tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business November 3, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am EST
your plan. the president is right about one thing, it's not the website that matters but the failed obamacare policy and t health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius had a bad day on capitol hill, telling president obama kept his health care promise, that obama care is working while apologizing for the fact that it doesn't. i'm lou dobbs. good evening, everybody. hhs secretary kathleen sebelius today testified before the house energy and commerce committee. on the disastrous obama carrollout. sebelius took responsibility for the website failure while making the outrageous claim that the website has actually never crashed.
>> we were anxious to get the website up and running and functional, which we clearly have failed to do to date, although i would suggest the website has never crashed, it is functional but at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function. >> and at the very moment that sebelius made that statement, the healthcare.gov system was down. and it stayed down for the duration of the hearing. sebelius did offer an apology, and she told the committee to hold her accountable for the obama care failure. while insisting that the president did not lie when he repeatedly told americans they could keep their health care insurance if they liked it. but when pressed on whether the president was ultimately responsible for the law's failures, she got visibly agitated, tersely saying, quote, whatever. yes. he is the president.
fox news chief congressional correspondent mike emanuel on capitol hill tonight with our report. >> reporter: lou, kathleen sebelius defended the rollout of the president's health care law but said ultimately she is accountable. >> i am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of healthcare.gov. so let me say directly to these americans, you deserve better. i apologize. >> reporter: chairman fred upton accused sebelius and others of false advertising prior to the healthcare.gov launch. >> over the months leading up to october 1 launch, the secretary and her colleagues at hhs repeatedly looked us in the eye and testified that everything was on track. >> reporter: after a lot of finger pointing in recent weeks, republican marsha blackburn from tennessee pressed on who was to blame and asked if it was any of the top medicare officials. >> michelle snyder is the one responsible for this debacle. >> well, excuse me, congresswoman, michelle snyder is not responsible for the
debacle. hold me accountable for the debacle. i'm responsible. >> reporter: more than four weeks after launch the website was taken offline again last night and remained out of commission all morning. >> the program has crashed and burned at least three times. and the user is still having problems. it's been down the whole time you've been testifying. the system is down at this moment. >> reporter: fixing it by the end of november is the administration's goal with some expressing the concern about the ultimate price tag on what's been an expensive launch so far. >> we have spent about $118 million on the website itself and about $56 million has been expended on other i.t. to support the web. >> reporter: security is also an issue. this september 27th memo signed by medicare administrator marilyn tavenner says the security control assessment was not completed days before the launch which, quote, constitutes a risk that must be accepted and
mitigated. mike rogers says low-level attempts at hacking have been successful and called for much more comprehensive testing. >> yes or no, has an end-to-end security test on healthcare.gov went live? yes or no? >> i will find out exactly what testing they're doing. >> reporter: some democrats suggested while the rollout has been rough, the law is helping. >> the affordable care act is working. it has been improving the health security of millions of americans for the past three years. >> reporter: one female lawmaker mocked an obama care provision that would include maternity coverage for men. >> to the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby? >> you know, ladies, time has expired. >> reporter: and another said obama care is taking away personal choice. >> some people like to drive a ford, not a ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red solo cup, not a crystal stem. >> reporter: there is clearly a belief among republicans that at some point and after some costs,
the website will be functional, so critics are taking aim at weaknesses of the actual law. lou? >> thank you very much. mike emanuel from capitol hill. president obama today struggled to divert the media from the drama on capitol hill. he was in massachusetts touting his health care law in the state he claims obama care now is modelled on. massachusetts. the president struggled to address the wave of cancellation letters that are hitting both individuals and small businesses who buy their own insurance. this, of course, follows his repeated vows over several years that anyone who likes their insurance would be able to keep it. >> so if you're getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. that's what it's for. >> our first guest tonight at that hearing today, she pressed sebelius on what some are calling the question of the day while making a strong point about obama care and lightening
the mood just a bit at the same time. asking whether men can have babies, joining us, congresswoman renee elmers, member of the house committee on energy and commerce is x the republican women's policy committee. congresswoman, the question you asked, as i said lightening the mood, gets to some of the problems with obama care. did you expect an answer? >> you know, i knew that this was going to be a difficult question for her to ask because i don't believe it was one that she anticipated. but my point is this. i'm trying to point out the absurdity of obama care. you know, we're talking about health care plans being canceled. i'm hearing from many of my constituents that they're canceled, that their plans are being canceled as a result of the affordable care act coming in a letter form and that they're going to have to get other coverage and oh, by the way, now their coverage is going to be 127% more or 400% more in costs. that is unacceptable. so the question i have is why
