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tv   Smerconish  CNN  August 2, 2014 6:00am-7:01am PDT

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thank you for being with us. "newsroom" continues for you. in the meantime, "smerconish" starts for the rest of you now. stick close. good morning. i'm michael smerconish. big issues to cover this morning including whether israel is justified in its use of force against hamas and why many in congress won't touch that issue. plus, president clinton said he could have killed osama bin laden, but we have the former head of the osama bin laden unit. he says there is much more to that story. and pot politics. should everybody just get stoned? we have a jam packed program. let's get started. we begin this morning in the middle east at the center of the
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turmoil this morning. israeli soldier still missing after a firefight that shattered the cease-fire inn tepded to last through the weekend. israel assumes hadar goldin was captured and president obama is pointing the finger at hamas. hamas says it doesn't have goldin, but lost contact with fighters in the area where the soldier was reportedly taken. meantime, congress has approved another $225 million for israel's iron dome defense system. i have mark with me now. mark, i have watched many appearances of you on cnn. it is important to underscore the american opinion on the ongoing israeli efforts. as an american father of four, i worry that regardless of how it all began, the net effect is to create yet another generation of palestinians growing up to hate
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israel and to hate the united states. kids who 20 years from now will turn terrorist and pose safety risks to americans and israelis. how do we end that cycle? >> michael, i think the opposite could be true. we know that in the large arab world of the new york times that did a piece of that yesterday and the palestinian society that people are angry with hamas. they are fed up with the radical agenda and its violence and its violence that doesn't just hurt israel, but palestinians as well. they are losing credibility at home and political position is undermined. this could be a good thing. ultimately if palestinians understand if hamas promises them violence and destruction and further suffering while the most moderate palestinians, people who believe this peace and could existence for israel
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offer hope. when this is over and palestinians look at the rubble and say why was this conflict necessary? why did hamas continue to shoot rockets into israel although israel urged them to stop? why did hamas reject seven cease-fire proposals? seven cease-fire proposals were either rejected or violated by hamas. the last one yesterday. i believe the palestinians are smart enough to understand the reason for the tragedy is hamas. >> i had a caller to my radio program this week who implored me to stop reporting on the situation in gaza as he said if it is a ball score. don't report it as regard to a death count. that is misleading. but for the iron dome, the situation would be different. in the court of world opinion, many are looking at the bottom line in terms of how many innocent civilians are dying.
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when it is all over and we pray sooner rather than later, what is israel's standing on the court of world opinion? >> actually, we have seen from leaders across the globe, especially in united states and canada and western europe and countries like australia and other democracies, we have seen people stand up for israel's right to defend itself and the hamas rocket attacks and rejection of cease-fire proposals. before you criticize israel, what would you do if more than 3,000 rockets were fired on your cities in a three-week period? what would you do if terrorists were tunnelling under your frontier with explosives and weapons? how would you expect your government to respond? i think when you put the question that way, people do understand. what choice does israel? not to defend our people or do
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nothing about the incoming rockets and allow them to tunnel under the borders with weapons to kill our people? we have to act to protect our people and do so in a difficult situation. hamas deliberately embeds terrorist into the gaza using the population as a shield deliberately putting gaza civilians in harm's way. >> where your economy is thriving, why americans want to know why $225 million being spent in support of the iron dome. >> first of all, i want to thank the president and congress and the american people. iron dome is an amazing success story. it is an israeli-american joint venture. it is funded largely by the united states and we appreciate every dollar. it saved lives. we had hundreds of rockets intercepted by iron dome. those rockets -- iron dome has a
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computer system that will intercept a rocket that will fall in the danger zone. a rocket in the open sea it doesn't have to intercept. it intercepted 500 plus rockets coming in. we could have saved 5,000 lives. that is a ball park figure. thousands of lives are saved by iron dome. i think this is a value to the united states, too. this anti-missile system works. it can help protect americans. it can help protect other american allies. it is a good investment for everybody. >> mark, the situation now with regard to second lieutenant hadar goldin, how will this impact what is going on for the foreseeable future? >> at the moment, an ongoing hit operation in the area of his kidnapping to try to locate him and bring him home. when you have a kidnapping like
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this, the army has orders in place that you immediately try to seal off the area and go house to house or in this situation tunnel to tunnel to locate the serviceman kidnapped by the other side. if they succeed in taking him out of the area so your chances are reduced. so now the operation is focused in southern gaza where we believe he could be. >> mark, thank you so much. next, the politics of the situation of gaza. if polls show israel has gone too far in response to hamas, why hasn't there been more debate on that issue by members of congress? plus this. i nearly got him. and i could have killed him. >> if an american president had osama bin laden in his sights, why didn't he pull the trigger? what do you think?
