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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 13, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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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 politics.
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exhibit a, man who told his story. life-long republican who was strongly opposed to obamacare, told wife would close business rather than comply with the law. before diagnosed with cancer and given six weeks to live. >> i want to thank president obama from the bottom of high heart because i would be dead if not for him. >> powerful moment and exchange with the speaker of the house. now jeff jeans joins us now. are you doing okay? >> thanks for having me. >> you or opposed to obamacare, then you got sick. what happened next? >> my wife secured the preexisting condition insurance
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and my policy took effect april first, 2012, and that's when my chemo and radiation started. and it saved my life. then after that, go ahead -- >> continue on. >> so anyway, after that, you know, i cried in my hospital bed because i had been wrong so long. and i thought what can i do to tell other people what i went through, and that's when i started my facebook page obamacare saved my life. and it's snowballed from there. now i'm here talking to you. >> why were you so -- we're glad you're here. why opposed to obamacare, what in particular about it bothered you? >> i don't think i really understood it. and you know, until you're
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really sick and ready to die, i, you know, it just changed me. i'm a completely different person today. than i was then. you know, that experience is just -- unless you've been through something like that, you just don't understand. >> do you think most people who oppose the affordable care act, do you think they understand that? >> no, no, i really don't. i don't. >> why not? >> because i didn't understand it. you know, that's a good question. you know. lack of compassion. i wasn't a very compassionate person. i mean, what else can i say? you know, i was wrong. i wasn't -- i wasn't -- i wasn't
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a person i would be proud of today. >> why do you say that? >> it's a good question. you know, i met my wife, this experience just changed me, made me cherish life. you know. >> do you think that -- >> i didn't do that before. i always took things for granted. it was the material things that were important to me. and it's not that way anymore. >> do you think you view things through a partisan perspective when you really didn't have to and now you realize that most things are -- since a life or death decision, something you didn't view through partisan eyes anymore? >> yeah, yeah you could say
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that. and you know, when i talked to other people and they have different viewpoints than me, i can relate to that. i was that person. at one time i was that guy. you know. i was paul ryan talking about repealing it before i got sick. i was paul ryan. but not anymore. paul's a nice guy, speaker ryan is a very nice man. as a matter of fact, after went to break last night, i went up and visited with him. he called me up to the stage, he's a very personable guy. i understand why he's in the position he's in and why he's as popular as he is. and he was interested in what i had to say and we exchanged contact information you know. and i hope they come back and
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maybe ask my opinion. >> i've got a couple of things i want to ask you about paul ryan. what did you like specifically about obamacare? what didn't you like about it? >> that it was a government program. anything that involved government, i was opposed to. libertarian-leaning republican. >> and -- >> so if government was involved, i didn't like it. >> were you wrong about that? >> you can ask all my -- i was definitely wrong. >> why? >> yeah. why was i wrong? because there's certain sectors that, you know, need a little push from the government. >> so -- go on sorry about the delay. i'm sorry jeff. >> you know, at times you wonder
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for-profit health care is the best thing, you know. >> so you asked the house speaker -- >> now i would -- >> now you would what? >> i would probably say for-profit health care isn't that great. before i got sick, it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. i used to debate the other side. and i even had a friend of mine that had all kinds of heart complications and we used to get into heated debates, and she was a really lovely woman, and i just never understood it and she died before this happened to me, and now i wish i could go back and say hey cindy, you were right. >> yeah. i'm sure she's watching and understands now. many times -- most times you
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don't understand until you have go through it yourself. but i want to know, you asked speaker ryan why repeal without a replacement, and he said repeal and replacement will coincide with each other. how do you feel about his answer? >> right. well, you know, i just think no american should be segregated because of a preexisting condition or anything for that matter. and thrown in a separate group for that reason. you know. and when you rely on having that safety net, being a cancer survivor, i rely on that safety net. if that's yanked out from under me, how am i going to plan my life? how are we going to buy a house, buy a car, buy the groceries, pay for health care? you know, what if i get sick
