tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 13, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> he said "we are unwilling to postpone." we all here are unwilling to postpone. unwilling to postpone another minute, another day in doing what we know is within our grasp. it shows the government at its best, mr. president and it shows our politics can still come together to do big consequential things for the american people. i see my friend senator hatch who i worked with for years and years. all junior senators, senior senators everyone came together. so jill and i are proud to stand beside you, mr. president, as you sign this last law of our administration, proud to have served with you, mr. president and your absolute commitment to changing the way in which we deal with our health care system. it's making a -- it's going to make a big difference and this particular bill is going to allow people to live, live longer and live healthier so -- but most of all, mr. president,
i think it gives people hope so. ladies and gentlemen i always kid the president that when he asked me to join him on the ticket my daughter came home and lunch, she's a social worker and she said "did he call? did he call?" and i said "yes." and she said "you said yes, didn't you, daddy?" i said "of course i did." she said "this is wonderful. you know how you're always quoting seamus heaney about hope and history?" i said "yes." she said "this is hope and history." i'm history, here's hope. ladies and gentlemen, thank you. [ laughter and applause ] >> thank you. thank you, everybody, thank you. thank you so much. thank you very much [ applause ] thank you. please have a seats. thank you so much.
welcome to the white house, everyone. it's december so it's holiday time around here and we thought it was a good occasion to have one more party. and this is a celebration worth having. i want to first of all thank joe biden and jill biden and their entire family who have been such extraordinary friends to us and what a fitting way for us to be able to signify our partnership as our time comes to an end together. it makes me feel very good. i want to thank david and kate grub for sharing their family's story. as david said, we have a lot in common and knock more than the love of our children, our daughters. when i first met them in
charleston, their story was unfortunately more common than we would have liked and i indicated a number of the people on this stage are people who have gone through tough times or have seen their loved ones suffer. either because of opioid addiction or because of cancer who had bravely shared their story and channelled their passion into increasing the urgency all of us feel around this issue so more than anything this is a testimony to them and an extraordinary commemoration of those that they've loved so we're very grateful to them. please give them a big round of applause. [ applause ]
we're joined by a whole bunch of members of congress here today and it's wonderful to see how well democrats and republicans around the closing days of this congress came together around a common cause. [ applause ] i think it indicates the power of this issue and how deeply it touches every family across america. over the last eight years, one of my highest priorities as president has been to unleash the full force of american innovation to some of the biggest challenges that we face. that meant restoring science to its rightful place. it meant funding the research
and development that's always kept america on the cutting edge. it's meant investing in clean energy that's created a steady stream of good jobs and help america become the world's leader in combatting climate change. it meant investing in the medical breakthroughs that had the power to cure disease and help all of us live healthier longer lives. so i started the 2016 state of the union address by saying we might be able to surprise some cynics and deliver bipartisan action on the opioid epidemic. and in that same speech i put joe in charge of mission control on a new cancer moon shot and today with the 21st century cures act, we are making good on both of those efforts we are bringing to reality the
possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health challenges of our time joe's already indicated some of the scope of the bill but let me repeat it because it's worth repeating if this legislation is going to combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic that is ravaging too many families across the country. this is an epidemic that can touch anybody -- blue-collar, white collar, college students, retirees, kids, moms, dads. i've had the chance to meet people from every stage of recovery who are working hard to sustain the progress that they're making. and i've meat parents like the grubs who work tirelessly to help a child struggling with addiction. it could not be clearer that
those of us called upon to lead the country have a duty on their behalf, that we have to stand by them, that all too often that feel as if they're fighting this fight alone instead of having the community gather around them and give them the resources and the access and support they need. so today i could not be prouder that this legislation takes up the charge i laid down in my budget to provide $1 billion in funding so that americans who want treatment can get starts on the path to recovery and don't have to drive six hours to do it. it's the right thing to do and families are ready for the support. [ applause ] second, the cures act provides a decade's worth of support for two innovative initiatives from my administration. the first is the brain initiative which we believe will