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israel says its assault on gaza is strictly self defense. polls here indicate some americans don't buy that. especially democrats. more than one-third of democrats polled said it went too far in the conflict with hamas. then the actions in the conflict were unjustified. with me here in new york is michelle bernard. also here, news day columnist charlie crist. interesting to look at that
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polling data. i guess read differently. glass half full as opposed to empty. americans are supportive of israel in this regard. hasn't been a lot of debate, michelle, on capitol hill. >> what i would say is that we don't see our congress doing anything on the domestic front. it is not surprising to see them doing absolutely nothing. >> they do nothing on anything. why should this be different? >> with this, the images are so horrifying and we have members of congress who have israeli constituents and people with ties to palestinian constituents and they decide to stay out of it completely. >> are you surprised, ellis, on the lack of debate or where do you think, michelle says, taken the poll and this is where they see it. >> it has nothing to do with the polls. the israeli lobby is effected
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and the relationships that goes back decades. the palestinians side has squawked. no money for this stuff. no relationships. frankly, some pretty bad pr over the years. question is, if those pictures that we're seeing is going to change that. >> or is it interpretations from arm chairs across america and israel has no choice but to defend itself and having heard many times over, if we faced a situation where missiles were lobbed into the united states, we would react in the same fashion. >> that is a good argument. it was true on day one and day five. it becomes less true. >> yesterday, president obama addressed foreign affairs and the united states standing in the world. i would love you to watch this video and react to it. >> apparently, people have
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forgotten that america, as the most powerful country on earth, still does not control everything around the world. >> ellis, i made the point here last weekend that overall, when asked about foreign policy and this president, he gets very low numbers. 36% or 37% approved. you go to him and say syria and ukraine and x, y and z. there is agreement. the totally is such that it is not going well. >> michael, diplomacy is frustrating. the allies and trying to find a pressure to put on people. it is not nearly as exciting as attacking somebody. the results in the long run are better, but it doesn't have the same visceral enthusiasm. >> if we look at everything that is happening around the world,
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particularly john kerry's negotiations in israel. the fact we are quote/unquote, the president says we are the most powerful nation in the world and our voice doesn't matter anymore. that is a significant problem. if we look at russia and putin was happy taking in snowden. things are happening in iraq and afghanistan. it is the negative impact of the overreaction to the bush doctrine of democracy building. i think the obama administration has let that go and the country is suffering. >> will we be as we move to the mid terms in the fall to 2016 a split with hawks and libertarians or will the rand pauls become more hawkish? >> it doesn't look like that. at this point, they are running two separate tracks. it will be internal conflict. there is no central agreement.
