tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 11, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
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suspension of departing flights from reagan international airport. the coast guard said it was an overreaction to an overheard radio call made on the training frequency. >> their discussions were taken out of context and what we have seen as a reaction to a training exercise that really was just that. >> at the same time the president was actually traveling across a nearby bridge on its way back to washington from the pentagon there at the site where 184 people were killed. president obama renewed his pledge to pursue the terrorist responsible. he urged the nation to stand united. >> on a day when others sought to sap our confidence, let us renew our common purpose. let us remember how we came together as one nation, as one people, as americans.
>> earlier at the white house, the president and the first lady led the nation in a moment of silence honoring the heroes of 9/11. and also remembering the victims at the time, the very moment when the first plane, of course, struck the first tower. in new york, vice president joe biden mourned with families at ground zero where victims' families read the names of the 2,752 people who died there. >> joseph endomieni sr. >> david lawrence angel. >> and my father, herman charles brookhammer. we miss your smile and laughter. we love you very much. in shanksville, pennsylvania, former secretary of state colin powell said that the bravery of the passengers aboard united airline flight 93 saved thousands of lives because they fought back against the hijackers. also today, a key senate leader pressures the white house on afghanistan. why the chairman of the senate armed services committee, carl levin, is warning today against
sending additional u.s. forces. he will be joining us later this hour. and a possible medical breakthrough. the first test of the h1n1 swine flu vaccine show that's only one shot will be needed, meaning twice as many americans can be covered with the expected supply. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. and we're beginning today with confusion on the potomac. a routine coast guard training exercise created quite a stir here in washington. inaccurate initial media reports had shots being fired. that, of course, scrambled federal agencies and even shut down reagan national airport. nbc's pete williams on top of all of it accurately and in realtime accurately. pete, how did this all go so wrong? >> well, what happened here is this is the sequence of events as we understand it. the exercise began about 9:30 on the potomac river between the 14th street and memorial bridges. now, that's not far from the place where the president crossed the river to go over to the pentagon. he was back by 10:00.
at shortly after 10:00, cnn reported that shots had been fired on the potomac. apparently, this is the -- the fact is that someone was monitoring the coast guard frequency, an open frequency that any boater can listen to, in which someone said bang, bang, bang and said that shots had been fired and said that there was some boat on the potomac that was not following instructions to stop. now, this involved not just radio transmissions but boths like these, coast guard fast patrol boats, four in all. one was pretending to be the boat that didn't stop. the other three boats were in an exercise to try to stop it. the coast guard says transmission, normally the routine is to say this is an exercise. this is a drill. we're checking to see whether that actually happened. have you two problems here. one is the reporting that wasn't correct. secondly, the question of whether this exercise should have been conducted today, a day of sensitive memorials and the fact the president was crossing
the bridge. homeland security secretary janet napolitano was asking for a review and the coast guard said it will conduct a review to find out whether they should have done this and how it all happened. >> this is what the coast guard had to say. you watched that briefing as well. this is vice admiral john courier. and explaining they do this four days a week. this is routine. but one could question the timing on, of course, 9/11. let's watch. >> we will look at our procedures and our timing of this exercise. but i will tell you this, we are charged with 7 by 24, 365 all day every day, all weather security and safety on maritime interests in the national capital region. we train every day. we have crews that are highly proficient and this is a routine exercise. >> a routine exercise but, again, the timing, janet napolitano is as the reorganized homeland, it is in charge of the coast guard.
