tv American Perspectives CSPAN December 5, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
this one, she wrote a lot of decisions. and you can really see her mind at work. and she sat on a lot of cases. there was video of some of those cases. i think my paper did a good job to show that she turns out to be an able, boring, moderate jurist. >> i would like to go back to something that has to do with the coverage that surrounds supreme court constitutional issue, i was a member of the public advocates office in new jersey. we found an article that say fist you are going to look for certain remedies, go to state courts. what is not being covered is how important state supreme court decisions are and how
often a good state supreme court like the new jersey supreme court has the reputation in being able to structure opinions relying upon the new jersey constitution and raising issues and resolving them in ways that are different from the u.s. constitution, as you were answering to the thing about the secular religion about the supreme court, i think the general public has no idea that there is also something called the state supreme court. and the coverage for that, i would suggest, is almost zero. in new jersey i don't think the leading newspapers have a specific reporter for the new jersey supreme court. so i think the question is, as good of a job all you do, the public think there is is one court that makes all of these issues. when the massachusetts supreme court makes a decision, it is like how do they think they docked that.
i would like to hear comments about whether you can cover other courts in the way you so successfully did the supreme court. >> you know great newspapers don't have a reporter for the new jersey supreme court. great newspapers don't have a reporter for new jersey. the business is bad. there are not enough reporters. >> that is barely a joke. i completely agree. the state supreme courts do very significant work. 95% of the litigation is in this country is in the state courts. never was covered well and now it is completely hollowed out. i was talking to a federal judge who said 10 years ago i would have three reporters in my courtroom routinely. two local papers. the a.p. would be there. now every two weeks an intern
calls me up asking have you done anything news worthy. >> given those realities which are harsh and all of us up here do not approve of, i think the best hope comes not in a beat reporter way but through other directs. it is really more of a legal affairs beat or government beat or social issues. that is the best hope we have to get a broader understanding. the problem is that is not systematic. so a lot of the work of the court will fall through. if you are worried about covering these courts as institutions, there is a problem there is what i am suggesting. >> quick comment and a question.
back to the question of mystifying. it turns out that is a universal phenomenon. undemocratic insulated institutions are considerably more popular and trusted than democratic par tis pitorre ones, why one of the many institutions the one generally they are not copied by other countries, butt one that has is the constitutional review for human rights, which is very popular and spread all over the world. that, i guess, is true for daily reporting you don't make sure of that in the same way maybe that people do. but it does strike me that
jurebl reporters and particularly supreme court reporters are like regular reporters in writing books, that there are lots of books that are based on quotes and anonymous quotations. wonder if you can say something about that evolution and what it has done to people's view of the supreme court and what the experience is like getting nom nom -- >> i guess since i am the most recent book author here, one of the interesting experiences about being in a supreme court justice's chambers is noticing how rarely the phone rings. a lot of these people actually like to talk. sometimes you only have to ask.
the traditions are such that they will not talk forat tribugse by at large. i think she has gotten a little looser now that she will not be around that long. obviously a major source of mine and people who have written books are law clerks. i think i quoted a story that emily and someone wrote about how law clerks think they are a lot more important than they are, which i agree. you know, i was able to piece together my book from those
sources and the law clerks, hey. >> i have a standard jobaling they tell about the court. most supreme court reporters talk about the law as if it is alive and the justices as if they are dead. and by that a simplely mean we are really the nerdiest collective. i say that with enormous respect. this is -- these people read and they read the footnotes and blue brief and they are not really interested. for some of the reasons adam said they are not going to get a huge scoops. go through the dumpsters out back for weeks. you are not going to find the thong. it is just not thabeet.
what we tend to do, i find all of the time, is come out of argument and say did you see what happened. oh, my god. that gets us excited. a lot of us have not really gotten the scoop because it is really kind of a funny beat. so many of us are in love with the law and the constitution and the ebb and flow. >> if i can add one thing, i am a visitor to the supreme court. and when i go i always go into the press room. the supreme court has a press room which is the quietest press room in the history of journalism. i feel like a gawky adolescent because i am talking too loud. it is a very weird place.
>> they read all of the briefs. they care about the cases. i can barely tell you what it is. it is just a very strange place that i don't spend a lot of time in. >> i have a question relating to what you said about how either story one or story two might apply depending on the case. do you think that is just a function of which cases are interesting at that moment and which things are popular or is there something fundamental about a case that would make the judges decide it either in a political lines in story one or like story two?
>> he said those close cases tend to be the political ones, tend to be the ones where the courts are acting in a political audi way. those are the cases that initially arouse the most interest, and i think bring out some of the most stark i'd logical differences in the justices. just to illuminate that better, the court has an incredibly perplexing policy about when they release audio of oral arguments. it sent true that every argument is audiocast on npr, they do it just on the "important" cases. the ones that they do audiocast
the same day are affirmative action, guns, the things that make people crazy and tend to get the justices to say the most insane things. those are not the cases they should be audiocasting if they should try to get away from story one. >> they are grounded in the constitution. we are still arguing over what it means to have due process of law and liberty and equality and these phrases that are beautiful and important but open very, very open to interpretation. that is sort of the underpinning of the political element of these cases. >> the comment about the
supreme court as the final decision maker but the united states supreme court is not the final decision maker when state constitutional issues are questioned before the court there is a whole area that justice brening pointed out in 1977, the state courts. i just wanted to comment on that. talking about the mystification and the way people viewed the court and judges, i found that in my experience the disciplinary cases that the new jersey supreme court handled was interesting to see public reaction. people want to see judges that are better than we are. they are deciding these issues for us. we want them to be better.
it is a very different attitude, i think. finally i pose this as a question. you talked -- someone talked about the dinner table conversation in this country could be about supreme court decisions, but is that really true? i remember a survey a few years back where people surveyed across the country, i think some large number, 50%, did not know what the three branches of government are in this country. i think you reach out to a specialized leadership that listens and wonders how you
view that. you are not, i think, reaching the majority of the country. i may be wrong. >> we do what we can. one of my favorite days of the year is the last day of the term in late june or early july when all of the big cases come. usually they save the big cases for last. i am at my post at cnn. my job is to try to explain what they mean. at they are reading them at 10:00 and hand them to me. you know, i think journalism is, as we all know an imperfect profession and rough and ready
profession and we do our best. and i think as time passes, you know, first it is me on tv. then it is the bulldogs. then it is the first web newspaper reports. then it is, you know, at the end of the week. one of the great things, this is a difficult time for journalism, particularly traditional journalism, but it is also a fantastic time for journalism. there is more intelligent observation and analysis than there has ever been in my lifetime. i think that is great. >> anybody else? >> but i think coming from the perspective of the new jersey supreme court things may look a little different. in journalism there has been
more and more reporters covering fewer and fewer stories. there are the state courts that don't get any coverage. >> if you just decide a gay marriage case every day we would cover you. >> that is an issue i thought about quite a bit, whether under the federal constitution there should be a right to gay marriage and my question to you is twofold. basically let's say that a majority of the justices came down with the view that it was a violation of equal protection. in light of roe v. wade would it not be good for the court to duck that issue or refuse, partly out of self-defense given all of the elections
>> i have not come to the conclusion that it is a violation of equal protection. i have been curious, you have been following this yourself. you can tell me what you will do if you came to those conclusions. >> justice ginsburg said roe went too far, too fast and that roe v. wade created a backlash. when it upheld, two-thirds of
the public was on its side. when it struck down a similar scientist 18 years later, two-thirds of the public office its side then. the popular opinion is moving fast. >> and this goes back to the point that jeff made earlier about president obama and his philosophy about the court. if you see change as being made most effectively and lastingly by the legislature or the executive or some combination or by the voters in a state ballot, referendum, you want to hold the court off in these situations.
the count is moving quickly and we will not hold on to those in the same we as have with abortion and you can argue courts are about protecting individual rights. that is exact leija they are supposed to do and take these bold steps. but they don't do it very often. brown vs. board of education was a really big deal. i am not sure we would be well served as a country by that bold step right now. >> robert jackson said that the challenge of that decision was to explain in legal terms what was a political conclusion. they would have to do that in this case. >> they would have to enforce it, which the court did not do for years. >> one of the issues that lurks behind so many of the questions and so much of the discussion
today has to do with the authority of the court. in this case whether the court would endanger its own authority. perhaps we can finish up by anticipating what is going to be happening in the rest of this season. the court does have some major cases that it will be confronting. do you see it raising fundamental question" role of the court, authority and citizens united? >> i would say briefly that the public conversation about why the court didn't go all the way. why they did not pull the trigger in major, you know, one case over the other to the
voting rights act. so i think that is the carryover theme that we are struggling with. we have clearly five votes to reshape the revolution it is not happening as dramatically as one might expect. one of the themes, we will see how that plays out in the guns case and citizens and see that play out. but i think the theme to watch from my perspective is what is animating that slight, tentative, carefulness at the heart of this, you know, what should be the high water mark is something else that is going on. >> in the 1930's you had this tremendous clash between an act
visit moment in the executive and legislative branch and a conservative supreme court basically saying the judicial branch saying you can't do that and have a national recovery administration. ultimately time took care of it and roosevelt got his appointees. i think we are heading into a moment of greater government activism. we are heading into a moment where if president obama has two terms, which i think the odds favor that, he will do a lot of stuff. a lot of that stuff will get challenged in court. just to give you a specific example it is innocent front of the supreme court yet but the new fcc says we will not let
comcast send some packets of information faster than others. we will require them to treat everybody the same. but you don't have the power to do that. you just don't have the authority to do that. that is a classic example, i think, of a case where the limits of federal power will be tested in a liberal conservative way. and i think as the obama administration proceeds, we will see more of that. whether the conservative majority, really wants to challenge the obama administration on important issues, i think that is a big issue. >> so the voting rights case was the key moment last year.
on the other hand very much concerned with the reputation and the reputation of the court. trying to figure out the right way to the institutional resources and to get as much accomplished over time as he can but not at the expense of creating problems for the court in the short-term. i don't know anything in particular will happen in the short-term. and in other cases too, there is still a majority of the group that is quite conservative. >> i agree with all of that. because i think adam is right, i am the most interested in whether we have another retirement at the end of this term. not because it will change the composition of the court, because presumably it won't.
the 4-4-1 lineup will stay in place but i am interested because i think we will learn a lot about barack obama and the idea that he doesn't care about the court is true. or whether he thinks we need a line of the left on the court as a counter weight to just scalia. that is the detective story i am interested in watching next. >> thank you so much. please join me in thanking our guests.
>> senators are continuing their debate of health care through the weekend. with book tv programs resuming after the debate. watch the senate debate on health care live, gavel to gavel on c-span 2, the only network with the full debate unedited and commercial-free. to read the senate bill and the house version and watch video-on-demand, go online to c-span's health care home.