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again? you know. and i'm a lucky one. i don't have an ongoing health issue you know. everybody deserves to be treated the same when it comes to health care. >> why do you think republicans are so opposed to obamacare? >> because it involves government. >> how is your health now? >> i've been cancer free for almost five years now. >> and we're very happy about that. i have to ask you about what happened today -- >> thanks. >> the house joined the senate in taking the first steps to repeal obamacare. what is your reaction? >> you know, i'm sad. i'm sad for the millions of people that have preexisting
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conditions and need health care. you know, i -- the people that i've met that have preexisting conditions, they're just terrified. you know, they don't know what to think, they don't know what they're going to do, we've gotten no guidance on where we're going to go. >> what do you say to -- >> and it's a life or death issue. >> what do you say to the incoming president? >> be the president for every american. for every american, even if they've had cancer, if they're a breast cancer survivor, got leukemia, if it's a child born with a deformed heart, treat everybody the same, give everybody the same opportunity. don't discriminate because
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people don't have money or are sick. >> all right. well jeff, we hope your health continues to go in the positive direction and we thank you for joining us here on cnn. thank you so much. >> okay. thanks don for having me. sorry about my voice but i've been talking a lot so. >> that's okay. your voice is very strong and the nation and world are both listening. thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you don, i like your shah. >> -- show. >> bring on author of "founding fathers" and margaret hoover. what did you think of this? >> compelling and compassionate personal testimony to the power of a federal program which republicans didn't support but helped save his life. i think jeff and i -- i'm a
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republican and don't like obamacare but nobody, including paul ryan by the way, is going to say this law hasn't saved lives and been important to american's lives, that's why it's fund menl as we look for what the obamacare replacement is going to be, that nobody is left hanging. just to be clear paul ryan said in the town hall if you're just tuning in now, said preexisting conditions will be kept in the obama care replace. that's one of the things that republicans acknowledge. one of the first things that president obama spoke to president-elect trump about. please some things ought to be kept -- >> how do you do that without a mandate though? >> it's tricky. we don't know what republicans are going to do but we know there's a commitment not to leave anybody stranded and it was paul ryan in the political
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ads pushing grandma off of -- >> -- >> someone again who is not a democrat or republican, and i sit back and watch everybody fight. what does it matter if it's obamacare or affordable care act or trump care or whoever, why can't they say we have national health care now, let's take the good parts and make it better and bad parts and make it better and see it there you. saying it's obamacare got to get rid of it. when guy is telling you it saved my life. who cares what it is, build upon what barack obama left instead of tearing it down and starting over. why start from square one. >> you're thinking too rationally for politics don. let's not forget a couple of
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things here, what we call obamacare was originally a republican plan put forward as alternative to hillary clinton's plans in 1990s, first implemented by romney in his state and adopted by president obama under the idea if he picked a republican plan implemented by republican governor he might have a chance. >> you're telling me as all bull. >> people say i love the affordable care act but hoyt obamacare, this bill been demonized. >> i watched a fight on social media. i hate obamacare, it's terrible but affordable care act is great. trying to get them to understand it's the whole thing. >> can i answer your question don, why does it have to be politicized? i don't think it's just
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brinksmanship at play. i think fundamental organizing principles how the democrats organized -- >> no. >> i'm going to finish. and how republicans would do it. >> why not american care act. >> call it whatever you want. but how republicans would do it and democrats would todo it would be different and dishonest to recognize otherwise. no. we want transparency in the marketplace and people to get coverage because it's affordable and anybody who wants it not because the government tells you to. >> you have other things, what we call obamacare today was originally a republican proposal. >> in the context of hillary care which would have been
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universal haj koir universal health care -- >> second point is when republicans had unified control of government didn't put forward alternative healthcare plan and real problem with credibility, totally focused on repeal and not replacement. >> trying to save you from the dog house or couch. >> we don't do that. >> i don't understand why it has to be politicized. this guy laying on death bed doesn't care if it's trump care or obamacarar hillary care. >> and it is about saving lives. >> we'll be right back.