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>> i think we will see the libertarians become more hawkish. when we talk about national security of the united states, they are more hawkish. domestic policy matters, libertarians will be more libertarian. >> will the mid-term elections hinge more on policy than we believed a year ago? >> that is probably right. i would still fall back on my usual answer which is most has to do with jobs and how comfortable we feel. you know, there is a lot more than we would have expected a few months ago. >> stay tuned. michelle and ellis, thank you. the cia apologizes for spying. to whom they apologized and you will hear from a former cia agent who expects to be named in a report about controversy interview techniques used after 9/11. and americans with ebola coming back to the u.s. at the same time the health officials say the outbreak is moving
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when the cia was accused last march of hacking computers, director john brennan said nothing is further from the
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truth. brennan confessed on thursday after the findings of the internal investigation. agents accessed documents stored by the senate committee after the torture of 9/11. the probe's findings due out soon may be explosive. with me now is phil mudd. he served in the role from 2003 to 2005. phil, you would agree with me if that is the way it went down, spying on a senate committee. a committee charged with ov oversight of the cia is indefensible. >> i suspect the story is more judgment. the senate was accessing documents they should not have had. my guess is the cia then under took an investigation and in the
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aftermath, director brennan, the investigation was overzealous. michael, this is a bigger story. a lot of bad blood with the oversight committee is the al qaeda detainees. director brennan is on the hot seat. this has something to do with the bad blood. this is a manifestation. >> yesterday, the president said something interesting in this regard. nora, would you roll the video so phil could watch. >> in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. we did a lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. >> we tortured some folks. did we, phil? >> i think this is a question about time. people have to step back as the president said and let me quote him and not be too sanctimony of what happened.
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when we took down the guy in the spring of 2002, i remember those days. we used to sit at the table and say what will happen on saturday? will there be an anthrax attack? when we took abu zaida down, we went and spoke with the department of justice and what was appropriate and constitutional. we spoke with the congressional committees and republicans and democrats in the senate and house. of course, we spoke with the president and vice president and cabinet in the difficult times, what is acceptable for the american security services under u.s. law? 12 years have passed since then, michael. we had the space because of the counterterrorism spaces to say what do we think is okay now since we have not had a catastrophic attack in those 12 years? we say i'm not sure we want our security services doing that. that sounds -- i'm comfortable with what the president said. that is not 12 years ago.
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>> it sounds to me phil mudd, not by name and job description, you will be referred to in this report. that today, many years later, people will not recall what the context was when they read the black and white of the policy. >> i think that is right. remember, i feel like i'm a young man. we are half a generation away from the first time we took out an al qaeda leader. i think the black and white will be interesting for americans to read. that is not a reflection of what is happening, though, in reality in your neighbor's life. that is a snapshot. i think people will see a snapshot that looks like a tv series. it is not reality because it doesn't reflect what it felt like at those times. i was evacuativa evacuated from house on 9/11.
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we thought the letters of anthrax were al qaeda. we thought al qaeda had access to nuclear material. with the state department and others and fbi, responsible for ensuring that more children did not grow up without their parents in new york city. the sense of the unknown in those years will be impossible to replicate. i don't disagree with what the president said. we will not be able to relive those times. >> phil mudd, stick with us. president clinton said he could have killed osama bin laden. he didn't because of the concern over civilian casualties. we will listen to his explanation on tape. and americans with ebola head to the united states. dr. sanjay gupta is here with us to talk about how much concern, if any, there should be. you think you take off all your make-up before bed. but do you really?
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did you hear? bill clinton says he could have killed osama bin laden. tapes of the claims surface thursday. he made that speech back in 2001. here is president clinton speaking the day before 9/11. >> he is a smart guy. i spent a lot of time thinking about him. i nearly got him once. i nearly got him. and i could have gotten him.