it is in charge of the transportation. it is not a military unit per se. robert gibbs defended the coast guard in not notifying the white house. the white house was, apparently to gibbs, secret service, not notified this was going on. >> and in fact they do do this all the time. it would be, i think, ahn realistic to every law enforcement agency that does a training exercise is going to tell every other one they're doing that. the question is the sensitivity of today. the other question, of course, how this ever got reported in the first place when there was -- when the coast guard itself says it was unable to confirm these reports because shots never were fired. now, i have been out on these patrol boats with the coast guard. i was out with them in january when they were increasing their security for the inauguration and i have been in with them on these exercises. they do do them all the time. but the fact is, there was confusi confusion. the national airport right near was shut down for 20 minutes and it stopped 17 outbound flights or delayed them. >> pete williams, we will look forward to your reporting throughout the day and on "nbc
nightly news" with brian williams later. thank you very much, pete. pressuring the white house on afghanistan, chairman of the armed services committee, senator carl levin, says today that the goal should be a successful surge in afghan forces. he warned against sending more additional u.s. troops. >> the best way to achieve that goal in my judgment is that we increase and accelerate dramatically our efforts to support the afghan security forces in their efforts to become self-sufficient in delivering security to their own nation before we consider whether to increase u.s. combat forces above the levels already planned for the next few months. >> and senator levin now joins us live from capitol hill. senator, thanks so much. i want to give you a chance to explain from your perspective, having just come back from afghanistan and as the chairman of the armed services committee
why you have reached this conclusion at a point where the white house is still trying to come to grip with what to do, what decision the president should make? >> the afghan army is motivated. the afghan people hate the taliban. so you have those two important building blocks to start with. so i've concluded, and i think many people would support this, that our primary goal should be to strengthen the afghan army and the police to provide the necessary training and equipment and also to see if we can't reintergate some of the lower level taliban people, who are the young people who aren't the religious zealots but are being taken advantage of by the leaders. the key issue here is whether or not we should put our focus on strengthening the army of afghanistan as the first order of business before we consider sending any additional combat forces from the united states, more than already are on their
way. >> now, at the same time we've had reports from dick holbrooke when he was traveling there a couple of weekends ago that some of the southern commanders there in afghanistan are calling for more troops. does your recommendation come in conflict with some of the men on the field or have they reassessed in the intervening weeks? >> i'm not sure what the recommendation is going to be. we don't -- we have heard that general mccrystal is going to be recommending additional combat forces but we don't know. we had a long talk with him exploring the situation in afghanistan. but we just don't know for sure what that recommendation's going to be. but i know what my recommendation is. i believe the best chance of success in afghanistan, and we've got to enhance our chances of success, particularly remembering on this day what happened in afghanistan when the taliban took over and provided a safe haven for al qaeda. we've got to make sure that does not happen again and the best way to do that is for the afghans to do what they want to do, which is to provide for
their own security with their own forces. they want to do that and we should help them do that before we consider sending additional forces and combat forces and increasing the size of our footprint because, you know, al qaeda just loves to take propaganda benefit from american forces being present. >> now that is, of course, not to say doing a training mission doesn't carry a great deal of risk for our troops in the field. can that be done safely without increasing the u.s. footprint? >> yeah, i think on a training mission you don't have the combat forces which are going out and doing the actual combat. the training mission is a much different mission and also in that mission, we should get much more support from our nato allies. they have not come through in many cases with the kind of training -- trainers and other support that they have committed to do and we've got to put much greater pressure on our nato allies. some of them have done more than their share. a few have.
this isn't overgeneralized but many of the nato countries have not done what they committed to do. at least what comes to the trainers, which will be essential to get that afghan army to a much larger size much more quickly, they will have to do much better on the nato side. by the way, one other thing, andrea, when it comes to equipping the afghanistan army, everyone talks about equipping the afghanistan army faster. we have a million and a half pieces of equipment or some number like that coming back from iraq. we do not have a major effort going on the way we should to move some of the that equipment from iraq to afghanistan to the army of afghanistan rather than bringing it back home. >> senator, when you talk about the future in afghanistan, you can't escape the reality that you've got a disputed election, widespread fraud and really no credibility to the karzai results, even if he is eventually validated. how do you train the afghan army and have a credible fighting force when you don't have a
political regime that is respected even within his own country? >> it obviously complicates it a great deal. that will be needed to be sorted out hopefully in a way which is acceptable to the afghan people. either with a runoff election or something in some other way which satisfies the people and gives the credibility the election should have. it's a complicating fact, there's no doubt about it. but that complication exists regardless of what course of action we take. >> bottom line, though, what you suggested about nato and just this week, president sarkozy and the our european leaders sent a letter to the u.n. saying that they want to have a meeting, summit meeting, to talk about afghanistan because there is declining support. we can see the pressure already in the uk on the prime minister, so there's a lot of political trouble in europe about ramping up from the nato side. but bottom line now, nancy pelosi this week talked about not having more troops. now you as the most credible military leader in the senate
