tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 3, 2010 1:00pm-3:00pm EST
time to hand over the keys of the mothership to that man, "cnn newsroom" continues right now with ali velshi. >> tony, it is so good to have you back. welcome back into the fold. it's not the same without you. i'm ali velshi as tony said, and for the next couple of hours i'm going to break down every important topic we cover. we're going to try to give you a level of detail that's going to hem you make important decisions about your voting, your spending, your safety, your security, and your health care. i've got my work cut out for me today. here's the rundown, president obama makes his strongest push yet for congress to pass health care reform.
he's got an olive branch for the gop in one hand and he has a mighty big stick in the other. we're going to give you everything you need to know to help you understand what is happening with health care. also on the rundown, just yesterday more than 1 million people couldn't get their jobless benefits extended. today that has all changed. the benefits are back. for another month, and the senator that blocked them has backed down. what just happened? did senator bunning make his point? and how do we know we're not going to be having this same discussion 30 days from now plus, i've seen all kinds of things on the internet, but i couldn't believe this, chat roulette, no logon needed and no regulation in sight. if you haven't heard about it and you're a parent, you better listen up. drawing a line on health care reform, that's what's going to happen in about 45 minutes. president obama will be making a speech from the white house. we will bring it to you live, with the best political team in television, wolf blitzer's going to join me throughout that speech with our team of analysts and experts to explain what is going on.
the president is expected to say that he's willing to include four republican ideas in his overhaul of health care. if republican lawmakers still refuse to go along, the democrats will attempt to pass the bill on their own, in the senate, with a process called reconciliation that requires only a simple majority vote. now, the gop ideas that the president is expected to -- to include are funding to explore alternatives to medical malpractice suits or tort reform, undercover investigations of medicare and medicaid fraud. also, higher medicaid reimbursements for doctors who accept medicaid, and an option of high-deductible health plans along with health savings accounts. we're going to explain this all you to, so don't worry if you didn't take notes on that. you'll recall that mr. obama laid down his own plan last monday. now, the highlights of that plan included coverage for 31 million uninsured americans. it would also bar insurance
companies from blocking coverage for pre-existing conditions, and allow the federal government to regulate insurance rate increases. now, under president obama's plan, just about everybody would be required to buy insurance, or they'd pay a fine. it would also provide subsidies for lower-income households. now, as for employers, they wouldn't be required to offer insurance coverage, but companies that didn't offer insurance coverage of a certain side, with a certain number of employees, would be charged a fee. the president's plan would also be paid for by a tax on high-value policies. this is much further down the road, 2018, and higher medicare taxes on wages, investments -- and investment income. now, the tax on those high-value policies would be made to the insurance companies, but obviously they would likely pass that through to consumers, so that would mean higher premiums. anyway, we're going to break all of this down. i want to start first with our senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen, and our senior
political analyst, gloria borger. let's just find out about the -- the things that the president is planning to do in the next hour. elizabeth, i'm just going to start with you. there are a couple of things that the republicans and democrats do agree on, in other words, he's going to get some -- some traction on this. tell me what some of those are. >> right, i don't mean to sound like a health care reform pollyanna, but i will say in the midst of all of this news about people disagreeing with each other from either side of the aisle, there is some common ground, and these are on pretty big things. so i'm going to be the pollyanna that is going to point these things out. there is some aagreement that insurance companies should not be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. right now, for example, if you have a heart condition and you apply for insurance our own, they're not going to give it to you. but there's some agreement thate that should change. also some agreement that small businesses or individuals should be able to group together to form, in essence, sort of a large company of their own, which makes it is easier for them to purchase insurance.
and the third thing there's some agreement on, dependents should be able to stay, kids, should be able to stay on their parents' insurance until their 26th birthday, right now they make you go as soon as you graduate from college or around age 22 or 23. so i should point out three are starting from some place of common ground. >> all right, let me ask gloria. gloria, i want to show you a poll we've taken, cnn/opinion research corporations, we've taken a lot of polls on health care. this one asks whether the government should require health insurance for all americans. that's not the right one. we'll get to that in a minute. 45% are in favor of requiring health insurance for all americans. a small majority, 53%, are not in favor of it. i want to show you a second poll before i get your comment on it. this is whether there should be a public health insurance option administered by the federal government. that's also not the right one, so let's get rid of that and i'll just talk to gloria about it. >> let's forget it!
>> 51% of respondents said that there should be a public option. 48% say, no, there isn't going to be a public option in the one the president's talking about. >> right. you know, i think the public was very clear from all of these polls that we've done -- and when you cut through them, it shows that the public believes that we ought to have some kind of health care reform. that the current -- the current system is really unsustainable. the way it is. but people are worried about what's going to be in this plan, because as elizabeth points out, people really want to get this notion of pre-existing conditions sort of ironed out, both republicans and democrats. but the big question here, and this is the big political question that remains, that they were unable to resolve last week, is if you're going to really take care of pre-existing conditions, then the white house believes you have to have everybody buy into these insurance pools. >> right. and the concept here is it's like hurricanes, it's like anything else, if there are going to be big payouts for
people that get insurance -- >> right. >> -- with pre-existing conditions, you've got to have more people without those conditions in there. >> buying in. >> to make it make sense for the insurance companies, because they are for-profit companies. >> right. and the republicans and democrats disagree very heartily about the amount of regulations that the insurance companies ought to have. so, when we listen to president obama later today, yes, he incorporated these four or five ideas in his health care legislation, but that is not going to be enough to get republicans to sign on to it. just isn't. >> all right. we've got a lot to discuss here. there's a few things that the president has -- has included here. some republican talking points, if you will, or republican ideas. i'm going to come back to you in just a moment, with more on this. elizabeth cohen and gloria borger will be with me. we're also going to have live coverage of the president's biggest push yet to get health care reform through congress. if you haven't followed this closely, all of this time, today might be the day to start. stay with us, we'll continue our live coverage in a moment. ♪
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basic package. good choice. only meineke lets you choose your service, choose your savings. like an oil change for just $19.95. meineke. all right. well, this is the show i to every day, think of this as the pregame. because in 35 minutes we'll hear president obama's biggest push to get health care reform done. he put out his own plan a week ago, and then he had the health
care summit, and now he said he's taken republican ideas, four of them to be specific, and he wants to try to wrap them into his ideas. he wants it to be seen as a compromise, but if it isn't, there's an underlying message that he'll do it himself. let's bring in elizabeth cohen, our senior health care correspondent, and gloria borger, cnn senior political analyst. gloria, there's a couple of other thins in the president's proposal. how big a problem is medicare and medicaid fraud? because he's talking about funding undercover investigations in to these things. >> they are people trying to defraud medicare, they steal doctors' names and bill millions of dollars of charges and the crazy thing is they actually get paid and it's complete fraud, so recouping some of that money would help fund some of health care reform, but, you know, from what people tell me, it's not going to fund a huge chunk of it, but it certainly will go towards increasing the coffers. >> all right, gloria, how much of a hint is the president going
to make? or is it not going to be hinted? is he going to say, this is the compromise, if you can't find it in yourselves to do it, to support it for republicans, we're going to get it through the senate? >> this isn't going to be subtle at all today. i think this is it. i was speaking with one senior white house adviser just before i came on the air, and he said, think of it this way. this is the last helicopter out of saigon, okay >> wow. >> so, this means that take it or leave it, this is your last chance. to get on health care. they have clearly made the political decision, ali, that doing something is much more important for them than failing. and they're not going to leave this sitting on the senate floor. they're going to use that budget process to get this through with 51 votes in the senate. and it is a calculation they made that in the end, when all the dust settles -- settles, when the public sees what they're getting in health care reform, that they will like it more than they dislike it. >> speaking of what the public is getting, elizabeth, one of
the things the president's talking about is the health savings account. we have those. what's changing? >> right. right. we do have them, and so this gets a little bit confusing. a health savings account is where you can save money to pay for health care expenditures, tax free, and here's the sort of the tangle here, is that you would use that if you have basically a not great health insurance policy. >> right. >> one with a huge deductible, like where you would have to spend, say, $1,000 of your own money before your insurance would even pay a penny for you, and a lot of people have said, these are not so useful. i mean, if you have to dish out your own money, even if you can save it tax free, this isn't good, and these have not been terribly popular options, but republicans like them, and they would like the president to do more to -- to promote them and to have people use them. >> elizabeth, thanks very much for that, elizabeth cohen, our senior medical correspondent. gloria borger will be back with us. we've got the all-star team, the best political team on television, just when the president starts speaking, just so you know, gloria borger will be here and wolf blitzer will be
joining me to get through the speech, david gergen, dana bash, ed henry, and roland martin, all to determine what this means for the future of your health care. when we come back, we'll also talk about the future, something has changed in the last 24 hours. the unemployment benefit extensions have been granted. the stalemate in the senate is over. christine romans has been following this with me for the last three days. she's standing by to tell us what this means and what has changed about the way the government spends money when we come back. hey! increase in 6 months. pete, back it up! ( marker squeaking ) when business travel leaves you drained, re-charge with comfort suites. spacious rooms, free hi-speed internet, and free hot breakfast. comfort suites. power up. now stay two separate times with comfort suites... or any choice hotel and earn a free night. book at choicehotels.com.
