tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 21, 2009 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
national grounds. i welcome a guest co-host to join me this morning. i'm please to do welcome former democratic three-term governor of new york, mario cuomo. i came to learn a new york yankees fan? >> yeah. new york yankees fan and new york mets fan and knicks fan and new york fan generally. >> sports all the way around some. >> yes. i've spent my life here and, yeah, i'm hoping for a better basketball season than i've had. >> i believe the knicks have some hopes this year. i'm a little hopeful, i have to knit. >> well, i think you might be right. i think they are make ago whole lot of a new guy from italy and anybody 6'11" from italy intrigues me. i don't know we came that tall! >> i've got to ask you about this tom ridge story. al gauges in the book about to be released, allegations.
two-perm governor of pennsylvania and came the first department of homeland security. he is saying john ashcroft and drufed pressured him in the days leading up to the 2004 election to raise the national security alert level higher than he thought was warranted. what do you think of these allegations? >> number one, tom ridge was an excellent governor. an excellent public servant. i believe him. but i regret the fact that he waited until now to say it. if, in fact, that is what happened. his veteran instinct would have been to say it immediately and get out and to say this is a wrong thing. of course, that way he could have blunted the false implication of the message. this way, waiting until now, it's not as effective, it's not a useful. >> do you ever see -- i mean, we all wish for that, but have you seen very often people stand newspaper the moment and speak out? are there examples on your mind?
>> watergate. attorney general. >> elliott richardson? >> right. saying this is wrong. i'm out of here. yeah. it's been done. it takes a lot to do it, i think, because you're a member of a party, a member of the team, you don't want to injure them too much at the time. colin powell, kol pin powell was seduced and was misinformed and his impleting was integrity was beyond question. he was one of the most popular officials we've ever had. >> probably was the tipping point in some real ways, that testimony for the u.n. >> exactly right. >> in terms of going to war. >> now, i think it took a while before he became convinced himself that he had been misled. but i'm sure if he had known on the spot right after it, he would have stepped off immediately. >> i'm going to switch a topic a bit as we bring in our white
house correspondent savannah guthrie. we are looking at new poll numbers this morning showing america's confidence in president obama is down from his 100-day mark, in fact, significantly down. you can see the poll there. 49% of americans now think that the president will make the right decisions for the country. now, that number stood at 60% back in april. let's now bring in white house correspondent savannah guthrie. is this going to impact in any meaningful way the negotiations that continue on the health care front? >> well, you know, that's a very interesting question. of course, you don't have to be a political scientist to know that a president who has good approval ratings has more political muscle and so, frankly, to the extent that republicans or even moderate democrats would see vulnerability, that's a problem for this white house. on the other hand, this is what the president decided to do. he knew he had the large majorities in congress and began the administration with high approval ratings and decided to
spend that political capital and it's costing him. this is the latest in a series of poll. you get different numbers, depending on the poll, but the trend are all similar, downward trend and approval rating generally and what is interesting about this abc united nations pole it talks about the right track and wrong track numbers. the approval rating number from the poet post is 57% approving now compared to 59% back in april. you look at the handling of health care. 46% now compared to 57% in april. 44% think we're on the right track compared to 50% who said so in april. this hurts. the white house, obviously, not unaware of these kinds of figures. >> savannah guthrie at the white house, thanks so much. look forward to seeing you next week. have a great weekend. >> thank you. >> house speaker nancy pelosi is drawing a line in the sand saying they won't pass a bill that doesn't include a public option and while both parties are showing off stubborn streaks
in the debate a new poll shows congressional republicans are the ones worse for the wear. joining me now to talk about this and a number of other things, republican congressman and one of the nine doctors in either the house or the senate, michael burgess of texas. good to see you, sir. >> good morning. great to be with you. >> i want to ask you a little bit about the public option debate. we've seen a lot of push-back by the republicans about the public option. we also have seen some push-back even on the notion of co-ops. is there a republican alternative that both allows for near universal coverage as president obama has talked about, allows people not to be dumped off the rolls if they have preexisting conditions but also helps contain the cost over the long term? is there an alternative, including republicans like yourself, support versus the