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i could have killed him, but i would have destroyed a little town called kandahar in afghanistan and killed 300 innocent women and children. i would have been no better than him. so i didn't do it. >> hours later, osama bin laden killed nearly 3,000 people. phil mudd is back with us. also is michael shoyer who served in the cia for 22 years. michael, bill clinton said he did not take the shot in kandahar. do you remember that particular opportunity and tell us from your vantage point what happened. >> i tell you the truth. which is something that clinton stumbled into there in australia. he had the opportunity ten times to kill him. what he is talking about the sunday before christmas in 1998. osama bin laden happened to be in kandahar that day. kandahar city. had stayed too long. having discussion was his people
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in the taliban. they kept him there overnight. they put him into a room in one of the wings of the governor's palace. we had an asset who actually put him in the room. we knew where he was. the military had spun up its cruise missiles. after two hours of deliberations, george tenet came out of the room and said no, they decided not to do it. >> why? >> what george told me and general gordon, who was the deputy. they were afraid some shrapnel would have hit a nearby mosque. it was the middle of the night. it would not hit anybody. >> was the director upset? >> he is a terrific actor. he was upset, but i think at the same time, we found out since on almost all of the occasions, he was telling the president that
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the intelligence wasn't good enough. i have never for myself have been able to figure out how good does intelligence have to be if you are attacking a man you believe is using nuclear weapons against the united states. >> this is post tanzania and kenya. is it preceding the call? >> it is after the current director of intelligence john brennan prevented an opportunity to kidnapped osama bin laden in may of 1998. the democratic party is rife with people who are just reluctant to defend the united states if it means killing some of their fans overseas. >> if there were ten opportunities to kill osama bin laden in the opportunity you are referencing, how many of the ten would be collateral damage? >> four would have been clean. one would kill a nest of princes
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who supported anyone opposed to the united states. they would have been very little loss. except clinton was going to sell them $8 billion of f-16s. he decided that sale was more important. >> i'm sure many say i guess we could have, if that is true, and had been successful, we could have prevented 9/11. is it that straight forward in your opinion? >> i don't think it is close to that straight forward. i work counterterrorism for that period. mike was there. i wasn't. there are a couple of things to keep in mind. if you want to take out a target, you don't have to have the intelligence from yesterday and today. you need it tomorrow. we were not targeted to take out afghanistan. i think he would be right if he said he could have taken a shot.
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that is a hugely different proposition. the suggestion here from the president and i know he is not saying that, but you can infer this. if he had taken that shot, he might have side tracked 9/11. i don't believe that for a second. you would have had a global campaign on al qaeda before 9/11 to eliminate the prospect of 9/11. american people were not prepared for that. people in asia and africa and middle east, were not prepared for that. by 1998, the die was almost cast. >> that is president clinton speaking the day before september 11th. i guess this makes this a remarkable piece of audio. he is not saying here is the outcome and how it could have been different. gentlemen, i wish i had more time. michael scheuer and phil mudd. is it safe to bring the two americans infected with the ebola virus back to the united states? dr. sanjay gupta is up next to give us the details. unlimited cash back.
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one of two americans stricken with the deadly ebola virus are hours away from returning home from west africa for treatment. it is the first time a patient with ebola is treated in the united states. both are reported as gravely ill after infected.
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ebola cases have risen past 1,300 in the worst ebola outbreak in history. cnn's doctor, dr. sanjay gupta, talked to the head of the cdc to bring the patients to u.s. soil to emory university in atlanta. >> how do you give assurances? these are your neighbors and colleagues getting the patient in the isolation unit. there are several steps there. >> i think people have misconceptions that may spill out or erupt. i he really hope our fears, particularly our irrational fears don't trump or compassion for someone fighting for his life. >> dr. sanjay gupta joins me now from atlanta. doctor, great to see you. the social media is going crazy with this. how concerned should americans be with the cases coming back to the united states? >> the best way to characterize it is this is not a very
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contagious virus. it is not something that behaves like the flu in the air. like walking around the airport and shaking hands with people. this is highly infectious. a small amount of the virus can cause the infection. it comes from someone who is typically very sick. somebody in the hospital or in bed, which is why health care workers and family members are the most likely to get infections from sick people. michael, there is also a risk to anything. no matter how small. i had a chance to talk to the doctor who will lead the team to take care of the ebola patients. this has never happened in the western hemisphere before or the united states or this particular hospital. i asked him about it. take a listen. >> we know the risk is small, but it would be smaller if these patients did not come here. if you don't have anything magical to provide why take the risk at all? >> i think you have been in that part of the world and you know
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the level of care that can be delivered. these are americans who went over there to supply a humanitarian mission for these individuals. our feeling is that they deserve the best medical care to try and resolve this infection that they can get. >> it is worth pointing out, michael, they are u.s. citizens. the cdc director pointed that out as well. no exclusionary policy. the state department does oversea medical evacuations. if somebody wants to come home, they can. >> is there no treatment except isolation and is that a treatment in and of itself? >> isolation is the preventive measure to prevent others from getting infected. the treatment is called supportive measures. why does someone get sick and die from ebola? they lose a lot of fluid and they may have bleeding problems. you replace those things. give fluids back.
