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tv   State of the Union With John King  CNN  August 10, 2009 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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you were great tonight. >> thank you. >> shawn, nice seeing you. i'll see you around. keep in touch. that's it for tonight's "larry king live." tonight, the president is south of the border in mexico, but the health care debate at home is escalating into free for alls and showing no signs of letting up. we cut through all the rhetoric and shouting for some real solutions. also tonight, a congressman didn't like what he heard from some constituents on health care. one of them a doctor. the doctor is here tonight live with his side of the story. plus, straight to the front lines. in the two wars raging in mexico and also in afghanistan. the war on drugs and the war on terror. th news starts right now. good evening, everyone. i'm don lemon. we begin with america's ferocious debate over health care reform growing more unhealthy by the day. across the country we're witnessing town hall meetings on health care devolving into shouting matches worthy of a
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jerry springer episode with people lashing out over who ultimately pays the bill for millions of medically uninsured americans. >> the event remained largely civil. huge crowds overwhelmed the meeting hall with hundreds more gathering outside. >> we're very, very scared. >> when the republicans controlled congress and the senate, why didn't you introduce and pass health care reform? >> my biggest fear is this is going to get rammed down our throats. >> this is a mob. do we look like a mob? >> this doesn't look like mob this looks like home. >> some estimated that as many as another 800 couldn't get in and were locked outside. >> won't even let us in. they blocked us out. >> my son has the right to live. >> no doubt about it. >> my son has the right to health care. >> you don't really think you're going to get that, ma'am, in this bill, do you? >> you have to do something. >> that's what i hear from the liberals. we got to do something. a bad bill is better than
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nothing, i guess. >> this health care reform town hall meeting in down ton memphis spawned more than one screaming match. >> i'll make this my first priority and, yes, i have read the bill. >> please don't yell out. this is america. this is memphis, tennessee. take two aspirin and come back in the morning. >> reporter: boos and cheers greeted represented ed perlmutter. proof people are passionate when it comes to health care reform. >> i just appreciate the fact that you're all willing to take time to come out. thank you for exercising your civic duty of talking to your congressman. >> so it's not only the crowds losing their cool at town halls lately. listen to georgia congressman david scott get fired up when a doctor brought up health care reform at a town hall meeting last week.
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>> not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting, okay? then do that. do that! but don't, don't come and take advantage of what these individuals have done. you want a meeting with me on health care, i'll give it to you. >> well, tonight i'm going to talk to brian e. hill, there he is right now, the man who set the congressman off. dr. hill says he's not partisan, not a troublemaker. you'll also hear from congressman david scott live just minutes away right here on cnn. meantime, who or what is behind the chorus of dissent we're hearing over health care reform? supporters of the health care reform accuse special interest groups, insurance companies and rabble rousers, of hijacking the discussion. critics say they have a right to oppose what they still see as a government takeover of health
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care. it has been the partisan point of contention on the sunday talk show circuit all day. >> i'll tell you what's wrong with it, when there's a group of people honestly sitting in the middle trying to ask the important questions and get the right answers and instead someone takes the microphones and screams and shouts to the point where the meeting comes to an end. that isn't dialogue. that isn't the democratic process. >> the demonized citizens who are energetic about this strikes me as demonstrating a kind of weakness in your position. in other words, you want to change the subject. you'd rather talk about the half trillion dollar medicare cuts. let's talk about somebody in some town hall meeting that's misbehaved. >> president obama has take an short break from the domestic debate over health care reform to spend a couple days in mexico. he's meeting there with mexican president felipe calderon and canadian prime minister stephen harper. they won't be together very long, but together the three leaders hope to set an agenda for north america. suzanne malveaux is in guadalajara traveling with the president. hello, suzanne.
