tv CNN Newsroom CNN August 12, 2009 9:00am-11:00am EDT
new! nutrisystem d. lose weight. live better. call or click today. continuing the conversation on today's stories, go to cnn.com/am fix. that's going to do it for us. >> hope to see you back here tomorrow. "cnn newsroom" with heidi collins continues. voices raised on both sides of the health care debate. we're cutting through the noise to find out what is possible and what's not in reform. the president says aarp is on-board with reform legislation. the seniors group says, not so fast. and despite high unemployment, a number of economists say the recession is over. cnn money team puts this new report into perspective. good morning, everybody. i'm heidi collins. it is wednesday, august 12th. and you are in the "cnn
newsroom." this morning, as you know, it is make-or-break month for health care reform. we have our reporters all across the country to listen to what you have to say. in fact, our candy crowley is covering senator charles grass ryly's town hall massing. she's in iowa this morning. we'll take you there in just a moment. cnn's jim acosta is looking at the president's fight now to get his health care message out and whether or not that message has changed at all. he'll answer his critics as well. then our dr. sanjay gupta is actually taking some of your questions. health care reform and your college students. what you need to know. we'll get to all of that. first we begin in iowa where a leading republican faces the prospect of a long day and short tempers. senator chuck grassley is holding four town hall meetings on health care reform. senior political correspondent candy crowley is in winter set. candy, once again this could get pretty heated.
>> it could. but remember, first of all, that i was pretty used to political debate, that senator grassley has been around the u.s. senate for three decades, been around iowa a lot longer. he's a farmer here, native of iowa. he says he's been to -- hosted about 2,800 town hall meetings over the course of his senate career. so he's seen a lot and he's seen a lot of heated debates. he said last night he was talking on a local tv station that he's not worried that he actually sort of enjoys the give-and-take. he is a bit of a target simply because he is part of that small group in the senate finance committee, he is the ranking republican in senate finance that's trying to come up with a plan for the senate side. it is the last committee that has yet to pass out anything. so he's really in the thick of it. so we expect that he will get some very pointed questions. but also some friendly questions because after three decades,
they pretty much like him. >> they know who he is, definitely. grassley has taken some criticism already for his work on health care reform. republicans say it could cause him to face a primary in 2010. what do you think about that? >> well, it's certainly possible. because that's the problem when you're trying in the u.s. senate, whether you're a republican or democrat, to find that sweet spot in the middle, in the moderate middle where you think you can get something through the senate. now if he should come up with something deemed as too liberal by some of those in iowa, republicans in iowa, certainly he'll face a challenge. but again this is a fairly moderate state. it has swung democratic presidentially for some time. certainly there is always that risk that you can run but senator grassley has been in the thick of a lot of things with the reagan budget deficit. he said he's pretty much a veteran of these sorts of political fights. >> we will continue to check in
with you and see what happens there certainly. candy crowley for us in iowa this morning, thanks, candy. president obama is at the white house today but it's a little more than a pit stop. later this week he's going to be heading west for town hall meetings similar to the one he held yesterday in new hampshire. cnn's jim acosta is in portsmouth with more on the pr offensive that's underway. jim, how is the president's town hall compared to some of the congressional town halls in the news? >> heidi, here's in new hampshire. candy was in iowa. is this 2008? >> all over again, right? >> yeah. the president's town hall was more subdued. perhaps it was the air conditioning at the high school. it was much more raucous, rowdy outside of that event. the president had the advantage of secret service protection. a lot of people had to go past those wands as they were going into the event. there was a huge police presence outside. in fact, the police were so effective in keeping the crowd
under control yesterday that they actually had separated supporters of health care reform to one side of the street, and opponents of health care reform on the other side of the street, something i have never seen before. there was even a gentleman there who was carrying a handgun at his side. he was not hiding this. it was out in the open. police talk to him, he showed his permit, said he had permission from the church he was standing in front of to be there. the police allowed this gentleman to continue carrying his handgun during this event yesterday outside where crowds were gathering. so the police had a pretty good handle on all of this and it managed to keep things under control. having said that, they got very rowdy at times outside of the event. we were there and saw some pushing and shoving and that sort of thing going on, lots of shouting, lots of chanting, lots of those signs that seem to have some pretty horrendous messages on them. when you consider they're addressing the president of the united states. but all in all, it was much more subdued than a lot of these congressional town hall meetings. >> i do wonder though, what is the white house strategy with
