tv Eyewitness News Upclose ABC August 16, 2015 11:00am-11:30am EDT
so long from des moines, iowa. >> announcer: this is "eyewitness news upclose with diana williams." >> the worst outbreak of legionnaires' disease in new york city history -- at least a dozen people dead now. more than 120 others diagnosed and treated and survived. this morning, a closer look at the city's response and efforts to try to contain the bacteria that had been breeding in cooling towers. >> it was a vote of conscience for me. it'll be a vote of conscience for my colleagues. >> but first, new york senior u.s. senator charles schumer, apparently after much angst and discussion, comes out against the iran nuclear deal, the first democratic senator to come out against this deal, and a big blow for the white house. will enough democrats join republicans to block this deal and hand president obama a rather large defeat? good morning, everyone. i'm bill ritter, in for diana williams.
the stage now set for what will likely be a monumental debate and with monumental implications around the world. opponents of this nuclear deal with iran say the agreement might green-light iran to become a nuclear state. >> this agreement sanctions a threshold iranian nuclear state after 10 to 15 years. that means the united states and all the governments of the world say it's okay for iran to be a threshold nuclear state. that's a lot different than it doing it on its own. >> that's senator schumer, but new york's other u.s. senator, kirsten gillibrand, who supports the deal, says if iran cheats or reneges, the u.s. can easily re-impose those devastating economic sanctions. >> if iran breaches the agreement, the strongest part of this provision -- of this deal is that all sanctions will snap back immediately, and we can call for those sanctions to snap back unilaterally. if iran decides to breach this agreement and start production
that is not allowed, we will be able to snap back sanctions and then make a decision about whether military action is needed. if we do not support this agreement, we are left with very limited options. >> this debate, as you see, so difficult, so many angles. it has, as you saw, divided new york's two democratic u.s. senators -- usually on the same page on these kinds of issues. joining us this morning, congressman peter king from his office in massapequa park in long island's nassau county. congressman king, a republican, is on the permanent select committee on intelligence. just got a classified briefing on the deal from secretary of state john kerry. congressman, good morning. how are you? >> i'm fine, bill. how are you? >> good. thanks. tell us about this meeting you had with secretary kerry. >> well, actually, he briefed a number of members of congress, have also been briefed by the cia and other elements of the intelligence community. i was actually critical of the type of briefing john kerry gave. apart from the merits -- and i do oppose the agreement -- but apart from that, john kerry's attitude was that this is the only agreement that -- without the agreement, there's gonna be
a war, so if you vote against the agreement, you're voting for a war and that you don't understand what the agreement is about. and i think he made a mistake in addressing it that way. and most of the opposition that came to him, apart from the maybe expected republican opposition, were some democrats, people like brad sherman of california, for instance. and then since then we've seen eliot engel come out against it. so i think john kerry used the wrong approach in trying to convince people to vote for the agreement. and there's a number of questions i don't think he answered, certainly not to my satisfaction, but again, it's gonna be part of the ongoing debate between now and -- i guess september 17th is the deadline. >> did you tell secretary kerry that you didn't like the way he presented his arguments? >> no, there was -- again, i didn't even get to speak. others were asking the questions. you know, it's sort of a large group, and i basically asked my questions at the intelligence committee briefing, which i got from the cia and the state department people. >> and how do they feel about this?
