tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 21, 2014 6:00am-8:01am PDT
189-word letter in one community taped to a shovel. some of them stopped to read it. take a listen. >> faithful over come fears, doubts and insecurities. >> sometimes in life we don't recognize how strong we actually are until we are faced -- >> with a great tragedy in our life. >> losing everything we own is sad. >> but the things we own don't diminish who we are inside. >> even though it was a lot of stuff, it's just stuff. >> nobody knows who put the letter there, but it meant so much to the people in the community as a reminder, signed g.b., probably more likely stands for god bless. it really meant a lot. people broke down when they read it. you need a source of strength. whoever wrote that letter, you gave them one. thanks to you for being "the good stuff" in a community that means so much. let's get you to the "newsroom" with ms. carol costello. >> thanks, have a great day. "newsroom" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
good morning. i'm carol costello, thank you for joining me. the tea party may not be over, but this morning the lights are on and the music is off in the biggest contest so far of this year's midterm elections, republican voters rejected the hard right candidates and instead backed those endorsed by the gop's establishment. not a single tea party candidate survived. this morning's headlines say it all. our home page asks "is tea time over?" politico answers that question in saying the tea party uprising is starting to look more like the boston massacre. the "wall street journal" declares primaries taming the tea party. of course, no candidate embodies the gop's power elite more than mitch mcconnell. the senate minority leader from kentucky. he cruised to an easy victory over tea party favorite matt bevin. in georgia, two candidates emerged from a crowded field. they'll go to a runoff.
the tea party candidates will go home. the republican mantra beginning in november becomes unity. >> a tough race is behind us. it's time to unite. to my opponent's supporters, i hope you'll join me in the months ahead and know that your fight is my fight. >> our political team is covering all the angles. let's begin with dana bash and the mcconnell campaign in louisville, kentucky. good morning, dana. >> reporter: good morning, carol. you just heard mitch mcconnell make a plea for matt bevin supporters that did go out and vote really adamantly against mitch mcconnell to come back. it was only about 35% of the republican voters who didn't support him, but if the race that mitch mcconnell has against alison grimes, the democrat here, continues to be as in the case and neck come november as it is now, even losing a small
percentage of that, a small percentage of those republicans who didn't go for him, if they stay home, for example, which is probably the most likely scenario if they don't go for mcconnell, that could be big trouble for him. that is why they're continuing to work behind the scenes to bring him on. you mentioned the fact that across the board, tea party challengers were crushed. that was what mitch mcconnell famously said, that he was going to make sure he did. he certainly did it here in k kentuc kentucky. he did it with hard campaigning and privately they admit, some dirty tricks. >> dana, now comes the hard part because the election in november will be fascinating. he has a worthy opponent in the democratic candidate. tell us about her. >> she is a 35-year-old woman who is a secretary of state here. she is -- the benefit that mitch mcconnell and his team think they had is she is not that well
known and she's much -- she's theirs to define. that's what the race is on to do right now. at the same time, mcconnell has made it very clear that he is trying to make it not so much about her, but about the president, to nationalize the election play-up, the fact that president obama is incredibly unpopular here. listen to what he said last night to set this up and her retort. >> my opponent is in this race because barack obama and harry reid want her to be in this race. a vote for my opponent is a vote for obamacare and the president who sold it to us on a mountain of lies. >> mitch mcconnell would have you believe that president obama is on kentucky's 2014 election ballot. well, let me set the record straight tonight for our senior senator is out of touch with the commonwealth of kentucky. president obama is not on kentucky's 2014 election ballot.
>> at least in the short term who wins that argument is going to determine who wins that race because already the placards were made last night for the victory party at mcconnell headquarters saying a vote for grimes is a vote for obama. a vote for mcconnell is a vote for kentucky. that's certainly how they're going to be framing it because mitch mcconnell is really unabashed in the way he describes the stakes. it's about being able to get back to washington, to fight president obama, and if republicans do take six seats in fall, become the majority leader to lead kentucky to do that. >> dana bash reporting live from louisville, kentucky. now that the primaries are over, what are the lessons learned. across the nation, establishment candidates tamed the tea party. the message, now it's time to unite. two big names, bill and hillary clinton were not enough to
endorse marge gentlemen march goll liss. joining me to talk about this, gloria borger. hi to you. >> hi. >> let's talk a bit more about kentucky and the race to come in november. this female candidate is strong. this could be one of the most expensive races in history. >> $100 million. >> and the most vicious. >> look, mitch mcconnell is a tough politician. she's going to have to be just as tough, fighting back. you saw him there last night talk about two things. one is his wife, his family, women who have been important to him. so that's sort of a key, that women are going to be important in this race and grimes needs to get those women out there to vote. and the other thing is president obama. not only is obama care unpopular in the state of kentucky, but the president himself has a 32% approval rating. so they're going to try and tie democrats, of course -- it's going to go on around the
country to the president. it's not only obama care, it's the president himself. that's what mitch mcconnell is starting to do with ads today. she's just going to have to be tough and fight back. kentucky is a republican state, but there's a changing demographic in the state that gives her a bit of a shock. as you can tell from this primary, mcconnell is tough and doesn't make a lot of political mistakes. >> she's also released ads already. they're running neck and neck. it will be fascinating. let's go back to the tea party. tea party groups are putting their spin on last night. this is a state from freedom works ceo. quote, when the establishment runs on our issues, it's clear there's a larger cultural shift happening. constitutional libertarians are setting the agenda in the republican party. is he right? >> for now. i totally agree with matt, for now. what you're heading into, 2014,
primary voters are the base of the party, the most active people in the party who come out to vote in the midterms. it's a very different group, a smaller group from people who come out to vote in a general election. what do you want to do? you want to attract tea party voters to the more establishment candidates. that is why you see the kind of melding of the agenda. it's not as if john boehner doesn't have problems with tea partiers in his caucus. he does. remember the shutdown? for now as they try to increase their margin of control in the house, they're going to hold hands. they'll run on the same agenda and will make believe like the party is completely united which, of course, it isn't. that's what they're going to do. >> let's talk about the clintons now. it was a split decision on whether or not they could actually help candidates. they certainly helped the candidate in kentucky, ms. grimes. in pennsylvania their candidate
lost. what do you make of that? >> reporter: you know, this was a really personal thing, as you know, carol. this is the clinton's daughter's mother-in-law. marjory margolis's son is married to chelsea clinton. there's another connection. marjory margolis's cast the deciding vote for bill clinton and got thrown out of office. this was personal. it was a little payback. they came out and raised money for her. bill clinton did some of those robo calls for her. in the end she had been out of politics for too long. she lost to somebody who had a lot of support in the philadelphia area with labor unions, so she couldn't quite make it over the line and she's going to have to find a political comeback maybe somewhere else. this was her old district.
the difference is when she ran and won 20 years ago, it was largely republican. now it's largely democratic and she still couldn't do it. >> gloria borger, thanks for the insight. still to come, we'll dig into the georgia race as republican contenders are set for a runoff. there's one thing missing, the tea party. we'll talk about why. our political coverage continues after a break. [announcer] play close-good and close. help keep teeth clean and breath fresh with beneful healthy smile snacks. with soft meaty centers and teeth cleaning texture,it's dental that tastes so good. beneful healthy smile food and snacks.
