tv PBS News Hour PBS December 6, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> nawaz: good evening, i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, the spread continues-- omicron appears in more states even as health officials battle a surge of delta covid cases. then, rising tensions-- the united states declares a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming winter olympics in china, inflaming a fraught relationship. and, veterans affairs-- secretary denis mcdonough on meetinthe needs of former servicemembers, including addressing toxic exposure and post-traumatic stress. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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working to build a more healthy, just and inclusive future for everyone. at czi.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> nawaz: the united states will conduct a diplomatic boycott of the winter olympic games in beijing. the white house announced today
that american officials will not attend the games in february, to protest human rights abuses in china. but, american athletes are still free to compete >> i don't think that we felt it was the right step to penalize athletes who have been training, preparing for this moment, and we felt that we could send a clear message by not sending an official u.s. delegation >> nawaz: earlier, china warned that a boycott would trigger what it called "firm countermeasures." u.s./russian tensions over ukraine are still running high, ahead of tomorrow's video call between president biden and russian president vladimir putin. russian troops have massed along the ukrainian border. today, the state department warned of severe economic consequences if e russians invade. in moscow, a kremlin spokesman said that as things stand, bilateral relations with the u.s. are in "quite a lamentable state." three more members of a u.s.
missionary group have been freed in haiti, after being held hostage since october. the group, based in ohio, says the three were released on sunday. a violent gang had abducted 17 people in all. twelve remain captives. the kidnappers have demanded $1 million ransom apiece, but it is unclear if anything has been paid. in myanmar, a court today convicted aung san suu kyi of incitement and violating covid restrictions. she was given two years in prison. suu kyi had been the country's civilian leader before being ousted by the military in february. today's ruling sparked new protests and a chorus of international criticism, including from the united nations. >> the military is attempting to use any means, including the judiciary, including the courts to remove all political opposition. however, it's quite impressive that tonight, in myanmar, you are still seeing the banging of pots and pans by people in the country, in opposition to the military.
>> nawaz: suu kyi is 76. she faces a number of other criminal charges with penalties totaling more than 100 years in prison. back in this country, new york city ordered all private sector employers to require that workers get vaccinated. the mandate allows for religious and medical exemptions and takes effect december 27th. it's the most sweeping move by any state or big city in the country. we'll return to the pandemic, after the news summary. the u.s. justice department sued texas today over its new, congressional district maps. the suit says most of the state's population growth in the last decade came among minorities. but, it says republican state lawmakers crammed them into weirdly shaped districts to create safe seats for the g.o.p. republican devin nunes of california, a close trump ally, plans to quit congress within weeks. he informed constituents today in a letter. nunes was first elected in 2002, and chaired the house intelligence committee for four
years. in that role, he accused the f.b.i. of conspiring against president trump in the russia investigation. former senate majority leader and republican presidential candidate bob dole will lie in state at the u.s. capitol on thursday. that announcement today followed his death on sunday, at 98. and, on the senate floor, leaders from both parties paid tribute to dole. >> after his election to the senate, senator dole quickly won the admiration of his colleagues with his candor, his sharp wit, his penchant for good-natured ribbing. but beneath all that was an unquenchable desire to get things done in this chamber. >> with bob dole, what you saw was what you got. and from his comrades in the 10th mountain division, to his constituents in kansas, to the whole senate, and the entire country, what we got was extraordinary. >> nawaz: we'll look back on bob dole's life and legacy later in the program.
in chicago today, actor jussie smollett testified in his own defense, denying that he staged a hate crime on himself. he said: "there was no hoax." two black men have testified that smollett paid them to take part, but he said the money was for nutrition and training advice. smollett says two white men beat him in january 2019, shouting racist, anti-gay slurs and pro- trump slogans. a federal investigation of the lynching of emmett till is ending, with no charges filed. news accounts today said the justice department informed the family. till was lynched in mississippi in 1955, when he was 14, after a white woman claimed he whistled at her. no one was ever convicted of the murder. the case was reopened after a book quoted the woman as saying she had lied. the first black police chief in minneapolis has announced he's retiring. medaria arradondo was promoted to the role in 2017. after police killed george floyd
in 2020, he fired the four officers involved. he's also faced rising crime and the loss of a number of officers. wall street rallied today on hopes that covid-19's latest variant may be less dangerous than first feared. the dow jones industrial average gained 647 points, nearly 2%, to close at 35,227. the nasdaq rose 139 points. the s&p 500 added 53. still to come on the newshour: we examine the life and legacy of longtime u.s. senator bob dole. tamara keith and amy walter break down the latest political news. the pope condemns the treatment of migrants in europe after a visit to greece. plus much more.