>> oh, you know, they're supporting it, and there's a question of whether or not the cia should get involved in actually endorsing the agreement or encouraging support of the agreement. that's not really the role for the cia. obviously the state department people support it. that's their job. but the main objection i have to the agreement is that assuming that iran doesn't cheat, assume that iran lives up to every provision of the agreement, the fact is at the end of 10 years, they will be -- they will have a nuclear infrastructure in place. they will be within one year of producing a nuclear weapon. and in the meantime, they will have gotten $100 billion to $150 billion in sanctions relief. that's money pumped into their economy, and you will have businesses from all over the world dealing with iran, and they will be able to use that money to spread terrorism around the world, and they will then have the capacity within a brief period of time to have a nuclear weapon. now, i assume they will cheat, and i assume that they will try to work around the agreement,
but they don't really have to. i think the agreement itself allows them to become a nuclear power, and that's -- i think, as best i understand is, is chuck schumer's main objection to it, too. >> well, there are many countries around the world that are, in fact, nuclear power sufficient, right? >> oh, yeah. we have always, certainly for the last 25, 30 years, considered iran to be in a different category in that it is a -- it's probably the largest spreader of terrorism throughout the world. it's a mortal enemy of israel, mortal enemy of the united states, and it is basically controlled by madmen, and that would separate it from, for instance, russia and china. now, we didn't want russia and china to get the nuclear weapon, either, but that doesn't mean we should allow iran to get it, and that's why the world is united on these sanctions. >> secretary kerry and certainly the president have said that there has been something of a regime change in iran and why not try and give this new leader some backing, take off the
sanctions, and, for the first time, have some inspections that might have some teeth to them? and as senator gillibrand said, you heard in our tape piece with her, if they renege, if they cheat, we can impose those sanctions, which they don't want. >> first, to go back to my point, they don't really have to cheat. i think they will, but even if they don't, at the end of 10 years, they will still have their nuclear infrastructure in place, all the sanctions, and they will be on the verge of having a nuclear weapon. so they don't even have to cheat to make this agreement work for them. as far as the other part of your question, bill, was on -- oh, yeah, about a regime change. >> yeah. >> and this is where there's an honest philosophical difference, and, you know, we're not gonna know the answer for another 10 or 15 years. the president, i believe, genuinely is convinced, or at least he strongly believes, that within a period of time, iran, if it's welcomed into the community of nations, will act in a responsible way and that there will be enough changes within the iranian government which will cause iran to act
more responsibly, not to be a spreader of terrorism throughout the world. i say that is too dangerous a gamble to take. i believe we have to either maintain the sanctions or maintain our own sanctions, try to get the allies to stand with us. some of the french leaders have indicated they would be willing to do that. you know, we'll have to see. but again, i just think there's nothing -- right now there's no real evidence to indicate iran is going to change, and absent that, to me, you know, there's too big a risk to take. but that's where the honest disagreement comes in. >> the argument in favor of this deal, one of the arguments that i've heard, is that if we don't go ahead with this, if we continue the economic sanctions, iran's gonna go around that anyway, perhaps build a nuclear weapon without the oversight of inspections, and get money from somewhere else. >> well, the sanctions have worked up till now. i mean, that's what brought iran to the table, and that's why i think it was a mistake to put ourselves in the position where either we have to take the agreement or we say iran can go off on their own.
i still believe there's enough pressure that can be brought, and that's -- this is also senator schumer's position that what has to be done here is to, again, mobilize the support -- certainly the french, the british -- maybe not the russians or the chinese, but certainly the french and the british -- to stand strong and continue to impose the sanctions on iran until we -- we started these negotiations for the purpose of preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon. now we're guaranteeing them the opportunity to get a nuclear weapon. and, again, 10 years is really a matter of minutes when you're talking about the history of a country. >> although in politics, it's a long time, right? in politics, 10 years is forever. >> it's forever or it's tomorrow. it's hard to say. but, again, we have to make the best estimate we can, and i'm right now reluctant to give iran basically this clear glide path toward a nuclear weapon on the hope that they will change their type of government in the next 10 years. >> what's fascinating about this
debate, aside from getting in the weeds of all the pros and cons, it seems to me this is the kind of intellectually honest, for the most part, lack of vitriolic discussion and debate that the country used to have about important issues. you don't hear the screaming from most people and anger that has existed, frankly, among your colleagues for the last 5 to 10 years. >> yeah, and i would hope it stays that way. i would hope that we do retain it on a higher level. and i must say, though, i'm critical of the president also, though, when he said that republicans who oppose the agreement are the same as the ayatollahs in iran or the mullahs in iran. i mean, i don't think he'd be putting chuck schumer in that position of comparing him to the ayatollahs. i think it was wrong for the president to make that comparison. but i agree with your general premise that we are discussing pretty coherent and, you know, solid issues here, not just name-calling. >> okay, speaking of name-calling -- we have a couple minutes left -- i do want to talk to you about your colleagues in the republican party in the presidential primaries.