are saying the same thing. will congress not approve more troops even if the president decides that that's what he wants? >> we don't know what the congress will do until we get a recommendation from the president and from general mccrystal. but i believe very strongly that when it comes to more combat troops, which are the people who are the most visible with the greatest footprint, with the greatest risk in afghanistan, that we should not at this time be committing to more combat forces until we have done what we need to do, and in which i think most people believe we should do, which is to strengthen the afghan army both with getting them much larger and with better equipment. >> senator, just to ask you about what happened in the potomac today with the coast guard. perhaps a poorly timed training exercise routine and completely blown up by erroneous media reports. at the same time, do you think that perhaps the homeland security committee on the senate side is going to want to look into whether or not the coast guard is correctly notifying
enough people and timing its exercises? >> i know they would want to make inquiry. what the nature of that inquiry is, of course, would be up to the leaders of that committee. senator lieberman and senator collins. but i'm sure there will be a lot of questions asked, as there should be, both on the timing but also apparently on the lack of notice. whenever -- whatever the timing is, there seems to be a lack of coordination and notice to the secret service. >> all right. senator carl levin, thanks so much for joining us today. >> andrea, good to be with you. of course, as the senator just mentioned, the importance of today. at ground zero today, thousands gathered in the wind and the rain to remember more than 2,700 people who lost their lives there eight years ago. [ bells tolling ] vice president biden and new york city mayor michael
bloomberg both attended this morning's ceremony, along with crowds of mourners. nbc's rehema ellis is also live for us at ground zero. rehema, i know what you went through eight years ago. and this could not have been -- when you think of the weather you're out there in today, i apologize to you, rehema, but talk to us about the mood there today, eight years later. >> today the ceremony and remembrance of those who died eight years ago is just winding down. it's sort of a ritual that people come here every year since 9/11 2001 to honor and remember those who gave their lives here. just remember what it sounded like earlier today. >> martin j. egan jr. carol eggerts and my son frederick john cox. fred, you taught us all what love means. you'll live in our hearts
forever. >> one by one, they read the names of each of the 2,700 people who died here. it was a relative of a victim, as well as today there was a volunteer standing beside them, also reading names. as you know, the president has called this a national day of service. they wanted to be this in recognition of all of those who came out following 9/11 to assist in the recovery and to the removal of rubble out here. they wanted everyone to commit themselves to the same kind of service that so many people committed themselves to on that day. andrea? >> thank you so much. of course, the volunteer that was reading the names there with vice president biden will be joining us later in the program. rehema, thank you very much from ground zero. and up next -- critical new developments, good developments, in the fight against h1n1 swine flu. the important information on just how many shots that you
will need to protect yourself this season from the double threat, of course, of the normal seasonal flu and the h1n1. fda commissioner dr. peggy hamburg joining us next here on "andrea mitchell reports." something new is happening at ethan allen! with "special savings" on select custom dining... and hand-made upholstery. you choose the style... we custom make it. always with free design service. ♪ hand-made for you at ethan allen.
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encouraging news today about the h1n1 swine flu vaccine ahead of its october release. clinical trials now showing that one dose of the vaccine would be enough to protect adults from swine flu. australian and american researchers also determined that protection from the illness would take ten days after the vaccine is administered. dr. peggy hamburg is commissioner of the food and drug administration and joins us now. this is relatively good news. what do we know? >> this is very encouraging. what these preliminary studies
tell us is that the vaccine appears to be safe and effective and that it produces a strong immune response to people who receive it. >> and when you say safe and effective, is that does raise concerns. there have been past instances where in fact there have been unintended consequences and other affects. >> well, any time -- >> in vaccines. >> any time we introduce a new vaccine or are using a vaccine routinely, we need to monitor it to make sure we can recognize and respond to any adverse events that may occur. so a strong vaccine safety monitoring plan is essential, and we are commit to pursuing that so that we can detect any unexpected hopefully rare adverse events that may occur and also so we can distinguish between adverse events that occur routinely. there are people who have heart attacks or mischarges or other bad things. and we want to be able to differentiate between those things that might just be
happening anyway and those adverse events that might indicate a problem with the vaccine. so we're not expecting to see a lot of vaccines. this is very similar to vaccines that we use every year with our seasonal flu vaccine. but we want to have a system in place so that we can ensure the public that we're monitoring and will respond if problems emerge. >> there was back in 1976, i think, an increased incidence of gam beret paralytic disease from a vaccine. this is not something you would expect? >> we do not expect to see that type -- >> this is not that type of vaccine? >> we always monitor carefully and certainly this year we will be scrutinizing very, very carefully to see if there are any problems emerging. but we are preparing this vaccine in the way that we do every year, a lot of experience with seasonal flu vaccine. this is just a strange chain in terms of the vaccine product.
