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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  September 25, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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it's about obamacare failing and what do we do about it? lamar alexander and petition talked for weeks and nobody gave a damn on the other side until we came along. all of a sudden everybody is interested in bipartisan solutions to fix a system that's failing because i think we struck a nerve. i think what we did, bill, is we told people we're going to make a trade off. we'll keep the money in place as a republican will keep the taxes in place, but we're going to make sure somebody else gets that money other than the people under obamacare because they're not doing a good job with it. it's that simple. as to a governor, what they do to your family, what they do to -- i'm 62. i probably don't need to buy maternity coverage but i want to make sure it's there for people who need it. and i bet you this, that every state in which you live your political leaders will offer that to you. if they don't, they will lose
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their job. >> the issue of planned parenthood is really interesting. what's interesting about it is you hit it from a republican colleagues how they're really into choice. got to have the right choice. that's what freedom is about. well, 2.5 million women have made a choice, and the choice they have made is you have made is that they want to go to planned parenthood to get their health care. and generally speaking, most people think that planned parenthood does an excellent job. and for rather crass political reasons, these guys are talking about this is just one year. they're right, one year in this bill, but every single peels of lenls lags that they have voted on has did he funded planned parenthood and when we continue to talk about compassion and choice, please do not forget today, cbo reported their
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legislation would throw millions of people off the health insurance they currently have. their legislation according to the cbo report a few hours ago would cut a trillion dollars from medicaid which provides health care for some of the most vulnerable men, women and children in this country. >> i want to change the subject to obamacare. washington's inability -- >> i thought that's what the debate was about. >> well, she was talking about a provision in graham/cassidy. so i want to switch it back to obamacare. washington's inability to take action on health care has created further instability in insurance markets today. the list of insurers downsizing or pulling out of obamacare exchang exchanges includes hugh man that, aetna, anthem. i want to bring in from tennessee she has a question for senator -- >> good evening. considering the scant marketplace options in my state,
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what would you do for health insurance if you were me and note, i don't qualify for a government subsidy and then kind of a as second part to that question, i know that the health care that congressman and women receive is something that's v y stellar. so what do you do to put yourself in the place of someone that's not as lucky as you are. >> let me start with that. when the affordable care act passed, senator grassley put an amendment in there that said that members of congress and our staff wouldn't be on the federal health care anymore. that we would go on these exchanges. and that's where we are now. we're on the exchange. but i actually think that everyone should have access to that kind of health care. i agree with you. and senator mccaskill of missouri has done just that. we need to, number one, make these immediate changes that i
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just discussed that are led by republican senator alexander of tennessee, democrat senator patty murray of washington. we've got a budge of ideas. the exact kind of things senator mccain has asked us to do. and then you add to that the other work that needs to be done and that is creating a less expensive option for people to buy into like yourself. one way to do it would be senator mccaskill's idea. snore idea would be senator shots. we have been working together on an option that you can buy into for medicaid that's a very efficiently run program. that's a bill that's going to come out in the next month or so. and then senator murphy of kt is also working on one with medicare. these are options. i'm tired of hearing about this false choice. the bill that's on the floor right now or one other bill. and senator sanders and i have the same goals here and that is to bring more affordable care to the people of this country, but
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we have to look at these other option. that is exactly what john mccain was talking about when he took to the floor that day. so let's get going and get those things passed. >> senator cassidy? >> when they say they want a bill with fewer benefits, that means your deductible is not $6,000. that means your deductible is $8,000. i'm a physician. i know. i can kind of read through that code. so what we hope again, you could do it by the way by doing single payor, medicare for all of the but let me talk a little bit about that. senator sanders says it's only a 2% overhead. actually, the premiums are a lot higher, so 2% is a lot more. regular insurance is a lot cheaper, so 15% is not less. secondly, there's so much fraud in medicare. go google medicare fraud, it just item bells out. and thirdly, they outsource.
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so the justice department does their -- it is false that it's 2% relative to 15%. it is much higher than 2. as to what you could do differently, if you give states the ability to snow vat, this is what maine did. they set up what they call an invisible high-risk pool where they put a lump sum of dollars there and when you got into the system, maybe you had a problem, you never knew it, but the insurance company dpot some assistance from this high-risk pool to lower your premiums and to lower everyone else's. that was a state solution that was squashed by obamacare. that's why i say if you have the power or your state has the power, there will be innovation in this country, if not. not. by the way, the cbo, it specifically says that we think that states will experiment and those that do will will be copied by others. we think we can do a lot better than the affordable care act is doing right now. >> senator sanders.