public option? >> sure. short answer is yes. and short of the actual bill which we do have but our leadership has decided not to have us introduce it, but a number of issues that came up during the debate in my committee on those very things. we didn't actually talk much about co-ops in the debate on the energy and commerce committee. people have asked me about that. sure, i'm in favor of purchasing cooperatives and think it's a good idea if we can let those exist across state lines, i'd be all for it. if the co-op idea is a public option dressed up as a different entity probably not a lot of enthusiasm for it on my side. >> i want to bring in former new york governor mario cuomo who joins me here and obviously, thought about these health care issues in naum of ways. your thoughts as you hear congressman burgess talk about republican alternatives? >> actually, i'm curious about two things. what about the romney plan in massachusetts? now, there was a republican
governor who was very bold in what he did as a governor. and it's had a mixed kind of record so far, but is there anything there that the republicans could use? and if you have a bill, why aren't you telling the people of america what is in that bill? what is the point of holding it? >> well, there are a couple of points that the governor raises. of course, i do need to point out to the governor, i like the rangers chances this year better than any in a long time. on the issue of the republican alternative, there have been -- i mean, these are strictly structural. it's been impossible to get anything through legislative counsel, in the house of representatives, to get any type of score back from a congressional budget office. obviously, this is data that my leadership wants-to-to see before they introduce the bill. just as they have done on the senate side and have done on the house side. the cost and coverage numbers
need adjustments before the bill is introduced, yeah, we want the same privilege that the democrats have to be able to make those adjustments. the other argument if the other side is actively committing suicide, you don't necessarily want to get between them and their weapon at that poip so, you know, the town halls this summer have certainly demonstrated something to me and that is the american people are really engaged in this process. let's face it. the president's popularity is down but as you point out correctly, it's a lot higher than the congressional republican popularity. the president could have passed pretty much any health care bill he wanted to in february or march. why there was not a bigger push to do it then, i don't know. why they insisted on cap and trade in the summer in the house of representatives when members of the house took a tough vote on that, my opinion, took the wrong vote on that, went home to face the constituents in their district and were met with two questions. >> congressman burgess, forgive me. i want to make sure because only a minute left. i want to get to the question about former massachusetts
governor, republican governor and presidential candidate minimum romney's plan there. is that one you think republicans can support as governor cuomo was asking about? we saw universal coverage and there is positives and minuses to that. this sthat something you support? >> absolutely there are positives and minuses. when the governor romney passed that, he admitted it was a good plan for massachusetts but it wouldn't work in every state. massachusetts was able to ignore the fact that there were some people in the state who were there without the benefit of a social security number. if you ignore that population and try to do the same thing in texas, you're overwhelmed and the program would go nowhere. the governor did work with the democratic legislature in order to work that bipartisan fashion and something we should do and something i would support. we get back to washington and let's put the differences aside and get back and deliver something for the american people. the concept of doing away with preexisting conditions and
insurance rescissions, i support that. i don't know of a single republican who doesn't. and maybe that's one of the things we should sit down and concentrate on and try to deliver something from 8 to 10 million people who are stuck with a tough diagnosis who want insurance and find right now it's not available to them. >> congressman burgess, thank you for joining us and we look forward to having you back again soon. >> thank you. >> did president obama jump the gun on health care? tell us what you think. go to twitter.msnbc.com and you'll see my picture there. click on the icon there and tell me what you think. we will be looking at some of your sweets. next up, violence and corruption and reports of vote rigging. the presidential election may be over in afghanistan but the concerns about the government's concerns about to lead is growing. oil strikes new high for the year as the fed takes step to pull back emergency steps to prop up the economy. what does that mean for you and gas prices? jeff lewis gets a reality check from the housing meltdown. how is this man supposed to make
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president obama is facing a tough uphill battle to get his health care reform plan through congress and add that to the economic stimulus package and some are starting to ask if president obama's biggest mistake is taking on too much, soo toon. bus again is former democratic three-term governor of new york is mario cuomo. we were having an interesting
day yesterday what do you in your first two years how much to put on the plate. i took it from our conversation that strategically you think maybe the white house should have waited on health care? >> if i had -- if i had said that before the president got involved in health care, i would have been a very smart guy. i would say it now, looking back what has actually occurred. i think putting health care first has made it much more difficult to get health care. what he might have done -- and this is an afterthought, which is easy -- what he might have done is start with the economy, stay with the economy, get the economy strong, get the jobs coming, that will take another year or so to happen. now, he did well in seeing to it that we didn't va have a worst economy, but he could have done