so the manufacturers know how to make it. millions and millions of doses have been made and used safely. so we're very, very optimistic. >> now, the fact that only one dose would be necessary is a big thing because -- is the universe, one, 159 million people you want to actually vaccinate? >> we are targeting high-risk groups as a first priority. we think there's 150 million-plus that fall into the high-risk categories. the individuals that we most want to target in terms of who we think are most vulnerable. >> who are they, younger people? pregnant women? >> children and young adults, ages 6 months to 24 years, pregnant women. older adults and young people who have underlying medical conditions who might put them at risk for more severe complications of flu. and then people who are caring for young infants, 6 months and younger, health care workers and
emergency medical responders. people who will be on the front lines in terms of potential exposures. >> we had a lot of issues of back to school and a lot of reports from colleges about incidents on universities now. 45 states and district of columbia reporting some incidents among college students. what advice do you have to parents sending their kids off to school? there's enough anxiety with that as there is. >> right. the strategy is to try to disrupt normal life as much as possible but also keep people well and safe. parents should know if their children are sick, they should keep them home and keep them home for seven days after their symptoms emerge or for 24 hours after their symptoms go away. parents of kids should get those kids vaccinated. and we're strongly encouraging that as soon as the vaccine becomes available, which will probably be in mid-october. and then good hygiene, handwashing really does make a difference. and if soap and water isn't available, alcohol-based hand
sanitizers. but in coughing and sneezing into your -- your coat or napkin or a handkerchief and then throwing it out. >> finally, the whole issue of the seasonal flu vaccine is also indicated. different risk groups. >> right. >> but people should remember now, is it now or -- >> now. it's a good time to start the vaccin vaccine. it will be quite widely available later this month. we are encouraging people to get both the seasonal flu vaccines. seasonal flu tends to affect the elderly more. they're more of the target population for that. but it is important because there are two different vaccines protecting against two different strains of flu. with seasonal vaccine, it actually protects against three strains in one. but it is important, it's a complicated message for people to understand, but talk to your health care provider, go on the web and look at the hhs website
for guidance, and there will be a campaign to help better explain it to the american people. but get vaccinated. >> that is a campaign which we will help to transmit. >> thank you very much. >> and great to see you. dr. peggy hamburg, the fda commissioner. and eight years after 9/11 and after the attacks, osama bin laden still remains at large. the taliban is gaining strength in afghanistan. the top democrats now say, as you heard from senator levin, sending more american troops to the region might not be the answer. up next -- the state of al qaeda today. what's next in the fight against extremism? all of that on "andrea mitchell reports." of vegetables. consider this... the express route. v8. what's your number? you should know, bayer aspirin is one of most studied, most trusted, anti-fever, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain medications in the world.
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president obama is busy trying to woo health care skeptics in his quest to secure 60 votes to pass the overhaul in the senate. moderate republican senator susan collins serves on the appropriations and armed services and is the ranking republican on homeland security. so a lot on your plate today, senator.