are those premiums going up so much? and the answer is because they're forcing americans to buy parts of health care coverage that no one will ever need. why would a male age 32 and single need to have maternity coverage? why does a couple that are age 60 who have raised their children have to have coverage for pediatric? this is why the affordable care act is so expensive, and it's time that the american people understand that these are all pieces and parts of the affordable care act that they're being forced to purchase. >> now, you've said that people in your district are looking at their premiums rising by as much as 669%. why so much? >> well, that's exactly the point. you know, these are folks that yes, the cost is going up astronomically. this is a cost that they cannot possibly afford. now, at the same time, the government is coming in, kathleen sebelius, the president, whomever, and they're saying you know what? the care that you have, the coverage that you were paying
for, you were responsible to take care of your family, but you know what? we know better. we know better. your coverage wasn't adequate, and we're telling you it's not adequate. and oh, by the way, if you don't buy health care premiums at this cost, one, you're going to be breaking the law, and two, you're going to be assessed a penalty. so my question -- and i have a piece of legislation addressing this -- is that why should the american people be penalized for something? we're telling them to go to a website that isn't functional, and that's clear. and we're telling them to buy something, forcing them to buy something that they cannot afford. and if they don't, they're going to be penalized. we can't let that happen to the american people. and you know, in north carolina, it's proposed that there will be 132,000 who will lose their current coverage. >> and congresswoman, the fact is, you can't let them, you say, go ahead with this, but, in fact, it's going ahead. and the idea of deferring has not only the obama administration and the
democratic party appeaplectic, t insurance is scared because of the individual mandate because the result will be to tear up their business model as you know and tear up profits. we're looking at the prospect here, if there isn't careful reasoning and a careful understanding amongst everyone here about a direction to head toward that we're talking about one-sixth of the economy that is now vulnerable because a website, as the president put it, didn't work because obama care itself is built now on what we see as a very, very faulty assumption and presumption because of the mandate that young people are going to sign up for health care that they typically do not need. these risks are very high. where are the republicans headed now, and what is the course you all will follow? >> well, we are going to continue to get to the bottom of
this. you know, you pointed out one major issue here, and the cybersecurity issue, as you heard, that we're very concerned about that. you know, there are americans who are managing to get onto the website at this point at some time, and they are vulnerable to cybersecurity issues. if you saw sebelius, she looked like a deer in the headlights because she couldn't answer those questions. at the same time, how long are we going to continue in this failed policy? we don't have to go down this road. we can end it. this thing is dying of self-inflicted mortal wounds. and we can't allow the american people to be vulnerable. let's go with something that we know will work. you know, as i've talked to you before about -- >> and that is? >> -- the american health care reform act that we're proposing through the republican study committee. it covers all these issues. it provides affordable health care for every american. but it does it with a patient-centered approach, and it does it in the free market. >> and we should point out that
congresswoman renee elmers, for more than two decades, a registered nurse. great to have you with us. thanks, congresswoman. >> thank you, lou. up next, the nsa wiretapping program allegedly spreading from 35 world leaders to the fellow in the center, one of the world's most respected spiritual voices. the obama administration trying to block as well further investigation of benghazi. we'll tell you how next. stay with us. ñ@ç@çpçpçpç÷ñox
new details are emerging about the national security agency's massive spying operation. according to "the washington post," the nsa secretly broke into the main communications links that connect yahoo! and google data centers around the world. and the italian media is reporting that the nsa spied as
well on the vatican, spying on both pope benedict and pope francis. the nsa has now just issued an outright denial of the italian media reports. and unless you think the united states is alone in spying efforts, the russians are trying to keep up with us. russian operatives reportedly handing out goody bag to world leaders who were attending september's g-20 summit meeting. it turns out the russians were giving the delegates souvenir usb drives, phone chargers and teddy bears they had bugged. they bugged a teddy bear. who would have imagined? the russians deny the italian media report. joining us for more on benghazi and other foreign policy challenges facing the nation, general jack keen, retired four-star army general, former army vice chief of staff, fox news military analyst. general, great to have you with us. >> good to be here.