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>> let's reiterate what the cbo just said. trillion dollars in cuts -- let me finish. trillion dollars in cuts to medicaid, now, this is preliminary because you keep changing the plan every day and cbo has not had the time to do the kind of thorough study that the american people want us to do, but there have been numerous, numerous studies out there that suggest that your plan will throw over 30 million people off of the health insurance they currently have. and let's once again from a human point of view -- we've heard some of that discussion tonight -- understand what it means when people who are struggling with cancer, heart disease, diabetes suddenly get the word that our legislation passed and they lose the health insurance they have. that is their lifeline for literally staying alive. our job as a humane society is to do a couple of things. it's not to throw 30 million people off of health insurance.
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it's to do what every other major country on et does, guarantee health care to all people as a right. that's what we should be doing. and second of all, what we have got to be doing is come up with short-term solutions. and i think amy mentioned some of them. why don't we make sure that in every state in this country there is a public option, a strong set of benefits and an affordable course to compete with private insurance? i think that's a very, very good idea. some want to do it through medicare option. but people should have the option to go beyond the private insurance company in their own community. i think that would be a successful effort, and i would hope that you would support us on that. >> let's get through the rhetoric. when they say we cut medicaid by a trillion dollars, it means we media you have it over into a flexible block grant. the money is still there for the state to use. it is trying to scare you with things which essentially are not true to say that the money is
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not there. indeed cbo says that some states will continue their medicaid expansion program. that's what cbo says. it's just it's going to be under another rubric. let's talk about the 32 million people getting kicked off. they say that because we end the individual mandate, in which the federal government tells you if you don't buy insurance the long arm of the government is going to grab you and penalize you and shake you until you pay it. turns out 58% of those who pay report on their income tax less than $50,000 in income. republicans think that we should help those families, not penalize them. and one more thing about that. that individual mandate, jonathan gruber is the architect of obamacare. he wrote a study that was published in the new england journal of medicine. he says that the individual mandate does not work has no statistically significant effect upon getting folks insured. cbo still claims it. they admit it openly.
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but the data shows it doesn't. no, it doesn't work. getting a governor engaged. if a governor is engaged, she or he gets the people in their state enroiled. we get the governor engaged. >> senator -- >> let me tell you what. your own governor opposes this bill. i would add that republican governor of nevada said that this pits seniors, people against each other, people with mental illnesses against kids because they're all trying to grab at a reduced pile of money. that's what this does. the 50 medicaid administrators in the country, the group that represents them said this cuts medicaid severely and they can't administer it. i want people to remember that. so there is a reason that the american medical association, the alzheimer's association, the
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arthritis association and the aarp, that's just the a's, guys. those are just the ones beginning with a have come out against this bill. these are independent groups that many of you trust because you may have the diseases, you may have reasons that you're working with those groups. so i ask you to look at what they've said about this bill and to this bill we have a preliminary analysis on monday. we don't even have a full analysis on how it impacts each state. something that senator susan collins put out in a really good statement tonight that you should read about why she opposes the bill because she's so many version, doesn't know how it impact her state and that's why we have these analysis. so, please, every piece of legislation, major one has gone through a thorough analysis. look at social security privateization. that didn't pass, right? that had a cbo analysis. medicare benefits for drugs, medicare part d, that had a cbo analysis. that passed. that's what we need. and the reason that they aren't
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waiting to get that thorough analysis is because they know exactly what it will show. what every other repeal has showed. 10 million, 20 million, 30 million people kicked off insurance. >> thank you. we're going to take a quick break. we'll be right back with more on cnn's debate on health care in america. stay with us. knowing where you stand. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts
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welcome back to cnn's debate night in america on the future of health care. we want to get to a brutal issue that is plaguing this country and that is opioids. drug overdoses as you know, senators, are currently the leading cause of death among americans under 50, a number that is rising due to opioid addiction. republicans are proposed eliminating funding for medicaid expansion which helps pay for substance abuse treatment. i want to bring in ashley hurry toe, a recovering heroin addict from new hampshire and she has a question for senator graham. >> senator graham, in march 2015 i lost custody of my son and then three months later on june 11th i woke up to find my husband dead next to me. lifeless from an overdose. my addiction was so strong and so sick that not even his death