it's great to see you. >> thank you. >> obviously, you are a prime target of the president's quest. i know you're going to the white house around 2:30 this afternoon. what are you going to tell him, and what does he need to tell you? >> i'm going to advise the president and his chief of staff that he really needs to focus on costs. cost containment is absolutely critical if we're going to avoid adding trillions of dollars to the public debt. cost is the major barrier why people don't have insurance now. so i think costs has to be the center of this debate. >> the president devoted quite a bit of his speech the other night to cost. he said he may not be spending a dime more to increase the deficit. he didn't persuade you? >> the problem is that the congressional budget office's estimate of all of the bills that have been produced so far indicate that they add between
$900 billion and $1.6 trillion in new spending. that's a massive increase at a time when we simply can't afford it. the president is yet to produce actual legislative language so maybe he's going to propose some additional cost reductions and health care delivery reforms that will make a difference. but so far everything i have seen does not focus sufficiently on what i believe to be the number one issue. >> senator, one of the problems that the white house has, they're a bit constrained just by the rules. the congressional budget office score counts spending and cuts based on real numbers, real facts in the legislation. what he's proposing involves some notional savings from, you know, reductions in inefficiencies, squeezing money out of the system. is it impossible for the cbo to
score it along the lines of what the white house needs in order to persuade you? >> well, the cbo is very stringent in the approach that it takes, but i understand the reservations about the cbo of trying to assign a cost figure when the savings may prove to be illusive. that suggests that perhaps we should take a bit of a different approach and enact legislation step by step towards our goals and see what the impact is. but there's a lot of consensus on many reforms, and i still believe that it's possible for the president to forge a bill that would be bipartisan. >> john mccain said the other day after the speech that he didn't think the president was really doing the hard bipartisan work, that he wasn't reaching out adequately.
"time" magazine is reporting that you hadn't heard from the president on health care since july. is that still the case? >> well, it was until yesterday. but it's understandable that the president has been focusing on the so-called gang of six, the six members of the senate finance committee, three republicans and three democrats. that makes sense. they're the committee with jurisdiction. so i think that is an appropriate way for the president to have proceeded. but these issues are so complicated, they're so complex. this affects one-sixth of our economy, every single american. we've got to make sure that we get this right. and it's more important that we get it right than that we get it done really quickly. >> bottom line, do you think that there will be any republicans supporting the president? >> it's so hard to tell, and it
really depends on the details of the president's plan. for example, this widespread support in my caucus for medical liability reform. but we don't know what the president's really going to propose when he says pilot project in that area. so the details really matter. >> before i let you go, i wanted to ask you about homeland security, which is another one of your areas of expertise. because we did have this false alarm or misguided reporting, which did put the coast guard right -- right up front with its -- with its training exercise today. would it have been wise for the coast guard not to time this on 9/11? >> well, there's certainly a question about the timing but i think we have to keep in mind that the coast guard is out there training and exercising every single day. that's what we want the coast guard to be doing. the homeland security committee will be looking into the timing,
plus the communications to see if they were flawed. but at this point i think i'm going to with hold judgment until we get more facts. i have enormous respect for the coast guard, and it seems to me while the timing was very questionable today, that we do want them out there training and doing their jobs. >> susan collins, thank you very much. republican from maine. >> thank you. and up next -- terrorism analyst michael sheehan on the fight against al qaeda. stay with us. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. i should've been... doing more for my high cholesterol. what was i thinking? but now i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds of heart surgeries... if you have several common risk factors... or heart disease.
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if you get sick, or change jobs. eight ways reform matters to you. a cap on deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. no annual or lifetime limits on coverage. preventive care. covered. pre-existing conditions. covered. no higher rates due to gender. extended coverage for young adults. no more coverage denied if you get sick. and guaranteed renewal, even if you do. learn more today. let's not show fear in the face of threats from terrorists hiding in caves. we must show resolve and confidence in the american system. >> general colin powell, the former secretary of state, of course, speaking at the memorial in pennsylvania for victims of flight 93. shanksville, pennsylvania. eight years later, what does this say of al qaeda?
joining us now, nbc news terrorism analyst michael sheehan and former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism for new york city, for the police department, and former state department ambassador at large for counterterrorism. thank you so much for joining us, michael. >> thank you, andrea. >> well, where are we eight years later? how better protected are we when we look at the fight against al qaeda? >> well, andrea, without a question over the last eight years, we have diminished al qaeda's capability to attack us in the u.s. and more broadly in the west. they remain, however, a very strong and resilient organization with a tremendous, strong ideology, strong number of adherence around the world that are willing to do their bidding but they haven't had the capability, the strategic reach to attack us in the united states. and that's due to a lot of things that have been done over the last eight years to keep pressure on them. in my view, however, if we let up on that pressure, they'll be back at us. >> how surprised are you there has not been another attack on the homeland? >> i am surprised but not as surprised as most.