for republicans in georgia the road to the u.s. senate will run through two fairly traditional candidates. david purdue will battle jack kingston. voters giving the boot to the tea party candidates who are in the running. that's a bit of a switch for a state that's been home to one of the most conservative voting records in the past five years. this is tea party country after all. here to talk about that, larry saab toe, director of the university of virginia center for politics and john avlon from "the daily beast." welcome, gentlemen. >> good morning, carol. >> larry, i would like to start with you. what is this about money? is it just because the establishment candidates are more well-funded? >> money never hurts. i think it's more than that, carol. political parties are like
average people. after you get hit on the head with a two-by-four two or three times in a row, i think they learned from some of the mistakes that republican electorates made in 2010 and 2012. they have chosen in georgia and also in kentucky the candidates most likely to win in the fall. that's what parties are supposed to do in their nominating process. >> john, what struck me now -- and i hear you, larry -- but it seemed like the establishment republican candidates in georgia running talked more like tea party candidates. was it a little bit of that, too, john? >> i think the quote, unquote, establishment candidates are singing from the tea party script. the tea party lost this battle, but they may be winning the war when it comes to the soul of the gop. that's something to watch. in georgia, as in so many states last night where the tea party really faced a total shutout,
you saw the chamber of commerce wing of the party rising up. folks interested in governing, defending off challenges from the far right. at the end of the day, they're totally focused on winning. that's what's been missing from the tea party equation. >> larry, i ask you the overarching question, is the tea party candidate diminished, is it dead? >> it's still a piece of the republican party. america is an incredibly diverse country demographically and in terms of political factions, both parties are coalition parties. the republicans need the tea party people. they need the evangelical christians, they need a slice of moderate republicans that used to dominate the party. they certainly need the establishment wing for money. victory or the smell of victory tends to bring party factions back together. whether they're right or not, the republican factions sense victory in the fall. they sense they are going to
take over the snenate we'll see if that's true. they sense they'll come together in the house of representatives. >> john, i want to touch on the democratic side of the equation. i'll use georgia. two candidates with name recognition and deep roots in the state, michelle nunn and jason carter who happens to be jimmy carter's grandson, both easily won their primaries. will it be a different story come november? >> the most important thing in election outcomes is the election cycle, the level of turnout. georgia's demographics are changing. georgia is not going to be a lock conservative state some point in the distant future. in these midterm elections not on presidential cycles, you have lower turnout, the turnout tends to be whiter and older. nunn, carter, that allows them to run the tables in the primaries. is it going to be a tough fight? yes.
is it going to be that internal rule? absolutely. whenever you see parties reaching for the name i.d., it's not necessarily a state of strength, it's a sign of comfort. the important thing to remember in the swing states and in any state, even if they're conservative, it doesn't mean they're crazy. for democrats that look at the tea party losing the primaries, that's not a good thing if your name is nunn or carter. you wanted to run against them. >> larry sabado and john avlon, appreciate it. the white house is scrambling to respond to the growing scandal of the veterans who died waiting for care. president obama meeting today for the agency secretary. michelle kosinski is following that for you. >> reporter: this is a big meeting the day. the va secretary has been called to the white house. many want to see what kind of change, if any, this will bring. we'll have that coming up. ♪
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president obama under increasing pressure over the scandal involving va hospitals will meet next hour with the embattled va secretary eric shinseki. 26 facilities now under investigation amid allegations of dangerously long care delays and secret waiting lists for patients. a newly revealed va memo from 2010 shows officials warned of inappropriate scheduling practices and attempts to conceal long wait times. a whistle-blower told cnn's anderson cooper last night the problems are pervasive.
>> this is a systemic problem and they have been cheating this and gaming it for years. >> how can you say that for sure? >> i guess i can't say that for sure. it's certainly been going on in phoenix for years. i talked to people at other vas and they tell me the same thing. >> is the court issue here that the va is underfunded and they don't have the resources to treat the large number of vets? >> we've had poor administration for several years which has compounded the problem of more demand than we can supply. rather than admit to it and address it, they've elected to cover it up. that's where the problem lies. >> cnn's michelle kosinski is following this story from the white house. what will this meeting involve involving president obama and secretary shinseki? >> reporter: this is happening now and the timing is interesting. the president has been facing tough questions over this. he has called secretary shinseki to the white house. they will meet soon in the oval office. also there will be top white
house adviser rob nabors to work alongside the internal va investigation in this. it has been a tough couple of weeks. a crisis breaks like this, very embarrassing scandal within the va. you always want to be on the leading edge of that, kind of proactively showing that you're on top of it, you're leading the way and making the changes right now. but the white house has really been put on the defensive day by day as the scandal has only grown by the day. the white house has been unwavering in its defense of shinseki. i think that makes it seem unlikely that this meeting today will lead to any real changes in his status unless he chooses to resign. they've highlighted his successes over the past few years to try to make the va better. also the white house has tried to kind of shape the dialogue saying that the president has been personally involved in this, although this is the first
time since the scandal broke he's meeting directly with shinseki. some within the president's own party, tammy duckworth, herself a wounded war veteran, has said she thinks she'd like to see more of the president's personal attention. i think what's most interesting is the resignation or stepping down that we did see of the va undersecretary, but the white house will not clarify whether that was a firing or a retirement because it turns out he was set to retire this year anyway. i'll throw something out there. why doesn't the president talk to the american people and explain things? wouldn't that put rumors to rest and maybe put the white house more on the offensive? >> reporter: right. that has been the big question. the white house has faced that question day after day in the briefing room. so now the administration is saying, yes, we will hear from the president soon, this big meeting the day raises the possibility that we could hear from obama directly on this as early as today, carol.
>> we'll see in the next hour. their meeting should be over by then. who knows though. michelle kosinski reporting live from the white house. thank you. we have two big business stories. general motors is adding another 218,000 cars to its recall. this time the chevy aveos. the daytime headlights can overheat and catch fire. so far this year gm recalled more than 15 million cars around the world. more than they sold last year. also just in this hour, another sign target has been hit hard by that holiday credit card hack attack. new numbers show profits took a dive last quarter. executives still don't know how much the cyber attack will cost them. alison kosik is live at the new york stock exchange to tell us
more about target's woes. >> reporter: a really tough time for target to say the least. it doesn't look like it will end any time soon. this morning we earned what the first quarter earnings were. they fell. also target cut its profit outlook for the year. in business-speak, that means target is not confident about the future. here is another problem, and this is a biggie. sales at target are down. you know shoppers just aren't coming in, and its data beach is still a monkey on target's back. you look at the stock, it's really beaten down since the breach was announced late last year. stock down 11% since then. the breach itself cost target $87 million so far. believe it or not, that's not huge considering the company had $17 billion in sales last quarter. keep in mind target is also getting insurance money to cover the breach. but for investors, this is still a problem. this is still a lot of uncertainty. the problem is target doesn't
know how long this breach will affect its bottom line. that's a big issue. customers, they're clearly spooked, although some of the lack of foot traffic target is seeing is because the economy ain't so hot at this point. other retailers are having similar situations, too. for target interim ceo john mulligan, today's results are just a reminder the pressure is definitely on. >> alison kosik, thank you so much. city of detroit is about to get a big boost from jm morgan. this morning ceo jamie my don't announced aid to the bankrupt city as it struggles to emerge from billions of dollars in debt. >> there's money to be made here? >> i hope some we're doing it to grow investments, grow the city and create a healthy vibrant city. >> dimon says the money will be used to help clean up the city. poppy harlow is covering this story. she has more.