these town halls? >> well, you know, they had hoped to recalibrate their message this week. they hoped to get away from talking about expanding coverage to those 46 million, 47 million americans who don't have health care. they wanted to change the message from talking about that too much to talk about health insurance reform. you'll see on the white house website, they are talking about health insurance reform. they want to make it clear to people who already have insurance changes could be under way and this reform plan could perhaps make their own health insurance even better, eliminate this thing of pre-existing conditions, eliminating people from health care role whose don't have because of pre-existing conditions. but unfortunately, yesterday the president had to talk about death panels and whether or not they would pull the plug on grandma. obviously their message has gotten lost and a lot of these raucous, rowdy debates and some of the rhetoric coming out of those debates. >> i guess when you hold a town
hall you have to be prepared for what it is the people want to be asking questions about. we'll be seeing a whole lot more of them. jim acosta for us this morning in portsmouth, new hampshire. thank you. with so many people saying so many things about health care reform, what's the real story? josh levs has been working on that very big question. he's trying to sort fact from fiction now. hi there, josh. >> it is a lot of pages of reading. picking up right there from what jim was just saying, do any of the bills anywhere in all that paperwork say anything even remotely close to a death panel? also, where does the aarp actually stand on all this? all the facts coming up. >> we'll check back in a little while. turning to the economy, the stock market's been climbing. layoffs easing. and the housing market a bit more encouraging. does this mean the recession may finally be wipeding down? here with some perspective, christine romans from the cnn money team. i'm always very hesitant to say
that, but some economists are saying it. >> we should be hesitant, frankly. you're right to be. because there are a lot of dangers still lurking out there. the "wall street journal" and bloomberg news of economists said. "wall street journal" surveyed 52 economists, 27 of them said it is already over, the recession is already over and the economy is growing. 11 said, look, if it's not growing right now, it will be neck month or the month after that. a majority of them think that things are moving in the right direction. bloomberg survey said that you'll see four quarters of economic growth of 2% or more. that's definitely a recovery if they are right. is the recession over? we've seen from the gdp it has been leveling off. in the "wall street journal," they're expecting 2.4% growth in the current quarter. unemployment though could still climb to 10% or higher. most economists agree that could still happen even if you see the economy starting to recover, the
unemployment rate's still going to keep rising. two things keep rising even in a recovery, joblessness and the budget deficit. also the s&p 500. you mention the stock market is starting to do better. it may have actually anticipated what economists are saying right now. the s&p 500 has already bounced off its lows. but look at that chart, you can see that even today it is still well below where it was when this recession began. even if you do succeed in climbing out of the recession, you still have not clawed back your losses in stocks. >> what he said about job losses, and unemployment, obviously still a lot to look at here. later today i know we expect news on interest rates. some federal reserve -- what are we going to be looking for in. >> we'll be looking to see what the federal reserve has to say about whether there is economic growth right now, whether they think it is coming in the near term, and just what kind of efforts have been undertaken to get this economy moving toward a recovery if there is anything
new or further that they're going to do. they aren't expected to move interest rates. they're expected to keep them quite low here. it is going to be what they say about trying to juice the economy and help the recovery along that will be important. you know, the fed chief ben bernanke, heidi, his term expires, he has to be reappointed to this term. the "wall street journal" survey, most of the economists said they'd like to see him stay on for continuity sake and because they say overall -- couple of missteps but overall they say he's done a good job. >> christine romans, thank you. to afghanistan now. a taliban-held town for years. but today u.s. marines launched an operation to take it over. we'll explain why the assaults are going on now. i'm rob marciano in the cnn severe weather center. while felicia fizzled toward the hawaiian islands, we have another tropical depression in the atlantic. we'll talk about that when cnn news comes right back.
but dna evidence shows he wasn't there. instead, they killed a suspected accomplice they say was involved in last month's deadly bombing at the marriott and ritz-carlton hotels in jakarta. it is believe the terrorist was behind those attacks and several other bombings, including in bali in 2002 that killed more than 200 people. a u.s. marine operation to take over a taliban-controlled town is now under way in southern afghanistan. night scope video shows helicopter dropping marines into hiding. early this morning. taliban fighters responded with small arms, mortar and robert-propelled grenade fire. marines were also met with enemy fire as they fought for control of the mountains surround iing e area. coalition forces are trying to protect voting sites around the country ahead of next week's election. we'll be talk with our correspondent there on the ground who is standing by.
