tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC November 11, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST
who has got the short end of the stick? with a stick this short, it's hard to tell. after self-imposed calamity in the form of a pointless government shutdown followed by a health care debacle that has drawn comparisons to agony and public humiliation of 86-day long bp oil spill, both parties are feeling it. while the gop isn't exactly sitting pretty with a 22% favorability rating, the new pew poll shows president obama at 41% approval, a full 14 points down from his post re-election high. meanwhile members of his own party are doing their best to make an already complicated situation that much more complicated. at least four senate democrats support a keep your plan bill that would allow insurance companies to continue to offer substandard insurance plans in the individual market. letting americans keep their crappy health care plans because the gop made the loss of said crappy health care plans a national emergency doesn't exactly fit the description of
long-term strategy. but these days all bets are off. "the washington post" reports this morning that the white house is increasing its reliance on insurers by accepting their technical help in efforts to repair the problem. the problem online insurance marketplace and prioritizing consumers' ability to buy plans directly from the carriers. the administration's broader cooperation with insurers is a tacit acknowledgement that the federal insurance exchange might not be working smoothly by the target date of november 30th. might not be working smoothly by the target date of november 30th would seem to be as terrifying a phrase for democrats as the phrase sarah palin has returned is for republicans. speaking in iowa on saturday, sarah barracuda fired a warning shot to anyone seeking to challenge the tea party's power and the republican party. >> some of these republicans would kind of when it's
convenient shy away from any association with the tea party. that says a lot, so keep your eyes and ears open for those who would hesitate to embrace what the tea party movement is all about. >> keep your eyes and ears open for conservatives who thought they just might have purged the extremists from the tent. either time to think again and think hard. while palin herself may not be seeking elected office, the franken senator created in her office almost certainly is. cruz responded to criticisms of his abrasive personality by being somewhat abrasive and arrogant. >> i've been reading a lot about you lately. they describe you as aggressive, abrasive and arrogant. >> i don't know you can believe everything you read. >> any one of those. can you believe any one of those? >> what i'm trying to do is do my job. occasionally people don't like
that. joining me managing director of global strategy group and former senior advisers to priorities usa action bill burton. congressional reporter from buzz feed, josh green, senior national correspondent from bloomberg business week, which this week looks at the twitter ipo and white house correspondent for npr ari shapiro. ari, i have to ask you, the view from the white house, the suggestion, mere suggestion that the exchanges may not be ready on november 30th is sending shudders down the spines of not just progressives but americans in general. >> it's one thing to say we're going to get it up as soon as we can, asap. when you set a date, november 309, as they said repeatedly then you need to have it running by november 30th. they are wholly dependent on jeff science, whose one job it is to get things going. as president obama said i wish i could write code but i can't. they are all just sort of
sitting there hoping, hoping it comes to pass with these looming signs it may not. >> is it really as simple as sitting around hoping? it sounds like -- the president had an interview and opened the idea to nerm inventory enrollment, exchanges not as bad after november 30th and trying to perhaps, in his way, dampen expectations. >> they are trying to mitigate, mitigate, mitigate. there's daily briefings. what do we do if it's not ready by november 30th. the fact is the more promises they make they are not able to keep, the worse it looks for them. >> i think we should call jeff science atlas because it feels like he has the world on his shoulders. brian boiler has an interesting analysis in salon. the administration's official line confident healthcare.gov will be open for vast majority
of users. the administration needs back-up plans. one, to get the law chugging along somehow without accessible marketplaces in some states and one to manage the political fallout of nonfunctioning federal exchange which will be horrendous. do you think there are back-up plans in the works? >> look, reforming the way the nation gets health care is a difficult job. it's not all on jeff's shoulders. there's a huge team of folks at the white house, at hhs, cms, all over the federal government trying to make this work state by state. there's a deadline in place. i think knowing the president, knowing the team he's got around him, they are working like crazy. >> do you think president obama is learning how to code. >> i would not be surprised. >> give me the mouse. >> give me the computer machine. lets do this thing. look, yes, there is a political issue at play here. if you look where democrats stand right now, trying to get affordable health care for every single american, a website that
needs to get fixed. that's going to get fixed. the health care program is going to work. what republicans have is a sarah palin problem which is not going away. >> we will get to that. she's back and she doesn't seem like she's leaving. but kate, bill drew a line in the sand there between republicans and democrats. what we've seen in the last week is democrats i think perhaps reasonably if they are in red states fighting for re-elections beginning to make overtures that sound distinctly republican in nature, proposing bills to delay individual mandate or let people keep their crappy insurance plans. that is not getting anywhere because harry reid is keeping the gates closed. again, if we reach november 30th deadline, they are going to be under enormous pressure to pass some litigation mitigating this. >> there's an article in "politico" where the white house gave permission to red state democrats to trash talk affordable care act as much as they wanted but stop short of asking for a delay in the individual mandate. they are saying, all right, we have this amount of time.
