tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC October 28, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
ally, spain and that the nsa monitored 60 million spanish phone calls from december 2012 until january of this year. joining me today, "daily beast" columnist and activist sally cohn, "washington post" ezra klein and editor of the new republic franklin fore. author of days of fire, bush and cheney in the white house. peter, i want to go to you first. before we get to the bush chain book, it's incredible and i can't wait to talk about it. first to talk about the news of the day, which has been a rolling months long news cycle, the snowden weeks. in your time covering the white house, which has been several years, do you think it's possible the president did not know the nsa was monitoring personal phone calls of 35 world leaders? >> is it possible, sure, it is possible. that's a disturbing fact in itself. the president is left in this awkward position where neither of the two main explanations is
all that -- you know, all that appealing. either he didn't know or he did know. either one he gets in trouble. you mention the bush book, which is very nice of you to mention, it does go back to the bush administration. these are the same issues, right, for going on for more than a decade. to have begun in 2002 happened during the run up to the war in iraq. in that time we were bugging delegations at the u.n. trying to get a resolution through about that. what president obama has done inherited surveillance structure he said he was going to change but, in fact, has kept broadly intact. >> yeah. indeed in the "wall street journal" it says officials at the nsa has so many eavesdropping operations under way it wouldn't have been practical to brief him on all of them. these decisions are made at the nsa. the president doesn't sign off on this stuff. that protocol is now under review, the official added. you better bet that protocol under review. it does not seem like good
security policy to have the president out of the loop on something like this, peter. >> that's right. the question is, is the president mad about this or not? how much is plausible denialability, or does he find it disturbing he doesn't know about it? does somebody lose a job? somebody called on the carpet. it has big effects, sweeping e-mails from abroad, metadata, to be reported as tapping into the phone calls of your peers on the international stage, that's a whole different level. >> frank, peter brings up a really important point. is the president mad. the subsequently point would be is the country mad s&p the writer from the atlantic seems to be made. either way the president deserves censure. if he signed off on surveillance
that would damage relations if it was discovered. if he didn't know he presided over an nsa that was unaccountable. if i had to bet i'd put my money on he didn't know all along. if he did, it would be too impractical to tell him. >> i take the president his word about this, just given the scope of how much information was getting vacuumed up. >> that's some high-level information, though, isn't it? this is different than metadata, to peter's point of this is tapping angela merkel's cell phone. >> if the president did not know that we were vacuuming up calls and information from our closest allies, then the thing really, really, has spun completely out of control. >> ezra, the third point there, okay, so maybe the president is
mad. maybe the american public is mad. the jury is still out on that. the third question is are the leaders themselves actually mad? i think it's different with the germans, you have brazilians who canceled state visit, mexicans calling for ambassadorial meetings, the spanish also in inquiring and the french who were indignant and outraged. >> they are always the best. >> i don't know if you saw the quote on the ap. it said, look, we all do this. we realize the u.s. is doing it much better and we are jealous. that's what the ambassador said. people are mad. one interesting thing about this, it goes not back to snowden but back to the wikileaks. one of the theories behind wikileaks is if in large institutions the secrecy they require to operate breaks down they can't operate. this is something they never quite understood about wikileaks. there's a real theory behind what they were doing. it wasn't just getting information out there.