we'll get to her as soon as possible. meanwhile, rob marciano's standing by right now to give us more information about what's swirling and whirling around in the atlantic. >> way out there. not a huge concern but heading in the general direction of the caribbean and also the u.s. tropical depression number two. hard to believe we're in the middle of august and we've only seen two tropical depressions. haven't seen our first named storm yet. when this happened it will be at least the latest time we've seen a named storm in a decade. a late start to the season, no doubt about it. this thing hasn't strengthened too much in the last 24 hours, winds at 35 miles an hour and gusting to 45. its movement is westerly. it should be to tropical storm strength in the next 24 to 36 hours. west-northwesterly movement toward the caribbean and the u.s., but still very far away. let's talk about felicia.
about to make an inroad there to maui and some other islands there. very, very weak, fizzling out here. cooler waters, it's been dealing with sheer. they didn't drhave dropped the warnings and watches for the eye land. 107 in phoenix. temperatures for the most part will be seasonal. 83 expected in d.c. 81 in new york city. where are you going to see most of the action as far as thunderstorms go? across the southeast. that's where we saw it yesterday. that's where the real hot, humid air is. that's where you'll see thunderstorms bubble up in the afternoon. that would include places like atlanta. when you head home this afternoon, heidi, you may have to dodge a couple of raindrops. >> headed on a little vacation. >> i don't think anyone's going to feel sorry for you. >> you'll have that next time
around. check back with you later. you may have run into this yourself. your college student reaches a certain age and is no longer covered by your insurance. now, could that change under health care reform? we'll take a look at it in a moment. (announcer) illness doesn't care where you live... ...or if you're already sick... ...or if you lose your job. your health insurance shouldn't either. so let's fix health care. if everyone's covered, we can make health care as affordable as possible. and the words "pre-existing condition" become a thing of the past...
next thursday's vote marks afghanistan's second-ever direct presidential election. more on efforts to protect voters. we've been talking about this for a while. a lot of polling stations to be looking at across this country. what specifically are they doing? >> reporter: they're trying to go into villages that have been under strong taliban control for years, if not since 2001. they're trying to secure the areas so they can help the afghan citizens feel comfortable enough to go out and vote. the latest that we're seeing is in helmand province, a province where thousands of u.s. marines have been flooding into this summer trying to secure and hold areas. now they've gone to a northwestern district, 80 days before the election. they are saying that they are in the efforts of securing but at the same time, in eight days the afghan people may not feel more comfortable enough to go out and
vote. heidi? >> i guess that would be the major concern. no matter what they say about security, that they're able to put into place, are they really going to be able to make people feel safe enough to go ahead and vote? >> reporter: well, when it comes to places like helmand province, kandahar province, southern afghanistan, some of the most volatile regions in afghanistan, we have to remember that there have been coalition troops there. coalition troops have gone to these villages that have gone back to taliban control and right now the afghan people are distrustful that the coalition troops are actually there to stay and help them. so no, they probably won't go out and vote because they don't know if the coalition troops will stay. if they leave again, they say they will go under the wrath of the taliban again and they don't want to take that chance but upsetting them if they do come back into power. >> there's only eight days to turn things around, if you will. of course we'll be watching very, very closely.
thank you. back to health care now. when it comes to health care reform, most people simply want to know will i be covered. our insider, cnn's chief medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon dr. sanjay gupta here now to help us clarify some things. want to get straight to what this college student actually said at the president's town hall meeting yesterday. let's listen. >> hi, dr. gupta. i'm david morris from portland, maine. i'd like to know if under obama's insurance reform plan if students like me who turn 25 and can't be on their parents' insurance anymore while they are full-time students will be covered. >> that's a great question. interesting to see how many college students of all sorts are showing up at these town halls as well. a remarkable thing. first looking at some numbers, when you talk about the number of uninsured, around 46 million seems to be a number a lot of people agree on.