>> this is, as i say, sordid politics, but it masks a real issue. and that is the ability of congress to participate in the governance of the country. what's your reaction to the administration position that a criminal investigation by the fbi about what is obviously an attack on the country which generally falls within the purview of intelligence agencies and the military would be the reason to block efforts to understand better what transpired? >> yeah, it makes no sense, lou. and i'm sure you have the same instincts. we should be able to conduct a congressional investigation, the representatives of the people, to find out what happened when a consulate was burned to the ground, an am babassador was kid and the cia was driven out of the country. that is serious business. they do not have to have an open hearing. they can do a closed-door hearing to get at with the witnesses they want to call, and certainly the government should not be attempting to control
those witnesses and still protect the criminal justice system. and by the way, lou, that criminal justice -- that investigation on the criminal justice side got off on the wrong foot because the next day, while we may not have been able to get troops there that night, we should have been able to get troops there the next day, secured our consulate, put our flag back up and brought the fbi in so they can begin an immediate investigation and stay there with forces for as long as necessary. that thing, they waited 3 1/2 weeks before they ever got in there. and we're the united states. why would we ever put up with nonsense like that? >> and is it an unfair inference that we would not have put up with such nonsense had the president, the administration, not wanted that delay? >> yeah. i think right from the beginning, they knew they had a problem on their hands. and they just tried to push away from it, as opposed to just getting all over it and getting to the bottom of it and finding out what went wrong themselves.
i mean, you don't have to conduct major -- i'm not suggesting you don't do an investigation, but you can get the yourself pretty quickly by picking up the phone saying what happened? who knew what when? and get on with this thing and particularly dealing with who's accountable. to this day, we know who ran that operation, and the cia should be authorized along with special operation forces to go get them, and it's tragic they have not. >> general, the nsa, i mean, the drumbeat just continues. it's more perhaps a broadside against the agency. the idea that this organization has to respond to the suggestion it was spying on two popes, denying the allegations in italian media that it had broken into links, data center links, between yahoo! and the google data centers. it just goes on and on and on.
one assumes this is why edward snowden -- this is his plan. but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of defense for the nsa from people that you know full well, if we were to have a terrorist attack, the first question they would be asking is why was your spying efforts, your surveillance efforts, not ubiquitous, universal and intense. what do you think? >> well, you're absolutely right. first, alexander -- general alexander, i know him very well, was with him last night at an award dinner here, we gave him an award, and he's just a first-rate general officer, but more important than that, a first-rate intelligence officer and spy. he's absolutely hands down the best we've ever had in this job. he's been in it for eight years. and he's leaving of his own volition to get a new set of eyes, it's time. it truly is unfair. these allegations, a lot of these things make no sense. and certainly they are left to deny and support the nsa
themselves. they and clapper, the director of national intelligence, that is who is defending this major function that protects the united states and believe me, we would not have had no serious attack on the united states in all of these years, these 12 years since 9/11, without this agency doing just incredible work, lou, in protecting us. and yet they stand there having to take all these fuselage of assaults on them by themselves with the director trying to protect them. and it's just not right. the administration should put their arms around this, tell them to go back to work and we'll take care of this. but that's not happening. >> general, thanks for being with us. general jack keane. >> always good talking to you, lou. up next, he was endorsed by tea party favorite senator rand pull, but will it be enough to overcome the political money machine? virginia's attorney general and gubernatorial candidate ken cuccinelli joins me here next. cuccinelli joins me here next. we're coming right back. so ally bank has a raise your rate cd
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candidate terry mcauliffe, my next guest, joined by senator rand paul. joining us is the republican candidate, virginia attorney general and republican gubernatorial candidate ken cuccinelli. great to have you with us. i mean, there's a lot of firepower there in virginia. this ought to be kind of a simple deal. you against terry mcauliffe, what's going on? >> well, a lot's going on here with eight days to go, lou. so today we traveled the state with senator rand paul from lynchburg to virginia beach to fa covered the three corners of the state, more or less. and reached hundreds of people with rallies and really turned them back out onto the streets, literally, to contact other voters and to really fire up our volunteers so we can be reaching people one on one. these are low turnout races in these odd years. and it's critically important that people be talking to voters one at a time in person to turn them out. >> now, are you connecting with working men and women in that