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or losing our beautiful son were enough to get me to stop using. i ended in jail and eventually got treatment through new hampshire's drug court program which was 100% paid for my medicaid expansion. if medicaid was cut health -- >> really great question. number one, congratulations on overcoming something that is just incredible. we're all one pill away. you don't know until you take the first pill. it's not a character problem. it's just the body. you never know if you get hurt and you take a pill. eve just got to deal with it, but it's not medicaid expansion that saved you. it was somebody who knew what they were doing who walked you through how to get better. let's talk about $20 trillion of debt. let's talk about medicaid. medicaid medicare, social security and interest on the debt is going to consume all the
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money you send in the future in taxes. do you care about the debt? do you care about her? can we do both? so here is what i would say about medicaid. medicaid is growing twice as fast as health care in other areas. i want to make sure that medicaid is sustainable and affordable. what do we do to save a trillion dollars? we lower the inflation rate eight years from now. so your state of new hampshire is going to have the money to design programs that would help your family. they're going to get money that a bur accurate would have gotten in d.c., their share of the 1.2 trillion and they can take 20 pearls of that to spend on the medicaid that they want to. they can take money in the second block grant and go well beyond where medicaid would let them go. they're going to have more money to help people like you. and here is what i bet. they'll do a better job than the guy or the gal running obamacare. so if you want to save the country from going bankrupt, we need to get medicare on a sustainable footing, charge me
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more, i can afford it. younger people, you're going to have to wait until bit longer to retire because we're living so much longer. but we'll give you decades to get there. as to medicaid, make it work. instead of running to the emergency room when you have a headache or a cold under medicaid and sending all of us the bill, let that medicaid patient into a family physician network where they can get treated, better for them, better for you. all i can say is if you do nothing, we just play like nothing is going to change unless somebody makes it change, medicaid is unsustainable. we don't cut a dime out of medicaid. we slow the growth. eight years from now we give the state the flexible they don't have today. here is my bet. deal do a better job with the money than the obamacare guy or gal. >> senator, thank you. >> let me just say two things. all of us are and should be concerned approximate the deficit and the national debt we
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have. these guys, though, are going to support a tax proposal which over a ten-year period would repeal the estate tax and give $269 billion in tax breaks to the top two tenths of 1%. that to me is not an effective way to deal with the deficit. second of all, let me read directly from the cbo report that came out today. and i would disagree with senator cassidy's interpretation. they are cutting a trillion dollars. all told federal spending on medicaid would be reduced by about a trillion dollars over the 2017, 2026 period under the lemgts lags and the program would cover millions fewer enrollees. what that means in terms of the question you raise, we've got a real issue in new hampshire. we've got one in vermont. this is a national tragedy. when you cut back on medicaid and you don't get money to the states for prevention and for
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treatment, there is nobody who doubts but that a lot more people are going to die and not get the care that they need. so if we are concerned about the opioid epidemic, the idea of cutting a trillion dollars from medicaid, which is one of the major sources of funding at a local level to deal with the opioid epidemic is absolutely crazy. >> thank you, senator. i want to stay on the issue of medicare but not medicaid expansion. medicaid currently enshurz roughly one in five americans including horror income americans. republicans have been advocating to reduce federal funding for the program which would force states to make some decisions on their own. woman from maryland has a question for senator cassidy. >> senator cassidy, is medicaid funding gets shifted to the states and they cap and cut medicaid optional services like home and community based assistance which currently allow me to live and thrive
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independently will be first on the chopping block. how will you ensure that disabled americans and seniors get the life essential care they need, especially when many states already have long wait lists and an increased need as baby boomers age? [applause] >> there is a section in our bill -- again, i started this as a physician. i am first a doctor. i just -- the young lady who just spoke, i used to treat patients in a women's prison and in a men's prison. i understand that scourge of opioid addiction. we preserve mental health parity. the resources will be there. sure, its not from medicaid. it's in the flexible block frant, but the money would be there if your state needs it. as regards this, on page 100 of our bill, there's a section. it says ensuring continued access to home based and community services. that is a whole section of our bill to ensure that stays.