>> thank you all for being here. if you will face your name tags directly towards me, that will help me a lot. bill, down at the end. victor. thank you all very much for being here. my name is peter heart. i am from washington, d.c. this is an ongoing project for almost 10 years. it is a chance too visit with
voters and find out where things are at. we thought the end of the obama administration would be an excellent point to drop in and it also allows us to show you the annenberg center, the brand-new building which is, i think you will agree, gorgeous. thank you all for coming in. i know a lot of people are from the surrounding areas. i would like you to introduce yourself, tell me what you do and also tell me where you are from. so, welcome john. >> good evening. i am a small business consultant and part-time professor and live in pennsylvania. >> which is in the sbushes, right? >> right. >> i am a temporaryy worker for
a temporaryy agency doing office work and odds and ends and live in northeast philadelphia. >> my name is lisa. >> my name is william and do accident scene investigations. i live in camden, new jersey. >> i am patricia and i am a bartender. >> my name is bill. i am retired. i work part-time as an extra in movies and tv. >> this will just be another usual gigs that you are doing. >> we appreciate you squeezing us in on this busy period for you. thank you very much. >> i am an account representative and live in drexel hill, pennsylvania. >> ok. great. >> i am vick mcclain.
i am retired also. >> great. >> where are you from? >> new jersey. >> great. >> i am tim. i am a regional loss preservation manager from pennsylvania. >> i am an enrollment manager for a university in the area. and i live in atlanta now. pennsylvania. >> my name is sheryl. i am a stay at home mom of a very active 21 month old little boy. i was laid off in july. but when i was working, i worked for 11 years at a sales training comp and was an office manager there. >> put your name tags towards me. that is great. let me start off quickly. give me a word or phrase to describe how things are going in america today.
lisa. >> uplifting. >> stagnant. >> downward. >> troubling. better. >> uncertain. >> stable for the moment with a drawn out moan. >> improving very slowly. >> things are getting better. >> start of a recovery. >> this is really interesting to me. i have been doing this over a period of time. this is the first time i got people saying things that they see glimmers and hope out there. why do you see these glimmers
and where is the hope that you see? >> when obama became president i saw him looking for the average working person. i see him doing a lot of work. i don't expect miracles in the first year. it will take some time. but i am holding out for this to happen. that is where i feel it is uplifting. >> who else? what was your expression that you used? >> stable for the moment. just like lisa said, it is going to take some time. it is not going to happen overnight. in the industry i work in a lot of people, because they lost a lot of jobs, they are going back to school. my industry has gotten a bit better. things i guess depend on the
industry you work in, it gets better, just like myself. but i do see it slowing up a little bit when it comes to the employment piece. now we are on a hiring freeze. >> i do a lot of travel out of the country. i know the perception and image other countries have of us improved dramatically over -- since the beginning of the obama administration. >> patricia, how do you see things? >> things are pretty bleak. my husband is a carpenter. gets up, takes a shower. gets dressed, no work. no work. >> john, you were pretty down.
>> the unemployment rate will continue to rise. value of the dollar keeps going down. several of the attacks about capitalism and our american way. it is not a good scenario as far as business is concerned. the only areas that look good is government, that is where the spending is. >> pretty much the same. job situation is bleak. i don't see it improving a lot. administration is taking on so many things at one time, you know, health care, the war in afghanistan. i don't know if it would be better if they focused on one at a time and moved on to another. >> yeah. bill says the problem is that they are focusing on so many things it would be better to take on one at a time.
so, about half the group. bernadette, you did not raise your hand. >> no, i think that part of the presidency is to take on the current issues of the day. unemployment. businesses are closing. they are moving manufacturing facilities to asia and china and mexico. these people worked all of their lives in these positions and now they are done. there is nowhere to go. >> william, what are you thinking about this situation? >> i will say it is improving. the administration has to take on more than one thing at a time. took us more than eight years to get where we are. to sit back and take one issue at a time that would be really
stagnant. there is so much that we have going, you have to try one thing. if that does not work tighten it up and do something else. >> pamela, you raised your hands in terms of taking on too many things. >> obama is really trying. he is really getting in there and working to improve the situation, but it seems that there is so much that needs to be improved and worked on that he is spending so much money and time on everything that he needs. i don't know what to do. it is too much and too many things. >> let me hear from tim and sheryl. >> you know. i used the word stagnant.
the economic indicators are running flat. we are not seeing great decreases of rate increases. the dow is obviously tanked. there has been a slight recovery in the do you but we are not anywhere near where we are. unemployment will keep rising, i believe. every administration will have the same problems obama is having. it is endemic to be a world leader. but i wonder how much of what the administration is doing is -- he is aggressive. i like that. i want aggression but i also want focus, and i am not seeing it. i want focus and i am not seeing it. >> he is aggressive but you don't see the focus. >> own party with the health care, you know, i believe passed the senate by -- the house by two votes. that mean he couldn't get enough of the democrats to make it a landslide victory.
>> sheryl, where are you coming from as you listen to all of this? >> i agree. you can't just sit and fix one problem at a time. i mean if you work on health care, then jobs suffer. if you work on, you know, the foreign policy issues than what do we do about the issues at home. i think as a president it is jour job to manage those different things. you know these policy changes and making things happen doesn't happen overnight. you have to have your hand in a lot of jars or pots to get it all done. you know in my family alone i was talking to patricia, i am laid off. my dad has been laid off for over a year. >> what did he do? >> he worked for the navy.
he was laid off from that job and went to a private company for a year and a half and was laid off. my brother is laid off. my other brother, took him nine months to find work. i guess that i have a very personal connection to at least the unemployment piece of it. and i think that, you know, a lot of these issues are connected, i believe. >> patricia, what did you feel thinking about almost a year or two when president obama was inaugurated? what were your feelings? where was your head at, at that moment? >> i -- >> now you go to -- >> i do. >> new president. change firefighter administration. just tell me what you were thinking about america and sort of where things were at.
>> i felt that obama was not qualified. i think he needed a few more years in the box. i would say all for obama 2016 or 2020, definitely. i am all for it. but for now, no. i sat back and waited to see what the administration and cabinet makes a difference and see who he picked. i wanted to feel hopeful because he is a great speech deliverer. it hit the skids after that. the stock market crashed. we are like we didn't have any money in the stock market. that was preinauguration. but i studied economics in college. i know the economy but i think it is really far. i know these things follow trends. >> let me get a quick burst from everybody.
try to put yourself back to inauguration day and how you felt as president obama was taking the oath and sort of here is where my head is at. let me start with victor and i will go straight around. >> you know, i felt extremely proud for a country. of course i voted for obama. >> so you felt proud? >> yeah. because we had internationally taken such a beating over the last eight years. so we were in the toilet as far as international reputation. this was just a way of bringing us up to where i think our country falls. >> good. i am going to ask for a really quick burst. tim. >> i felt obama is smoke and mirrors, just like i felt palin was smoke and mirrors as well.
>> of course i voted for obama and i was really excited. i was like it is going to change. it is definitely happening. it is not going to happen overnight but it will definitely happen, i think. >> sheryl. >> i was very proud we were able to look past his skin color and race and unite for a common purpose. i was just very hopeful. >> john. what dufeel on inauguration day? >> that i am going to have to live with this for four years. >> pamela. >> i felt very hopeful and excited for a change for the country. >> i also health hopeful but also a relief.
pamela said we needed a changes accident -- i felt. >> william. >> i felt it was a breath of fresh air. >> patricia? >> i didn't watch it. >> but did you have a feeling in general as inauguration day came? >> bill. duvote for mccain? >> no, i voted for obama. i felt cautiously optimistic. i heard the same story from many, many presidents before. until we actually see results -- >> turn around. we are 10 months later. what are you feeling, sheryl? >> i would say pretty much the same. i think it will take more time than 10 months to really see
results. like i said before. >> it is going to take time. >> ok. here is how i feel today about where we are at and where the president is. how would you answer that? >> we are good. >> what? >> it is good. >> tim. >> i am feeling there is a very mixed bag of things that he has to do right now. he has his hands around too much. >> vick. >> cautiously optimistic. >> bernadette. >> how i do feel about his progress so far? >> what do you feel today? how do you feel about things today? >> i am disappointed. i think he has been slow moving and not exactly decisive.
>> bill? >> i would rather have congress and senate reading the bills they vote on. it is a little too soon to really evaluate what he has done because he has his hands in so many pots. tim said it best, you need focus on one or the other to get it done. i think you lose that. >> patricia. >> hopeful that things turn around. >> ok. >> william. >> i am hopeful that things will turn around also. >> lisa. >> i have hope. i am feeling a little fearful because there is so much that he hases to do that it may be overwhelming. at this moment in time i am feeling a little fearful. >> explain the fearfulness that you have. >> ok. he came out like a bolt of lightning.
i saw he was very intelligent. he could do things. however now with afghanistan and with the health care issue with the bill, i feel that he is losing votes or popularity, it is like he is losing something. i can't come up with words. >> losing something meaning what? that he is giving up this spirit or what? >> ok. what he is looking to do, i feel people are losing the interest of what he is trying to do. he is losing people as far as what is happening now with the speech tomorrow about afghanistan, with the health care bill. it is such a bill. and people are now getting a little -- myself included, fearful that can this really work. can he do it? can he pull it off. in the beginning i thought that he could pull everything off.
but he is only a human being. he is one man. our country is in such a wreck. yes, i feel he has the intelligence and the education but i think he is a human being though. >> pamela, you voted for obama. is lisa close to where you are at? >> he has a lot to do. but i think that he is doing a good job considering what he took over. and considering the mess that the country was in at the time he took over. he has a lot of work to do. but i think he is slowly improving the country, but there is still a lot of unemployment and a lot of problems. but he can't do everything overnight. >> how many would agree with what pamela said. he is doing a good job
considering what he took over and things are slowly improving? how many would agree with pamela? all of you voted for president obama last year. tell me something, how many believe that the next generation will be better off than this generation? how many of you? we have two and a half hands up. i can see the difference between this and this. ok. >> bill. >> there are too many things. i think washington politicians spend so much time attacking each other that they do less
for the people. when they are elected after their term they are planning their re-election. >> for 20 generations, america always handed the baton forward. and in most cases we have always been able to do it. you did not raise your hand when you thought that the next generation is going to be better off. the reason? >> i feel tax enslavement. i don't feel that there is the opportunity that other generations had. where is the new frontier? we need a new frontier. we need something else to make that promise in america. >> vick, you didn't raids your hand. do you have kids? >> yes, i do but fortunately
they are older and starting their own generation. >> i think our kids and grand kids, we are saddling them with a tremendous amount of debt. that will be a problem. when a lot of agenda, but i think very soon it will as we turn more and more of our revenue off to financing debt. >> i don't feel the generation will be better off. social security program. it will probably be dead within the next 30 years. cost of living is going up. people are living longer due to better medical treatment and new ideas and cures. we will have to take care of a lot of us really soon. i don't necessarily know that the younger generation will have an easy time of doing
that. >> ok. good. good insight. write down on the piece of paper what grade you would give to congress for its performance this year. what grade would you give congress. ok. anybody give them an a? b? one b. that was my highest grade in college. ok. how many c's? i have one, two, three, four c's. how many d's? four. and how many f's? two. ok. what is wrong with congress?