you saw the debate 10 days ago with the republican candidates divided into groups of 10 and 7. what do you think of what's happening? what do you think of fellow new yorker donald trump and the role he's playing right now, and what's your assessment of where things stand here, you know, whatever it is, a year and three months before the election? >> you know, donald trump has really tapped into something. he's really tapped into an anger and a discontentedness there. obviously some of his positions i wouldn't agree with. but i do think that he is -- first of all, you had 25 million people watching the debate. that's 2 1/2 million times -- 2 1/2 times more people watched that than watched the obama/clinton debate back in 2008. so it shows the type of interest that's been generated here. and i think also on some issues, like, for instance, when megyn kelly went after donald trump, he was right to come back after her. i mean, she got into the arena with him, and i think both of them could handle themselves. it made for good television. i think both of them did what they had to do. >> does it make for good
politics? may make for good television. >> well, we'll see. it's definitely brought more people into watching it and focusing on it. and i think they basically saw a good group of republican candidates. i thought marco rubio handled himself very well. i think jeb bush was solid and is sort of putting himself in place for the long haul. i think if you look at scott walker, he came across in a credible way. and in the first debate, i thought carly fiorina, you know, did an excellent job, so... and no one on the stage i don't think gave a bad performance. now, if you look at the democratic side, you're talking about basically, you know, some warhorses from the past that are still there. the democrat -- i mean, the republicans showed diversity, both ethnic diversity, racial diversity, gender diversity, people from all ages, from, you know, 40s to the 70s were all there. so, again, i thought it was basically a good debate. now, obviously the attention was generated by donald trump, and i think, you know, we owe him
something for that. and i think he's gonna stay in this. and so far, he's proven all of the pundits wrong. and he does have that new york style, and i would hope, though, that he gets more specific in his positions, he's tapped into the anger, and that gives him the opportunity to really project a platform out there. if he does that, i think he's gonna be in this for a while. >> with 17 candidates out there, you had toyed with the idea of running. do you regret it now not doing it? >> you know, when i was watching it, i did. i mean, i wish i was up there on the stage, but, you know, the reality is that you need just the money to keep going. i mean, these guys have $30 million, $40 million, $50 million. jeb bush has over $100 million. donald trump has $10 billion, as he says. and to be effective, you have to really have a good $10 million or $15 million just to get started, to get off the ground, to build an organization. also, i do have a, you know, real job. i'm a congressman. i'm on the intelligence committee, the homeland security committee, financial services committee, and i just didn't have the luxury of running around the country trying to raise the money that would be needed to have a good race. but i have no regrets.
that's life. that's the way it is. and i'm just gonna try and get behind. >> well, you know you're busy with your day job, and we always appreciate you taking time to talk to us. congressman pete king from long island, we appreciate your take on iran and your party's race. thanks. appreciate it. >> take care. just ahead, from politics to the legionnaires' disease outbreak in new york city. our dr. richard besser coming to join us on the disease. how the city's handled it and what residents should look out for.
a legionnaires' outbreak in new york city has killed at least a dozen people. more than 100 others have been infected by the bacteria. at least 20 cooling towers tested positive. but to be clear, we don't yet know the exact towers that are actually responsible for infecting the people. we're gonna talk about it, taking a closer look. joining us in the studio is abc's chief health and medical editor, dr. richard besser. rich, thank you for joining us. it's thursday. this is airing sunday. but this is what we know right now. 121 cases. that includes the deaths. no additional cases since august 3rd. 10th straight day now. it'll be 13 by the time we go on air of any new cases. is this over? >> it's over. it's over. you know, it doesn't mean there won't be more cases of legionnaires' disease in new york city. each year, there are up to 300 cases. but this outbreak is over. and there are number of reasons you can say that. if you look at the curve of cases, there was this steep rise that was occurring. they cultured cooling towers. they did what's called an epidemic investigation to try
and plot out where people were and what towers were most likely to be responsible for this. >> using google earth, right? >> they used google earth, yeah, to locate. because was no registration of cooling towers in new york city. so they used google earth to look for these cooling towers. they went out and they cultured towers. they found it in many towers. but their data pointed to a couple towers as the likely culprits. and so they disinfected all these towers. and then if you look at the curve, there was a sharp drop-off. given the incubation period of legionnaires' disease -- it can be up to a couple weeks -- you expect to see some stragglers. but if they hit the right towers, you expect that the numbers are gonna be coming down, and that's what they saw. >> so, this new legislation has been proposed by the city and state, one of the first times that governor cuomo and mayor de blasio actually getting together to do something jointly. is this gonna help having owners of the buildings with the cooling towers on them mandatory inspections -- if not, they're gonna face fines. >> inspections is great, and requiring the testing is great.