we will get it done. just kind of bite your tongue until then. >> if it all works, right? >> right. >> the seeds have been laid. if you've been trash talking obama care and the disastrous rollout and it continues to be disastrous, then i don't know where you good as a red state democrats. >> that's what's scary to democrats. there's two big problems with the idea there's a back-up plan. number one, the website was the quickest, easiest way for young, healthy people to sign up. the law depends on them enrolling of their own volition. the second problem if it's not up and running by the end of the month or december 15th, people who lose their health insurance beginning january 1st won't be able to get it. the problem with going to insurer websites, you may have this rate shock where you see the higher prices but you don't get to see the federal subsidy that would offset that because the federal exchange websites are working. >> now the white house is more beholden to insurance companies
in terms of expediting the enrollment process. if we can't figure out what the subsidy number is, lets do an estimate. if it ends up being more or less, we get to keep the difference. >> the idea the white house and the government can't get its idea together so we go to the private sector kind of undermines the entire mission of the obama presidency, which is to restore america's faith in the government to do things. >> i will say if you look at what happened in virginia, the election last week, the virginians who were part of a big forceful conversation about this the last three weeks, the most negative attention the health care law got. given the opportunity to vote in a way that made it look like they wanted to repeal, they didn't. if you looked at the exits, what they want, they may not be totally for the law but they want it to work. what democrats in washington ought to do, besides the white house where they are trying to make it work. democrats in the house and senate ought to be finding ways where they are looking for solutions that are working with the administration to try to
make sure. >> i'm sure some of these bills are sort of solution in some end but an incredibly complicated law. finding a legislative solution that, a, would be supported not just by democrats but republicans who ultimately want to get rid of the whole thing. >> those solutions are difficult because keeping your plan would actually undermine a lot of what the affordable care act is trying to do. it would actually cause a lot more shock and a lot more difficulties. >> what you need to do if you do want to keep your plan without undermining obama care get a subsidy of the people turning out to have rate shock. you can't do that without cooperation with rates in congress, which you're probably not going to get. >> let me say, ari, on friday the administration rules all private insurance companies to cover mental health treatments on equal footing with more traditional medical ones. this is a massive deal. it got no coverage. >> it did get coverage on npr. >> npr carrying the banner.