go ahead. >> they are dysfunctional. they don't listen to the population. they have their own agenda. they don't respond to anybody who has a different opinion. they work on things which are not important to moving us forward. they should be working on the economy. they work on health care. what is the most important thing? a nation's power is economics. everything emanates from economics. if we are not a strong country we will not have health care and defense. >> tim. what is wrong with congress? >> they are politicians. that is wrong with them. i am being serious. areareer po. a lot of the guys are people who have been in congress and that is the job they have. they had it since they were 26. they haven't worked for a real employer and faced the possibility of being fired.
they are concerned spending half their term worrying about how they will be elected again. they do it for a 40-year span. >> who else gave them a d or a low grade? bernadette. what is wrong with congress? >> they have their own self interest. that is what it is about. they have all of these people that do all of these favors for them and have their own clique. term of eight years and you are out. >> ok. bill. >> best money government can buy. there is too much money infused into everything else and it totally sways their opinions and decisions. >> is this congress any different from the previous congress? i am really mad at this congress but i was not as mad as the previous congress or this is just another group of congressional leaders and they
are no better or worse. >> they are more arrogant. >> i think less responsive than the last group. >> ok, good. >> i agree. >> lisa agrees. >> for the rest of you, same old or new or whatever else it is? ok. let me do one other thing. let me give you one of these handouts. take one and pass the rest down. just put your name up at the top. the first name is fine. everyone points fingers at someone. who do you feel is most at fault looking at these five? i talked about the democratic leadership, the democrats have not work with the republicans to form consensus because the
republicans because they acted as a block saying no. both democrats and republicans. and especial interest. who would you circle as most responsible? what dugive them, an f? yeah. in other words who is responsible? if you don't think congress is doing a good job, who do you feel is at fault? ok. how many say a, democratic leadership majority? nobody. how many say b? nobody. how many say c? one. how many say d? everybody else, right. everybody else say d. anybody say e? so, what is your message to congress? they are headed out.
what should they hear from you? what should they hear? you just said both democrats and republicans are equally to blame because they only play politicals and wor bewho will get the credit or blame. >> they need to focus on what the people want and need for survival this country. everyone has an agenda. it is what it is. however, if you are going to make the decisions for the people, than you need to make the decisions for the better. of those people. the majority of this country, the employment rate will get higher. nobody is working. you have to work on those things. you have to be mindful that these are the people that get you where you need to be or want to be in life. you need to get back to that. >> ok. others. anybody else? just tell me what you are saying when you circled d. what are you trying to tell me? anybody? >> interested in the country
>> who has something? raise your hand. what outraged you? patricia. write something. >> it is a vote they took? >> no, anything that outrained you. >> pelosi traded in her jet for a 757. >> okay. >> that's not very green. 757 uses a lot of gas. >> somebody else, give me something that outraged you. >> not having concise information on the health plan that they have, that they're working on. >> okay. >> and good. who else? >> lisa. >> same thing, health care and going -- i feel really going against obama every step of the way like tooth and nail. >> okay. >> and who else?
you have john. >> and health care because what they do is use a baseball bat on meem that don't want to vote their way. >> and give two or $3w00 million to a senator so they get the vote. that's not how you run the congress. supposed to have the interests of the country first and not buy people off. they do that a and then they do it friday night when nobody can see what they do. >> who else? william? >> and they fail to be unified on the issues. start out, that we're going to do this and try to pass that and then as they get along and random along, it is like they're at each other's throats. how can you get anything done? >> tim? >> looking at health care is one issue. i'm sure it happens every issue. they're so partial, they could care less about the country. what the -- the effects of what they do, they don't care,
they're not going to be around in 30 or 40 years. and what is the truth -- who here knows, i don't, who knows the truth about whether the health care is effective or not? the republicans say no and the democrats say yes. what is the truth? don't pull a piece of a bill and tell me this is the reason you don't vote, this is reason you vote. i want the facts and the truth. they won't give it to us. >> vick, anything to add? >> i had a variation of what john had mentioned. i think the specific instance was -- i believe it was the senator from louisiana who basically put it -- i think it was a female put her vote up for sale and -- they were doing the vote to close off the debate on the health care bill and they needed -- i think she was the 60th vote that was required for that and she wound up getting, i guess, if i was in louisiana, i would think it was a plus, but
she got several hundred million dollars directed to louisiana. just for her vote. that is -- is no good. >> okay. and -- write down one other thing on your blue piece of paper. when you think of the congress, is there a face that comes to your mind? you know. when i envision -- i mean if i were to say, if you think of the philadelphia phillies or the eagles or whatever, who sort of -- is the -- the -- the view of the person that you think of? is there anybody's face, mind -- face that comes to mind. write it down. if you don't have anyone, that's fine too. >> what you got, bill? >> that's hard.
and my first was to put satan but -- [laughter] >> so two people wrote down satan. [laughter] >> i feel embarrassed i put it down. yes. >> i wasn't sure about the spelling. >> right? >> okay. that's -- that's fascinating. i wouldn't have guessed satan would have been a major one, but this is why we do it. okay, what did you write down, cheryl? >> i couldn't really -- there wasn't a face per se, i'm almost embarrassed to say this but i wrote staunchy old white dude. >> okay. okay. and -- staunchy old white dude. >> and -- and, okay. good. who else has got -- >> pelosi and reid, dumb and dumber. >> anybody else have them? >> one, two. how many had pelosi?
and how many had reid? okay. so most everybody else, so pelosi, satan and a staunchy old white dude are the congress. anybody else have any other name that you have in here? >> ted kennedy. >> ted kennedy. >> okay. anything else. very interesting. good job. i like it. okay. that's great. one thing -- what is the one thing you like to see congress do before they go home on a recess? >> work. >> at the end -- at the end of the year? anything you like to see them do? >> advance health care. >> health care. how many want them to pass the health care bill? let me see the hands, i got one, two, three, four, five and six. so six want them to pass the health care bill. anything else anybody wants? >> work on the economy. how many say work on the
economy? yeah, a lot of people. okay. health care and the economy. great. let me turn -- and -- and do something just quickly here. and i'm going to read you a number of people's names that you probably know. and have some sort of -- of some sort of attitude about. and get you to just essentially give me a word or phrase to describe, to describe your feelings about each of these people. okay. i don't want you to tell me -- that this person is a senator, that this person -- don't describe their titles. i want a feeling. so anything that you feel about that person, so -- if i were -- i were, if i were to say madonna, you would say -- >> trashy. >> interesting.
>> rock star. >> rock star. >> okay. i'm looking and thank you so much, i needed one of those. exactly. that's right. stay with you. >> okay. >> okay. >> okay. here we go, barack obama, word or phrase? pamela? give me a feeling. >> a feeling. >> doing, doing a good job. >> give me a feeling about him? >> handsome. >> william, word or phrase? >> intelligent person. >> all right. sdroo trying. >> and showman. >> bernadette. >> reserved. >> reserved. and inspirational. >> tim. >> inexperienced. >> cheryl. >> el quent. >> and strategic. >> and john?
>> nice guy. >> and anybody else? >> compassionate. >> anybody i miss? got everybody around the table. and okay, good, hillary clinton, word or phrase. >> whack job. >> bill? >> hard to say. >> give me -- >> and whatever comes to mind. word or phrase. >> i can't think of a word for her. >> pamela. >> presidential material. >> presidential. >> strong. >> and what? >> focused. >> cheryl? >> knowledgeable. >> determined. >> determined. >> she's come a long way. >> bernadette. >> i miss anybody? >> overbearing. >> overbearing. >> overrated. >> and overrated. okay, good. and john mccain, john -- >> wishy-washy.
>> and pat trirkf tricia, john mccain. >> and what? >> and hero. >> good. and bill? >> too old. >> bernadette. >> honest. >> good, tim. >> democrat. >> and -- and spoken as a republican, right. >> and wath wadia. >> nice. >> okay. >> and cheryl. seasoned. >> and american hero. >> okay and mitch mcconnell, how many people say i know who he has? one person. one and a half, okay. and feeling? >> he's not a leader, not a leader. >> okay. bide erin. word or phrase, patricia. >> i find all vice presidents to be puppets. >> puppet. >> okay. lisa? >> shy. >> and cheryl?
joe biden. >> yeah. >> just -- >> what -- what -- >> needs to go to charm school. >> charm school. >> pamela. >> train rider. >> and tim? >> advisor. >> anybody -- >> vick? >> open mouth insert foot. >> what does he do? >> outspoken. >> outspoken. >> and that's it. >> interesting. okay, pelosi, word or phrase. quick. >> abrey bracive. >> very abrasive. >> and ego maniac. >> polarizing >> arrogant. >> i would say everything. >> i think -- i think she's -- i don't find her terribly sensitive.
i don't. >> and -- there is a positive way to express that. >> i think she's strong. >> queen bee. >> queen bee. >> and pamela. >> okay. >> lisa. and assertive. >> william. >> aggressive. >> very aggressive. >> okay. and can -- and we used whack job, so we can't go back there. >> and harry reid, how many people know harry reid? okay. say it. we got one, two, three four, five. harry reid? >> wheeler, dealer. >> politician. >> anybody else? >> balanced. >> aged politician. >> and sarah palin? word or phrase. >> whack job. >> okay. lisa. >> can't handle leadership. >> william. >> unstable. >> and patricia. >> future leader. >> and bill, immature.
>> bernadette >> ridiculous. >> tim? >> a joke. >> crazy. >> attractive. >> we're going to start and goo straight around upon michele obama. >> admirable. >> admirable. >> i love her. >> yes. >> and tim. >> first lady. >> that's position. feeling. >> she's very first lady-like. >> and vick. >> strong character. >> poised. >> i would say poised. >> and i don't know, i guess poised. she takes a good picture. >> william. >> very strong woman. >> and lisa. >> inspirational. >> inspirational. >> pamela. >> refined. >> john. >> indifferent. >> okay, good.
and -- and within the republican party is there a person john that you respect and admire? >> -- mitt romney. >> anybody else? tim, you got a -- a republican upyou respect and admire? >> mitt or keith. >> allen keith. and bernadette? >> i like john mccain. >> okay. good. >> patricia. >> i like mccain. >> anybody else among the -- the obama voters, have somebody that you admire on the republican side of the aisle. when you say, play not be my choice, but i admire this person. nobody? >> arlen specter. >> arlen specter. >> yeah. [laughter] >> i think i have to move on from there, vick. okay. and -- and -- and just one other thing.
i'm fascinated with michelle obama. those set of feelings that came out. they seemed heartfelt and strong. what is it about michelle obama that you like or admire? >> yeah. >> i think she's -- like i can relate to her. i'm a mom and have two kids. to me, she seems like just -- genuine person. she is -- she is intelligent and well educated and spoken. and i think she's puts her family first. which i admire. and i know it is probably hard to get caught up in the whole washington and being in the white house and -- but i really do she puts family first. >> okay. >> excellent. >> and lisa? >> i -- i agree with cheryl. also, very genuine. she doesn't forget the little
person. the average person, the hard working person. and -- extremely intelligent. >> and pam has? >> she reminds me a lot of jackie kennedy. >> anybody else feel she reminds you of jackie kennedy? >> i have got -- let me see the hands. >> pamela your hand sup, one, two, three, four, five, six. more than half of the group say she reminds you of jackie kennedy. why? >> because she's very refined and poised and eloquent and gracious. >> yes. >> gracious. >> and good. >> bernadette. >> she 150e789s -- seems to carry off her position in that way. it is great. and poised. she just seems to have herself together. she doesn't -- she doesn't seem flustered at anything. >> except, at -- the, the encounter in france, i think i think she was, whether they were
supposed to kiss the cheek of the president of the country, she seemed a little standoffish. i was like, that is not exactly what you're supposed to do. you're supposed to do what the romans do. that was the only time i noticed she seemed a little. >> vick? >> and i thought everybody summed it up good. >> genuine and -- poised. >> okay. all right, interesting. great. and let me -- go if i can from here. and -- and -- and ask you about the -- the major issues of the day. and -- and i'll pass out this handout. that's the easiest way to do this. >> i have about nine or 10 issues here. and -- and put your name on the top. and -- and pass it down.
