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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  November 25, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EST

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"washington journal" is next. .
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host: he will be telling us what we learned about how it is used and how much it cost. former senator david pryor has published his biography about his life in politics. we will be talking with him. he is also the father of senator mark pryor. as we open, we will focus on the president's decision about afghanistan. yesterday during a press conference, he said he is fouling to finish the job there. we will show you the headlines. good morning. lots of discussion about the president's decision on afghanistan.
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michael shear of "the washington post"joins us. we also know that he is prepared to talk to the nation next tuesday. what else are you and your colleagues finding out at this point? guest: we expect a speech to be on tuesday. we expected to be a prime-time address. he has a key, central challenge to somehow talk about the escalation in troops. we keep hearing the number of 30,000 as the target they are settling on. to explain to the american people his decision to escalate the work at the same time as the administration is incredibly eager to explain how they will get out of the war eventually.
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the administration, from everything that we can tell, is searching for ways to offer an explanation to the american public that meets those dual challenges. as you know, our country is very divided about the war. in surveys, equal numbers very strongly oppose it and very strongly support continuing it. that decision is mirrored across the globe. he has a real challenge ahead of him. host: are you and your colleagues learning any more about how those 30,000 troops will be used? guest: that is another thing we will be looking for closely. we understand that there will be a mix of combat troops and
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trading advisers and other advisers. most of the discussion has been around the fence that the united states wants to pursue a counterterrorism strategy where they target specific regions of afghanistan. there's an understanding that if you seven of troops to blame did the entire country that it would take something like half a million troops. nobody is talking about that. there are specific regions, especially in the southern part of afghanistan and, that they're talking about increasing the troops as a way of giving them more control over those regions and an ability to push back against the extremists, the taliban, and al-qaeda. host: what will he be asking of nato? guest: there have been many
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discussions over the past months to try to increase the number of troop commitments from nato countries as a way of allowing the united states to have slightly less of a commitment. in the speech, i think you will see a strong call from the president for the nato allies and the other allies around world to step up. host: thank you very much for being with us this morning, michael shear. there are a number of "washington post"front page stories. this is written by scott wilson. here is what scott wilson writes.
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speaking of george bush, in an analysis speec, looks at the lae obathe way obama goes about the decision making process. later on, there is a quote from lawrence wilkerson, a retired army colonel.
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let's get to your thoughts on what we are learning that the president will in fact add more troops to afghanistan. we will hear from sam from west new york, new jersey. caller: it is time to get out of afghanistan and iraq. doing a war on terrorism with our mighty military might, with tanks and planes this kind of like trying to exterminate cockroaches with a sledgehammer. it is absolutely pointless. what happened on 9/11 was more of a crime that it was an act of war.
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>> how do you generally fill about the use of u.s. troops. are you almost always against it, or is of the circumstances here? guest: it is the circumstances here. after 9/11, i was almost in support of what bush wanted to do in going in iraq. after the anger fades, you have to look reality end use reason. that is why i like obama. he goes with his gut. host: thank you. scott, independent. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: president obama, watching him taking his time making this decision and then
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complain how much the war cost -- it bothers me a little bit. when hillary was in there with her husband, they bombed tanzania. they said we're al-qaeda and we are coming for you. they did nothing about it. they just wanted to get out of the administration and passage to bush. we do not want this to happen again. all we need to do is push it toward pakistan. bush did the easy part. to have the same mentality of the pre-9/11 is the stupidest idea. host: scott on the republican line in tampa, fla.
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caller: what i heard on the phone is funny. i am a republican. during the clinton administration, the republicans and newt gingrich basically laughed at bill clinton who was trying to take out osama bin laden. i agree with him. i thought he was "blogging the wagging the dog." bill clinton tried to take out osama bin laden and they said he was trying to skirt the issue of money kolinsica lewinsky. president obama is trying to do the right thing. the republicans are demagogy iig it again.
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i'm calling as a republican. host: did you vote for president obama? caller: yes, i did. host: "obama vows to finish the job." they are suggesting 35,000 more troops may go. this is all speculation from various sources inside the white house and perhaps the pentagon. i also want to show you the "los angeles *." --"los angeles times." our next phone call is from minnesota. this is jack on the independent line. caller: good morning. host: good morning.
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caller: give me and little time here. i want to comment on people who call in and complain about republicans like the last guy. there are a lot of republicans who hated the last administration. undersecretary of the treasury under bush -- there ain't nobody more republican and he hated the bush administration. as i do. as far as afghanistan, i disagree with our being there. i have a solution to ending the war on verbally. -- ending the war honorably. it is too much to ask the rich to send their pampered children over there to fight the war, but
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let's ask them to pay for it. i will tell you, that war will be over in a heartbeat. thank you. host: john sends us this message by twitter. you can send us a message. it is easy to sign up, free to do. let's go to our next telephone call, bonnie in houston. caller: i definitely believe this is a mistake. they say that afghanistan is where empires go to die. that has been true in the past. i think we're going down the same road.
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we are not an exception to that rule. also, the karzai government is very corrupt. i definitely think we need to get out. host: the lead story in "the new york times" -- it says that in the news conference with the indian prime minister, the president signaled he would break from the policies he inherited from the bush administration. later on, x is a call from silver spring,
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md. caller: good morning. thank you for this opportunity. i applaud the person. i admire the commander-in-chief who is patient and cautious. we went to iraq, and you see what happened. almost 5000 meriden's diamerica. the president is approaching this in the most admirable way. i admire the president. i am appalled by the republicans. americans should be paying attention to everything the republicans are doing.
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i think the approach he is using is very good and we should applaud him. host: steve is a republican in pennsylvania. you are on. caller: thank you. i am from the vietnam era. you do not send in a few people at a time to get killed for politics or financial gain. you have seen wars in the past. it is usually when the economy is bad. bush senior had osama bin laden against russians as an ally. if you want to get something, you send everything in full force.
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you step on a cockroach. you do not dance with it. i hope they get everybody in and get it over with. there's something -- you cannot go in halfway. host: thank you for your call. "the wall street journal" has the most details this morning.
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host: that is details from the british side about what the plan will look like operationally in "the wall street journal" this morning. next call is jefferson city, missouri. john on the democrats' line. caller: hello.
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host: your tv volume is up. that is causing feedback. hit the mute. go ahead. caller: i am pro-defense and pro republican. i am wondering why after 9/11, when it was a war against al- qaeda, we have kind of lost our focus against al-qaeda. >> peter, republican in philadelphia, you are on the air. caller: i am going under the premise that basically mr. obama announced to the public yesterday that he is going to be a one-term president. host: why is that? caller: india's prime minister
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, during his speech, made the statement that afghanistan is a friend of india. what happens in afghanistan will affect the future of pakistan. i'm going under the premise that afghanistan is just like vietnam. it is a loser. it is already owned by the taliban. according to mr. singh, he said afghanistan is a friend of india. he announced to the world yesterday. he's in a no-win situation. host: that is peter in philadelphia. next caller in phoenix, good morning to you. caller: i think this whole war is a big mistake. host: why is that? caller: we're in a no-win situation going into
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afghanistan. the soviets with in there, and the afghanis ran them out of theire. is a no-win situation. we are going to send in 30,000 troops to get slaughtered? it does not make any sense. host: "usa today" leads on a public opinion poll on the war. susan page has written the story. host
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host: next telephone call is from clearwater, fla. on the democrats' line. caller: i say we should absolutely get out now. afghanistan is nothing more than a graveyard of empires. we have these terrible wars, but we cannot pay for health care or higher education for u.s. citizens? as long as we have grossed well to disparity in the world, there will always be terrorism.
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these horrible acts of terrorism are carried out by an educatiand educated, -- uneducated, poor young men. for all their screaming about fascism, the republicans are the true fascists. people have got to stand up and start fighting back. what is waiting in the wings is horror. host: thank you for the call. in this morning's "baltimore sun."
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host: next telephone call is oklahoma city, scott, republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i was going to comment on are unnecessary, unconstitutional war in afghanistan. in not for continuing that. i registered as a republican. in a constitutionalist person for most predict constitution gives no power to the president to conduct foreign hostilities. that is only given to the congress. remember congressman ron paul offered a declaration of war in the congress. he voted against it himself. he had the backbone to do this constitutionally, and nobody did. he offered letters marking reprisal that was shot down.
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that should have been clear that we need not be in there. host: leslie miller sensed this message on twitter. a couple of callers have mentioned the corruption in afghanistan. there was an announcement yesterday. here's the reporting in "usa today." the attorney general's office said it is melannouncing. shawn, independent line, as we talk about the president's troop decisions for afghanistan. caller: i do not think it is unreasonable to ask the republicans administration to
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pay for the two wars. they were left a surplus. they have left obama a horrible deficit because of the war. we should be asking bush and dick cheney to pay back the debt as ideficits they have left us. thank you for taking my comments. host: su ioux city, iowa. caller: good morning. i just want to know why we are in war when it should not have been in tany of our business. we are not helping the children with education, health care, or nothing like that.
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sending our troops is not necessary. the more money the united states loses. we should stop sending the troops over. we should give some of them that old united states money and pay it back. afghanistan and old all the othr places we should have never bend -- we should get out of there now. host: on twitter -- nec's comment comes from joyce -- next, comes from joyce on the republican line in los angeles. caller: they are sacrificing our. . for profits -- they are
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sacrificing our safety for profit. i think they should commit more drones rather than using so many troops. the people that our supply ian the weapons to this soldiers are charging too much. they need to involve other countries. after 9/11, their most something i have heard that no one has ever repeated. there was a chinese person were military person that was very popular in china. he said somebody in china helped orchestrate that attack on 9/11. i'm curious if there ever been attackes by muslims in china. in a lot of people profit from
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it. we should take a strategy that is very serious. when i talk to soldiers on cable television while they were in iraq -- they need to take these people very seriously. host: thank you. laura says on twitter -- with the media with the prime minister of india, "the wall street journal" is reporting " u.s., india expand counter- terrorism cooperation." the president and the prime minister pledged to expand their
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counter-terrorism for their countries' strategic partnership. at the same time, mr. s ingh's visits underscored the tensions that still exist between the two democracies. later on, it says that the two leaders announced an extensive list of joint u.s.-indian initiatives. we know that the president has accepted an invitation to visit india last year. last night was the first state dinner at the white house. we have a bit of video. also, in an analysis in the morning newspapers of the list of attendees, which include
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michael bloomberg, richard lugar, bobby jindal, bill richardson, and the outgoing white house counsel. from the media, katie couric, brian williams, robin roberts, and sanjay gupta. you are looking at video right now. let's take our next telephone call from houston, missouri. david on the independent line, go ahead. caller: we would rather see our tax dollars paid to hunt down osama bin laden than to pay for health care on 20 million illegal aliens. thank you. host: thank you.