>> this is not an obama original concept. this had been in the work for years, clinton to bush to obama that is finally coming to reality. for the mental health community and people who care about health care in general is a huge deal that did get overshadowed. >> in the wake of mass shootings, you're not allowed to talk about gun control but you can talk about mental health. here is something that actually helps americans gain access to mental health care, preventive services, could cut down who knows, acts of violence, make us a safer, happier society. you would think, bill, this would be trumpeted better by people on the left and people certainly in the administration. >> there's a lot of things in health care that are amazing people have been trying to do not just presidencies but generations, previous conditions, extending medicaid, allowing kids to stay on their parents health insurance. the whole basket of things that came with health care. but in this environment where
where there are some real problems with the website, some problems with the rollout, it's hard to get attention for the good things. it's so much easier for people in the media to cover the negative things. >> of which you are a part stepped on this news friday by scheduling an event in miami about infrastructure. >> infrastructure. >> look -- >> nothing wrong with infrastructure but here was an actual accomplishment. >> there are a lot of different priorities this administration is dealing with. at the center of all those priorities is how do we help middle class families do better in this economy. infrastructure is an important part of that, health care is an important part of that. there's a lot of different thing happening at the white house. as the president said you've got to be able to walk and chew gum to do the job right. >> there's more chewing gum than walking, one or the other. so as bad as things are on the left, things remain bad on the right. the resurgence of sarah palin on the national stage. i'm not trying to make more than
that, just having sarah palin back on television is a reminder the tea party is not over. this weekend or last week came out and said immigration reform is not going to get picked up in the house before the end of the year. effectively signaling the end to what could be a major piece of bipartisan legislation. that also went underdiscussed. i think it's a very big deal as far as the future of the republican party. >> it is a big deal. what you're going to see and what you're starting to see on the hill is moderate republicans from districts that have a growing latino population who are going to be very, very angry with their leadership. they are going to come out and say, you promised us this. i promised my constituents this. why isn't it getting done? >> we talked a lot, josh, about whether or not the tea party had been vanquished over the government shutdown. what ken cuccinelli's defeat meant. a lot of people saw with chris christie's very big win, a sign the moderates had won out. yet you have sarah palin, you
have ted cruz. you have rick perry out there. >> in his smart glasses. >> not enough to actually make him smart. unable to endorse chris christie or throw their -- their weight behind him. that is not a chris christie weight joke. i was trying to find another word. that's a problem. >> lets establish one thing about sarah palin. sarah palin is an entertainer. she's not a politician. she's equivalent of skid row or one of those '80s band out on the festival circuit, carneys playing greatest hit. >> a live tweet spoken. >> but i do think that the race with christie, the race in alabama where the business establishment republican candidate beat a really extreme tea partier do show the establishment is resurgent. the idea that the tea party is vanquished is completely overblown. >> i think there's more to sarah palin than you're giving her credit for as part of a movement that really bothers republican
party leadership. the problem as the republican leaders see it, there's this whole class of republicans who don't have to govern, who have a huge following, who are able to insist on purity without actually having to get anything done. it's not only sarah palin but sarah palin and also talk radio hosts. >> or ted cruz who doesn't get done but scuttles legislation. >> you would not believe, in some of the districts where members of the tea party and the house come from, the sarah palin endorsement still absolutely means something. they want her to come and such for them. >> the problem for republicans, she's not just an absent at an carnival, she's a thought leader and a second of their party. that may sound crazy. >> an oxymoron. sarah palin, thought leader. after the break -- after the break. as the death toll rises philippines major concerns in the@math of typhoon haiyan. the latest on the devastation and mounting health crisis there next on "now."
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crisis under way in philippines in the wake of the most violent storm to make landfall. typhoon haiyan slammed into the midsection of philippines devastating tacloban where 10,000 people may be killed. haiyan slammed communities with 200-mile-per-hour winds and waves that swept away home. a city in eastern samar island, 100% of buildings have major
damage. with more than 9 million people affected by the storm and 600,000 forced from their hopes, the focus is on treating the survivors and fighting off disease. joining me from manila, nbc's ian williams. thanks for joining us. my first question is what is the latest in terms of the on the ground situation and can you give us updates as far as disease and disease prevention. >> well, rescue teams are still trying to reach some of the more remote areas, some of the worst affected areas which are still cut off. without electricity, without communications, still many, many roads are blocked by debris, falling trees, overturned cars. what we do know is that tacloban and other areas were hard hit. that city with the provincial capital suffered particularly badly with most of the buildings being destroyed along the coastline. the officials in the town
estimating possibly up to 10,000 people have died. it's very difficult to verify that figure. there are all sorts of figures, the military today saying it was close to 1,000. we'll never know for sure until some of these places are reached. there's a serious threat of disease. there's a desperate need for water, for medicine, for food, and for shelter. until those can reach those areas, then certainly the areas are at risk. logistics remains an enormous problem. we did see the marines going in today, u.s. marines taking some supplies in and the philippine army bringing in supplies. but it's very difficult to reach even the cities where they have been able to get some access to. now, until they can get to some of the more outlying areas, it will be difficult to gauge just how bad the affect has been. these are early days of the relief operation, alex.