>> basically what i like you to do is -- is, circle the two issues that you feel are the single most important, from your point of view. the two issues. i know all of them seem important but which one -- which one or two seem the most important as far as you're concerned. >> okay. >> everybody done. >> john, tell me one of your circles. >> unemployment. >> just let me stop there. how many put down unemployment, and sexhick recession? two, four, six, eight, and nine
of 11 people did. okay. good. and -- what did you write down in addition? >> in addition, i -- >> let met get somebody else. >> patricia, what did you have? >> mortgages and housing. >> and okay. and -- and what did you have william? >> health care. >> health care. how many had health care as number two. >> one, two, three. and okay. and who else just got something. cheryl? >> i have social issues. >> social ibs. >> how many had social issues. one. okay. good. and -- and lisa. >> i had the wars in iraq and afghanistan. >> anybody else have that? one, two, three, four, people had that. are we missing anything that somebody had. >> and budget, budget in texas. and we got three people on that. good. okay. and those are the -- principle
issues that people selected. bill, your issues? >> yeah. >> great. talk to me about the economy for a moment. and tell me -- well, i mean, can i start with cheryl, where practically herb in your family has been decimated by the economy, how many others around this table have been directly affected in a real way, in some way where you say, yeah, that's had a real effect on my -- on my, my life, my family's life, et cetera. and how many -- say, okay, we've got one, two, and obviously, three, and foreand five and six and seven. john, the effect the economy had. >> it affects my business because my clients can't pay their billings and they're small business people. they're crushed with the taxes and they're crushed with the economy. >> okay. good.
>> and pam has? >> i'm -- i'm a temporary worker, office worker, and i get jobs when i get jobs and i haven't been getting too many lately. iee -- i had a job where the office closed down, it was, an office job and it was a good job and it closed down. so, i'm getting unemployment with that. >> yeah. >> anybody else getting unemployment? >> and couple of people are. couple people on unemployment. >> lisa, affect? >> a lot of people around me respect of course being affected. i have been fortunate and been working throughout this recession. >> and it had any effect on you and changed your life and altered your lifestyle at all? >> no. >> william. >> yes with the economy slowing down and money is not there, you know, businesses that i do is totally slowed down from working basically full time -- i'm
actually working part-time and part-time. so it is really slowed down. i had to change my lifestyle and cut back on things. >> patricia? >> my husband doesn't work. and he works here and there and he does repairs and things that are necessary, but -- people aren't -- building additions and kitchens and baths and things like that. i think eventually that will turn around because you won't be able to get a mortgage to go somewhere else. you fix what you have but for right now, and this morning, it was over 100 postings of tradesmen looking for work. and there was one posting for a car pent herb. >> and -- and you're a bartender? >> yes. >> and huge amount of credit card sales. like people can't afford to be there. i work at the -- at the -- in a place where, well, i won't say, but -- there's a lot of credit card people.
they can't aafford to be at sporting events and stuff. and people can't afford to be there. they're putting it on their credit cards. that comes back. to catch up with you later. so my, tips are down. tips are way down. and people -- >> and do you have kids? >> one. >> okay and -- and has it affected your family, and what is different and the difference in your family? >> i mean, we don't, my family is facing homelessness right now, which i never -- i never -- i never imagined could ever happen. >> sorry. >> no. hey. >> you see things and say, how could this happen to someone? >> no. >> no. >> we're with you. >> and bill? >> and you're retired -- >> yeah, but mine was an early retirement because of the business. i was in the automotive business for 30-some years. >> what did you do? >> what did i do?
>> in the raut toe business. >> we were in manufacturing and i was in charge of shipping and receiving in philadelphia. and -- and you know, due to the downsizing and the jobs going off shore, and -- offshore, to foreign countries, they have actually just about pulled the mug on the spire company. the plant in detroit. the only plant that is i think that are open are in canada and mexico now. >> okay. >> all of the other ones. i mean detroit is a ghost town. i was fortunate enough to have enough time in to take an early retirement which is beneficial to me. and you know, i'm searching for security agent, i have social security and my wife has a steady job with pharmaceutical. they don't seem like they'll ever go out on business. they get everybody on drugs. and we have had to make a lot of changes. you know, when i was working full time, you know, we were marking better money between the two of us and we had to scale
pack. we keep the cars longer. we don't trade them in as often. and we don't take as many vacations. i haven't had a vacation in a couple of years. >> bernadette, tell me about -- any effect, not really but the businesses i call, you know cars aren't put together by just one maker. and all of the components that go into the car are made elsewhere. >> right. >> by people that are specialized in that -- that particular component. and once that goes down, everything goes down. >> yeah. >> okay. >> and everything that goes into it. and other businesses, related to it. plastics and rubber. >> yeah,. let me keep going in terms of personal stories. vick, any change? >> fortunately i'm affected by it. >> you have been able to make it through. >> tim? >> nothing substantial except for the -- we're going to walk with patricia here. i own a second business and i'm a deejay and i spend time in
bars and i can see the -- the direct effect of the economy. in my business,-hour i'm being fired by a bar or-hour i'm hearing that -- how i'm hear somebody is drinking in this because they lost their job or their home or this or that. that's one of the few places where people are -- are generally 100% honest, when they start drinking. and the reality of the situation comes out. you don't hear that people like -- wouldn't sit here and talk that honestly but in a bar you could hear it and hear the personal affect it has on people. >> and wittia, you came through okay. >> i came through okay because of the industry that i work in. so i'm pretty stable. my father owned a restaurant and he had to close. >> how recently? >> back in march. >> so very recently. >> yeah. >> back in march. >> he had to close because -- >> no one was buying food. they didn't have money to buy
food and of course he still had to make the lazy and they -- my parents have a mortgage and cars and taxes. our taxes went up in delaware county. like mine, i was affected by the taxes. kate went back -- he was a car salesman for like 20, 20 years and he went back to doing that. luckily he was able to get a nap but that's low because of your credit score has to be 730 to get anything. like a used honda. so -- it is like, you know, he's -- he's kind of struggling but he's getting there and -- and you know he's older now and more relaxed than before. >> and cheryl, your family has just been -- did he say mated -- decimated. >> yeah, i'm concerned about my dad. he got laid off, it has been almost 14 months now and -- >> and how old is he roughly? >> 15, going to be 59 this month. and you could hire someone who is 25 or 30 to work for a little
less and he's in a very specialized position, where, it is not, your run of the mill, engineer whatever. so that's a strike against him. his age is a strike against him and he's -- i'm worried that what is going to happen when, when -- his unemployment runs out, if he doesn't find a job soon. my mom works, but it is not enough to -- to you know, keep everything going. they bought a house a couple of years ago, a month before he got laid off, he went out and bought his first brand new car ever. i'm the oldest of five kids, my parents struggled to provide for us. here he is thinking everything is great, he's got a job and everything is going well and he buys himself a brand new car and now he gets laid off. and i'm just worried about, you know -- look. they'll come and live with me, but i don't want them to lose their house. they love the house, it is a gorgeous house and nice piece of land and -- and my brother is
laid off, he got laid off last january. fortunately, he's -- he does -- he does odd jobs and he's, been able -- he's, been able it, he works with a clientele that are out on the main line and fortunately haven't been impacted, maybe the way that some other people have. he's been able to keep that going and do sidework while he collects unemployment. >> these are really -- and tough stories, as you go around. i mean, this is -- you can feel it in every case. what do you expect from -- from barack obama and the obama administration? i mean, you know, you hear the story of cheryl and the you hear the story of wadia and you hear the story of patricia and you hear the story of -- these are real human, big problems and not just inthg that is -- that is sort of a -- a glancing blow or something that is -- that is, slightly enconvenient.
and talk to me. what do you expect from the obama administration? is there anything they could do, is -- do you feel the president understands your plight and -- what you're going through? >> i think he totally understands what we're going through. >> and -- and -- again, we said it. he wants to change things and he's realistic in, as far as, the -- the plight of the country. and i don't think he's like 0 blirveuous to it. i think he knows exactly what is going on. and he's going to work to make it happen. >> i think where he came from -- >> i was going to say that. >> where he came from has everything to do with it. >> he came from sangal parent home and they struggled and he wasn't born with a silver spoon and i think he could relate maybe more so than the other president who is didn't have those same concerns. growing up. you know their families were a
little more well off. >> and how about -- how about the sense of what they should do. i mean as -- it is one thing to say he relates, but is he making anything happen? i mean that -- that you know, patricia as you see it. and unless -- unless, quote,, the economy gets, gets moving, your husband is just not going to -- i mean, if there's one job for a carpenter, and 100 people trying for it, the chances of his landing work and even if he does, there are 99 others that are not, and what -- what -- did you have a sense of what he should be doing? or what you're looking for? >> i don't know. i think there was a lot of -- high level profit taking and -- we're paying the price for that, like big business. i don't -- i don't have any answer.