better if he had put health care aside and said, look. it took 178 years to go from the beginning of this country to medicare and medicaid. 178 years. nixon, a lot of people up until the clintons tried it and failed. so it's not necessary to make it number one. let's strengthen the economy. that will give you more money, it will take pressure off the deficit and then let's go after health care. now it's easy for me to say, but i think if obama had another chance, perhaps he would do it that way. there is still time for him, incidentally, to have a plan. i wouldn't give up on the public option. if the house says they're going to do it, they'll dot it, they've got the numbers to do it. they may be able to shape it and contour it in a way that it's not as offensive as it appears to be to some people. his biggest problem, i think, and if anybody can solve it, he
can, because he has got this magnificent mind and the he w l willeloquence. when you say pup public option, the other side says -- you have to ease that myth. you have to remind people that medicare is socialized medicine. medicaid is socialized medicine. the road that eisenhower we built our socialized roads, public schools are socialized. the ships that are taking us to the moon are not by boeing, they are by the government, so they are socialized. because the government does it doesn't make it bad. what you should do is think the way lincoln did. lincoln said, look, here is the whole game. if you can do it privately, if you can do it in the market, if you can take care of old people in the marketplace, don't use
government. and for 178 years that's what we did. but if it's an important thing and the private sector doesn't do it, government took shoo do it. >> governor, i like that a lot. when we come back i want to ask you about some of the issues has i know the president and david axelrod and rahm emanuel were thinking about. we will take a quick break. opposing sides are claiming victory in this week's presidential election in afghanistan. when we come back, richard engel joins us live from kabul. with the economy now in the verge of recovery, is it, in fact, time for the government to start pulling back the spending? we're going to talk about that and not only with governor cuomo but maria bartiromo stops by. you're watching msnbc live. i'm carlos watson. few guarantee. here's one for your skin that's clinically proven. olay professional pro-x wrinkle protocol is as effective as the leading wrinkle prescription brand at reducing the look of wrinkles. that's because olay has teamed with a highly speciazed
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i'm joined by former new york governor mario cuomo. the votes are largely counted in afghanistan presidential election and two men, not one, are claiming victory today. hamid karzai and abdullah abdullah both say they have the lied lead. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in kabul after millions braved violence to vote. what is the sense on the ground now as we said, a day later? >> both sides are not exactly claiming that they have won. what we're hearing is that -- i just came back from speaking with abdullah abdullah, the leading challenger in this. he is not claiming victory. he said that initial indications are that he gained enough votes to secure this election without a runoff. so he believes that he is the winner and he believes that results will ultimately prove him to be the winner, but he has -- is not contesting the system.
it is not confrontational at this stage. also we have spoken to karzai's office. he believes the same thing has proved him to be the winner but he is not declaring himself president again for another term and saying that the election was over. they are both, at this stage, still playing within the rules and that is a significant difference. >> governor cuomo, what do you think and what are your questions as you watch this situation in afghanistan where we're committing more troops and some think when stanley mchrystal who is running the effort there ultimately submit his report he will send even more young americans over there to fight? >> i think one of the greatest thets to threats to president obama looking way ahead to his legacy is afghanistan. i think the economy, he is going to deal with adequately. i'm troubled by afghanistan because it's hard to understand exactly what we hope to achieve there. if it is to make afghanistan a better democracy, that's a waste of time.
the only rational i have heard that makes sense is, well, that's where al qaeda will be. that's what started the war in the first place in afghanistan, why we went was because osama was there and al qaeda is there. it doesn't appear to me, and i'm not an expert, that al qaeda is there now. i wonder how the election deals with that issue. does either of the candidate run saying, look, we have to get rid of terrorists and that is was we're going to do? what is the relationship between this election and president obama's desire to fight terrorism and lose lives in the process in afghanistan? >> richard, your thoughts? >> absolutely. this is why this election is so important right now. if, as your headline suggested that both sides are claiming that they are the new president of this country, even before the results are in, it delegitimatizes the entire u.s.