>> reporter: good morning, carol. jpmorgan, the wall street giant announcing they're investing $100 million in detroit to help with the bankrupt city's recovery. about 40% will be investment, meaning they expect so make some money back. 60% is philanthropic, basically in the forms of grants. $50 million, half going to community developers trying to turn around struggling neighborhoods in detroit. one of the biggest problems in detroit is all those abandoned homes. $25 million will go toward tackling neighborhood blight. $25 million toward worker training, small business development and a new rail line. ceo jamie dimon says he wants to see the city recover. obviously they're putting their money behind that. detroit is a big customer for
jpmorgan. they've been in that city for 80 years, millions of customers there. detroit, when you think about big pictures, this is a city that's more than $18 billion in debt. they are working to get concessions from investors, city workers and retirees trying to remerge from bankruptcy. this is expected to be helpful to detroit in the financial situation it is in right now. carol? >> poppy harlow reporting for us this morning. an annual tradition filled with great pageantry returns to new york with the parade of ships arriving for fleet week. it always looks so beautiful. hundreds of sailors, marines and coast guardsmen will receive a cannon salute as they pass by fort hamilton. cnn's miguel marquez drew the lucky straw. are you on board the ship? you are. awesome. >> reporter: there is no better way to come into new york than on one of these ships.
we're on the coast guard cutter campbell. you can see the personnel are all on attention, about to render salute to fort hamilton that is skomicoming up here. there will be an 11-gun salute. an exciting time for the coast guard and the navy. last year they weren't able to do this because of budget cuts. they're all attention now because they're about to render salute to fort hamilton. these ships will also then pay special salute to the world trade center as well. there's three navy ships, two coast guardianships. that's the oak hill right behind us which is the transport ship. right behind that, the "u.s.s. mccall," a guided missile destroyer. leading the parade here is the "u.s.s. cole," incredibly exciting time for folks. the one thing i can tell you before i leave you, the big thing this weekend and this week
during fleet week is a selfie with a sailor. everybody in new york, time to get your selfie with a sailor. very exciting. carol? >> i'll be expecting one in my inbox with you, miguel and some fine looking sailor. thank you, miguel. we'll get back to you. still to come in the "newsroom," a group of ex-nfl players say the nfl put plofts above their health. >> the lawsuit involves some of the biggest names in the history of the nfl and the lengths they went to stay on the football field are still staggering to read about. i'll have that story coming up. . for what reality teaches you firsthand. in the face of danger, and under the most demanding circumstances. experience builds character. experience builds confidence. and experience... has built this.
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no regular blood monitoring; no known dietary restrictions. for information and savings options download the xarelto® patient center app, call 1-888-xarelto, or visit goxarelto.com this just in to cnn, as we told you earlier, president obama is meeting with va secretary eric shinseki right now about that controversy swirling at vrktsa hospitals across the country with those long wait lists leading to some patient deaths. we were wondering if the president will come out and talk about this. we just found out he will indeed do that, 10:45 eastern time president obama will make a public statement on the controversy at the va hospitals across the country. of course, we're carry that live. in other news this morning, eight former players are now suing the national football league claiming the league put profit over their health. the players say they were given huge amounts of pain killers
during their career just so they could continue playing. one even played on a broken leg for an entire season and didn't even know about it because he was drugged. these players say they were never told about the side effects or the risks associated with these pills. a lot of these players spent time in rehab for addiction after their football careers were over. ed lavandera joins from dallas along with j.d. hill, one of the former players involved in the lawsuit. he's on the phone this morning. good morning to both of you. ed, first of all, tell us more about this lawsuit. >> the lawsuit involves eight named players, some from the high profile 1985 chicago bears team which included jim mcmain and richard dent, but as well as more than 500 other retired players. carol, if you followed football for any length of time, you know the length which players and teams will go to to get players onto the field. when you read some of these stories, it's staggering.
keith van horn who played on the shouk bears team played with that broken leg. richard dent said he played one game in 1983, a preseason game so doped up on pain meds he barely remembers playing. he talked about open jars of amphetamines that players could pick from. trainers that would would be down the aisle on the plane with briefcases full of pain meds. essentially the players are saying that the nfl and the teams negligently and in some cases illegally with the doses of these intense pain meds dulled them out to keep the tsunami of dollars flowing for the nfl. there's two big themes that go throughout the lawsuit. that is, the trainers and the doctors who work for the teams, the players calling into question the ethical relationship. do they represent the teams, work for the teams or do they have the players' best health interests in store for them. that's one of the questions that they're looking at here.
the other thing is a lot of these players say just because they retired doesn't mean after years and years of taking these pain meds they didn't keep needing them. in many cases some of them became addicted to the pain meds and that didn't stop once they retired from the game. >> j.d. hill is one of the players. j.d., tell us your story. you played part of your career for the detroit lions. tell me about how many pills that you took. >> to give you an accurate account of that, i would be inaccurate at this time. the amount of pills we were taking prior to the game, pills to go to sleep, pills to play, pills to play at half-time, pills after the game. no one ever told us about the effects of these drugs that we were getting. some of the guys -- some of us drank beer. after that they would give us these pills and then give us alcohol, and that's stacking. they never told us about the long lasting effects of what it
would do to us. in fact, what end u happening to me, after they put me out of the good old boy club and i was put out of the locker room, i'm on the streets, i'm with my family, still in pain. they didn't say, here is a is a of doctors you can go to, here is how you continue to take care of yourself. being in the pain, my mindset was i've got to get it somewhere. i ended up going to street drugs which ended up leading me to a full-blown addiction for years. i was in and out of treatment facilities. not only did i suffer but my family suffered. that's the other part that people don'trealize, the families of us athletes also go through this thing with us. >> the pain doesn't leave once you leave the nfl. your injuries are lingering. it's a tough game. you say you became addicted. why did you decide to -- >> it's like having a scar on your face, masking. your profession is to be before the camera.
if you were to scar your face, you put makeup on to do your job. once your job, that particular segment is over, you wipe the makeup off, the scar is still there. same thing with athletes. the pain is still there. it was masking. all they were doing was putting us on the field. we wanted to play. we had no idea what the repercussions would be. we were masking pain. once the game was over, the pain was still there. what happens? we're taking more pain killers. practice after practice, game after game. >> why did you decide to sue now, j.d.? >> it became an opportunity where we could have a voice, not only for myself -- this is not just about me. this is about the future. there are guys that have gone on that can't even tell their stories. this is an opportunity that came forth. you only have so many opportunities in life. once you have an opportunity where you get a chance to take a difference, you take advantage of it. i thank god he gave me this opportunity to be part of this.