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secondly, as regards this flexible block grant, some of that money can be used toll whittle down waiting lists for those who have disabilities. but it isn't washington telling your state to do it. it is the state deciding to because the state realizes it has a need with opioids or realizes it has a back kind of backlog of folks going into disability. so we ensure that you continue that access. we give the state the flexibility to cut down that waiting list. we think the state knows better than the federal government or a single payor how to take care of you. >> senator. >> thanks for your story. and i think you know you're not alone. 40 pearls of people on -- with disabilities get their insurance through medicaid. that's a fact. that's how they get their health care. and what this bill does is cut medicaid, and that's why all the major disability groups are opposed to this bill. it is a pre-existing condition. i remember on fourth of july walking in parades on the iron
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range and moms would come out with their kids. i specifically remember one with downs syndrome. and the mom said i love my little boy here, but this is a pre-existing condition. he is a pre-existing condition. so help him. over 50% of americans have pre-existing conditions. there are two twins out there from minnesota, not the minnesota twins baseball team. they're 14 years old. and they play on their softball team. and one is a pitcher and one is a catcher. one has diabetes. the other one doesn't. but guess what? does it matter which one has diabetes and which one doesn't? the pitcher or the catcher? what really matters with these identical twins, i see them right there, is that they both should be able to be healthy and have affordable insurance. not be hurt because one has a pre-existing condition. >> we will be right back with more from cnn's debate on health care in america. stay with us. ♪
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welcome back, senators.
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you've heard from people whose lives will directly be impacted by your actions. and we now have time for closing statements. you each get one minute and we're going to start with senator sanders. >> let me thank both of you and cnn for hosting this debate. we're a great nation. we have led the world in so many ways for so many years, but there's something wrong today. we are looking at legislation supported by the majority party which is opposed by every major health care organization in the country. opposed by the doctors in the ama. it's opposed by the hospitals in the american hospital association. it's opposed by the american cancer society. it's opposed by virtually every organization concerns about the well-being of their patients. so our job right now short term is to defeat this proposal and with a little bit of luck that's what we'll do. but that is not good enough.
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our job now is to come together to craft serious short-term solutions that addresses the real problems that exist, high dublt i believe so, high copayments, high cost of prescription drugs. but longer term we have gt to come together and finally conclude that as a nation we cannot be the only nation, major nation on earth not to see health care as a right. thank you very much. >> senator graham. >> we end where we began. obamacare is failing and i don't see a solution other than just throwing more money at insurance companies. i'm not going to do that. do you get that? i'm want going to do it. 45% of the counties in this country have one provider. 45 counties have no choice. it gets worse overtime, not better. here is the idea. take the time amount of money
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that you're going to spend on a bur accurate that never knows your name and give it to the people you can vote for in your state with guard rails, focusing on you as an individual and your state as a unique place, and i bet you a dollar you'll get better outcomes because welfare reform. and i bet you this. my good friend bernie, obamacare is a placeholder for bernie care. bernie care is socialism full bore. he's a nice man but if you want medicare for all, you'll end up with medicare for nobody. you'll have a card without a choice. don't consolidate all the hopes and dreams of your family into the arms of the federal government because it's not going to work. i'll just end with this. we're going to go one of two ways in this country. we're going to create a future for our children that they can actually afford. we're going to deal with a $20 trillion debtor pass it on to somebody else. driving the debt is medicaid,
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social security and interest on the debt. somebody needs to deal with this. i choose to be that somebody. medicaid is highly inefficient. we need it match it up not cut it and give people the flexibility to run it better than they have today. all i can tell you about this fight, it's just beginning and to my friends on the other side, every group you cited told you that obamacare would work. every insurance company against this bill and if i were them i'd be against it too because we take money from them and we give it to the state government to help you. and all these other organizations, you don't think they'll have a voice in your state? you don't think somebody in your state will listen to them? this is not about -- this is not about caring. this is about changing things while we still have a chance, because ten years from now if we don't fix it today, it's going to collapse, and god help us
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all. >> thank you, senator. [applause] >> well, let me end where i began, and that this is about people. this is about the retiree in minnesota who actually saves her insulin injek tore just to get those extra drops because the price has skyrocket. this is about the farmer with heart disease. it's about the teacher with breast cancer. and the bill, and i think you can tell we like each other up here, right, but this bill doesn't help those people. it makes things worse. it jacks up the premiums. it kicks millions of people off of health care, and for me, one of my life's work, it doesn't do anything about those skyrocketing prices with the prescription drugs. so i am asking people to join me as we go forward. and how we go forward, and we can do something quickly to fix
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the affordable care act, to do go about the issues that were raised about those premiums and to join the work that's been going on now for weeks with the two senators that lead that committee across the aisle to make some fixes. a and i think these three senators will join me too and i ask all of you well is and put the politics aside and the people first. thank you. >> senator cassidy. [applause] >> it has been such a privilege to be with you all and thank you for having me. there's several things we agree on tonight. we agree we have to do something about pharmaceutical costs. we agree that there should be access. we actually agree that obamacare is broken because there's advocates for single payor health care. what we disagree on is where the power should be. when i was a doctor i learned if the patient had the power, if you had the power the system lined up to serve you. if the state has the power it can be more responsive to those who live in the state.