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next telephone call is from santa rosa, calif. on the democrats' line. good morning. caller: i was wondering if any of the troop surge included catching bin laden. i have not heard any more about that. t again. host: thank you. chile, republican -- joey, republican line. caller: i think we should stay the course. if we pulled out now, everybody who has died would have died in vain. all these democrats will are saying that we need to pull out. they have no idea. look what happened in somalia when those rangers wanted support and clinton denied it. democrats are likely need to
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pull out. clinton was the calveroward. 18 rangers and countless others died in vain. if we do not stay the course, everybody who has died in iraq and afghanistan would have died in vain. thank you. host: here's a comment from someone who describes himself as a c-spanjnky. next comment as we talk about the president's increase in troop levels scheduled to be announced next tuesday. conn, robert, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i must commend this town hall that c-span provides every morning for our country. as an independent and a veteran, i maintained strongly
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that we must leave afghanistan, as well as iraq. the only war we have one in the last 60 years is world war ii, and that required untter devastation of two major portions of the world, europe and japan. trying to get people to see the american way is a complete failure. revolutions of the mind and spirit start within nations, not by the battle of a gun. the light level of these countries, but it will never change their ways of thinking. thank you. host: thank you. a number of people have been talking about costs. we have shown to some of the articles that suggest the possibilities of consideration of a war tax in the house of representatives. this news from the white house that they are thinking about creating a new panel to tackle the deficit. the administration seeks to show
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resolve on a problem that threatens its broader agenda. host: next phone call, a sandusky, ohio, rob on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. if they want to use some of our
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money, why don't we use some of the money that is already under the ground? so some of that oil. host: afghanistan has oil? caller: no, in america. host: you think we should have oil here and use the reserves to pay for war efforts? caller: that is right. host: thank you. chris on the republican line, good morning. caller: good morning. yes, i think we need to do it. some people do not understand the concept of necessary work her. -- necessary orwarfare. if you have a little girl and you know somebody will break in and torture that little girl in front of you, would you take that gun and shoot them and kill them. there was a yes.
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now you understand the concept. just multiplied by 1 million. host: you see the threat as the imminent from al-qaeda, and afghanistan is the base for it? caller: for any war that is necessary, and i believe that it is, it has to be brought home for people. they have to see it personally. other people somewhere in the world that are being killed or tortured better in the set like them and their families -- it does not mean anything to them until they picture id other old home with their own families. host: thank you for the call and sharing your analogy. in great britain, an inquiry has begun into the iraq war. this is the report of the in "to the washington times."
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blair is expected to be called to testify u.s. motives probe. we also have access to "the guardian."here is stevephen bats story. even the surroundings of the inquiry seemed conducive to a low green of the temperature. -- lowering of the temperature.
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next is a call from texas, the dianne on the independent line. caller: good morning. i'm taken aback by the number of callers does seem to have the 9/10 mentality, who seem to forget that we were attacked by terrorists who plotted in afghanistan and pakistan in terrorist camps to exact terror on us in any way they could. and they will continue to do so. i thought that the mission was to wipe out those terrorists and training camps over there, and to get the taliban, the fundamental islamist -- whenever
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is politically correct to call them today -- to get them out of there. pakistan has nuclear weapons. if we left, and created a vacuum, every terrorist would flood into afghanistan. the whole world would be threatened by these barbarians. our guys are not died in vain. if our fighting men are given the equipment, the troops that are needed, we cannot be defeated. we did not lose in vietnam. the politicians lost. i think what obama is doing is dithering. as far as bush and dick cheney paying back what was spent on the war, the first responsibility of the government is to protect its citizens.
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host: we're out of time on this. thank you for your call. we will take a short break. our next focus will be how much money is going into the coffers of politicians with regard to the health-care debate. we learned more from the head of the center for responsive politics. ♪ >> things giving day on c-span at 10:00 a.m. eastern, bill clinton will present steven spielberg with this year's liberty medal. stanley greenberg as part of a panel assessing the obama presidency. from the jfk library and museum, nick burns on terrorism.
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at 5:00 p.m., ludacris on youth mentoring. >> on this vote, the yays are 60, nays are 59. the motion is agreed to. >> said the moves the health care bill to the floor, live starting monday. public option, taxes, abortion, and medicare on the only network that brings to the said that gavel-to-gavel. >host: sheila krumholz, executie director at center for responsive politics here in washington, d.c., and they monitor campaign contributions.
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this year, what are you finding in the aggregate? guest: $422 million has been spent on lobbying by the health care and insurance sector. phar-mor is given in campaign contributions. host: there are others who seem to be very active and involved in this, including labor unions, organizations representing seniors. when you tally up all of that, what does the picture looks like? guest: you are right. it is far broader than just the health sector. so far, there has been $2.5 billion spent on lobbying. not all of that is geared to the health-care debate, but much of it is. this is the seminal piece of legislation coming up in many years.
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the interests are very diverse, including soda pop manufacturers and funeral directors, you name it. last year, $3.3 billion was spent. it is on track to match or exceed. host: we would like to go to your phone calls. we will talk about the influence of money and how it is directed on the health care debate. we welcome your observations, questions, and comments. here are the numbers. you also know you can't t tweet us, or send us an e-mail. who is getting the money? guest: it is targeted to those members of congress who have senior leadership positions.
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chairmanships and ranking members of the important committees and subcommittees that are governing this legislation. in addition, there's a lot of focus now on the moderate democrats, both in the house, the blue dog democrats, and the senate. folks like olympia snowe, merry land trooary laindru. they had a major role to play in the passage of the vote to continue the discussion on legislation. host: are you able to track the major components and whether or not money follows it? for example, the public option? who are the people who are sending money to those supporting and opposing that? guest: there is the most
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activity by outside interest groups like healthcare action now, farm labour organizations, other labor organizations. a lot of the money that is spent by these outside organizations is not directed to the members themselves but by advertising to influence the debate, and to garner grassroots action. beyond that, there's much more money spent by very deep pocketed industries in order to suppress the public option or otherwise shape legislation to favor their goals and agendas. the pharmaceutical industry is the number one industry spending money on lobbying every year
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without exception. in the last few years, the health-care industry as a whole has been the number one sector. health professionals, doctors, health insurance, hospitals, etc. in the past, finance, wall street is typically the top source for lobbying spending. now, the writing has been on the wall. healthcare has been ramping up for this debate. that has been the no. 1 broadest sector for spending. host: looking at the balance, it's not so much that there's not as much money in the financial sector because of the collapse of a number of companies, but it indicates the ramp up of the debate in washington. guest: yes, health care became the no. one sector in 2006.
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at that point, it was clear that something would be done. some legislation would be passed. at that time, health-care ramped up and leapfrogged over wall street. host: for sheila krumholz, let's get to some phone calls as we discussed monday and its role in the debate over health-care. let's begin with a phone call from colorado. casey on the democrats line, good morning. caller: why is it that only one democratic senator is being paid off for their vote when there are fiv50 states and 100 senato. it seems like they should all be paid off in this debate because they want votes.
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my state has two new senators that are apparently frozen out. i'm a democrat. i have paid taxes for years. like to see some of the money come back to my state. guest: money coming back to your state in terms of health care and spending? host: i would think that is what it means, but that is not really how the system works. do you want to explain how the money trail works? guest: the money that is going to the members of congress is to their campaign, their reelection campaign. it is a mutually beneficial system. they're looking for help for raising money for their next election and the lobbyists, business executives, and labor unions are often happy to provide that money in exchange for access, so that they can plead their case and try to influence upcoming legislation. there is money going to the members, but it is not coming
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back to the states unless the members are involved in sponsoring earmarks. with the passage of the stimulus act, there has been a massive influx of money into projects that the state level, but i think relatively few of them focus on health-care concerns. host: will you explain some of the rules concerning limits that any individual member of congress might take from an organization? guest: campaign contributions are limited. since the '70s -- at that time, the limit had been $1,000 was a limit for individuals and $5,000. with the passage of the bipartisan campaign reform act, that limit has now been indexed to inflation. at this time, the limit will be
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$2,400 per election. $2,400 may be given for the primary and $2,400 may be given for the general election. an individual can give $4,800 to a specific candidate and a cumulative of $115,000 this year. host: you can influence your influence -- you can increase your influence by joining a pack. wells could you increase your influence? guest: with the banning of soft money, the unregulated contributions -- suddenly there's a great importance on bundling, to give the maximum amount.
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this is a pro-family system. the bigger family you have, the more you can deliver. for an enormous company that has a culture of giving or an expectation that people in the company give, you may see an entity not giving just the $10,000, but in fact hundreds of thousands of dollars to one single candidate, if they have enough executives that they can tap. host: you mentioned the children. you can donate in the name of your children even if they're not old enough to vote. guest: you cannot donate in the name of another, even your child. but the child can give. whose money is that? the rule is that the child must give of their own funds willfully and knowingly. however, evidence is clear that many of these children are not aware of the contribution.