>> does anybody have a sense, here's what i think he should be doing? this is where he should be going. >> it is a creative environment that is positive in the economy. so people will invest money in businesses, to create jobs. and he's not doing that. >> and -- and you say, in an environment that is positive. when you say that, what do you mean? >> the people i know, it is money or business, and it is -- terrified to hire somebody. because they think they'll have to lay them off soon because the economy will not support that person. >> okay. the taxes especially the ones in the future, are really causing people to worry about it and say, you know what? i'm not hiring anybody until this thing straightens out. >> okay. and others. >> tim? >> you can't do anything. you can't. president has no power. >> and congress has to make a change. >> barack obama is a figure head and he's a face of the -- of the
american government. and he is -- an ambassador for us overseas. he doesn't make laws. it is congress that has to do that. >> what about all of this spending? from what i have read -- >> small districts don't even exist. >> a lot of that money went into congressional districts that don't exist. a lot of fraud and scandal. point to the jobs that are created with the stimulus money. and not many. >> who approved the stimulus? >> pardon? >> who approved the stimulus. >> that's what it comes down to. i think he needs to push more bipartisan but he's a leader -- >> he's inspirational, he should get people to line up and do what he wants them to do. he's in the able to do that. feeling good about something is a hell of a lot different than getting something done. >> absolutely. >> i could feel good and i could relate to you, but if you don't do anything for me, you're fired, guy. >> you're right. you know what, i look at the congress and i hold them responsible.
i don't hold barack obama responsible. he walked in and how many new face dos we have in congress? ghue faces, that i don't know and how many new faces do we have in this election? >> time out, none. >> and i got a a question. and kim -- tim stated, he says i don't blame barack obama, he says i blame the congress. >> how many people agree with tim's statement when it comes to unemployment and the economic circumstances and the things you have beep talking about? how many of you agree with tim? okay, good, tim, i'm glad you agree with yourself, four, five, six, seven, eight most people agree with that. but -- and at the end of the day, people are going to vote up or down on the basis of jobs and the economy and where things are at. i'm saying, here's the president of the united states, is there something you want to say to him or you feel he should do?
>> shs your shot, lisa. >> i don't know exactly what it is -- i just. i just feel, i wish there was something that he could do. it seems like it is getting separated. it is like the average person and then a lot of rich people and -- it is getting really deep. rich people and poor people. and there's no middle class. >> at all. >> and it is -- i wish he could do something, to -- to focus on the average person. we all lose business, the restaurants and small businesses and, you know, i wish i could write him a letter, i can't think in my mind right now what exactly i want him to do, i have a lot of hope because of his -- leadership, his intelligence. to come up with something, why is there a gap? that gap needs to be closed. >> pamela, anything? >> i agree with her on that. and it seems like -- all the
spending and the rich people, don't pay taxes. and they get away with it. and the congress and politicians and so many of them don't pay taxes. and -- we pay taxes. all the middle class. you know. >> i'm going -- one other thing. write down on your green sheet of paper who makes your blood boil whether it comes to the economy? who makes your blood boil? who infuriates you when it comes to the economy? >> what did you write down? >> bush. >> anybody else write down bush? i got three people that wrote down bush. okay. what did you write down, pamela? >> just the rich politicians. >> rich politicians.
>> anybody else write that down. >> okay, what did you write down? >> i wrote down a.i.g. >> that's what i did. >> and how many wrote down a.i.g. >> the c.e.o.'s of a.i.g. we have five people. why does a.i.g. make your blood boil? >> i think they were part of the problem and in fact they were the problem. the administration, the gripe i have with obama's -- job so far is throwing money at the same people that caused the problems. >> okay. >> lisa. >> and they're getting bonuses, big bonuses and the time of recession. it is unheard of. >> and they're in a -- you wrote down a.i.g. >> i wrote down corporation and a.i.g. being the same type of thing. and now, the bonuses, what i food is that they were already written into the contract, so -- so they had to pay the bonuses. we did not have to be able to mail them out. we don't have to bill them out. we don't have to help these people out. they could fall on their face.
>> vick? >> yeah, i think the other element too is -- is that -- we had all of that and as best i could tell, there's still no financial regulation over those big corporations. you know. i don't think any bill was passed congress -- that, that -- that would prevent us from having exactly the same problem that we had before. >> okay. >> good. >> and anything else -- and tim? >> just to add on to that. we focus on health care. >> and add on to what he said. just, yet we focus on health care. when, when -- you're right, they could just go right back to the trowal and keep heath eating and we'll bail them out. >> let me go to health care because you insisted. >> pat twrishra, did you want to say something. >> when you talk about health care, blue cross is a huge for profit organization. i used to have benefits and every year it went up. one year it went up 25% and --
and i continued to pay it until i couldn't pay it anymore. but -- every year they turn a profit. so, with the health care reform, they have to be careful that -- it is not going to be a big company, of abusing the ssm. it is -- >> okay. >> i wanted, i wanted to take two subjects fairly quickly. first being health care. >> does anybody -- tell me what you want. congress has been debating this, and discussing this and figuring this out. and for most of the year. what do you want? >> and her costs. >> lower costs. >> okay. and what do you want? >> i want everybody to pay the same amount, i don't care if you're rich or poor or in the middle. i want everybody to have the same access to health care. >> okay. >> so it is access, not costs. or both? >> both. >> okay. what do you want, pamela? >> same as her. that's -- >> i want everyone to have every
person-to-health care. >> how many agree? >> i want everybody to have health care coverage? okay. most everybody around the table. okay. what else do you want? >> i want the insurance industry out of the health care business. they're the problem. >> okay. >> and they're just a middle man. >> and what else? >> portability. >> portability. okay. anything else. >> improved quality because -- when you look at -- at -- at you know, some of the other countries, have much better health care delivery systems than we do, yet, we're spending more than any other country -- >> okay. let me ask you one thing. here's what i am willing to give up in order to get this. there was, you know, it is very nice to say bring in the tooth fairy and bring all of this stuff to me, are you willing to give up anything within the health care system? or to do something differently?
>> big taxes. >> slice taxes and pay for -- help pay for health care. >> and -- okay. what else? are you willing to give up anything? >> end of life care. not, and not as extensive as it is now. i mean, we have people in their 01990's on all kinds of -- artificial -- okay. >> okay. >> and i want to say, same thing as what victor said. and if something happened to me, where i'm on life support, pull the plug. i don't want to take up that money. i'm willing to give that up. >> tim? >> i would say that i would favor limiting lawsuits. >> and definitely limiting lawsuits, which -- which hopefully would reduce the premiums now that the docs are on the health care. >> okay. anything else?
>> little higher copays. >> higher copays. >> and -- okay. and it doesn't pass. and first of all, how many people say, i want a health care legislation to pass? and i can't describe it exactly but you know, sort of the prod element that is are in this. how many people in this room say, you -- your choice is we stay with the current system, or we pass some legislation, which will change health care coverage and -- and -- and the way the health care system works. and how many say i want a health care bill to pass? >> i got one. >> i got two. three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. and no tim, because -- >> i got three kids. i have got a wife who had major surgeries. i have not had to put out that much. my had a consistent job since i
was 18. i always had insurance. it is no burden for me. >> john? what i know about it, i don't like it. taxes will go up and coverage will not improve. anything the government handles they don't do well. >> pat tissue ra, why do you want it? >> i want it, i would like to have health insurance, but i know there's -- like a lot of dimensions to it that --ee i have a cousin who is a chiropractor and he says it is going to cost him money or he's going to get paid less or doctors, you know, there's a lot of dimensions to it that need to be considered. we know it is not something that they could just. >> do you currently have health insurance? >> no. >> your family and you and yourer husband and anybody else? >> my son has the state insurance. >> okay. so, the two of you have no insurance? >> right. >> okay. and anybody else not have insurance at this table? you don't. cheryl, because -- >> because i was laid off and it is -- it is, the costs, my husband, initially we were on my -- on my husband's a then they
changed providers and the costs for me -- for him and the children, it is very reasonable. just to add me to the mix is $500. >> so we could afford it. >> okay. and -- so, most -- most everybody and -- if it doesn't pass, who is to blame? who is to blame? we end up -- and -- and next year, and the end of next year, you have no health care bill, nothing has been passed since the law and the current situation and -- and everything. who is to blame? >> congress. >> congress. >> how many say congress is to blame? >> okay. and anybody blame obama? anybody blame the special interests? >> to a degree. >> okay. so this is straight on congress' plate. and -- and would you blame the democrats or the republicans or
both equally? >> both equally. >> how many say both equally? >> okay. good. okay. let me move to the next thing. >> yes. >> one more thing about health care. i think that hillary clinton took it on in 19 -- i don't know. 1991. >> yeah, i think she took it on and she was going to reform it. yeah. so -- >> i don't know if anybody saw the flowchart on the health care system that they're proposing. >> this is 1993 and 1994. >> no. >> the one male. it is, it is quite complicated. and i don't know why -- everything the government does have to be so ridiculous. >> okay. let me -- let me turn -- was that a sarcastic remark? [laughter] >> let me turn -- tomorrow night, the president is going to speak, about -- afghanistan.
and so, by the time people look at this, those people who will be watching this, it'll already be a policy. in general, what would you tell -- tell the president? what do you want him to do in terms of afghanistan? if you say, i don't have any. i or any idea, that's fine. and afghanistan, anybody? yeah, lisa. >> i don't want a war tax. >> okay. >> i want to know what his goals are in afghanistan. >> okay. >> okay. >> i wanted him to withdraw and don't want him to lose anymore american lives. >> okay. stand up if you want him to withdraw. stand up. all right. okay. but i have got, six people who say, i want him to withdraw.
and you're a john mccain voter and you're republican? >> yes. >> why you want him to withdraw? >> primarily because -- primary -- primarily because they been looking at this since march and changed the command in affing. it is a corrupt government. the pakistanis have helped a lot. they haven't helped a enough. and obama seems to be torn on which way he wants to go. and he's half hearted on running the war. and so, why lose anymore guys. and just take them home. >> okay. >> and pamela? >> i want them out of there. it is turning too much into vietnam and that was a disaster. and i think that -- we're just losing too many of our guys and for what? >> lisa? >> also, we're losing too many of our guys, also we're -- we're bringing all -- we play bring
all of these soldiers into afghanistan and they're not sure the people can handle -- they're so far behind to be able to handle their own country. i see us being there for a long time and that scares me. >> okay. who else said -- i want him to withdraw. why, bill? >> i guess we didn't learn anything from vietnam. >> what purpose did vietnam serve? >> looking back today and what purpose is afghanistan going to serve. the brits today finally came out and told pakistan, you know, start doing something. and -- get out -- al qaeda out of the country. get bin laden. >> anybody else withdraw? >> vick. >> i don't see the connection to terrorism and the homeland security. allegedly that is one of the reasons we're in this. but -- >> and what could the president do because -- if he comes out on tuesday evening and he says, we're going to bring 30,000 more troops into afghanistan, here is
the goals, the objectives and here is the -- our end withdrawal strategy. and how many of you would say, okay, i'll go along with his point of view? >> cheryl? >> bernadette will and patricia will and william will. but vick, you won't? >> i guess, i really am going to watch this. i want to see him make the case and try to connect the dots. why is this -- this, some -- so important in terms of american lives and all of the trls of dollars we have spent -- >> bill? >> i'm going to watch it with interest too because if he did decide to pull out, they would call him unpatriotic. but as i said, what did we learn from vietnam. what are the goals there? as far as afghanistan. and that's, strategically no -- of no use to us at all. >> and -- and did anybody here
serve in the military? you served in the military. during what period of time. >> vietnam veteran. 1967 and 1966. >> vick, same but unfortunately i wasn't in vietnam. >> so, and -- and you look at this, and you just, you can't see the purpose, the direction. >> no. >> do you think he could speaker suede you? >> persuade me to keep the troops there. >> not only keep but -- add to. >> and be a very hard sell. >> and -- they're in iraq and get them out. why are we there? they're probably going to move. the troops today have it a lot harder than we had it. back when i was in the -- there were hundreds of thousands of men. these fellows are doing two and three and four tours of duty and it is just -- it is just a disgrace. >> tim? >> you know, i think we're there and we need to be there. if anything we're destablizing al qaeda and we obviously to a
degree, eliminated the taliban although, from what i heard in the news, the taliban, there were attacks are now stepping up again. they seem to be on the rise again. we needed american presence somewhere in the middle east. and obviously we have quite an american presence if iraq. i agree with bill, tpwheed to get out of iraq at this point but until we get rid of bin laten. i don't think we should be in the middle east. we need to put pressure on pakistan. that's where he's at. >> william? >> i feel this was a war that was handed to the president. it is a war that was handed to the country. and for him to just, as i said, for those who said, get back out now and back up, that's not the intelligent thing to do. i mean, i'm quite sure he wants to go and he knows we need to go but you can't turn around and turn your tail up and run out. over there, we have to continue to try to make this thing work. i mean, he's going to need more
troops to do that. i know the saying, don't send a lot of troops in but your guy is already there. what you going to do. you can't keep them hanging. >> what is the purpose? >> the purpose is as i said in the beginning, it was a war that was handed to him. he's going to have to try. what i'm saying, he's going to have to try to work it out the best he could. and apparently, there wasn't any solutions as far as him coming in and it is not getting better. gila to do what he can. >> pamela. and you're an independent, right? and you voted for obama in 2008. and he makes a decision to ratchet up our involvement in afghanistan. does he lose your support? >> i don't like that idea. not -- not lose my support all together, but -- it just -- it just kind of makes me mad because -- i -- where does it end? and it just seems like it is -- going to continue on and on and on. and -- and to what end?