health care's the big story today, but the big news for hundreds of thousands of unemployed americans is a break in a senate logjam that we've been following very closely for the last few days. it was a logjam created by this man, one man, republican senator jim bunning of kentucky. former hall of famer, baseball pitcher. he had refused for days to grant something called unanimous consent to a one-month extension of federal unemployment benefits. democrats called it emergency spending, and as such, they said it was exempted from the "pay as you go" rules that they, themselves, approved just weeks earlier. pay as you go means every time you have a program or something you need to do, you have to in the same bill, have an explanation of where the money is going to come from to pay for that. that was the crux of bunning's complaint. but last night he stood down. a vote took place, the measure passed, and president obama signed it, a big sigh of relief
for a lot of people. joining me now to break it down and to tell us where we stand now, my colleague in business, christine romans, my co-host on "your $$$$$." christine, there were many people that said the more than 1le had peop1 le h million people in limbo were the wrong people to be the political football or baseball, as the case may be here. but if we got that done, we have to make sure we don't ignore bunning's underlying point about financial responsibility in congress. >> right. look, there's a real argue -- there's a real discussion to be had about the long-term economics about this. i mean, we have people out of work for on average 30.2 weeks, that's 211 days. in some states you can get unemployment benefits up to 99 weeks. so, let's have a discussion about how we're going to pay for it going forward, how we're going to fix the economy or try to get things going again, right? >> right. >> this is, ali, as you have very rightly pointed out, there is a big hole in the tire and
we've put a little patch on it, and this only goes through for another few days. i mean, look at the calendar here. this is a temporary fix. march 28th is when we're going to be asking this discussion again about infrastructure funding and about small business loan guarantees, those are also in this, right? >> right. it's only a only a temporary fix to march 28th and a temporary fix to march 21st for the c.o.b.r.a. and doc fix. >> the amount of money -- >> taxpayers are paying 65% of the premium for people who are out of work for their c.o.b.r.a. and the medicare doc fix, we talked about it yesterday, doctors would take a big cut in medicare -- >> and we have to have some progress in this discussion because guys like bunning, and by the way, 19 senators did vote against the bill that passed last night, are going to be right back saying, didn't we have this discussion a month ago? at some point we have to pay for these things. >> and april 5th is when we're going to have the discussion again, that's the deadline for the jobless checks. there's a big discussion to have
here, and there's also, ali, i'm interested in your take, after five days, saturday, sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, five days of bunning bashing, did the democrats let it marinate for political points? could it have been handled differently or better or earlier, 11.5 million people on unemployment checks kind of allowed the twist in the wind to get worried about this when they knew all along they would try to figure out a way to fix it and it's not fair and isn't it broken government still? >> bunning said many times if the democrats want it through the senate, they can get it through the senate. they still have a majority. they could have done that. here's a question, christine, that keeps coming up, i've seen it a lot on my facebook page from people. what are the economics of continuing to fund unemployment insurance? i mean, i think we all know my position on this is that -- >> yeah. >> -- people can't just go out and get a job as many people very callusly sa lylously said, the long-term economics continuing to fund unemployment
insurance as opposed to funding something that somehow gets people jobs? >> that's a really good question. the answer is do you think that people are really not going to get a job and instead get a lower unemployment check for -- for weeks and weeks and months and months? and i fundamentally think there are people in this country who want to get a job. >> right. >> and if the average length of unemployment is 30 weeks, that means people getting final weeks of unemployment, they are on the margins and the outliers, they are chronically unemployed here. the jobless benefit doesn't come for free, you have to prove it to the state department of labor, right, that you're trying to find a job, that you've had interviews, that you are moving forward. it's the people that i've talked to and people you have talked to who are looking for a job, they don't want to be on unemployment benefits forever, right? >> i haven't met any people that said, this is the life, i've got my unemployment check, i strongly agree with you. there are maybe some outliers,
but i'd love to have a discussion with you where one day we'll have the three jobs for everyone who is looking for it. >> we will talk about it, and we'll ring the bill. >> christine romans, my co-host from "your $$$$$" on saturdays and sundays. let me get a check of the top stories on cnn. we're about 20 minutes away from the president unveiling what apparently is his final -- his final -- health care package. he'll detail the plan from the white house a day after he said he'd throw a few gop ideas into the mix. but the president is signaling that democrats are ready to go it alone. you can watch the president live, right here, on cnn, with the best political team on television. capitol hill tribute for the late congressman john murtha. the house paused this morning for a memorial service honoring the pennsylvania democrat who died last month after suffering complications from gallbladder surgery. and gay couples in d.c. are one step closer to walking down
the aisle. the city's same-sex marriage law takes effect today, and at least 50 couples lined up outside a courthouse this morning to apply for marriage licenses. processing the applications takes at least three business days. all right, when we come back, i have to remind you of this, it's still winter, and the winter weather won't go away. there's chad. he's tracking snow out west. we'll get an update from him when we come back. you can label as "different." like janice. uh-huh. yeah. fashion deficient. and tom... copy incapable. it's open kimono time. looking good, dan. oh, we want to make sure all our ducks in a row. yeah. volume control syndrome. but we focus on the talent and skill that each person... brings to the team. i mean, no one's really concerned about labels. not even mine. labels get in the way. disabilities rarely do. visit thinkbeyondthelabel.com to evolve your work force.
