tv 60 Minutes CBS April 24, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> angie, what is this with these names on the wall here? >> we call this "the death wall." >> the death wall? >> yes. >> why is that? >> the majority of the people on this wall have died of drug overdose due to heroin. >> angie pelfrey, a former nurse and recovering opioids addict, runs the new beginnings rehab facility in rural piketon, ohio. >> in 2010, we had about 50 names total. but now. 2016, there are over 3,000. >> tonight, a story about an experiment that is being used to help end an epidemic. >> it is illegal for members of congress to make fund-raising calls from their offices, so they come to these call centers. no photos exist of the inside,
but "60 minutes" gained access with a hidden camera. here, members spend hours on the phone dialing for dollars rather than working for their constituents. >> both parties have told newly- elected members of the congress that they should spend 30 hours a week in the republican and democratic call centers across the street from the congress dialing for dollars. >> 30 hours a week? >> 30 hours is what they tell you what you should spend, and it is discouraging good people from running for public office. >> not a day goes by where i don't think about my son. he was mike jr. he was my only son. >> he is what is known as a gold star parent, because his son, mike anderson junior, a marine, was killed in iraq. now, the father sees it as his duty to help other gold star parents at this remarkable event. the burden that you have is unbearable. >> at times, yes, sir.
>> but when you come to this event, you take on the unbearable burdens of another 100 families. >> my son went abroad to help people he never met. it is human nature to want to help others. >> i am steve kroft. >> i am lesley stahl. >> i am bill whitaker. >> i am norah o'donnell. >> i am scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes". preponderance cbs money watch update sponsored by lincoln financial. you're in charge. >> glor: good evening. president obama is in germany trying to build momentum for a free trade deal with europe. apple, facebook, exxon-mobil and chevron are among the big companies reporting earnings this week. and the original "laws of baseball" written in 1857 sold for $3.25 million today. i'm jeff glor, cbs news.
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>> bill whitaker: it's one of the biggest problems in america today: the out-of-control heroin epidemic. it's happening all over the country and forcing authorities to decide whether heroin should be treated as a medical or a legal problem. last year, we reported that heroin is spreading through the columbus, ohio suburbs. ohio has been hard hit by heroin, and we selected columbus because the area is middle america personified, where companies have gone for years to test and market new products. now it's where drug dealers, many of them from mexico, are marketing their cheap and
increasingly powerful heroin. we decided to go back to ohio this year to see what is being done or could be done to solve a problem that is killing at least 23 people in ohio every week. angie, what is this with all these names on the wall here? >> angie pelfrey: we call this the "death wall." >> whitaker: the "death wall?" >> pelfrey: yes. >> whitaker: why is that? >> pelfrey: majority of the people on this wall have died of drug overdose due to heroin. >> whitaker: angie pelfrey, a former nurse and recovering opioids addict, runs the new beginnings rehab facility in rural piketon, ohio. >> pelfrey: by 2010, we had about 50 names, total. but now, 2016, we're over 3,000. >> whitaker: that's incredible. >> pelfrey: it is incredible. >> whitaker: many of the names are mothers, brothers, even grandmothers. relatives or friends of angie's residents. they come from all over the state, and nearly everyone knew people on the wall. that's almost everybody.
>> there's 23 people in there on the wall from my hometown. >> whitaker: is it a small town? >> yeah. >> whitaker: a new university of cincinnati study says one in five ohio residents knows someone who is struggling with heroin. one sheriff told us that up to 80% of the prisoners in his county jail have drugs in their system, largely heroin. what can law enforcement do? >> mike dewine: the attorney general's not gonna solve the problem-- your local sheriff, your local prosecutor is not going to. >> whitaker: ohio attorney general mike dewine is also a former senator and congressman. we've been fighting a war on drugs now for decades. if this is the biggest epidemic that you have seen, this heroin epidemic, it sounds like we're not winning that war. >> dewine: you know, i've been involved in law enforcement for four decades. and i've learned over those years that we're not going to arrest our way out of this problem. >> whitaker: that's why mike dewine says he's encouraged by a different kind of court in ohio.