it was beginning to take down large bureaucratic institutions. what this is doing is making it less and less possible for diplomats to talk to each other, people have big bilateral and multi-lateral meetings. that's a very big deal. that's a far reaching consequence. the final thing i'll say, there's a bit of whiplash in this news cycle. on the one hand we have stories about nsa tapping every phone on the planet and the other part of the obama administration can't keep a website up. you almost want to swim responsibilities here. >> switch the two brains. >> could it effectively do the spying on angela merkel and someone else do the website. the obama administration would be in better shape. >> what are the implications of both. how angry are americans about either one. i don't want to go too far into the ac stuff. i think that is the man with two brains. but the idea of collecting metadata on americans. i think there is some people activists, seekers, writers, journalists that are
legitimately upset about this. i'm not entirely sure the american public would begin to litigate this. >> i wouldn't go to aca. i don't think that's a good analogy. i do think good analogy to drones, deportation, all these policies that rhetorically, especially when he was running for office first time around he distanced himself from. then all of a sudden, inch by inch, moment by moment, we realized he's doubled down on some of the policies bush and cheney began. the american people, as for their anger, i don't know why they aren't more outraged. we're seeing left and libertarians come together for the first time in a long time to express some outrage. i think people think oh, we trust that our government is doing the right thing with this information and keeping us safe post 9/11. there's going to be more and more pressure for the government to actually say when has tapping world leaders phone calls, this wide sweep of our own e-mail actually say this. >> peter, let me ask you, in terms of the administration since you cover it so closely,
you said the president inherited a lot of the bush cheney policies and kept them in place. do you think that's because it's easier to do that? do you think there's been robust debate inside the administration? amid all these revelations here we are looking at the welcoming ceremony for a new director. has he a whole new team basically. keith alexander is leaving, john brennon only at the cia since march. of course new head of department of homeland security jeh johnson. do you think with this new blood there will come a rethinking of the president's or the country's intelligence and counter-terrorism strategy? >> those are all good questions and all good points. part of what happened is president obama in 2008 ran against bush's first term but inherited bush's second term. what i mean by that is by the time he left office he had stafd off the harshest edges of the most controversial policies he put in place in order to have them last beyond his administration. nobody had been waterboarded since 2003, gone on
surveillance, military tribunalses closed cia black site prisons and so on so the next president in this case, barack obama, wouldn't have to necessarily make a radical 180 degree turn. when obama took over, you walk in the office, things already moderated, compromised. you sit there every day and get somebody walking in, an intelligence person telling you here are the ways people are trying to kill you or americans today. do you really want to change these policies so drastically given that possible threat out there? >> that's sort of it. frank, we've talked about this. national security has really become the third rail of american politics. you can talk about social security, medicare, medicaid to some degree without the blow back but talk about cutting back funds for terrorism or extraordinary web of surveillance we have, it is almost anathema in the political discourse to do that. >> i think part of the problem, what ezra described, he faced --
he hasn't just faced this state. he's faced this complete expose of the state at the same time. it's put him in a politically impossible position. you look what he's done pushing for defense cuts. you would say anathema for democrat -- >> or for republicans to support some of those. >> that's come with no political consequences. what's difficult for obama, he agrees with a very large percentage of these policies which he wants to legitimate and continue an enshrine. i think it's hard for him to publicly make the case for legislation that would curb some of these excesses. >> ezra. >> i think it's interesting in underlying politics. one, we're having huge defense cuts right now. one of the great political misjudgments in the last few years was believing it's the old party with defense spending.
the rand paul wing in power quicker than they realized. it's much more comfortable among republicans with defense cuts. not total. you are seeing a ripping through of that budget. one of the things unsettled in addition to what frank said about exposes and technological challenges. technological challenges. on the one hand you're having rapid evolution in the republican party about what they think about national security consensus they had had four or five, six years ago. democratic part demonstrating on its own, folks on the left uncomfortable with what barack obama is doing. you look what democrats are saying in polls, they are much more comfortable what president obama is doing, high approval rating nsa spying, not as concerned about drones. the politics of national security are very unsettled in a way that's not been true for a number of years. >> sally on that last point, before we go. how vocal is the progressive
left going to continue to be on these issues? wrapped together between the u.n. report on drones, this latest spying revelation there's a lot of grist for the mill. it's unclear how much the far left or progressive left or whatever you want to call it is going to go after a democratic president. >> look, actually, this is one of the more interesting things that's happened in the second term of the president, which is in the first sort of two to three years, first term, left in general was fairly hesitant to go after him in ways i and certainly others found problematic. there's sort of we trust this guy, we think he's going to do a good job on issues we care about. that belief and faith has been slowly chipped away at to the point where now again from issue to issue, immigration, health care reform and certainly on foreign policy you're seeing a robust left presence. i want to go back. i think the more interesting thing here is the new coalitions forming. when you see code pink and freedom work joining together for a rally. >> that means the world is over.