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if it is a federal bur accurate, it's a formula. and so if we have a waiting list for those with disabilities, i'm sorry, you don't make the formula. if you need more money for opioid addiction, i'm sorry, you don't meet the formula. under our plan these dollars go to the state in a flexible block grant and if there's a waiting list, you use it forring list. if there's an opioid crisis you use it for that. ultimately you use it for the patient because you have the power. i will end where i started. if it is a choice between you and the federal government, our plan chooses you. if you are for single payor, you choose otherwise. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator cassidy. also thank you to our fantastic studio audience for being here tonight. >> cnn tonight starts right now. thanks a lot.
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[applause] thank you, jake for that engaging debate. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. so we're going to start by setting the record straight here. taking a knee at an nfl game was never about the flag or the military. that's what the president wants you to believe. it gives his insulting sons of bridges comment cover, a comment that not only insults hardworking professional men but tries to drag their mother's down to his level as well. taking a knee is a constitutionally protected expression. it falls within league rules, period. if anyone actually believes this is about the flag, then you must believe rose aparks' protest was about a bus. think about that. and while you're thinking about it, listen to kaepernick one year ago. >> the media painted this as i'm
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anti-american, anti-men and women of the military. and that's not the case at all. you know, i realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm's way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee. so i have the utmost respect for them. >> here is what this is about. it's about focusing attention on racial injustice, focusing attention on racial injustice. it's about challenging our country to extend the promise that -- of that flag to all citizens, including the citizens whose an contest ors were slaves. you may not agree with colin kaepernick or the scores of players who take a knee or took a knee this weekend. and that is okay of the you don't have to agree with them. but that's not really the point here. no american gets to tell another american how to express their love for this country. now let's talk about patriotism.
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what is it? is it draping one's self in the flag? is it the paneling entry and spectacle of a ball game, standing up for the national anthem? or is it standing up for the founding principles of this country? standing up for the very first amendment of our constitution, the very first one, which is freedom of expression? standing up for our brothers and sisters, who may not look like us or share our religious beliefs or are of a different political persuasion? is it priority iedsing racism even when it may not directly affect you? and justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. whatever affect one directly affect all indirectly. that was dr. martin luther king jr. what he understood was that patriotism comes in many forms enshrined in the words of the star spanning he would banner or the land of the free. free meaning you may choose to
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stand. and the home of the brave. someone else may be brave enough to put their lively hoods on the line and choose to kneel. standing or kneeling. what does it matter? what matters is what's in your heart, and that is the american way. now let's talk to our panel now. cnn political analyst mark preston is here, ma leaka henderson and david axelrod. thank you all for joining us. it was a fascinating debate on health care, but let's talk about this story that has been really raging all weekend. there's escalating tensions in north korea, hurricane aftermath in puerto rico, battle for health care as we just heard, tax reform. president trump is on day three of attacking nfl players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. why did he pick this particular fight? >> i think in many ways this is where the president is most comfortable, not only fighting but fighting the culture war, kind of framing himself as a
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defender. and i think he typically i think is playing along with white identity politics and sort of great grievance politics, right. i think he is talking to white americans who have some cultural anxiety about the sort of demographic changes that we see in this country. and this has been a feature of this president even going back to when he was right. his entire identity was another sort of racial dog whistle around the president, president obama's birth, right, the sort of racist birther lie. so i think this is something we will continue to see from this president. he talks about, for instance, we're going to bring back the phrase merry christmas this this country. he's always talking about this sense of loss white americans feel and he's going to be the one to restore them, restore their esteem, restore their place, restore their sense of where this country should be. so i think that's where he is.