>> congratulations. >> whitaker: they're drug courts and deal only with drug cases. there are 91 in ohio. we went to one in columbus that was being run at the time by judge scott vanderkarr. he was handling only heroin cases four times a week. the judge believes heroin addiction is an illness and in his court, heroin addicts are treated more like patients than criminals. >> judge scott vanderkarr: and how long have you been clean? >> i have been clean for 84 days. ( applause ) >> whitaker: there are students in the courtroom. a teacher, a state employee, the c.e.o. of a tech company. if they come here for up to two years, get drug tested and stay clean, their heroin charges are dismissed. you sort of use the carrot and the stick. >> judge vanderkarr: absolutely. >> whitaker: you stick with the program or i'll put you back in jail. >> judge vanderkarr: i'll put you back in jail. and you're going to end up with a conviction on your record. >> right before i went into detox.
>> whitaker: under judge vanderkarr, 250 addicts went through the program, people who might otherwise be in jail or dead. you get resistance from other judges? >> judge vanderkarr: absolutely. >> whitaker: so what's-- what's their criticism? it's too touchy feely? >> judge vanderkarr: yes. it's too social work. that's not my job. my job's to be a judge. >> dewine: drug courts work. ah, some people look at them and say, well, it's-- you know, it's-- the judge becoming a social worker. it's not true at all. >> whitaker: it worked for caitlyn and robert -- not their real names. they were both arrested for heroin possession and went to judge vanderkarr's court after being addicted to heroin for years. >> caitlyn: it was this, like, really, like, animal instinct level, like, obsession with-- with getting high. >> whitaker: you had to do it? >> caitlyn: even when i didn't want to, like, wou-- really using against my will. >> whitaker: where did you get the money? >> robert: stealing, lying, cheating. using other people. ripping other people off. >> caitlyn: i had no
relationship with reality at all. umm, my -- my thinking was limited to how i could get high. >> whitaker: in judge vanderkarr's court, they both were given a new chance. >> robert: it's a gift. >> whitaker: what's the gift? >> robert: life. a new way to live, you know, and try to give me a little bit of some education on why i'm acting the way i'm acting, why i can't stop. >> caitlyn: they didn't treat us like criminals, i think that was a big thing. >> whitaker: after they passed random drug tests several times a week, went to therapy and stayed clean for more than a year, their drug-related criminal charges were wiped off the books. robert started a landscaping business. caitlyn is in pre-med and wants to be a doctor. >> caitlyn: it's freedom. and if i had those charges, i-- i wouldn't be able to continue on the path that i'm on now. >> whitaker: there are a lot of
law enforcement folks who do see your behavior as criminal, and who do think you should be in jail for what you were doing. >> caitlyn: we did break the law. >> robert: yeah. >> caitlyn: but i'm talking about branding someone a criminal for the rest of their lives. it just doesn't work. >> whitaker: but it's been that way for years in many ohio communities. we went to hardin county, one hour outside of columbus. >> jenna morrison: i have eight felonies on my record that i will never be able to get rid of. >> whitaker: hardin county is now experimenting with a drug court, but it didn't exist when jenna morrison first started using heroin seven years ago. she's been arrested at least six times. >> bradford bailey: looked at this case. the old case >> whitaker: the prosecutor in hardin county, bradford bailey, says he's overwhelmed by drug cases. he takes a harder line than judge vanderkarr. >> bailey: we're going to get them, because they don't have
the ability to say no. they don't have the ability to stop using, some of them. they don't. >> whitaker: in 2011, jenna morrison overdosed and almost died. prosecutor bailey charged her with felony heroin possession, internal possession. >> jenna morrison: i got charged with possession of heroin, because i had it in my system. >> whitaker: she was charged with a felony for that. >> bailey: that's what it is. it's a schedule one drug. no one can have it in their possession under any circums-- not even medicinal. >> whitaker: isn't-- isn't that a bit extreme? >> bailey: no. that's the law of ohio. and it's the law of the united states of america. >> whitaker: jenna morrison is no poster child for sobriety. but judge vanderkarr told us prosecutors have discretion, and it's unusual to charge addicts, who've overdosed, with possession because a drug is in their system as prosecutor bailey did. jenna sold a police informant small numbers of pain pills and a drug that helps wean addicts from heroin, bailey came down