>> thank you for talking to us, j.d. hill. ed lavandera, one more question for you, how is the knuffle nfl responding -- ed is gone. we'll get his statement in a bit. ed, what's the nfl saying about this? >> reporter: we reached out to the nfl yesterday. we have not heard. they said they had not had a chance to receive it. their lawyers would review the case. remember, this is also another lawsuit. they're still dealing with the concussion lawsuit, $765 million settlement in that case that was rejected by the judge in that case. not only is this added to on top of the big lawsuit they're dealing with in the concussion cases as well. >> ed lavandera, thanks so much. still to come, a new report indicates the nba's case against donald sterling. the league alleges a coverup. >> did donald sterling asking v.
stiviano to lie for him? are donald and shelly sterling as estranged as we've been told? we'll look at these allegations coming up. [announcer] play close-good and close. help keep teeth clean and breath fresh with beneful healthy smile snacks. with soft meaty centers and teeth cleaning texture,it's dental that tastes so good. beneful healthy smile food and snacks. c'mon, you want heartburn?
hey, lie for me. that's what donald sterling told v. stiviano according to the nba and "the l.a. times." allegations of a coverup surfaces as the league moves closer to a vote of forcing a sale of the clippers. >> my confidence level is high. we know we're doing the right thing. i know i have the owners behind me. the timing is laid out in the nba constitution. we're following it to the letter in terms of numbers of days that mr. sterling has to respond and then when the hearing will be held. as i said, i know we're doing the right thing here. >> cnn's stephanie elam live in
los angeles to tell us more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, carol. what we are hearing here is that the nba, perhaps they knew they were in for a fight just as the sterlings may have been gearing up for a fight. they're saying donald sterling has until tuesday to respond with his side of the story. all in all by june 3rd they're saying they want this to be moved forward with this process. it's going to be a difficult one as we already know shelly stermg has said she wants to keep her 50% stake. we know donald sterling is also saying he's going to fight. there's been no comment from his lawyer. there's also these new allegations being reported by the "los angeles times" that, in fact, donald sterling may have asked v. stiviano to cover up the tapes and to say it wasn't him actually on those record inning dings. they're also alleging that shelly and donald sterling aren't as estranged as they painted the picture to be,
they're still very much in contact and they actually came together before that game in oakland. this was during the play-off series with the golden state warriors. the first games after the tapes came to light, they were in san francisco and trying to figure out with andy rozier, the ceo already ousted from the clippers to figure out how to handle it. this is the new allegations coming to light here. i have to tell you, carol, i've heard from a lot of people that they did not believe the sterlings were as estranged as they've been telling us since the scandal came to light. an interesting development here. >> it certainly is. stephanie elam reporting live from los angeles. still to come in the "newsroom," a spectacular new york show, a parade of ships marks the start of fleet week. let's listen to the american bombshells. ♪ we sail at break of day ♪ through our last night onshore
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honestly, the off-season isn't i've got a lot to do. that's why i got my surface. it's great for watching game film and drawing up plays. it's got onenote, so i can stay on top of my to-do list, which has been absolutely absurd since the big game. with skype, it's just really easy to stay in touch with the kids i work with. alright, russell you are good to go! alright, fellas. alright, russ. back to work!
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capitol hill, the group behind those kidnappings, boko haram, goes under the microscope and tales of brutality and horror get personal. just minutes ago we heard from a 15-year-old girl who was from that village where that boarding school was raided by those terrorists. she's the first female survivor of boko haram to visit washington. her nightmare is sure to resonate in a house foreign affairs hearing that's about to get under way. cnn >> reporter: i just left the press conference that the chairman and ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee had with this young girl. you can tell it will be an emotional day. they will have her testimony entered into the record because they don't want her to have to appear in front of this large hearing. i wanted to play for you just a little bit more of what she said about the day three members of boko haram came into her house, killed her father, and killed her brother.
she spoke about what she wants to see people do to help find these kidnapped girls. let's play that. >> i want the government to know how much they are in our prayers and i wanted to maybe send someone it find the girls or maybe help them for people that lost their family. >> reporter: you might be able to tell she was a little nervous there in front of a room of cameras and reporters. this is the second time she was telling her story today and so after this hearing that's getting under way, she's going to be meeting with a couple of congressmen and she's also going to meet with her therapist to talk about what she's gone through to help her to continue to get through this so she can continue to talk to people and tell her story. the purpose of the hearing, of course, is for the house foreign affairs committee is to get an update from the u.s. government about what's being done to try
to find these kidnapped girls and they want to ask that the government do more. that's the focus of this hearing today. >> we'll get back to you. athena jones reporting live this morning. here at cnn we're not giving up on these girls. we'll bring you the latest developments as this story unfolds. if you would like to help girls worldwide trying to overcome barriers to education, go to our website, cnn.com/impact.
the arrival of sheets for fleet week is a time to celebrate in new york but the sailors, marines and coast guardsmen are marking a somber moment as they pass the world trade center site before coming into port. miguel marquez is onboard one of those ships. good morning, miguel. >> reporter: i drew a short
straw there today, carol. there are three navy ships and two coast guard ships taking part in fleet week this year. very excited. they didn't do it last year because of budget cuts. first time they've been back. what better way to come into new york than to have lady liberty staring at you. the city is in front of us. we're about to go by the world trade center and when they do, they will render a salute there and there will be a solemn moment where they line the deck here and bow their heads as they go by the world trade center. interesting to watch. this is one of our hosts today, one of the many 1,500 sailors, marines, and coast guard members here. the big thing is hash tag selfie with a sailor this year, is that right? >> we're very excited to be back in new york and very excited to be doing everything here being part of the greatest city in the world with greatest navy in the world. a great thing for everybody. taking pictures this weekend, use hash tags fleet weekend nyc and selfie with sailor and get
our sailors out there. >> reporter: they'll be wearing uniforms everywhere. it's a great tradition. they're happy to be back in new york. and it's going to be very cool. we are also -- the "uss cole" is here. a closer look at that later on today. >> we will get back to you. thanks so much. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" starts now. happening now in the "newsroom" -- >> a tough race is behind us. it's time to unite. to my opponent supporters, i hope you'll join me in the month ahead and know that your fight is my fight. >> tea party? what tea party. a big night of wins for the gop establishment but now the focus shifts to november. a call to the oval office. secretary shinseki meeting with president obama right now over
the book cooking scandal. >> any adverse incident like this makes me mad as hell. >> is being mad as hell enough to safe shinseki's job? a big ground beef recall goes nationwide. burgers contaminated with e. coli. where is the meat now? nfl players on powerful painkillers. a new lawsuit says the league was drugging its players to keep them in the game. arrested for being happy. why police say these dancing, sing i singing people broke the law. you're live in the "cnn newsroom." good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. we're following two big stories for you right now in the "newsroom." one on the campaign trail and the other at the white house. on the trail tea party
challengers falling short in the primaries but will establishment republicans like mitch mcconnell fare as well in november. the battle to mid terms has started. we'll talk about that. i want to start with president obama calling veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki to the oval office. that meeting happening as we speak. the president expected to speak right after that meeting about this book cooking scandal at va hospitals across the country. that should happen in just about 45 minutes. of course you can see the president live right here on cnn. mr. obama's statement comes as the white house is under increasing pressure over the scandal. 26 va facilities now under investigation amid allegations of dangerously long care delays and secret waiting lists for patients. cnn's michelle kosinski following the story from the white house. i said why doesn't the president come out and talk about this and he is. >> reporter: that is true. he's faced questions about that for many days now. and there's so many eyes on this to see what comes out of this
meeting. it will be pretty brief, less than 45 minutes long, and there have been plenty of calls for shinseki to resign. some might say finally the president is meeting with him directly since the scandal broke and furthermore, finally we'll hear from the president directly on this issue. it has become clear that these problems at the va and even in this forum that have come to light recently have existed for years. long before president obama took office. but the white house has faced tough questions. why were they allowed to persist for so long and why has the extent of this only come out through the press? the va is investigating facilities around the country. a top white house adviser is heading today to phoenix where the scandal broke reported by cnn's drew griffin. under the microscope now, why there were waiting lists at some va hospitals kept on paper and
