's going to happen over the next few years. i think continuing let's move campaign, food deserts in urban communities, write a book probably more successful than the president's book because she might be very honest in a memoir, sometimes the first ladies' memoirs are more interesting than the president's memoirs. amazing future but not going to run for office. >> she says she's not. that is a book i would read. >> i need to read that book. >> appreciate both of you. coming back, the human cost of repealing affordable care
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act. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine. all seems beautiful to me.
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life... is unpredictable. life is deaths. and births. sickness and health. love and heartbreak. and covered california is there for it all. not just to help keep you well. but to make sure the cost of being unwell doesn't ruin this whole life thing. because it's more than just health care. it's life care. is this the beginning of the end for obamacare? this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon, house joining the senate and taking the first steps 227-108 along party lines, this is about more than

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