>> nawaz: for the first time in nearly two months, the united states is averaging more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day. this comes as roughly one third of states have now detected the new variant, omicron. john yang has our report. >> yang: amna, delta continues to be the most dominant covid variant both in the united states and around the world. but with overall cases on the rise, questions abound about the omicron variant. katelyn jetelina is an epidemiologist at the university of texas health science center's school of public health in dallas. she writes "your local epidemiologist" on substack. katelynn jetelina, thanks so much for joining us, first off given what we know about omicron and maybe more importantly what we don't know, how concerned should people be about it in america? >> yeah, you know, what we do know is concerns. but we also don't know a lot.
and i think that there is a lot of hope that we don't want to lose at the same time, and so there's this balance between let's wait to see what the science is going to say and continue to be vigilant because like you said, our house is already on fire right now with delta. and we really need to address that threat right now. >> today mayor de blasio in new york announced a vaccine mandate for private employers, what do you think of that step? >> i think it's the right step, you know, vaccines do a lot. they reduce transmission. we have a lot of reasons to believe that boosters will play a significant role against omicron. but you know, vaccines aren't going to do it all. it's not going to be, you know, the magic ticket. it's going to be a combination of public health mitigation measures which includes rapid anti-again testing, includes vent lating spaces and includes wearing good masks indoors.
>> how likely, i mean we have this sort of concern with the delta variant emerged and now the omicron variant is emerging. are we going to continue to stee this virus transmute itself, create different variants, and how should we be thinking about this? or how should we be worrying about them as they arrive? >> yeah, you know, you're right. this is going to continue to mutate. viruses mutate. we expect this, especially with high transmission rates right now. the more opportunity we give this virus to jump from person to person, the more it st going to mutate and the more it is going to change. i think what we need to tuned stand is the direction that it's changing, as well as the selfer rit and how well our vaccines continue to hold up against these changes. at the same time, have solutions in case they don't. for example, the vaccine manufacturers are on top of it
dreeting an omicron specific vaccine in the off chance that we do need it. and so really being a proactive game rather than reactive. and staying educated on how this is changing and why. >> on your blog you take a lot of questions from your readers. we've asked our viewers to submit some questions. and we want to put them to you. dan pat from sarasota, florida. i am fully vaccinated. am i more, less or the same at risk of getting covid because of the omicron variant. and if i do contract this variant, am i more, less or the same risk of spreading the virus >> that is a really good question. and he's not going to like my answer. because we don't know yet. you know, i think that if he is not fully-- if he is not boosted, he certainly should go get a booster. we have reason to believe that a booster will broaden the
protection, not just against delta but also other variants of concern like omicron. we think, our hypothesis is that we're going to have a lot more breakthrough cases with omicron but we are optimistic that those with the three, or boosted, will have a less likelihood of severe disease and death. like i said, we don't know the data yet. we should be expecting it to come within the next week or so. >> and then we have from kathy webb in aims, iowa, of course approaching the holiday season where a lot of people are going to be traveling. she just simply asked, it safe to travel? >> yeah, you know, if you are fully vaccinated, if you are boosted, if you wear a really good mask, and i'm talking n95 you should be very confident in that protection bubble you have around you. thankfully also airlines are still requiring masks.