state? and the reason i ask you this, i see republican after republican talking about cutting taxes, talking about growing the economy, but not reaching two of the folks, the middle class, the working man and woman, it's like the republican party has forgotten the middle class exists. >> well, i certainly agree with you, lou, in terms of making that contact with working families. and the biggest challenge families face in virginia is economic opportunity. it's jobs. there are enormous s.w.a.t.s wa because people have been unemployed so long. there's a big difference between me and terry mcauliffe. i can explain my plan to grow jobs and cut taxes, and he's proposing more government spending. $1,700 more in taxes per family versus my $700 tax cut. but a lot of them zero in now this month on obama care. and there's a stark difference between me and terry mcauliffe there also. and once again, his approach is
bigger government, and mine is smaller government. i was the first to fight obama care, and he wants to expand it. >> you were the first one to fight it. you were the first one to sue on obama care. >> right. >> at the same time, is that an issue for virginia voters? i mean, you know, we lok at these numbers, and we're talking about, you know, roughly 10% of the folks going to the polls are federal workers are their families. i mean, you've got huge -- >> yes, but lou, they're seeing this fail. they're seeing it fail before their very eyes on every network. it isn't just on fox. it's on cnn. it's on the three abc, nbc, cbs, they're all running this failure. and this is proving that those of us on my side of the argument have been right, and it is a state issue because the single biggest budget decision the next governor of virginia will make is whether or not to expand medicaid under obama care. and may opponent is all for it.
terry mcoff liaulifcauliffe, bi government guy. people to vote on november 5th is an opportunity. >> i think that is great -- that's a great statement, the commonwealth of virginia has made it possible. "the washington post" comes out with a story, mcauliffe preying on the terminally ill. mcauliffe says he was a passive investor who was deceived. you know, and you took money from a company, the governor of virginia returned that money, you didn't. a lot of controversy about that. how is all that going to shake out? >> well, you know, he invested in terminally ill people dying. and then lied about i immediately, within hours. he did it again the next day. "the washington post" wrote about it on sunday. and this is something that keeps coming up, and with the same habit he's taken to every challenge, every question people have had for him, he just ducks. he lies and ducks. >> and are you ducking when i ask you why you didn't return that money, to controversyial
donors? >> no, we did, lou. and i also released eight years of my tax returns. my opponent refuses to do that, even though he called on mitt romney to do it last year. we've been very open with the voters of virginia, have called on my opponent to do the same, and he has absolutely refused. and he's obviously hiding how he makes his millions. if he had released his tax returns, we'd have known about the investments in terminally ill people dying much earlier. >> i don't mean to laugh at this. it's so absurd. i'm sorry. >> it is absurd. i agree with you, lou. >> you've got rand paul, a powerful, powerful political personality who appeals across a wide range of political views. but he is libertarian, and you've got a libertarian candidate there running who's running a spoiler. how are you going to be able to overcome that? >> well, first of all, i am the strongest pro-liber elected official statewide in virginia in my entire lifetime, whether
it's fighting the federal government over health care or the epa or whether it is fighting on behalf of one person. i've been to court personally to get wrongfully convicted felons exonerated. i'm arguing another one of those cases next month. so whether it's on behalf of one single person or whether it's fighting the biggest threat to liberty in america, our own federal government, i've been there. so that's a message that we're driving hard. and it appeals way beyond just republicans, libertarians. there are a lot of ind peepende and democrats that appreciate someone that will stand up and fight for them. >> attorney general ken cuccinelli. >> lou, good to be with you. >> how many days? >> eight days. >> seven days or eight days. >> well, i count election day. we've got to work all the way through the tape. >> wear them out. go get 'em. >> thanks, lou. president obama has become more than a lame duck. he's in trouble whether in foreign policy or domestic. congressman trey gowdy joins us next. as a business owner, i'm constantly putting out fires.