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they do not know who this senator is that they delivered the money to appeared when reporters called them, they had to put the phone down and check with mom and dad. that is really worry some. many of these children are far too young to be making these decisions. it is a straw dollanor. host: next is dallas, linda on our democrats line. caller: we have a governor's race in the state of texas and there are tv ads already against health care reform. i have a question. with so many people uninsured,
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wouldn't that health care reform that is in the public option -- wouldn't we be able to attract those people more instead of them going to the emergency room? if they were in the public option, they would then have to pay something of a pocket. can you respond to that? guest: at the center for responsive politics, we do not take a position on health care reform, but that is the argument that proponents of the public option are making. it will be far less costly if we can provide insurance to the uninsured and prevent them from coming to the emergency rooms late in an illness and having to cover catastrophic cost. if it could be managed from the beginning, the theory is that the cost will be more manageable. host: this specific question, tony who writes, "soft money is
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what?" guest: it is the contributions that used to come from a single individual or corporations to the national party committee. this was allowed since the late 1970's in the theory that this was going to promote party building and that it was a good thing that it was helping state and local candidates run for office and to strengthen the party system. in fact, what was often happening was that the money was raised in conjunction with members of congress, and so they work -- it was seen to have a corrupt influence. one person to be $1 million -- it was convened access to the legislative process and having an undue influence in school in policy -- in skewing policy.
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the number that you gave us was much larger than that. guest: $2.5 billion spent in lobbying just this year. it's expected to go over $3 billion by the end of the year. that does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars that is spent on campaign contributions to the federal candidates and parties. there's a lot more money that is outside of that that is spent by issue advocacy groups. 5275 . 27 refers to the tax code that allows these political organizations to spend money on issues, but what is ultimately have to is that it is spent on electioneering. there's a lot the money directed at your representative at two or legislation that is coming out of washington. people need to be vigilant
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because if they are not paying attention, is tif they are not engaged, there's always a good chance that the deep pocketed industries will carry the day. host: ohio is next, jackie on the independent line. caller: good morning. ben nelson took over $3 million from the insurance lobby. i wonder if publicizing the names and the amount of money that these people get -- mr. baucus, a $3.5 million, mr. mcconnell, about $3.5 million. why are to the news media putting their names on the front page of the paper with how much they're getting from all of these people?
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it looks like a pro quo for their votes. maybe that is pause for treason. host: other people are probably listening to this call. what tools do used to get the numbers you just cited? caller: you use the newspapers. i do not have a computer. i call my public library and they'd look up on the computers for me. there are some places that you hear what they're getting. it is out there, but it is not out there for most people to see it. you have to dig for it. it just looks so terrible that our government is bought and paid for. the people of this country are hurting. it is like jobs and the banks.
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everybody is getting the screw except the people at the top and the politicians that are paid for by the lobbyists. host: thank you for your call. not even have a computer and data in that kind of detail. it is great that you are following up with that. would you explain to people what kind of tools your organization provided how you get the money to do it? guest: i appreciate that call. there's a lot of confusion. we are a small organization based in washington, d.c., but we focus on precisely what she is looking for, which is to create the factual base line for where the money's coming from. we provide industry bisector back in time for every member of congress. you can find those numbers about every member of congress, and find out who is bankrolling their campaigns. what industries are the most
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heavily dependent on. on opensecrets.org, you can easily search for any member of congress. . caller: in assumii am assuming s
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a sign of what is to come with this health plan. host: thanks very much. you mentioned earlier about money going to purchase -- let me show some examples. here's an ad. >> washington is banking chris murphy for his yes but on health care, but what does it mean for you? yes 2 $500 billion in new taxes. yes to a government-run health care plan and skyrocketing costs. yes to new regulations on businesses that could wipe out connecticut jobs. called congressman chris murphy and tell him he should have said no to washington and yes to
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conn. host: we learned a couple of things. there is a graphic that comes on screen saying that this is employers for help the economy -- it is paid for by them. it is a coalition which includes the chamber of commerce. how it organizations like this come up? what is the general life span and are they organized? guest: often as 501c organizations, tax-exempt and that makes it difficult to find out who was relief funding the effort. you will often have -- in this case it is easy to identify the legitimate large organizations like the chamber of commerce, but in many cases it is a name no one has heard of. they sprang up at the last
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moment and have a huge impact. no one knows how credible the information is because they do not know the organization. unfortunately, they can spend unlimited amounts, whether a 501c non-profit or charitable organization or whether a pac organization -- we have seen their to the drop-off in the last couple of cycles. they had an enormous impact in the 2004 election. with groups like america coming together in the last -- focused specifically on the presidential campaign. it is an advocacy campaign on health care with an eye to supporting specific members of congress and tried to defeat others. how long do they last?
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it might be an organization that has been around for decades. it might appear from nowhere and disappear overnight. that particular ad, -- host: various versions of that ad have been made for members of congress, one from indiana, another from indiana, and a third from indiana -- this one from alabama, another from arkansas, a second from arkansas, virginia, virginia, new hampshire, maine, and one from the data all airing in their own districts. this is just one example of all sorts of ads like this. the election is one full year away. guest: this is geared to implants this debate specifically in to get people to phone and and to defeat the
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public option. the messages if you vote a certain way we will remember next year. host: this is a shot for members of congress. guest: that they are taking that site to the end. the chamber in particular has said that we will fight the public option all the way. of course, there are implications. this is a really challenging vote for members of congress not just because of the import of the issue, it's complicated nature, but also the potential impact on their election. there will not be able to raise the money the same way depending on how they vote and stand on these issues. many have relied on pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. they may not be receiving that support depending on. where they on -- depending on where they
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stand. it takes real courage to vote on the merits and potentially against their own reelection interests. host: here is an ad on the other side. sterling, va., on the democrat'' line. caller: good morning. a couple of points. your guest has a very kind way of explaining our campaign finance system which was done to whoever has the most money to extort politicians. that ad you just showed -- it sounds like that -- we will get more and more of those that scares people intel's lower income people that their taxes will be raised. it is all about big money.
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it is not money going directly to candidates, but going to advertising to hurt people who have their hearts in the right place. who are dointrying to do the rit thing. going back to your last segment about afghanistan and al qaeda i highly recommend people read it the booked "the accidental guerilla." it is a complex situation and a lot of people are calling and without much of a clue of what is going on. host: to her first ad concerning groups back to purchase them -- any more comments? guest: it is an enormous source of spending. whether or not it is veiled or direct attack. depending on what happens with the upcoming vote on citizens
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united we might see more of this, money from new, unlimited sources. spending on the independent expenditures. another type of spending. then again, may be geared to very hard-hitting advertising right before an election. it is disturbing the amount of money being spent to influence our vote this way. we need to pay attention to the sources and decide for ourselves their credibility. despite the money we do have recourse. the money does not elect members of congress -- we do. we need to take advantage of the power that we have and reclaim it and use it. one other thing -- money can have a corrupting influence. we saw that with the scandals
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and bribery schemes in the past. it generally speaking, it is not an issue of a quid pro quo. it is more an issue of raising money to get influence to get access. then to wield that influence to curry favor and shape legislation. it is a dance that happens with lobbyists and the owners and members of congress. you said that i am being kind about describing the system. we have always had a system funded by private interests. it has always been this way. as long as it is the case is critical for us americans to use our power, engaged in the process. host: over the weekend there was a great deal of reporting about money in the senate version of the bill to aid people in louisiana.
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then we learned that senator landrieu was voting to let the debate proceed. this is your ask, what is the difference between what she did and sherod blagjevich did it? guest: in this case is a matter of legality. that is a very bright line that blagjevich m that backary landrieu did not. there may be a lot of unhappy people in louisiana who did not like what she did. -- that is a very bright line that the leader in illinois did
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that the louisiana senator did not. host: let me show you the other ad for the other side of the debate. >> the insurance lobbyists were not happy when congressman murphy and voted for health insurance reform. no wonder he is being attacked with tv ads. insurance companies know the reform bill would stop them from raising premiums and stop them from denying coverage when you are sick. the reform bill will strengthen medicare. that is why it is endorsed by the aarp. call congressman murphy and tell him not to back down, to keep fighting for us. host: and mr. murphy is the example, but these ads are running in a number of districts. americans united for change, and others released this ad and others in a $1.70 million ad buy
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to counter others. we are asked by twitter, some are clearly confused on what side of the healthcare debate the money is supporting -- please explain? most guest: of the money comes from corporations. there is an enormous amount coming from labor unions, but an enormous amount representing business interests -- about 75/ 25%. it is the health industry professionals, the industry which stands to gain or lose an enormous amount depending on the results of this debate. these are the industry's lining up to contribute to members of congress, and to try to influence. host: birmingham, alabama on the
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independent line, ted. caller: this is ed, not ted. sheila, well-articulated. thank you. i wish someone would address the issue of certificates in states. i think we need an industrial engineer to look at why we have and mri on every street corner in the u.s. what is happening in rural alabama is hospitals are losing the ability to have diagnostic centers. the denominator underneath that service for those machines is isolated in the offices of only five or six positions. so, you have a very inefficient system. host: i will interrupt. two reasons -- a bad connection, and you're talking about the policy of the healthcare debate
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which we have had a lot of segments on. we're focusing on the money here. next is a call from mary on the republican line. you are last. caller: i called in before. the public option, if anyone has ever tried to get on medicaid because they did not have money for health insurance, the public option is not the way to go. people who try to get medicaid -- it is a terrible system. you have a timeline to turn information in. the government has the timeline and when they can prove you are disapproved you. they lose paperwork. it is so inefficient. it costs so much money. host: thanks, i will jump in again because we have had lots of opportunities to talk about the substance of the debate. we are talking about the money being spent on members of congress regarding reelection
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and influencing the process. i have a printout according to the top industries on the open secrets.org. this is organized by pharmaceuticals, health products, insurance, health professionals -- all with dollar amounts. how would it get organized more discreetly? what is thelayer? guest: it is based on certain codes of the u.s. government. it allows us to group the data by 13 large sectors. one of those is health care. within that the industry's you mentioned, pharmaceuticals and hospitals, we can then go to more specific categories such as hospitals versus and outpatient clinics. then with than those we can look
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at each individual organization to see how much amgen is getting and spending compared to pfizer drug company, or individual donors to see who the top individuals are who are giving to campaigns in. each election in at opensecrets.org we try to provide answers to your questions the matter what they might be. host: i will read this question to see if you can respond. guest: people who are giving campaign donations believe there trying to do the right thing to. they are turned to do right by their industry and company which means jobs. but they are representing their narrow interests and is up to represent our interests as constituents, citizens.