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he clearly feels like he's comfortable here. he feels like this is a political winner for him. his campaign sent out an ad, an e-mail plea on this for donations. so, you know, this is where the president is comfortable. i think it has implications for the country at large, certainly on a smaller level for this president politically and then also for the gop that has struggled mightily with trying to rebrand themselves and trying to be a bigger party. i think it's going to be really hard with this president who is so comfortable playing racial politics and playing a racially divisive politics for gain. >> yet and still, david, he says that this is not about race. does he not understand that? is he that ignorant of the sways or is this a tactic that he's doing on purpose? is he purposely doing this? >> yes, i think he's purposely doing it and i think part of what he was doing was standing in front of an audience in the state of alabama where he very
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likely is going to lose an election tomorrow night. the candidate he's supporting is going to lose to a candidate who is further to the right and so one thing that i think occurred to him was maybe if i throw this red meat out, i can stir something that will somehow redowned to my benefit here. but more than that, he's looking at a week in which he's going to suffer potentially two losses and we're talking both of them tonight. one is that special in alabama and the other is health care. and nothing bothers donald trump more than the perception that he's a loser so he decided to change the conversation by doing what he does so often and with such fer osty and that is to kind of exploit the racial divisions in our country. so i think he knew exactly what he was doing and he got the effect that he wanted, which is that he's got the whole country talking about something other than the fact that he was going to have a very bad week. >> mark, i wonder if he realized
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the reaction that was going to take place afterwards, the fallout, because at monday night football tonight, the entire dallas cowboys team including the owner and trump donor jerry jones locked arms, knelt down before the national anthem. that i a look and then we'll talk about it. >> players wanted to show unity, but they were very adamant about wanting to separate that message from the national anthem. shawn. >> all right, lisa and as they take a knee collectively, boos can be heard from this sell-out crowd in arizona. >> so, mark, they didn't take a knee during the anthem, but the franchise also tweeted out hashtag football is family. what does this mean for the white house's argument that this is an afront to the flag? >> well, you said it at the top and that's absolutely right. what president trump has done is he created a red herring. he's trying to divert attention
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into a narrative that will fit his belief or at least his story in order for him to defend himself. but, in fact, we know what colin kaepernick was trying to do. we know what these football players and other athletes were trying to do over the weekend and of course we saw that tonight as well. they're trying to sew solidarity. they're trying to bring attention to an issue that certainly colin kaepernick when he started this didn't think there was enough attention when he brought to it. he was very successful in doing so. but what donald trump has done is he is trying to make this about patriotism. he has tried to create as kneea was saying identity politics when it comes to, you know, this specific issue but also the culture wards. and don, i also think it's very, very important to note is that we hadn't seen president trump in the eight plus months in office create a whole lot of allies. on saturday i remarked when you make so many enemies, you'll have no moral liz left.