they are enforcing masks as well. so i am really not concerned about the airplane specifically. i would mob worried about exposu getting to and from the airplane. and this is really where you need to distance yourself, continue to wear a mask and remain vigilant. but then once you land, wherever you are going, before your christmas break, do rapid anti-again test, use that as a quote unquote day pass to make sure that everyone that is at that holiday family gatherings is as safe as possible. >> along those same lines dr. fauci said yesterday they may lift the south africa travel ban on visitors coming into the united states. and just today the cdc stepped up its advisory against travel. americans traveling to more places like france and portugal. overall, what do you think of these travel advisories and bans both coming and going? >> yeah, you know, travel bans to a few select countries is not i public health, evidence-based
policy. it it just doesn't work really well. it it would work great if we shut down all borders. but we didn't do that, and we are delayed. omicron right now is in 49 different countries. and so you know, yeah, we may slow down spread, maybe from south africa you but it it doesn't mean it is not coming from other places, what that means is ouresponse on the ground in the united states really needs to be proactive with testing and vaccines. >> now from michelle joyce, eugene, oregon, she says i'm a parent and i'm very concerned to hear there has been an increase in child hospitalizations in south africa for children under five. is this var yantd mre dangerous for kids? >> yeah, i'm a parent of two under two as well and so i have been paying really close attention to this. and that is true. it looks like omicron, kids with omicron are going to the hospital at higher rates than
with delta. but it's really important to realize that we don't know why yet. i think it's really important to keep in mind that what happens in one country doesn't necessarily happen in others. the landscapes are very different. vaccination rates, behaviors, environments, genetics, and so we need to track the epidemiological data on the ground in the united states to ensure that this is a generalizable signal. >> from caitlin in los angeles, how likely is it for someone with natural antibodies, post covid infection to be reinfected with the omicron variant? >> so this is actual the one piece of solid scientific data we've gotten so far with omicron. it it dame out about two or three days ago. and it was not very great. it the the reinfection rate with omicron is about three times higher than with delta. and so in other words, infection
induced immunity is not doing a great job at stopping omicron. and this is really why the who, the cdc and every ep deemiol list i-- epidimiologist i know is recommending vaccinations right now, especially boosters, katelyn, jetelinna your neighborhood epidimiologist, thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> nawaz: as we reported earlier the biden administration will not send an official delegation to the 2022 beijing winter olympics. administration officials say it's a move to protest china's human rights abuses. to break down what this means for u.s.-china relations i'm joined by victor cha. he was the director of asian affairs on the national security council staff during the george w. bush administration. he's now at the center for strategic and international studies and is a professor at georgetown university.
mr. chas, welcome back to the newshour, thanks for making the time. at this point in already tense u.s.-chinese relations, what do you think a boycott like this, what do you think it's likely to accomplish? >> well, i think the accomplishment is to send a message to china as they have already done, that the united states was not going to allow china to go unaccountable for the human-rights abuses in hong kong or in shin-- or what they are doing to individual athletes. i don't think it is going to change chinese policy. i don't think it is intended to change chinese policy. but what it will do, the united states is leading and maybe other countries will follow. it is a political boycott which means it's not going to affect the athletes, and that's important. because i think the athletes should be allowed to compete, unlike what happened in 1980 with the boycott of the moscow olympics by the carter
administration. but it is sending a high profile message that the united states was going to do something about the fact that china is sort of running rampant with regard to human-rights abuses in its own territory and in other parts of its country. >> well, i guess it tbegs the question, could they have possibly sent a stronger message. could they have called for a full boycott as you mentioned they did in 1980, athletes also not-- or coordinating with allies in advance so everyone could announce at the same time. is this the strongest message they could send at this time? >> i don't know-- you know, there could have been a stronger message but i think it's just about right. because despite a coordinated broader response would have taken a lot of time, two it gives other countries and other leaders the opportunity to make their own choices. rather than being cornered by the united states into making choices. and it's going to be difficult choices clearly for other countries as well. with regards to the athletes, i don't think this should affect
the athletes. i think the athletes should go, and they should compete and they should try to win. that is the most important thing. the biggest tragedy of the 1980 boycott is it accomplished nothing in terms of changing soviet behavior and it ruined the lifelong ambitions of many ad lets so i don't think we want to repeat that. but i think it's sending the rise message and gives other countries the opportunity to join or to opt out. >> so china did warn of what they called firm counter measures, what do you think those could look like, what form could they take? >> hard to say. i mean they could respond in a t for tat fashion with some kind of political boycott, something involving the united states or something, they could respond with some sort of trade action which would be escalating the situation. undeniably the chinese were going to be unhappy with this and they will accuse the united states of mixing sports and politics when these two things should be separate. we expect that to come from the
chinese. but they are in the end i think just going to grit their teeth, there will be a lot of criticism of them before the olympics and they will wait until the start of the olympics. because once the games begin everybody just focuses be the performances of the athletes. that is what happened in beijing in 2008 and i think that is what they expect to happen this winter. >> nawaz: in the previous time left there was a high profile case of the chinese tennis star, who accused a former senior party official of sexual assault and disappeared for weeks, reassuring seemingly under dur res. the women's tennis association suspended tournament play in china in response to that, in concerns over her well-being. do you think that the u.s. government would have taken the action it did today without the wta taking that step first? >> i think they took that step in support of the wta. you know, this say big decision by the wta. it costs them a lot of money but it shows that china cannot simply use their economic potential or economic market as
a way to run rough shod over human rights. the wt it a shows they will not be in bed with the chinese like the international olympic committee, so in that sense i think it is a sign of support for the wta's actions. >> victor cha, for the center for strategic and international studies, joining us tonight, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> nawaz: president biden has vowed to improve veterans' access to health care, prevent veterans' suicide, and specifically provide benefits to those exposed to toxic air while serving in the military. nick schifrin talks to the veterans affairs secretary about those goals and how former servicemembers have responded to the administration's efforts. >> schifrin: last month the white house announced a new model designed to provide benefits to more veterans who were exposed to toxic air.