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>> reporter: hey, don. i traveled commercially here to get here. one of the first things you do through customs is you're met with a custom agent who meets with you a bottle of purrel to wash your hands. because of the swine flu. this is where it originated and there's a lot of concern over the h1n1 virus. and the fall season outbreak. so that is one of the things that a senior administration official told us that the president sat down and spoke with the mexican president felipe calderon with earlier this evening. the need for all three of these leaders from mexico, from canada, from the united states, to coordinate their efforts this fall to make sure people have vaccinations and make sure there's information so they don't have to close down the border. so far there's been very good cooperation between these three countries. they want to maintain that. second thing that they talked about this evening was the whole idea of what is happening with the drug battle, the war on drugs and how difficult it has become for calderon here. he has taken on the drug cartels. they have gained strength, and
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what is happening, a frustration here on the part of the mexican government because there's some members of congress who are holding on to about $100 million in aid meant to fight in this drug war here. they're holding on to that because they don't want to let it go while there's some concern that there are human rights violations taking place on the side of the mexican military. president obama addressed this at this meeting earlier today saying in the long run, if you want to dismantle, defeat these cartels, that all the countries have to have a commitment and be confident in one another. and then finally they are talking as well about the trade between these three countries. obviously, the u.s. recession, the crumbling economy in our own country has had a dramatic impact when it comes to canadians and mexicans losing their job. president obama trying to resure them he believes we're starting to turn a corner and get on the other side. don? >> suszanne malveaux with the
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president in mexico, thank you for that. the summit is taking place against a back drop of rising violence across mexico. michael ware is also in guadalajara and i asked him about it. >> reporter: if you look at the grand scheme of this drug war, it's not about the american border. it starts in the andes in south america and goes to the streets of the united states and to the streets of canada. in the andes, you have production. in central america, you have warehousing and transshipment of the drugs. in panama you have the money laundering and the banking, and mexico is the retail end. and by the time you get into the united states, that's distribution. now, the profit incentive is not going to go away until america's demand for this multibillion dollar supply of illicit drugs every year, perhaps up to $30 billion or $40 billion a year goes away, until this demand disappears.
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i don't know about you, don. i don't see that american demand disappearing any time soon. so america's got some tough choices. it's got to get real about this war. you either send the 101st airborne division into mexico and really seal that border, which honestly isn't that possible, or you start thinking about regulating some of these drugs and taxing them and looking at earning some revenue. there's tough choices ahead for any american administration that really wants to tackle the war on drugs, don. >> that was cnn's michael ware. he's covering the drug war in mexico. later this hour, michael will take us inside the world's most dangerous drug cartel. for more go to our blog, cnn.com/newsroom, click on don. two flights, two family vacations, same horrific end in the new york sky when a tourist helicopter and a small plane collided over the hudson river. nine people, three of them teenagers, are dead, and now we're seeing the faces of this tragedy. 60-year-old steve altman was
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piloting a single engine piper plane when it apparently slammed into a sightseeing helicopter just before noon yesterday. his brother dan and dan's 15-year-old son doug were on board heading to the jersey shore. already a video tribute of the smiling pennsylvania teen is posted on youtube. in the helicopter a pilot and five italian tourists celebrating a wedding anniversary. 15-year-old james and his parents were killed in the crash along with 16-year-old filippo norelli and his dad. seven bodies have been found. two are still missing in the hudson's murky waters and an incoming storm has put the recovery mission on hold for the night, but crews will be back out in the river first thing in the morning. divers have already pulled up the twisted wreckage of the helicopter and police using sonar think they have pinpointed what's left of the plane. but a swift current and low visibility are making it tough going for the divers. four children and three adults are dead after a pickup
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truck was slammed by a reportedly stolen car. police say a 3-year-old boy and three girls, all younger than 8, were thrown from the truck when it was hit by a dodge neon. all three people in the car died in the crash after reportedly running two stop signs. police say none of the victims was wearing a seat belt. they say the dodge neon was carjacked earlier this weekend. ground zero on the mexican drug war. president obama is there and so is cnn's michael ware. he takes us to the barrios where the cartels and cops are squaring off. plus this. >> you're clear to fire. >> afghan insurgents in the crosshairs. we take you to the front lines. the politics of health care. are the fiery town hall meetings free speech at its best or an organized attempt at sabotage? twitter, facebook, myspace, ireport.com. that's how you get your responses on the air. but when i walked in here i wasn't sure what i needed.