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lot of snow coming down. maybe some people can't get there. we'll have to see. >> there's that much. >> that much snow, the truckee pass kind of going on up there, you may have to make sure you have the chains in the car. people in the east don't think about taking chains. if you're in the west, you think about having your chains. boston, jfk, laguardia, and san francisco, a little bit delayed today, and you don't fly out of jfk much, do you? >> no, i don't. >> this is off the radar. >> a little far from my house in new york. >> i'm going to tease jfk. because yesterday -- >> yeah. >> -- they closed the busiest runway. >> right. >> and what is that going to do to world travel? >> yeah, right, and this is always an important point you make. it's not always about the city you're in if it's a hub airport, if it's an airport to travel elsewhere. that's off the radar that we'll get to later on with chad myers. what we're going to get to is we're about 15 minutes away from the president of the united states making what he is calling his final -- his final -- approach on health care reform. he's going to include some gop proposals, but he says if the
get you a check of our top stories right now. just minutes to go until president obama lays out yet another plan for a health care bill. he is embracing a few republican ideas in a nod to bipartisanship, he is signaling and will signal we're told very strongly that democrats are ready to push the overhaul through without republican help. you can watch him here live, wolf blitzer and the best political team on television will be joining me momentarily to start our coverage of the president's speech. >> charlie rangel istarial giving up his gavel as the chairman of the house ways and means committee. he didn't want his ethics controversy to jeopardize other democrats' election chances. a house ethics panel has been looking in to rangel's trips, assets, income, and homes as possible violation of gift rules. in iraq three suicide bombers killed at least 29 people, wounded another 42
others in the -- in central city of baqubah. this comes just four days before the country's parliamentary elections. islamic militants have promised to disrupt the vote. all right. i want to go to chile. karl penhaul joins me now, i believe he's on the phone. we understand that there's a tsunami warning in your area, karl? >> that is correct, ali. we are in the coastal fishing village of chatto, in chile. there is a tsunami warning in effect. in the last few moments chilean marines who were handing out aid to the survivors of the earthquake, ordered everybody to head up the hill to high ground. this came about 20 minutes after a very strong aftershock, which shook the ground heavily, and 20 minutes later, the full tsunami alert comes into effect. scores of chilean marines ordering people to leave the aid lines and to help up the hill.
the chilean police are here as well. there was a stampede of cars heading up the hill. people simply dropped the food that they'd been given and also headed up to high ground. remember, a few days now after the earthquake, some people have dared to go back down to what has been left of their homes here, and were scavenging for the few possessions that were left. they were right down in the center of the town that had already been flattened, nerves had already been jangled, and now that the new tsunami warning is in effect, people are running up the hill, some of them in tears, some of them breathless, some of them being dragged and helped by their neighbors. now, what the people here are saying is that they're keeping a close watch on the bay, and we are right now on high ground about a kilometer back from the sea line, and what they say is if it's right, it was, on the day of the earthquake, they will expect a tsunami wave to begin
rolling in, in about one hour's time, ali. >> karl, where are you on the coast? describe where you are. we know you're in a coastal city. where in relation to -- to points in chile that our viewers may know of? >> we are an hour's drive north of the city. concepcion, concepcion is chile's second largest city, so we're an hour's drive north of them, the town is called dichatto, it's a quaint fishing village, people live here from farming the sea, so to speak, but it's also a tourist village as well, normally a population of 5,500, and it can swell up to 20,000 as tourists come in the summer. but this town on the day of the earthquake was flatteneded by thr three tsunami waves that rolled in here, inhabitants said the tsunami waves were up to 15 feet high. and so now -- now they're very mindful of the dangers, that is
why they are observing today's call by the military to once again head to high ground. a tsunami wave could be on the way, ali. >> all right, let's bring in our severe weather expert, chad myers standing by at the severe weather center, what do you know about this? >> a very severe aftershock, we call it an aftershock simply because there was a large earthquake in general, the 6.0, or the 6.2, whatever it is, as the usgs moves its numbers around, could be a significant earthquake in itself. i don't think there's as much of a threat as maybe the local officials are saying here, but that's great. i mean, you need to get people out of the way. look at all of the aftershocks, santiago up here. concepcion down here. there's the main quake right there. but the two red dots, those have both happened in the past hour, so when the water moves, it can be very, very quickly to move along a shore, and even though we saw a very small tsunami in hawaii -- >> right.
>> -- very localized, large tsunamis can be generated very quickly that don't have much time to lose energy. when you get an earthquake close to shore like that, it comes on very quickly. and it can do some big damage, because it doesn't have -- >> doesn't have the time and the space to dissipate. >> right. exactly right. >> the red dot you've got north of concepcion, that's the general direction that karl penhaul and our crew are evacuating from at the moment. >> i was really trying to figure out. that one was almost onshore. i was trying to figure out the name of the town. but look at how the town kinds kind of line up right along the shore here, and then one road in, the waves literally came in, washed all the way to parts of the middle part of the town, and washed back. we'll have to see, i mean, on all these towns, with the 6.0, probably not a large tsunami, but better to be safe than sorry. >> all right, we'll keep on top of you with this chad, thank you very much. and karl penhaul in chile is
evacuating along with the cnn crew and everyone else in town have been ordered to evacuate and get to higher ground, and as it continues to develop, we'll keep you update. in a few minutes, we'll be listening in to the president of the united states making his pitch, his final health care pitch, as he says. he is going to include some republican suggestions that came out of the summit last week, but he says that the democrats are willing to go this alone. when we begin our coverage of the president's speech, i'll be joined by wolf blitzer as well as members of the best political team on television, to get us some sense of how this is going to work. stay with us. hey! increase in 6 months. pete, back it up! ( marker squeaking ) when business travel leaves you drained, re-charge with comfort suites. spacious rooms, free hi-speed internet, and free hot breakfast. comfort suites. power up.
all right. moments away from president obama's speech about health care. he is prepared to make his final pitch. says he's going to go it alone with the democrats if the republicans don't want to do this. that's the east room at the white house that you're looking at. our suzanne malveaux is in the east room. our ed henry joins us now, cnn senior white house correspondent, to tell us what we're expecting to see -- oh, ed henry, look at that. >> it's a pretty big day. >> i didn't know you were here. >> come on, man, identify told you i was in savannah. >> we could have gotten some food here. >> i managed to surprise you. >> you have to put your mike on the right way. >> it's fallen down. >> ed henry, our senior white house correspondent joins you
every day on this show. i knew he was in savannah the other day, i was worried about you because you in a shop with tools and you didn't get hurt. >> it's a bizarre type of scene. i'm not going to be allowed to sit in this chair because it's too large. >> we'll both stand up until the chair is fixed. what is it the president has seen? >> we've looked at the remarks and there's not a lot new there, this is fascinating, because you covered the market for a long time. what does wall street want, they want certainty? >> they want a decision, they want to know what's going to happen. >> what's fascinating about this debate it's all about uncertainty, we don't know how it will end up. the president will make a nod to republicans, listen, this is the last chance, i'll sprinkle it with things you want, tort reform and health savings accounts and things like that and the republicans said they are not going to sign on to it. >> they said it when the president first put out his new agenda at health scare on monday and they said it again at the summit again. >> absolutely. >> are people thinking that the
republicans will say, okay, it's the last chance, we'll sign on? >> it's highly unlikely the republicans will sign on. i talked to some democrats on the hill that are frustrated the president is even giving the republicans this last chance. look, they're not going to come on board, he's been trying to get them for a year. what they think he should be doing is winning over democrats. what he's doing without saying the "r" word, reconciliation, he wants an up or down vote -- >> which means they can push it themselves. >> simple majority, 51 votes, but what's fascinating we haven't seen a case like this where a president is staking so much of his presidency on one domestic issue and we don't know how it's going to turn out. he doesn't know, if he steps up to this podium today whether or not he'll have a simple majority of votes in the senate or the house. he's literally rolling the dice. >> we've got the big guns, ed henry on set with me, and the speech will begin in a few minutes, so let's bring in the master of the best political team on television, wolf blitzer joins me now from washington.