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the first obama administration official testifying before a house committee about the botched obama care rollout has apologized, weakly, but then she maintained the kris acceptable, incredibly, is working. listen to marilyn tavenner construct what is at the very least ahn alternative universe. >> we have a system that's working. we're going to improve the speed of that system. >> excuse me. >> yes? >> you're saying the system right now is working? >> i'm saying it's working. it's just not working at the speed that we want and at the success rate that we want. and those are the things we're working on. >> congressman trey gowdy, member of the house oversight judiciary committees. he chairs the immigration and border security subcommittee. congressman, great to have you with us. let's start with, if we may, obama care.
this president lied. his administration lied. and persisted over a period of more than three years in maintaining the fiction that people could keep their insurance plans if they chose. your reaction? >> well, i hate it for my fellow citizens, but there were lots of voices warning that what he was saying was just not going to be a true or a lie or mendacious or whatever synonym you want to use. and that's not the only mischaracterization. your premiums are going to be higher, and your coverage is going to be worse. you would think at a certain point, politics aside, that people would get tired to by being lied to by people in positions of power whether that's the president, the head of the nas, the attorney general, but we had an election a couple years ago, and the calls in part, he perpetrated this myth, he was re-elected. >> and speaking of myths being
perpetrated and this administration responding in peculiar ways, marilyn tavvenner, the centers for medicaid and medicaid services basically telling the congressmen of the united states to go to hell. she would not respond as to how many people had been enrolled under healthcare.gov. we have no idea because this administration obviously has ordered -- this president has ordered agency heads and to sto congress of the united states. >> yeah, lou. and it is amazing coming from someone who promised to be the most transparent administration since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. and you have fast and furious and benghazi and the nsa and the irs and now the obama care rollout where committees of congress, an equal branch of government that has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight can't get what all to be available which is how many people have enrolled?
>> absolutely. conforming to the administration's method of operation. it's clear whether any one of the scandals that you mentioned, and others, this administration chooses silence, chooses to stonewall, and will not respond to either congress or the american people. only now in the last, i would say, 48 hours, congressman, we're seeing elements of the national liberal media actually break ranks with a president and an administration with which they've been not compliant but complicit over the course of his years in office. >> i think the infatuation is slowly wearing off. it only took 5 1/2 years, but it's slowly wearing off. look, people are going to be hurt by this law. and there were voices that warned of that back in 2010, and there are being consistent voices since then. and again, politics aside, when it comes to getting a job or having your hours cut or being
told that you're going to be able to keep your coverage if you like it or keep your doctor if you like it, you find out that that's not true. i mean, i heard from my fellow americans -- you can take the approach and say well, that's what you voted, that's what you get. i hate it when people are misled and then they are left to bear the consequences of it. and keep in mind, executive branch that we've been talking about is not covered by obama care. so they're not going to have to go to this website and spend the next two or three weeks trying to log on. >> nor the staffs and the members of congress. >> right. >> y'all are being fully taken care of as well. i know you didn't mean to overlook that. >> well, i only overlook it because i don't get my health insurance through the government. i may be a minority of one, but i get my health insurance differently from the federal government, but you're right. but go back to that for just a second. i mean, that was kind of the final thing that we asked the president during the shutdown is, we'll restart government. will you just make all of us
play by the same set of rules, and we couldn't even get a vote in the senate. >> the republicans had an opportunity, i think, congressman, to see, in fact, the moral high ground. all the republican caucus had to do is say irrespective of the refusal of the democrats that you would not accept your health care subsidies for obama care. i think that would have been a remarkable gesture on your part. also remarkable, a demonstration in washington, d.c., on immigration. lobbyists showing up from the national association of manufacturing, the chamber of commerce, the folks from microsoft and zuckerberg's operation. to demand amnesty. where are we headed with this? >> well, if their demand is amnesty, they're going to be very disappointed. i think where we're headed is kind of where we were back before the fiscal issues knocked everything else off the map. i've spoke to chairman goodlad who i think is doing a fell ol
natural job from virginia last night. we're going to start having hearings again, and the house is going to pursue a step by step, comprehensive, not throw everything in, not hide stuff in a big bill, a step-by-step process where the viewers, the voters, the people we work for who say this is about agriculture. this is about internal enforcement. this is about the border. and we'll either pass it out of the republican conference because the democrat s are not going to left a finger to help us on house bills. they keep thinking the senate bill is going to come to the house floor. that's not going to happen. so the republicans are going to say what they believe in, and we'll see whether we have 218 votes. >> congressman trey gowdy, good to talk with you. >> thank you. the obama care debacle worsens. a foreign contractor's checkered past includes allegations of fraud, insider trading and sexual abuse. and, of course, a billion-dollar contract from the obama administration.