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we need to get engaged. we need to tell congress what matter position is and what we want. they need to take all the information and make the best decision possible for folks back on. host: if you'd like to dive in a little bit more to the numbers go to her website. banks too shallow for being with us to talk to us about the money going towards the healthcare debate to influence members of congress. in the next section we will talk about medicare part d. we would like to learn more about what it means when people cry medicaid for all. we will learn more about the prescription drug program. how the money is being spent. right back with someone present at its creation.
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set. you can order it online. "washington journal" continues. host: tom scully was the administrator of medicare and medicaid services. in 2003 when medicare part d was passed into law he was very involved in that debate and its early implementation. let's begin with the definition. what is medicare part d? guest: it is a relatively new program began in 2006. it covers seniors on a voluntary basis for drug benefits. it is about $50 billion per year federal spending. 90% of senior citizens are covered one way or the other. about 34 million seniors citizens are in a prescription drug-only plan that has been added on.
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about 9.5 million senior citizens are in the medicare advantage plan that includes hmos. about 8 million more senior citizens keep their old health plans and the government pays a subsidy to their former employer. the remaining 10 million, about four million have opted not to be covered and the other at 6 million are in v.a. or some other program. about 10 million lower income senior citizens have subsidies. about half of them essentially pay nothing and have free coverage. host: we would like to focus on medicare part d. you're most welcome to call and ask questions. if you are not enrolled in the program and do not understand how works and want to know its impact -- and we're also happy for those who have been using it for the past two years to tell us of your experience, or ask questions.
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first of all, in the current debate we have been hearing about changes to medicare. is anyone discussing changes that would affect medicare part d? guest: very little. there's some language in the house bill and some debate in the senate about closing that hole. it would expand coverage and give them more gap coverage. we can debate whether it is good or not. that is really it. there are some with amendments to what changes -- would like to ginger more structurally. but for the most part the plan is popular. some want to spend more, some want to spend less. but considering how controversial it was in 2003, it has turned out to be abroad level of public support. the changes should be fairly modest. host: 90% of those eligible have decided to enroll? guest: yes, that is right. another 6% of the senior citizens are not in because of
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v.a. coverage or other federal programs. host: when you presented the plan to congress did you anticipate the rohmer rate would be this high? guest: yes, i think we do. you can debate how much money we should have spent, but when you give people a significant subsidy -- $1,000 per year for every senior citizen on average -- people are getting better purchase of drugs, and most get about $2,500 subsidy. it gave people a significant new benefit. people got much better coverage, much more subsidized. host: one of the critiques i have read is that unlike the va system of medicare cannot negotiate with drug companies for the price of drugs. guest: i think that the government does negotiate for drugs. it hires contractors. by 34 regions we send a pharmacy
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negotiator -- here is the money. we will give you this much depending on income level, call us next year. if you spend $1,400 you win, if you spend $69, you lose. the data healthcare plan is an aarp and they negotiate aggressively with drug companies. the engingeneric rate is up 96%h is exactly what we wanted. they are all philosophical issues. is the government better off taking its money giving it to a private contractor who has financial incentives to negotiate? i love my old agency, cms, but the government partially decides what every hospital and doctor
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will be -- are philosophically do not think that is right. i think we should have a well- regulated private capitalist making those decisions rather than the government. my old agency does the best they can to fix prices -- but generally it does not work. this will go on the next month in the senate on the overall debate. there are legitimate views on both sides. host: what is the implication for both cost and health for the use of generic drugs? guest: there are 6 million people who pay virtually nothing. that is originally of what this plan was designed for. five years ago said there were senior citizens not able to afford rent, to eat. it was terrible. it was my number one goal.
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the primary goal was to help poor senior citizens who are really hurting. that was the huge russian now. there are no four people in the donut hole. that donut hole in effect is a wealthier people. it basically has one spectacularly positive effect -- you might design it differently and the singers on january 1 wonder how to avoid that donut hole -- they asked to switch to generics. it has a lot of people money. the behavior response to it has worked out well. people ask their doctors and pharmacists have to switch to generics. senior citizens are very cost sensitive. wealthier senior citizens do have a done a tall and it drives
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more rational behavior. host: given the increased discussion about the federal deficit, this medicare part d was not paid for in the federal budget -- is that correct? guest: that is true. i worked for president bush ii as well as the first president bush before that -- there was a big tax cut and then an enormous surplus. it is hard to remember that now. the debate was that republicans wanted to spend -- mines version was not to spend more than $400 billion over the next 10 years democrats want to spend $1 trillion. we did a modest version of the public debate back them. but at the time we had a massive surplus. in hindsight maybe someone not again. at the time the issue was whether to spend $400 billion
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over 10 years or more. now when you have a $1.50 trillion deficit -- in the biggest advocate for coverage, but look at this deficit. host: the donohoe was a way to save money? guest: it was designed for two reasons. we had a budget that had to be acceptable to the president and congress. it was designed to save money. we would have put a hole in there anyway to make people more cost sensitive. it is a huge, new benefit people did not have before. i think it has worked well. the cost which we estimate it at the time to be $400 billion over 10 years -- by all accounts those estimates were high. it is roughly $260 billion over the first 10 years that it will cost. host: most news stories so that
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it is one-third less than the original cbo estimate. the last question before we go to calls. given the cost, was there ever any discussion of means testing for eligibility? guest: it is means tested. if you are relatively low and come, you basically pay nothing. your premiums are free and there is no deductible, co-payments. as you go further up there are various levels of subsidy of to about 10 million people. that is said about 50% of poverty. above that people pay the full premium. host: there is a lot there to begin to. we welcome your comments or questions for mr. scully who was the head of medicare when this law was passed in 2003.
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what you doing now? guest: i fully spend half my time in new york at an abysmal firm. i'm a lawyer here in washington halftime. i have two very different jobs. host: let's take a first call from san diego. this is matt on the caller: democrats' line i would like to know the effects of having the medicare and actuary told the that the congress should not know the true cost of medicare part d -- threaten to be fired when he told congress. should we have confidence in medicare part d? guest: that is an old debate. it never happened. the medicare actuary does a good job. he is a smart guy. at the time the politics were intense and he did. we passed a bill that was scored at the time by the only one who
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counts -- the congressional budget office. the $400 billion to not to be two-thirds less, so no one is right. -- it turned out to be one-third less. the actuary is a staff of about 50 and they do a great job. host: princeton, new jersey, of your sends us this e-mail.
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guest: i'm surprised. that is the debate. i think all the cities showed that the cost as been significantly lower for medicare part d then getting them from canada. the average citizen save themselves tortured their rulertold hundred dollars per y. could there be people who have certain drugs or plans -- there are usually three tiers -- they each have affect some people -- overall, it has been a big winner for senior citizens. host: do you believe the program is simple enough for people to understand? guest: it is complicated. when you try to make different levels of subsidy and make it competitive, which we tried to
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do, a tightly regulated public program that created intense competition -- 1500 medicare part d plus plans over 34 regions, it is complicated. i'm biased. i was involved in creating it. the first new federal entitlement program that has come in significantly below cost. i believe we said that the system of intense incentives for contractors to have intense competition and low costs. the average profit margin was probably about 3% for companies in this program. it has worked out to be probably better than i could have imagined. host: md., and become on the republican line. caller: i understand in the current house and senate bills there are provisions that change the employer subsidy. want that raised more costs in
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government? because the government will have to pay more? i also understand that companies will have to take a big financial hit when the bill is signed into law. can you comment? guest: in the arcane area, in the effort to raise money to pass this bill, whatever the eventual cost will be, congress is stripping away to find ways to cover the bill -- one of the offsets is a provision -- 8 million people that get the retiree dregs of city -- we did this bill the subsidy was roughly $1,500. we said look if you work for john deere or general motors and are happy with your drug benefit, if we can create this new program most employers will drop their benefit. so, we created a 20% tax-frees of city to tell employers we did not want them to drop employees.
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keep them and keep your existing plan and we will pay for a portion of it. the average subsidy was about $800 per head, paid through an employer. it is obviously cheaper. congress took away the tax-free portion of that subsidy. the average employer is going to lose about $200 per person on their subsidy level. the assumption is that it will raise taxes. i think that it may backfire. if you take away a big chunk of their subsidy of more people drop their plans. i don't think it is something congress balked through much. it will most likely cost us more money rather than save money. if you are a large employer,
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most will figure this out that it will lose a large chunk of money for their retirees. host: the next call comes from north carolina on the independent line. caller: hello, i have been on the plan for three years. i'm getting ready to cancel this year. after reading their newest plan for this year i consider the plan i am with a bait and switch. it started out -- it is up 400% from the first time i started. -- from when i started. i have not even gone into wh the deductible has gone up. it is $300 for this year and only applies to this year. i can get generics from walmart for a three-month supply. i don't even need a generic.
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i am 71. i can get the expensive drug that i need a broad for one- third of the cost compared to the prescription drug plan on medicare part d. i'm fed up with. i would rather pay the full cost than give the drug insurance co. another penny of my money. guest: obviously, it is a voluntary program. and people do not want to join in, they do not have to. the data shows that gives a significant subsidy to each person. the deductible does go up and it does apply to name brand drugs as well as generous. host: anthony sends us this message by twitter.
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guest: uh, you know, it is a complicated issue. i don't have any particular view on it. both administrations have questions about how to control the importation of drugs from overseas fromfda safety. i don't think it would lower drug costs. senior citizens are large chunk of drug consumption. senior citizens could good prices on a relative basis through medicare part d. host: new york, eleanor, on the democrats' line. caller: i don't really recognized program efficiency and cost-reducing benefits that mr. scully per claims.
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i feel i was much better off on street medicaid because now have to pay an up-front monthly premium in addition to the drug costs when i go to the drugstore to pick them up. so, i have two different costs now whereas before i just paid at the drugstore. i have had similar problems because my case worker told me because i have medicaid i did not need this medicare part d plan. i initially pulled the plug on it. then when i went to get my heart medication i could not get it. so, it has been very complicated. i asked the pharmacist -- am i the only one who has been having this problem? and they? oh, no, so many people are having this problem. i think there was much better off when i just had street medicaid.