many of these veterans lived and served next to so-called burn pits, where service members incinerated everything from tires to batteries. veterans groups argue the pits created toxic smoke that afflicted service members with higher-than-average rates of asthma, bronchitis, even cancer. but many veterans' claims, that their illnesses were caused by their service, have been denied. the man tasked with changing that is denis mcdonough, secretary of the v.a. welcome to the newshour. welcome to the newshour, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> schifrin: i want to imin with statistics that show the scope of the problem. since the gulf war in the early '90s, through this year, of 1.31 million veterans who filed a claim for a respiratory illness caused by their service, more than 40 percent of claims were denied, according to internal vrk arc data that we obtained. from the gulf war to this year, of more than 111,000 vet raps who filed a claim for cancer caused by their service, more than 64 percent were denied.
and according to va testimony last year, va has denied 78 percent of disability claims of toxic exposure from burn pits. why so many denials. >> look, you know, i look at the 30 years a little different. this president, president biden is the first president in those 30 years to presumptively link certain conditions and imin paying benefits and providing care based on that presumptive link, for veterans. now when you think about the number, we d, and the president announced in may that we covered three presumptions-- conditions, asthma, sin usitis and rhiniis we anticipate 300,000 veterans will apply for those conditions. already more than 7,000 have applied. and somewhere around 70 percent
of those applications have been approved. i don't know if at the end of the day we will be at full 70 percent. but the point is that it is long overdue that this gets done. this is a first president in 30 years to do it. and we're going to stay on top of it until it is suggested it is fixed. >> schifrin: to understand the problem we have to diagnose know sis though, why do you think it has been such a problem for so long. >> look, i think that people have been trying to establish a scientific connection to these exposures. and the level at which you establish that connection is really porntd. but we have made a determination based on the president's guidance that as with everything else we do, we should establish a threshhold at which your condition should be considered caused by your service, provided
that it is as likely to be caused by your service as anything else. >> schifrin: you report for rare cancers is due in about two months or so to the white house. then you will consider a model for other illnesses, including con stictive bronchitis. how many veterans suffer from that and how will they prove it given that often it did only be diagnosed from a lung buy op see. >> the lung by op see is so invasive, it can be dangerous to the health of et veterans so we are coming up with new ways to do that. i don't know if it will be ready by then but we want to establish the preshump sun, if we can and ideally to do that without putting the veteran at further risk. >> schifrin: speaking of veterans groups ahead of this interview, they say there is a perception borne from the data we looked at before that veterans assume their claim will be denied. how do you defeat that assumption. >> look, it it tbreaks my heart. and part of the reason that i wanted to come talk to you is i know a lot of our veterans watch this program, especially you are
all, reporting on this. what i ask our veterans is please, come to us. file your claim, the act of filing your claim is important for your claim. but it is also important for your battle buddy. because we can use data analytics and data science to establish these connections in the hopes that we can continue to grant at the rate of 70 percent, which is the experience since these three preshurch shuns for the first time in 30 years have been proceeding, i hope that continues. >> schifrin: let's move to veteran suicide rates. 65,000 veterans since 2010 have kied by suicide, that is 8 times the number of u.s. service members killed in iraq, av iman stand and the war on ter tor-- terror, one of the focuses is creating a physical kiss tans between any veteran having suicidal ideation and a fire arm, physical distance between the fire arm and that person.