>> i'm reminded of the cyclone that hit burma. for many outlying areas it took an extraordinarily long period of time to reach areas that had been laid to waste. is there any estimate of how long it will take for help to arrive. also trauma on the ground, people looting stores desperate for food and water. can you give us an update on that? >> well, the head of the philippine red cross described the aftermath of the typhoon as absolute bedlam. by that he meant the sheer problem in trying to get access to some of these areas but also the threat to order as well. there has been looting. people are desperate. there's an enormous shortage of water, basic supplies. the fear is unless they can get those supplies in there and get them quickly, they will have a situation where people become desperate and we see more of this. the president of the philippines
has hinted that he might have declared a state of emergency. i don't think he wants to do that because he thinks that would aggravate the situation. has he called it a state of calamity. that way he can bring in more emergency help more quickly. clearly there is a desperate need. there has been a lot of help offered from overseas including, of course, from the u.s. clearly that is needed very urgently. >> nbc's ian williams, thank you for the update and please stay safe. to help victims of the typhoon you can make donations red cross, ameri cares, unicef, save the children. this weekend's nuclear talks broke down because of the french or iranians. we'll discuss what really happened in geneva just ahead. [ female announcer ] can it get any cleaner? with swiffer bissell steamboost... guys!
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mom swaps my snack for a piña colada yoplait. and when mom said i was going out too much, i swapped it for staying in. [ shouts ] guess who's going out tomorrow. [ female announcer ] swap one snack a week for a yoplait. it is so good. nuclear program collapsed after breathless reporting about a deal two narratives emerged. first the french thought it was too lenient, second a push by secretary of state john kerry and others that iran balked on the terms at the last minute. the first wave of reports given credence by the fact french foreign minister broke protocol telling a french radio station his government would not accept a, quote, fool's game.
according to secretary kerry, it was iran, not france that pulled the plug. addressing reporters in abu dhabi this morning, kerry announced, the french signed off on it. we signed off on it. there was unity but iran couldn't take it. the deal is on hold involved iran temporarily freezing elements of the nuclear program six months in exchange for partial easing of sanctions while both sides pursued longer lasting framework. while the deal may be on ice, it's clear some, including israeli president netanyahu would like it to melt away entirely. >> this is a bad deal. a very, very bad deal. it's the deal of the century for iran. it's a very dangerous and bad deal for peace in the international community. on iran as so many other things, administration must contend with a skeptical u.s. congress. bob menendez senate foreign relations committee had more praise for the white house and
its pursuit of a deal. >> my concern is we seem to want the deal almost more than the iranians. you can't want the deal more than the iranians especially when the iranians are on the ropes. >> secretary kerry returns home this afternoon and is expected to brief lawmakers as soon as tomorrow. ahead of the next round of talks scheduled to begin next week. joining me now on the set is president of the fund which works to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destructions, also the author of "nuclear nightmares" out at the end of this month. joining us from london nbc news tehran bureau chief. ali, i would like to go to you first. specifically on the question of iran, netanyahu calls this the deal of the century for iran. secretary kerry says in the end iranians balked, had to go back and enganl in further negotiations at home. who are we to believe in terms of iranian resistance and what's your take on this? >> well, alex, it's very difficult to say because all
sides said they are not going to negotiate through the press. initially when we went there it certainly looked like a deal was in the pipeline. both sides getting on well, body language good, senior state department official told us this is the most substantive and detailed talks with iranian so far. they felt they could get something down on paper by the end of the week. that all changed when french foreign minister arrived there early on saturday morning, gave away some of the details of the deal that was on the table, which i think upset other diplomats there. said this was a sucker's deal and france wouldn't accept it. he broke with rank later before the final press conference of the evening where foreign minister zarif, high representative of the each u and secretary kerry were meant to give a press conference before their press conference at the end of the meeting fabius said there was no deal. so journalists were tweeting there's no deal before the official press conference. it's hard to say. what is for sure is that things change on the framework of the
paperwork there. and i think that took iranians by surprise. some of the techs changed, they cooperate get a deal. they had to go home and get permission from a higher power. alex. >> joe, i would like to ask you your thoughts on this deal. there's been a lot of back and forth about how effective it will be in the long-term in terms of deterring iran from a nuclear weapon. foreign policy says it failed to prevent iran from continuing nuclear reactor in iraq. once operational key part of iran's nuclear program would be immune to airstrikes because bombing the plant would lead to a massive deadly radiation leak. your thought. >> i think there's no question about it. despite mr. netanyahu, this is a good deal. this will freeze iran's program in place. because of the croissant the french threw in over the weekend, iran's program continues.
