tv CNN Tonight with Don Lemon CNN August 4, 2020 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
time for cnn tonight with laura coates. it is what it is. that's an upgrade for d. lemon. >> it is what it is. that phrase is going to haunt me forever. it's so cavalier, chris. do you know what's not cavalier? i love your closing, the life lessons we're giving. i'm wearing my flowers for you. i feel like you have to have your flowers while you can still see them. >> that's good. thank you very much. i applaud the president for saying it is what it is. he happens to be right. his problem is that it is what it is means that it is a pandemic, it is real. it's not a hoax. it's not going to magically disappear and he's not doing a damn thing about it. he's not even talking the right talk in terms of you are what do
you. if that's the measure for him, he's in trouble. he is the sum total of his inaction in the face of a crisis the likes of which we've never seen a president run away from. >> it's not just him, his sum total. it's all of us out here. it's one thing if you want to act the way you want to act on your own time, on your own peril, all those things. but i'm telling you, if your actions start to infiltrate in my life and undermine the things we want to do and make it harder for people to breathe, to live, let alone to thrive, it's more than just about you doing you. that's what it really is. it's about not understanding fundamentally that his actions have a ripple effect. his words have meaning. i mean, his platform is there. it is ubiquitous. and everyone has to be able to trust the president of the united states. you see what happens when you can't. >> you're telling me. we've got pain coming our way. we're both parents.
we both have kids in the school game. there's going to be some ugliness. one, anybody who has money will start playing this pod game where they'll start having these groups of kids together that they'll pay -- parent also pay for a teacher to augment all this stupid zoom stuff we're going to do and there's going to be exclusion. there's going to be fights among communities and they're going to be entrenched in inequalities all because we can't get the testing together. >> i've got news to you, chris, there's not going to be inequality. there has been inequality. >> true. >> any return to normalcy can't be a return to status quo. we have to talkg forward, about places that don't have broadband, let alone being able to use zoom. we're all in the same boat and our kids have to come first. >> that's right. >> thank you. >> laura coates, i'll be watching. >> thank you. this is "cnn tonight." i'm laura coates in for don lemon. tonight, the united states is approaching a staggering figure. nearly 4.8 million confirmed
cases of coronavirus. and shortly, we'll pass the even more grim milestone of 5 million cases. again today, more than 1,000 americans died from covid-19. so the last thing anyone in this country should have to hear is the sound of the president throwing in the towel. listen, and you will hear it. it is what it is. >> the question, mr. president is by june, we knew things were bad. and, you know, the last time i was with you was the day before your tulsa rally in the oval and, you know, you were saying big, huge crowd, it was indoors. >> by the way -- >> these people -- >> that speech was the highest rated speech in the history of fox television on saturday night, and nobody says that. >> i think you misunderstand me. i'm not criticizing your ability to draw a crowd.
are you kidding me? i've covered you for five years. you draw massive crowds. >> i have another one. i canceled it. i had a great crowd in new hampshire and canceled it for the same reason. >> i've covered you for a long time. i've gone to your rallies. i've talked to your people. they love you. they listen to every word you say. they hang on every word. they don't listen to me, the media or fauci. they think we're fake news. they want to get advice from you. when you say everything is under control and don't worry about wearing masks, many of these people are older people, mr. president. >> yeah. >> it's giving them a false sense of security. >> right now it's under security. >>n that we aren't doing everything we can. it's under control as much as you can control it. this is a horrible plague that beset us. >> you really think this is as much as we can control? 1,000 deaths a day? >> i would like to know -- first of all, we have done a great
job. >> did you happen to hear him say what's your definition of control before he talked about it is what it is? there's so much more we could have done to control this, by any definition. this did not have to happen. it doesn't have to keep happening. but the president always needs to blame someone or something, and today he blamed the soaring numbers on new york and new jersey. >> a lot of our numbers were based on new york had a very tough time, as you know. new york, new jersey, that area. when you take them out, just as an example, take a look at florida relative to new york. that's not to say anything wrong with new york. it's just a very tough place. people are close together. it's crowded. it's not easy. but when you take that out, our numbers are among the lowest and even with it in -- i will get back to you, but we have among the lowest numbers. they've done a fantastic job. >> it's not the first time he has tried to cook the covid
books. remember, it was just last week he tried to claim we're virtually corona free except for the three biggest states in the entire country. >> it's corona free, but we are watching very carefully california, arizona, texas, and most of florida. it's starting to head down in the right direction. and i think you'll see it rapidly head down very soon. >> oh, so we're good? except for new york, and new jersey, and california, and texas, and florida, and arizona. except for, you know, all the other states. and except for the almost 157,000 dead americans. and while we're talking about florida, the president doing a complete reversal about mail-in
voting. now supporting it but only for one state, only for florida whe where, i might add, the president himself votes by mail. but in blue states he still falsely claims that voting by mail is riddled with fraud, which, of course, it's not. >> florida has a great republican governor and had a great republican governor, rick scott, ron desantis. they've been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. florida is different from other state states. the post office cannot be prepared. >> that's a new ben stiller movie, there's just something about florida, apparently. we'll talk more about that dubious claim ahead tonight. but right now i want to bring in dr. jonathan reiner, doctor of the cardiac cathnguyen.