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on capitol hill today, lawmakers took aim at the latest example of over-the-top agency conferences. in the spotlight now, the department of veterans affairs. the wasteful spending there proving this is no longer an administration, it's a national lampoon misadventure in governance. >> reporter: first we found out the general services administration spent 900,000 taxpayer dollars to throw a lavish las vegas conference. those were the good old days, weren't they, jeff neely? then we learned the irs racked up a $50 million bill for their conferences because nothing helps explain tax fraud better than "star trek" and "gilligan's island." now the department of veterans affairs is embroiled in its own scandal. spending more than $6 million on
two conferences in orlando in 2011. and of course, they had to produce a video featuring v.a. employees dancing. but while the irs prefers the cupid shuffle, folks at the v.a. like sister sledge. today on the hill, lawmakers weren't happy. >> veterans affairs is a large agency with deep pockets. yes, it's a large agency with deep pockets. but those pockets were not intended to be picked by either contractors that were likely unnecessary or, in fact, people who we held accountable and paid to be accountable to the taxpayers. >> reporter: and what was the v.a. production budget for this video? well, they had $50,000 to make this spoof of patton. that at a time when the v.a. had a backlog of more than 700,000 disability claims, more than 125
days overdue. another obama care contractor under fire for its questionable track record. the british firm charged with processing paper application serco faces allegations of fraud, wasteful spend rgs, even sexual assault. joining, jillian k. melcher, fellow at the franklin center for public integrity and the author of the report. great to have you with us. >> thank you for having me. >> serco. what in the world is a british firm being -- i mean, why bring in a british firm for a billion-dollar contract? >> that's an excellent question. >> that's why i started to it. >> i don't have an answer to it. it's pretty shocking that they ended up getting the contract with the record they have. they haven't done a particularly good job with it. they're under investigation for several different things including falsifying records, maybe overbilling the british government biy millions and millions of dollars. and in detention centers they
run, there have been allegations. i find their record astonishing. >> and we really have no idea in the world why they chose serco other than the fact that its vast experience with the national health service in the uk. >> well, there's a cynical explanation for this. and that's that they spent very heavily on lobbying and political contributions leading up to when they got the contract. so they spent, in the last couple years, more than a million dollars. and one of the lobbyists that they hired had actually worked very hard on the health law. switched to the private sector. and then while he was lobbying for serco ended up getting investigated for insider trading. >> i mean, this is mark hayes. >> mark hayes, correct. >> and where is that investigation today? resolved? >> you know, i couldn't find out. i think it might still be pending. i never got a definitive answer on this. but i think it goes to show how much money was involved in the lobbying and an effort to secure this track record or this contract even if they didn't have the best track record for it.
>> it's stunning. and we're seeing this time after time after time. the contracting is out of control in this government. and it seems to -- it doesn't seem to matter much which agency. what are your thoughts? >> well, i think it's a little bit shocking to me because the british press has done a phenomenal job reporting on this company and sort of the troubles that they've managed to get themselves into. you can find out with the click of a mouse. this story didn't take me that long to pull together. and the fact that no one in the obama administration noticed that they were potentially overbilling the government, that they were potentially engaging in fraudulent behavior, i just -- there's a disconnect there. >> there are a lot of disconnects, i'm beginning to notice in washington, d.c. thanks so much. great to have you with us. >> thank you. up next, the brand-new book "days of fire" laying out the relationship between president obama and vice president cheney. upending much of what has become
new jersey governor chris christie scoring a huge endorsement in his bid for re-election. take a listen. >> i don't endorse many politicians, but chris christie is different. he's a good man. excuse me. he's a great man. please join me in supporting chris christie for governor. >> shaquille o'neal and newark native in addition to being, of course, an nba legend. now let's turn to a fascinating new book. which takes an inside look at the white house under president bush and his vice president, dick cheney. the administration my next
guest, joining us now the author, "new york times" chief white house correspondent peter baker, the author of this brand-new book "days of fire, bush and cheney in the white house." i just want to say, peter, what a terrific read, and i haven't finished it all, but i think -- i can say this with absolute assurance. what a terrific job at giving us an insightful look at two men who are too often painted in cardboard poses. so welcome to the broadcast. congratulations on the book. >> thank you very much. >> i've got to ask you, how did you write such a bookworking for "the new york times"? can i do that? >> well, look. you know, i think it was important to go back and look at this presidency and try to look at things we didn't see at the time. you know what we discover when we look back is that when we cover things, we get 5% to 15% of what's going on.