not entered into computer systems. and how did it affect the american soldiers under the va's care? like a 71 year old that went to the e.r. on september 28. he was told he needed to see a doctor urgently within a week. >> they call me december 6th. he's dead already. i said you're late. >> he had stage 4 bladder cancer undiagnosed. we know the va itself knew of some problems with delays in waiting lists for at least six years now. data keeping issues going back nearly a decade. in 2010, a va memo called for immediate action to identify and eliminate inappropriate scheduling practices sometimes referred to gaming strategies. this is not patient centered care. the memo bans using paper logs for appointments. again, this was four years ago. now being held by some partly accountable, the white house
which staunchly stands by its actions to increase resources for veterans in the face of problems that started long before president obama took office. >> this is not a new issue for the president which is why he's been focused on it since he's been president. >> reporter: there is a bill to give va more power to fire managers calling this scandal a mess. >> it's time for our president to come forward and take responsibility for this and do the right thing by these veterans and begin to show that he actually cares about getting it straight. >> reporter: it took a long time for shinseki to speak publicly and take questions on this. cnn's drew griffin who broke this story tried for an entire month to get an interview with him. when he finally spoke, he said he serves at the pleasure of the president. he sees this not as a job but a mission. he wanted to continue that mission. the white house has repeatedly backed him. listed his successes. but as the scandal has grown by the day, it remains to be seen
whether that support continues. >> all right. michelle kosinski reporting live from the white house this morning. a reminder for you. president obama is set to speak at 10:45 eastern after wrapping up his meeting with va secretary shinseki. of course we'll bring that to you live. the tea party may not be over but this morning the lights are on and music is off. the biggest contest of this year's midterm elections republican voters rejected the hard right candidates and instead backed those endorsed by the gop establishment. not a single tea party candidate survived. no candidate embodies the gop power elite more than mitch mcconnell. the senate minority leader from kentucky. he cruised to easy victory over a tea party favorite and in the republican stronghold of georgia, the two top senate candidates emerged from a crowded field and will go to a runoff. the tea party candidates will go home. for mcconnell, all roads of course lead to november and what may be his toughest election yet. cnn's dana bash is in louisville, kentucky, the hard
of o'connell country. good morning. >> reporter: you know, anybody here who thought the primary day would slow things down even for a few hours was wrong. people here in kentucky are turning on their television sets and they're already seeing the opening of what is going to be a very bitter, very, very intense campaign. the first is starting with the democratic candidate who wants to unseat mitch mcconnell. grimes, 35-year-old woman, she's secretary of state trying to make clear that she is her own person and she's not in the pocket of president obama. listen to her new ad. >> no matter who the president is, i won't answer to them. i'll only answer to you. >> reporter: why is that important? for lots of reasons. primarily because president obama is highly, highly unpopular here in kentucky. and that is why the mcconnell
campaign is clear that they are trying to link grimes to obama but also the broader notion that if grimes wins and unseats mcconnell, that will make it harder for republicans to take control of the senate and harder to use the republican muscle to try to stop the obama agenda for the last two years in office. on that note, on the republican side, mcconnell isn't up with an ad but one of the super pacs that will pour millions into the airwaves here is up with its own ad. watch this. >> liberals coast to coast are rolling out the red carpet for alison grimes. she's backed by obama's biggest fund-raisers and hollywood's most liberal political activists. michelle obama let the truth slip out at a new york city fund-raiser calling grimes' election critical to president obama's liberal agenda that's
hurting kentucky. where's alison grimes on the issues? look at her friends. kentuckians for strong leadership is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> reporter: nothing subtle about that. it's clear what republicans are trying to do there and that's why alison grimes came out this morning trying to define herself before republicans can define her. >> fascinating. dana bash reporting live from louisville. so as dana said the primaries are over and now the fun begins. perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the november elections will be the women running like alison grimes, the democrat from kentucky, as we told you is running against senator mitch mcconnell who is a ruthless campaigner. for her part, grimes seems to be ready. >> mitch mcconnell, he wants to tell you who i am and he has said he claims that kentucky will be lost if we trade in his seat for a kentucky woman who he
believes will sit on the backbench. well, i'm here to tell you tonight my fellow kentuckians, i'm not an empty dress. i'm a rubber stamp and i am not a cheerleader. i'm a strong kentucky woman who is an independent thinker who when i'm kentucky's next united states senator, the decisions i make will be what's best for the people of the commonwealth of kentucky and not partisan interests. >> there you have it. let's talk more about this. a cnn political commentator and opinion columnist for "the new york times" and patricia murphy is founder of citizen jane politics. welcome to you both. >> thanks for having us. >> good morning. >> thanks for being here. i listened to grimes victory speech and came out to katy perry's "roar." she personified the war on women
theme. are establishment republicans worried? >> i think that the war on women frame the democrats used in the last election where it was arguments about abortion and contraception and so on is less likely to be important in this campaign because kentucky is a pretty socially conservative state and grimes is more likely to be on the defensive on issues like abortion. i think the gender card more generally is clearly something mcconnell is worried about. if you listen to his speech, which he didn't come out to katy perry and he's not necessarily the most charismatic speech giver but there was a lot of talk about women, about his wife, about his family and women in kentucky hurt by obamacare. i don't think there's any question from his perspective being not just an establishment figure but an older white guy facing, you know, attractive dynamic younger female
candidate. he's aware that gender could cut against him. do you agree? >> i think he's where gender could cut against him. and i think if you look at the path that alison grimes has to follow, she needs a big gender gap to win that. democrats have been winning in tight races or in purple states, anything they need to do to win women is what they're going to have to do. she only right now has about a four-point advantage among women. she needs that to be at about 15 or 20 in order to get ahead of the entirely male support that mitch mcconnell is going to get and that will be for independent women and for women who are going to be open to her arguments on the issues particularly economic issues. she won't beat mitch mcconnell by filing her nails and looking pretty. she's a strong kentucky women. that will be attractive to women and men who want to see changes in washington. >> her other challenge is president obama. she's already come out saying president obama who? i don't know if she can escape
that. >> this is mcconnell's goal. you mentioned earlier that mcconnell has a reputation as a no holds bar ruthless campaigner and so on. again, because of the optics of gender, i think he doesn't want to run a campaign where it seems like he's ruthlessly taking it to grimes himself. he wants to run a campaign where she just becomes associated with president obama. president obama is very unpopular in kentucky as he is all across the appalachian states and you make that connection. she loses and he doesn't have to worry about facing her as her in a way. >> it's interesting, patricia. the polls show they are running neck and neck if the election were held today. you have to wonder how president obama, obamacare thing is resonating in the state of kentucky. is it more that mitch mcconnell that they've had enough of him, he's establishment, been in for a long time, he's divisive, what
is it? >> attention in kentucky has been on the republican ballot. it was getting all of the attention in television. grimes hadn't run her own ads until a week ago. she hasn't had a lot of spotlight that we have seen on the republicans. barack obama is way under water. he lost the election in 2012 by 22 points. if you have a choice to go up against alison grimes, again dynamic and popular, she has nice good looking approval ratings when you look at her in kentucky and then you can run against barack obama who just absolutely cratered from mcconnell, you want to run against obama and there's this other womaning running for senate and don't pay attention to her. we all know who she's really friends with. that's what they're trying to do. it's hard to knock down alison grimes. knocking down barack obama, job is mostly done for him. >> all right. thank you for your insight this morning. i really appreciate it. still to come in the "newsroom," another day and another recall for general
motors. this time two chevrolets made overseas. >> reporter: the recall tally is growing for general motors and growing quickly. one of the world's biggest automakers reporting another safety issue. what you need to know coming up. how much protein does your dog food have? 18 percent? 20? purina one true instinct has 30. active dogs crave nutrient-dense food. so we made purina one true instinct. learn more at purinaone.com so when my moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis them. was also on display, i'd had it. i finally had a serious talk with my dermatologist. this time, he prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin by actually working inside my body. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority of people
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the was a truly amazing day. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today at angieslist.com more bad news -- let me tell you about president obama. he's going to make a statement on the controversy swirling around va hospitals around the country at 10:45 eastern time. he's been meeting with va secretary eric shinseki. a lot of republicans are calling for shinseki's ouster because of these wait lists.