>> that means america has to is the up and take notice we're doing something really troubling. hopefully the president will show leadership and take accountability for it. >> in a weird way not everything has to be partisan. >> lets not go too crazy. >> not get ahead of ourselves. waiting for president obama to speak at the welcoming ceremony for new fbi director james comey. former vice president dick cheney cast in a new light. we will discuss cheney doctrine and peter baker's incredibly awesome new book next on "now." ready to run your lines? okay, who helps you focus on your recovery? yo, yo, yo. aflac. wow. [ under his breath ] that was horrible. pays you cash when you're sick or hurt? [ japanese accent ] aflac. love it. [ under his breath ] hate it. helps you focus on getting back to normal?
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longer hold national office. in fact, he may not even have the same heart he started out with but former vice president dick cheney is once again in the limelight and still beating the drums of war. yesterday on abc cheney gave a harsh assessment of the obama administration's policy in the middle east. >> i think our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us, nor adversaries fear us. 9/11, saudis, egyptians, many in that part of the world no longer have confidence in the united states. >> cheney also threw in his two cents on the republican party. >> i think it's very important we bring in a new generation of leadership. i think after the presidential election last year, we got whipped. there's a lot of work to be
done, no question about it. >> not just the television spotlight, a new book "days of fire" closely examines the bush administration and cheney's relationship with the desire. in the book baker details the decision making behind war in iraq, guantanamo, expansion of the national security state and hurricane katrina. while cheney was no doubt a powerful force in the white house, he dispels the myth as dick cheney's puppet. he was unquestionably the most influential vice president in american history. but he subordinated himself to bush the way no other vice president has done. foregoing any independent aspiration to run himself to make his presidency successful. in turn he gave him access to every meeting and every decision. peter, you all -- i hope our mics were not on during the break. we were talking about this book.
atmosphere phenomenal piece of journalism, a great read. i think i'm not done with it, i'm not even halfway done with it but i think it will be the definitive book on the bush era. congratulations on that. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. >> now that i've butterred you up. i want to talk about one of the thesis laid out in the beginning. in term one these two men were fairly close. not in terms of friendship but in terms of decision making. by the end of the bush era, i'll quote the book. by the time bush and cheney stepped out of the white house for the final time, they had disagreed on north korea, gun rights, same-sex marriage, tax cuts, guantanamo, interrogation practices, surveillance practices iran, climate change lebanon war harriet meyers, middle east peace, syria, russia, federal spending. almost every matter of import they never saw eye to eye on. >> yeah. it was a dramatically evolved relationship. cheney was important in the beginning. never quite as single mindedly
the puppet master some people might have thought. but by the end they had drifted apart. president bush wanted to try more diplomacy in his second term. he did want to rebuild res with the allies as we talked about in the last segment he tried to moderate to the some extent some counter-terrorism policies that caused controversy. vice president cheney worried that was getting away from what was most important, worried it was away from the principles they developed in the beginning after 9/11 and resisted a lot of these changes. although as he said publicly in these last few days, he didn't always win. >> one of the things you make note of is the way in which cheney dealt with bush, which was not to make him feel like a fool or he was being puppeteered but manipulate him in a way. manipulate is probably the wrong word. coerce him. maybe that's the wrong word. to get him to embrace these policies. one of the things remarkable, less known about, cheney, how
much of a shared heritage or outlook on the american imagination they had, which is to say bush was raised in the middle west and cheney was raised in wyoming. they both had a really hard time when they came to the east coast both going to yale and sort of reacted to that. tell us a little more about that shared heritage. >> it's interesting. we think of them as different personalities. they are. bush is very outgoing, likes to make public jokes. he enjoys public events. cheney is more stoic, more low key, clearly not an extrovert in the traditional sense. they did grow up out west, bristle at the eastern establishment elitism they found, they believed. i think it shaped their outloose on life. they are five years apart in age. >> which is crazy. to think cheney is five years older than bush, almost overlapped, two years apart at
yale. >> he's stolen so many souls. he seems older is why. >> we won't comment on souls, having or not having, one of the things you talk about is 9/11 reporting peter does in the book. just the chaos in and around that moment. i will read a quick excerpt. 9/11 bush called cheney, sounds like a minor war. i heard about the pentagon, we're at war. somebody is going to pay. cheney told bush to stay away from washington until they could determine it was safe. you were talking about the plane that went down outside of shanksville, pennsylvania, the chaos with fighter jets and not knowing if they could bring the plane down. >> i should let peter tell the stories from the book. i've been reading, excellent book. a scene, plane goes down in pennsylvania, dick cheney has given the order to shoot down the plane, scramble the jets. because everything was in chaos, jess scrambled without missiles in them.