what are we going for? >> okay. anybody else, in the -- otherwise wanting to move on. excellent,. >> and -- and finish this sentence. the best thing about barack obama is -- the best thing about barack obama is -- >> i think his optimism. >> best thing about barack obama is -- >> determination. >> pest thing about barack obama is -- >> the face he's put forth to the rest of the world that america is more -- is more controlled. >> and vick? >> inclusiveness and approach to governing. >> and okay. and bernadette?
>> i guess i would agree, he's putting forth a more kind her and gentler face on -- on america. >> and -- and bill? >> he seems sincere about what he wants to do. >> patricia? >> i'm thinking. >> what? >> i'm thinking. >> yeah. there's nothing -- best thing about barack obama is -- >> charismatic. >> and william? >> that he's intelligent and he's trying to do what is best for the country. >> and lisa? >> his youth and determination. >> and -- and pam has? >> his family values. >> all right. >> and okay. and john? >> he'll be a one-term president. >> okay. >> okay. >> are you a republican, john? >> not at all. >> okay. okay. turn it around and i'll give you
the first shot, john. and that is, the thing that makes me most uncertain about barack obama is -- >> leadership skills. >> okay. >> and -- and -- >> pamela? >> the war i guess. -- and afghanistan problems. >> okay. >> okay. >> and -- and military knowledge. >> and uh-huh. >> nothing about limb that makes me feel uncertain about what he's doing. >> okay. >> lack of qualifications for the position. >> and just, let me follow-up on that is there anything -- that you feel in the first 10 months the way in which he handled the job has showed his lack of qualifications? >> well, he's good at going and making public appearances and -- meeting with leaders, but i don't know tcha anything is actually getting done in those -- >> yeah, let me throw the
question right back at you. is there anything he's done which underscores from your point of view, his lack of qualifications? >> i think -- i think changing his opinion you know, or -- or vacillating, i guess i would say. >> okay. bill? >> maybe just his priorities. >> and okay. and when you say his priorities, what are you trying to say? >> we got two wars going on and people dying over there. i think that's a priority over health care or anything else, even the economy now. let's focus on that. >> and bjorn debt, and the -- the thing that makes you most uncertain about barack obama is -- >> who did he have chavez -- 0 hug, chavez? at the summit. i was like, wait a minute. aren't we -- we playing stauncher than that. >> okay. good and do you think he's tough
enough -- with -- with adversaries? >> no -- i think he needs to be a little more -- more, draw a line and stick to the line. >> and -- pat tissue ra what are you thinking? >> i just don't like the way he bowed to the chinese president. >> naive. >> anybody else, say he's naive? >> naive? >> a little naive. >> i got between, three naives. >> okay. and -- and four jacks and three naives. and vick? >> and i say his lack of experience of -- particularly in the international -- i'm not concerned about the, the -- the bowels and hoax, but i do think that -- that he just gets chewed up and spit on this last fifth international tour again. >> i guess it is a question mark at this point. >> uh-huh. >> okay.
tim? >> i'm going to go with what patricia said, he lacks qualifications and i remember initially in the administration, how many -- how many have -- attempted points -- appointments pulled out because they weren't properly vetted. something that basic -- he should have that in place, and smart enough to vet people before putting them in place. >> and wadea? >> the only thing i'm uncertain about is he's not going to get the support he needs from like congress and -- you know people like that. or whatever. and for the things he left for this country. >> and cheryl? >> i'm just -- my concerns, at this point, are really not more about him, just with everything that was handed to him, and is he going to be able to really handle it all? >> and -- okay. >> and it is just going to be too overwhelming for him? >> okay. great. and interesting insight.
let's -- what surprised you about -- about president obama? either, pluses or minuses, anything? what most surprised you. okay. i knew we were getting a president and you know, patricia said, i'm not sure he's qualified, but here's what surprised me. what surprised you? >> anybody. >> i guess what surprised me and this is obviously gotten translated into lack of focus, but -- i think what has surprised me the most is his -- the ambitious agenda, he set for himself. i kind of expected him to -- when he first took office to be a little cautious and tread slowly but he took on a whole slew of problems that in my mind needed to be taken on but and i don't think -- i don't think it indicates lack of focus, but obviously to a -- a numb of people, it does. but that's one thing that surprised me, i didn't expect
him to be as ambitious. >> anything surprise you? >> yeah, he campaigned on a -- and platform of change and haven't seen any difference, no difference between the past administration and this administration. there's no difference. >> hands up. he campaigned on a platform of change and i haven't seen change and i haven't seen change, hands up. . .
>> he wants to help the average person. most obama people agree with that. what else? what else surprised you? >> he is willing to press the issues. the fact that may be cannot take care of all the issues, he is willing to talk about it and say this is what we want to do, this is what we need to do and this is what we should try to do. >> we did when the sessions in july, and one of the things that i got back from people, i think more in an admiring way than a judgment away was that how much the administration was trying to take on, how much. people always talk about the ability to take on what and be aggressive, and the other side
is lack of focus. does anybody here feel that he has taken on too much, or has he lacked focus, or do you give him plaudits for taking on a lot and being aggressive? >> i give him credit for taking on a lot. i do not give him credit for being able to do anything that is measurable. everybody can feel good about it, but the bottom line is, unemployment is higher. we have not solved any real problems, and we are still in two wars. >> we have not sold any real problems. unemployment is higher, up two wars -- john's case. how many agree? nine of 11 people agreed that we really have not solved any problems. does he still have your support, pamela, if he hasn't solved any
of these problems? >> yes. it is going to take time. he cannot solve them overnight. he is trying. >> bernadette, you voted for mccain, and has he done anything that has impressed you, were you think more of him? >> john mccain? >> no, barack obama. >> anything that has impressed me? i cannot have a neat thing come to mind, i am sorry. >> patricia, when you look -- you are an independent, right? independent republican. anything he has done that has made you feel more favorable?
>> not really. >> tim, in many cases you have stood up very staunchly on the republican side of things, but a lot of the time you have been very complimentary of the president. tell me what you are thinking. >> you do not run for it if you don't want it. we get there, you have a lot to do. your crazy, i guess, but you put yourself in a position. he has a lot of responsibility. i run three dozen retail stores. i asked for it. guess what? i can understand how it is tough to leave. it is not an easy thing to do,
but i am not necessarily going to stand there and give him kudos for things that i have not seen. john made a good point earlier. he said that a lot of things, we are still in the war', and thins have not changed. >> giving the same rights as american citizens to these people at gitmo. does what? they were trying to attack us. that was a specific decision. >> is that a hot button with you? >> oh, yes. guys are over there fighting in their countries, trying to help their people, afghanistan and iraq, have a better life, and
these guys, potentially wanted to work our nation. we are giving them the same rights as everyone around this table. that is sick. >> anybody else feel the same way about the rights we are giving to the prisoners at guantanamo? >> despicable. >> what is the difference? they would have had representation in a military court. they are not going to just put them in front of a judge. >> does anybody else have strong feelings about this? i will move on. what is your one memory -- you can ride on the green sheet or whatever.
the one thing that is my image of president obama. some place, some visual that you see of the president's. if it had been the bush administration, some people would have a different vision, 9/11, or maybe katrina. what is the image that is in your mind? >> patricia. >> when i think of him and get a picture of him delivering a speech, because i think he is
very good at it. he is very good at delivering a speech. >> he gives us hope for the country. >> i am really looking for that visual image, where i can say oh, yes, i see it, and i can flash it up on the screen. i can see from patricia and speech, and i see him at a podium or at a forum. do you have any sort of visual image? >> just a hope when you look at him, he is trying to make this thing happen. >> a family man, a picture of him with his wife and kids. >> i agree with that, but i like the way he salutes when he gets off the airplane. i think that is so great. >> anybody else agree, the raised salutes?
that is good. >> on the night of the election, to see the image of him and his wife and children walking out on that stage, and it was clear that he was going to win. >> anything since he has become president? >> i would say probably at the podium, and on inauguration day, taking his oath. >> the inaugural ball, him and his wife dancing. >> playing pick-up basketball. he is a regular guy. >> bernadette. >> it would have to be at the
acceptance of the presidency. since then, he has not done anything to make me feel connected. >> i think the vision of the crowds when he got elected, the look of hope that everybody had. i am not so sure they still have that looked now. >> has his hope disappeared? >> it has fizzled. >> anybody else, has the hope disappeared? it's the excitement gone? >> everybody was extremely hopeful, the first black man to become president of the united states. it was, like, historic. it was like, my god, this is really going to change, and it has kind of fallen out from underneath.
>> a think everybody is expecting too much, too soon. >> i am in the education field. everybody wants everything to happen yesterday. he is very realistic. he does not tease us. this is the reality, and he tells us, nothing happens just like that. it took eight years for us to get here. what makes you think is going to happen just like that? >> if he does not get a second term, then realistically, his first term fails. >> it will take five years for it to turn around. >> people do not want miracles,
they want a time frame, says bernadette. >> is this ... -- is the society we live and. you cannot snap your fingers and make these problems go away, and i think that the excitement has gone, but the hope has not gone yet. >> how many of you agree with cheryl, at the excitement is gone, but the hope is not gone? i want to see the hands. i have bernadette, bill, lisa, and pamela. nine out of 11 are saying the excitement may be gone, but the hope is not gone. why isn't the hogan? -- why isn't the hope gone?