the president says it is what it is. as a doctor, what went through your mind when you heard the president's reaction to all of these deaths, all the surge in cases that just, it is what it is? >> i can't imagine it, because i was thinking about if i'm a physician and treating a patient, and this patient was telling me about their painsayi what it is? because that's what's happening to our country right now. our country is in the middle of a public health catastrophe, and we need to hear acknowledgement from the leader of our country. first, that this is a major problem and, second, we are not powerless here. there are actually things that we can do to turn the tide. there are things that other countries have done. there are things that our states
individually have been able to do in the new york region, for example, to suppress the level of covid-19 infections. and then i wanted to hear a rally, a call to action, because we can do this. we need to do this, because this is about people's lives. >> you didn't hear that. you heard crickets, saying it is what it is. right? dr. reiner, i want to play another moment from the president's interview with axios. watch this. >> we're lower than the world. >> lower than the world? what's that mean? >> we're lower than europe. >> in what? in what? >> take a look. right here. here is case death. >> oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. i'm talking about death as a proportion of population. that's where the u.s. is really bad. much worse than south korea, germany, et cetera. >> you can't do that. >> why can't i do that? >> you have to go by -- you have to go by where -- look. here is the united states. you have to go by the cases. >> he seems befuddled, shuffling
pages. one i think was actually blank there, dr. reiner, pointing to a graph that's been given to him by staff. we're talking about death by proportion versus percentages. is it possible that he still does not understand truly, dr. reiner, where we are with this virus after so many months and so many deaths? >> i think it's entirely likely that he does not have a grasp on what is happening in this country with this virus. and the truth is that this country leads the world in deaths, as it's widely reported. we have 4% of the world's population. about a quarter of the world's deaths from covid-19. the president was try iing to tout, i guess, the case fatality rate, which is basically the likelihood that an individual who acquires the virus will die from it. and it's impossible really to know what that number is.
we don't know what the denominator is. we don't know how many people in this country have actually acquired the virus. we only know what the tests show. when you look at the number of people in this country who have died from the virus, and you look at it on a per capita basis, it's 480 people per million population. compare that to germany, where the death rate is about 110 per million or israel where it's about 60, or japan where it's 8. so, we're nowhere near the top of the world in terms of our mortality rate. and as i like to say, any successes that we've had in lowering the case fatality rate have come at the great expense and risk, blood and sweat of our front line health care workers, nurses, doctors and staff members in the hospital. they get full credit for lowering the mortality rate on an individual basis in this
country. >> well, that wasn't on any of the papers he was shuffling around. >> no. >> probably it should have been. dr. nguyen, at the briefing today, president trump tried to blame new york and new jersey, the state you just talked about, for the high numbers. when the virus has taken off across the entire country, by the way, including red states. are we far beyond where the virus first took hold? are we past that part of the discussion? >> well, we are definitely in a much worse place, laura, than we were back in march or april. at that time, we had one major epicenter in the new york region and there were other outbreak, epidemic areas in california, in washington, but now it is all over the country. i mean, we are seeing more than 30 states now that have rising test positivity rates, which means that we're not even getting a grasp on how big this problem is. we are seeing that there are some states that have done okay, that are now plateauing, but they're plateauing at a very high level of infection.