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robert craft a very close friend of his came out and was critical of president trump. tom brady, the all-star quarterback, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, a friend of president trump came out this morning on a boston radio station and said he was disappointed in the president. so what we've seen for president trump in the eight and a half months is not only with our foreign allies but also here at home he's alienating everyone. >> oh, man. there's so much in what you just said, especially friends of the president and him not really building -- he's not building bridges politically among americans who may or may not vote for him next time, which he's supposed to do as president, but he's also not building bridges among his friends, hiss supporters. and when you start to lose supporters in this political game, it's kind of -- is that the beginning of the end? and i don't mean the beginning of the end of his presidency,
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but the beginning of the end of the stroj support that this president has from some very wealthy people and from even the people he may be trying to reach with this, you know, with his racial politics that he's doing here? >> you know, i think, and i reached out to some conservatives about this and what their reaction was to what the president said, they are all for it. i'm sure if you listen to conservative radio today, they were very much in the president's corner. they think this is a political winner in many ways. but, you know, in terms of most presidents, you think back the last few presidents, they come into office with the expressed goal of being a uniting figure, right, being a u niert, not a divider. you think of somebody like bill clinton wanting to be a repairer of the breach. he talked about that. obviously george bush the same thing. and obama, hope and change and unity in all those ways. it might end up in the end that they won't necessarily unifying
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figures for the country, but they at least attempted that. >> right. >> i think for this president easy that him actively actually trying to divide the country and really kind of get some political gain there that division. >> yeah. david, i want to ask you about this. it's important to get this out here now. sources are telling cnn that the chief of staff general kelly doesn't believe this is a fight president trump should be taking on. the president then tweeted this. general john kelly totally agrees with my stance on nfl players and the fact that they should not be disrespecting our flag or great country. again, as i said at the top of the show this is not about disrespecting the flag or disrespecting the country. thaetsds how the administration or at least the president is trying to frame it to change it here. but john kelly spoke briefly to cnn this evening and he says that he's, quote, appalled by what he sees as a lack of respect by players. in this case both things can be true. he may not be happy the president took this on, but he also thinks that the players should stand.
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>> no. that is exactly right. i'm sure both things are true. look, john kelly has been working very hard to sort of calm the waters over at the white house, and the one thing that he hasn't been able to get control of is the president himself and through either his comments or his twitter account. i'm sure that this is not a fight that he thinks is particularly productive right now. but let me just say one other thing on a personal note. i'm the son of an i am ingredient, refugee who came here, fled hi country where he was persecuted, his family was persecuted. came to america. when i went overseas and particularly eastern european with the president i would stand there with my hand over my heart when the anthem was played and i had tears come to my eyes because to me america was a place where people could come for refuge, pray as they wanted, think as they want. and it's too bad to demean what that anthem means and what the
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flag means and what the country means and drag the country into this kind of a battle for your own narrow or your perception of what is your own narrow political gain. and the president just hasn't been able to see himself as a trustee of the larger country. he sees himself rather as a politician who is looking for ways to constantly inflame his base. >> and if -- every time i hear the national anthem i've said this before, it makes you tear up. i mean, most americans feel that way. you have a feeling about it. every day and growing up in catholic school we did the national anthem and we did our pledge of allegiance every day and we prayed. i don't know what's more american than that. and that happens all over this country still to this day. and if you choose not to stand for the national anthem or to take a knee, that's okay. people don't have to agree with you, but that's not part of being an american. as i said, it's the american way. thank you all.
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i appreciate it. i want to bring in now -- so good to have both of you on this evening. christine, i want to start with you. the president tweeted about four different leagues over the weekend and this morning said the nfl, the issue of kneeling has different -- it has nothing to do with race. it is about respect for our country, flag and national . >> nhl, pleased to inform they will be joining me at the white house for ceremony. great team. stephen curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn. so he's putting them all against each other. but he says this is not about race. and when you consider the demographics of those sports. >> absolutely. you look at this, and of course
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colon kaepernick was taking a knee a year ago because issues involving race and concerns about some of those issues. that's how all this started. let's keep that in mind. but absolutely when you talk about the pittsburgh penguins going to the white house, that's great. of course they can go. nhl has got to be 94%, 95% white, and that's hockey. and then you've got the conversation, of course, of all the other things going on the nfl, and the nfl being 75% african-american. you cannot get away from that. and i guess maybe this is a message to his base from a sports perspective. it's been a losing proposition for donald trump when we first started talking about it on your show, don, when the news first broke. he's been wrong at every turn.
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and he's wrong. cbs is reporting its ratings are up, and hits pregame yesterday was the highest rated pregame show cbs has had in seven years. and being pleased that you can work together as a team, which is what we saw over and over again on the field yesterday and then again tonight. >> yeah, denise, you represent many players who took a knee for the first time yesterday. first, tell me what change for them and do they feel like they accomplished what they set out to do? >> a lot changed for them. i talked to many players that decided to take a knee yesterday that hadn't previously taken a knee. and a lot of them what they
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expressed to me, so astounded when he read president trump's tweets, and he's an african-american player. he said to me, denise, i felt like he was telling me, first of all, this was personal. second of all he was telling me hey, you, boy, stop, sit down, be quiet, and i'll tell you when you can talk. and he felt it was not only a racist thing but something that was taking away his right of freedom of speech, which is what every american is afforded that lives here in this great land of ours. the guys that i spoke to were more shocked than anything because they expect more from the president. dont we all? we expect more from the man that's supposed to be leading this free country of ours. so they were more shocked han anything, but they couldn't sit still, sit down and not do anything. i spoke to one of the guys that plays for the baltimore ravens.