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i think i'll go with the basic package. good choice. only meineke lets you choose the brake service that's right for you. and save 50% on pads and shoes. meineke. let's get back to talking about health care reform. call it passion, call it
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conviction, whatever you call it, the issue has people talking more like yelling to be heard about this issue. a georgia congressman is the latest to get caught in the fray at a town hall meeting just last week. duffy dixon from cnn affiliate wxia was there to witness it. >> there are people in this room who are here who do not want anything changed in health care, okay? >> reporter: at a packed town hall meeting taped by the city of douglasville, we see david scott, georgia congressman. and things start to unravel after a question on health care. >> my question is why are you voting for a health care plan that's shown not to work in massachusetts and why are you going to institute it in a nationwide manner? >> i'm not voting on any plan. >> reporter: at first he appears confused over over what bill is being mentioned. then his response. >> first of all, i haven't voted on any bill. >> are you planning on voting on that bill? # >> i don't know.
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>> that's an easy response. >> reporter: he keeps going in what some in the crowd later would call a rant. >> and i'm listening to my constituents, okay? these are people who live in the 13th congressional district who vote in this district. that's who i've got to respond to. okay? right. all right. that's everybody with different opinions. so what you've got to understand is those of you who are here who have taken and came and hijacked this event that we're dealing with here -- this is not a health care event. you made the choice to come here. >> reporter: we caught up with dr. brian hill, the doctor who asked about health care. turns out he is one of scott's constituents, and as far as hijacking the meeting, he says he's no plant from the republican party. that's not even the party he belongs to.
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>> i did not go to a meeting to create any problems. i went to the meeting to literally ask a question i thought was very, very important for my patients. >> reporter: the meeting was primarily about a highway project, but later it was opened up for any questions from the crowd. hill was one of two people who got to ask about health care. >> not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting. okay? then do that. do that! but don't, don't come and take advantage of what these individuals have done. you want a meeting with me on health care, i'll give it to you. >> reporter: dr. hill says he has called scott's office several times. >> i have asked is he going to be having health care forums. is he going to have an area where we can address his thoughts and express our ideas
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and our thoughts as well? i was told no, and that's why i said to myself, i then need to go to an area where i have access to him and we depend on our congressmen to do what's right for us, and i just don't see that happening. >> we're going to hear from congressman scott as well as dr. brian hill about what happened on the other side of the break. the doctor is here live with us. also, the politics of health care in a contentious town hall meeting. can they pull the white house off message? you know, the guys who do a super job. introducing the superguarantee. go to superpages.com to find a business with the superguarantee. we're so confident in these super businesses we stand behind their services. you'll get the job done right or we'll step in and help to make it right. sign up for free at superpages.com the new superguarantee making the good guys easy to find.
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joining me on the phone right now is congressman david scott to talk about this uproar that we have been hearing about. congressman, thank you so much for joining us tonight. why did you get so upset with
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the folks in the crowd there? >> because they had hijacked an event that the people of douglasville, who have a highway that's coming through their community, affecting and will destroy 68 different homes and businesses, running through an 80% of african-american community and hispanics, a whole business sector, these people put this meeting together. i have a health care event august 15th. it's promoted on every radio and television station in atlanta, georgia. we've got promos for them. it's on my website. that was the place to come. not there. >> some people -- it was the last question that you got and that pretty much the business of the highway had been taken care of, and if you represent the people in this district, why can't they ask you about health care? >> because what you have on those tapes is what they want you to hear. that audience was unruly. it was intimidating and i was not going to be intimidated, and i think congressmen are being held in effigy, they're getting death sentences. i'm willing to stand up and fight for the other side on
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this, and so that was the whole point. >> do you think this is getting -- these are getting out of control? >> pardon me? >> do you think these town halls are getting out of control? >> i think they are getting out of control, but i do think this, that we cannot let these -- these individuals have a right to come and express their opinion, but this must be done in a very deliberate manner. this is a very complex issue. i have a health care meeting. i have a health care event every year for five years. it's on -- everybody in atlanta, georgia, in the metro area knows it. this is something that was orchestrated. this gentleman came there to hijack this meeting that was not about health care and that's why i was very concerned. i stood up. the people in the community, they were concerned about it as well. >> we have to thank you because we're up against a time problem here, but we thank you for joining us because we have a lot of news to get on and we invite you to come here live on cnn to talk about this issue. >> i would love to do it.