al qaeda as an organization have known since their inception, and it was a relatively small organization on 9/11. and an organization that was operating beneath the radar of both the united states and a lot of the intelligence communities around the world. after 9/11, the tremendous weight of the u.s. government came down on this organization and to include a cooperation globally to really put pressure on this organization, not just in afghanistan but everywhere from the cities in the united states, to europe, africa, across asia, to put enormous pressure on this organization which has diminished that strategic capability. however, right now they remain very resilient in afghanistan and primarily in pakistan and are trying to rebuild that capability to reach out and get to us in the u.s. >> and, in fact, you know, it's obvious that osama bin laden has not been captured, but in fact what we are hearing from senator levin today, nancy pelosi the other day, is that we should not be expanding our military troops
in afghanistan. we see that the government in afghanistan does not have the credibility. we see all sorts of problems in pakistan. how far along really are we when we look at the real fight against al qaeda on its home turf? >> well, we face a real dilemma in afghanistan, andrea. on the one hand, our military leaders call for more troops and whether to improve security but we also know the bigger the american footprint is there with american soldiers, it contributes to exactly the same types of tensions that give these extremists space in afghanistan. the other dilemma is that we have this very heavily militarized family in afghanistan to deal with the taliban in al qaeda. and even pakistan where we have no soldiers. so somehow we're going to have to come up with a strategy where over time our floor structure, our soldiers on the ground will have to come down, but we have to come up with strategies of intelligence and the use of cooperation with the local agencies and judicious use of predator air strikes and special operation forces, that continue to put pressure on al qaeda
without having this tremendous commitment of american forces on the ground in afghanistan and to a lesser degree in iraq as well. >> michael sheehan, thank you so much from new york. >> you're welcome, andrea. up next -- we will be talking to the man who is using the loss of his brother on 9/11 to inspire other people to help people in need. >> my little brother is my greatest hero. not just for the way he died but for the way he lived. with acts large and small, glen always tried to help people, usually people he didn't even know. command center. ( both revving ) a sophisticated sedan. a sports car. together. nissan maxima, the four-door sports car. now get a new nissan maxima for 0% apr financing for 60 months.
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like so many other firefighters on that day, glen died while rushing in to rescue people trapped in the south tower of the world trade center. jay winnick joins me now. he is co-founder of mygooddeed.org and is spearheading service efforts. your brother, glen winnick, he was not a new york city firefighter. he was a volunteer and emt and he simply rushed from his law office to try to help the people in the south building. do you want to tell us what happened? >> that's correct, andrea. glen was a volunteer firefighter for almost 20 years on long island, in our hometown of jericho. and he was an attorney at a nearby office building about a block and a half away and so he racefordd from a position of sa when his building was cleared out towards the south tower and died when the south tower came down. so he's truly an american hero. >> tell us about your service projects. you have come up with such a wonderful way, jay, of memorializing your brother and all of the other victims. >> well, soon after 9/11, a
group of family members, 9/11 family members, got together also with my friend david payne, who i co-founded this organization with, because we were so impressed with the spirit of community service that so spontaneously rose after the attacks and which were sustained for months on end really that we thought that was too valuable a lesson to waste. so we thought it would really make sense to establish 9/11 as a national day of service in honor of those who perished and who rose in service, but also was a productive way forward. >> michelle and barack obama spent part of the morning at habitat for humanity here in washington. they are following your example. how can other people, other americans, follow this call for service? a lot of people, jay, after 9/11 felt that there was a moment when americans could really come together in the volunteer spirit, and that perhaps that moment passed and needs to be rekindled. >> well, you know, you make a good point but we don't really
think it's past and people around the country are looking for a way to properly mark this day. when they come across this notion of engaging in charitable service, it really makes sense to them because it is productive and it is also respectful. so we encourage people to go to our website, which is 911dayofservice.org where they can pledge to a day of service, learn about service activities that are happening all over the country and all over the world, for that matter, and find out more about how they can get involved. >> jay winuck, thank you, we thank you for your example and we, again, extend our deepest sympathies for your loss. but have you done everything possible to try to turn it into something better. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> thanks again for joining us today. here's a look at some other 9/11 memorials that are taking place around the world today. u.s. soldiers stationed in okina okinawa, japan, marked the anniversary with a ceremony on base. in russia, the u.s. ambassador lit candles for the victims at a