i mean, requiring the maintenance is great. the part that i'm not so sure about is the value of testing cooling towers for legionella. you know, legionella -- i studied it for years when i was at the cdc -- it's a really difficult bacteria to get out of water systems. it hides in different places. it hides in the slime that's on the inside of pipes. it hides inside amoeba, which can be in water and water systems. and so, just finding legionella in a cooling tower or in a water system doesn't mean that it's a risk. what you want to make sure is that the ph of the water there is correct, that the chlorine levels, if that's being used as your protectant, is at the right level, and that they're scrubbing it down to get the film off of there. >> you said that this is one of the most difficult diseases to prevent and detect and all that stuff. why is it so hard? because of all what you just said? >> yeah, because of all of those factors. you know, each year, the cdc estimates there are up to 18,000 hospitalized cases of
legionnaires' disease a year. the estimates are a bit fuzzy. but that's a lot of disease. and outbreaks they're able to control by making sure that cooling towers are well-maintained and whirlpool spas and decorative fountains. but there's disease that occurs outside of that, outside the outbreak system, that we have no idea how to control. >> who's most at risk? >> well, you know, the people who are at risk are those who actually are at greatest risk of having a bad outcome -- so, those who are older, those who have lung disease, people who have heart disease and diabetes, smokers -- current and former smokers -- and then anyone with a suppressed immune system. they're at risk of getting this infection. and their bodies are the least able to fight it off. >> you also gave us some ideas about what the symptoms are. we have a full-screen graphic about that, as well. >> that's right. so, these are flu-like symptoms. so, cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, headaches. you know, during the winter, that's what we say, if you have that, you probably have the flu. during a legionnaires' outbreak, if you're in the south bronx, we
say get tested for legionnaires' disease. >> there have been some political ramifications of all this, but the city comptroller yesterday, scott stringer, suggested that the mayor and the city did not act fast enough to deal with this disease. you followed it very closely. what do you think? >> i followed it very closely and was in very close contact with the people doing the investigation. i think they did a great job. i really do. you know, they detected this because they have an outbreak detection system that was triggered when there was an increased rate of legionnaires' disease in those areas, and that's when they sprung into action and they took these steps. i think they did a really good job for so much politics around this. >> well, there is. we're not gonna talk to you about it, but we have political experts coming up next that i will talk about. >> yeah. >> personal question -- you are a public health doctor. you're a pediatrician. your whole life designed for public health. you come to television. we all saw you during the swine flu epidemic. you were acting director of the cdc. we all said, "this guy's really good. he's good on television." sure enough, here you come to abc. are you having fun?
is it what you thought? do you miss the public health part of this? >> i miss it. i miss it. when i see an outbreak like that, i used to head up legionnaires' disease at cdc. and so, you know, we would assist states and cities in this kind of thing. and, you know, i'm passionate about that kind of work. >> clearly. >> i love talking about it, too, you know, and cutting through the noise to say, "here's what you can do to protect yourself. here's what's going on. here's what's good and here's what's not." and it's kind of fun holding the city's feet to the fire, as well. >> you reached millions of people as an official public health doctor. you're reaching millions of people doing what you're doing. and i'm glad you're here. >> thanks, bill. >> all right, rich, rich besser. when we come back, presidential politics. donald trump still leading in the polls despite continued controversy, and predictions from some pundits that his candidacy will fizzle. of course, many of those pundits never thought trump would ever be in this position. just saying. we take the measure of all this from our two insightful political analysts coming up
>> welcome back. now that we're counting, but 449 days until the next presidential election -- several lifetimes, politically speaking. but the treadmill is speeding up, and running the fastest these days still -- new york native donald j. trump. has he reached a kind of critical mass as some republicans believe, or is this all a kind of critical mess, as some republicans also believe? joining us now to talk about all this and more, our political analysts, jeanne zaino, political science professor at iona college and nyu, and hank sheinkopf, democratic political consultant and strategist. critical mass? critical mess? both? either? neither? >> it could be both. i think it's a great -- you know, i think he has probably tipped out at about 22%, 24%. i don't see him going that much higher. i also don't see him going that much lower, so i think he is gonna hover around there for the foreseeable future.