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president-elect trump not letting go of his beef with the intelligence community and you know what happens when donald trump has a peeve, he tweets. back with john avlon and margaret hoover. now turns out phony allegations against me put together by my political opponents and failed spy afraid of being sued. totally made up facts by sleaze bag political operatives, both democrats and republicans -- even knowing no proof and never will be my people will have a full report on -- can you
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believe that? the president. he's still putting the word intelligence in quotes right? so sort of saying it's not as i look at this. probably in quotes as well. released fake news. why does he continue to alienate himself from the intelligence community? >> to be fair, even james clapper and in people in the intelligence community have -- nobody would have printed this. cnn didn't print this and we all know buzzfeed put this out, not cnn or reputable respectable journalist, so the substance of that tweet we can agree one can understand why he would be upset about the salacious not -- >> doesn't draw more attention to it? >> clearly he feels the need to refute it. >> statement saying
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uncorroborated, unsubstantiated and let it go. >> all of that is true. >> would be over. >> talking about something that continues to get focus because it's bright shiny object. if one were to take wish the material there is potential or supposed collaboration between the trump campaign and russia, i don't understand why not talking about that. >> that's the next question. >> taste of his own medicine which is part of the problem here. again a lot of news organizations have looked into this. buzzfeed has done good work. >> not in this case. >> made the decision and i think in this case ending up feeding trump's attacks on the press. he uses this cudgel trying to blur the distinction between news organizations but a touch
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of his own medicine. >> i'm not taking up for buzzfeed or whatever, put something out there unsubstantiated but that's not necessarily fake news. if you put something out there you know is not true, that's fake news. that may not be good reporting but there's a distinction between fake news and that. let's talk about what this young lady, your wife wants to talk about through the lens of general flynn. his national security pick speaking with the russian ambassador christmas week with the obama administration announcing sanctions against russia. reaction? >> i think the people -- floating the logan act and all of that stuff. i think the main issue is trump transition has given every indication they will lift the sanctions, left that door wide open. if there is a coordination with
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the administration trying to increase sanctions and back channelling by the incoming administration saying don't worry about it, moving in different direction, if that's true and not a coincidence, that's disturbing. because again vladimir putin has had a very good 2016. if he gets secretary of state he knows and removal of sanctions for invading crimea as part of reset with russia on top of all of allegations of trying to influence the election in donald trump's direction, that's disturbing from any perspective. >> looking at me? honestly. >> really? >> what does russia have to respect in the strength of president obama's presidency. draw a red line in the sand and -- >> what does this have to do with donald trump? >> on the last day of his presidency he expels diplomats
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and trying to be a tough guy. i appreciate what is appropriate. one president at a time. we know that but not jump to conclusions that everything is nefarious. >> friend andre talking about how great it is donald trump is willing to reach out to hostile leaders -- republicans attacked president obama for trying to do this, situational ethics in this not simply political hypocrisy but dangerous what we're doing now. playing footsie with russia for political reasons an inch deep. >> coziness with russia is disturbing to me. i don't think it's as close as you think. rex tillerson toasting with putin -- bob gates, former head of the cia, never think he's
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close with russia, there's political situational ethics going on here as well. he's going to be president in a week -- >> get rid of sanctions at outset as they indicated is likely will send a terrible signal to the country. >> i agree with that. >> i hope you have a comfy couch, get a big blanket for sleeping on it. thank you very much. have a great weekend. coming back, general flynn and russia's ambassador to the u.s., what did they talk about and what does it mean?
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yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. breaking news, senate intelligence committee opening investigation into russia's meddling in the election. review the links between russia and the political campaigns. also today trump transition team saying a top aide to donald trump has been in touch with russian official. jim sciutto. >> tonight confirmation that president-elect trump's national security adviser michael flynn was in contact with the russian
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ambassador to the u.s. the same day the obama administration announced retaliation for unprecedented cyberattack. exchanged a series of text messages and a phone call. christmas day flynn texted russian ambassador, wish you merry christmas and happy new year. look forward to touching base and wish you the best. ambassador texted back, wishing merry christmas in return. then december 28th, texted flynn and said i'd like to give you a call. may i? happened december 29th, the same day white house announced sanctions on russia and ordered 35 russian diplomats to leave the country immediately. trump's transition team said didn't discuss sanctions but focused on arranging a call
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between vladimir putin and president-elect trump after the inauguration. say it depends. >> you can imagine these kinds of interactions may take place, incoming national security adviser may have need to contact the representative of foreign government based in d.c. depends on what was said, whether we could have significant objections. >> flynn's relations with russia scrutinized since tapped to be national security director. he was -- and had speaking with russian tv network. trump denied claims that russia has compromising information on him and continuing to accuse the intelligence chiefs of leaking
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the information. probably released by intelligence in quotes even knowing there is no proof and never will be. >> bring in -- so glad to have you both on. do you think the texts and phone call on the day that president barack obama announced sanctions against russia for alleged interference in the election could be must ado about nothing. why? >> it depends on what was said and could make argument it was mild breach of protocol, better to wait until you're actually the national security adviser. but context is important here. flynn did take money from rt, a russian propaganda mechanism and did sit directly next to vladimir putin, these things don't happen by accident.