hard with nine counts of felony trafficking. when jenna and her sister stole cash and credit cards from their mother to support their heroin habits, bailey charged them with felony theft. >> tracy morrison: i couldn't stop them. i filed charges on my own daughters. >> whitaker: at her wit's end, it was tracy morrison who called the police. >> tracy morrison: it resulted in five felony charges for one, three for the other. >> whitaker: felony charges? >> tracy morrison: felony charges. see i was thinking, because i'm naive, that $100 is petty theft. well, no. they got them for forgery, and all-- all these felonies. and then they were trying to send them to prison, and i thought, this-- i just didn't even expect that to happen. >> whitaker: since she first used heroin seven years ago, jenna morrison has been charged with 23 felonies. todd anderson is her lawyer. >> todd anderson: so they're taking these low-level users and addicts, charging all these felonies, and then the problem is, is that they stack the sentences on them. and then when they violate their probations, then they're getting lengthy prison sentence for really, being an addict. >> whitaker: the county
prosecutor would say, "there's just no denying she broke the law." >> anderson: i agree with that. but the issue's what we do with them, and what's the sentence. the sentence's got to be fair. >> whitaker: when we first met jenna last year, she had kicked her heroin habit with the help of a new drug called vivitrol, which blocks the effects of opioids in the brain. she went back to school and was managing to take care of her children. but she was still posted on prosecutor bailey's website as a drug trafficker and she couldn't find a job. her mother says she got depressed and started using cocaine. she recently was locked up again and the prosecutor charged her with five more felonies, making a total of 28. 18 have been dismissed; 10 remain on her record. >> whitaker: you think she's been treated fairly? >> bailey: where has she been untreated unfairly? everything she's done she's chose to do. we didn't tell her to do these things. she chose to do felony crimes, not the state.
we're not giving her a free pass. we don't give anybody a free pass. >> whitaker: but you also know that she's addicted to heroin. >> bailey: i have a lot of people who are addicted to heroin. most of the people that are in our drug business, the illegal drug business, are addicted. >> whitaker: prosecutor bailey says the voters have told him they want drug addicts off the street. but scott vanderkarr says law enforcement needs to recognize the old, tough-on-drugs approach isn't working. that addicts like jenna need help, not punishment. he recently resigned his judgeship to help other communities in ohio set up their own drug courts. he meets with judges and elected officials like greg peterson, the mayor of dublin, ohio. >> greg peterson: i don't want anybody in dublin to have a problem and ever think, "i don't know where to turn." >> whitaker: but many parents in the columbus suburbs told us they don't know where to turn, even if they can afford private health insurance to pay for rehab and detox programs. christy and wayne campbell's son tyler was a star high school and
college football player, and a heroin addict. he was in and out of rehab three times, short rehabs because most insurance companies limit the length of in-patient treatment. >> christy campbell: the last one that he was in was in there two weeks. and the insurance company wanted to release him. >> whitaker: christy convinced the insurance company to give tyler two more weeks. >> wayne campbell: when he came home, there was-- there was something obviously different. i mean, he, like, he got it. >> whitaker: he-- he was talking about the future-- >> wayne campbell: yes, this-- >> christy campbell: talking about the future-- >> wayne campbell: this is midnight. so we go to bed with the biggest sigh of relief that you could ever have. it's over. tomorrow's going to be a great day. >> whitaker: but tomorrow never came. tyler went up to his bedroom, shot up and overdosed. >> pelfrey: new beginnings. this is angie. >> whitaker: at the new beginnings rehab facility, angie pelfrey told us what happened to tyler is not unusual. >> pelphrey: they get to a point to where they're not using.