the fighter pilots decide the way they are going to take down the plane is a suicide mission, ram into it. the plane goes down, nobody knows how it goes down because they don't think the jets went into it, they don't think jets shot at it but cheney knows lines of communication are so bad he's not sure if he's actually shot down a plane full of civilians or not. they have an address to give that night and they don't know what they can say about the plane. they don't want to get it wrong. if you say you did not shoot down a plane of civilians and you did the american people aren't going to forgive you quickly. it's a great moment. the question peter, i thought you did really well in the book, shoes how it was, things can go very, very very wrong, darkness predated, interested in the continuity government exercises what happens if the government is decapitated by nuclear weapon. then 9/11 happens, it's a confirmation the world is as gloomy as he thought.
it unleashes this sized him. people didn't know really was there. his long time political allies hadn't known this was the dick cheney existing. >> the real dick cheney. >> we missed that. a lot of people misunderstood that the cheney they saw on "meet the press," who was so low key and moderate in demeanor masked the fact he was always very conservative, always very concerned about these issues of an apocalyptic possibilities. bugs and gas, chemical weapons and biological weapons. when 9/11 happens, this is kind of a confirmation. you have to remember what happens in the months after. not just 9/11 but anthrax attacks and other things we didn't necessarily know at the time. botulism scare in the white house, president bush and vice president cheney told they might have been infected by pathogen. pakistani nuclear scientists who were reported to have been talking to osama bin laden. other scares. every day they were getting ways they thought big things might happen. that shaped the outlook and
shaped the response to 9/11 from then on. vice president cheney believed that very little was out-of-bounds if it came to protecting the country against what he thought, anyway, was an existential threat. >> in some ways we're not through that period. president obama may not have articulated or pronounced a fear of the darkness but that looms largely over this country and our counter-terrorism policies. >> granted there's a distinct difference between barack obama and dick cheney. >> without question. >> but i do remember this. the enigma dick cheney represented to a lot of people who knew him so well in the first bush administration, colin powell types. they were completely dumbfounded by the turn he seemed to take. sounds like there was much more continuity there and people were projecting onto dick cheney when they saw him as this realist or
competent, moderate republican. one question i have for peter. i'd like you to spell out your theory of bush's psyche. why was it he became so dependent on this father figure. seems like insecurity kind of marked a lot of the relationship. >> well, that's a very good point. look, you're getting in there as president having only been governor of texas. i don't want to say only. that gfs you very little, no national security background. the largest national security attack, threat to the united states homeland since world war ii happens on your watch. you're going to turn to the guy who has been there, who seems so confident, so calm in a crisis. vice president cheney said on msnbc this morning, said on 9/11, all the continuity of government exercise kind of kicked in on 9/11 and began just going into almost autopilot of the things he had learned. for bush, this is all new. he did rely on him. the psych earthquake, there was
an insecurity at some point. i think it plays out over time. cheney sort of embraces at some point the dark reputation he has. he finds it musing, absurd, doesn't bother him that much. >> darth vader helmet and had a photo taken. >> he puts on the darth vader mask. there's a picture somewhere in the archives, there's a picture of dick cheney in the darth vader mask that has been released. he wanted it in his memoir, lynne cheney thought it wasn't a good idea and talked him out of it. >> probably not a good idea. >> bush is sensitive and reveals that to guests and historians who visit hem. he makes clear he finds annoying this idea that he's not in charge of his own white house. >> at the same time as much as we talk about the darkness within, sally, dick cheney came from a family of new deal democrats. at one point peter writes about his support for government workers and said cheney had respect for government, the son of a career government worker, cheney would cross out the word