about 13 million of those 46 million are young people between the ages of 18 and 29. this is a growing sort of -- fastest growing group of uninsured in the country. david sort of falls in that sweet spot. he's 25, still in college, about to be dropped. what happens with someone like him? we've asked that same question of folks in the white house. they've given us a checklist of things they think might be able to help someone like david or lots of other students in his position. extend the plan until age 26. right now it is around 25. extend it about a year. possibly qualify for medicaid as well. people have to make less than a certain percentage above the poverty line. typically $16,000 or less a year. if you work at a part-time job or something you might qualify for medicaid even as a young person. i thought number three was interesting, if you're a young person you focus on prevention and focus on things that may be different than an older person focuses on. that might be an option as well, to try to get them some basic health insurance, they aren't
dropped completely and have no safety net. >> 13 million. huh? >> and the fastest growing. >> yeah, definitely. some critics though that are out there are calling this demographic, this group, sort of the young invincible, saying that they can actually afford health care but they choose not to be covered. is that the real issue? >> in part, it is. we had to crunch some numbers to get it out. they're called the young invincibles because they think nothing will happen to them. why should they have health care insurance? 45% of these people who fall under this category have jobs and could actually afford health care insurance. that's something a lot of people are focused on. keep in mind despite the fact they're going to be healthier because they're younger, they have the highest rates of pregnancy, something that often requires a hospitalatioizatiohoo 70% of deaths are caused by trauma in this particular group. it goes to be suddenly healthy to a suddenly catastrophic
place. we talked to a bike messenger? that's a potentially dangerous job. he's been hit by a car, he's someone who's actually had problems, car doors opening, despite all those injuries he says it's still better for me not to have health care insurance. i'm still not buying it. i simply can't afford it. these plans might be able to help someone like him. but again it comes down to money. how to pay for it. >> do people even know that those type of plans are out there? >> some these sort of more basic plans for younger people without health problems, a lot of those haven't really existed yet the way they're being crafted now. and they don't exist now. we're still talking about a hypothetical. but when you look at this house bill, this idea of creating a plan that focuses on prevention, focuses on the things that young people might need is an idea that's being floated out there. it would be cheaper but cover less. >> obviously you deal with a lot of trauma. >> that's right.
>> well sanjay, we sure do appreciate that, our insider. that's just it, can't afford health insurance? the spiraling cost of premiums leaves a retired insurance agent without insurance. his story coming up in his own words. and an environment in balance. between consuming less and conserving more. there is one important word: how. and it is the how that makes all the difference. to the planet we all share.
it's a day wall street has been waiting for. today is the day for the federal reserve's decision on interest rates. stephanie elam is at the new york stock exchange with a preview of the trading day. we don't expect a whole lot to happen, do we? >> no, we don't expect a whole lot. we're still going to wait because that's what we do. this is what we do every time this comes out, 2:15 eastern time on fed day. we get that news about what's going to happen. but right now we really just expect a flat open. a lot can change once the fed decision comes out here. fed's key interest rate is likely to stay near zero but what investors really want to see is the statement that comes
along with it to get inside the minds of those in the fed to figure out what they're saying an why they've kept things the same or changed it. it will give us an idea how policymakers view the economy and what they plan to do down the road. all of this comes after a "wall street journal" study shows most economists relieve the recession has ended. a new report from the housing market is giving hope that that may be true. toll brothers says orders for new homes rose 3% in the first quarter marking the first year over year increase in three years. toll shares are up about 9.5%. jpmorgan chase is trying to make some extra cash. the "wall street journal" says the bank is looking to sell 23 office properties in what could be the nation's biggest real estate sale this year. the properties san from new york to texas to washington, all around. the sales could actually raise more than $1 billion. with all of that in mind, let's look at early numbers. right now, pretty flat but
mixed. dow on the downside by 15, 9228. nasdaq up one point. s&p 500 dancing right below the flat line. maybe people are more interested in what they're saying about the recession being over and speculation about that. but it is important to point out that's one of those rear-view mirror items that after we're through it, we turn around and go, oh, yeah, it's done. keep that in mind. there is hope out there. >> very good point. we're watching all of those numbers. stephanie elam -- thanks so much. away from washington and the pundits and the spin, our ali velshi's on the road with cnn express in this make-or-break month for health care reform at his latest stop, ali through together a town hall style meeting of his own without the town hall. >> reporter: we're here in paducah, kentucky. we are hearing different things from people wherever we're going. i haven't found too many people around here who are opposed to