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>> have a great night. in the meantime, dr. hill is here. you said you were challenging the congressman on behalf of your patients and the you heard what he had to say. explain. >> i don't want to get off point. i really, really don't. i would have to say i disagree. i actually spoke with his office, i spoke with mr. johnson in his office three or four days before the meeting on the saturday he was talking about. and mr. johnson said we are not going to be having any health care forums. there's not going to be any time to be able to approach my congressman. that's actually the reason i went to the meeting. >> he said you were there to hijack the meeting. did you know that this was about a highway and not about health care? >> i did, and i knew that, and that's why i sat there through the meeting. the meeting lasted -- was supposed to go 10:00 to 12:00. once 12:00 rolled around, i sat there quietly. we continued to have the meeting for an additional two hours. they made a mention toward the end of the meeting that it's now opened up to questions. if anybody has any further questions about 92 please come up to the microphone, everybody did. and i stood at the back of the line, after all the questions about highway 92 were answered.
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>> you were upset because he didn't answer your questions. >> correct. >> you wanted him to talk about the massachusetts health care issue. >> i want to talk about health care. i feel we really need to stop doing all of these distraction techniques. even talking like the congressman is talking tonight is distraction. >> what do you mean about that? >> we're not talking about the point of what's really important here. and that is, we've got to discuss health care. and he's continuing to try to move us away from actually that topic. >> you didn't want to happen what's happened at other town hall health cares. around the country. >> no. >> what do you make of people who are going in and protesting and shouting and doing things. do you feel it's a distraction as well? >> i actually do. i feel that unfortunately -- this is a democracy. we need to be able to come together as adults. and as people with ideas. to be able to express our ideas back and forth. that's how a democracy is supposed to work. coming in and screaming and hollering and being disruptive does not accomplish that. >> as a doctor -- you were just paged. explain to our viewers, this is your opportunity, who how -- the
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importance of health care reform in this country and what we should be doing, doctor. >> and i agree 100%, and actually i let off my statement when i was talking to my congressman -- >> right there, talk to them. what do you want to say to the american people about it? >> health care needs to improve. we need to improve our health care system. there are efficiencies we can improve in the system. the important thing is that we actually have to pick a plan that works. we cannot just pick a plan based on ideology and we've got to actually look at the data and the statistics and the numbers and say can we make this health care system actually truly do what we're trying to promote, which is improving quality of care, decreasing costs, increasing accuracy. and if we lose that debate amongst the ideologies of politics, we're not going what's right for the american people and that's a shame. >> we should be talking about it without beating people up and having them end up in the hospital to see you. thank you, doctor. >> no, thank you. i appreciate you all. >> thank you very much, dr. brian e. hill.
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we're going to talk about the contentious town hall meetings. can they pull the white house off message? mark preston, lynn sweet join us to break it all down. plus, on the ground in a battle zone. cnn's michael ware takes us to the front lines where mexico's war on drugs is being fought. announcer: some people buy a car based on the deal they get. - others buy the car of their dreams. - ( beeps ) during the lexus golden opportunity sales event, you can do both. it's an opportunity today. it's a lexus forever. special lease offers now available on th. lower your special lease offers bad cholesterol but your good cholesterol and triglycerides are still out of line? then you may not be seeing the whole picture. ask your doctor about trilipix. statin to lower bad cholesterol, along with
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welcome back. we've shown you the protests, the debates, the all-out pushing and shoving over health care reform. and you can bet president obama is paying attention. he made health care reform a key platform, if not the key platform of his presidency. he had a blunt message in his weekly address to the nation. don't believe everything you hear. >> let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia or cut medicaid or bring about a government takeover of health
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care. that's simply not true. this isn't about putting government in charge of your health insurance. it's about putting you in charge of your health insurance. >> cnn political editor mark preston, lynn sweet from "the "chicago sun-times"" and politicsdaily.com join me to sort it all out. we're glad lynn is back. she's been on vacation. the president has been spared the public heckling over this health care reform, everything we've been seeing at the town halls, but the more he holds these town hall meetings himself which he will do another one on wednesday, the more he opens himself up to the chances he will see this and hear it personally. >> yeah, don. look, the protests up to this point really have been organized. we've seen these interest groups have really gotten their supporters riled up and convincing them to go to these town halls. you're absolutely right. president obama when he starts to do these town halls across the country is going to face the same thing. he's going to face supporters of course who are going to be backing him in this health care plan, but he's also going to face those angry voices, those