mission. u.s. soldiers and marines and nato troops have been fighting and dying in this country to establish a political framework. if one said i don't care what the results are, i'm the president and i should be accepted, then one could easily ask then why have all of these soldiers been fighting and dying to create an election and create some sort of credible system that would produce a new leadership. that hasn't happened yet. that is the danger as this election process drags on. it is taking a considerable amount of time to count all of the votes. many of these votes were cast in very remote locations. about obama's legacy and about sending in more troops, it is a very significant question that a lot of commanders here are wrestling with right now. what is the point in having remote outposts in the middle of no place to fight villagers many of them who had never heard of new york city before. >> richard engel in kabul, be
safe and thanks for joining us again. for more on the topics we're discussing check out carloswatson.msnbc.com. would love for you to send us tweets. go to twitter.msnbc.com and send us a tweet. where do things stand for holding those responsible for holding the economic meltdown responsible? tv's favorite obsess sieve compulsive decorator jeff lewis is in the house. he is coming up soon. you're watching msnbc live. i'm carlos watson. rite part of honey bunches of oats? the sparklylakes. the honey-baked bunches! the magic's in the mix. my favorite part? eating it. honey bunches of oats. taste the joy we put in every spoonful. honey bunches of oats. we call the bunches in honey bunches of oats the prize in the box. well, now there's a prize inside the prize. pecans! pecans! baked into crunchy oat bunches.
taste the delicious surprise in every spoonful. new honey bunches of oats with pecan bunches. beautiful. welcome back to msnbc live. we see robert gibbs, the white house press secretary there, about to be offering some remarks. we know he is going to get pointed questions about where health care reform stands now and weigh in on the situation in afghanistan, that senator snow calls troubling. >> the first family will depart camp david en route to andrews air force base and arriving at andrews at 9:40. is somebody cheering for that in the back? somebody seemed particularly excited about that helicopter ride? 9:45rks the first family depart andrews en route to martha's vineyard. arriving at approximately 10:55
at cape cod coast guard air station. that is open arrival. bill will gaggle on the flight up. the president return to washington sometime. right now the late afternoon of sunday, august 30th. i do not have an exact time for you. but as that gets closer, we'll have a chance to talk about it. with that, take us away. >> thank you. on the meeting with former senator daschle, can you tell us a little bit about what they are talking about? is it just health care or other topics? >> the guidance i have is they'll talk something about health care. i'm sure they'll touch on other things that are going on. the meeting started a few minutes late, so i don't have a read-out on it yet. we'll try to get a couple of sentences for you as they go over it in the meeting. >> any sort of role for the administration in the debate over overhauling the health care system? >> look. i think senator daschle along with former senator dole and
others have put together ideas for bipartisan plans to get through congress and to the president's desk. obviously, it's an issue that he has been working on for quite some time. he doesn't have a formal role at the white house, but the president certainly listens to his advice and counsel as he does to many others. yes, ma'am. >> i have a question on the economy. ben bernanke gave a speech today that was more optimistic than a lot of people had expected and also the existing home sales were up more than 7% to their highest pace in two years. what do you think -- what does the white house think about the assessment are things are getting better? is it a signs of things getting better and maybe the housing is healing? >> well, i think not wanting to read too much into one day's statistics, i think if you look over the course of several months it does appear that the housing market is bottoming out
a bit, which, obviously, was one of the reasons we got into the severity of the economic downturn that we're in now. obviously, there's an independent to the fed which i don't want to get tremendously involved in violating on an august friday. but i would simply reiterate what we've said before, which is the economy that the president inherited upon taking office was at the brink, as many said, of sliding into far deeper recession or possible depression. actions taken to stabilize our financial system to get our economy moving again through the recovery plan, to work to make the housing market work more for americans, to deal and address
foreclosures, pull the american economy back from that brink. obviously, not unlike the housing statistics you see, some good and some not to good news as the government releases its statistics throughout the week. the president is pleased with the fact that it appears we're making some progress and stabilizing that economy, as i've talked about, but won't be satisfied until we get the economy fully back on track and that we're growing the economy in a way that creates jobs for the millions of americans who continue to look for work and, thus far, can't find it. yes, sir? >> tell us how you see things playing out after september? she couldn't pass a bill in the house without the public option, you got people like kent conrad saying you can't pass a bill in the senate with the public