wolf? >> thanks, and thanks to ed henry. i want both of you to stand by, because we have a lot to assess, ali, we're going to pick your brain as well. there's a lot of substantive information that the president's going to put forward and we want to make sure that we put all of this in its proper context. gloria borger and david gergen, they're here with me right now, members of the best political team on television. but let's go to the white house, the east room, suzanne malveaux, our white house correspondent, inside the east room. suzanne, i hope you can hear me, but set the stage for us. who -- who are the invited guests that the president has brought in? >> reporter: sure, wolf. we're waiting for the president to arrive inside of the east room, and it's interesting if you take a look out at the audience, about 50 people or so, invited guests of the white house, mostly health care workers, physicians, half of them are in dark suits, traditional suits, that you see here in washington. but the other half are in physician's coats and lab coats with their names, and the hospital badges that they have. obviously here to show support
for the president's health care plan. and aides have been very frank this morning, in talking with them, about the fact that they don't expect this statement or this speech necessarily to win over any republicans, but that it is mostly to try to give the democrats more political cover, if you will, to say, look, you know, here are some of the ideas that the president has reached out and arrived at some sort of consens consensus, and republican ideas that he likes, but that it's time to move on. we're going to hear the president. he's been tinkering with this, wolf, i've been told, you know, for the last couple of hours, the language or so, about 15 minutes in length. but he is going to say that this debate began a year ago. and that all options, all ideas, have been exhausted. and that now it's decision time. >> yeah. and the president's going to make the case that it's got to be done in the next few weeks. let's go to capitol hill, that's where it has to get done. dana bash is our senior congressional correspondent.
dana, i understand the process is basically going to be that the house will pass the senate version, the version that passed christmas eve, but then immediately take up some tweaks, some changes, in the senate version, under separate legislation, which will then be sent back to the senate, where it will have to pass with 51 votes under this controversial reconciliation process. is that the legislative process that you're hearing? >> reporter: exactly. that exactly the way it is going to work. and just to echo what suzanne was saying about the president making this speech today, in many ways it's cover for democrats to be able to go along with that process. it certainly seems to be the case, because even as he's out there making the speech, and frankly, even last week as we were talking about, as he was having the big seven-hour summit with republicans, democrats were already moving forward on this plan to do this without republicans. and it is very much under way. there are meetings this morning. there were meetings yesterday to move this along, and the issues right now are procedural.
they are technical. and they are political. and the big political question is, do they have the votes? not only in the senate, it is really a big question about the house of representatives, because it passed by a very slim margin last time, and there are a lot of democrats who are vulnerable in tough races, and it's unclear if they are going to -- those who voted yes last time are going to switch their votes and potentially vote no, because of all of the pressure on them from various sources. >> and all of the outreach that the president has done to the republicans, including incorporating the four changes that he heard at the blair house summit last week, apparently not enough to convince one republican in the senate or the house, for that matter, to change his or her mind. gloria, this three-step process that has to go forward within the next few weeks, the house passes the senate version, the house then makes some changes to the senate version, and then the senate passes those changes. it's by no means a done deal, that the first step is going to get done.
>> no. it's not a done deal, but you know what the president's going to come out and say is, this is the way it has to happen. we've got to have an up-or-down vote. i was talking with a senior white house adviser today, wolf, who put it to me this way. he said, this is the last helicopter out of saigon, meaning they have made a political decision that they're going to use their democrats to get this through, because what they need, this aide says, is they need an accomplishment. and they believe that once this passes, people will begin to see the benefits of it, and it will not ricochet against them, but will work for them. >> why do they have to do it in the next few weeks? why not as long as it takes? we've waited, what, 70 years. why does it have to be done by the easter recess? >> i think, wolf, there is sort of a shelf life of these kind of projects, you either get them done or they fail. they fail of their own weight. i find it very odd to hear the analogy to the last helicopter out of vietnam. as i recall, that was a losing war. >> yeah.
>> i'm not quite sure what we're talking about here as a metaphor for this. i think what we're looking for, though, wolf, today, in just scanning the president's remarks. he's really throwing down the gauntlet today, this is it, we're going for reconciliation. we don't care if we get republicans or not. we'd like you to come aboard, but we're realistic enough to know you're not, this is the bottom line and we're moving it forward. that's the declaration. there's a battle here, a battle royal, it's huge. what we don't see in the president's remarks today are the specifics of what he wants to do with the bill now. he put out the paper before on the white house website, but we don't have any specifics in this speech. >> all right, very quickly, roland martin, you're watching this, we're only a few seconds away from the president. it's crunch time, big time, right, roland? >> well, absolutely. look, also, you're leaving out one critical factor, independent voters. the summit last week and the announcement today was also letting them know, i tried to work with republicans. i tried to bring them along.
i'm taking four of their ideas. we're still moving forward because they have been the -- running from this president as fast as possible. that is something also that we cannot ignore as a result of this announcement today. >> and this is one of several deadlines in effect that the white house has put forward, since the president came into office. they introduced all of this, they asked the house and senate to go forward early in the president's first year. >> right. >> they were hoping get to it done by the august recess, then by the christmas recess, and now they're hoping once again by the easter recess to get it done. but if they can't get it done, roland, very quickly, why not go on until they can get it done? >> because they will be dead in the water. you got to appeal to the base. the democrats are weighed down, double digits to republicans, so you have to give your base something. also you've got to move beyond this topic and focus on the economy, and the president needs a win, a major win. if he can't move forward with a bill that he is signing last
year was a total failure. the first half this year is a failure and it doesn't bode well for their agenda, frankly, for the rest of the year, democrats must be able to say we did achieve a major effort on health care. he needs this desperately. >> the president is being introduced now. about to be introduced. you can see some of the other special guests go up on the podium, who will is your round the president as he prepares -- as he gets ready to deliver this speech. it's not really going to be a speech, the white house says, more like a statement, although it is fairly long, the advanced text that they released, six single-spaced pages, so we could go on 10 or 15 minutes. and, david gergen, very quickly, while we wait for the president. nancy pelosi is going to be key right now in getting this first step done. the senate version, with so many house members don't like -- hold on one second, david. the president is now going to speak, as he has been introduced. so, you'll answer that question later. >> sure. >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please, everybody, have a seat.
thank you so much, all of you, for joining us today, and i want to thank julie, barbara, roland, steven, rene, and christopher, standing behind me. physicians, physician assistants and nurses who understand how important it is for nurses who understand how important it is for us to make much needed changes in the health care system. i want to thank all of you here today. i want to specially recognize two people who have been working tirelessly on this effort, my secretary of health and human services, kathleen sebelius. as well as our quarterback for health reform out of the white house nancy.
we began our push to reform health insurance last march in this room with doctors and nurses who know the system best, and so it is fitting to be joined by all of you as we bring this journey to a close. last thursday, i spent seven hours at a summit where democrats and republicans engaged in a public and very substantive discussion about health care. this meeting capped off a debate that began with a similar summit nearly one year ago. since then, every idea has been put on the table. every argument has been made. everything there is to say about health care has been said [ laughter ] and just about everybody has said it. so, now is the time to make a decision.