revolutionize our understanding of the human mind. when i signed this bill into law it will give researchers new resources to identify ways to treat, cure and potentially prevent brain disorders like alzheimer's, parkinson's, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. we've used data to help modernize research and discoveries so health care can be tailored to specifically to individual patients this spring, with the help of this legislation, the national institutes of health is launching a cohort inviting americans across the country to support the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow. number three, the cures act improves mental health care. [ applause ]
it includes bipartisan reforms to address mental illness, makes sure that mental health and substance use disorders are treated fairly by insurance companies, building on the work of my presidential task force and it reauthorizes meaningfully suicide prevention programs. many of these reforms align with my administration's work to improve our criminal justice system, helping us enhance data collection and take steps so that we're not unnecessarily incarcerating folks who actually need mental health assistance. fourth we're building on the fda's work to modernize clinical trial design so we're updating necessary rules and russians to protect consumers so that they're taking into account this genetic biotech age. and we're making sure the patients' voices are incorporated into the drug
development process. and finally the cures act invests in a breakthrough effort that we've been calling the vice president's cancer moon shot and the senate came up with a better name when they named it after beau biden. [ applause ] joe said beau loved me, i loved him back. and like many of you, i believe the united states of america should be the country that ends cancer once and for all. we're already closer than folks think and this bill will bring us closer investing in promising new therapies, developing vaccines and improving cancer detection and prevention. ultimately it will help us reach our goal in getting a decade's worth of research in half the time. and as joe said, that time count
s in this effort, joe biden has rallied not just congress but a tremendous collection of researchers, doctors, philanthropists, patients. he's showing us with the right investment and the ingenuity of the american people, to quote him, there isn't anything we can't do. so i'd like everybody to just please join me in thank what i consider to be the finest vice president in history. [ applause ] joe biden. [ applause ] [ cheers and applause ] >> go ahead and embarrass joe, go ahead. [ cheers and applause ]
why not? so we're tackling cancer, brain disease, substance use disorders and more. and none of this work would have been possible without bipartisan cooperation in both houses of congress a lot of people were involved but some folks deserve a special shoutout. that includes senators alexander and senators murphy. [ applause ] representatives upton, p.alone and degette and green.
[ applause ] and, of course, we couldn't have gotten across the finish line without the leadership of nancy pelosi and steny hoyer, who are here. [ applause ] as well as leaders from both houses, speaker ryan, leaders mcconnell and reid and senator patti murray. [ applause ] not to mention all the members of congress who are sitting here that i can't name otherwise i'm going to be here too long and i will never sign the bill but you know who you are. i want to thank all of you on behalf of the american people for this outstanding work. these efforts build on the work that we've done to strengthen our health care system over the last eight years, covering pre-existing conditions, expanding coverage for mental health and substance use disorders, helping more than 20
million americans know the security of health insurance thanks to the affordable care act it means they have access to some of the services that are needed. i'm hopeful that in the years ahead congress keeps working together in a bipartisan fashion so move us forward rather than backward in support of the health of our people because these are gains that have made a real difference for millions of americans so this is a good day. it's a bittersweet day. i think it's important to acknowledge that it's not easy for the grubs to come up here and talk about jessie. it's not easy for joe and jill to talk about beau. joe mentioned my mother who died of cancer. she was two and a half years younger than i am today when she passed away.
and so it's not always easy to remember but being able to honor those we've lost in this way and to know that we may be able to prevent other families from feeling that same loss, that makes it a good day and i'm confident that it will lead to better years and better lives for millions of americans, the work that you've done, that's what we got sent here for and it's not always what we do it's a good day to see us doing our jobs. so with that i think it's time for me to sign this bill into law. [ applause ] >> everybody gather around here. get over here, jilly girl.