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guest: medicaid is 50 different state programs, so it depends. where you depends generally, if you are on medicaid and were on the dual eligibility, you probably should not be paying any co-payments or deductibles or premiums. if you qualify before i'm a little surprised that you're paying anything. look, it is controversial, complicated, has been extremely popular. i was at the healthcare staffer for president bush i, was involved one catastrophic was repealed in 1988. it was my first job in the first bush administration. i spent a lot of time trying to develop another drug benefit. is it perfect? i think not.
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is a better than what we have before 2004 which was nothing? i think that it is. could you spend a lot more money? obviously, you could. i think it is a spectacular benefits for low-incomeçó citizens, and a very good one for those who are not. it is complicated, but i think it works. i think it works partially because of the design. that complicated design makes it competitive and low-cost. host: this is a story from "the loss angeles timeos angeles tim" 60% of the plans will charge deductible from 15% from 2009. fewer plants will offer coverage in the donut hole.
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more than two million people involved in extra help may face a premium of about $10 if they do not switch to a plan that qualifies for full premium subsidy. finally, more than 1 million people in extra help will be randomly assigned to a new plan in 2010 that may impose a different restrictions on their drugs. guest: you just gave great examples of confusion. host: yes, and at a point -- seniors in my own family find a more challenging to process all of this. guest: each state has a program , and non-profit consumer advisory group largely funded by medicare grants for you can phone to get. get they have a tremendous amount of information. you can call 1-800-medicare and
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they will connect you. host: november 15, the enrollment program -- is that and you will? guest: yes, it is. from november 15 through december 31 is the open enrollment time every year. if you are already in a medicare part d and you want to switch, there is a time of 45 days after. you have the ability to switch. host: but if you do nothing? guest: you automatically stay where you are. in 34 regions -- and this keeps down the cost, each region has an average of 45 plants. the government puts up the bid in each region for the benefits. the ones that come in below the mean, if you are low income, you
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can join them for free. every year let's say that your with one company or another -- if in the region in your price goes up above the mean, some seniors may have to pay more and others pay. a pay it is also because the clients do not want to lose those senior citizens. it keeps the bidding down. every year the whole thing gets drawn up for bid and if you are not among one of the half of the lowest cost in your region, people have to pay more. that is why low-income seniors have to move every year. it saves the government money. but it does cause confusion. host: detroit, on the republican line. caller: good morning. yes, a get injured about 12 years ago when i broke my neck at work. the retired me and i did get my social security, but what a done
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understand -- i did not ask for the medicare part d and i ended up getting stuck with it. i just got my thing in the mail yesterday about coverage. i do have blue cross blue shield and medicare a, b, and d and these other benefits i'm supposed to be receiving and in pain for my interest. i only make $17,000 per year on income between my pension and my social security since i was injured. now they sent me something yesterday about costs. now, like i take eight prescriptions per month for seizure medicine and everything else. i'm paying the co-pay anywhere
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from $7 up to $27. medicare or sdrs, whatever they call that -- they pay $1.20. you are saying that in low- income, but i am paying triple the amount that was pain when i was only on blue cross. guest: it would be hard to know without understanding your individual circumstance. host: so, what should he do? guest: if he is on disability he may have coverage through his employer, so it may not be medicare. host: if he calls that 1-800 #. guest: yes, call in michigan and ask them to talk to your non- profits committee to help senior citizens make these choices. they are very good. host: pat sends us this e-mail
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at the heart of it. would you settle something for me? host: who is right? guest: both. at the time we had a giant surplus. president bush, now controversially -- but at the time it seemed appropriate to have a giant tax cut. we were looking to fix what we thought was the greatest social injustice at the time. that what senior citizens having to make tough choices between medicine and rent. it has been a spectacular benefit for them. it was not funded at the time because it did not have to be. congress had big surpluses. some republicans would probably have liked to have spent even less and many democrats wanted to. spend to at the time i think it was the
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right thing to do. it has come in way under budget. -- and many democrats wanted to spend even more. the reason it is not that controversial, the changes will likely be modest because it has worked well. could you debate? it was a different context at a different time. host: the final vote in 2003 was 204 republicans, 16 democrats -- 189 democrats and one independent voted against the legislation. guest: i do not miss politics much. i have many friends on the democratic side. i worked with senator kennedy four years. senator rockefeller is a good friend. when you get into these debates it tends to be as much about the next collection in both parties as it is about substance.
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i have been here since 1981 and started to work in the senate. the biggest vote was senior citizens getting the drug benefit. we would never have gotten to the debate about universal coverage had we not fixed that. many democrats told me i did the right thing. at the time most democrats did not want i republican president to get a victory. on health victory the same thing is happening in reverse now. i have long been a fan of universal coverage and fixing the commercial insurance system. but there tends to be a reaction of democrats that it has to be wrong, and if you are republican -- vice versa. when i began to work in the
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senate in 1981 it was a lot from there, a lot more bipartisan. people tended to only beat each other up around election time. it has gotten tougher which is host: unfortunate in nexunfortu. host: our next guest will be here to discuss in the does. guest: his one of the nicest guys in the world. i worked a lot with them in the bush administration. caller: by the way, there was a projected surplus. at that time bush decided to give tax cuts to the rich and take astute two wars. if you do not take all generic drugs -- and 90% of the country does not, then that is a guaranteed revenue stream for pharmaceutical companies who lobbied hard for this bill at the highest price possible.
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because the government cannot compete in the private sector. but the government will subsidize at a very narrow criteria for this to cannot afford it. that is government support of the private sector which i strongly object to. as a republican i think you do not like the concept of having the government financed the private sector. guest: well, i did not do taxes, and i did not do wars. the the drug companies never liked this. there is a lot of perception that this is lobbied for and negotiated by the drug companies. i did a lot of reform when i was in the cms and was not particularly beloved by the drug companies and still am not. anyone who looks at this rationally that senior citizens get a better deal -- and prices are lower than in 2005 -- is
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unavailable. there are many other ways that you could have done it, but it has clearly worked, and clearly not in a way that companies like it. volume of drugs has gone up for senior citizens. the companies have done well on volume, but per prescription the margin has come down. we want and senior citizens to have more access to drugs then they have had. host: this is your says they don't know what this idiom of donut hole means? guest: about 6 million donut hole did not have -- for next year you have a $310 deductible. plants can vary. -- plans can vary. in general, and for next year
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there will be a $310 deductible. you will still pay 25% of the cost and medicare part d will pay 75%. the garment pays 75% up through about $2,800. through the donut hole, the garment pays nothing. you pay it on your own. then you get to the catastrophic cap which is about $6,400 in total costs. when you hit it that for those who are really sick and have high drug costs -- above that you pay 5% only. there is a big gap in their at of about $3,600 in the middle where you get the benefit of your group purchasing through
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the plan, but if you're not low- income you'll pay the bulk of the costs, all the costs. 75% of the senior citizens never had that. 25% of senior citizens to hit that donut hole gap and there has been discussion of closing that. but senior citizens are smart and do not want to hit back to hole, so they start to move to generics. in many cases they can save a significant amount of money. hey, people react to the dollar incentives quickly. the goal to begin with was to help poor people most. can you argue that subsidies could be bigger? it is still well over $1,000 that did not exist before. no one will ever be totally happy.
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it is a significant improvement over before -- which was nothing. host: here is this chart about the donut hole -- the actual and projected out of pocket costs for beneficiaries in the gap. how does that work? guest: only 25% donut hole of people hit. if you are in it you are by definition a fairly high cost consumer. one of the things i think has also improved is that most plants are required to have medication therapy management. many senior citizens, my mother, the man on the phone with the disability -- many senior citizens take 10-15 drugs and probably should not be.
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talk to your promises, doctor, and ask. -- talk to your pharmacist and dr. only about 5% of people actually hit the top of the donut hole. congress is talking about closing that donut hole. you can debate that. this is $50 billion per year we did not spend before 2006. my goal in developing it was to help everyone, but primarily poor senior citizens. for them it has been a spectacular benefit. host: this next call is from pennsylvania. caller: i'm a member of the v.a. in am also under medicare. i have two questions. number one, were you with the
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bush administration from its beginning? and if so, why did the cost -- the co-pay for veterans go from $3 and up to $7? bush was inaugurated in january, and the cost of from $3 up to $7 in february. with donald runs fell, wasn't he a ceo of a drug company? and further, who wrote medicare part d? i am sure that the drug companies were very instrumental in writing ala. this is nothing but a great boon for the drug companies.
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guest: doug badger and i were the two major people who put part d together and i was with bush i i the white house, for the first three years as well for the second bush administration -- this is not driven at all by the drug companies. i worked for the drug companies and had respect for the views, but i was never pursued by anyone to be a close friend of the drug companies and still am not. the v.a. it's a wonderful drug program. my father just passed away and he used the v.a. and also medicare part d.
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their 6 million out there who use the v.a. the co-pays going up to $7 was actually passed by congress. they went up by design from a bill that congress passed -- no one from the administration. it is still a heck of a deal. host: the last question for tom scully comes from the republican line. caller: i like to ask mr. scully, the previous caller i think hit the nail on the head -- and a pharmacist in the state of florida. i am a republican. i am soon going to change my political persuasion. in bell law that you and george bush signed in as the drug plan you make it illegal for a bidding process. that is why the democrats did not vote for it.