about how to finally reform health care so that it works, not just for the insurance companies, but for america's families and america's businesses. now, where both sides say they agree is that the status quo is not working for the american people. health insurance is becoming more expensive by the day. families can't afford it. businesses can't afford it. the federal government can't afford it. smaller businesses and individuals who don't get coverage at work are squeezed especially hard. and insurance companies freely ration health care based on who is sick and who is healthy, who can pay and who can't. that's the status quo. that's the system we have right now. democrats and republicans agree that this is a serious problem for america, and we agree that if we do nothing, we throw up
our hands and walk away, it is a problem that will only grow worse. nobody disputes that. more americans will lose their families' health insurance if they switch jobs or lose their job. more small businesses will be forced to choose between health care and hiring. more insurance companies will deny people coverage who have pre-existing conditions, or they will drop people's coverage when they get sick and need it most. and the rising cost of medicare and medicaid will sink our government deeper and deeper and deeper into debt. on all of this, we agree. so, the question is, what do we do about it? on one end of the spectrum there are some who suggested scrapping our system of private insurance and replacing it with a government-run health care system. though, many other countries have such a system, in america it would be neither practical
nor realistic. on the other end of the spectrum, there are those, and this includes most republicans in congress, who believe that the answer is to loosen regulations on the insurance industry, whether it is state consumer protections or minimum standards for the kind of insurance they can sell. the argument is that, that will somehow lower costs. i disagree with that approach. i'm concerned that this would only give the insurance industry even freer rein to increase premiums and decrease care. so i don't think we should give bureaucrats more control, but it is time to give the american people more control over their health care and health insurance. i don't believe we can afford the leave life and death decisions about health care to the discretion of insurance company executives alone.
i believe that doctors and nurses and physician assistants, like the ones in this room, should be free to decide what is best for their patients. [ applause ] now, the proposal i have put forward gives americans more control over their health insurance and their health care by holding insurance companies more accountable. it builds on the current system where most americans get their health insurance from their employer. if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. i can tell you as the father of two young girls, i would not want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.
essentially, my proposal would change three things about the current health care system. first, it would end the worst practices of insurance companies. no longer would they be able to deny your coverage because of a pre-existing condition. no longer would they be able to drop your coverage, because you got sick. no longer would they be able to force you to pay unlimited amounts of money out of your own pocket. no longer would they be able to arbitrarily and massively raise premiums like anthem blue cross tried to do in california. up to 39% increases in one year in the individual market. those practices would end. second, my proposal would give uninsured individuals and small business owners the same kind of choice of private health insurance that members of congress get for themselves. because, if it is good enough
for members of congress, it is good enough for the people who pay their salaries. [ applause ] the reason federal employees get a good deal on health insurance is that we all participate in an insurance market where insurance companies give better coverage and better rates, because they get more customers. it is an dwlidea that republica have embraced in the past, before politics intruded. my proposal says that if you still can't afford the insurance in this new marketplace, even though it is going to provide better deals for people than they can get right now in the individual marketplace, then we will offer you tax credits to do so. tax credits that add up to the largest middle-class tax cut for
health care in history. afterall, the wealthiest among kus alrea us can already buy the best insurance there is and the least well off can get coverage through medicaid and it is the middle-class who is getting squeezed. that is who we have to help. now, it is absolutely true that all of this will cost some money. about $100 billion a year. but most of this comes from the nearly $2 trillion a year that america already spends on health care, but a lot of it is not spent wisely. a lot of that money is being wasted or spent badly. so within this plan, we are going to make sure that the dollars we spend go towards making insurance more affordable and more secure. we are going to eliminate wasteful taxpayer subsidies that go to insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and set a new fee on insurance companies who stand to gain a lot of money, and a lot of profits as millions of americans
are able to buy insurance. and we are going to make sure that the wealthiest americans pay their fair share on medicare. the bottom line is that our proposal is paid for. and all the new money generated in this plan goes back to small businesses and middle-class families who can't afford health insurance. it would also lower prescription drug prices for seniors and it would help train new doctors and nurses and physician assistants to provide care for american families. finally, my proposal would bring down cost of health care for millions. families, businesses and the federal government. we have now incorporated most of the serious ideas from across the political spectrum about how to contain the rising cost of health care. ideas that go after the waste and abuse in our system, especially in programs like
medicare. but we do this while protecting medicare benefits and extending the financial stability of the program by nearly a decade. our cost-cutting measures mirror the proposals in the current senate bill which reduces most people's premiums and brings down the deficit by up to $1 trillion in the next two decades, and brings down our deficit. those are not my numbers. those are the savings determined by the congressional budget office, which is the washington acronym for the nonpartisan, independent, referee of congress in terms of how much stuff costs. so, that is our proposal. this is where we have ended up. it is an approach that has been debate and changed, and i believe improved over the last year. it incorporates the best ideas from the democrats and republicans, including some of the ideas that the republicans
offered during the health care summit like funding state grants on medical malpractice reform, and curbing waste and fraud and abuse in the health care system. my proposal also gets rid of the provisions that had no place in health care reform, and proposals more about winning individual votes in congress than for better health care for all americans. now, despite all that we agree on and all of the republican ideas we have incorporated, many and probably most republicans in congress just have a fundamental disagreement over whether we should have more or less oversight of insurance companies. if they truly believe that less regulation would lead to higher quality, more affordable health insurance, then they should vote against the proposal i have put forward. some also believe that we should instead of doing what i am proposing pursue a piecemeal
approach to help health care reform where we tinker around with this challenge for the next few years. even those who acknowledge the problems of the uninsured says we can't afford to help them now, which is why the proposal covers 3 million, and we cover 31 million. the problem with that approach is that unless everyone has access to affordable coverage, you can't prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. you can't limit the amount of families forced to pay out of their own pockets. the insurance reforms rest on everybody having access to coverage. and you also don't do anything about the fact that the taxpayers currently end up subsidizing the uninsured when they are forced to go to the emergency room for care to the tune of about $1,000 per family. you can't get those savings if those people are still going to
the emergency room. so the fact is that health reform only works if you take care of all of these problems at once. now, both during and after last week's summit, republicans in congress insisted that the only acceptable course on health care reform is to start over. but given these honest and substantial differences between the parties about the need to regulate the insurance industry and the need to help millions of middle-class families get insurance, i don't see how another year of negotiations would help. moreover, the insurance companies are not starting over. they are continuing to raise premiums, and deny coverage as we speak. for us to start over now could simply lead to delay that could last for another decade or even more. the american people and the u.s. economy just can't wait that long.
so, no matter which approach you favor, i believe the united states congress owes the american people a final vote on health care reform. [ applause ] we have debated this issue thoroughly, not just for the past year, but for decades. reform has already passed the house with a majority. it has already passed the senate with a super majority of 60 votes. and now, it deserves the same kind of up or down vote that was cast on welfare reform, was cast on the children's health insurance program, that was used
for cobra health coverage for the unemployed and by the way, for both bush tax cuts all of which had to pass congress with nothing more than a simple majority. i have therefore asked leaders in both houses of congress to finish their work. schedule a vote in the next few weeks. from now until then, i will do everything in my power to make the case for reform. and i -- [ applause ] and i urge every american who wants this reform to make their voice heard as well. every family, every business, every patient, every doctor, every nurse, physician assistant, make your voice heard. this has been a long and
wrenching debate. it has stoked great passions among the american people and their representatives. and that is because health care is a difficult issue. it is a complicated issue. if it was easy, it would have been solved long ago. as all of you know from experience, health care can literally be an issue of life or death, and as a result, it lensd itself to demagoguery and gamesmanship and misrepresentation, and misunderstanding, but that is not an excuse for those of us who were sent here to lead. it is not an excuse for us to walk away. we can't just give up, because the politics are hard. i know there is a fascination and bordering on obsession in this media town about what
passing health insurance reform would mean for the next election, and the one after that. how will this play what happened with the polls?ft because that is not what this is about. that is not why we are here.ref cancer whose insurance company will f f l binser who wil chemotherapy, atefmou mean for the majoes in the housefrepresenves a anges or minor chges d uor down ote in the senate, but what is wrong with that as republicans haan o well? >> well, wolf, it is not the senate, but the house. most people are focusing on the senate, but the house is going to vote. he is asking t house democrats to hold hands and jump off the cliff and hope that harry reid catches them.