they go out and want to use maybe one more time, just one more hoorah. and it takes their life because they s-- they go back to using the same amount that they did when they were ending the addiction. >> whitaker: their tolerance goes down after two weeks of rehab-- >> pelphrey: right. right. >> whitaker: they go home, shoot up the same amount they were using before-- >> pelphrey: of her-- yes. and it's taken their lives-- >> whitaker: and it's now an overdose. >> pelphrey: right. >> whitaker: angie pelfrey's facility is a faith-based program, supported by a church and the local community. addicts can stay without paying for up to a year. but angie has to turn away up to 20 people every day. there just aren't enough beds. >> this is in regards to my son, he's a heroin addict, and he's asking for help. he needs help, or he's gonna die. you can call me anytime. thank you so much. ( beep ) >> pelphrey: it's horrible to know that you have to tell a mother that you're sorry that you can't take them, knowing
that there is a good chance they may not live until the next day. >> whitaker: it's a day-to-day struggle. angie says the odds of staying clean after a year at new beginnings are only 50-50. >> whitaker: what do you think about what you're seeing and experiencing? >> pelphrey: my fear is that it's never ending. that's my fear. >> whitaker: never ending. >> pelphrey: never ending. i'm not seeing an end to it anywhere.
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election. and they never stop. nearly every day, they spend hours on the phone asking supporters and even total strangers for campaign donations, hours spent away from the jobs they were elected to do. the pressure on candidates to raise money has ratcheted up since the supreme court's citizens united decision in 2010. that allowed unlimited spending by corporations, unions and individuals in elections. so our attention was caught by a proposal from a republican congressman that would stop members of congress from dialing for dollars. given what it costs to get elected today, it's either a courageous act, a campaign ploy or political suicide. >> david jolly: tonight is not about claiming victory. tonight is about committing to service. >> o'donnell: florida republican david jolly won a special election to congress in march 2014.
facing a re-election bid that november, he was happy to get a lesson in fundraising from a member of his party's leadership. but he was surprised by what he learned. >> jolly: we sat behind closed doors at one of the party headquarter back rooms in front of a white board where the equation was drawn out. you have six months until the election. break that down to having to raise $2 million in the next six months. and your job, new member of congress, is to raise $18,000 a day. your first responsibility is to make sure you hit $18,000 a day. >> o'donnell: your first responsibility-- >> jolly: my first responsibility-- >> o'donnell: --as a congressman? >> jolly: --as a sitting member of congress.. >> o'donnell: how were you supposed to raise $18,000 a day? >> jolly: simply by calling people, cold-calling a list that fundraisers put in front of you, you're presented with their biography. "so please call john. he's married to sally. his daughter, emma, just graduated from high school. they gave $18,000 last year to different candidates. they can give you $1,000 too if you ask them to." and they put you on the phone. and it's a script.
>> o'donnell: there are actually scripts for calls. and we got our hands on one distributed by the national republican congressional committee to help g.o.p. members invite donors to attend their annual fundraising dinner in march. it has this useful diagram. if the donor answers the phone, the caller should plug the "unique opportunity to come together with house republican leadership." if they get turned down, they should remind the donor that "the n.r.c.c. did a great deal to help maintain the majority in 2014." and if they get a yes, there's even an instruction for the caller to "pause and let the donor speak." it must have worked. that n.r.c.c. dinner raised more than $20 million, breaking records. it was attended by members of congress, major donors and lobbyists, including this man who was not too happy to see our camera crew. >> ( bleep )!
>> o'donnell: but one successful fundraiser does not let congress members off the hook. the phone calls asking for money never stop. >> jolly: the house schedule is actually arranged, in some ways, around fundraising. >> o'donnell: you're telling me the whole schedule of how work gets done is scheduled around fundraising? >> jolly: that's right. you never see a committee working through lunch because those are your fundraising times. and then in between afternoon votes and evening votes, that's when you can see democrats walking down this street, republicans walking down that street to spend time on the phone making phone calls. >> o'donnell: by law, members of congress cannot make fundraising calls from their offices. so both parties have set up "call centers" just a few blocks away. this is where the republicans have theirs. so can i go in there? >> jolly: i don't think they would let either one of us in here, at this point. remember, i stopped paying my dues. >> o'donnell: what jolly means is that in addition to raising money for their own campaigns, members are supposed to raise
thousands of dollars for their parties. that's their dues. if republican members don't pay up, they can't use the party's call suites. no photos exist of the inside of either the democratic or republican centers. but with the help of a staffer, we were able to get into the republican center with a hidden camera. about a dozen tiny offices, equipped with a phone and computer line a corridor. this is where members of congress sit behind closed doors and plow through lists of donors dialing for dollars. outside in the main hallway is a big board where the amount each member has raised for the party is posted for all to see and compare. >> jolly: it is a cult-like boiler room on capitol hill where sitting members of congress, frankly i believe, are compromising the dignity of the office they hold by sitting in these sweatshop phone booths calling people asking them for money. and their only goal is to get
$500 or $1,000 or $2,000 out of the person on the other end of the line. it's shameful. it's beneath the dignity of the office that our voters in our communities entrust us to serve. >> o'donnell: but you may not have a job if you don't fundraise. >> jolly i'm willing to take that risk. >> o'donnell: a risk because david jolly has pledged to stop personally asking donors for money. and that's not all. in february, he introduced a bill called the "stop" act, that would ban all federal elected officials from directly soliciting donations. but, congressman, with all due respect, stopping members of congress from making phone calls is not gonna fix the entire system. >> jolly: certainly not. >> o'donnell: it's not comprehensive campaign finance reform. >> jolly: it is not. this is congressional reform. it very simply says, "members of congress spend too much time raising money and not enough time doing their job. get back to work. and do your job." >> o'donnell: the stop act would still allow members of congress to attend fundraisers.