we could have had a deal that stopped it, the most critical part of it, enrichment to uranium to critical levels. that's the one. remember the cartoon of the bomb, he drew the red line. the deal was focusing on that supply of uranium. the one he said was his red line. now, there are other issues like this iraq reactor, arak reactor. this is a reactor that will come on line. then they will put fuel in it. after a year that turns to plutonium. that's a possible source for a bomb. iran doesn't have a processing plan to extract that plutonium. it's a three or four year away problem. the problem what the french are doing is they want to put that in this initial deal now kind of overloading the cart. as a result, i think over the next 10 days we're going to get a bigger initial deal than was originally thought and that would require us to give a little more on sanctions that we might be comfortable doing. i think we're going to get a deal. we're closing in on the finish
line. >> ari, the statement by president netanyahu did not do much to further the broader goal of getting a deal done, it would seem. especially if you're the white house. i think what is also notably is how much the relationship with bibi and president obama has atrophied. always but this exacerbated it. >> president obama spoke with netanyahu last week. as you said from the beginning of this presidency there's been this chilly relationship between them each one in public statements says is a warm relationship. day one there's road bumps. every time there's an election republicans use this as a talking point, u.s. is less president obama israel than the past. the two men do not seem to get along very well. this is the latest point we've seen it flair up in differences in policy. >> other men that like to chime
in. i love the idea of french throwing a croissant into the spokes. he's throwing his own version of a cross onto in the spokes, of course referring to john mccain. france had the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement with iran. vive la france. lindsey graham thang, thank god for france. american foreign policy as written by president obama is really no big surprise. that said, in terms of the sanctions piece, they are going to need congressional approval to do anything on sanctions. congress has not been very obedient lately. >> no. we're back to calling them french fries, instead of freedom fries. on the hill there's a number of skeptical democrats as well. but with the republicans they don't want to see a deal that is anything short of full destruction of iran's nuclear program. it's interesting to see if kerry can go in and convince them this week to give us more time.
we'll be able to come up with something. as you said, scepticism is high. >> i want to ask you about expectations here. joe seems fairly bullish, fairly optimistic that something is going to happen. some folks have reacted to netanyahu's scepticism and said, listen, you're not going to get everything at the same time, just the fact wet to the point we're at is a very, very positive sign. you seem to echo that when we first spoke. in terms of the time line, what are we looking at? >> hello? >> i think we lost ali. >> i can answer that. >> please do, joe. >> then he can correct me. it's very clear the two main parties here, iran and united states, want a deal. something very profound has happened with iran. this is a new leadership. this is a strategic shift that we're seeing. this isn't a con game.
they want out. they want to fix their economy. they want an end to the sanctions. they want to get reintegrated into the global architecture. kerry is the man to help make this happen. you can see how long they spend doing this. the foreign ministers of these seven nations spent from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. the following morning working on this. we've never seen this kind of involvement of honest exchange. we made more progress with iran in the last three days than we have in the last three decades. that's why i'm looking at the underlying dynamics. this is going for a deal. all the nations were in agreement with the exception of france. france's considerations were put into the new draft of the deal. iran wasn't ready for that. they have to go back for strucks. this is going to happen. i think they are going to recon seen -- reconvene november 20th.