secret wait lists at va hospitals across the country. supposedly patients waited so long for care that some of them died. the president will come out and make a statement on this controversy at 10:45 eastern time. in other news this morning, more bad news for gm owners as we learn details of two more chevrolets now being recalled. the 2004 through 2008 chevrolet avio. they have a headlamp module that could overheat and cause a fire. 218,000 cars are now being recalled. gm says no one has been hurt in the fires. both cars were made in korea and imported to the united states. alison kosik is at the new york stocks exchange and we have the correspondent for "cnn money." tell us about this latest recall. it's insane the number of cars recalled for gm so far within the last couple of months.
>> two out of three days this week to be specific just for this week. yesterday it was 2.4 million cars and trucks. today another 218,000 for what you talked about. so the recall tally is growing and growing very quickly. gm recalled so far this year more than 15 million cars and trucks. that's just in five months. what we're seeing here is an uber cautious company that started with the recall in february for faulty ignition switches which 13 deaths are linked to. there was testimony about what gm knew and why it kept quiet about it for a decade. what you're seeing is gm going back and looking at every little problem. recalling even if it's a seemingly small problem like windshield wipers not working because gm doesn't want a repeat. one thing that's getting lost as we report all of these recalls is what's the accountability here for the government? talking specifically about the national highway traffic safety
administration. the actual group that is in charge of insuring the safety of the automobiles that are on our roads. they reportedly were looking into related problems of these recalls since way back in 2007. why didn't the government say anything back then either? carol? >> so many disturbing questions. h peter, if i own a gm car, i'm worried at this point. >> i can understand you might be. as she said, we need to keep in mind what gm is doing now is since they are under the m magnifying glass, they are going through every file they have and doing a recall for every single thing that potentially could be a recall. they are trying to clean house here. we don't really know what might happen if other manufacturers did the same thing. what if toyota or ford or chrysler did this also. we don't know what the results would be there. almost certainly we see a recall bubble. we could see a lot of recalls from that one company at one
time. that's what's going on here. you kind of need to keep that in mind. >> it's disturbing there are so many kinds of cars that gm is recalling. it's not just one. >> one thing you need to keep in mind is most recalls start with a parts supplier. they start with an automotive part. as in that ignition switch recall, it was one part from one supplier made in one factory that went into multiple different cars. when you're dealing with a company like gm operating on the scale that gm does, you'll often have recalls like this of two different cars but the same part. >> all right. we'll continue to follow these recalls. i'm sure there will be more developments today sadly. alison kosik, peter, thanks so much. still to come in the "newsroom," can i buy a vowel, pat? the host of "wheel of fortune" sparking a firestorm. we'll talk about that next.
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that statement so ridiculous and easy to laugh off but we can't because powerful politicians like marco rubio say, "i don't believe human activity is causing changes to our environment the way scientists are portraying it and laws won't do anything about it except destroy our economy. religious leaders are battling climb change deniers or moral grounds. one group is asking florida's governor to come up with a climate change plan for the state. welcome to you both. >> thank you much. >> reverend, can't we say it like it is. climate change deniers aren't listening to scientists. they are denying global warming for purely political reasons, right? >> they may be. that's one of the problems in
america today and my job is to cross that bridge. we don't want to beat up anybody. we want to be that bridge builder that offers the love of christ to realize the serious impact and nature of climate change. it will take all of america to come together to battle it. that's why comments of mr. sajak yesterday even in sarcasm were hurt hurtful. i want to pray and lift him up. we need to turn to following the god i know best in christ in his love in leading us out of climate change. >> tell me why you think scientists are right, reverend. >> i think just have to look at the world around you. i often tell the story of my 87-year-old dad a former coal miner in pennsylvania sitting at his kitchen table a little while ago he said all you have to do is look outside. the world is changing. and we need to do something about it before it's too late. i think many americans are seeing that right now. the world is changing.
we have to act. >> all right. on the purely scientific route, father, there's a 97% consensus among scientific experts that humans are causing global warming. pope francis says we have a moral responsibility to take care of the planet. you say if we don't, we're sinners. is that right? >> well, i don't say it. the church has indicated this is a moral issue and just today talk about breaking news, just today pope francis at his general audience in rome said this. if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us. never forget this. the church for a long time now has been talking about climate change as a moral issue. john paul ii way back in 1990 was talking about it. benedict followed. we know that benedict even said it's a sin against the commandments to be a polluter against the environment. and so we have to see the earth
as we're stewards of creation. this is god's gift to us. if you abuse it, you're really maligning that gift. >> you know, it's easy to blow off comments like pat sajak's tweet but tweets like that resonate among some people. what would you like to say to pat sajak? >> what's interesting to me is how you link the two. the argument could be made that it is more racist to deny climate change because those being affected by it are the poor, the global poor are affected most by climate change, not the rich who can afford air conditioning and can get around the effects of climate change. >> thank you so much for both being here. i appreciate it. >> you're welcome. we are just minutes away from president obama. he's expected to speak about the va scandal after meeting with va secretary shinseki. you can watch it live right here on cnn.