others could still ask for donations on their behalf. republican congressman reid ribble has signed on as a co- sponsor of the stop act. after six years in washington, he's going home to wisconsin at the end of this term. you've spent your life running a commercial roofing company. >> rep. reid ribble: yeah. >> o'donnell: and when you came to congress and heard how much you have to raise to keep getting re-elected, did you want to quit? >> ribble: yeah, i did. >> o'donnell: are you the only one who feels that way? >> ribble: no, no. f-- if-- if members would be candid, there's a lot of frustration centered around it. and some of this is the result of citizens united, the supreme court decision that opened up really corporate dollars into the system. and so, if you want to have your own voice, if you want your voice to be heard as opposed to some outside group speaking for you, you better-- you better do your job and raise enough money that you can. >> o'donnell: after the supreme court's citizens united decision, a flood of outside
money poured in to super pacs, political groups which are allowed to spend unlimited dollars on ads to support or attack candidates for office. the last few years of congress have been the most unproductive ever. >> rep. rick nolan: yeah, it's unbelievable. i didn't hardly recognize the place when i came back. >> o'donnell: congressman rick nolan, a democrat from minnesota, is also co-sponsoring the stop act. nolan was first elected to congress in 1974 but served just six years. he returned in 2013. >> nolan: it seems like i took a nap and i came back and i say, "wow, what-- what happened to this place? what's happened to democracy?" i mean, the congress of the united states has hardly become a democratic institution anymore. >> o'donnell: why? >> nolan: well, because of all the money in politics, in my judgment. >> o'donnell: what has your party said about how members of congress should raise money? >> nolan: well, both parties have told newly elected members of the congress that they should spend 30 hours a week in the
republican and democratic call centers across the street from the congress, dialing for dollars. >> o'donnell: 30 hours a week? >> nolan: 30 hours is what they tell you you should spend. and it's discouraging good people from running for public office. i could give you names of people who've said, "you know, i would like to go to washington and help fix problems, but i-- i-- i don't want to go to washington and become a midlevel telemarketer, dialing for dollars, for crying out loud." >> o'donnell: you're saying members of congress are becoming like telemarketers? >> nolan: well, 30 hours a week, that's a lot of telemarketing. probably more than most telemarketers do. >> o'donnell: the republican house campaign committee would not tell us whether it recommends a specific amount of call time. the democratic congressional campaign committee claims it currently does not. but in 2013, at an orientation meeting, new democratic members were shown a model schedule. it was later published by the huffington post. it suggested representatives should spend four hours a day on
call time and just two hours a day on the business of congress committee meetings and time on the house floor. the man in charge of the democratic campaign committee at the time was congressman steve israel, a democrat from new york. that's more time calling and asking for money than constituent work or floor work in congress. >> steve israel: very frustrating. >> o'donnell: that's what your message was-- >> israel: yes. >> o'donnell: to other lawmakers, "spend more time raising money than working on your constituents' needs or being on the floor of the congress." >> israel: very frustrating. the result of a system that is broken, the result of a system that allows unlimited amounts of money to be spent against you. >> o'donnell: before citizens united, about how many hours a day would you have to spend on the phone raising money? >> israel: i would have to put in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, at most, two hours a day into fundraising. and that's the way it went until 2010, when citizens united was enacted.