>> this is just really special to watch here. we'll stay on the pictures. let me point out a couple things. we all know someone and loved someone we lost to cancer so the fact that this moonshot bill now law thanks to president obama and those 10 or so pens will help at least hopefully prevent deaths in the future. of course he mentioned his own mother, passed away. she was two and a half years younger than the president when she passed away. beau biden passed away last january to brain cancer. so this is incredibly important to the president and vice president this is happening. number two, let me point out, you're seeing members of congress, of course, there and other family members shaking hands. also in the audience you have moms and dads of little ones who
were killed in sandy hook four years ago today and so they, i'm sure, too, were hanging on the president's every word when he was talking about mental health. as the president pointed out, it's a bittersweet day for him and so many people in that room. that's what's been happening at the white house. now to the transition of president obama's successor. the suspense is finally over regarding president-elect donald trump's choice for secretary of state but the drama looks like it is just getting started over perhaps the confirmation of exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson, the business titan with no government or diplomatic experience has long held business ties with russia's president vladimir putin and their friendship is putting several senators, several republican senators on edge. you have senator rubio who is on the committee, that rex tillerson must pass through to reach a confirmation. in a statement senator rubio said "while rex tillerson is a
respected businessman, i have serious concerns about his nomination. the next secretary of state must be someone who views the world with moral clarity, is free of potential conflicts of interest. >> has a clear sense of america's interests and will be a forceful advocate for america's foreign policy goals to the president within the administration and on the world stage." still, though, to rex tillerson's credit he has major republican heavyweights supporting his nomination. let's begin with special correspondent jamie again gel who is here. tell me who these republicans are who helped make this happen. >> right. we know condi rice, former secretary of state was one of the people who promoted this as was former secretary of defense robert gates. now some very serious republican heavyweights are lining up to also endorse him. james baker, former secretary of state just put out an announcement today. he said "rex tillerson who is a
friend of mine is an excellent choice to head the state department and has an opportunity to be a very effective secretary of state." former vice president dick cheney said that tillerson was "an inspired choice" and went on to say "he has the vast experience, ability and judgment to deal with the very dangerous world we find confronting us. his extension knowledge of the global situation will be an asset in representing our nation." and just before we went on the air i'm turning to twitter, former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld just tweeted "with the addition of tillerson, a talented exec and skillful negotiator, donald trump seems to be assembling an accomplished and able cabinet." you know, for those who are concerned about rex tillerson's relationship with russia we'll
hear over and over again "friend of putin, friend of putin." these five people are not soft on russia or vladimir putin when you have condi rice, bob gates, donald rumsfeld, dick cheney, james baker all standing up for rex tillerson, that's a hea heavyweight crowd. that said, we are hearing this confirmation is going to be tough. every administration has a target, someone that they go after. it looks like rex tillerson is going to be that target. >> let me ask you to stand by. i want your voice in this panel. also joining us now, cnn reporter nia-malika henderson and mary catherine hamm, a senior writer for the federalist. ladies, welcome. nia, to you, jamie points out some heavyweight republicans who are not soft on russia are saying yes to rex tillerson. that said you heard other
republicans who are in congress and will be part of the process are not thrilled. this could be a nasty fight. do you think that the trump team knows it and says bring it on or are they being naive? >> well, yeah. they have always in some ways been bring it on, particularly with the establishment crowd in the senate and in the republican firmament more generally. interesting here that he is rolling out the architects of the iraq war and what he has seen in many ways as bush's failed foreign policy, co-signers to this pick. i guess that in his mind and in the folks surrounding him that sends signals to people like john mccain, people like lindsey graham who are republicans in terms of their hawkish stance on foreign policy but, listen, you'll have to look to see what they do somebody like john mccain, somebody like marco
rubio, somebody like rand paul, will they get out of this committee 10 republicans on the senate foreign relations committee and nine democrats? they don't have much of an edge and they have a very small window for error there because you imagine that democrats are going to keep their coalition together on that foreign relations committee. are they going to be able to keep rand paul if you're on the gop side and marco rubio who has often times made noises as somebody who would stand up to the establishment but has often times turned around and done -- kind of fallen in line. so i think we'll have a real battle and those confirmation hearings are going to make for good tv. >> mary catherine, do you think some of these names jamie rattled off are people who could assuage the concerns of these republicans a la mccain and rubio? >> it's a very on brand pick for trump. outside the box, he's a businessman, an oil guy and he
