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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 13, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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is this the beginning of the end for obamacare? this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. the house joining the senate today in taking the first steps to repeal obamacare. the vote, 227-98, pretty much along party lines. but a man told his story with paul ryan. a lifelong republican was so strongly opposed to obamacare that he told his wife he would close their business rather than comply with the law. that was before he was given six weeks to live. now he says this. >> i want to thank president obama from the bottom of my
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heart, because i would be dead if it weren't for him. >> that was a very powerful moment, a very powerful exchange with the speaker of the how long. and now jeff genes joins me now. h thank you for joining us, you doing snok. >> yeah, thanks for having me, said you were a republican, opposed to obamacare, then you got sick. what happened next? >> my wife, you know, secured the preexisting condition insurance, and my policy took effect april 1st, 2012. and that's when my chemo and radiation started, and it saved my life. and after that, go ahead, don. >> no, go ahead. continue on. >> so anyway, after that, you
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know, i cried in my hospital bed, because i'd been wrong so long. and i thought, what can i do to tell other people what i went through? and, you know, that's when i started my facebook page, obamacare saved my life. and it just kind of snowballed from there, and now i'm here talking to you. >> why were you, and we're glad you're here. why were you so opposed to obamacare? what in particular about it bothered you? >> i don't think i really understood it. and you know, until you're really sick and ready to die, i, you know, it just, it changed me. i'm a completely different person today than i was then. you know, that, that experience is just, unless you've been through something like that, you just don't understand. >> do you think the people, most
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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, i didn't understand it. you, you know, that's a good question. you know, lack of compassion. you know, 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 a person i would be proud of today. >> mm-hm. why do you say that? that's a good question. i, you know, i met my wife. this experience just changed me.
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it made me cherish life. you know. >> do you think -- >> you know, i didn't, i didn't do that before. i always took things for gran d 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 didn't have to, and now you realize that most things are, you know, since this is a life or death decision, that this is something that you didn't view through partisan eyes anymore? >> yeah, yeah. you could say that. and, you know when, when i talk to other people and they have different viewpoints than me, you know, i can relate to that. i was that person. at one time, i was that guy. you know. i was, i was paul ryan talkin' about repealing it before i got sick.
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i was paul ryan. but not anymore. paul's a nice guy. speaker ryan's a very nice man. as a matter of fact, after, after i went to a break last night i went up and visited with him. he called me up to the stage. he's a very personable guy. you know, 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. ? ma >> mm-hm. >> you know, and i hope that they come back and maybe ask my opinion. i'd be happy to help in any way i can. >> what didn't 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.
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i was a libt-leaning republican. if anything was government, i didn't like it. i was definitely wrong. >> why? >> yeah. why was i wrong? well, 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 whether, you know, for-profit health care is the best thing, you know. >> so you asked the house speaker -- >> now i would. >> now you would what? >> now i would probably say for-profit health care isn't
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th that great. before i got sick, it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. i used to debate the other side. you know, 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, you know. >> yeah. >> maybe, i'm sure she's watching, and she understands now, most times you don't understand until you have to go through it yourself, but i want to know that you asked speaker ryan why repeal without a replacement, and he said the repeal and replacement will coincide with each other. how do you feel about his answer? >> right. well, you know, i, i just think
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no american should be segregated because of a mie preexisting condition or anything for that matter, and thrown into a separate group for that reason. and when you rely on, being a cancer survivor, i rely on that safety net. if that's yanked out from underneath me, how am i going to plan my life. how are we going to buy a house, buy the car, buy the groceries, you know, pay for health care. you know, what if i get sick again? you know? 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?
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>> because it involves government. >> how is your health now? >> i've been cancer free for almost five years now. >> we're very happy about that. i have to ask you about what happened. >> thanks, thanks. >> the house joined the senate in taking the first steps to repeal obamacare. what's your reaction? >> you know, i'm sad. i'm sad for the millions of people that have preexisting 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 got no guidance on where we're going to go.