bureaucrat in news releases and insert public servant instead, which is fairly dramatic given how we've watched a steady and concerted effort undermining the role of service in the republican party. >> as much as it pains me to say this, the dude is not all bad. some of the stuff he's done in his party and the country around gay rights and same-sex marriage is worth being applauded. i was certain he put the cheney mask on over the darth vader helmet, not the other way around. one question for peter and the book is on my nightstand. i love your book is coming out just as cheney's book is coming out so you can help us narrate this experience. the fact that cheney is now criticizing so pointedly president obama's foreign policy, and as you've noted mirrors president bush's foreign policy in the second term, do you think this is a veiled way of cheney being able to publicly critique foreign policy moves bush made in the second term? >> i do.
a proxy on the debate he had in private with president bush. he respects protocol, the office, president bush. he wouldn't say publicly a lot of the things he felt privately and argued privately. president obama being a democrat gives him a convenient way to express these frustrations he's had with the direction national security policy has gone the last few years. president obama has taken it further than president bush in terms of moderating or making compromiseses cheney finds objectionable. he's unshackled. when bush saw president obama take oath of office he said, free at last, free at least. bush was done with politics. for cheney he was free at last to finally express some of the thoughts he had been having for a number of years but kept quiet inside the west wing. >> peter, i wonder what you and other folks at the table here think about the fact that cheney, we played the sound from him sunday saying it's
important -- speaking of the republican party, that we bring in a new generation of leadership. he said at one point we got whipped. where does cheney fit in today's modern republican party? does that message have any resonance? we know karl rove has been to some degree sidelined despite the fact he sowed the seeds of much of the current crop. i wonder where you think dick cheney fits in? >> dick cheney is really not a tea party republican, neither is george w. bush. dick cheney on foreign policy is exact opposite what tea party republicans feel. they have a much more isolationist might be too strong but certainly more of a restrained view of american role in the world and cheney believes in a very robust national security out there. they are on such opposite sides. even on other issues. cheney obviously is an economic conservative. he also said in some of these meetings deficits don't matter. he was strong as deficit hawk. i think this is a new kind of tea party.
he's trying to adapt himself to it. he agrees with some of the things they say about obama care and current administration. his daughter is obviously running for senate in wyoming. >> ezra. >> in terms of the party cheney wielded inside the bush white house, one way the book is portrayed is george w. bush was in charge. the impression i've taken from it so far was actually that cheney was very, very good at being publicly subservient, sub missive but he was an incredibly good staffer. he understood how power worked in the white house, key roles. he played an incredibly crucial role staffing the white house. he did an effective job setting up choice architecture. george w. bush made decisions cheney presented to him. what happened is that architecture got out of his control. before that he was powerful. not in the sense he was a puppet master but he set up decisions that it only made sense for george w. bush to go in the way cheney would have wanted him to go.