also has these establishment ties and friends speaking up for him. it seems calculated to scramble partisans brains which is trump's specialty. i don't think you need to worry about tillerson not knowing things. he's had vast experience around the world doing big deals in very many countries and particularly russia. now i am concerned about the fact that trump has been consistent about his sanguine view of putin and russia and perhaps tillerson is a pick in that model. that being said, he was serving exxon's interests at that time which are different than the united states of america as a country's interests so this confirmation hearing will be about sussing that out and figuring out how to get through sloughing off those interests and what that looks like. and whether he takes attacks, i think he will, he may take more because thanks to departing senator harry reid there is no filibuster so you have to concentrate your fire on one nominee if you want to take someone down because there's a
50-vote threshold not 60. >> before i move on to rick perry, when she mentions the confirmation fight, what is the backdrop? what has senator corker announced? >> senator corker, the powerful chairman of the foreign relations committee just announced, he told manu raju, he is going to hold hearings looking into the russian hacking. so on the one hand he's going to do this, president-elect donald trump has not been so excited about this, and at the same time we have a nominee here who critics are very concerned about his relationship. >> just worth a note, we are short on time, we have to go, ladies, appreciate all of you, mary catherine, nia-malika henderson and jamie. thank you. just ahead, something i didn't think i'd be talking about today, but guess who popped by trump tower? kanye west. yup, meeting with the next president of the united states then pausing for cameras, talking to reporters, hear why
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by rebel fighters. we are getting calls for a cease-fire to stop what is being called a complete meltdown of humanity in the country's largest city. this video tells the story. it's showing parents pushing children's bodies in some cases through these streets. these updates coming to us after these reports of syrian forces knocking down doors, slaughtering men and women around children inside of their own homes, others shot and killed in the streets as they tried to leave. these men and women there, they're desperately taping their last good-byes and posting them online for the world to see. >> don't believe anymore in united nations. don't believe anymore in the international community. don't think that they are not satisfied with what's going on.
the they are satisfied they are we are being killed. russia doesn't want to go out alive. they want us dead. assad is the same exactly yesterday there were many celebrations on the other part of aleppo. they were celebrating on our bodies. it's okay, this is life. at least we know that we were a free people. we wanted freedom. we didn't want anything else but freedom. i hope you can remember us. i don't know, thank you very much. joining me now, rupert co
"colcoa coleville. mr. coal villeville, men and wo contemplating suicide saying good-bye, what would you say to them? >> well, of course, the situation has changed since he said that and what appears to be good news. supposedly they'll be allowed out of the hell hole they've been in. but the sentiments are completely understandable. the international community and the u.n. security council, the states, the powerful states, have filled abysmally when it comes to syria. this crisis has gone on for five years. there were hundreds of thousands of people killed, millions of refugees and it's not just aleppo. there are many other parts of the country where there are pea sieged cities, towns, districts which are also in dire state and
the situation may get worse once the fighting in aleppo is over. >> how hopeful are you that the cease-fire will hold? >> well, it sounds that there have been many false storms, endless attempts to negotiate cease-fires and humanitarian relief for aleppo and other besieged areas as well so it does sound more solid this time. of course what the opposition people are saying and what the government side and the russians are saying as well so let's just pray this time it does hold and these poor people can get out of this dreadful shrinking death trap they've been in for days, weeks, months. >> rupert coleville, thank you so much. we just have to continue shining a light on the atrocities happening in syria. i know you're watching, you've
surprise. kanye west rolled through trump tower today. the rapper and kardashian spouse says he asked for 15 minutes, he asked for 15 minutes of the president-elect's time, so they met and walked out to reporters. here's what they said. >> just friends. just friends, he's a good man. >> reporter: do you want a cabinet position? >> we've been friends for a long time. >> reporter: what did you talk about? >> life. >> reporter: what do you have to say? >> i just want to take a picture right now. >> kanye didn't have a lot to say but he took to twitter. here's what he said "these issues included bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculum and violence in chicago." let me talk to ben ferguson and marc lamont hill, political commentator and professor at
morehouse college. gentlemen, eenie meany mini mow on kanye west. what do you think about him passing through? >> trump said he was going to meet with me and hear other ideas. i was shocked by the meeting just because there's so many other serious things that have been coming out and you're going, wait, he's meeting with who? but when you look at what kanye tweeted out, i'm okay. kanye has a lot of people that talked to him and i think that he thinks he represents and i think donald trump found that valuable for 15 minutes. >> there have been a lot of people who come through those golden elevators and it's not often you see the president-elect going up to meet the cameras. >> this is donald trump's way of saying "i'm cool, i have black friends, here's my black right here." >> and they're good friends, right? >> he's been to my house. but then there's the fact that kanye west said i didn't vote but if i had i would have voted