we're still having 1,000 deaths per day, which means in three months at this rate, we'll have 100,000 more deaths. there are epicenters now all over the country and it's time for us to take dramatic action. we need a national strategy. piecemeal approach where each state is doing its own thing is not working. we need to be limiting indoor gathering gatherings, avoiding crowds. we, by this point, know what works. other countries have done it. it's not like they have a secret vaccine or treatment that we don't have access to. we know how to do it, too. it's just a matter of political wi will. >> every time i hear that number, 1,000 a day, i think about my college and how my class size was about 1,000. to think that every single day another entire class is gone. every single day, the next class is gone. it's unbelievable to think about that number. dr. reiner, the president tweeted out he met with the coronavirus task force in the oval office, talking about it today. here is a photo of it. he's pushing out these photos.
it feels like groundhog's day to people, and every day may feel the same as we're working from home. the president has not attended a meeting since april. we are now in august. it's a full three months, and tens of thousands more americans have died between those dates. why is he only now attending these meetings? >> because his advisers are telling him that unlike an election in the '90s, where it was the economy, stupid, this election is the pandemic, stupid. and the president bet on the economy this spring against the country, by ignoring the pandemic. and now all his advisers are telling him that the one issue the voters are going to look at is the pandemic. so now he has to be the pandemic president. we're 155,000 deaths down the road.
1,000 deaths per day. the one thing about that photo that bothered me is that very few people in the room were wearing face masks. i still don't get that. >> no one gets it. i don't understand the complexity, the real difficulty in putting something over your face. i keep thinking about it like a life preserver. i'm asking you to put it on. i'm trying to save your life. you don't want to do it. it could drag everyone under with you when you don't do so. it's frustrating. dr. nguyen, the president says the virus is under control as much as you can control it. you keep saying there are things we could do, there's so much more that could have been done. is there hope? are there things that can still be done? numbers are going up, we're late in the game. what can we still do to try to stop this, to arrest this? >> i'm glad you're focusing on this because i do think that we're really late to the game. there's a lot that we could have done. hindsight is 20/20. we need to move forward and
there are things that we, as a country, can do now. we can ramp up testing dramatically. we can improve our public infrastructure and, very importantly, universal mask wearing and limiting these indoor gatherings. there is a chance for us to suppress the virus, like other countries have done. we can get our kids back to school. we can get back to work and get our economy back on track. we have to do the hard things and make the investments now. >> i need your optimism combined with the expertise of science and we can get this done. thank you both for being here and sharing with us your insight as always. appreciate it. you know, some states are now working together to fix the federal failure. we'll tell you about the deal they've made to improve testing. and what other plans public health officials say need to get done. that's up next. if you're 55 and up, t- mobile has a plan built just for you. we want you to get the value and service you need to stay connected.
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president trump said it is what it is, when pushed on the fact that about 1,000 americans are dying every day from the coronavirus. the president also trying to boast that u.s. coronavirus testing has been incredible. despite many people waiting multiple days or even more than a week for results. joining me now, dr. mark mcclellan, former fda commissioner and andy slavid, former acting director for medicare and medicaid services. andy, let me begin with you. not just because you happen to be in my home state of minnesota. but we're going there anyway. between the briefing tonight and what we see in this axios interview, this is going to be a difficult day for all the people who are trying to take a public health approach to this crisis, right? >> well, you know, i think what's happening today is that
increasing lly he has been toldy his staff that this is an untenable situation. the fact that they're producing charts and graphs with different ratios to try to put in front of america isn't exactly the kind of response we're hoping for. i think mark, i and others have been pushing for just some very specific tests, very specific steps, making sure we have enough testing, enough contact tracing. getting it down to the level where we have small amounts of case growth so we can start school, so we can go back to work. the country wants to get moving again and i think the president right now is being an impediment. >> whoever said charts could cure everything, no one, ever. dr. mcclellan, seven governors have signed a deal with the rockefeller foundation to help develop their own testing strategy. have the states been left with no choice in the face of the federal government failing? >> well, i think there are more steps that states can take, not