is that an incorrect interpretation of it? >> that's a fair point. president bush gave him this role. he said to vice president cheney you set up the transition, you set up the beginning of the administration with people he knows and trusts around various places. he gives the vice president his own staffer the same rank as the president's staffers. the vice president gets an extra office on capitol hill nobody had on the house side. all these different tools of power that vice president cheney knows how to wield. he's able to guide president bush who at that point is leaning on him a lot in a very effective way. he has had one-on-one meeting with him meeting with him every week. people said cheney was not the big voice in most of these meetings. he would sit back and be quiet, really wouldn't say anything if the president asked him to. they knew when the president walked out of the room scratching their heads trying to figure where he stood on something he was left behind. it was the 2011 them alorne together at that point. >> when he talked about the new
generation of republican leadership one can't help but think of his own -- he's plugging his own daughter -- shamelessly plugging his own daughter's senate campaign. while dick cheney may not be a tea party conservative himself, doesn't like isolationist, economic populism, not a libertarian, his daughter tethered herself pretty firmly to the tea party. given everything you've learned about dick cheney, what's your theory of this campaign and the ways in which he kind of seems to be going all in on it. >> of course it's his daughter. why wouldn't he? that's the thing. it is an awkward situation in wyoming -- >> do you think he encouraged her to run? >> i don't know that i don't think he discouraged her. he's proud of his daughter. no question in that household, what somebody told me dick cheney has three people he really trusts in the world and all their last names are cheney, lynn, liz, mary cheney.
they are a tight-knit family, supportive of each other and sometimes distrustful of outsiders. it caused a rift in politics, his friend al simpson, there's some consternation. you mentioned liz cheney and tea party. it's an interesting balance she's trying to have here. she's trying to ride the tea party wave with her focus on domestic issues but she herself is more conservative. her father never big on democracy issue, that's something liz cheney feels passionately about. not much of an issue in this campaign. >> do bush and cheney communicate. >> they have a proper relationship, appropriate relationship but they are not buddies. they don't spend a a lot of time on the phone together. last time in april when president bush opened his library. he was gracious to vice president cheney from the stage. it was interesting that vice president cheney didn't have a speaking role, condi rice did. if you went inside the library
after the ceremony what you saw were a lot of pictures and exhibits, talking about the president, obviously, but also laura bush, jen and brash ra bush, even statues of the dog and cat but not that much of dick cheney there in the library. >> fascinating. fascinating. fascinate. we can't do anymore to tell america how much we love this book. thank you, peter baker. the book is 'n' da"days of fire" go buy one. president obama is about to speak about director comey. lets take a listen. >> those of you who have seats. good afternoon, everybody. i am so proud to be here and to stand once again with so many dedicated men and women of the fbi. you are the best of the best day in and day out. you work tirelessly to confront
the most dangerous threats our nation faces. you serve with courage. you serve with integrity. you protect americans at home and abroad. you lock up criminals. you secure the homeland against the threat of terrorism. without a lot of fanfare, without seeking the spotlight, you do your jobs, all the while upholding our most cherished values and the rule of law. fidelity, bravery, integrity. that's your motto. and today we're here to welcome a remarkable new leader for this remarkable institution. one who lives those principles out every single day, mr. jim comey. before i get to jim, i want to thank all the predecessors who
are here today. we are grateful for your service. i have to give a special shout out to bob mueller who served longer than he was supposed to, but he was such an extraordinary leader through some of the most difficult times that we've had in national security. i consider him a friend. i'm so grateful for him being here today. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> now, jim has dedicated his life to defending our laws, making sure all americans can trust our justice system to protect their rights and their well-being. he's the grandson of a beat cop. he's the prosecutor who helped
bring down the gambinos. he's the relentless attorney who fought to stem the bloody tide of gun violence, rub out white color crime, deliver justice to terrorists. it's just about impossible to find a matter of justice he has not tackled, and it's hard to imagine somebody who is not more uniquely qualified to lead a bureau that covers all of it. traditional threats like violent and organized crime to the constantly changing threats like terrorism and cyber security. so he's got the resume. but of course jim is also a famously cool character. the calmest in the room during a crisis. here is what a fellow former prosecutor said about him. you know the rudyard kipling
line, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, that's jim. there's also a story from the time during his prosecution of the gambino crime family. one of the defendants was an alleged hit man named lorenzo. during the trial jim won an award from the new york city bar association. when the court convened the next morning, everybody was buzzing about it. suddenly a note was passed down from the defendant's table across the aisle to the prosecutor's table. it was handed to jim and it read, dear jim, congratulations on your award. no one deserves it more than you. you're a true professional. sincerely, lorenzo. sincerely, lorenzo. we don't know how sincere he was. we don't know whether this was a veiled threat or plea for leniency or an honest compliment, but i think it is fair to say that jim has won the
respect of folks across the spectrum, including lorenzo. he's a perfect leader for an organization whose walls are graced by words of former legendary director, the most effective weapon against crime is cooperation. jim has worked with many of the more than 35,000 men and women of the fbi over the course of his long and distinguished career. it's his admiration and respect for all of you individually, his recognition of the hard work that you do every day, sometimes under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. not just the folks in the field but the folks in the back rooms doing the hard work out of sight, his recognition that your mission is important is what compelled him to answer the call to serve his country again.