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♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ checking top stories for you at 34 minutes past the hour. we're minutes away from hearing from president obama on the veterans administration scandal. the president's remarks will follow his meeting this hour with va secretary eric shinseki. shinseki is under fire over cooked books surrounding care failures at va hospitals. eight former players are now suing the national football league claiming the league put profit over their health. the players say they were given huge amounts of painkillers during their careers so they could continue playing while
hurt and they were never told about the side effects or risks associated with those pills. no comment yet from the nfl. a scary sight in suburban minneapolis. a school bus catches fire. take a look at that. the driver was able to exit safely. investigators believe the fire may have started in the engine compartment. a nationwide recall now in effect for nearly 2 million pounds of ground beef that could be infected with the dangerous e. coli bacteria. federal officials say the recall now includes restaurants and distributors around the country. they're recalling 1.8 million pounds of ground beef. that's a lot of beef. cnn's dr. sanjay gupta is tracking it. >> it is a lot of beef. >> makes me sick to think about it. >> it's interesting. the one good thing in this is this happened pretty fast. seems like sometimes it's been weeks tracking these food outbreaks. may 12th is when they identified the first person who became ill
from this e. coli and by may 19th a recall was in place. it did work quickly. four states identified sick people. we have a map showing roughly an idea of where in country they first started focusing their efforts. as you point out, it's shifted now to the country. part of the reason is distribution centers. they're not going to these individual retail stores or restaurants. they go to big distribution centers and centers of the country and then it goes from there. they thought it was just restaurants but it could be on store shelves as well. >> the most disturbing part is they don't know which restaurants. >> that's the challenge with tracking these things. you track backwards with patients but now you see it going forward. where does all this food eventually end up and do you have middle men selling it to other people and retailers? it's difficult to trace. there is a lot number with this particular beef. i think we have the lot number. you put it up. you see it there. if you have ground beef in your
refrigerato refrigerator. look for that. if it says that, throw it away. don't think you can cook it away. throw that particular beef away. >> i'm sure the restaurants will be looking. i'm not going to be eating -- i'm just not going eat hamburger in a restaurant in those four states affected. >> when things like this happen, it automatically they do the recall. you're not going to have that stuff on shelves or in restaurants because of a shelf life to it. it does raise concerns and a level of scrutiny that maybe some of that is deserved. that's why i point out that in this case it did seem to work fast. it happened. that's obviously bad news. they're getting better at tracking this sort of thing. >> dr. sanjay gupta, thanks so much. as i told you earlier, president obama speaks in just minutes about the va scandal. this comes after a meeting with va secretary shinseki. we'll bring the president's comments to you live right here on cnn in just about ten minutes.
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in just about five minutes president obama will speak on the va hospital controversy so i'll hand it over to my colleagues in washington. jake tapper is here. jake, take it away. >> reporter: that's right. as you just said we're waiting for president obama to speak. he's just wrapped up a meeting with veterans affairs department secretary eric shinseki who is under fire following reports that some va hospitals had been cooking the books, hiding wait times as long as two years for some veterans and also the number of patients may have died while waiting for medical treatment. that information revealed here on cnn. we're following the story with white house correspondent michelle kosinski and gloria borger. there's breaking news we just
learned about the head of the phoenix veterans affairs hospital, the director. she's been put on leave following this controversy following cnn's drew griffin's report but we have breaking news about her. what is that? >> she received a bonus. just got this bonus of more than $8,000 and got a bonus the prior year. this just compounds the embarrassment in the light of months after that she's put on leave along with others at this same hospital. the same place where more than 40 veterans it's been said have died while awaiting care. we don't know what was the causality there but that's really been the ground zero for this story where it all started coming to light. it compounds the embarrassment. the administration has repeatedly stood behind shinseki and repeatedly talked about his achievements so to hear the people at the center of this scandal was getting bonuses two
years in a row, it doesn't look good. it's just more fodder for people to jump on this saying why has this been going on so long since the administration knew about the problems, the va knew about these exact type of problems for so long. makes it much harder to say there was a coverup at some level. we didn't really know the extent of it. the whys just keep growing by the gray as the scandal expands. >> we have drew griffin on the phone from phoenix. he's live. sorry. not on the phone. the reporter that broke this story three weeks ago about the phoenix veterans affairs hospital. drew, the whistle-blower you spoke with, the doctor sam foot, he said that at least 40 patients died while waiting for treatment. tell us your reaction to the news that the director of the phoenix va received a bonus last
month. this is of course in addition to money she received as a bonus in 2013. >> reporter: it just adds to the outrage in phoenix and across the country. this was the same month that these allegations broke. this is april. in that same month, she gets an $8,493 bonus at the same time the office of inspector general is out here in phoenix trying to determine if quite frankly sharon hellman and others at the hospital were trying to destroy evidence. that's a very strong allegation, which is why she may have been removed and placed on administrative leave. it's a fact that administrators in that hospital tried to hide that information just before oig investigators were coming out here and now we learn the va is
handing out bonuses to this person at the same time allegations are being made. i don't know what the explanation is because we haven't had a direct communication with the va brass back in washington. it's confusion at the least and outrage at the first. >> we're waiting for president obama who will deliver remarks about the va hospital scandal after a meeting with the current va department secretary. president obama meeting with. i want to go to gloria borger. there are hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers that tend to veterans who are honorable and work for low wages and do their best to help our nation's heroes. it does seem some problem when it comes to the system and when
it comes to accountability for administrators. we hear this news breaking right now that director of the phoenix va which is beleaguered and she got this bonus from the va. this comes on the heels of other stories of other administrators at va hospitals around the country who had spotty reputations and who had accusations of misconduct at their hospitals who also received bonuses. how does this -- how does president obama address this in this scandal? >> you know, this is a real problem for him, jake. as you know, the president has been speaking about the va and how he needed to build what he called a 21st century va since he began running for president in 2007. it's been a huge issue for him. it's been very important to him. it's been very important to mrs. obama, to dr. jill biden, the vice president's wife.
they put these issues taking care of our veterans front and center. and so i think this is a very difficult issue for him and it also goes to the core of his presidency in another way, jake. that is that this is a president who has been talking about how government can be reformed and it can work well for you. republicans say he's a big government president. if you look at the rollout of health care reform which was another governmental solution on health care, that got botched. questions about what the president knew on irs controversy. this seems to just sort of be one more layer that he has to peel away when he is trying to defend government as something that can actually work well on behalf of all american citizens and it's been a problem for him throughout his presidency. i think this particular issue with the va, jake, is really very personal for him.