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>> what do you say to -- >> and it's a life or death issue. be the president for every american, for every american, even if they've had cancer. if there are breast cancer survivor, if they've not leukemia, if it's a child born with a deformed heart. treat everybody the same. give everybody the same opportunity. don't discriminate because 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. >> okay, thanks for having me. sorry about my voice, but i've
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been talking a lot, so. >> that's okay. your voice is very strong, and the nation and the world are listening. thank you very much. >> thank you, don, i like your show. >> thank you. i'm glad you like it. >> now i want to bring in the author of the founding father's warning to future generations. what did you think of this? >> what a compelling and compassionate personal testimony to the power of a federal program, which, again, republicans didn't support but that helped save his life. and i think jeff and i -- you know, i'm a republican, and i don't like obamacare, but nobody, including paul ryan, by the way, is going to say that this law hasn't saved lives and isn't important to lives. but that's why it's fundamental as to while we look for the obamacare replacement, nobody is
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left hanging. paul ryan said in the town hall, preexisting conditions are going to be kept in the obamacare replacement. that is something republicans acknowledge. that is something they first spoke about. president obama made the appeal. please, there are some elements of the health care law that ought to be kept. and preexisting conditions is one of them. >> how do you do that without a mandate, though? >> it's tricky. we don't know whether tom price or what the republicans are going to do, but there's a commitment not to leave anybody stranded. it was paul ryan in those political ad the pushing grand ma off the cliff. >> as someone again, who is not a democrat or a republican, and i sit back and watch everybody fight, what does it matter whether it's obamacare or the
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affordable care act or trump care, let's take it and make it better rather than saying we've got to get rid of it, when this guy's saying it saved my life. just call it the affordable care act. >> you're talking too rationally. what we call obamacare was originally a republican plan put forward as an alternative to hillary clinton's plans in the 1990s, it was first implemented by mitt romney as romney care, and adopted by president obama under the idea that if he picked a republican plan, implemented
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by a republican governor that he might be able to form a bipartisan coalition. >> you're telling me it's all bull. >> a lot of this is bull. people saying i like the affordable care act, but i hate obamacare. >> i watched a fight on social might yeah saying i hate obamacare, it's terrible, but the affordable care act is great. and we were trying to get them to understand it is the exact same thing. >> you are saying why does it have to be politicized, i don't think it's just political partisanship and brinksmanship at play here. i think there are fundamental organizing principles behind how democrats have reorganized the health care system. and now i'm going to finish, and how republicans would do it. republicans want universal coverage but not by a mandate. but how republicans would do it left to their own devices and
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how democrats would do it are totally different. we want competition. we want transparency in the marketplace. we want to bend the cost curve. we want people to get coverage, not because the government tells you to, but because it's affordable and anybody who wants to get it should be able to get it. >> risk pools in individual states, or ideas like insurance across state lines. what we call obamacare today was originally a republican proposal. but that is awfully important. >> you cannot forget the historical context of that heritage plan. >> and done by the heritage foundation, thank you for reminding me. and the second point, of course, is when republicans said unify control of the government, they did not put forward an alternative health care problem. they've been totally focussed on
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repeal. >> i'm going to try to save you from the doghouse or the couch. >> we don't do that. >> i don't understand why it has to be politicized, when this guy is lying virtually on his deathbed. he doesn't care whether it's trump care, romney care, obamacare, whatever. he just wants to insurance. >> and we do care about saving lives.
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president-elect trump not letting go with his bove with the intelligence community, you know what he does when he has a beef, he tweets. he says it now turns out that the phone eye y allegations wer together by sleazebag political operatives. my people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days. can you believe that? >> yes.
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>> a president. anyways. he's still putting the word intelligence in quotes, right, so saying maybe 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? >> well, to be fair, even james clapper and many people in the intelligence community have, nobody would have printed this, right? cnn didn't print this. it was one blog who we all know that buzzfeed put this out, not cnn, not any reputable, respectable journalist. so to the substance and the critique of that tweet right there, i think we can all agree, one can understand why he would be upset, anyone would be upset about these salacious, not -- >> doesn't he draw more attention to it. >> clearly he feels a need to refute it. >> if you put out a statement, look, this is uncorroborated,
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unsubstantiated. >> all of that is true. but we're talking about something that continues to get focus because it's a bright, shiny object, whereas really, if anyone was going to take issue with any of the material it would be the supposed collaboration between the trump campaign and russia. >> which is what we're going to talk about. >> i don't yubtd stan why we're not talking about that. >> we are. >> i can understand why donald trump is upset about this uncorroborated material. >> it, a lot of news organizations have looked into this, buzzfeed's done some good work. >> not in this case. not in this case. >> not in this case, but they've fed a lot of donald trump's attacks on the press. there's a blur between propaganda and news agencies,
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but he did get a taste of his own medicine. >> i'm not taking up for buzzfeed or anything. but if you put something out there that you know is not true that's fake news. that may not be good journalism or good reporting but there's a distinction between fake news and -- let's talk about with this young lady, your wife, wants to talk about it, and let's do it through the lens of general flynn. at the same time the obama administration announcing sanctions against russia. what's your reaction to that. >> look, i think the people are floating the logan act and all that sort of stuff. i think the main issue here is that the trump transition has given every indication that they will lift the sanctions. they have left that door wide open. and if there is a coordination where the administration's
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trying to increase sanctions and there's back channeling by the incoming administration basically saying, you know, don't worry about it, we're going to move in a different direction. if that is true, and it's not just a coincidence on the day we talk, that's very disturbing, because, again, vladimir putin's had a very good 2016. and if he gets the secretary of state, he knows a removal of sanction as part of a reset with russia, that on top of influence having the election to donald trump's direction, that is very disturbing from any perspective. >> you're looking at me. what does russia have to respect in the strength of president obama's presidency? you draw a red line in the sand. you say there are going to be consequences. >> what does this have to do with donald trump? >> on the last day of his presidency, when he expels diplomat and he's trying to be a tough guy.