for donald trump so it's not even that he's necessarily of a different political persuasion. >> we have that sound, here's what he said. >> going forward -- >> nope, that's not it. >> i told you -- but i didn't tell you -- i guess i told you but if i would have voted, i would have voted on trump." >> so he says i would have voted for trump. >> wrochk black guy the first time. >> we're getting to president obama in just a moment. >> we know the difference, i promise. >> marc lamont hill. >> i'm his white friend so we're fine, we're okay. >> i do like that kanye raised these issues and said modernizing curriculum, reducing bullying, talking about substantive issues. >> why do you think he cares so much about that? kanye is a roller coaster but he does talk about these issues. >> let's hear from the other
person, president obama sat down with trevor noah from "the daily show" and here's a clip from that interview. >> going forward i worry we don't spend enough time on self-reflection about how our democracy is working and our campaign is work iing and how a of us have to do a better job talking about we make sure what's at stake. for example -- because these e-mails got more attention than any policy that was being debated during the campaign. >> so we know that the administration there reviewing -- interference in the elections, obviously we know what the cia report has been and the president is saying he wishes americans had cared more. hang on, hang on, i'll go to you first, i know what you're going to say. that the president would appear like he was playing politics if he were to have said more. that said, shouldn't he have
raised the alarm bell mrs. publicly? >> i think the ed was there. president obama is correct that we should have cared more. >> but isn't that about the president saying hey, what's up? >> it's about what the media chooses to represent. if we talk about hillary's e-mails all the time but we don't talk about donald trump staying on a podium saying "russia, hack us." >> we talked plenty about those hacks. >> we did but if we talked more -- we as a nation, not we as cnn -- talked more about donald trump calling for russia to hack we wouldn't be so surprised that russia had an influence on the election. >> what do you think? >> these are people that are upset and frustrated and lost the election. they didn't lose the election over hacking or russia and if barack obama had said "there's hacking going on" i don't think it would have changed the election. the fact with is you lost because of many issues hix hlla clinton had with trust issues with voters. you have to talk about how easy her server was to hack so they purposely didn't go there
because it was a massive lies i liability to hillary clinton. but the other point is this, you have an issue with russia where they looked at hacking, not just democrats, but republicans but they got better stuff because of the e-mails from podesta. >> because she had a political history and donald trump had no -- >> those e-mails were more than just political history. they even said republican stuff that was hacked was outdated and/or boring that was irrelevant. so if you want to blame somebody for the hack, blame podesta, blame hillary clinton for what she wrote. >> no, dan. >> the polls show i'm right and they didn't trust. >> i agree. the american people decided who they wanted to be president even though i disagree with them. they made the choice. but i do think russia having an influence on our elections is something significant and something we should talk about. >> time out. that's the point where i have to draw the line. there is no evidence to prove and/or showed the a significant impact on our election. >> let's say minimal impact. are you satisfied with that? >> i would concede the point russia was trying to get
information. the fact is they got good information from hillary clinton's campaign and they didn't get good information to hack into republicans but they had no influence on the election at all. >> but even the smallest impact is not good. >> and you have no basis for that claim. the cia is saying one thing and you're saying the other thing. >> and the fbi is saying something different than what the cia is saying and the cia isn't saying it officially. >> so what's your basis of a adjudicating these claims? >> we should be concerned about hacking. there is hacking, we should stop it, from china and russia and every country. >> there's two questions. what role does russia play in influence the election? the second is why would russia want to have a penny in this dollar? why would russia want donald trump to win over hillary clinton? that may say something about the candidate and as we look at rex tillerson and donald trump's policy -- >> that's where i say you are speculating on something that is not proven yet to be a fact that they said we are actively campaigning for donald trump. what we know is they hacked and
got information. >> do you think russia had a presence? >> i don't. >> [ laughter ] >> i think they wanted information on hillary clinton. i think they wanted information on donald trump. i think they wanted information on whoever might be the next president and that's their motive. >> well, we know there will be more investigating and we'll see what happens and we'll see if tillerson makes it through and thanks for talking kanye and scene. ben and marc, thank you so much. coming up next, inside the mind of a confessed killer. this racist manifesto read allowed in court as jurors decide his face for killing nine people in a charleston church. we'll be joined live by the reverend who had just left the church minutes before the shooting began. we'll talk about this week's testimony.