only to increase testing, but to get the right test for the right purposes, laura. much of the testing going on today is to help prevent the spread of outbreaks, not just by testing people who have symptoms and outbreaks of cases but in high-risk settings, like nursing homes or front line workers. we need more tests for those individuals. what the states are specifically pushing for here is more purchases of tests that can be used at the point of care, can get quick results out there. not just for people who have symptoms but to help go more on the offense of preventing the spread in situations where there is a high risk of outbreaks from people who are not showing any symptoms. >> and, of course, we want to think about being proactive, right? the idea of being so reactive, and reflexive, you're not going to get ahead of this. you have to do the things you're talking about. the president is pushing for schools to reopen, andy, and we're starting to see cases
plateau. if you look at this graph here, we're starting to see cases plateau in this country. could we see another big surge if schools don't approach this in the right way? >> the president is calling for every school in every district of the country to reopen in person, regardless of the data. certainly there are parts of the country where schools can probably open safely and even there, i would urge the school districts to make sure there's enough testing in place, make sure there aren't outbreaks. we've got a lot to be concerned about in states where there are cases. children can be quite efficient spreaders and quite efficient in terms of getting a full viral load. the president is quite aware of this, and yet he's not been willing to say these ought to be local decisions. and i think they ought to be. >> i mean, anyone who has ever had kids, i joke around with my own kids that in daycare they
were walking petrie dishes. everyone around them was sick and we were getting sick because of them. it's not a shock that children could be carriers. dr. mcclellan, there's positive news on vaccine development, but how can people feel assured that this vaccine is going to be safe? i mean, you've got this very critical process that is not being politicized. people want to be able to have the vaccine. but can they feel secure given the speedence oftrying to get it out? >> staff at the fda and professionals who are committed to do the right thing have written very clear guidance about what they expect vaccines to show before they're approved. fda, working with industry and others, have taken steps to provide not only a clear path to doing clinical trials but also to work on getting manufacturing of these vaccines done ahead of
actually finishing the trials. doesn't mean we'll use it. it just means there will be a lot less wait for people to get a vaccine if it works. all that said, it is really important for fda and the public health leaders who are involved in the vaccine development to be out there with some clear messages and clear communication with the public about the fact that they are really following their usual rules for vaccines. they're just doing it in a very intense, parallel way, doing things like clinical testing and manufacturing at the same time. it's going to be important to stick to that strategy to get the public confidence about vaccines up. >> we certainly do. we need that information and the confidence to match it. andy, mississippi's republican governor is pushing back the school start date for some students in the hot spot we spoke about. he has also put in place a mask mandate after having resisted using one for months. are places that didn't take this
threat seriously enough now, as you are seeing, finally starting to do so? >> i think the majority of governors of either party, whether it's in mississippi or seven governors, three of whom who are republican, four of whom who are democrat working together, i think they're finally realizing the amount of help they're going to get from the federal government isn't going to be enough. so, they are starting to do the things that slowly but surely europe and asia and other parts of the world did three to four months ago. there's no question with the mask mandate, if you close some of the major hot spots, like the bars, limit travel, if you really prevent the virus from spreading, in a few months you should be able to walk your kids to school, we should be able to vote in person. that will require real sacrifice and leadership. governors are able to pull it off state by state. new york is getting there right now. we need to do it in the rest of the country.
>> science and selflessness. thank you both for being here. appreciate your insight. thank you. it is what it is. that's what the president says about the death toll. while he is what he is. everything we learned about president trump today, up next. we live with at&t and we are well past the honeymoon phase.
only like a fraction of my customers can get that. that's it?!? you have such a glass half-empty attitude. the glass is more than half-empty! you need to relax tom. oh! tom, you need a little tom time. a little tt. stop living with at&t. xfinity delivers gig speeds to more homes than anyone. we learn aid lot about the president of the united states today all in one day. after the deaths of 156,000 americans, the president still doesn't understand that he doesn't have the virus under control. >> i think it's under control. i'll tell you what. >> how? 1,000 americans are dying a day. >> they are dying, that's true. and it is what it is, but that doesn't mean we aren't doing
everything we can. it's under control as much as you can control it. >> it is what it is. that's what you say when you don't care. that's what you say when you want to move on without giving a substantive response. it's dismissive. it's cavalier. and we are talking about the families and loved ones of more than 156,000 americans who have lost their lives under your presidential watch and you can't admit that you're not in control of this virus? well, it's cruel. it is what it is, huh? well, here's what it is. it's a president who thinks it's him against the world, a president who takes everything personally. i mean, just listen to what he says about the late civil rights giant congressman john lewis. >> he didn't come to my inauguration. he didn't come to my state of the union speeches, and that's okay. that's his right.