option. how do you think things are unfold he folding in september and eventually does it come down to a conference committee kind of resolving differences between the senate and the house? just how do you kind of project things in the fall? >> right. well, look. obviously, you've got a myriad of opinions on either side. i know last night, six senate finance committee members spent with about 90 minutes on the phone, i'm told, working through and making progress on their ideas. the white house has gotten an update on that phone call. look. >> how did you feel about it? >> the reports from the phone call were that they were making progress. i think they believe, as the president strongly believes, that they should continue to work in a bipartisan basis to
try to get agreement on what is outstanding in order to get a bill to their committee and, hopefully, out of their committee in a timely fashion when congress returns in september. so it's hard to know exactly what's going to happen then. we hope that the senate finance committee will continue to work to make progress on that side and we'll see what happens in the house in terms of -- it's hard for me to look too far into the future as far as conference committees and all that. >> how about splitting the bill and having reconciliation? because you can get some things. >> yeah. i have certainly read the reports on that. i haven't gotten a lot from in here about that. our focus, as we've talked about in this room over the past several days, our focus is on working with republicans and democrats to get agreement on something that the president can
sign. yes, ma'am? >> as the president takes a vacation, it's been a long month of august in the health care debate. >> a long week. >> it's ban long day already for me. what has the president learned this month, this make it or break it month, as he heads into vacation in terms of the health care debate? >> well, look. i hesitate to call august a make -- no offense -- i know you guys have spent a lot of money on branding the make it or break it -- no here is my hunch. my hunch -- i don't know which cable network will make september an even more important month than august and then if this thing gets to october, i can only imagine that that will soon be a more important month. my sense of that is not to quote the president yesterday at the dnc, but, you know, i think that much is always made of where
things are at a certain point in the process. the president's viewpoint, as he said in here, not to worry too much about the 24-hour news cycle and focus more on the overall process and the overall policy. so, you know, i don't know that i would read a tremendous amount into any specific time period like august. i mean, i think if you look at -- if you look at the nbc poll, there has been, obviously, a lot of heat and light around town hall meetings but the nbc poll showed, i think, roughly an equal number of people were more favorable than less favorable and three-fifths of the country, it didn't make any difference. i do think the president has used august and town hall meetings that we've had in the appearances including the one we had yesterday and will do again
in september to continue to tell people about why health care reform is important, why we can't afford to do nothing. the stakes that are involved and to try to push back on the misrepresentations we know are still out there about health care. >> so you're not saying the president has learned anything over some predetermined -- determined amount of time? >> no. >> you see it as he needs to now be more of a -- >> welcome back. we've been watching press secretary robert gibbs take questions on the economy and including new housing numbers and hearing him react to concerns about the president's stewardship of the health care debate during august. i'm here with former new york governor mario cuomo. governor cuomo, do you ultimately expect that president obama will get major transformative legislation on health care through and signed this year? >> if i were a politician, i would would say he better
because it's essential he get something done. i think he will get something done. people are now voting in these polls saying, in effect, look. you promised to do health care and you're not doing health care and so we're going to slide away from you. it's true, he hasn't done it yet, but he will do something eventually. the democrats have to. it looks to me as though the republicans aren't going to try to compete. the republicans are going to be in a position where they are going to be saying in effect, look, we're not going to give you a plan. we think health care is all right the way it is and we're going to watch obama fail. if they do that, then both will fail. obama will fail, but so will the republicans. >> you think republicans would pay a price for that? >> absolutely and they should. if, in fact, you have criticism to make, make it constructive. we know 47 million people don't have insurance and we know medicare and medicaid needs help. we know that it's getting more expensive all the time.