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put it all together, perhaps tells a little bit of a different story than just an exchange of christmas greetings. >> do you agree? >> somewhat, depends on what transpired in the conversations. at the same time would behoove the incoming administration to come out with explicit account of why flynn is talking to the russian ambassador during that time period beyond merry christmas. the reports on trump and russia caused uproar here, how do other countries see it? trump surrounding himself with some people, will it influence how people work with us? >> could very well. we lose in the salacious pieces of the report and allegations, some of our liaison partners will wonder if it's the case
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that incoming trump administration and inside trump team have a close relationship with putin and the kremlin, how much intelligence do we want to share? i can tell you from my experience there are capable european services and others as well that share some very good information with us on russia and other things and they have to sit back and say okay, what is the likelihood this information could make it back to russia and compromise some of the operations we're running? i think it's something that needs to be thought about a lot. >> and nadda, the president-elect criticized the intelligence community again this morning, putting intelligence in quotes and accusing of releasing quote again fake news. you don't think it's demoralizing the cia, why? >> i'm not sure it's not
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demoralizing the cia but from my experience they're not snowflakes and professional in their position and will continue to do their job regardless of what the incoming administration would be saying about them publicly. i worked with administration who was disagreeing most of the time with our bottom line analysis up to the iraq war, but at the same time we held our own and remained professional. i have every faith that people still there will do the same thing. >> nada, what do you think of the number of leaks coming out? >> i think it's hugely problematic, it undermines legitimate investigation, turns it into rumor mill. instead of the fbi or special committee investigating to see what actually transpired. >> steve? >> i would like to get back to the morale issue. i agree entirely, resilient people in the cia but by the
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same token it's unprecedented some of the things that have been said. aspersians cast, nazi germany, comparisons, it's difficult to imagine any organization getting by comments of incoming boss, commander in chief, saying those things, resill yept people but got to have some impact. leaks is problematic. >> aren't these people that put their lives on the line to serve their country as well? >> absolutely. and not just individual officers. lot of times think about people in so-called war zones operating beside our troops, that's dangerous work but some of the more traditional areas of espionage and analysts and others not in the field as much aspirations officers are, sacrifices to those individuals and their families in terms of the time and difficult stuff,
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makes it that much harder and people question why exactly am i doing this if the incoming boss is making these horrible comments about not only my work but the organization i've dedicated my working life to. >> does this compromise the security of average americans? >> i think it actually could. if you have a cia who is not willing to be able to continue to push back against the administration or feel like they can't. i think can could compromise. i agree with stephen. i think overall the criticism is problematic and for people looking to joint agency would be a deterrent as well. >> fascinating steve and nada, thank you so much. up next, republican's dplimma, promised to repeal obamacare but do they have a plan to replace?
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all the care your family needs. all connected for you. key vote in the house today to begin the process of repealing obamacare.
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lahnee chen, a fellow at hoover institution and with mitt romney in the 2012 campaign. maria cardona and andre bauer, republican former lieutenant governor of south carolina. thanks for coming back. andre, i don't know if you got to see the gentleman on earlier jeff jeans, a cancer survivor, diehard republican, changed mind about the affordable care act once he -- because of the preexisting conditions. did you see the interview? >> i didn't. >> he talked about how he changed his mind and hoped that those who are starting the process of dismantling it wouldn't rush it through prematurely and if going to replace, should have something to replace it with before they
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dismantle it. >> i totally agree with him. tooth paste is out of the tube on this. there are people who have benefitted. preexisting conditions, folks who couldn't get coverage, things that need to be kept. also a lot that need to be changed but he's right republicans shouldn't out of the gate chop it and try to -- it's complex bill. lot of junk thrown in the bill. so big that nobody really read it in the first place. nancy pelosi joked about it. we need to go through and have people work it down, get to where it's digestible, market based solutions and bringing drug prices down which is tough when you have lobbyists protecting their interests. doesn't abuse the system but it's complex and scares me that republicans that quickly want to fix it or try to change it without a little more time put
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in. 100 days seems very fast to me. >> lahnee? >> i think it's important for republicans to have the replacement ready to go as soon as possible actually. if you're going to repeal the law seems clear to me there are key issues that need to be addressed. issue around preexisting conditions which a number of republicans plans do adrerks talk about ways to do that in way that's less disruptive than the aca did it, also ask what you're doing with medicaid, covers low income americans that's state-federal partnership and republicans propose -- >> many of those people are trump voters in rural areas. >> right. absolutely. that's the point. lot of folks will be affected so republicans need to be strategic in how they do it. can't leave themselves a gaping
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hole. they have to have replace come in soon behind. in that sense i agree with both paul ryan and trump. >> do you think ryan and republicans realize that maybe the people affected by it most are the people who voted for donald trump maria? >> no i don't think that, i think republicans were so quick from the moment the aca passed to politicize it because president obama had done it, to try to get rid of it regardless of how good it has been for the country and upwards of 20 million people gotten health care coverage that didn't have it before. they've played politics with this from day one. if they had done as andre just described, taken the time in the last six years to go through the bill and frankly work with democrats, starting from the president on down have said it's not a perfect bill. if republicans will step forward and help us with ideas how to make it better we're open to
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doing that, no one idea came forward and this is why they are in the pickle they're in. >> you don't see democrats doing the same thing now as republicans did and not coming forward to help with a way to present whatever it is, whatever is going to replace it to the american people? >> frankly if republicans would approach this in a good faith manner, and joe mansion actually said yes i would like to help republicans try to fix this law but you can't even do it when the first instinct is repeal before they find a replacement. there's nothing there to help them do if they don't want to find the right ways to fix it before they repeal it. makes no political sense and other thing i think republicans are facing fact what they have said on the campaign trail is absolutely wrong.