and, again, nobody has done more for black americans than i have. >> i understand. >> he should have come. i think he made a big mistake. >> but taking you -- >> i mean, it's really stunning that this president could claim, first of all, that he has done more for black americans than anybody, a claim, by the way, he has made before from the infamous what do you have to lose question, to claiming that he has done more than even abraham lincoln, and ignore the fact that john lewis risked his life. i mean literally risked his life, fighting for equal rights for all people, including black americans. for president trump, john lewis' entire legacy just boiled down to, well, he didn't come to my inauguration. here's what it is. a president unprepared and uninterested in the science, let alone the pronunciation of some of our greatest natural resources, even while he's
praising them. >> when young americans experience the breathtaking beautiful beaut of the grand canyon, when their eyes widen in amazing when old faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon yosemite's sequoias, they know that every american has an obligation to preserve this wondrous inheritance. >> doesn't care care how to pronounce yosemite, also a cartoon character, yosemite sam. doesn't prepare. it is what it is and members of the president's own party don't support his efforts to distract and divide us instead of uniting us. listen to what the former
secretary of state, condoleezza rice, says about the confederate monuments that the president insists, insists on defending. >> i actually don't know why anybody wants to defend the confederacy and confederate monuments. this glorification of, you know, people with military bases named after military officers who tried to destroy the country, i don't get it. >> maybe you just don't get, secretary, that it just is what it is. i mean, we so rarely hear condoleezza rice being that blunt. listen to what she says about racism in this country. >> i think that, yes, these are issues that continue from a long history with racism, and they do get built in to systems in ways that have negative impacts.
>> she's absolutely right. but who is doing the glorifying? that would be the president of the united states. it is what it is? glorifying the traitors who fought for slave ry, while refusing to admit systemic racism. dog whistling suburbanites about the stench of low-income housing and failing to contain a virus that has a disparate impact on black and brown americans. former security adviser john bolton reacting to his comments about potentially delaying the election and floating that idea. >> what message does a comment like that from the president of the united states send? >> well, i think it's another good reason to vote against him. >> like i said, we learned a lot about the president in just one
day. the question is, of course, has the president learned anything in the last four years? if not, i mean, i guess it is what it is, but it didn't have to be. up next, has the republican party learned anything from president trump? my next guest says, well, they've become him. just between us, you know what's better than mopping? anything! at the end of a long day, it's the last thing i want to do. well i switched to swiffer wet jet and its awesome. it's an all-in-one so it's ready to go when i am. the cleaning solution actually breaks down dirt and grime. and the pad absorbs it deep inside. so, it prevents streaks and haze better than my old mop.