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angry faces that we've seen so far. >> lynn, the white house had tried to play it down, but are they changing their tune now? they had called it i believe it was astroturf or something like that? >> oh, please, give me a break. all of a sudden orchestrating, community organizing, organizing people to come out is a dirty word? the democrats are divided even among themselves. there's a difference between having an unruly group of people, that's one thing, and saying that you're turning out people, that's just a ridiculous thing. i hope the white house is able just to explain the many policies and concepts within a complicated bill in simpler ways so if they have a story to tell, it is upon them and the president to tell it, but on the other hand i don't think the democrats are that unhappy because this helps them organize, and it helps them show the house members, who they are afraid will get nervous and shaky and lose their nerve, they're going to try to bring in their troops during this august recess to show they can bolster
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them and keep them. look, i just got an e-mail to go to the office of eleanor holmes norton in the district and she doesn't even have a vote. >> wow, okay. >> it was an e-mail from organizing for america. >> i want to ask mark this, lynn, the concern for many people who attend the town halls and they're not among the rowdy people is real constructive debate is being drowned out by all the dramatics. >> you know, don, just right before we came on air i was forwarded an e-mail that showed this e-mail chain of supporters and opponents in maryland who are trying to strategize and game out how they're going to act at a health care forum tomorrow night. so there's going -- you know, there clearly is a sharp divide, and when you have folks not being able to clearly ask questions and to get straight responses and you have people shouting and yelling, it's not constructive, and when you see really the rhetoric jacked up and images of naziism and
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members being hung in effigy, that's not necessarily constructive to this debate. >> lynn, i should have followed when you talked about this, because the perfect follow-up question to your point where you talked about the administration getting its message out. but how much of this is the administration's own fault even when news organizations are trying to dig into what exactly is in this reform bill or bills. it's tough to get the information because no one knows exactly what's proposed. >> well, there's still drafts of legislation if you want to devote the whole of your show on it. one could. but there is -- >> but suppose -- there are many things proposed in it, no specifics is what i'm saying. >> but actually there are some broad brushes. that's what people are reacting to. i know i have to be quick, the point is there's two story lines developing, and that is just the story about the story over protests and the nuts and bolts are in the bill and the -- both sides are organizing people to come and pack the houses.
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and these town halls. and of course not, there shouldn't be yelling. and of course the nazi imagery is despicable and should not be used. because whatever is happening now is just people demonstrating free speech and it's nowhere close to that. but part of this is just -- as i say, it is interesting to have the obama people of all people complaining that something is orchestrated when they do that themselves. the democrats have all their allies helping to orchestrate their campaign to get their legislation advanced. so both sides have their organizations working to turn out people to these town halls. >> lynn, mark, you guys are the best. thank you very much. always good to see you. >> thank you. >> thanks, don. >> thank you very much. taking to the airwaves to sort out the health care battle. if you're talking about it, so are radio hosts. there they are. warren is wearing a vest? they're sounding off about these town hall smackdowns. plus, we will take you straight to the front lines of war. targeting afghan insurgents. the sights and sounds of an
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this issue of health care reform really drawing a lot of you to logon and send your comments. melody says the town hall in tampa demonstrated it's out of control. doves corner says yes the doctor's motive was mistaken by congressman but look what the trend has been. in those meetings. congress has feelings too. to be informed -- coming up next, she's laughing -- to be informed says, i think all the shouters are misinformed. if they would shut up and listen, they might hear the real benefits to all. professor wow says, people argue that only 45.7 million lack health insurance. in a rich country like the usa that is a human rights violation. thank you for sending that in. twitter, facebook, myspace,
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ireport.com is how your comments get on. take a wild guess at the topic likely to be on the radio tomorrow morning. health care, health care, and probably more health care. our radio hosts are in the mix. martha and warren ballentine. always good to see you. warren, i'll start with you. i started with martha last week. what are your listeners making of all these town hall debates and uproar and protests? >> well, my listeners look at this and look at the campaign when sarah palin was having meetings similar to this. what i keep telling them is this is a lot of proposals. it's still a work in progress. i don't know why everybody is debating and getting upset. as far as organization, both sides are doing it. we need to talk about what's best for the country. honestly, don, i think if they'd just remove the public option this would pass with no problem at all and i think everybody would be happy. >> he said there shouldn't be all this uproar. but people have a right to be passionate. martha? >> absolutely. a little loud speaking and that kind of thing, that's free speech. i mean, heck. the supreme court upheld the