i think if he does make a real concerted effort to talk about policy, he could inch up a little bit. but i don't see him still capturing the nomination, and i think he's gonna stay around that. >> he's got a lot of unfavorable numbers, as well. in fact, twice as much -- more than twice as much unfavorable. how can he ever get the nomination with so many republicans against him? >> not likely he gets the nomination. what's important to note is that he is doing in the mid 20s and bernie sanders is doing in the mid 20s. it tells you something about the political system at writ large. people are just angry. they're looking for outsiders. they're looking for insurgents. trump has been the insurgent flavor to date, and bernie sanders on the left is the insurgent flavor. both populists, both opposed to government, both very loud about it. >> and yet bernie has been elected. donald trump has not been elected. dr. ben carson's never been elected to anything. carly fiorina's never been elected to anything, unless i'm missing the class presidents maybe. these are ultimate outsiders. the three top vote-getters in the polls, anyway, the poll-getters, have never held elected office. >> absolutely. and i think it speaks to how angry people are at washington, d.c., how angry people are at politicians, and
how they're looking for something different and something new. we see? we saw a bump for all the people who have never had governing experience but have had experienced great experience in whether it's medicine or business or other places. and you're right -- bernie sanders has run. and we were having this debate before. he's been a politician most of his life, but he still is, i think, seen as something of an outsider, something of an anti-washington, anti-politician type of guy, so he's been able to pick up on that on the democratic side. >> because nobody knows him outside, you know, his home state. >> he's kind of well-liked in his home state a lot. i mean, there's a state that elects republicans, democrats, independents, and anybody. so, what's gonna happen? well, the debates will matter and what people say or don't say on the road for the time being is gonna matter. >> you heard congressman pete king say a lot like john kasich said. you know, "hey, donald trump's raising important issues." they're not gonna endorse him. they're not gonna criticize him, though. there's been a reluctance to criticize him, even after the whole megyn kelly debate. >> yeah, absolutely. the republicans have been very scared to say anything about him because they certainly don't
want to drive him out of the party and have him run as an independent. and so, we saw that in the debate where only rand paul was coming out and still only rand paul keeps coming out and attacking trump. he has a commercial out now attacking trump. but you look at the people who did attack trump -- lindsey graham, rick perry -- they've all gone down in the polls, so it hasn't been a winning strategy. >> they would not have made the first line of the debate had they been criticizing before like that. i did hear him ask donald trump in one interview about policy, and he, for one second, started talking a little bit about it, and then he goes right into, you know, ad hominem. >> well, here, it's better that way for him. in fact, if he did make a policy statement, some people would think he's great, might say, "well, he's not so great 'cause he actually is talking the way those guys in washington talk." now, on the other side of it would be good for him if he did say something from a policy perspective, then people might take him a bit more seriously rather than see him as the momentary, you know, pillar in which to bash your fists into. >> let's talk about hillary clinton very briefly. have about a minute and a half left. the e-mails -- top of the news again, although it's unclear
depending on what cable news channel you listen to, whether this is a big scandal or just sort of a bureaucratic question of what should be labelled top secret or not. >> yeah, and i think it was a mistake on her campaign's part to wait this long. they voluntarily turned them over. why not do that in march? she has had a whole summer of focus on these e-mails and focus on this server, so i think this was a misstep by the campaign. and there's really nothing to be gained from it now because people see their hand is being forced rather than voluntary and, you know, letting her say that she is trustworthy, she is transparent. >> it's kind of idiotic to believe that average joe or jane in the hinterlands is saying, "i must find out more about hillary clinton's server." i mean, it's absolutely idiotic at this point in time. that's not happening. what is happening is she's not answering the questions, like jeanne says. and the other thing is, if you look at her presentations, they're lousy. she's not looking at people, not looking at the camera, and appears to be not clear. >> yes or no -- i hate to ask you "yes or no" questions, but yes or no -- biden gets in the race or not? >> maybe. [ laughs ] >> depends how far hillary clinton's poll numbers
sink and how far the negatives go, and then he'll get a push. >> and i saw you on another show, on a college campus saying you thought bloomberg -- that's the rumor going around -- that he might get in the democratic race. >> i just think it would be fascinating to have bloomberg versus trump, so it's just me getting excited about that. >> thank you very much, jeanne and hank. that'll do it for this edition of "upclose" this morning. if you missed any of today's programs, of course, you can catch it again on our website 7online.com or if you just want to watch the whole thing again. thank you for watching this morning. i'm bill ritter. on behalf of all of us here at channel 7, enjoy the rest of