we'll see a deal completed there or very, very close. we have to be patient with the diplomacy but this is the direction we're going on. >> you know, bill, we talk about the president and what he might get done in the next three years. it looks like if the wheels stay as stuck as they are on capitol hill, foreign policy may end up being a huge part of his legacy both in terms of winding down wars in iraq and afghanistan. if you get a deal with iran, that would be a major piece of the book that is written on the obama presidency. >> that often happens in the second terms of presidents. the point just made this is more progress in one week than 30 years, this is a huge generational shift in how we deal with iran. it started five years ago in the beginning of 2008 when the president said in that debate he would talk to then leader of iran ahmadinejad. now you're seeing the fruition of those efforts. hopefully it's positive, a nuclear-free iran. >> ali, i just wanted to follow back up with you. bill is giving the president credit in terms of engagement
but the iranians certainly do the lion's share of credit for electing someone more moderate, more willing to engage with the wes on the in of nuclear power. this really -- there's been a lot of questioning about how legitimate this endeavor was in terms of the iranian's desire to make a deal here. it seems real. there seems like there truly has been a transformation in terms of iran's position on this. >> absolutely. the iranians certainly want to make a deal with america and they realized the only way out of this impasse is to sit down and talk to america. it wasn't working any other way. these are the two powers that have to speak to each other to resolve this issue. i think that was very obvious when mr. rouhani appointed his cabinet. mr. zarif spent most of his life in the united states. he speaks perfect english. all his press conferences english, stark contrast to the last nuclear negotiator who you could cut the tension between the western powers with a knife
in the room. there was no communication. so the team appointed here is one that can read on the same page as americans and in the same language. alex. >> a fascinating details. thank you for the update. thank you, joe, for your time and answering questions on the fly. good luck with the book launch. after the break, as americans observe veterans day, president obama honors u.s. service members at arlington national cemetery. there are those who stand apart. they step up. they raise their hands. they take that oath. they put on the uniform and they put their lives on the line. they do this so that the rest of us might live april country and a world that is safer, freer, and more just. >> we'll discuss the cost of war and a new film about the trials our troops face aafter they
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braef today november 11th marks a day when we as a nation honor our 22 million veterans including 2.6 million who served in iraq and afghanistan. this morning president obama attended ceremony for veterans at arlington international ceremony. across the country schools and banks, stock market, postal offices are all closed. thousands of americans will turn out for veterans day parades. behind the patriotism there are many hard truths. according to department of veterans affairs since 2001 more veterans have committed suicide than died in combat operations in iraq and afghanistan. it is estimated 22 veterans kill themselves every day, that's one suicide every 65 minutes. while only 1% of americans have served in active military duty, former service members account for 20% of all suicides in the united states. a new documentary, crisis hot
line, veterans press one shines a spotlight on epidemic of military suicides. the film features employees of a veterans hot line in upstate new york. men and women who receive 22,000 calls a month from veterans in crisis. >> so you're saying, what you're telling me is people have to do something drastic before they get help. that's what you're saying. i understand that you're in a lot of pain, that you're hurting. i understand that you can't work. i understand that you're having flashbacks. i understand you're having repetitive dreams, night sweats. that's a lot of stress for one person. you want to be able to help your family. do you have any weapons in the house besides yourself, because i know you told me you're your own weapon. >> joining me from new york is
the senior program manager of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, jasonhanman and filmmaker, director of hbo's crisis hot line, veterans press one. i'd like to start with you. you've made three documentaries on veterans in the past six years. how did you find out about this crisis call center and what drew you to it? >> you know, we had been talking to veterans for years. and we recognize there were sort of a story that underlied practically everything else we were hearing about. that was about how really difficult it is to transition to civilian life. nobody tells you it's dangerous and deadly to come home. you know it's dangerous to go to war. so we thought what can we do? this is a big, big system, the v.a. it's got a lot of problems. there certainly has to be a way we can get a message to veterans there is effective help for them. they don't have to go it alone.