the fbi joins forces with our intelligence, our military and homeland security professionals to break up all manner of threats. from taking down drug rings to stopping those who prey on children to breaking up al qaeda cells, disrupting activities, thwarting plots. your mission keeps expanding because the nature of the threats are always changing. unfortunately the resources allotted to that mission has been reduced by sequestration. i'll keep fighting for those resources. because our country asks and expects a lot from you. we need to make sure you've got the resources you need to do the job, especially when many of your colleagues put their life on the line on a daily basis all to serve and protect our fellow citizens, the least we can do is make sure you have the resources for it and your operations aren't disrupted because of
politics in this town. [ applause ] >> the good news is things like courage, leadership, judgment, and compassion, those resources are potentially, at least, inexhaustible. that's why it's critical we seek out the best people to serve, folks who earned public trust, excellent judgment, even the most difficult circumstances. those who possess not just keen knowledge of the law but also a moral compass that they and we can always count on. that's who we've got in jim comey. i'll tell you, i interviewed a number of extraordinary candidates for this job, all with sterling credentials. but what gave me confidence that this was the right man for the job wasn't his degrees and wasn't his resume, it was in
talking to him and seeing his amazing family, a sense this is somebody who knows what's right and what is wrong and is willing to absent on that basis every single day. that's why i'm so grateful that he signed up to serve again. i will spare you yet another joke about how today no one stands taller. i simply want to thank jim for accepting this role. i want to thank patrice, the five remarkable children that they have got because jobs like this are a team effort, as you well know. i want to thank most of all the men and women of the fbi. i'm proud of your work. i'm grateful for your service. i'm absolutely confident that this agency will continue to flourish with jim at the helm. you know, if he gets lost in the building, i want you guys to
help him out, because i guarantee you that he's going to have your back, make sure you've got his back as well. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. >> that was president obama speaking at the welcoming ceremony for new fbi director james comb y. when we come back, whether or not healthcare.gov has staying power, gop's opposition certainly does. will time and enrollment heal all? we'll discuss realities and precedents next on "now." i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce. i work in logistics. there's more to walmart than you think. vo: opportunity. that's the real walmart.
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paragraph on sunday the data center that hand healthcare.gov crashed. the latest in the problem with the rollout of the affordable care act. it was a disaster except every major insurance program seems to have experienced similar problems when first unveiled. rewind november 8th, 2005, the day the bush administration launched its new medicare prescription benefit following weeks of delay. here is how "the washington post" summed up the launch. the original debut date was october 13th. officials delayed it citing jewish holiday yom kippur. next date came and went without plans available. by the time the site launched a month later the online tool needed fixing. visitors could not access it for most of the first two hours. when it finally came up around
5:00 p.m. it operated slowly. still with projected resolution only at the end of november, the tech problems facing aca are significant. whether they will have any tangible effect on actual enrollment remains to be seen. as gentle reminder early enrollment of a similar plan, massachusetts health care plan known also as romney care shows 123 pool enrolled in the new lance after one month. but after two months over 2200 people republican signed up. ultimately it wasn't until early enrollment was over 11 month after the exchanges became available the massachusetts residents signed up in droves. 36,167 of them to be exact. ezra, i know you guys have been following this. i think we may have borrowed one of your charts possibly. thank you for that the technical stuff is an issue. behavior around enrollment seems not to be a disastrous thing for the administration. it may happen later.