as soon as they this passes, it will go to the president and it is law and then to the senate to see if the senate can fix the cornhusker kickback and fix this or that and the abortion language and there is no guarantee it would happen. >> well, senator, i understand it would come up with the up or down vote in the senate version, the version that passed with 60 votes, and then the house would vote immediately after that for changes of the senate version, up and down vote, and then the changes go back to the senate for and up and down vote? >> no, that is wrong. they will send it right to the president. they will split it. they are going to send the big bill, the bill that the senate passed on christmas eve written in secret and voted on at 1:00 a.m. as soon as it passes, it goes right to the white house and the president science it, and then they send the reconciliation part over to the senate, and we get to decide whether to make the changes. so it is up to the democratic house members -- >> the house has to vote on the
reconciliation -- reconciliation changes right away, and that is part of the deal that nancy pelosi will have with those in the house, and the democrats who don't like the senate version. >> no, that is true. they will have to vote on it. but what i am saying is that the spotlight should be on the house vote. because once the house passes it, it will go to the president, and it will become law regardless of what the senate does. >> ali velshi has a question for you, senator. >> senator, last week at the health care summit, you and the president got into it about the americans who are insured and whether under this proposal their premiums will go up or down. you said they would go up, and the president said they were going down. this went back and forth a few times and subsequently, i am sure you have been digging into this more, and today, the president said, with this cost-cutting measure mirrors the senate bill which reduces most people's premiums and brings down the deficit. do you agree with that?
>> well, what i said the other day is absolutely accurate. i said for millions of americans, individual premiums will go up, because of government mandates and taxes. that is precisely what the congressional budget office that the president likes to cite said on november 30th. it is true that some people will get subsidies, but the rest of the people won't, and to give you an example, senator susan collins in maine said that because of the government mandates in this bill, 87% of the people who have individual policies in maine today will pay more under the president's bill. give half of them subsidies which taxpayers pay for, and still 30% or 40% are paying more for their individual policies. so, what people need to understand is this will raise their taxes, cut medicare without putting the money into medicare for millions, raise premium, and it will raise the deficit, because they are not counting doctors paying doctors who serve medicare patients, and this is like having a horse race without a horse, so that raises the deficit, and then they are
sending a lot more to the states to pay, and they will raise tuitions and taxes, so that the more people get into this, they will see it is the same old car, old model that we rejected in december and that is why 25% in the cnn poll say we like it, and 57% say stop or start over. >> how do you respond, senator alexander to, the president's assertion that the democrats' plan will bring in an additional $31 million largely middle-class families into the insurance programs that are out there, and the republican alternative would only add 3 million families, individuals to the insurance program? >> that is true, and we can't afford it. that is the reason that we have a half trillion in new taxes. that is the reason we are taking a half trillion out of medicare which is going broke by 2015 and the reason that all of the governors are up in arms, because of the unfunded mandates and half of the people that the president plans to insure under
his plan will be dumped into medicaid a government program in which half of the doctors won't see medicaid patients, so it is like giving people a ticket to a busline without a bus. it is not real health care reform. >> senator alexander, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you for your time. >> lamar alexander is the number three republican in the u.s. senate. lots to digest and absorb. a seminel moment when the president said it has to be done. much more on the coverage right after this. ♪ i have clients down the block. across the street. in the same zip code. basically next door. i see the rewards every day of the people that i help. she said, i couldn't have done this without you. -i'm craig. -i'm mark. my name is kari. and i'm an ameriprise financial advisor. [ male announcer ] meet us at ameriprise.com.
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call now. all right. the president of the united states, and you heard him here live from the east room in the white house making it clear he wants and up and down vote first in house and then in the senate. he wants health care reform legislation passed in the next few weeks. we go to our senior white house correspondent dana bash. one of the prospects is that nancy pelosi has a huge challenge ahead of her to get 217, i believe that is if magic number, right now in the house of representatives to get 217 members to support, to vote for the senate version which a lot of democrats in the senate don't like. >> huge challenge, and as the president was speaking and specifically making the case for up and down vote which is code
word for reconciliation. i asked lamar alexander, does this help? and the response was help, but it does not guarantee lit happehappe it will happen. it is a heavy lift especially when the president asked it be done in the next couple of weeks. today, what they are talking about is the package of changes put through in the reconciliation process, they hope to get that to the congressional budget office to figure out how much it will cost. by the end of this week, wolf, or the beginning of next week and they have to in order to get the process moving. then there is a whole host of issues to deal with, and it is democrats versus democrats and house versus senate and how to move the process along. one of the big issues is as lamar alexander was alluding to, and he is right, jitters in the house of representatives and he is right, whether they will get it passed and whether they will trust that the senate will pass the changes that they are demanding.
with ime see -- we may see a signed letter from them saying that they will approve these changes in order to get the house sign the bill, and effectively get the bill to the president's desk. >> right now, does she have the 217 votes in the house? >> well, it is 216 or 217, depending who is in the house, because there are several vacancies and right now we don't know, and she doesn't know, because some democrats voted no last time who are retiring and say, we have nothing to lose, and switch their votes to yes, but there are some democrats who voted yes. one of whom i spoke with at least a spokesman earlier today who says he does not like the senate bill, and he is in a tough re-election race, and he is thinking of voting no. so all of the factors make it a fluid situation, that is why what is in this bill that will have the changes, the compromise here is absolutely critical, and they are working that out right now. >> let's bring in roland martin, one of our political analysts.
roland, the president really has laid it all out right now. it is do-or-die as far as he is concerned. no more delays. no more putting it off. it has to be done in the next few weeks he says. >> look, several folks here, and i have been tweeting this as well that this is a speech that frankly should have come several months ago in terms of the president saying, this is what i want. democrats say, clearly, what do you want. and second thing, you notice that he got more personal in this speech than he has done previous times. goi back to the prime time news conference when he talked about reading the letters from americans everyday and you are sitting there saying, okay, here is a moment when he is going to tell us one of the stories, and he never did. it is also telling the first story he spoke about was a single mother with breast cancer and denied opportunities from a health insurance company. you know, he would not talk about his mother in that way, but in many ways he was alluding to that as well. the real test, wolf, is whether or not this president truly has the power to lead his own party.