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i said that is unconscionable when i saw it, for republicans to believe in free enterprise -- medicare part d is astounding to me. you know as well as i do that hospitals have a formulary which goes out to the me-too drugs like the cholesterol-lowering drugs, whoever gives them the best deal, the doctor writes for that particular manufacturers struggle -- why shouldn't that be available to the american people? the republicans signed the bill to make it look good. in the outgoing years that program will be so stunningly expensive that it will be republicans politically can say here is another cost-ineffective government-run program. as a pharmacist i believe that
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americans deserve health care. medication is one of the easiest pro-active ways to reduce medical costs. when you put together a program like this where you're putting in a no-bid contract, the previous caller was right -- big pharma wrote that bill. guest: i think you're just substantively incorrect. the real issue -- the government has 1500 contractors. medicare which are remand for years and worked for for 30 years -- it does not run the medicare program. 15 blue cross plans run it. medicare hands of the checkbook to blue cross the right their checks from the treasury. those plans have no money and
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risk. the government "negotiates" prices which is to say it fixes prices. every doctor gets paid the same for an office visit. in my opinion that creates horrible incentives for volumes. if every provider gets paid the same, that is terrible. medicare part d decide not to put the money of the treasury at risk. . . guest: by any standard, this
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came in roughly a third less than expected. it is exactly contrary to what you said, that it would be a very expensive program. it is tough and confusing and some people obviously are not happy with it, but it has come in way under budget, and it is a model that i hope democrats and republicans look at for making it health care system tightly regulated, more competitively, and not fixing prices -- and not having the government fixed prices. my agency was $800 billion a year and we spent half of the other health care system and when you pay every doctor and hospital the same thing, you distort the whole system. we want a system that is to be like a lead that gives incentives to drive down prices -- that is tightly regulated that disincentives to drive down prices. the costs are way below what was anticipated. host: tom scully was the former
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administrator for the centers for medicare and medicaid during the bush andadministration. this gentleman is our next and final test of the morning, former senator david pryor. he will talk about his life in politics and his observations now that he is no longer in elected office. we will be back with him. >> thanksgiving day on c-span, at 1010:00 a.m. eastern, bill clinton is on hand to present steven spielberg with liberty medal. and a panel assessing the obama presidency.
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from the jfk library and museum, nicholas burns and leslie geld on terrorism and nuclear weapons. at 5:00, hip-hop artist ludacris youth mentoring. >> on this vote, yeas are 60, nays 39. the motion is agreed to. >> with that vote, the senate moves its health-care bill to the floor could follow every move of the debate and how it would affect access to medical care, the public option, taxes, abortion, and medicare. the only network that brings you the senate gavel-to-gavel, c-span2. >> the 2010 studentcam contest this year. the top prizes $5,000.
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create a five-eight-minute video on one of our countries greatest slinks or challenge the the country is facing. -- one of our countries greatest strengths or challenge the country is facing. grab a camera and get started. code to studentcam.org for rules and info. >> "washington journal" continues. host: on the day before thanksgiving, senator david pryor back and washington, and he has written his life story, called "a pryor commitment." we will talk about his observations on his political career. thanks for being here. you open the book with your 1991 hardtack, while the sitting member of the united states senate. -- 1991 heart attack, while a sitting member of the united states senate. guest: i thought that was a part of my life, or part of this adventure, you might say, in and out of washington, and many
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people ask me about how does it feel to have a heart attack, how does it feel to go through all of this, and what happens to you after the attack? i thought we would sort of grab people like that. a wonderful friend, who assisted me so much -- i could not have done this book without him -- he suggested we should have something right at the beginning that would bring the reader in. i guess that is why we decided to start it with the heart attack. host: usurped -- you served in the senate six or seven more years after that. were you a changed person after that? guest: when you have a life- threatening experience of any cat, i think it changes the way you look at things. you start making a critical decisions on what is important and what is not. i don't think i slacked off.
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i missed a lot of votes that year, i might say. i had to have serious recuperation. i did have heart surgery about a year and a few months after the heart attack. during that time, i started to have a lot of time to reflect and to read and to think and figure out what my life was about. host: bill clinton, who is referenced throughout your book, was the governor of your state, and someone who was occasionally and competitor in the political process in the home state, and also had a heart ailment. did you ever have a conversation with them about it? guest: just briefly. i had a lot of conversations with president clinton, but not a lot about hard issues. after my heart surgery at the university of arkansas medical center, right after his election, just a week after his election, i woke up after the surgery and everything and i
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looked at the foot of my bed and who would be standing there but bill clinton, the president- elect, and al gore? they both came to the hospital to be with me. it was pretty exciting to the fellows who were there. it was quite an experience to have them in the hospital to the other. i told them, "i don't look too bad." i looked awful. "get out of here, you guys are too young and to vipe -- too vibrant." but it was great that they cannot protect a lot about issues of health and health care. -- but it was great that they came out. we talked a lot about issues of health and health care. host: describe your political philosophy. guest: 0, gosh. i don't know what my political philosophy. that is so hard.
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that is a hard question. i tried to, i think, in this book, as each step lead me somewhere else in my so-called career, i think that -- this is a journey, a sort of political journey. in the political process, it is not a 101 book about senate rules or committee structures. my friend, a pulitzer prize- winning author who is a friend in washington for 30-some years, read the book, and i am honored that you would read my book -- he would read my book before it was published, and he described this book in a blurb on back -- he said that he looks at this book as the education of a public man. i think that is what this book
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is about. my philosophy is that generally, politicians, i think, don't give constituents in the credit -- don't give constituents enough credit for the knowledge. and constituencies tend to -- not every time, but they tend to sort things out on their own. the ups and downs with voters, emotions -- a lot of the motion, i might say, and we are going through it right now, as a matter of fact generally speaking, a round election day, voters sort of sort things out. they make decisions based on their own. we are going through a lot of that right now. it would be so hard to say what my political philosophy is. i'm probably a little bit to the left of center. i would not call myself a flaming liberal.
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but i would say a little bit to the left of center. host: your career in politics -- arkansas legislature, the u.s. house, then went back home and served as the chief executive of the state of arkansas, 1975 to 1979, and capping off a 1979 to 1997 in the united states said it -- the united states senate. guest: when i was at the institute of politics for harvard for those two and a half years, i was asked that question so many times by the students -- which job did you like the best, which job was the most rewarding? oddly enough, i answered it in a funny way, and it surprises people when i answer it. i said, "you know, the most satisfying job i ever had was being state representative." i was young and i had a lot of
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energy. i was a lost it during that time did i do not advise anyone to go to -- i was a law student during that time did i do not been is anyone to go to law school and be in the legislature at the same time. my wife worked to keep me in law school. we had children. mark was born while i was a law student, actually. i had a great opportunity to be very close to the constituents that i work for, who put me in the job of being in the state legislature. i also think during that time that i was developing my own political philosophy, and i must say that i always thought i knew what was right and what was wrong, sort of black and white. over the years, i involved and i guess the issues -- i evolves and i guess the issues became more gray.
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host: our first, comes from twitter to i'm sure you are familiar with the site. guest: one of the most interesting days of my career as governor, i might say, was the day that president carter called and said -- excuse me, was a president carter -- anyway, the administration called and said it to get ready for 55,000 vietnamese coming to your state. i went and flew by national guard helicopter. it was a truly historic day to see these c-130's lending in the misty rain and seeing these vietnamese people coming off of those planes, huge cargo planes, and some of them had a paper
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sack with all their belongings in there, and there were so confused about where they were, who we were, what we were going to do to them or with them. it was a warm experience in my life and a remembered i will always have. -- remember and i will always have. i think the afghanistan and iraq war are in some ways similar to vietnam, because we never quite knew in vietnam why we were there, what was the mission. i think that is probably true, certainly in iraq, and now in afghanistan, the same questions seem to be front and center. host: washington, michigan, michael, independent line, often with former senator david pryor. -- on with former senator david pryor. caller: i would like to ask senator pryor, who i admired in terms of his voting record, what
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does he think about obama's record, the platform he ran on was mostly in the center and now he is went so far to the left after he was elected that most people, in terms of his performance and what he has put in priorities, he has a 47% rating now, one of the lowest since when ronald reagan was in office. i guess i am trying to some the question up because of what you're voting record was, and i've been around enough to note that -- i'm an older gentleman -- what would you do in terms of the health care plan, as opposed to the jobs, trying to focus more on what the people want?
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i know that when you said your constituents -- that you looked out for them and what they said -- what would obama completely ignore what the public wants, who elected him? i want to get your thoughts on that but i could ask you a million questions because i respect you. i know i don't have a lot of time. guest: thank you for the question. i think that president obama is truly one of the most charismatic presence we have ever had, and i think that now, as a cab driver told me yesterday in washington, d.c., "i just wished he was from ethiop -- he was from ethiopia i just wish they would give this president a chance." president obama inherited quite -- i don't want to say a mess
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-- but he inherited quite a few challenges. he has to adjust his administration and policy to those challenges. the health-care issue, when president clinton and hillary clinton introduced right after they came into the white house, that was an economic issue as well as an issue of what was right or wrong, and since that time, since that proposal went down, we really never got a chance to vote for the final proposal in the clinton white house. when that proposal -- since that proposal went down then, we have added about 1 million people a year to the ranks of the uninsured. that is unthinkable, when we think what has happened since that particular time. i think the president can get his health care bill. it may not be exactly what he wants. i think the house and senate are
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going to tweak this legislation. but it would be my hope that he would someday go to the u.s. senate, where he was a member, and said, "look, i would like to talk to you, i would like to talk about the socialism, communism, all the charges hurled in that path of this health care reform. we have to do something for this country and now is the time to do it, so what you need for me, let me tell you what i need from you." i think would be a wonderful opportunity for the president and the senate, because that is where the issue is now, the senate -- for them to come to terms with where we are as a country. host: senator pryor's book contains a number of photographs from his career and a number of family photographs. here is what i want to show you right now.