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americans have never clamored for the aca to be repealed. always wanted this bill to work, wanted leaders to get together and make it better. polls that show it was unpopular included progressives that didn't like it because they didn't think this went far enough. >> they wanted single payer. >> yep. >> if republicans approached it that way, do you think it would be acceptable to -- they will never say let's fix obamacare or the current bill, i don't know if ask andre that. lahnee would never happen would it? >> no. the issue is there's underlying flaws in the policy that republicans want to fix. issue is affordable care act passed without single republican vote, republicans tried to work with president obama and democrats in 2010, weren't interested.
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>> no. it's not true. >> it is true. >> there was politics on both sides and you're right, smirked when andre said it, nancy pelosi did say, we have to pass it to find out what's in it. >> but remember it was republican plan and during the whole negotiation president obama and democrats accepted more than 200 republican amendments to it. so don't say we didn't try to work together, we did, republicans slapped obama in the face time and time again. >> that's the last word. thank you all. we'll be right back. in a world that needs a hero, justice is spelled b-o-x. say hello to a powerful tool that gives you options to fit your budget. ♪ oh, i'm tied to this chair!
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>> one week to go until president obama and his family leave the white house. they are getting advice from two people who know all about life in the first family's spotlight. >> on a cold november day, we greeted you on the steps at the white house. >> barbara bush sharing the new letter she and her sister jenna bush have written to the obama girls. a lot has changed since the bush twins met sasha and malia.
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back then the girls were 7 and 10. >> we wandered the halls of the house you had no choice but to move into. you slid down as you had. your joy and laughter were contagious. >> in years you have done so much. seen so much. you stood at the gates where south africa's nelson mandela was in prison. your arms around your father. >> the bush twins penned a letter to sasha and malia in 2009 titled playing house in the white house. then 27, jenna and barbara offered this advice. surround yourself with loyal friends. they will protect and calm and you join in on the fun and appreciate the history. and this. cherish your animals because sometimes you need the quiet that only animals can provide. the most important piece of
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advice? our dad like yours is a man great integrity and love. remember who your dad really is. >> it's an exclusive club among presidential children. there is an empathy because they have been through it and nobody know what is it's like to be in the public spotlight when you are so young. >> in their new letter, jenna and barbara told sasha and malia how they watched them grow with grace and ease. they remarked how they were glad hay had each other just as the bush twins did. their letter encouraged the girls to hold on to the memories, but also embolden them to chart their own path. >> explore your passions and learn who you are. make mistakes. you are allowed to. continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you and adore you and will protect you. >> the people you met and the lessons you learned, let them
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guide you in making positive change. >> in closing, a sense of solidarity. >> you lived through the unbelievable pressure of the white house. you listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who have never even met them. >> you stood by as your precious patients were reduced to headlights. they put you first and not only showed you, but gave you the world. >> as always, they will be rooting for you as they begin the next chapter and so will we. >> cnn, new york. >> that's it for us. thanks for watching.
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>> there was nothing in my life as a black girl from the southside of chicago that said i should be standing here. >> her journey is nothing less than remarkable. first lady michelle obama, once a reluctant campaigner. >> the truth is most americans don't opt into this. >> a target on the campaign trail. >> it made me wonder just how are people seeing me? >> now a voice for generations. >> the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. >> she turned political


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