this is a chance at peeling back the onion, looking for things that surprise us. i think what surprises us about the bush/cheney white house, it wasn't the cartoonish version that a lot of people have. this book tries to puncture some of the mythology, give a fully realized, three-dimensional review of what those eight years were like. >> this is primarily for the audience. i just want you to know, in this book, which i recommend to you highly, "days of fire," peter, i mean, you portray president bush as a man of intelligence, of considerable concern and honest care for the country, and there is no caricature here at work at all, even as you discuss polarizing figures like dick cheney, without question, donald rumsfeld. every person comes out with their due, whether condoleezza rice, all of the principal figures, and i just want to complement you for doing so. >> thank you. >> i just think it's a terrific, terrific read.
and i love the analysis that you bring to the issue of the war itself, and particularly colin powell's moment of fame, if you will, before the united nations in february of 2003. how was -- give us, if you will, your sense of how much he was used by the administration and how much was his own weakness and vanity to be at the center of the moment? >> no, it's very interesting, right? he obviously was, you know, a square peg in a round hole in that administration. and it's interesting because he worked so closely with dick cheney in the first gulf war, the pentagon, and they obviously had significant differences in the first term of the second bush administration. in fact, at one point richard armitage, the deputy secretary state to colin powell urged him to resign saying look, they're just using you for cover for when they do things that might
otherwise be seen as polarizing. colin powell didn't want to do that. he believed in being a good soldier. he tried to slow the march to war to iraq, but he never actually flat out opposed it. when the president said to him, okay, i'm ready, are you going to be with me? he said, "yes, sir." i think that was a scarring moment for him, the u.n. presentation that turned out to be full of intelligence that didn't pan out. but, you know, i think for all these people, you mentioned treating them as humans. i think they are human beings who tried to do what they thought was the best. we can all agree or disagree with their points of view. i think they were doing what they thought was the best thing for the country. and we need to look back at why things happen and how they happen, and we can judge from there. >> journalists too often covering of the white house, covering politics in washington have given short thrift to the bush administration's contribution to sending reinforcements in 2007 and altering the course of the
events, at least the direction they were headed before those reinforcements. and the role of hank paulson, the treasury secretary, in moving forward with t.a.r.p. if you listen to some of these journalists and some of this aaministration, most would say this is an idea that president obama thought up just as he walked in the door back in 2009. it's really an amazing time in which the president, president bush, made a real difference. >> well, he did. both of those decisions are critical decisions to his presidency. he goes against the prevailing conventional wisdom. he goes against all political, you know, logic to some extent, sending more troops was opposed at the time. not just by democrats but even by a lot of republicans. even by the secretary of state who he valued a great deal, condoleezza rice. and he decided this was a thing he had to do anyway. it was a very daring decision and similarly with t.a.r.p. even the republicans in the
house very much against it. >> peter baker, he is the author of "days of fire." we recommend it to you. it's available online, in bookstores all over the world. thanks for being with us, peter. >> hey, thanks for having my customers can shop around-- see who does good work and compare costs. it doesn't usually work that way with health care. but with unitedhealthcare, i get information on quality rated doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me, and my guys, make better decisions. i don't like guesses with my business, and definitely not with our health. innovations that work for you. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. so i can reach ally bank 24/7, but there ar24/7.branches? i'm sorry, i'm just really reluctant to try new things. really? what's wrong with trying new things? look! mommy's new vacuum! (cat screech) you feel that in your muscles? i do... drink water.
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