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president trump changing his mind about voting for mail if you're a republican. stewart stevens, mitt romney campaign member and author of "it was all a lie." fascinating read of yore book as well. stewart, the president has completely flip flopped on mail-in voting after, by the way, trashing it constantly. he tweeted, look at this, encourage i encouraging people in florida to vote by mail. he explained why he changed his tune here. >> florida has got a great republican governor and it had a great republican governor. it's got ron desantis, rick scott. over a long period of time they've been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely
professionally. florida is different from other states. >> something about that sounds like a tell, stewart. what is it? >> look, you know, the irony of this is generations of republican operatives grew up working in a program for absentee ballots that republicans like to think they did better than democrats. there are states out there that are republican states, like utah, that vote entirely by mail. this is absolutely insane. what's happening is that republicans, who know they need absentee ballots, need vote by mail to win, are pressuring the president, telling him quit basically suppressing our voters. it's the weirdest thing. he's telling his own voters to be afraid of voting. >> shoot yourself in the foot, cutting off your nose to spite your face and any other litany of analogies one can make here. in your new book, stuart, you
make the case that the trump presidency is a culmination of a decades-long evolution within the gop. i want to read an excerpt from your book here. how did this happen? how do you abdomen deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? you don't. the obvious answer is that those beliefs weren't deeply held. what others and i thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans, easily replaced. i feel like the guy working for bernie madoff who thought they were actually beating the market. and we know the answer is, without him, they believe they're going to lose their seats. is that what's happening here? very strong words. >> yeah. look, the republican party has made a deal with donald trump, and they seem very comfortable with that deal. and i find it incredibly sad. you know, occasionally party
also drift away from principles, but there was a series of principles that i, and i think not a few other people in the republican party were bedrock principles, character counts, personal responsibility, strong on russia, national debt is important. fiscal sanity. free trade. legal immigration. ronald reagan announced in the st statue of liberty making everyone legal. we're a character doesn't count party, anti-immigration party. we're sort of the left of bernie sanders on trade and now character doesn't count. i've never -- it's just a complete collapse. and i think when you're inside something, it's always difficult to imagine the moment, but i don't think we've seen such a
collapse, certainly in modern american history, and very possibly in american history. >> speaking of history, you write, stuart, in your book that racism is the original sin of the modern republican party. what do you mean by that? >> well, look, 1956, eisenhower got almost 40% of the african-american vote. that dropped to 7% in 1964 with goldwater. you could have made a case goldwater was against the civil rights act. you could have made the case that african-americans in significant numbers would come back to the republican party because of commonality, cultural conservatism, role of faith in the public square, entrepreneurship, but it didn't happen. so, since 1964, the republican party has been basically marketing itself to overwhelmingly white voters. now, you know, it used to be we looked at this and we knew it was a failure. we admitted it was a failure, and we aspired to do better.
we had a lot of talk about the big 10 party. mehlman in 2005, chairman of the rnc, went to the naacp and apologized for the southern strategy nixon had to try to divide african-americans from the democratic party and maximize white votes. now we've settled into this sort of comfortableness. we don't even talk about being a big party. trump really is running like george wallace. he's out there, tweet iing abou the confederate flag. he is on the wrong side of the cultural war with nascar. it is what it is, as he would say. >> it is what it is. what it is is this fascinating book called "it was all a lie." thank you, stuart stevens. >> thank you. >> "it was all a lie:how the republican party became donald trump." [♪]
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status quo is acceptable. >> reporter: more than 156,000 deaths. >> u.s. is the fourth worst performing country in the world. we have 4% of the world's population, 25% of the world's deaths. that's unacceptable. >> reporter: new case rates steady or down in 42 states but often steady at high level. florida about to become the second state to total a half million cases during the pandemic. >> by the time we get a couple weeks into the future, going to continue to see prevalence decline, a very good thing. >> reporter: in mississippi, positivity rate higher than any other state, prompting the governor to have a mask mandate. >> we must pump the brakes in hardest hit areas. >> reporter: neighboring louisiana, governor extended several restrictions there,
including state mask mandate for another three weeks. cases may be declining but daily death tolls continue to climb. >> this is a very serious situation that our country is facing, i don't -- you don't need anybody to tell you that, just need to look at the numbers. >> reporter: despite the worrying data for the u.s. as whole, some citizens still throwing caution to the wind. another massive house party, this time a mansion in los angeles, potential coronavirus petri dish that ended in gunfire, one killed, three shot. >> we have to be conscious of everybody else, safety. >> reporter: some communities eager to start school, others concerned with the risks of sending kids and teachers back into the classrooms. >> we can make great academic conditions but talking about somebody's health, not knowing all the underlying conditions, are the types of things we
should be deciding. >> thank you for watching. our coverage continues. a lot goes through your mind. with fidelity wealth management, your dedicated adviser can give you straightforward advice and tailored recommendations. that's the clarity you get with fidelity wealth management. (combative yelling) he used to have bad breath. now, he uses a capful of therabreath fresh breath oral rinse to keep his breath smelling great, all day long.
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good evening, for days we have been pointing out that president trump, the self proclaimed war-time president has avoided mentioning the fact that more than 150,000 people have died on his watch. so far, he rarely in any detail mentions the dead. in an interview released today, the president was asked about the daily death toll, more than a thousand now americans dying a day.