the problem in the past year has not been republicans. it has been democrats. it has been getting them on the same page, and so, we will see if he is truly the leader of the democratic party, and if he can get his own party to coalesce around what he wants to do and that is the real challenge, and republicans have long been out of the picture, and now it is up to the democrats. >> roland, stand by. ali velshi has been watching all of this, and he is at the cnn center with our own senior white house correspondent ed henry. the public out there is clearly not necessarily on board right now if you look at the public opinion polls, ali. >> yeah, clearly not necessarily is exactly right. i was listening to dana saying that nancy pelosi has 216 or 217 votes. she needs 217 to make it work. and president obama said in the speech, i urge every american who wants this reform to make the voice heard. now, i have this poll up on the screen, and senator lamar alexander referred to this in
the conversations with you and me a few times saying that 75% of the people are games at the current bill and 25% are in favor, and 25-73 is how you work it out, but here is the question, what should congress do with health care. 25% say pass it. 43% say work on a new bill, and 25% say stop working on it. i want to bring your attention to the fact that this is a poll that was taken by cnn research corporation february 12-15. ed is with me, and since february 12-15, the president came out with a new proposal last monday with new ideas. then they have had a health care summit and now he has come up with his four ideas plus four republican ideas, so i am not sure, and i don't know whether that poll would change at all, but the reality is what lamar alexander talked about is two incarnations of health care and this is changing faster than polling can keep up with. >> well, it is changing, but when you listen to lamar alexander he is not afraid of the president or the public opinion, and americans are united in this, and what i would
refer to is jim bunning on the reform, and the reason is that democrats are saying they are getting momentum out of the bunning fight, because they believe it showed that republicans are obstructing and stopping the president's agenda and they believe they will get momentum, but the problem is why did jim bunning give in? it is because the fellow republicans said, you can't keep the unemployment benefits, because jobs is item one. and instead, republicans feel like they can stop it without retribution from the american people. so far they are right, but when you look at the opinion polls from cnn and others, it appears that the president has not moved the needle with the many, many speeches. >> so wolf, being obstructionist on health care may be seen as doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, playing the role that the opposition plays in the senate. >> as the president said last week at the blair house senate when he wrap it up, he said that the voters can have a chance to divide who is right and who is
wrong in november in the midterm elections. david gergen, one wild card out there is the senate parliamentarian who has to decide that the reconciliation changes that the white house and some democrats want to go through, that that is appropriate to use that in that reconciliation process. >> this is where we will have a lot of focus that people have not heard of the parliamentarian, and he has been appointed by the republicans and worked for both sides. already today, some republicans are calling into question if he is too favorable to the democrats, but in essence the house has to pass the bill that the senate passed, and then somebody has to knit together what the amendments are to that, and that is what goes through the reconciliation process. in order for the parliamentarian to say it is okay under reconciliation, it has to be related to spend org tagssation. outside like that like abortion, it won't pass muster, so we are going to learn a lot about some arcane rules, and this is going to be i guarantee you one of
them. >> i love the arcane rules. gloria, it was interesting that at the end of the speech, the president said that the american people want to know if it is still possible for washington to look out for their interests and their future. he is making this into a much bigger issue. is washington brokering? >> he says i tried to fix it. i tried to work with republicans, and i'm offering them this peace offering, and take it or leave it. one other thing, wolf, that is important in talking with someone at the white house, he used the word deliverables. what are the deliverables that people are going to see right away if this health care bill is passed? because pre-existing conditions for you and me may not. we may not see that right away, but what we will see is the elimination of pre-existing conditions for children, the more drug coverage right away for senior citizens, and no lifetime caps on your insurance, but the other benefits of health reform, which are most of them, may be backloaded, and so the
public may judge very quickly, and may not see the benefits that the white house is a little bit afraid of that. >> and postponing the cost. >> and they postpone how to pay for it which is another big problem down the road. >> guys, don't go far away, because there is so much to cover. ali, we will have more coverage in "the situation room" at 5:00 p.m. eastern. am l ali, when the president says this is a complicated issue, he is correct. >> yes, and it deserves the best political team on television to give it the attention it needs. and whether the republicans will allow this to happen remains to be seen. thank you, wolf. we are also covering another story that our cnn crews on the coast of chile have been evacuated because of a tsunami warning, and that tsunami warning has been lifted. we will get back to find out what the situation is on the chilean coast. we will be back in a moment.
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basic package. good choice. only meineke lets you choose your service, choose your savings. like an oil change for just $19.95. meineke. okay. back to breaking news. earlier we told you about a tsunami warning issued for quake-ravaged chile. now we are hearing that the warning has been lifted. our karl penhaul is in chile, what is the latest? karl, go ahead and tell us what the latest is. all right. i'm not sure that karl can hear us. there he is, and he appears to be on dry ground. you can see the ocean behind him. he was telling us an hour ago that he was pushed up, and they were asked to go uphill. can you hear me, karl? tell us what is going on. >> i have got -- yeah.
i hear you fine now. what has happened now is that we had word from the military authorities in the regional capital of concepcion, a city south of where we are that the tsunami alert has not been lifted. but as you know, we were on air with you and in the moments just after that tsunami warning was first issued following some very strong aftershocks, absolute scenes of chaos here. we were standing down the hill there, and aid was being given out to the needy citizens of this area, and afterall, this town was destroyed by a tsunami saturday. very orderly line, and then suddenly the military dropped what they were doing, and the marines and they yell smtsunami alert, tsunami alert, and a lot of people with aid dropped what they had and dumped it and bedan to run.
those who were too old, too unfit to run, you saw scenes of th them being dragged by the neighbors and in tears and clearly out of breath. they ran up this hill followed by a stampede of cars. i will take you round, and the military told them to get as high as they could up this hill. and -- and these firefighters who have been standing behind those lines there, and then that is where they remain until the tsunami alert was lifted. but it has to be said a lot of people are really not trusting what the authorities are saying. they are not trusting that the threat of a tsunami may be over, because they say they have the immediate experience that happened on saturday. they say that after the earthquake on saturday, authorities told them over the radio that there was no threat of a tsunami, but they trusted their instincts and not the
authorities and headed to high ground then and their instincts paid off and saved many of their lives, because that is when three tsunami waves followed. so, today after the aftershock today, many are preferring for the time being at least to stay put on top of this hill, ali. >> good to know that the road is open to the top of the hill, so that if people have to evacuate and get to higher ground, they are able to do that. karl,ed on what happened an especially time that the tsunami is going to hit has passed. karl penhaul in chile, and he will keep us up to speed of what is happening over there. okay. it is a way to talk to complete strangers from the comfort of your own webcam. but is it a chatting tool or a dangerous site? when you hear a click, you know it's closed and secure.
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♪ i always feel like somebody ♪ is watching me and i have ♪ no privacy >> why would you want to chat with random strangers if you are a grown up? well, there is chatroulette which is a chat site which randomly pops people on the screen for you the chat with. no names, no filters, no sign-up, but a live webcam, picture, and dialogue box for you to chat into. here is breakdown of the website. started by 17-year-old andre ternovskiy who says he was inspired to chat with friends at skype. the site has no business goals. the buzz of it spread around by word of mouth and no formal
advertising, and now 30,000 people are online talking with complete strangers. now it is running on seven servers in frankfort, germany, with financial help from this kid's family. erroll barnett follows this stuff, and you interviewed the founder, and it seems unusual. >> it is unl usual, but it has gone viral. when we first connected there were 30,000 users, but now it has exploded to 135,000 people around the world. so we have connected with them via webcam and asked him that key question of why he felt that a site like this was necessary. >> i do it, because, because i like to chat with people around the world to get to know other cultures and to see what people are doing all over the world.