we know that if you have a preexisting condition, you might not get insurance. we know that if you buy insurance and then get sick, you might lose it. we know that it's not portable. it's a mess. we know that we're 19th or 20th in the world. now, if the republicans take a position that says it's better to do nothing, then they should be responsible for that. obama at least is trying. >> i want to talk more about that when we return. in fact, we will be joining that conversation by cnbc maria bartiromo. hurricane bill is expected to pass bermuda early tomorrow and it may cause problems for people living on the east coast in the united states. in bermuda people are hang you out on the beach but warned of dangerous waves and rip tides and much of the east coast may see the same type of thing. hurricane bill is expected to slam into cape cod and the east coast before slamming into coast of canada later on sunday. 90s . ♪ singer: buckle up, everybody 'cause we're taking a ride ♪
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welcome back to msnbc live. i'm carlos watson. recent reports mixed on whether or not the recession has bottomed out and whether or not the economy is ready to recover. having a very interesting conversation with that later on in just a moment with maria bartiromo from cnbc. right now toipt return to a conversation i was having earlier with former new york governor mario cuomo and thinking about the obama white house and health care area own other issues. those would look and say, look, this is an issue, health care, has been tough to get through, as you pointed out for 60 years various presidents have tried and namely democratic presidents. why not do it now up front when you've got 60 votes in the senate, when you've got, if you will, the pressure of a global recession, why not now when you're strong and young, new president? that is the article argument. as i -- you say, no, we should
have waited. >> obama heard the argument and he followed that advice and i think the advice proved to be a mistake. and it proved to be a mistake because doing it first made it much more difficult than if he had concentrated first on the economy, gotten a little bit more progress than he has. he has done very well because we've avoided devastation, but we don't have the jobs yet. if he had done that first, it would have been a lot easier to tell people, okay, now we're going to do health care, now we have money because people have jobs and the economy is stronger and wealth is coming in so we're not going to to have to have too big tax increases, et cetera. now, this is an after-thought and i've said it before, easy to look back and say it would have been better, but it's clear to me that it would have been better to do it sooner. another thing. i think he has too much on the
plate. >> even now? >> well, yeah. too much. all his -- all his agenda is good. we need to do something about education. we need to do something about energy, health care, of course. all of these things are good but instead of trying to jam it into the first four years, i wish he would say, look. this is going to take eight years. because if you spread it out, it's going to help us a whole lot with deficit and deficit is going to become a big republican argument. >> well, i can't think of a better way to bring in cnbc's maria bartiromo into this conversation. thank you so much for joining us. you hear governor cuomo saying today while health care is a critical issue that the obama white house might have done better politically to wait on this issue but not only politically, economically it might have made more sense to wait on health care reform until they had gotten the economy back to health. what are your thoughts on that and on reports the recession has
kind of bottomed out and we're beginning perhaps to see some growth? >> well, no surprise that i agree with governor cuomo 100%. i think right now we have a lot of important issues on the table. the economy certainly feels like things have bottomed and we have seen the worst, but you know what? we really don't know that for sure. i think that the stock market is reflecting momentum and positive euphoria but that is not necessarily in step with reality. unemployment will continue to rise. commercial real estate remains a question. and if, in fact, we were to see a big blowup there in 2010 that will have ripple effects. i also am very concerned with tax going higher in 2010 just at the same time that the economy recovery is supposed to be gaining traction. that may very well choke things off. obviously, health care is a major, major issue right now, but i think that what we are lacking is detail. you know, kudos to the president for trying to take on as much as he has and to -- for changing
the conversation on a national level to domestic issues. we're not necessarily talking about war in iraq. we're talking about things that matter to all of us as americans, including health care. and i think that's very important, but we lack detail, you know, and think people feel health care is a personal issue and they don't want the government taking over their health care. i also think they need some policies in place to really attack where we're specked the money two-thirds of the money we spend on health care are, frankly, preventable. it's aging and it's disease that could have been preventable. obese person, i have said this many tips, but obese person costs the company twice as much as a smoker because that person may develop diabetes or heart disease. these are the things we need to reverse and things we need to put policies in place to actually make a change before they actually develop into something worse. so i agree on all fronts in terms of what the governor was just saying.