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before they went on the field, he said there were tears in the locker room. they were so conflicted on what to do and how to get this message out. but what they all agreed on as a consensus group is you can't tell us we can't speak. you take take away our constitutional rights. so this really was -- and it's unfortunate that the narrative has changed from when colon kaepernick first did this to when yesterday when so many more athletes decided to take a knee -- but the narrative now is look, president trump, you're not going to tell us we can't speak. somehow because they've taken a stance, that somehow they don't get the same rights as every other american, which is ridiculous. >> and people have been speaking out. michael jordan who doesn't
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usually speak out, he released a statement. lebron james. watch this. >> the people run this country, not one individual. and damn sure not him. >> so, listen -- and they're being very out spoken about this. what's interesting to me, i think, christine, what would be very telling is if anybody reached out to colin kaepernick. anyone in the team, league owners, that would be extraordinary if they did, but i doubt they did. >> well, we have no reporting on it at this point, but they sure should. if you think about, kaepernick was the problem. he was the focus of everyone's attention a year ago. look what's happening on the field. hundreds of kaepernicks doing what he did. and with trump what he did on
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friday, triggering it all. if in fact he was being black balled because of his activism and his peaceful activism and of course giving a million dollars to charity, we can't forget that. one would think there should be a place in the nfl for him. and what a wonderful turn of events that could be following up on what trump did. you've got a picture, don. donald trump looking at a photo, a video of jerry jones kneeling. how will trump react to that? whatever jerry jones message, whatever his idea was, before the anthem, whatever it was, what a visual tonight. again, absolute rupudiation of the president of the united states. >> thank you, denise. thank you, christine. quickly. >> one thing i don't think anyone can disagree with is this has definitely brought everyone together when it comes to the nfl, the owners, the coaches,
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the players. the nfl actually contacted one of our players today, because they're looking to bring in some of the players that kneeled tomorrow, they're bringing in several of the owners. and they want to know how do we move forward with this? now that we've done this and been together as unit and expressed our views on what president trump has done, how do we move forward now? it's a great start -- should have started a long time ago, but it's a great start for the owners and the players. when we come back, a show of solidarity for the dallas cowboys who knelt before the national anthem. i'm going to speak to three former nfl players and get their takes. r insurance by switching to geico. i should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico can help you save money on your homeowners insurance too? great! geico can help insure our mountain chalet! how long have we been sawing this log? um, one hundred and fourteen years. man i thought my arm would be a lot more jacked by now.
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i'm not even sure this is real wood. there's no butter in this churn. do my tris look okay? take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more. the vice president standing up for the president in his scolding of the nfl saying tonight he doesn't think it's too much to ask players to stand for the national anthem. i want to know what my guests think now.
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joining me now former players. he was also cnn contributor, and jack brewer. gentlemen, thank you so much for coming on. man, oh, man, where dud this end dante? he knelt yesterday and said this to my colleague, erin burnett, watch. >> i was truly hurt. i don't think a lot of people truly understand what it feels like to wake up in this country and not feel equal. to truly, truly feel your voice won't be heard as much as somebody else's. and to hear the president, the leader of our country call somebody a son of a bitch that i have a lot of respect for, to call a group of men that i have a lot of respect for and talk about them in that language, it was tough. it was very emotional for me.
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and in that moment i knew i could no longer continue to stand by and not take a stance. regardless of what you're peacefully protesting for, you have a right and be able to do that. and please, at some point can we address the fact that so many people in our country don't feel equal? >> clearly, what happened friday night changed the conversation for so many players. correct? >> i believe so. when the president came out friday evening in huntsville, alabama and had those remarks, calling the players sobs, saying they should be fired or yanked off the field, he'd done a number of things. he attacked the nfl as a whole, players individually, and he also attacked the nfl as a business, which obviously affects the owners. and there's been a number of owners who have donated a substantial amount of money to his campaign, to h

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