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this is his young son in 1977, with a fairly popular hairdo of the time. he is on the line with us right now, senator mark pryor, serving the united states senate, representing the state of arkansas. he is joining us from little rock. thanks for being with us what your dad is on the hundred phone. guest: my dad said that if i was not nice to him he would put that photo op. guest: he will tell me over thanksgiving turkey. host: he had nothing to do with it. guest: scott is also coming in for thanksgiving. host: senator pryor, i am wondering what in your life you decided to follow in the family business. guest: it is a great question. i grew up around politics, and in some ways, growing up in our family, it was almost like a rock-and-roll band. we were on the road all the time in arkansas, with lots of
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fish fries and rodeos and political rallies, chamber of commerce dinners, stuff like that. of course, for me, i just fell in love with arkansas very, very early. i think that what i was a younger child, high school and below, i thought i knew politics, and other unfinished high-school and got into college and law school, -- by the time i finished high school i got into college and law school, i decided i would not do that. i was proud of my dad and i thought his work was great, but it was his career and not mine. i went to law school and got a job in little rock as a lawyer. and i just -- circumstances happened, and i decided to run for the state house of representatives, and next thing i knew, i was running for attorney general, and later i was in the attorney general's office and decided to run for the senate i did not have a big plan on this, but certainly, it
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is a great honor for me to serve in the senate and to represent arkansas in the senate. host: to use it in your father's former desk in the senate? -- do you sit in your father's former desk and in the senate? guest: i do. he has three desks in the senate. the one he had the longest was the one that scoop jackson had, and maria cantwell has that desk. i have one of his other desperate when i move around in the senate, i take -- i have one of his other tasks. when i moved around in the senate, i take a desk with me. there is only one family that had three others in the sand, and that is the kennedy family trips -- three brothers in the senate, and that is the kennedy family. host: to you and your father consulted regularly about issues at this point in your career? guest: you know, we do and we
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don't. you can ask him, but i think my dad tried to give me a lot of elbow room. at to struggle through these issues on my own. but he is always available and we do talk quite a bit. my mother and dad both will pitch a little advice here -- guest: sparingly. guest: they are great. they always have great insights. it is not just from their experience, and they have a lot of experience in arkansas and national politics, but it is because they care and what what is best for the country and best for the state. and it is just -- they are great resource for me. i love being able to call them from time to time. host: have you get in your senate career cast your most momentous vote? guest: i don't know yet. health care may be pretty momentous, depending on how that
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goes good i was involved and the gang of 14, and that was not so much about but a process that we got into. a few years ago, the senate was about to explode over judicial filibusters. -- in plouffe over judicial filibusters. i was one of the leaders of the senate democrats that helped put that deal together. when you are in the senate, i feel like the people in arkansas said to me to washington to represent them and to make some very difficult decisions from time to time. i think when you were in the senate, those decisions come a long and sometimes it seems frequently and sometimes it seems like this every now and then. being in the senate, you have a lot of responsibilities to think about for your state and nation and the world and the future. host: this would be the subject of a great long conversation if we could ever if both of you in the same place at the same time .
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guest: by the way, i love your show. c-span has such great interviews. sometimes when i'm getting ready in the morning, i turn on your show and i learn so much. there is a national dialogue on c-span that is very hard to find anywhere else. i appreciate you all. host: thank you. thanks for taking time out of your great to be on this program with your father. i will follow up with you on that idea. senator mark pryor of arkansas. there are right now five children of former senators who are serving -- one female, lisa murkowski, and four mills. over the course of history, there have been 45 parings of fathers and mostly sons. guest: i am glad to know that. i remember one special day that chris dodd was sworn in.
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he was my seatmate. great, great guy. just as he was to take his seat, they move to the chair out of the chamber that he was to sit in, and a move to another chair in the chamber, and he sat down and was announced that he was now occupying the chair of his late father, thomas dodd. the staff had found the chair and located it and i think it is stored somewhere, and they made it available to a crisp. there was a very sentimental moment. host: before we get back to calls, let me ask you this in question, the most momentous vote he cast in your -- you cast in your career? guest: my gosh. there was no so-called declaration of war speech. during that time -- host: first gulf war?
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guest: the gulf war is one i remember because of the trauma. i think we debated it over the weekend. there were no staff members on the floor. it was just senators. it was a quiet, hushed chamber. i voted against the first gulf war. i think i will always remember the trauma of that -- drama of that vote. the senate is a very special place. i served in the house, i served in the senate. you walk into the house chamber and it is almost like rockets basketball -- raucous basketball gymnasium to an extent. the senate, you are walking into your den, the living room. before c-span covered the senate, it was very dimly lit. they did not have the lights that they have now in the
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senate. it was a cozy place to become a very comfortable. today it has changed, i must say. i think the stability -- civility, or lack of civility, i am afraid has made it a little more cold. host: kentucky, republican line. caller: good morning, ma'am. good morning, sir. i just want to say, what do you all think about sarah palin? fort bragg, whatever, down in texas -- host: okay, fort hood and sarah palin. guest: there is a funny thing going on in the country. when you said the name sarah palin, i sort of left, and i should not have left, becau -- laughed, and i should not have laughed -- people are biting her
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book. people seem to be searching for authenticity. some people think that sarah palin offers an authentic voice and philosophy. i don't know exactly what the phenomenon is, but i don't think it is temporary. it is probably pretty real. but we have always -- as i said, the voters have a way of sorting things out. over time, i think they will sort this out. they will really scrutinize sarah palin and say, " wait a minute, is this person really qualified to have the most important job in the world?" i think we are going through a very fascinating moment at this time. for could -- for to good -- fort hood -- is that the next question? host: yes. guest: i cannot speak to those
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issues because i've not been in washington for the last several weeks since that incident all i can say is that it is very sad and we share our sympathies with the families of those deceased and those who gave their lives. host: what are you doing now? guest: i am doing a lot of things. i am involved with the university of arkansas history program to rid my wife and i started a program of trying to recruit -- university of arkansas history program. my wife and i started a program of trying to record the histories of the families who made a difference in our state. i'm involved and the corporation for public broadcasting, a member of the board. i just had a meeting in st. paul, minnesota, for three days with the corporation. i love the work. i think public broadcasting and c-span is part of our education al process. i did it enriches our country. -- i think it enriches our country could i think it is a
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national treasure, npr, pbs, and c-span. i'm involved very much with those two issues. i am on the board of trustees of the university of arkansas now. i have done a lot of great, wonderful -- i have had great opportunities since i left the senate. one of the most rewarding is my advice to some other -- one of the most rewarding -- advice to retirees at their -- volunteering for the international rescue committee during the course of a war -- during the kosovo war. i got a lot out of that. and that was a meaningful experience in my life. i have done some teaching and i hope to do more of that. a lot of things going, a very busy, probably as busy in many ways now as i was when i was in the senate. host: we are talking with david
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pryor, who served as governor of his state and a long time in the united states senate, and it is all recounted in his new biography, "a pryor commitment." i and is dead the next caller will be a familiar voice to you -- understand the next call will be a familiar voice to you. caller: it is david pryor from los angeles. guest: david, how are you? caller: i'm going down to the mission to volunteer. guest: good for you. caller: i had the privilege with pete domenici and lee hamilton of sharing the committee on the reorganization of congress, and we are still working on that. i wanted to say, my big question is, how is your health? guest: david, my health, i think, is good.
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i'm knocking on wood on susan's table. david pryor had a heart attack -- people thought david dreier had a heart attack. a lot of calls came to your office. "how is congressman dreier?" caller: that is what i want to make sure you stay healthy. guest: trying to stay healthy, david. calle senator pryo -- host: senator pryor made a point about increased partisanship since he has left. your tenure spans a couple of decades. i wonder if you think congress is more partisan than when you first arrived. caller: you are very kind. i am in my third decade, 30 years -- i came in 1980 with ronald reagan. one of my great privileges was to work with members of the
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house and senate, and i think that there really is a desire on the part of a lot of people to continue working in a bipartisan way. david pryor knows this very well. the tension always goes on at the disagreements, not on the -- the attention always goes on the disagreements, not on the areas of agreement if you look at the things we were caught on a regular basis, there is an awful lot of agreement -- the things we work on on a regular basis, there is an awful lot of the agreement. c-span cameras, npr, pbs -- i listened to "morning edition," so i am glad you were working on that -- there needs to be more. james madison wanted a clash of ideas, susan. he wanted there to be disagreement. he wanted there to be a struggle. he wanted the process of law micki to be ugly and difficult. -- lawmaking to be ugly and
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difficult. but to pursue it in a civil matter is something we need to continue to strive for. host: mr. dreier, thank you for calling in. guest: happy thanksgiving, david. host: what is your reaction to the comments that the clashes get reported? guest: they do get reported. i hate to disagree with david, who has been my longtime friend, but i think there is sort of a meanness of spirit creeping into our debate today that somehow or another we have to eliminate. that is why i suggest that perhaps president obama, to the senate and say, (ok, the campaign is over with, we have gone through the town meetings and all the scare business about the health care reform bill, now let's see what we can do
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together but this week have to find a way to coalesce. right now we're not coalescing. we must coalesce. i do not know whether it is about money, power, party control. i don't know what. but i remember this -- when i came to the senate in 1979, barbara and i would host paul suppers at home -- most potluck suppers at home on sunday evening, we would go with senator simpson of wyoming, republican -- democrat and republican members of the senate got together and we were friends and we knew their children and they knew hours. i think we have got to find the way to be a part of making this country better and somehow or another i think we have -- temporarily, i hope -- lost our way. let's find it again. host: here was a photograph
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from the prior's book. you were married on banks -- from david pryor's book. you were married on thanksgiving day. guest: 52 thanksgivings away. what a soldier she has been all these years. she has been my mentor, my pal, a friend, mother of our three sons, and grandchildren now. i will tell you, she is an amazing human being. i cannot have done any of this without -- actually, susan, i did it this book to barbour. -- dedicated his book to barbara. she's been a part of my life and part of our lives in arkansas that i've been very fortunate -- host: you better have dedicated it to her. you would have been in trouble. you are on with senator pryor. caller: i'm a retired military
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veteran and i spent 22.5 years and the military. and the vietnam war. really, i am dismayed at the direction our political system is going right now. it seems to me that we have career politicians instead of servants, as the founding fathers decided it was better that have -- it seems to be filled with corruption, as illustrated by the $300 million buyoff of senator landrieu. i wonder if you think term limits would not be better, so that we do not get the clear politicians -- career politicians who appear to not represent their constituents, but fill their own pockets. thank you. i will take your answer of the area -- off the air.