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you give blood back if necessary. you hope that gives the body enough time to fight the virus. you are buying the body time. that is what they try to do in the field over there. they think they can do it better in the icu in the united states. they may try experimental therapies not yet approved. they are in discussions with the nih and government with that. >> dr. gupta, we showed the specially equipped aircraft to transport the patients one at a time. what happens when the plane gets to the ground? what are the other precautions taken? >> michael, i asked that same question. will they go by ground ambulance from dobbins or go by helicopter? they would not tell me that. i don't know if it is because they did not have an exact plan or they were not sure or they just not creating media
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attention. that is an important step. exactly how you continue to contain the patients and isolate the patients on the trip from the plane to the hospital. we will try to find out the answer to that. there is the containment unit once you get to the hospital. that is what the focus has been on. we have pictures we have obtained of that. it is just a glass box, frankly. you have to go into special anti-rooms to gown up ahead of time. when you get in there, you are in an isolated area. >> finally, dr. gupta, it seems like that part of the world that is least equipped to deal with an outbreak like this is where it is all taking place. >> it is where the outbreaks happen, michael. if you look at the history of outbreaks, they occur in locations where animals and humans come in close contact. the pathogens, ebola, swine flu, they make a jump at some point from animals to humans. they don't know particularly which animal is the reservoir for ebola.
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they think it is fruit bats. it is in the area where fruit bats and humans come in contact and a jump is made and outbreak starts to occur. why does it start there? it is the interplay that is so important. >> dr. sanjay gupta, nice to have you on my program. thank you for that. don't miss the live report on the ebola epidemics at 4:30 today. the new york times has gone all in on the federal ban on marijuana. a editorial board member is here and you are about to hear all about it.
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the new york times says it is high time to reduce the sale of pot. an honest debate of the health effects of marijuana and came this. evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are minor problems. then moderate uses does not pose a risk. it is a gateway drug. images of murder and rape and suicide. joining me is david firetone. he is on the editorial board. we should distinguish the repeal
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and legalize. >> we are not saying it should be legal everywhere. states should decide for themselves like colorado and washington. >> the ban remains. people probably see the headlines and don't appreciate the fact that regardless of what some states are doing, there is a federal ban still in effect. >> that's right. 37 states now have liberal laws to some degree. medical use. every one of the statesright. we don't agree with that for everything.
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we don't agree the states should make up their own minds. >> is not fundamental. the states should choose just like >> we think it should be removed from the criminal justice system. too many are get locked up. >> what wept on here, david? you note in 199178 perce, 78% o country said legal. such a reversal, the prohibition folks were in the minority. what accounts for the sea change in america? >> they saw a number of people arrested that didn't need to be, courthouses jammed with cases that didn't need to exist. there are 600,000, 700,000 people a year arrest ford possession. most don't go to jail. in some cases just harassed and
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really shouldn't be in the system. many get a black mark on their records forever and can't get job, can't get apartments. all for possessing a substance that far less dangerous and that alcohol or tobacco. >> why did the "time"s go all-in? a multistage implementation, you wrote a key piece ar the state right aspect of it. what was the discussion, if you can take us behind closed doors at the "new york times" the gray lady, you folks said, no, going full boore in this direction? >> we decided that wouldn't get the attention this deserves. a lot is going on in the world. to break up through you had to use all the resources the "times" can bring to an issue like this. not just six or seven editorials but tremendous graphic stuff our folks put together. side bars and videos, which are going to be on the website starting i believe today. we really wanted to make it clear this was an issue we cared passionately and about think the government should pay attention.