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we heard from susan collins earlier in the program, the biggest single issue on health care right now is how to pay for it the president says it will not cost a dime more, add a dime more to the budget. here with me, pat buchanan and vin weber, former member of congress, former member of the administration, the real an administration, the nixon administration. >> various others. >> let's talk about what happened this week. >> sure. >> the president's speech. vin, you were a member of congress. joe wilson, a current member of congress, what did you think of the performance? >> first of all, i think the president gave as good a speech's could give under the
circumstances and the circumstances i'm referring to is the fact he has given so many already, it was hard to give much new. joe wilson embarrassed himself, his party and the house of representatives t is unfortunate for the republicans this was the image that came out of there i made a point it wasn't all good for the democrats either, instead of spending a couple dies build on the momentum the president got from his speech, we spent a couple days arguing about joe wilson and that's led to more discussion of this i shall a u of are illegal aliens covereden the obama health care proposal that is not what they want to be talking about. wilson made a mistake, he apologized, but didn't help the democrats. >> the white house is not unhappy the message coming out of the republican message is not the bullet points from charlie busany who gave the opposition point of view, but is joe wilson being rude to the president of the united states? people don't like that. >> people don't like that but i
agree with him that doesn't help barack obama get the necessary votes he needs to win this i can. as charlie rangel said, i don't think he added a single vote with that speech. i think that speech was excellent, partisan, barack obama's best day of this thing. andrea, i think he made a mistake in this. he played his ace of trumps, i think he played it too early, i would have waited for this bill -- wait for the bill. >> he had to change the atmosphere though. >> he did turn it around, i agree. >> gain control. >> he turned all where he was just getting beat up all over, he turned around, stepped out front, in effect, scored a touchdown i think he did early. vin and i made, i think he has the horses to win this thing if they handle it right. and the key guys are the blue dogs. they are the guys tough satisfy, they are the guys seats at risk if they vote for this thing. >> vin, let me show you tim pawlenty on "morning joe" today and what he had to say about the
cost control. >> both numbers, as you know, you just said are a complete crock, nobody believes them, you don't believe them, i don't even think the president's administration fully believes them, they are not going to get the money out of waste, fraud and abuse. what they are going to do is raise taxes or cutter is advices. >> i guess that is a term of art, a complete crock. >> minnesota and wisconsin, a crock is what you put cheese in. >> i get it. >> i don't know if that is a positive thing. >> i get it. the cbs poll numbers, after the speech, 52% believed in his handling of health care, before the speech, 40 a 12-point bump. but greenburg, independent focus group, half mccain voters, half obama in the denver area and got big increases in the passion on the side of the president rather than the opposition and also that he gave control of the debate. >> i agree with that, andrea, but agreed with what pat said a few moments ago, he played his highest cart and got the bounce you talked about. all likelihood what, we know
about the health care, not just from this debate, clinton, catastrophic health care in the '80s, time goes on, support is going to erode again and we are not voting this week or next week. the question is what cards can the president play when they actually get up on the eve of a vote? already played his biggest card. it is a wasting asset. you are right, a 12-point gain that is terrific, but going to go down steadily. here is where the battle is going to be engaged, get something solid that is the obama bill and then all the guns will be firing on that. what is it going to cost? is this credible? i think we are going to be right back in august. i do think he has the horses to do it, but this is a 50/50 shot right now. >> all right. we have to leave it there. and going back to the spirit of 9/11, and i want to thank both of to you, pat buchanan and vin weber. the president and the first lady vol teared as a habitat for humanity project in steamwood, northeast of washington. they visited a three-home development that will be completed next year. and they went into one of the
houses where they helped to paint the living room. the president used a roller to paint a wall while mrs. obama took care of a corner with a brush. and that does it for me this hour. good works for them. i'm andrea mitchell. john harwood and norah o'donnell are next with the "new york times" special edition. you all have a great weekend. see you monday. there was a time i wouldn't step out of the house without my makeup. now, it's no problem. (announcer) neutrogena tone correcting night serum with high performance soy to even skin tone and active retinol to speed cell turn over.
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