jurors in the case of the charleston church gunman sat and listened as all 2,000 words of the killer's manifesto were read in court. the writings read by an fbi agent reflect the white supremacist's views and how he wanted to start a race war. he's facing 33 federal charges including hate crimes and could be sentenced to death if convicted. a couple months ago i went to charleston to speak to those who were there that might. among them reverend norville geoff, the presiding eller of the south carolina district that includes mother emmanuel church and he spoke in that very room,
in the bible study room where nine people were killed and few survived. >> this was the room. this is where he came, where people were seated around the table holding bible study. >> yes. and he was invited to join them. >> reverend norville goff left mother emanuel just before the gunman entered the church through the side door. >> left to go to another meeting and that was about 7:40. my understanding the gunman was already in the parking lot. >> a dispatch log details the initial 911 calls from survivors that night. these chilling words show their pleas for help. "shot pastor. female is hiding under the table. male is reloading." the number of shots fired? so many. were you sitting around the table or you were in the back? >> i was in the last table in the back. >> when you prayed under that
table, were you asking for something? >> i was asking that he wouldn't kill all of us. yes. >> >> reverend goff is joining me now. reverend it's an honor and pleasure to have you back on thank you so much for the time. >> thank you for having me. >> we know, sir, within this courtroom there are some 30 seats being used by family members, survivors, church members including polly shepherd who i just talked to in that interview and i was with in charleston. why is it so important for all these folks within this community to sit there and be part of the trial. >> well, i think for some is to go through what happened on that evening and for others of us who recognized the freshness of death and what took place that evening is. >> we monitor it but we once
again say to the world and particularly to the charleston community that our faith is stronger than fear and we will stand up and say our love for humanity overtakes hate and we must be an example of bringing people together. with this racist bigot -- what this racist bigot terrorist attempted to do is to create a race riot in charleston, south carolina, which he intended for it to spread throughout the country. it did not happen and we continued to work together for those who wanted to make a difference in a positive way to show that our better sell vs is to bring ant a beloved community. >> you use strong language and you should and we're learning more about what he was thinking around the time of when he committed such an atrocity. released in federal court we have handwritten notes, reverend. these are letters from the gunman to his mother and father and let me read part of it for our viewers. he wrote "i'm sorry for what i did but i had to do it.