>> maria, thank you for joining us today. governor, i want to follow up on what maria shared there. in particular, this sense there were a couple of very difficult parts of the health care conversation that no one has talked about or certainly not president obama or the republicans. the end of life conversation that the amount of money we have spent. the conversation about weight and obesity and how much that often can play into the disproportionate amount of costs. your thoughts. is it suicide to have those in the midst of a health care conversation or if you were sitting at 1600 pennsylvania avenue, would you be -- >> let's start with the second part of it. the weight and obesity which is basically an argument for prevention. avoid getting obese, et cetera, et cetera. i, as governor, was very proud of a program we began here that
is now a federal program and that is child health plus, because there were a lot of people that didn't have insurance, including children. i went to the insurance companies and said, look, i'll put up money from the treasury, you give treasury. you give me a cheaper policy to get children into primary care. for what? for preventative purposes. take young women who get themselves pregnant, get them into primary care. if they can have primary care, they'll produce fewer developmentally disabled children. >> and no children -- >> that's a very important thing. >> and very concrete part of the decision. we're going to take a quick break. we'll be right back. in fact, when we come back, we'll have not only the final part of our health care conversation, but also bravo's hit show, "flipping out." how has the economic downturn forced him to rethink his business. we've got him and chief cea next.
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i might have to start off small again, like i did ten years ago. maybe buy those $700,000 houses for $450,000 and put in $50,000 and sell them for $650,000. and then i build up my reserves again. i don't know. i'm just trying to figure it out. >> and when you work for someone else -- >> all right. he's our favorite obsessive-compulsive interior decorator and house flipper. he's back on bravo this season, "flipping out." the economic downturn has made jeff louis a little more human. in addition to selling houses, he's now hired himself out as a design consultant. jeff louis joins me along with his chief executive assistant, jenny. good to see you guys. >> good to see you. >> so, jeff, all this ocd action, is it working for interior decorating? is that actually helpful in this world in which you've gone from flipping homes to that? is that a good thing?
>> absolutely. when you remodel a house, there's a thousand different details. there are things that i see that no one else sees. so i've built a reputation for producing a pretty publiolished product. so i'm working for other people, and i think that there's a lot of benefits for working for other people. i can't really think of any right now, but i've been working for myself for ten years and this economy hit me hard. the real estate market, it really crept up on me fast. >> you didn't see it at all? >> i saw it coming, but we dropped about 30% in los angeles and i was holding probably seven multimillion dollar homes. so it was a fire sale, but i got out, thank god. i really took any reasonable offer, because i knew if i got stuck holding seven properties worth $15 million, i would be, basically, filling out an application to be your assistant. >> which is a good thing. we only have a minute, but, jenny, i've got to talk about life with jeff here. jeff is openly ocd.
he's now trying to set you up in matchmaking. he had you over here, helping me out during the break. how's life with jeff? >> it's good. i have a lot of respect for jeff, because he's the best at what he does. i think that's why a lot of people have enjoyed our show. he is particular, but his product is amazing. >> we'll leave it there, but promise me you'll come back next week. >> no. >> i promise. >> i'm busy, but jeni can come back. >> i want to thank today's cohost, governor mark cuomo for being with us. dr. nancy snyderman picks up our coverage from here. but i've still got room for the internet. with my new netbook from at&t. with its built-in 3g network, it's fast and small, so it goes places other laptops can't. i'm bill kurtis, and wherever i go, i've got plenty of room for the internet.
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on capitol hill? last night a telephone teleconference revealed some of their concerns. and how safe is the nation's food supply? every year, we produce vast amount of s of cheap food, but is it really doing to our health. and we're obviously living in the age of internet, and some people say they're absolutely, seriously addicted to their second life online. how some people are kicking their high-tech habit. it's a human being, an individual who was born as a woman, has lived all her life as a woman, and is now in a position where this is being questioned. >> questions of gender identity. how appearance and performance can impact how we are perceived and how others react to us. hello, everyone, i'm dr. nancy snyderman. today we begin with health care reform, again, front and center
at the white house. right now president obama is meeting with tom daschle, the first choice to head up the department of health and human services, and lead the reform effort for health care. daschle supports a public option for reform and also in taxing employer-sponsored health benefits to pay for it. nbc capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell, joining me now live from washington, d.c. kelly, daschle, even though he didn't get the position, certainly hasn't left the landscape. do we have any idea what their meeting is about? >> well, it's very important to look at the history of tom daschle, to get a sense of how he might be helpful to the president here. as you may remember, he was the senate majority leader, that means he had very deep ties and long relationships with members of the senate, many of whom are still there. he's got an ear on the ground. he understands how they work, he knows the procedure and the personality, and that can be very helpful to give him some information, taking that to the president to really get a sense of where things are. also, since tom daschle left the se