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>> polling saying americans are on the same side at the "times." as a political junkie, interesting to me, the passion level. will this motivate people to come out and vote? is this like an abortion issue? the consensus might be on your side of equation but people won't come out just 0 to vote an pot? >> oregon will vote later in the year, alaska, a few other states, i think it will bring people out because they feel strongly about their ability as an adult to make these choices. >> great to have you here. appreciate david firestone. thank you. espn's stephen a. smith made comments on domestic violence that earned him a job suspension. i would like to thank him, and i'll tell you why, next. 's keepe healthcare you deserve. at humana, we believe if healthcare changes,
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hey, one last thing. i would like that thank stephen a. smith, responsible for initiating a terrific hour-long conversation on my radio program concerning domestic violence. a conversation we would not have had but for his controversy statement about ray rice. the nfl player indicted on aggravated assault charges in connection with a domestic dispute involving his now wife. despite the grisly video showing rice violating his wife, the nfl suspended rice just two games. when commenting on that suspension, steven a. ignite at firestorm. some of the words from a week ago friday that got stephen a. suspended. >> we keep talking about the guys. we know you have no business putting your hands on a woman, but what i've tried to employ the female members of my family, some of whom you all met and
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talked to and what have you, again, this is what i've done this all my life, let's make sure we don't do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if i come or somebody else comes, whether it's law enforcement officials, your brothers or the fellas you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn't negate the fact they already put their hands on you. let's try to make sure we can do our part in making sure that that doesn't happen. >> you know, having watched his entire tdie tribe i find it disjointed and hard to follow. different to tell definitively what he meant and more difficult that he meant to blame victims of domestic violence. i'm willing to the give the by the benefit of the doubt. words poorly chosen on a very sensitive subject, keep in mind they were offered on a sport debate program calmed "first take" not exactly in a men zis
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society meeting. his job is say controversial things albeit about sports and not domestic violence. i heard stephen a. take issue with the weak punishment of ray rice, that a man has no business putting his hands on a woman and hell to pay for any man who did so to any woman in his family. i would like to think his reference to provoking wrong actions was an unartful way to say we need to de-escalate a situation in a hot domestic dispute. last monday's stephen a. delivered a taped apology and said this -- >> i words came across that it is somehow a woman's fault, this was not my intent. it is not what i was trying to say. yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders. to say what i actually said was foolish is an understatement. to say i was wrong is obvious,
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to apologize, to say i'm sorry, doesn't do the matter its proper justice, to be quite honest, but i do sincerely apologize. >> you know, the affect of the apology to give credibility about the complaints about stephen a. as his job suspension left further ert creed ens he'd done science egregious. the apology to lessen the opportunity in the future for open dialogue about an important matter like domestic abuse. in other words, i fear that others will be loathe to address the issue for fear of saying something that will cause them to be punished, and it's not just domestic violence. we live amid so many controversies, matters where our differences are best dealt with the open, honest, civil dialogue, not one that welcomes only a particular point of view. think israel and gaza, or race relations or abortion rights. we will never solve those issues when words are parsed and
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speakers suspended for speech that might be controversial, but doesn't advance hate. that's it for me. enjoy the rest of your weekend. have a great week. i will see you back here next saturday. -- captions by vitac -- so glad to you have with us, i'm christi paul. >> and i'm in for victor blackwell. 7:00 out west, 10:00 a.m. in the east. >> according to a samaritan purse the spokesman dr. kent brantly one of two americans infected with the virus will be the first patient to arrive in the u.s. in a matter of hours. the president of the christian organization sim usa confirms the plane is in the air en route to the u.s. right now with dr. kent brantly onboard. >> looking at live