how do you do that? >> we're working through two very aggressive public campaigns. one that says don't wait, reach out. come to us, we'll come up with a plan even if you are not in a moment of crisis. the second one has to do expressly with fire arm safety. and what we've said through concerted public advertising campaign, on television, lieu social media and then through earned media like this, is we've said that moment of suicidal ideation can be fleeting. as difficult as it is, it can be passed. and so we want at that moment for there to be some distance between a veteran and a fire arm. so we have all sorts of established processes, including gun locks, that we have provided now almost 10,000 of them to veterans, to veterans families, so that they can safely store
their weapons. this is a very simple is step that we think that we can fix. >> schifrin: let's talk about your motto, to care for him who have shall borne the battle and for his widow and his orphans, to care for him. there is a movement to convince you to change that, will you. >> it's not my motto. it's a quote that goes back to the second inaugural address for president lincoln. the world changed the motto. how we do it, and when we do it is going to it be important, most particularly the how. we do it, we're talking to veterans now about what their expectations are. i am not a veteran myself. okay. and i am also not among the fastest growing cohort of that group, women. so we're talking to veterans including women veteran about their expectations, when that process is done. >> just it to be clear, you are determined to change it, so that
it doesn't. >> not that i'm determined, it is that ti will change it. >> schifrin: finally i want to show you a photo to end on. i want to show you major ian fishback retired veteran of iraq and av iman tan blew the whistle on detainee abuse in iraq. he struggled with mental health and event lyul-- eventually he was put in foster care facility where he died in mid november at the age of 426789 his family was trying to get him help including from the va. what do you think his story says about how this country treats its veterans. >> my heartbreaks for major fishback. we became aware of the circumstances that major fishback was in. was not what we call an enrolled veteran, but a lot of that stuff, you know, doesn't really matter. what i want is for all of our veterans and all of our veterans family members to know that we're here for them so please
let us know when you are in a time of crisis. >> schifrin: do you think he fell through the cracks, do you fear others are falling through the cracks. >> we're working to get to the bottom of precisely what happened in that case of major fishback. as i said, my heartbreaks for him. i think the family is aware of how strongly we feel about this, how i feel about this. do i think other veterans have fell through the crack? until we're at 0 veterans suicide, i will think that things are falling through the crack. we owe them much better than that, and that is what we are going to do. >> schifrin: thank you very much. >> thank you. >> nawaz: as part of a multi-day
trip to the eastern mediterranean, pope francis yesterday returned to the greek island of lesbos, a major hub for migrants which he first visited five years ago. as malcolm brabant reports, the pope sought to highlight the plight of asylum-seekers and castigated europe over its treatment of refugees. >> reporter: pope francis returned to the frontline island of lesbos at a time when europe is doing its utmost to keep asylum seekers out. six years into the refugee crisis, european politicians' attitudes towards migrants range from indifference to outright hostility. among world leaders, the pope offers a rare compassionate voice. >> ( translated ): i am here to see your faces and look into your eyes. eyes full of fear and expectancy, eyes that have seen violence and poverty, eyes streaked by too many tears. >> reporter: this footage from the turkish coast guard is part of a growing body of evidence supporting accusations that for more than a year, greece's center right government has been breaching international law at
sea. the turk together with the u.n.'s refugee agency and independent non-profits, allege that greece is routinely pushing back migrants into turkish territorial waters and putting migrants at risk. pope francis didn't address the issue of pushbacks directly, but his message was unmistakable. >> ( translated ): it is easy to stir up public opinion by instilling fear ofthers. let us not hastily turn away from the shocking pictures of their tiny bodies lying lifeless on the beaches. >> reporter: panayote dimitras is a veteran human rights activist, who is suing the greek government over pushbacks. what do you think of what the pope had to say? >> his speech was extremely strong, and an implicit criticism first of all of the greek government. and also the european governments in general about the inhumane policy towards migrants and asylum seekers. >> reporter: some pro-refugee non-profits were disappointed that in his meeting with the greek prime minister kyriakos
mitsotakis, the pope did not directly condemn the practice of pushbacks. last month at a joint press conference with dutch premier mark rutte, mitsotakis faced his most vehement criticism to date. >> prime minister mitsotakis, when at last will you stop lying? lying about pushbacks, lying about what's happening with the refugees in greece. please don't insult mine and neither the intelligence of all the journalists in the world. there has been overwhelming evidence and you keep denying and lying. >> what i will not accept in this office is that you will insult me or the greek people with accusations and expressions that are not supported by material facts, when this country has been dealing with a migration crisis of unprecedented intensity, has been saving hundreds, if not thousands of people at sea. >> reporter: were you disappointed that the pope didn't mention pushbacks? or wasn't it his place to do
that? >> it was his place, but he is a head of state. so he had to be diplomatic there, to be able to focus, or have people focus on all the things he said, as opposed to creating a backlash that how dare he mention something that the greek government outrightly rejects. >> reporter: do you think the greek government is gog to take any notice of what he had to say or is it just going to continue with its policy? >> well listen, the greek government is not taking notice of the european parliament or the european commission. >> reporter: so it's doubtful the pope persuaded mitsotakis to soften his stance. >> we are doing this every single day, rescuing people at sea, while at the same time, yes, we are intercepting boats that come from turkey as we have the right to do in accordance with european regulation and waiting for the turkish coast guard to come and pick them up to return them to turkey.