>> we don't know yet exactly. i think you identified the exact right, to what degree does the tactical stuff become an enrollment problem. the situation with medicare part d, they didn't launch three weeks. at this point the website had just launched despite it due on that term. >> yom kippur often slows it. >> that's an incredible excuse. democrats and republicans now think it's a success. republicans in particular love it. john boehner in his first major interview as minority leader, fox news sunday the role of medicare part d he helped shepherd through the house, that's horrendous. that's how folks who shepherded it are thinking about it. the problem with obama care you need to get enough young healthy people in the pools to keep premiums low. if you have a situation where it's difficult to signed up for an extended period of time, people who need insurance more
coming in, they will wait, they will get on the phone, they will reload the website but young and healthy people might pay the mandate first year. that means insurance will charge higher premiums second year, then people are beginning to hurt. we are not yet at the point where that is an inevitability. if they get this fixed by november, that is probably enough time to get your enrollment right. if you begin dragging into december, much more january, february, people should begin to really, really, really be afraid. >> ezra, if you can't get that right in that short timeframe, then what? is there an emergency switch that should be flipped in order to -- >> i am totally against the idea you delay the individual mandate. >> you think most people are going to sign up in the end anyway. >> extend open enrollment the amount of time you need to extend it. you can do a little delay. you can open enrollment mandate only hits in april. there's things you can do. assuming a bad scenario, this
doesn't get fixed until december, that's a month after the administration is promising. even so the mandate doesn't hit you until march 31st. that's a solid three and a half depending in december mondays to sign up. i actually think that might be okay. the problem is if you delay the mandate you ensure in the second year premiums are higher, going to get that much harder to get people to sign up. delaying the mandate prevents your ability to stabilize the law when you fix it. >> i'm not a republican strategist, even though i sometimes play one on television. just kidding. i think the talking point is not about the website. it's about the premiums. it's about the fact people are actually losing the insurance plans they have because they don't abide by aca laws. as the "l. a. times" reports middle in come consumers face an estimated 30% rate increase on average in california due to several factors tied to the health care law. that, i think, is something republicans if you're going to
vilify the law, put your iron in the fire. >> hawaii pick 1 iron in the fire. this is all sabotage all the time. i love, hey, this thing we've been trying to destroy three years, we're angry people can't get access to it. if we go back to medicare part d, there's one propound difference, democrats didn't like the law either. when it came time to implement it, make it successful, do the job they were put in washington to do, they helped. folks may not i actually got obama care, i enrolled. things are looking good. i've saved over $5,000 bucks a year. it is a big deal for a lot of people. some people are going to see premiums go up. more people see their premiums go down. when we get into this little small fight, we lose all the roar reasons this is helping most americans. there's so many savings. lets focus on the big things making the law succeed before we try and speculate. >> frank, before we go,
"politico" had a piece that republicans in the house have 19 legislative days until the end of the year and are literally trying to figure out what their platform is because the only thing they have in their wheelhouse is repeal aca. there's nothing left in the kitty. >> 19 days, 19 opportunities to -- >> i guess so. do you call for 19 -- is that what they are going to do. is that where the modern republican party is at. no immigration, nothing to do with energy. >> sorry for them. >> 19 more repeals. >> good luck in 2014. >> exactly, good luck in 2014. >> which one should i go for. >> you've known me since i was frankie. >> i'm going for frankie. that is all for now, tomorrow at noon eastern. >> elementary school. >> "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. getting your vegetables every day? when i can.
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mitchell reports," whose listening now? european leaders seething after extensive reports about u.s. spying on spain, nsa eavesdropping on german leader angela merkel's cell phone. for more than a decade, the white house claims, without president obama's knowledge. u.s. ambassador to spain called on the carpet in madrid. today on capitol hill european union officials demanded answers from chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> i think confidence is damaged. we've identified some questions. therefore, we are -- have to work hard that confidence is established. >> what does this all mean for president obama's relationships with world leaders going forward. on