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burning of the flag. >> but martha -- >> i just think it's being overblown. >> let me jump in here, though. >> sure. >> you can't say a little bit of free speech and yelling. you've seen the video. there's more than just yelling. people were arrested. some are getting beat up. >> yeah, and they should be arrested, but what i'm saying is this idea you can't go out and speak to your congressman, the reason why the doctor got so aggravated at that david scott meeting is he had called repeatedly to the office and had gotten nothing. so he went to the meeting and they allowed questions on other topics and that's what the doctor did. and the congressman was wrong and he should have apologized to him. >> you know, don, what's amazing to me, and honestly i got to say this, when the republicans were in office, when they were in control, they didn't even try to take it to the people and have town hall meetings. to talk about what they were doing. they just did whatever the heck they wanted to do. >> that is not true. >> at least the democrats are trying to talk to the people and honestly that's what this is about. telling people what it's about and because they're yelling and screaming, they're not getting the information.
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we're talking about 1,100 pages of stuff. how many people have read it? have you read everything, martha? >> i haven't read everything. no. >> there's a lot out there to read, too. there's like 12, 13 different versions of this bill out there. it's a lot to read and absorb and probably the people who are proposing the length legislation aren't exactly sure -- >> i think the one thing warren and i can agree on, i think if you take the public option out, if you look at individually what you're going to do as far as the elderly and medicare and my issue is if you can save $500 million on medicare or $500 billion on medicare and not hurt the services, then show me. i don't trust the government. i didn't trust it under president bush towards the end there. i don't trust it now. if you tell me you can save money, then do it and then we have a place to start. >> martha, i have 15 seconds left. i heard this all morning on the sunday shows, how much of this has to do with just people's dislike of barack obama? i hear people saying -- >> 85% of this. >> i say zero. >> 85% of this has to do with the fact that you have president obama in office.
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when the republicans was there, again -- look, dick cheney would tell you in a minute, i'm not answering that question, next question. at least the democrats are trying to talk to the people about what they're doing. >> warren, that's going to have to be the last word. thank you, warren and martha. afghan insurgents in the crosshairs. >> you're clear to fire. >> you're going to go right to the front lines there. also, ground zero in the mexican drug war. president obama is there, and so is cnn's michael ware and you will be there, too. there's a big reason to lower high cholesterol... dangerous plaque that can build up in arteries. it's called atherosclerosis--or athero. and high cholesterol is a major factor. but crestor can help slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. go to arterytour.com and take an interactive tour to learn how plaque builds up. and then ask your doctor if crestor is right for you. along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol and raise good. crestor is proven
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a front lines look tonight at the fighting in afghanistan. >> i got a guy who was digging
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in the road right there. >> we got two guys digging in the road. >> they're trying to hide now. >> roger. >> looks like they got an overwatch position. >> we're going to engage these individuals. observed one individual. he's back out of the hole right now. looks like he was placing something there. >> running a wire. >> a wire. >> we're engaging. >> you're looking at video released by the pentagon as an attack team zeros in on two men believed to be insurgents. listen. >> hit the guy on the road. hit the guy on the road. >> roger, hit the guy on the road. >> you guys got the guy on the side. >> roger. >> okay. >> clear to fire? >> you're clear to fire. >> seconds later there's an explosion followed by machine gun fire. coalition forces say the two men were trying to set up a bomb
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last week in southern afghanistan. going inside mexico's war on drugs, the president is there and so is cnn's michael ware. we've had overwhelming response to what he showed us last night and he's back tonight by popular demand. eam) real onions in his onion strips! (cop) step aside people, let the man with the real onions in his onion strips through! when a brand new way to snack comes along, people notice. alexia crunchy snacks. a giant leap for snack kind. wouldn't it be great if it were easy to spot the good guys ? you know, the guys who do a super job. introducing the superguarantee. go to superpages.com to find a business with the superguarantee. we're so confident in these super businesses we stand behind their services. you'll get the job done right or we'll step in and help to make it right. sign up for free at superpages.com the new superguarantee making the good guys easy to find.