so rather putting the blame on greece, you should put the blame on those who instrumentalizing migration systematically. >> reporter: while the pope may have been diplomatic, analysts are sure images like these helped shape his speech. >> ( translated ): the mediterranean, which for millennia has brought different peoples and distant lands together, is now becoming a grim cemetery without tombstones. this great basin of water, the cradle of so many civilizations, now looks like a mirror of death. >> reporter: the pope's words may not move europe's politicians, but they stirred tango mukaya from the democratic republic of congo. >> ( translated ): i'd like to thank you for the solidarity and the humanity that you showed to us, your children, migrants, refugees who are in lesbos, in greece and elsewhere in the whole world. may god acknowledge your actions. >> reporter: no sooner had the pope left lesbos, than the regional governor said he hoped
the papal visit would not lead to a new influx of migrants. the reality here is that there is no political appetite for making life any easier for asylum seekers for fear of encouraging more. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant. >> nawaz: now we take a look back at the decades-long career of bob dole, who helped shape the republican party as a senator from kansas, majority leader and presidential nominee. judy woodruff has this report on his lifetime in politics. ( applause ) >> woodruff: bob dole's storied political career spanned five decades, and took him from the heights of power in congress to the lows of failed presidential bids. he mused on it all, in a "newshour" interview in october 2014. >> i don't know what my legacy
will be. that i lived to be 200, or at least 100, and that i've never forgotten where i was from. >> woodruff: robert joseph dole was born in the small town of russell, kansas, in 1923. he grew up with a brother and two sisters, in the hard times of the great depression. his father ran an egg and cream stand, and his mother sold singer sewing machines to help make ends meet. dole went off to college, but world war ii intervened. he enlisted in 1942, and was sent to italy in 1944. in april 1945, weeks before the war ended, dole was trying to rescue a radioman, when he was hit by enemy fire. it shattered his right shoulder, fractured vertebrae and, for a time, paralyzed him from the neck down.
he spent 39 months recovering, mostly in military hospitals, where he listened to frank sinatra's "you'll never walk alone" every day for inspiration. his brother kenny, interviewed years later, reflected on just how bad dole's injuries were... >> i was just never so shocked in my life to see him when he lay there in bed from where i saw him last. it's like yesterday and today, it's a whole new ball game and at that time the doctors said he couldn't live another 48 hours. >> woodruff: eventually, dole returned home to russell to continue recovering with the support of family. and when he was fully recuperated, he finished college and law school, and went on to serve as a county attorney and in the kansas state legislature. in 1960, he ran for the u.s. house of representatives,
pulling out all the stops to boost his name recognition. there was a singing group called "dolls for dole"... "dole" pineapple juice was a staple at campaign stops... and his seven-year-old daughter wore a skirt that read "i'm for daddy -- are you?" it worked, and dole won. eight years later, in 1968, he won a seat in the united states senate. there, he became known for a moderate to conservative voting record and an ability to bridge policy divides. >> often when we ran into problems of one senator against another or one group against another on some issue bob would figure out a way to untangle it. >> woodruff: former democratic senate majity leader george mitchell worked closely with dole after the kansas republican became minority leader. >> we had a lot of trust with each other. i never once doubted his word, and he never doubted mine and we
became close friends even as we competed vigorously. it doesn't have to be personal. you can compete on the issues sometimes he prevailed, sometimes i prevailed, that's democracy. and he was a great practitioner of democracy. >> woodruff: but dole was also a paisan warrior. he served as republican national chairman starting in 1972, and defended president nixon during much of the watergate period. he impressed nixon's successor, president gerald ford, who asked him to be his running mate in 1976. the announcement came in dole's home town: >> it shows that you can come from small town in america, that you don't need the wealth and all the material things in this world to succeed if i've succeeded, and some might quarrel with that. >> woodruff: but dole had also earned a reputation for a sharp
tongue, and during a vice presidential debate with walter mondale, it came back to haunt him. >> i figured out the other day if we added up the killed and wounded in democrat wars in this century it would be about 1.6 million americans, enough to fill the city of detroit. >> i think senator dole has richly earned his reputation as a hatchet man tonight by implying and stating that world war ii and the korean war were democratic wars. >> woodruff: the ford-dole ticket lost. but in 1980, dole ran for the republican presidential nomination, again returning to russell for the campaign's launch. >> i was helped and healed in and whenever i set out on a new path i have come back here to begin. no failure has ever been so hurtful that this place cannot ease the pain and no success has ever been so great that its satisfaction exceeded the satisfaction of being a part of the people of russell. >> woodruff: still, dole struggled to gain traction, and dropped out after a poor showing in the new hampshire