>> asked us next year. >> which leads me to a couple of final questions. you have done a great job, thank you. really, you have had a fascinating discussion, marvelously done. tell me something, just on the basis of what your thinking, are we looking at a great president, an average president, are a poor president? you have to project out from here. looking ahead, obviously no matter where you might stand, people would say front and roosevelt had a tough hand, but that probably agree at the end of the day he was a great president. ronald reagan was handed a difficult hand, and people would say he was a great president. do you see barack obama as being
a great president, an average president, or a poor president? let's go around. john. >> average. >> great. >> great. >> average. >> like every other president, only history will determine it. >> i recognize that, but you are projecting out on the basis of all you have seen. i am saying that you are projecting that he will be an average president, ok. >> i would say average three >> average. >> ray, i hope. >> average. >> rate. >> i would say great. >> for those who say he is going to be a great president, why?
>> he is not just sitting down not doing anything. he is trying to put some things together and making an effort. >> he is not being cocky or arrogant about it. >> i think because he can relate to the average joe, more so than at past presidents could. i think he has a different perspective on these issues. >> i think it is partly due because he did not have a particularly tough act to follow. it is a stark contrast to the bush administration. >> i don't see anything that is great. i see a great speaker, a very charismatic person, but i do not see where he is going to be all
that great in changing this country. >> bill, same question. >> it all depends on how we did accomplish. i don't see him moving from good or average to great. >> two other things i am interested in before recall a day. -- before we call it a day. write this down. when you think of the backbone of this president, what is it comprised of? what is the backbone comprised of as you see it? we will start with bill and go
straight around. >> probably his roots. >> can you give me a substance? >> his roots, where he came from. >> i think he goes with the blow. >> but maybe i misunderstood the question, i thought you meant what is going to be -- >> his backbone. verses and legacy are anything else. what is there in his spine, what is it made up? >> i think he is tough. >> and so his back on is made up -- >> i would say his back on is
made of desire. >> his strong will to succeed. >> his determination and the willingness to do what needs to be done. >> plastic. >> his willingness to try to change. >> courage to take on the challenge. >> i would say self- determination. >> what is the one thing you hope he has learned in the last 10 months? >> everybody learns from their experience. what do you hope he has learned? >> that you cannot please everybody. >> it takes time.
>> to get around by partisanship. >> i said patients. >> anybody else? >> i hope he has learned how bad it really is on the average person. i don't know if anybody in washington really realizes it. >> anybody else? >> i hope he has learned that even though it looks like it might be easy, it is not as easy as you think, especially when unforeseen things like 9/11 happen. >> until you face something like george bush based, you don't really, truly grasp the magnitude. he might understand it, he might believe he does, but not until you are actually faced something
can you actually grab it. >> if you feel that this is somebody who relates and understands the problems that you are facing? is this somebody who relates and understands the problems that you are facing? >> yes. >> i think he relates and understands. >> i think he is extremely empathetic. >> i am not so sure, i thought he might, but he seems to have lived all little more cushy you are alive. -- a little more cushier life. >> is there anything about the way he has been president that suggest that he does understand? >> yes, he understands that
people are hurting because of the current health care. i think if they had jobs, there would be health care, but that is not happening anytime soon. >> patricia. >> i do not think he understands. >> i think he understands the issues well. >> from what i read, he was actually on food stamps one time, so i think he knows. >> yes, i think he does. >> yes, i think he empathizes with the average person and understand their plight. his problem is, he does not know how to lead out of the problems. >> final question. what did not get to say tonight that you said when i come in here, i am going to be sure to say that. what did you not get to say?
pamela. >> of one to find out what is going to happen with social security, because i am getting up there close to it. social security and medicare, i am worried about. >> she said that her pension was cut and she worked for aetna for 40 years and her insurance premiums have skyrocketed, and she works for an insurance company. it does not make any sense. and there was no increase in social security. >> i am a very heavily republican leading independent, but i do not think the party cares about us at all. i think our parties are generally blocked from entering debates or anything else, but
republicans don't care, democrats don't care. they care about their jobs. >> i would have liked to have talked a little bit more about the social issues. >> that one starts at 11:00 tonight. you guys did great. thank you ever so much. i hope you had a good time, and we certainly appreciate it, and it will be broadcast on c-span, and we will definitely let you know. i just want to remind everybody as you leave this marvelous building, this was done through the annenberg center for public policy, and this is an ongoing program. thank you very, very much. have a great night.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> following the focus group, our reporter sat down with peter hart to talk about what they learned. this is about 15 minutes. >> what surprised you? >> i was surprised at how much time they are willing to give him. expecting him to get everything done on the economy and afghanistan, it seemed they were more willing to give him
more time. >> the benefit of the doubt, and how complicated it is when they blame the congress for a democratic president to run against a democratic congress. >> i thought that among the four or five just dogged supporters of obama, they wanted him to succeed, but did that translate a bit to the democratic party? the loyalty and allegiance to him as a person, it does not convey over. if i were an obama person, i would have very mixed feelings about washington -- about watching this, but i know that my basic would want him to succeed, but if i were a democratic strategist, i would be very, very worried about this. >> so much awareness, and also
the equal blame on the republicans and democrats was surprising to me. >> i was surprised there was not more on the special interests. i thought that they would just take off. >> one thing we need to remember very quickly, and that is we are here in the northeast. while we have the suburbs of philadelphia and new jersey and delaware, we are not talking about what we consider to be a purple area. i was remarkably struck by a how we get more wrapped up in the numbers, and when you step back from these numbers and you get people's voices, they come out a lot differently than the numbers. >> the thing that hit me is, it
really put a human face on unemployment. statistics don't lead, but these people, you could feel the pain, the hurt, not simply patricia, but even bill and cheryl. bill talked about walking a mile in sherrill's shoes and patricia's shoes. it was incredibly human, and you understand what people are going through. and the fact that he still is in good shape, as the president, at this point is all the more remarkable. they were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, even john, at the very end, could say something positive. >> i found him fascinating,
because he moved around allot. clearly a strong republican, but at the same time he saw things -- i would say only have to do is come here and realize if they do not do something about unemployment, they are not understanding where we are as a country. it was so stark and so moving, and patricia may have been on the verge of tears, but all of them had cheerful stories one way or another. the other thing that was interesting, their reaction to afghanistan. tomorrow they are going to make a pronouncement. what did you think, looking at this group? >> and i felt like the bar is higher for him than even we might have thought.
i did not pick up a lot of ambivalence about it. it seems like people have made up their minds. if he wants to sell, he is going to have to sell past existing bias is to get a fair amount of support. clearly the partisan lines were all fuzzed up. people are making a decision about afghanistan basing on personal experiences in their own sense of how the war should go, and not necessarily as a republican or democrat. i just feel like keep has got a much tougher sales pitch tomorrow night. they did not seem at all convinced, not one of them things we can win, and not one of them seem to have a clear understanding of who the enemy is. >> there has not been any rationale that was articulated for afghanistan in about seven and a half years.
the fact that the group relatively evenly split on that, despite the fact that it was sort of burgeon territory, but how we have not really tried, and nobody -- president bush was not talking about it for the last seven years. >> there was no ambivalence whatsoever, but it did not seem like a dominant issue. it only came up in the end, as far as previewing this speech that was going to happen tomorrow night. it did not seem like if he did one thing or the other it was going to hurt him with his base. this seemed to issue no. 2, 3, or four, and not issue number one. >> i would take a different point of view. afghanistan will not play out this week. it will play out 100 weeks from now. that is where i think the
problem is. we are citing a policy today, but i felt there was a lot greater division here. i took the unusual step of saying how many will stand on this. i did that purposely, because i said you have to stand to be counted. there were six people who said they want to withdraw. >> and bill wanted to get out. the other thing, i agree with the on afghanistan. michelle obama politically, she is off the boards. it is almost like they would come through as a family values
intact portrait. it has had an impression on voters. the jackie kennedy thing was just absolutely -- >> there was sort of a fork in the road for michelle obama on how she was going to go over, and she has done it in a very positive way. >> anybody would like this word, "genuine." in a world where everybody seems to be putting on airs, this is a genuine person. >> the things i was surprised we did not hear about was the clothes from the gap. >> it is funny the little factoids that come out.
the not kissing the president of france -- i had no idea what she was talking about. >> whether it is internet or cable news, they see some of these things. >> little stories and little vignettes determine who we are. the other thing i find interesting was his backbone, because as you remember, we asked about his backbone in july, and there was a lot of uncertainty about his backbone. hear, while they did not use material, one putty and one plastic and an iron, you did get the sense of strength and determination and commitment which i thought was encouraging. powerball this, -- and of all of
this, i think the president would look at this and say this is two hours of enjoyable feeling. if he is down and it is the christmas holidays, this is not a bad piece of footage to look at. it was pretty encouraging. >> going back to michelle obama, what really struck me was everyone said ploys, put together, as if there were expectations for her to fall apart. >> other thoughts out of all of this? >> i think it raises some doubts about the sequencing of the legislation because of how
dominant the economy is. they also said there are no bills from ever stopping this from happening again. at the end, i think it was bill who said if the jobs come, maybe then the health care will come. i think they view this sequencing differently than the administration. there has not been a real sustained effort to keep high up in the minds of voters whatever they are doing with the economy. >> what are you going to write about? >> this was pretty much a 50-50 audience, republican and democrat, but i was struck with hell likable obama it is, even among the republicans. ronald reagan tried on that in
the 1980's. -- ronald reagan thrived on that in the 1980's. >> half of them did not even know who reid was. >> everyone has some amount of anger, and has shifted to pelosi and congress. >> i would go back to, for the obama people, he is our guy. i don't think democrat or republican leaders in congress could find any solace. >> i was astounded that the poster for ronald reagan
referred to walter mondale as a great president. if barack obama grow a convertible with the top down through a car wash, congress would get wet. he has a teflon quality right now. i don't think it is perpetual. i think he has been given the benefit of the doubt and a long leash, but a year from tonight, we are looking at 12% or 11% unemployment, we will see a far different reaction. the willingness to blame both parties of congress, congress as an institution, rather than him. no one blamed him. it was just remarkable. i really think the wall street thing is just sitting there. i cannot believe the republicans are not running against both washington and wall street.