i have always had friends in other countries who i have been chatting to in the internet. i thought it would be great to make a site to create people all over the world together to get to know people from other countries and other cultures. >> you see, ali, he sounds innocent enough. he wants people to connect around the country and he is interested in other countries, and so there it is. >> and i don't doubt his intentions, but the issue is, does he get what the problem is? because what i get is that you can get on the site and see random people. when i checked it out, not everybody had clothes on. >> that is right. this is us rolling the video down in the newsroom. i connected with strangers around the world and at fact in one point i spoke to one person in taiwan, and i don't speak mandarin, so my intern
translated for me. but there were some obscene content. you have to be 16 to use the site, and you have to flag content, but how do you enforce that. >> right. >> and you have to put in the birthdate and no e-mail verification either, and there is a group who has done a study on the chatroulette, and they have found that less than 10% on the page were being obscene, but they found that most people were males, 87%. >> i noticed that when i was on it. >> people in groups and college dorms. andre says he is getting interest from business investors here and he wants to come to the u.s. in fact, a place he has never been and they are trying to fig you out ways to step up the security of the site. >> you follow this all of the time. is this that novel that you interviewed him by skype. i mean, you can get in touch with anybody you need to, but you need to have some
interaction that says,erroll, would you like to chat with me and click yes? >> and the novelty of it is the mystery surrounding it. >> the randomness. >> and you saw this as you click and scroll around and people giggling next to the webcams. >> and get to the next person. >> they would defend themselves and say, there is no identifiable information here, and there is no location here, if there were a child predator, and that is the question, but this exposes the big digital divide between the millennials. he is in his bedroom. >> i am thinking, what a great entrepreneur and he is getting this out there and he doesn't want limitations on it, but it does really start to beg the question, and i don't think that the guy has any bad intent, but it is one of the first things that i have seen that really worries me about kids surfing, doing things on their phones without parental supervision. >> what parents should remember as we have conversations about chatroulette and other sites, if you have the security filters at
home, this is one of the websites that you want to have blocked if you have young kids. >> or at least supervised. you think it is great idea to have random people for your kids to chat with, you should be with them when they do it. probably something good will come of it. >> well, there are so many young people who are tech savvy and they can do this in their sleep. >> erroll, you are in our building, come see us. >> i will. and crazy things that kids do, a kid directing planes at one of the busiest airports in the country. i'm serious. - high in vitamins d, e, and b12. a good source of vitamin a and b2. plus omega 3's. and, 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. but there's one important ingredient that hasn't changed: better taste. better taste. better taste. yum! [ female announcer ] eggland's best.
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because of the president, but ed henry is coming up. until we see him, i will give you a chick of the top stories. a air traffic controller is in big trouble after allowing his son to radio instructions to pilots at new york's jfk airport. audio clips of the transmissions are all over the internet so that the faa says that the controller and his supervisor are on administrative leave while the inveps gators get to the bottom of this. a muslim scholar says that suicide bombers are destined for hell. he has issued a 600-page fatwa or religious ruling to argue against the attacks. several terrorists have suggested that according to the koran, those who kill in the name oflah will be rewarded with a special place in heaven. and president obama says he
wants and up or down vote to pass the bill with or without republican support. and charlie rangel is temporarily giving up the gavel as chairman of the power of house and ways and means committee. the 20-term new york congressman said moment ago he does not want his ethics investigation to jeopardize others chances. he is being investigated into his home, and other items as possible violations of ethics. and ed henry is in my home state of savannah, georgia, yesterday. he is tooling around -- >> did you call me a tool. >> no, this is a surprise plan by your producers for days now. >> you got me. so when you come back, you will find out what other surprises he has in store. the ed henry segment is coming up right now after this break. ♪
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♪ it is the real thing baby that's it. nothing like the real thing. having ed henry our senior white house correspondent of "ed henry segment" fame right here with me. for bringing him in, follow me on twitter at ali velshi. and you are an unmade bed here. >> what is with the cuff links? the maple leaf is on there? >> well, the kcanadians won. >> and you got this from robert lavine, and robert has not worn his yet, beut i got you a preset to spice up the wardrobe. roland martin e-mailed that i
have to bring it stronger. >> well, you have roland martin action -- >> well, i thought he would like it. >> oh, looking at this, i know what is going on here. hold on a second. oh! look at this. nice. >> nice. come on, you can splash that. >> look at that. oh, yeah. we are getting hoots and hollers from the newsroom. >> well, we are getting a lot of reaction in atlanta, and i am worried that i am getting my word on the air about bromance, and i think that is the last time we will be in person. >> i miss having you here. >> we used to be further up north, and now we have you further down south. >> well, we didn't plan this, but it was a good surprise, because you were here in the conversation that we were having with the president laying down the law on health care. what did you take from that? >> it was fascinating because what i took from it and wrote down is "all in." some fellow democrats say to scale back, and when you talk to the top advisers in some of to
summer town hall meetings in the low point, some of the advisers sa said, we should scale back, but the president said, no, all in. i want all of the bill. and even at the various stages monday when they put out the obama bill, if you l it was not scaled back, but covering 31 million people. and today, he incorporated republican changes, but it is still the big bill even as the republicans say to scrap it and start over, but he is not going with the baby steps, but all-in. >> and the speech, we got an advanced copy moments before when the president speaks so you can follow along and make notes and research, and he added something at the end of the copy we got, and in the copy released to us, he was saying, you know, i look forward to signing this bill. and then he said right at the end, let's do it. >> right. >> he is -- this is -- he is going to get this done. >> this is a call to arms. what is fascinating with some of the debates in washington, ordained. and the leaders on both sides now lit it will go down by five
votes or the whip count, but this is one literally into the final stages, nobody knows how lit change out. the democrat leaders cannot promise the president they will get the votes, and they can say they will, but as dana bash reported after the remarks, today, they don't have votes. even though they are lowering the threshold without a super majority, be awe simple majority, but if the democrats can't deliver on this, roland martin said that the base is aperplectic. >> and some of you felt that this jim bunning incident would somehow give the democrats some traction and helping them in health care? >> well, some democrats in the white house have been tell neg the last 24-48 hours that that exposed the republicans are voting everything the president wants even in unemployment
benefits. and i am not sure it translates, because on the bunning thing, the reason he gave in is bec he had fellow republicans like susan collins saying, we can't do this, this looks bad. and they gave in. but on health care, the republicans don't have that fear like jobs. they believe that public opinion is on their side. >> well, lamar alexander, how many times did he cite a cnn research poll showing that people don't support it. >> they don't have a fear of taking the president on over health care, but they do with jobs as you saw with bunning and harry reid's scaled back jobs bill, and whole lot of people said they won't get it, but five or six republicans voted for it. so i that are more worried about blocking health care than jobs. on top of that, you add to the fact that the real problem is with the president's fellow democrats. as dana reported, they don't have the majority. if they did, they would pass it
now. >> he said in the next few weeks he would work hard to get people to vote for it. and remember, in the last few weeks everybody starts to call in. roland martin has e-mailed in, and he has applauded your choice of tie. it is a -- my favorite color, and orange is my favorite color and nice patterns and a little shine. know roland likes that. >> i wore red in honor of the canadian jersey, and hopefully roland will understand it. >> why can't you keep this up, it is falling down. >> well, why can't you -- this is the first time at headquarters posters of back story, and "situation room," but no ali velshi here. >> that is because we don't have a name on the show. the "ed henry segment" and that is all that is named here. >> a lot of people are saying that it is good that you have ali on the show. >> well, toss to break. just tell them.
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do your kids. here is where it is worrisome and the people on the other end of those webcams, well, they could be anybody. and they could be doing anything. look, i'm not in favor of excessive internet restrictions, but i am in favor of parents getting actively involved in their kids' lives off and online, and a site like chatroulette, should give all parents a real wakeup call. it is random, and random and strangers is a bad combination when it comes to your kids. if there was ever a reason to get involved in what your kids are doing on the computer, on the phones os sphones, on the w gadgets, this it is. there are a lot of potential land mines on the web, and you should be aware. this does not mean that parents should play roulette with their kids' online lives. time for "rick's list." ali, we are coming to you from new york and there is