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look, i appreciate what's proec appropriate. right? there is one president at a time. we know that. but let's not jump to conclusions that -- >> he's talking about how great it is that donald trump wants to reach out, but that's what everybody, republicans tried to attack president obama for trying to do with other nations. the situational ethics in this aren't simply political hypocrisy. playing footsie with a political power. >> the coziness with russia is deeply concerning to me. i don't think it's nearly as cozy as you think. some say rex tillerson toasting with putin means we're going to be in bed with russia. you never would think bob gates, former head of the cia is close with russia. so i think there's a little bit of political situational ethics
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going on here as well. he's going to be president in a week, guys, and then -- >> if we get rid of sanctions at the outset, that will send a terrible signal. >> i agree with that. >> i hope you have a big couch. got a big blanket when you're sleeping on the couch. thank you very much. have a great weekend. when we come back, general flynn and the ambassador, what did they talk about? (vo) ahhhh, all right. all right flows downstream... both ways. all right says i dare... and sometimes i do... all right is our most precious resource... and you can only find it in jamaica. the home of all right. plan your trip to jamaica with american airlines vacations.
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breaking news tonight, the senate intelligence community opening an investigation of russia's meddling in the election. it will include a review between russia and the political campaigns. also today, the trump transition team saying that a top aide has been in touch with a russian official. here's jim sciutto. >> reporter: tonight confirmation that president-elect trump's national security adviser, general michael flynn was in contact
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with the russian ambassador to the u.s. the very same day the obama administration announced retaliation for russia's unprecedented cyber attack of the 2016 election. in late december, the trump transition team says that flynn and the russian ambassador exchanged a series of text messages and a phone call. on christmas day, december 25th, flynn texted the russian ambassador, quote, i want to wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year. i look forward to touching pace with you and working with you and i wish you all the best. the ambassador texted him back, wishing him a merry christmas as well. then on the 28, the ambassador texted flynn again and said i'd like to give you a phone call, may i? the same day that 35 diplomats were ordered to leave the u.s. immediately. trump's transition team says the man did not discuss sanctions on
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russia, instead, about arranging a call between vladimir putin and president-elect trump after the inauguration. today the white house says its reaction depends. >> i can't imagine why these interactions may take place, why the incoming national security adviser may have a need to contact the representative of a foreign government based here in washington, d.c. depends on what they discussed. depends on what he said whether we would have objections. >> reporte >> reporter: flynn's ties to putin have been questioned since he was named. he was seated next to him in 2015 and had a paid speaking gig with "today", the russia tv let work. trump denied claims that russia has compromising information on him and continued to accuse the
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intelligence chiefs of leaking the information. he said it was probably released by intelligence, in quotes, even though there is no proof and will never be. >> i want to bring in the retired chief of cia russian operations. you think these texts and the phone call the president, president obama, announced sanctions against russia could be much ado about nothing? why is that? >> well, as jim sciutto reported, it does depend a lot on simply what was said. could you also make an argument that this is a mild breach of protocol. best to wait until you get into the oval office, until you're the national security adviser. but context is important here. the let's remember that flynn did take money from rt, which is a russian propaganda mechanism, that he did sit directly next to
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vladimir putin. these things don't happen by accident. when you put it together, then perhaps it tells a ditfferent story rather than just christmas greetings. >> do you disagree? >> a >> i do somewhat. it would behoove the incoming administration to come up with an account of why flynn is talking to the russian ambassador during that time period, beyond just merry christmas. >> steve, the reports on trump and russia have caused an uproar here. how do other countries see it? do you think that trump's surrounding himself with pro-russia figures, like tillerson, flynn, paul manafort, is going to influence how other countries work with us? ? . >> i think it could very well, it's something we lose in some of the salacious pieces. but i think our liaison partners are going to wonder. they're going to say, okay, if
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that is the case that the trump administration, and the inside members of the trump team have a very close relationship with putin and the kremlin, how much information, how much intelligence to we want to share? and i can tell you from my experience, there are some very, very capable european services that, and other services as well, that share some, you know, very good information with us on russia and other things, and i think they probably have to kind of sit back and say, okay, what is the likelihood that this somehow this information could somehow make it back to russia and compromise some of operations that we are running. so i think it's something that needs to be thought out a lot. >> the president-elect criticized the intelligence community again this morning, he said by putting intelligence in quotes, right, and then accusing the intelligence community of releasing, a quote again, fake news. you don't think this is demoralizing the cia, why? >> i'm not sure it's not