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want to really know what's going on in the war on drugs in mexico? stick around, you're about to find out.
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as drug violence escalates out of control in mexico, our michael ware went there to see it for himself. now, last night michael joined us and we talked about the most ruthless and feared drug cartel in the country. we got such a huge response to that story, we wanted to follow up, and we caution you some of these images are very disturbing. >> reporter: the dead always tell a story, and here in mexico that story is the war raging on america's doorstep. being fought for the right to supply america's demand for illegal drugs. a war becoming more violent, more ruthless, mostly because of one group. to even begin to understand that violence, come with me. here in a barrio in the southern mexican city of vera cruz. imagine, if you will, a band of special forces, green beret soldiers go rogue and offer their services and their
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firepower to the drug cartels. well, that's precisely what's happened in mexico in the 1990s. commandos from the mexican army deserted and set up their own cartel. known as the los zetas. they are a group that the u.s. government now says are the most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel operating in mexico. this is an example of some of their most recent work. until not so long ago, this was the home to a local police commander promoted just two months before. at 5:00 a.m. one morning, two cars pulled up in the street. eight or nine gunmen got out armed with assault rifles and 40 millimeter grenade launchers. they blasted their way into the house. it took less than five minutes to execute the father, the police commander, his wife, a police woman, and in the blaze
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that they started, to kill four children. this is the drug war in mexico. this is the war the los zetas are fighting. and this is the war on america's doorstep that shows no sign of ending. and with their fearsome weaponry and military expertise, u.s. agencies consider this group america's most formidable enemy in the drug war. >> los zetas have obviously assumed the role of being the number one organization responsible for the majority of the homicides, the mark-related homicides, the beheadings, the kidnappings, the extortions that take place in mexico. >> reporter: from this washington, d.c. office, dea central american chief ralph reyes directs america's fight against the zetas. a fight he says that will take years.
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>> they continue to train new recruits through several campaigns. one of them is a very public and open, narco-banners they post around the country of mexico, specifically offered to the military, that they will offer better pay and benefits if they join the ranks of the zetas. >> reporter: with their mastery of combat, this operates more like a u.s. infantry company patrolling the streets of fallujah in iraq than they do a street gang and they're only getting stronger. veracruz is a popular tourist destination with colorful plazas just like this one, but it's actually a thin veneer for what's really going on beneath. local newspapers almost daily have headlines of the horror of the bloody violence of the drug cartels. cartels that here in veracruz are more often than not linked to the los zetas. the american drug enforcement
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agency tells me while it's originally based on military lines it's been built on a business structure. with quarterly meetings. business ledgers kept. even votes on key assassinations. and now the los zetas are taxing businesses beyond their reach. from human trafficking across the american border to as one recent scandal shows, they've been imposing a kind of tax on the mexican government itself. the state-run oil company, it's just been revealed, has been bleeding billions through corrupt officials linked to the los zetas. as a dea agent told me, the american border makes little difference to the los zetas. to them, it doesn't matter whether the violence is being perpetrated on the mexican side of the border or on the american side. on that american side, one of the instruments of assassination
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was this 13-year-old teenager. 13 years old when he first killed. i loved doing it, he says, in this police interrogation. killing that first person, i loved it. i thought i was superman. but you can be certain there are more like him, and there will be until america can defeat adversaries like the zetas and end the drug war across its border. michael ware, cnn, veracruz, mexico. mother nature's fury. hope there was no one in this building because look what happened. we're going to take you overseas. also, what if your child had only one shot at survival and your health insurance might not cover it? how far would you go to raise the money? then you may not be seeing the whole picture. ask your doctor about trilipix. statin to lower bad cholesterol, along with diet, adding trilipix can lower fatty triglycerides
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and raise good cholesterol to help improve all three cholesterol numbers. trilipix has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or stroke more than a statin alone. trilipix is not for everyone, including people with liver, gallbladder, or severe kidney disease, or nursing women. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. blood tests are needed before and during treatment to check for liver problems. contact your doctor if you develop unexplained muscle pain or weakness, as this can be a sign of a rare but serious side effect. this risk may be increased when trilipix is used with a statin. if you cannot afford your medication, call 1-866-4-trilipix for more information. trilipix. there's more to cholesterol. get the picture.