i know what i did will have repercussions on my whole family and for this i am sorry. at this moment i miss you so very much and as childish as it sounds i wish i was in your arms." what do you make of those words? >> i make of those words that it's a troubled individual and that racism and bigotry is a learned behavior. that we here in america and around the world must continue to foster the idea and hope of a better society by being not only tolerant but teaching basically in our homes and in our communities that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and we can defuse these kinds of attitudes that exist in our various communities. >> it's one thing for me to read some of what he has written. it's quite another to hear from this young man himself. i want to play some of his confession video where he is being interviewed by a member of
the law enforcement. in part, he's asked about remorse and he laughs. here it was. >> i went to that church in charleston, and uh -- i did it. >> did what? >> well, i had to do it because somebody had to do something. because black people are killing white people every day. >> last question, reverend. i hear you saying, obviously, he is a troubled young man. and in talking to some members of the charleston community, if he is ultimately convicted he could be put to death. and surprisingly, some don't want him to be. how do you feel about that? >> i think my feeling is that we
must let the justice system allow itself to take us to an ultimate end. and we know what justice looks like, but in terms of forgiveness, forgiveness is a process that not only individuals must go through but also communities and this nation must go through so we cannot repeat these kinds of acts that exist in various communities. and i think, as this trial continues to move forward, we will hear more discussion about this troubled individual. but we also must look and monitor what justice looks like and how the process itself unfolds, not only here in charleston but how we view it on the world stage. >> yes, sir. reverend norvel goff, thank you so much for joining me today. >> well, thank you for having me. >> thank you. one more story here, and
then i'll turn things over to my colleague. we really wanted to talk about this heart breaking story. terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in the arms of santa weeks before christmas. the only silver lining is that the boy lived long enough to te tell santa he would be granting him his dying wish. we don't have a picture of the child or a name, but we have santa claus himself. eric schmitt-matzen. he joins me on the phone. eric, i have to tell you, i watched this video, and i was weeping in my office earlier today. i just want to thank you for the time. and i want you to -- let's begin with you tell me about that phone call, about going to see this little boy. >> i'm sorry. tell you about the phone call? >> tell me about the phone call you got to see this special child. >> it was just -- i was driving home from work. i got a call from a nurse that i
have done pictures for her kids with before. and she informed me that they had a child at a hospital that was in -- that was going to be passing soon, and he was more concerned about missing christmas than dying. she wanted to know if i could come see him. >> more concerned about missing christmas. >> i needed to come now. >> in your santa suspenders. the child was so hanging on that you couldn't put on the full santa suit. how long have you been santa claus in your community? years and years? >> no. i was drafted by the church like most of us for three years. then i've done it professionally for six. >> so the conversation that you had with this little boy, you get to the hospital, and you pick him up? >> no, i don't pick him up. he is laying back in a -- on his
pillow there. and -- you want to know what the conversation was? is that what you're asking? >> yes, please. >> i just -- first i talked to the parents and said, you know, if i got to go in here and i got to make the child happy and laugh and try to make him forget about his woes, you know. and i know you're in a -- in a bad way right now, because they were all pretty much sobbing already, you know. i says, but i can't do that if you're in there crying as well, you know. and i said, if you -- if you feel -- you're welcome in there, but if you feel like you're going to lose it, come on out in the hallway and afterwards i'll stand out in the hallway and i'll cry with you. but as far as in the room, we've got to keep it together and be smiling, you know? so they handed me the present. i walked in the room. and he was kind of laying there with, you know, just like half -- looked like he was about half asleep.
eyelids half closed. i took a couple of steps and looked back behind me and none of the family elected to come in the room with me. i don't blame them. i got in there. i just -- i turned back around, i saw him. his eyes opened. he saw me. and i did my ho, ho, ho, merry christmas. how are you today? what's this i hear to you think you're going to miss christmas? and he looked up and he goes, they tell me i'm dying. i said, well you're not going to miss christmas. he said he mails me this present for you a long time ago. we know you've been wanting this for a long time. and i brought it to him. i sat down on the side of the bed with him. he opened -- he tried to open the present. he was having a hard time. didn't have much strength. so i helped him out with it. got it opened. he looked at it. he saw it was a patrol character. that put a smile on his face. he kind of just laid back on the pillow and looked back up to me.
he says, they say i'm dying. that's the second time he said it to me. i looked at him and said, well, can you do me a favor? he says, sure. >> i says, when you pet to those pearly gates, you tell them that you're santa's number one elf. he says, i am? i said, sure you are. i said they'll let you right in those gates. and he -- he just kind of sat up, put his arms around him. i put my arms around him. he looked up at me and he said, can you help me, santa? he says santa, can you help me? that's what it was. santa, can you help me? i just hugged him in tight and right about then i felt him pass. >> he passed in your arms. >> i looked was he passed out or was he dead. he had gone. looked up at the ceiling, looked