>> michelle kosinski at the white house. one of the reasons we were told president obama picked retired general eric shinseki to become the secretary of the department of veteran affairs is in addition to his managerial experience as former chief of staff of the army, this was somebody who had been a truth teller. he was marginalized during the bush administration for testifying before congress that it would take several hundred thousand troops to occupy iraq after the invasion. this was a month before the invasion. and then secretary of defense donald rumsfeld marginalized general shinseki. here we have a situation where it's unclear whether shinseki was fully aware of what was going on in terms of all of the problems and whether president obama himself was fully aware. >> reporter: the president mentioned these problems in a campaign speech before he became president.
we know now through all of this reporting that his transition team was made aware directly by the va about these problems. so some of the responses that the white house have been giving added to the problem. you don't want to laud the achievements of eric shinseki. they've added to resources and services available to veterans. yes, there have been achievements made in the running of the va through this administration but you're not going to say that while this is going on. you're going to want to be on the leading edge of being a part of rooting out this problem. if you knew for many years what exactly these problems were, the va spelled this out themselves in a 2010 memo made public just this week. you don't want to be saying, well, we're making progress overall. you want to get out and say we're going to look for that specific problem and make sure that doesn't happen. the questions have been why was it allowed to go on for so long
and why did it come out in the press? some of the other responses given, not even being able to clarify whether the stepping down of this undersecretary of the va last week was it a firing or was it just a retirement in light of events? it came out that he was scheduled to retire any way. answers and there have been f - repeated calls for shinseki to resign as well as repeated calls for the president to address this issue to the public and press directly. both of those things could happen today. it could be a chance for the president to put more specifics on the problem to try now after the fact to get out in front of it. say here's a time line. here's what i want to see done or maybe it is a chance to simply for the president to say that he is mad as hell as the white house has described him and as shinseki said that he himself was, jake. >> i want to bring in former special assistant to the va.
also senior foreign affairs adviser for the group concerned veterans for america. thank you for joining us. what do you and your organization want to hear from president obama today? >> well, what we want to hear is that the va will be accountable. and truthfully although i'm the last person normally to want shinseki to be fired, he's just not done anything. he's just -- i talked to veterans and staff at the va facilities and he's the ghost secretary. no one hears from him. no one talks to him. he sets the tone. the tone he's set is being part of the problem and not part of the answer. he needs to go. i hope the president will say that. i also hope the president will support in congress the va management accountability act being voted on today which will give a secretary whether shinseki or any secretary the ability to actually fire these incompetent destructive career
employees that are bad apples ruining it for good employees. >> to play devil's advocate for one second, those that defend general shinseki would argue the wait time problem, the backlog, those have been reduced. i want to ask you, you worked for the va in the previous administration. a lot of these problems were taking place then as well in terms of long wait times and in terms of patients not being able to get the care they needed when they needed. what was it -- how was it treated during the bush years when you were at the va? >> well, my experience is that the problem wasn't as bad. i was there during the transition with the obama team and my office transitioned and we were given explicit orders from president bush to put everything on the table, good, bad and ugly and everything going on and everything that needed to be fixed and that's come out that they did that in the transition. when you're a lame duck, there's
only certain things in the va bureaucracy freezes up because they wait for the next group. these problems are systemic. they go across administrations. that's why the va needs fundamental reform. what happened -- i read the memo. this should have stopped. i mean, in 2010, the nine-page memo came out. cease and desist order to all directors to all of the medical center directors and told them what the problems were and told them to stop it and they didn't do it. they just let it go. that for me shows that they didn't care or didn't know what to do and that shows a level of incompetence. it's more than shinseki. it's an epidemic failure of leadership in the va that needs to be rooted out and fixed. >> stay with us. i want to go to the phone. we have chairman jeff miller, congressman, republican from florida. congressman, thanks for joining
us. what do you hear from president obama today? >> i want to hear him take responsibility and say they're going to restore accountability and transparency within the department and what we're finding now is every rock that we turn over, we are finding that there is a problem just 30 minutes ago i finally got confirmation from the central office that the phoenix director received an $8,500 bonus last month while there was an open ig investigation into phoenix and they're trying to say it was a low level person made an administrative error that resulted in payment to the director. this has got to stop. >> what are the biggest problems? how does one solve the problem that the va poses right now? obviously these are systemic problems. there are as i'm sure you said before, i've said earlier today, hundreds of thousands of employees of the veterans
administration hospitals, more than 300,000, most of them are good people doing the best work they can for not great wages. what is the problem? how would you attack it? >> the most important thing is for the department to be able to use the very things that congress has provided them and that is the authority to go outside of the system to provide the healthcare for veterans when they need it and where they need it. they will not use fee basis care in a timely fashion and unfortunately it's causing harm to the veteran community. the phoenix hospital says that they feed out $8 million worth of care last year for the veterans in that area and that's a good thing. they look at it as a bad thing because they say that they took an $8 million hit to their budget instead of saying we provided $8 million worth of care for the veterans. >> when the new policy was instituted last year, sir, to
make it so any new veteran seeking medical care would have to get an appointment within 14 days. there were people sounding an alarm saying the va system is not prepared and cannot meet that requirement and now we hear stories of these fake lists so that the fact people could not get health care within 14 days was hidden from the va, from the federal government. was it a mistake for them to institute that new policy? >> it probably was. if you set the metric that you have to meet, folks will find a way to manipulate the numbers to make their numbers look good. nothing wrong with saying we can't do it in 14 days. we have to have 21 days. people want to be told the truth and not lied to as they have been over and over again. we're finding it now in hospitals all across the country. it's not acceptable to the veterans that they're supposed to serve. >> congressman, i noticed that
you said we're getting two-minute warning for anyone wonder why someone is putting up bunny ears on the camera. two-minute warning for president obama to come out and address this va scandal. i noticed when i asked you what you wanted president obama say, you want him to take responsibility and institute accountability. you did not call for resignation of general shinseki. why not? >> i've always said we have to wait until we have the final product as far as the investigation into phoenix. but this problem is more than just secretary shinseki and once secretary shinseki leaves, you take away the situation that has applied pressure to the department. you give somebody then a six or year-long grace period to try to get things fixed and the secretary needs -- if he's mad as hell, he needs to show it. >> in other words, you think keeping him onboard might actually be the best thing in this situation because now he has something to prove and he
doesn't have to learn his way around the neighborhood. >> what i'm saying is that i don't believe the problem is totally the secretary. i do know that they will not deliver him bad news he needs in order to make an appropriate decision. it's much deeper than the secretary but i have always said let's wait until the investigation comes out and we know exactly what happened in phoenix. we're having to get it drips and drabs. they are way behind the curve and it's harmed veterans. >> how has your committee found getting information from the va when you sought information about whether it's the situation in phoenix or the outbreak of -- here's president obama right now. let's take it live. >> good morning, everybody. i just met with secretary shinseki and rob nabers who i temporarily assigned to work with secretary shinseki and the va. we focused on two issues. the allegations of misconduct at
veterans affairs facilities and our broader mission of caring for our veterans and their families. as commander in chief, i have the honor of standing with our men and women in uniform at every step of their service. from the moment they take their oath to when our troops prepare to deploy to afghanistan where they put their lives on the line for our security to their bedside as our wounded warriors fight to recover from terrible injuries. the most searing moments of my presidency have been going to walter reed or bethesda or bagram and meeting troops who have left a part of themselves on the battlefield and their spirit and their determination to recover and often to serve again is always an inspiration. so these men and women and their families are the best that are
country has to offer. they've done their duty and they ask nothing more than than that this country does ours. we uphold our sacred trust to all who have served. so when i hear allegations of misconduct, any misconduct, whether it's allegations of va staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, i will not stand for it. not as commander in chief but also not as an american. none of us should. so if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable. it is disgraceful. and i will not tolerate it. period. here's what i discussed with secretary shinseki this morning. first, anybody found to have manipulated
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