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typhoon morakot dropping ridiculous amounts of rain. check out what the storm did earlier today in taiwan. look at that, unbelievable amounts of floodwaters undermining this hotel and ultimately bringing down the house. we're told all 300 guests were safely evacuated. before the building toppled. it's called the worst flooding in taiwan in 50 years. hundreds of houses leveled or destroyed. plenty of people either missing or unaccounted for. jacqui jeras joining us to tell us about that and what's going on here. a lot of water. >> it is. it's so devastating and such dramatic pictures. and you know, the storm just sat there for about two days over taiwan. on friday and saturday, that's why they had so much rain, as much as seven feet nearly in some areas. after that the storm took aim on china.
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these are pictures from sunday out of china where you can see there were torrential downpours, heavy rainfall as well. winds were gusting around 74 miles per hour. so this was the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane as it hit china's east shore. that was today in china. the storm continues to move up to the north and will bring heavy rain into parts of shanghai. here at home into the pacific, the central pacific, we're watching hawaii for a tropical storm. this is felicia. this was a category 4 storm on thursday. now it's a tropical storm packing winds around 50 miles per hour, and you can see it's very disorganized and the northern side of the storm is starting to flare up a little bit. some greater convections. we could see wind speeds fluctuate a little bit as a result of this. it should continue to weaken as it moves towards the islands, but still could be a tropical storm or tropical depression when it makes landfall. that will likely happen on tuesday, but our greatest concerns here will be heavy rain
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as opposed to real strong winds. we could see some flash flooding and flash flood watches are in effect for the big island and also for maui. the atlantic has been unbelievably quiet so far. we have one disturbance we're keeping our eye on. the national hurricane center puts a 30% to 50% probability that this could develop into a tropical depression in the next couple of days. stormy weather this weekend across parts of the midwest and also into the northeast here, and there you can see that we've had a lot of severe weather mostly hail damage has been causing a lot of delays at the airport. just chicago at this time, but we're expecting this to be a bit of a problem tomorrow as well with more storms in many of the same areas. a lot of heat too, don. the big cities of the northeast are going to be pushing near 100. >> thank you very much. want to register to win a home and maybe save a little boy's life in the process? i know it sounds like an odd question. i'll explain it straight ahead. also, she admits to being a nuisance to her teachers growing up. ruth simmons is the first
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100 bucks get your name in the pot for a lakeside home and you can help save a little georgia boy's life at the same time. payton thornton has a rare and painful skin disease. he needs an expensive stem cell procedure, one his parents cannot afford. a family member is raffling her home for $100 a ticket. if payton gets this treatment, it could save his life. >> every child that's had it has just made unbelievable strides. >> it's a heck of a gamble his family hopes will pay off. 1,300 tickets have been sold so far. they need at least another 3,500 tickets sold. for payton's surgery.
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a lot of you have been asking how you can help him. if you go to our blog we'll put it up there and i will tweet it right after the show. thanks for weighing in on that story. we've been telling you about ruth simmons. she's the first african-american woman to be president of an ivy league school. she is up from a past. she's an african-american first, and you can see her story on our blog at cnn.com/newsroom. just click on don. it's an amazing story. a lot of you have been weighing in. there was one from mel. that i wanted to respond to. what was mel's name here? mel said the doctor on tv with his lab coat and his whites or whatever, why did he have to wear that? he was on call. that's why he wore it. thanks for tweeting us that. here are some of your other responses. cmdeb says warren ballentine thinks obama and the democrats invented the town hall? congressmen always hold them during the summer recess. big sky dem says insurance companies, big pharmaceuticals, big hospitals are counting on americans to sm

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