at that point, everything changed. and i had to increase that to two, three, sometimes four hours a day, depending on what was happening in the schedule. >> o'donnell: israel revealed he's spent more than 4,000 hours on the phone soliciting donations. it's something he won't miss when he leaves congress at the end of this term. still, he doesn't support the stop act. do you applaud congressman jolly for at least trying to do something on this issue? >> israel: look, i'm glad that congressman jolly is focusing attention on the issue. i would rather focus solutions on the issue. and if i believe that his bill was really going to be meaningful, was going to take money out of politics, i would support it in a second. but it really doesn't. if you asked me on a sca-- to-- to-- make an assessment as to the prospects of passage, one being the president should get ready to sign it and five being it's dead on arrival, i'd put it at a 15. it's not going to pass. >> jolly: i urge you while you
are here, before retiring and lamenting the amount of time you spend raising money, co-sponsor the stop act. >> o'donnell: despite jolly's repeated pleas on the house floor to his colleagues, only six are supporting his bill. why do you just have a handful of supporters for this act? >> jolly: i think people are scared to death of their own reelection. there's a lot of people who will see me coming and break eye contact. they don't want to talk about it. >> o'donnell: isn't this just a convenient way for you to campaign as an outsider? >> jolly: is it politically appealing? yes. but that doesn't make it wrong. >> o'donnell: jolly is now running for the florida senate seat being vacated by marco rubio. it's a race that could determine whether republicans hold onto control of the senate. we caught up with jolly at a blue jays spring training game in his florida district. how much is it going to cost to win the senate seat? >> jolly: boy, some say $100 million. state-wide.
>> o'donnell: $100 million-- >> jolly: that's right. that's right. >> o'donnell: so how can you raise that money if you are not going to make any phone calls? >> jolly: we have a robust campaign team that can make phone calls, that can organize events, that can raise as many resources as we can possibly raise as a campaign team. >> o'donnell: at the moment, jolly's leading most polls against his republican primary opponents. but he's lagging in fundraising. and that makes his pledge to stop asking for donations look like quite a gamble. so what happens if you have not raised enough money, and it's the last week of the campaign, and a super pac dumps in millions of dollars that might be distorting your record? >> jolly: at the end of the day, if you tell me that the only way to be a united states senator is to raise $100 million in florida, then i'm not the next united states senator from the state of florida. and that's okay. it's a shame for the system, but it's fine for me. >> how "60 minutes" made the decision to use a hidden camera for this story at 60minutesovertime.com
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>> scott pelley: in the wars since 9/11, thousands of americans have lost sons or daughters. bereaved parents often become isolated in a familiar world. friends don't know what to say about a grief no words can touch. there is no term in the dictionary for a parent who has lost a child. so, these mothers and fathers call themselves gold star parents. it's in the tradition of the military service flag that hung in homes during the world wars. each blue star on the banner stood for a loved one overseas. gold honored those never coming home. now, some of these families are
finding solace, once a year in san francisco, in the embrace of the only people who can truly understand, other gold star parents travelling the same endless road. in downtown san francisco stands an unusual war memorial looking as it did in the 1920's when it was a hotel and theater. after world war ii, marines wanted a living memorial so they transformed this into a club that, today, honors all vets. >> mary shea: i look at this building. it's like a ship that sails every february. that once we're inside here, we're safe. we can be ourselves. we don't have to explain to anybody. it's sort of a subliminal language that we all understand. >> pelley: mary shea learned the language of loss when her son was killed.
it's a language that cannot be translated, and so she and her husband, bill, felt they could no longer be understood. >> bill shea: you're kind of cast adrift and you're sort of floating nowhere. and you don't know where to go or what to do and there they were. understanding better than we understood the support that we needed. >> pelley: the gathering the shea's attend every year, is organized by women who call themselves the "blue star" moms of the east bay area, "blue stars," with sons and daughters who served overseas. about 200 of california's gold stars attend this honor and remembrance event which begins with a reception. the next morning, each of the fallen receives a prayer. >> a grateful nation acknowledges your sacrifice and prays for your peace.