primary. eight years later, after president reagan's two terms, he tried again for the white house, discussing the decision with jim lehrer. >> don't you have to want it very badly to go through what you and the others go through to be a candidate? >> i think you have to have the drive, but you shouldn't be driven. you shouldn't be so obsessed with becoming president or anything else, whatever you may do that you sort of lose your perspective and i mean, a lot of people may be consumed by ambition, or just have to have it, the next step, its power. that would be for all the wrong reasons. >> woodruff: dole lost the 1988 nomination to vice president george bush, but he had one more presidential race in him, in 1996. he resigned from the senate, where he'd become majority leader. >> i agree with the prairie poet carl sandburg, who told us, "yesterday is a wind gone down,
a sun dropped in the west. i tell you that there is nothing in the world, only an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrow." and like everybody here, i'm an optimist. i believe our best tomorrows are yet to be lived. >> woodruff: this time, dole became the oldest first-time presidential nominee, at the age of 73, only to be overwhelmed by president clinton's re-election landslide. even so, his work was far from over. he championed construction of the world war ii memorial on the national mall, and routinely met with veterans in washington. along the way, he helped his second wife, elizabeth, in her own senate career. and, through it all, he said, there was always time for going bak to kansas. >> so i've had a great experience because the people of kansas in both parties have supported me.
so i don't think my-- my legacy will be the people of kansas. >> nawaz: as the country looks back on the legacy of bob dole, elections ahead of us next year are already heating up, including an especially contentious race in georgia. our politics monday team is here with me to analyze it all. amy walter of the cook political report with amy walter. and tamara keith of npr. welcome to you both, always good to see you, i want to take a minute and just talk a little bit more about bob dole, decades of public service, a lifetime of service there, worth noting the party changed a lot over his lifetime. and we actually found a clip back in 2016 when he was the only former republican
presidential nominee to endorse then candidate donald trump. and lisa desjardins spoke to him on the convention floor, here is what he had to say about that within i like donald trump because he's a strong leader. and he is someone who can work with congress. if you can't work with congress, you can't get anything done. >> nawaz: he stood apart in making that statement, what do you know. >> he was a partisan political figure. as senate majority leader and minority leader was very much a republican fighter. but at the same time he also had significant bipartisan accomplishments including getting the american disabilities act through. and he had friendships with none other than people like joe biden who visited him at home after he got his lung cancer diagnosis this year. which points to a different era
of politics when people could both do battle and be friends. and when doing things on a bipartisan basis wasn't necessarily seen as you know, a betrayal of the party. >> that's right, also important to note that he most recently had said, i also supported dong ald trump in 2020, but he lost. it's over. there was no voter fraud. >> right. >> so making the claim that look, this idea that donald trump lost the election because it was stolen, not true. >> it was a different era of politics. it it it was a different republican party. you look at that party today. we often end up reporting on stories, this was a party where members of congress have openly used bigotry against other members of
congress. one lauren boebert from colorado saying islamic things about ilhan omar, we-- is all of this kind of part of the political
legacy here of bob dole? >> you know, what was interesting about the era that bob dole was in congress, there were also most members, who had served in the military. 75 percent of the members of congress in the early '70s had some level of military service. and i think there was something really important about that era because they could, as tamed said, fight on the floor, fight over issues, even get into, you know, prettee acerbic back and forth but fundamental fundamentally understand thed were on the same team, i may have a blue scrersee or red jersey, one of the powerful moments of bob dole's life, especially his later life, that in a way, liberal democrat from hawaii, also served in world war ii, also was grievously injured, they
shared a really special bond. and bob dole was in his wheelchair, it was hard for him to get to the service, in the
rotunda where dan was lying in repose and did he everything he could to stand up and salute him. that could change if, right, we get back to thissed idea that we're all serving together as americans, not one party over the other, one interesting statistic, even though the number of veterans has dropped a lot, now only 17 percent, the number of people under 45 who have served in the military, serve in congress is about a third. so if they receiptically we can get those folks, younger folks who served in the military to get into leadership positions, that may be one way to sort of break some of the disfunction in congress. >> let's look ahead, not that far ahead, actually, but to the 2022 elections, all eyes were already on the georgia governor race, stacie abrams announced she will run again, more interesting the race became more interesting because former republican senator david perdue announced he is now jumping in, going to be pry marrying the