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demoralizing the cia, but i do know from my experience, they aren't snowflakes. they're very professional in their position. and they will continue to do their job regardless of what the incoming administration would be saying about them publicly. i mean, i worked with an administration who was disagreeing most of the time with our bottom line analysis, going up to the iraq war, but at the same time, we held our own. and we remained professionally. i have every faith that people who are still there will do the same thing. >> nada, what do you think about the number of leaks that are coming out. ? ? wel >> well, i think it's hugely problematic, it turns it into the rumor mill, instead of the fbi or a special committee being able to investigate to see what has transpired. >> and what about you, steve? >> i'd like to get back to the morale issue for just a second. these are very resilient people
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that are in cia, but by the same token, it's really unprecedented some of the things that have been said. we've had aspersions cast to nazi germany, comparisons, it's difficult to imagine any organization that could somehow make it through those types of comments by an incoming boss, an incoming commander in chief who says those types of things. so very resilient group of people, but nevertheless, it's got to have some impact. the leaks are problematic. >> aren't these people who put their lives on the line to do what they do to serve the country as well? >> yeah, absolutely. it's not just these individual officers. a lot of times we think about people in so-called war zones operating beside our troops. that's certainly dangerous work, but even in some of the more traditional areas of espionage, analysts and others who are perhaps not in the field as much as operations officers are.
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the sacrifice to those individuals and their families in time and other difficult stuff, it makes it that harder, and people question why am i doing this if the incoming boss is making these statements. >> does this compromise the security of average americans? >> i think it actually could. you have a cia who is not willing to be able to continue to push back against an administration or feel like they can't, i feel like it could compromise. i agree with steven where i do think that overall the criticism is problematic, and i would say it's problematic for people looking to join the agency. i think that would be a deterrent as well. >> fascinating conversation, steve and nada, will you come back? i really enjoyed this, thank you very much. >> thanks. up next, the republicans' dilemma, they promised to repeal obamacare, but do they have a plan to replace it?
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to again the process of repealing obamacare. with us a policy director for mitt romney in the 2012 campaign, maria cardona, and andre bauer. welcome back. you guys were in the earlier show. thank you for coming back. andre, i don't know if you got to see the gentleman who was on earlier, jeff jeans. he was a die-hard republican, changed his mind about the affordable care act. did you see the interview? >> i did not see it. >> he talked about how he changed his mind about the affordable care act and that he hopes those who are, as they did in the house of representatives today, starting the process of dismantling the affordable care act that they would not rush it through prematurely, and that if they're going to replace it,
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they should have something to replace it with before they dismantle it. >> and i totally agree with him. look, the toothpaste is out of the tube on this. there are so many people now, actually there are people who have been fittnefitted. there are some things that need to be kept, but also there are a lot of things that need to be changed. but i think he's right. the republicans should not right out of the gate chop it and try to immediately -- this is a complex bill, a lot of junk thrown in. nobody really read the bill in the first place. nancy pelosi kind of joked about it, but we need to have people go back, work this bill down, get it to where it's digestible. look at market competition and how we can bring drug prices down, which is going to be tough when you have so many lobbyists in washington pushing to protect their interests. there are a multitude of ways. and it's a complex thing, and it
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car scares me that republicans want to quickly change it. 100 days seems very fast. >> lanny, what do you think? >> i think it's important for the republicans to have the replacement ready to go as soon as possible. if you're going to repeal the law, it seems clear to me that there are key issues that need to be addressed. one is the issue around preexisting conditions, which a lot of plans do address. they talk about doing that in a way that is far less disruptive than the aca did it, also issing what to do with medicaid, which is the program that covers low-income americans that's a state-federal partnership. >> some of the, many of those people are trump voters in those rural areas. >> right, and absolutely. and that's the point. a lot of folks are going to be affected. so i do think republicans need to be strategic about how they do this.
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in the rush to repeal it. what they can't do is leave themselves with a gaping hole. so they have to have that replace come in very close behind. that's where i agree with ryan and trump. >> do you think they realize that many of the people who would be affected by it most are the people who voted for donald trump maria? >> no, i don't think that. because 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, you know, upwards of 20 million people have gotten health care coverage that didn't have it before. they have 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 with the president on down have said this is not a perfect bill.