>> pelley: later, gold star parents and counselors lead conversations for smaller groups like single parents and siblings. it's all invitation only, no press. the only pictures we have are from the marines' memorial association. part of the hotel has become a memorial wall where every lost loved one since 9/11 is remembered. 6,846 stories. tim shea was 22. he'd fought two tours in afghanistan and was in iraq on his third tour there, when his vehicle hit a bomb in august of 2005. >> bill shea: a night, thursday night about 9:30 there was a knock at the door. and we were sort of getting ready to go to bed. and i was in the bedroom and then i heard mary's voice. "bill, come here, right now. come here, come here. come here."
and i went out there and, and soon as we saw them, we knew what was, what we were facing. >> pelley: saw who? >> bill shea: saw the soldiers. the, the, there's a chaplain. there was, and, and, and two others. was it two other soldiers who were there to tell us? >> pelley: tim grew up in northern california. dad a lawyer, mom a teacher. how often do you come? >> bill shea: well, i come most every day and just have a little chat with tim. >> pelley: ten years ago, at tim's funeral, mary noticed women she had never seen before. >> mary shea: where did these people come from, and why are they here? why do they care? >> pelley: the strangers were blue star moms, including nancy totman. >> pelley: how many of these funerals have you been to? >> nancy totman: 42 funerals. and each one is difficult. it just rips your heart out to
know that another family, their life, their normal, is never the same. >> deb saunders: i can think of a couple of parents right off hand >> pelley: deb saunders understood their isolation. >> saunders: you can express your sympathy, but you cannot empathize with someone unless you're walking in their shoes and that's what i knew, we had to do, was somehow gather these folks together, that they were better equipped in their journey to help one another. >> pelley: to gather the gold stars, deb saunders reached out to a tough old leatherneck, retired marine major general mike myatt, the president and c.e.o. of the marines' memorial association. >> mike myatt: deb saunders, she was a blue star mom. she came to me one day and she said, "i'm worried about the gold star moms. we need to provide some kind of comfort for them." >> saunders: i knew general myatt had the resources to help us do it but i also knew he had the heart. and that's exactly what this took.
>> pelley: heart led myatt to order the wall where you find senior airman jonathan vega yelner. he had volunteered after his single mom discovered that he was ditching class in college. >> yolanda vega: and i said "jonathan, i'm going to give you two options, because you fooled mommy. you have a choice. navy or air force? pick one." >> pelley: yolanda vega thought those were the safer options. >> vega: he came over and he hugged me and walked away. and as he's walking straight toward the recruiter, he just went like this. >> pelley: he never looked back. the air force gave him maturity and purpose. he served in iraq, then afghanistan. and there, safe on base, he volunteered for an army patrol. there was a bomb. he was 24. >> vega: i was told that he was killed instantly. thank you, god.
and...yeah. my baby. >> pelley: yolanda barricaded herself behind close friends and family. blue star moms sought her out and she was amazed. >> vega: being a blue star mother, coming over to a gold star mother and hugging-- we're their worst nightmare. and yet, they are so willing to be part of our lives and ensuring our well-being. i couldn't have done it without them. >> pelley: your eyes light up when you talk about them and i'm trying to understand what it was that you found so uplifting, redeeming about that experience. >> vega: i knew that my son
would always be remembered. and that's one of the biggest fears gold star families have, that our children will be forgotten. that's not going to happen. >> pelley: "the children," as parents will always call them, are celebrated at tribute tables. their child lives again in every new introduction. >> bill shea: because when tim was a senior-- >> pelley: we asked a few families to assemble, for us, their tabletop biographies. this is a picture of when she was little? >> claire good: yeah. >> pelley: meet alecia good. daughter of claire and paul. a senior airman armed with what had to be the biggest smile in the air force. >> pelley: as you are with more than 100 other tables at the event, people come by. what does it do for you? >> paul good: it gives us a sense of that she didn't lose her life for nothing. >> pelley: in 2006, alecia good
was on counterterrorism duty near the horn of africa when her helicopter collided with another. she was 23. her daughter tabatha was two. >> claire good: tabatha just recently went through her mom's wardrobe and the first thing she did was put on her uniform and she looked just like her mom. it was cute. >> paul good: she realizes that her mom's special and that she won't be forgotten and she tells people, "my mommy's a fallen hero." >> mike anderson: not a day goes by that i don't think about my son. he was mike jr., he was my only son. he was my firstborn. >> pelley: mike anderson, senior, has been coming to the event all 11 years. >> pelley: when you see that new family come through the door at the next meeting, what do you tell them? >> anderson: tell them that we love them, we welcome them, again, "we're walking the same dark valley. i know how you feel.