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guest: thank you. politicians have historically never been very popular in this country of ours. scathing editorials and political cartoons, especially back about the turn-of-the- century, going from the 1800's to the 1900's -- all the politicians seem to be the subject of the wrath of the editorial cartoonists and editorial writers. the press, generally speaking, has kept the political establishment', you might say, t bay, and certainly more accountable to the people. i'm hoping that the free press is not only going to remain, but also strive to continue doing this in the future. as to the so-called $300 million that senator landrieu of new
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orleans got, i must say that was not money from her pocket, but to the state of louisiana that she represented a think we should clarify that -- that she represents. i think we should clarify that if we might. generally speaking, politicians, if they get too far afield, in terms of the issue of term limits -- term limits today -- i think we already have a system of term limits. every two years, do have a right to vote against your representative in the congress. every six years in the senate. there is enough people, 1% of the people who feel they should turn out, they can exercise their will and do it. it is up to the people to make the decision. that is how the founding fathers practiced it and put it and implemented this philosophy.
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host: our last call for you is from springfield, virginia, democrats line. caller: good morning, susan, thanks for susp -- thanks for c-span. dp, i am so excited to see you. guest: this this -- is this portia? caller: it is. senator pryor was the best boss i ever had. guest: she was out or were the director -- our worthy director of staff. she is a wonderful arkansas product and i am happy we can reconnect. caller: happy thanksgiving to you and your family. i am so glad to see you. host: are you still working on capitol hill?
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caller: i am not i have not worked on capitol hill for quite awhile now. but senator pryor give me my start in my career but i am very grateful to him. host: what would your assessment be of today's climate versus when you serve? caller: it is so different. actually saddens me quite a bit. in my days -- i am from the old days -- it was a different atmosphere. much more supportive of each other, much more bipartisan. it is very sad to see how things have changed. host: thank you for your call, portia. i am sure the senator appreciates it as well. with the climate in washington, was it a progression over time, or was it events that changed? guest: strangely enough, i think it began -- i hate to say -- but i think it began during the
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clinton years, when he came into office, and republicans -- here i am talking about politics -- when republicans came in with the majority in the house, especially, many of the people from the house during that time had been bottled up, not been involved as they should have been cut not invited to the table, so to speak -- they came to the senate. it seems like they said, "ok, we will show who we are, exercise our strength, exercise our opportunities, take charge and take control." and especially, with all due respect to speaker gingrich, contract for america, it seems to me, as an observer, that this was the moment that things were beginning to change. up until that point, i think
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there was a little more collegiality, so to speak. i think there was a little more willingness to get along. during the impeachment trial, things sort of fell apart. things got very nasty. ken starr's reports the investigation of the tyson company, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on those investigations that led nowhere, in my opinion, were damaging, scarring moments in our nation. it was not pretty. host: senator pryor writes about that and much more on his decades-long political career, including, as a young man in 1957, the integration of little rock, arkansas, central high
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school. it is called "a pryor commitment," available in bookstores. thank you for joining us. guest: that you, susan. host: we will have open phones on this day before thanksgiving. we will be right back. >> coming this thanksgiving on c-span, american icons, three
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nights of the c-span original documentaries on the iconic homes of the three branches of government it begins at thursday night's at 8:00 eastern with "the supreme court," wondering the building in explicit detail through the -- rendering the building and explicit detail to the eyes of the justices. "the white house," showing the grand public places, as well as really seen spaces. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, "the capitol," the history and art and ararchitecture of one of the most historic structures. did your own copy of "american icons," a three-disc dvd set. order online at c-span.org/stor e. host: good morning once again. 15 minutes until the end of this
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"washington journal" on wednesday. we will have open phones. if you want to comment on any issues this morning, including ones we have not yet discussed, you can do that. a couple of numbers i want to share with you as the calls come in. the ap has the new unemployment numbers. here is the lead -- number of newly laid-off workers filing for unemployment benefits fell. it is believed to be temporary as the weak economy continues to push unemployment higher. the labor department said that the number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell to 456,000, the lowest level for initial claims since the week of september 13, 2008, and far better than the half million that economists had expected." also, this line from the ap --
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"consumers got back into buying mood in october. the commerce department reported that consumer spending rose 0.7% last month, a rebound from september september. the biggest boost was in august with the cash for clunkers program." let's go to calls. caller: i am so happy to read that my senator, lindsey graham, is working with john kerry on energy but i would like so much to see this bipartisan bill out of the picture, and senator pryor recalled to me the problems we have gotten into since gingrich and clinton that
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time. i think it has gotten much worse. i just wanted to say that i would like to see them work together up there instead of what we're seeing. host: next call is from sydney in charlotte, north carolina, republican line. caller: i would like to make a comment about the trust in new york. is that ok? host: you can talk about anything you like. caller: military trials -- the juries are made up of 2/3 officers, meaning intelligent, educated men. the trials are speedy. i think it is just unconscionable that they are going to put these terrorists in new york to make a platform to the rest of the world, and i just think that older -- eric holder is doing this as a platform for himself to run for president in the future.
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host: that is sydney in charlotte, north carolina. "california gets a draft rules for cap-and-trade to effort is most ambitious in u.s. on emissions. it would be the most ambitious u.s. effort to use the market on global warming. it would cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. measures will range from clean vehicle and building rules to the cap-and-trade system that lets factories and power companies trade credits to in the gases that heat up the earth." ken salazar, interior secretary, "blasts oil industry as the arm of the gop. he accused some industry trade groups of acting like an arm of the republican party in criticizing the obama
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administration's record on energy production. specifically, can sell its art said that some trade groups were acting like a political -- ken salazar said that some troops were acting like an arm of the political party." next phone call is from springfield, illinois, craig on the independent line. caller: happy thanksgiving. host: thank you, sir. caller: "frontline" was on last night -- the gentleman was talking about the importance of pbs and c-span -- the talk about the industry with standards established by congress, the first thing they do is find ways to get around them. and to me, that is criminal behavior.
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to segue into afghanistan, we go to other countries to go to war, and yet there is nothing called the -- there is a thing where we go to other countries and tell them how to act, and our country seems to be one of the most corrupt there are. everybody -- it is sad to see the morality of this country. it is completely changed. i hope that this country finds a real moral compass. we need a lot of changes. the way to overthrow the government in legal sense is to throw all these people out and get new people in there so that the thing that changes done. they seem to be getting the same kind of people. host: thanks so much, appreciate the call. lou dobbs is all over my newspapers this morning.
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"he confirmed to former republican presidential contender the tops of that he was considering making a run for president -- former republican presidential contender fred thompson that he is considering making a run for president." "lou dobbs reaches out to latinos with politics in mind. he told telemundo, 'i tell you right now that i am one of the greatest and i mean for us to work together. we should turn to a solution rather than the continuing debate.' he twice mentioned the possible legalization plan for the 12 million illegal immigrants, saying that 'we need the ability to legalized immigrants under certain conditions.'" and he weighs are run for the u.s. senate as a possible steppingstone -- this is in "the
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new york times." he is mulling a run in new jersey against senator robert menendez, the senate's only hispanic member. jim on the democrats' line. good morning, jim. caller: i simply want to congratulate senator pryor. for the types of things he said. i will be buying his book and reading it. host: thanks for making the call. also in politics, this ap story -- "nfl's john runyon to run for congress. he was signed to play for the san diego chargers and he has told republican officials in burlington county that he would retire and seek to challenge
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representative john adler in 2010." john on the republican line. caller: i don't think obama has been deliberating. he has been planning to escalate all along. you know who wins? the neoconservatives, chicken hawks. your last guest, pryor -- that is what is wrong with congress. you at a guy making a fortune off of pbs. both of them sound like they have an iq of 90, just like george of the bush. -- george w. bush could chris dodd got his seat from his father. we have no merit to any more. host: next call, independent line. caller: can you hear me? host: yes, we can.
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caller: i was willing to lend an ear to him until he mentioned sarah palin and lawrence came out. -- the horns came out. with the media bias, i will buy sarah palin's book. the media went out of the way to lend a stir -- to lambaste her. i saw the foot of katie couric at the state dinner. -- for a graph of katie couric at the state dinner. host: you have been watching a long time. i showed that the first hour. caller: there were photographs of her dancing and some of it was very raunchy but none of it was in the media. if it were sarah palin, it would have. that is the problem with the country come out media bias grid with rush limbaug c-span.or =
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-- problem with the country, a media bias. with a rush limbaugh, i'm not a fan of him, but he was not allowed to buy the nfl team. and yet keep older men is so liberal -- keith olbermann is so liberal. host: "the washington post" is shutting its last three bureaus in the united states in new york, chicago, and los angeles. the executive editor issued a memo to the staff on tuesday setting minute -- citing limited resources. he says that the drive to provide national news to readers is undiminished. next up is little rock. you hung up on us but let's go to dallas, republican line. caller: morning.
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i want to thank you and i want to thank the senator for his service. he may be -- made me realize that -- [unintelligible] host: edith, i apologize, all we have a bad connection. next up is lubyouise. caller: i tried to get in when you talking about the boards. i wanted to comment about what other callers said, about soldiers dying in vain. i think they are and nothing can change that. sending more soldiers to die in vain is not going to help. i felt like it was a mistake, like i was the only one in the
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world protesting in february 2003. i want to ask all viewers to be vigilant in the future and listen carefully to what they are telling us. i think we are already leading up to invading iran, and we need to be careful about listening to what they're telling us and to check the facts. host: next up is chicago, democrats line. caller: good morning, susan, how are you? host: fine, sir. caller: we have over 300 million people in the u.s., so it is hard in the united states -- one to talk about term limits, we should consider that we have 300 million people with different opinions in the u.s. and no one can ascertain all of those
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opinions. keep that in mind. thank you. host: new jersey, you will be our last caller this morning. bob, republican line. caller: thank you for having me on the air. i wanted to say that before this current administration spends money that they say is fraud and waste in the medicare program, why don't they solve the problem first and put the money aside and then use it as far as using it towards the health care plan? that is the first part. the other thing is that i am stuck on president obama when he took office saying that with the stimulus package was going to go through it line by line, item by item. the fact is, i don't believe he even read it. based on the facts that came out at the way that the stimulus has affected the economy in a slow min

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