it's just as brave to seek help as it was to sign up to fight. >> jason, you were a veteran of the iraq war. i guess i would ask you, do you think this generation of post 9/11 service members is different than the veterans of other wars? >> i think every generation is a little bit different. the challenges that they face, especially compared to vietnam and iraq and afghanistan are very different. i think what's unique about this generation especially is that as you said in the intro it's less than 1/2 of 1%, one of the big issues leading to suicide, which is isolation. you could be in the middle of montana and be the only vet win 100 miles and not within 200 miles of a v.a. >> bill, we're talking about this generation of soldiers coming back to the united states. there's a huge argument, as you're well aware of about the
social safety net, who is dependent on government handout. so much misinformation and an attempt to humiliate those that need a leg up. 100,000 on food stamps are veterans. they face looming food crisis. they are the people most vulnerable in society. i think that reality is something that needs to be brought into the larger debate as we talk about what this country does for those who need the most. >> when you look at how the debate unfolded around the shutdown, debt ceiling talks, it seemed like an esoteric class classroom discussion, how much spending, good spending, bad spending, mitt romney takers and doers. at the end of the day we're talking about real human costs to the shutdown, real human costs to these mindless cuts, to some of the most important programs that serve our veterans but also some of the most vulnerable in our society. so it's a very important discussion for us to have on veterans. >> especially as parts of the
right wing are very pro defense, pro military, pro engagement. this is actually -- these are peoplifying these wars. go ahead, josh. >> one way to be pro defense poem don't think about, if you look at the biggest deliverers of mental, medicare is one of them. people don't think about that as connecting to like veterans struggling for help in this documentary but they should. >> ellen, i want to also talk about people helping the veterans. these call center responders are dealing with these problems and these stories. 22,000 calls a month. how do they stay, how do they maintain a sense of resilience and optimism. what was it like when you were interviewing them? >> many of them are veterans, about a quarter are veterans. a lot of them have experience with veterans. they live with them. i think they have a tremendous sense of mission and purpose in what they are doing.
i think they recognize as hard as it is to hear these stories they are sort of a gateway to services for veterans. they can give them reasons to stay alive long enough to be able to access services and to be able to find a home and all of the other things they can sort of set up for them. i think the rewards, to some degree, help them get through hearing this volume of anguish and tragedy. >> jason, as we talk about what's available for veterans in terms of resources, it's worth noting while the backlog for veterans health benefits and claims has gotten better, the average wait for disability compensation and other related benefits at the v.a. is still 273 days. >> yeah. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say, i think the backlog and other issues are just leading to additional stressors on veterans and their
families. when a veteran can't get his disability check, you're talking about an additional financial stress and the stress of waiting. part of my job is helping people wait. especially when you're talking about over 200 days having to wait for a check and someone to tell you what you already know, that you're disabled. that's a tough pill to swallow. >> especially having served your country. >> absolutely. >> either overseas or domestically. jason from iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, thank you for your time. and thank you to film director ellen kent. the documentary crisis hot line, veterans press one. herring on hbo tonight at 9:00 eastern. thank you to my folks in d.c., bill, kate, josh and arish. that is all for now. i'll see you back tomorrow noon eastern. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," it is beyond comprehensi comprehension, devastation in the aftermath of typhoon haiyan. left a trail of destruction in its wake. 200-mile-per-hour winds ripped apart buildings and swept away everything in its path. in some areas of the island nation, there was literally nothing left after huge waves and sustained 200-mile-an-hour winds tore through entire towns and cities. as many as 10,000 are feared dead. we'll have a live report from the ground where massive relief operation is finally getting under way and urgent effort to reach survivors. >> every building is either significantly damaged or destroyed. the streets are all closed. you can see -- it's a 15 to 25-foot wave came across entire villages. so everything is wiped out.