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if republicans will step forward and help us with ideas on how to make it better, we are open to doing that. not within idea came forward to do that. and this is why the pickle, this is why they are in the pickle that they're in. >> you don't see democrats doing the same thing now as republicans did in not coming forward to help with a way to present, you know, whatever it is, whatever's going to replace it to the american people? >> well, frankly, if republicans would approach this in a good faith manner, and frankly we saw today. joe manchin said i would like to help republicans try to fix this law. but you can't even do that when their first instinct is to repeal it before they even find a replacement. so there's nothing there to help them do, if they don't even want to try to find the right ways to fix it before they repeal it. it really makes no political sense. and the other thing that i think republicans are really facing is the fact that what they have said during, in the campaign
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trail is absolutely wrong. americans have never clam ordered foclamored for the aca to be repealed. the polls that showed it was unpopular included progressives that didn't like it because they didn't think it went far enough. >> they wanted singer ple payer. >> yep. >> if republicans approached it that way, do you think that would be acceptable? they will never say let's fix obamacare. >> doesn't even call it obamacare. >> that would never happen, would it? >> well, no, because i think that the issue is that there's some underlying flaws in the policy, that republicans want to fix. look, i mean, the issue is the affordable care act was passed without a single republican vote. republicans tried to work with president obama and the democrats in 2010. >> oh, come on, lanny, they did
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not. >> they said we're going to do it our way, and as a result, it set up this partisan situation. no, look, it's true. >> there was politics on both sides. and you're right, you smirked when andre said it. nancy pelosi did say it, and i'm paraphrasing here, we have to pass it to find out what's in ii it. >> but let's remember, it was a republican plan. and they accepted more than 200 republican amendments to it. republicans slapped obama in the face time and time again. the l. thank you all. i love you so much, that's why i bought
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just one week to go until president obama and the first family leave the white house. it's sure to be an emotional moment, especially for malia and sasha obama who grew up there, but they're getting some advice from two people who know all about life in the first family spotlight. randi kaye has that story. >> eight years ago on a cold november day, we greeted you on the steps at the white house. >> barbara bush on the today show sharing the new letter she and her sister jenna have
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written to the obama girls. a lot has changed in the eight years since the bush twins first met sasha and aaliyah, back then, t -malia. >> when you slid down the bannister as we have done as 8-year-old the and us 20 years old and facing our youth. >> in eight years you have done so much, stood so much. you stood at the gates of the robbin island cell where nelson mandela had been imprisoned. >> they had also titled a letter to the obama girls called playing house in the white house. they offered this advice, surround yourself with loyal friends, they'll protect and calm you. and join in on some of the fun and appreciate the history. and this. cherish your animals.
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because sometime you'll need the quiet comfort that only animals can provide. their most important piece of advice years ago? our t dad like yours is a man of integrity and love. remember who your dad really is. >> it's really an exclusive club among presidential children, and they do keep in touch. there's an empathy there because they've all been through it. and no one knows what that's like to be in that kind of public spotlight when you're so young. >> in their new letter, jenna and barbara bush told sasha and malia how they watched them grow into impressive young women with grace and ease, that they were glad the obama girls had each other just as the bush twins did they encouraged them to chart their own path. >> make mistakes. you're allowed to. continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who love you,
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adore you and will protect you. >> take all of you have seen, the lessons you have learned and let those guide you in making positive change. >> in closing, a sense of solidarity. >> you have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the white house. you have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who have never even met them. >> you've stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines, your parents who put you first and not only showed you but gave you the world. >> they will be rooting for you as you begin this next chapter. >> and so will we. >> randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> that's it for us. thanks for watching. side dishes withs the protein of beans, whole grains... ...and veggies! mmm, good. my work here is dooooone! bird's eye protein blends. so veggie good. which is the best way to get your taxes done? a jackson hewitt tax pro knows you and gets you the maximum refund guaranteed.
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and they're absolutely right. they say that it's hot... when really, it's scorching. and while some may say the desert is desolate... we prefer secluded.
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what is the desert? it's absolutely what you need right now. absolutely scottsdale. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com questioning the future of u.s./russia relations. donald trump suggests he could lift the sanctions imposed on moscow. and u.s. troops are being welcomed into poland, part of the biggest deployment to europe in decades. and a 18-year-old woman kidnapped as an infant is on her way back home. we'll tell you how police found her. live from cnn headquarters in atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the united states and&the world. "cnn newsroom" starts right now.

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