focus group. >> senators are continuing their debate on health care bill for the weekend. our regular book tv schedule will be pre-empted during these rare senate sessions, with book tv programs resuming after the debate. watch the senate debate on health care, live, gavel-to- gavel, honor companion network, c-span2, the only network with a full debate, unedited and commercial free. >> in his weekly online address, president obama discusses the latest unemployment report and the new job creation strategies next week. then the republican address by u.s. senate carly fiorina and her concerns
over a government sponsored health care system. >> every month since january, >> when i became your president, i spoke to you about the reports of the labor department on the number of jobs created or lost during the previous month. numbers that tell a story about how america's economy is faring overall. in the first months, the numbers were nothing short of devastating. the worst recession since the 1930's has wreaked havoc. yesterday, they continued a positive trend of diminishing job loss. for those that were laid off last month and the millions of americans who have lost jobs in this recession, a good trend isn't good enough. trends don't buy groceries or pay the rent, or college tuition. and when you can't be productive and provide for our families, make the most of our lives, reach our dreams. it is true that we are in a
different place when 2009 began. because of the recovery act, we are no longer facing the potential collapse of our financial system. we are no longer losing jobs at a rate of 700,000 a month. and our economy has grown for the first time in the year. but many of our neighbors are out of work because it has not translated into all the jobs that we need. stung by the british recession, businesses are still wary about adding workers. instead of hiring, many are asking them to work more hours or adding temporary help. history tells us this is what happens with recessions. even as the economy grows, it takes time for jobs to follow. folks that have been looking for work cannot wait any longer. i am determined to do everything i can to accelerate progress so we are adding jobs.
that is why, this week, i invited a group of business owners to the white house to talk about additional steps we can take to help jumpstart hiring. we brought together unions and universities to talk about what we can do to support our workers today and prepare students to out-compete workers around the world tomorrow. we brought together community leaders to talk about how we can open up new opportunities in our cities and towns. on friday, i spent the day in pennsylvania and met with workers and small business owners. i went by a steel company and spoke at the community college. i visited folks at a job placement center. the stories and concerns i heard mirrored the countless letters that i receive every single day. they outweigh any government report. the folks at allentown and at all the towns across the country are just looking for a fair shake.
that is what i want to give them. in the coming days, i will unveil additional ideas aimed at accelerating job growth. and so we don't face another crisis like this again, i am determined to meet our responsibility to do what we know must strengthen our economy in the long run. that is why i'm not going to let up on my efforts to reform the health-care system, to give children the best education in the world, to promote jobs of tomorrow by investing in a clean energy economy, and to deal with the mounting federal debt. from the moment i was sworn into office, we have taken a number of difficult steps to end this economic crisis. we did not take them because they were popular or gratifying. we took these steps because they were necessary. i did not run for president to bail out banks or shore up a lot of companies.
i did not run for president to manage a crisis of the moment while kicking our most pressing problems down the road. i ran for president to help hard-working families succeed, and to stand up for the embattled middle class. responsibility is still rewarded, and hardworking people can get ahead. i ran to keep faith with the sacred american principle that we will deliver to our children a future of even greater possibility. my commitment to you, the american people, is that i will focus every single day on how we can get people back to work and how we can build an economy that continues to make real the promise of america for generations to come. >> hello. today, i would like to speak to you as more than one of the 2.5 million women in america that have been diagnosed with breast cancer and beaten it. like everyone else that was
diagnosed with cancer, i never thought it would happen to me. i was fit, healthy, and active. i even got regular checkups. earlier this year, two weeks after a clear mammogram, i discovered a lump through a self exam. soon after that came the diagnosis, the surgery, the long and difficult treatment regimen, and the painful experience of wondering whether i would make it. whether i would pull through. i am fortunate to live near one of the greatest cancer centers in the world. i am fortunate to have the incredible love and support of family and friends. and my diagnosis gave me time to think about my future. because one of the things that happens when you have to face your fears, including the fear of dying, is that you can pacer future with renewed hope and enthusiasm.
my doctors tell me i have won my battle with cancer. i realize it makes me one of the lucky ones. last year alone, more than 40,000 americans died from breast cancer. aside from lung cancer, breast cancer is the most fatal form of cancer for american women. nearly 200,000 new cases were reported last year alone. that is why a recent recommendation on mammograms by the u.s. preventive services task force, a government-run panel of health care professionals that makes recommendations on prevention struck such a nerve. the task force did not include an oncologist, a radiologist, and in other words, a cancer experts did not develop this recommendation. they said that most women under 50 don't need regular
mammograms, and women over 50 should only get them every other year. we all know that the chances of surviving cancer are greater the earlier is detected. if i have followed this new recommendation and waited another two years, i am not sure i would be alive today. this task force was explicitly asked to focus on costs, not just prevention. as it turned out, costs were a significant factor in this recommendation. well a bureaucrat determine that my life is not worth saving? all this takes on even greater urgency in the midst of the health-care debate in washington. we wonder if we are heading down a path for the federal government will at first suggest and a mandate new standards for prevention and treatment. do we really want government bureaucrats, rather than doctors, dictating how we
prevent and treat something like breast cancer? the response has been less than encouraging. in the face of a national outcry over the recent task force recommendations, the secretary of health and human services said that preventive services task force does not set federal policy. the real question is whether bodies like this would set policy under the $2.50 trillion, 2074 page plan that is making its way through congress. the answer to that question is not encouraging either. the health care bill now being debated in the senate explicitly empowers this very taskforce to influence future coverage and preventive care. section 4105, for example, authorizes the secretary of health and human services to deny payment for prevention
services the task force recommends against. another section requires every health plan in america to cover task force recommended prevention services. in fact, there are more than a dozen examples and the bill -- in the bill were the task force is empowered to influence care. there is a reason that american women have a higher survival rate than women in countries with government run health care. unlike those countries, our government does not dictate what prevention and treatment women can get. while some defend the idea of a government task force, my experience with cancer tells me is wrong. cutting down on mammograms might save the government some money that it will spend on something else. but it won't save lives. and isn't that what health-care reform was supposed to be all about?
this is just one of many examples of serious problems with this health care reform legislation. rather than remaking the entire national health care system at the cost of higher taxes and exploding deficits, we should build on what works. like expanding access to integrated care and to community clinics that will give those most in need appropriate care at a reasonable price. congress to reform medical malpractice to match what we have in california, where frivolous lawsuits are a thing of the past. we should permit consumers to purchase health insurance from any company in the country, expanding consumer choice and a driving down costs and the necessary mandate. people want to know that their care will stay where it belongs, in the hands of doctors and patients.
unfortunately, the path congress is on in this debate is not giving us the confidence that it will. thank you. >> now an update with the congressional quarterly report. >> alex wayne is a staff writer with congressional quarterly. we hear that president obama is coming to capitol hill tomorrow. why? >> democrats are fighting among themselves over the health bill, and he wants to come up and try to smooth things over. he had a number of its senior staff here today, including the health and human services secretary. >> what time is that meeting said happen? >> 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. >> who has majority leader harry reid been meeting with today, and will he be able to report any progress?
>> one of the lieutenants, charles schumer from new york has been meeting with a group of moderate and liberal democrats, about five on each side. folks like john rockefeller, tom carver from delaware, russ feingold from wisconsin. they are talking about the public option and help to reach a compromise that will draw 60 boats. >> has there been any progress at all, or is it too early to say? >> senator tom harkin told us their goal is to come up with some sort of agreement by monday. they are not disclosing much of what they are talking about. a couple of moderates said they seem to be talking about a public option that is run by some kind of nonprofit rather than being run by the government directly. liberals are saying they are not really comfortable with that sort of structure. >> another challenging issue continues to be abortion language and abortion funding.
do we know anymore about an abortion amendment coming to the floor? >> one senator said there still working on the language of that amendment. we will see it early next week. he said it still closely resembles the language in the house health bill that was written might represent to bart stupak from michigan. a lot of others want it out of the bill. i believe that senator nelsons a minute will fail. >> the senate is in tomorrow. what can we expect on the floor? >> they are going to deal with a couple of mamendments tomorrow. all of it is pretty up in the air. tomorrow we think they are going to do with them men and that would win tax breaks for -- >> what are you watching for
tomorrow? >> it will be watching to see whether he is successful in rallying the troops. there has been some grumbling by a some democrats that the president has not been hands on enough in the debate in the last couple of weeks. we are told they would like to see the president come down and express how important the public option is, and lead on some of the moderates who say they will not vote on the bill unless the public option is significantly weakened. >> are we any closer to getting it done by christmas? >> it is hard to tell, but i would say it is difficult. it is an ambitious goal at this point. they did not seem to be very close. i do not get the sense from talking to democrats on both sides of the spectrum that they are very near to an agreement on some of the major issues. if they lose over abortion, they
will need at least one republican to vote for the bill, and right now they do not have that republican on board. >> you can read some of alex wayne's articles at c-span.org. thank you for joining us. >> republicans now have 45 minutes for debate. mr. mccain: the senator from utah, the senator from kentucky, the senator from new hampshire, the senator from georgia, the senator from florida, and the senator from idaho -- wyoming be included -- they all run together out there -- be included in the colloquy if that -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, very quickly, i just want to remind my colleagues that the aarp continues to be referred to
as endorsing this legislation and endorsing it and supporting and opposing amendments that would have done things that they in the past have supported, so i would just urge my colleagues to look at this woaft -- one of my favorite sources of information, opinion, "the washington post," but not advertised in this lobbying campaign have been aarp's substantial earnings from insurance royalties and the potential benefits that would come its way from many other reforms. so we have been looking into that. and guess what? the aarp endorsement of more than $400 billion in medicare savings, endorsement. according to its own financial statements from 2008 aarp generated 38% of its its $1.1 billion in revenue or more than had 14 million in -- more than $414 million in royalty fees. they also obviously will -- if we take away medicare advantage,
then medigap sales will have to go up because that provides for the services that are being taken away. so we -- under the aarp, they would generate in their endorsements, they have generated $414 million, putting them in fifth place of all of the health insurance companies in america, behind united health, wellpoint, aetna, and humana. and so we have before the body a -- an amendment that would modify any health insurers remuneration to the same salary as the level of the president of the united states. so i ask unanimous consent at this time that the aarp executives be added in as to be under the effect of this pending amendment from the senator from arkansas. the presiding officer: is there objection?
mr. mccain: is there objection? mr. baucus: mr. president, i object. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. mccain: mr. president, i also understand that wal-mart sells health insurance policies. they are based in arkansas, and i ask unanimous consent that wal-mart be included in this cushion excessive remuneration that will now be placing them under the same level as the president of the united states. mr. baucus: mr. president, reserving the right to object. to be totally candid, these are stunt amendments which we have not seen, i have never heard of the amendment. mr. mccain: it's pretty simple. it's not real complicated. i say to my colleague it's not really complicated. it's people to sell health insurance. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. baucus: reserving the right to object. not having seen these amendments, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i'm sorry that the senator from montana cannot understand that their health insurance people -- that they are health insurance, people who sell health insurance as well. aarp does, wal-mart does.
if we're going to have this kind of demagoguic amendment, we should include them, especially wal-mart who does a lot of business. i would ask my colleague, the doctor -- a senator: i would ask the senator from arizona, if i may ask a question? mr. mcconnell: i would ask the senator from arizona is this the same aarp that i recall opposed a $10 billion reduction in the rate of increase in medicare spending back in 2005? mr. mccain: i would say to my colleague they not only opposed it, they got all of their members fired up in opposition to it. we all heard from them back in 2005. and these were reductions in spending. these weren't -- this was not not $438 billion taken out of medicare and put into -- in to create a new entitlement program of $2.5 trillion. mr. mcconnell: i ask my friend one more question. is this the same bill that back