current republican governor, i will play a quick clip within opportunity and success in georgia slufnt be determined by your zip code, background or access to power. but if our georgia is going to move to its next and greatest chapter, we're going to need leadership. >> i'm running for imoffer in to nake sure stacie abrams is never governor of georgia, make no mistake abrams will smile, lie and cheat to transform georgia into her red kal vision of a state that would look more like california or new york. >> tam, those battle lines are clearly drawn, already. what are you watching in that race. >> first there is going to it be a primary. and that primary is going to be messy. i don't see a way that this republican primary doesn't get very ugly very fast. because current imoffer in brian kemp is persona non grata to former president donald trump because he refusedded to do what donald trump wanted him to do to overturn the results of the
election. and because he wouldn't get involved, he wouldn't call a special session of the legislature, donald trump has been actively bashing him. and at the same time raising concerns like oh no, stacie abrams could win. well now there is a trump ally who as part of his video, in addition to these things he said about abrams, he said a lot of things that weren't necessarily true, blaming quemp for his loss in that senate race. a lot of republicans in georgia actually think the former president and his unwillingness to accept the election results, saying everything was rigged made people not really that excited about voting again in january in that special election, in january. >> and stacie abrams only lost with 50,000 votes in 2018. does she have a better chance now? >> she has a political environment that is much tough ter so the headwinds are much stronger now than back in 2018 when she had a tailwind but the thing helping her is this, a big fight on the republican side,
they will spend a lot of money, they are going to, as tam pointed out, it it could be very bruising, that certainly is very helpful to-- very helpful to her and let's remember this is not the first race where done will all trump has waded in imens the sitting incumbent governor which you usually don't see former presidents doing or sitting presidents do in massachusetts this decision to endorse a challenger to very popular republican imoffer in charlie baker in massachusetts is essentially what got him out of running for re-election. and that is an opportunity, a missed opportunity for republicans as well because democrats now favored to win that governorship. >> nawaz: that will be one to watch, before we go, tam, your colleagues-- looking at covid deaths found people in protrump county, heavily for president trump in 2020, three times as likely it to die from covid. we kind of had a sense of this
this but these numbers are alarming. >> a strong correlation there, it it also corelates to the share of people who believe ds information about the covid vaccines. it also corelates to less fear about covid. you combine less fear of covid with believing all kinds of wild untrue things, fewer people getting vaccinated, lower vaccination rates in these counties, lower vaccination is directly connected to more people dying because the vacs even lies, prevents disease from being as severe and prevents people from hospitalization and death. and it protects people and republicans in these protrump counties are less likely to be vaccinated. it st stunning, it is depressing. i asked the white house about it today and what they said is they've tried a lot of things. they've tried a lot of persuasive but one of the reasons that they have now pushed forward with these controversial vaccine mandates
is because the only way to get some people to get vaccinated will be to require it, as unpopular as it is, with the very same population that we're talking about. >> we see the biden white house very much still working to try to get those unvaccinated people their shots. tamara keith, amy walter, that's politics monday, always good to see you both, thank you. >> you're welcome. >> nawaz: online right now, part of a panel discussion, led by our own nicole ellis, on the barriers people face after prison. advocate jay jordan shares how his decades-old criminal record still prevents him from parts of life many take for granted, like coaching his son's baseball team. you can see that in our instagram feed, or watch the full conversation on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm amna nawaz. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, stay safe,
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♪ hello, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> it's now on russia to de-escalate the current tensions by reversing the recent troop build-up. >> my exclusive interview with the ukrainen ambassador to the united states as tensions continue to rise with roush. then we look inside one of libya's detention centers and journal exist ian urbina tells me how the eu is indirectly helping to fund it. plus, puerto rico is beating the odds to become the poster child for u.s. vaccination. the former mayor of san juan tells me how they did it. also ahead, can big business save our climate? >> how much more devastation are we going to have to endure