it does get a little better over time." people talk about closure. there's never real closure, at least not in my mind. but there are steps forward to ease the pain, to help with that closure. >> pelley: what are those? the steps to ease the pain? >> anderson: faith, for me, going abroad, 2006 going to iraq myself to see some of the same faces, be in the region, breathe some of the same air that my son unselfishly fought and died for. >> pelley: you went to iraq. >> anderson: yes, sir. >> pelley: as a civilian? >> anderson: it was a need for me, it was more than just a want. >> pelley: mike anderson junior joined the marines the minute he got out of high school. in 2004, 11 days before christmas, he was shot retaking the city of fallujah. the burden that you have is unbearable. >> anderson: at times, yes sir. >> pelley: but when you come to this event, you take on the
unbearable burdens of another 100 families. >> anderson: my son went abroad to help people that he'd never met, that he would probably never ever see again. it's just that, in some ways, its human nature to want to help others. >> myatt: and people asked me, "what do you say to the gold star parents?" i say, "well, you don't have to say anything to them, just ask them, 'tell me about your son or your daughter'." man, they will just talk. they will just tell you all they can about the son or daughter. and it's really something. i wished i had known this as a young officer. because i went to vietnam and i had people killed out of my platoon. and i was gonna go visit each family, and the very last one was in kansas. i was visiting them and i went to the house, and-- and the father said, "come on in." and the mother, she had on her apron. she said, "i just fixed dinner, would you have dinner with us?"
i said, "no, i'm in a hurry, but i want to tell you about your son." and i told them how he was killed and everything. they really appreciated. then, "won't you stay for dinner?" "oh, i better not." i realize now they wanted to tell me about their son. and i wasn't mature enough to know it. >> pelley: that's why they wanted you to stay. >> myatt: yeah, yeah, and now i know it. >> pelley: for general myatt, there is redemption now, in making a home for the memories. >> bill shea: i remember one time visiting my son's graveside and thinking about how every day they would face the day and realize that this is dangerous and they did it anyway. i have a duty to do and this duty is dangerous and i'm going to do it.
>> pelley: tim's death transferred that duty to you. >> mary shea: right. >> pelley: the duty to live your lives and to help other people in the same situation that you're in. >> bill shea: i think that's right. i think that's right. and that's the best way to honor him. >> pelley: once a year, gold star families are safe in the embrace of their peers, strangers who share an intimate truth; a life is lost, but love does not end. >> and now a cbs sports update presented by ford. at the bolero texas open, charley hoffman made a brilliant birdie at the last to win by one for his fourth victory on the pga tour. in nba playoff action, the spurs completed a four-game sweep of memphis and steph curry suffered a knee injury, but the warriors
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>> steve kroft: now, an update on our story called "28 pages," that ran two weeks ago and stirred up hornet's nests in washington and riyadh. it dealt with one of the country's most secret and sensitive documents which many believe contains information about a possible saudi support network for some of the 9/11 hijackers while they were in the u.s. the saudi arabian embassy denounced the story as "myths and erroneous charges." but since it aired, members of congress and the families of 9/11 victims have renewed their demands for the white house to declassify the 28 pages. president obama has since said a decision will be made fairly soon. i'm steve kroft. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." ♪ every auto insurance policy has a number.
you added fish. dr. sherman: well, i'm hoping they have more luck than the plants. i couldn't seem to keep them alive. elizabeth: we tried a fish tank when the kids were little, but i just kept overfeeding him. everything sounds like a metaphor in here, doesn't it? anyway... it's good to see you. it's good to meet you, henry. you, too, dr. sherman. well, um... like i said on the voice mail, i thought that maybe we could use one of my tune-up sessions to talk through some of the things that henry's been going through at work. affecting things at home, that's on me.