reforming health care. >> i'm for the idea but i don't think that congress and the president has done a good job of disseminating information. i'm just hearing a lot of flack and not a lot of meat and potatoes. >> what about you? >> i think right now we have a lack of choice. health care is expensive. i mean the average cost of the coverage i found more often than not are more expensive than the actual care. i would think any viable choice would be better than what we've got now. >> what do you think? >> my understanding, there is about 48 million people that's not covered. those people need to be -- >> my husband are 2 of the 47 million-plus that don't have health care. i'm not talking insurance. of course we don't have insurance, but i want health care. my husband has diabetes and he just had a bout with cancer. what insurance company's going to cover us? there aren't any. if i get sick today, where do you think i'm going? i'm going to the emergency room. who's that costing? that's costing us, the taxpayers. if it is going to cost my bottom line, if they have to tax me
more in order to get health care? tax me, tax me, tax me. i am willing to pay. >> whatever million you want to use people who aren't insured, what's your thought on that? >> i would really love to drive a hummer. they're cool cars. i can't afford one so i don't drive one. i drive what i can afford. >> oh, my god. i can't believe you're saying that people don't deserve health care if they can't afford it. >> where did i say that? >> that's what i here you saying. >> you're not listening, heather. >> you did say you'd like to buy a bummer but you can't buy a hummer because you can't afford it. you're saying you can't afford the hummer, you don't drive it. if you can't afford health care, you shouldn't get it? >> no, no. i'm saying you have the basic stuff, you get a catastrophic illness, in a car crash, an accident, something like that happens, of course you get coverage for that. >> heidi, that was just a little bit of the conversation. it went on for a while. you can see an extended version of it on cnnmoney.com. we're leaving paducah now, going into illinois. we'll stop a little later on in
the morning. people can stop and tell us their concerns. we're going to keep on having this discussion with americans about their concerns and their fears about health care. heidi? >> all right, ali, great. appreciate that. while on the road in new hampshire the president mentioned aarp was backing a health care reform bill. our josh levs is looking beyond what he and others are saying on that in order to get the facts. he joins us now. what's the deal here, josh? >> it is interesting. i'll tell you what, let's go straight to what the president said yesterday. >> we have the aarp on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors. aarp would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining medicare. >> but actually the aarp has now responded to that. they said we're not endorsing. i have a quote right here. they say while the president was correct the aarp will not endorse a health care reform bill that would reduce medicare
benefits, indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in congress are inaccurate." they go on to say -- they do say that they share the president's commitment to act this year. they say our members appreciate his insistence that any final reform package will not reduce medicare benefits." you can see there clearly has been some support for some ideas but they are making clear this morning, heidi. >> obviously seniors a very big part of all of the health care reform -- a large, large demographic. then you looked at some claims made by the white house or the president himself. you are also following claims coming from republicans? >> yes, we're following both sides. let's zoom in on the computer behind me. first, cnnpolitics.com factcheck.org had the aarp story
first. politifact.com, saying seniors and the disabled will have to stand in front of obama's death panel so his bureaucrats can decide based on the subjective judgment of their level of productivity in society whether they are worthy of health care. they've done an analysis of the incredibly massive bill and let's go straight to a graphic from what they are saying. they say it is definitely not what president barack obama or any other democrat has proposed. they go on to say that there is no panel in any version of the health care bills in congress that judges a person's level of productivity in society to determine whether they are worthy of health care. they also add this -- it gets to the larger point here -- they say conservatives might make a case that palin's justified in fearing that the current reform could one day morph into such a board. first, it is important to look at the facts. obviously. but also you and i have talked about this, so much of what we're hearing -- attacks on both
sides and claims -- is predicted. right? this is what will happen in a year or five years or ten years. we don't even have a merged bill yet, let alone one bill for the president, let alone any legitimate predictions of what that bill might do. a lot of people with a lot of predictions and fears. you can't fact check those. >> no, you can't. it certainly raises a lot of points for discussion though in this very, very long battle. we know you're on top of it. appreciate it, josh levs. thank you. a retired insurance agent worked in the insurance business for 35 years. he's retired now and can no longer afford the kind of insurance he sold for a living. in his own words. >> well, i started as an agent in 1967 at the age of 23. i was an insurance agent for 35 years. i loved the business because it rewarded you for the effort. over the years of my career i saw the coverage get more expensive, but you got less.
here's my tax return from 2002. our medical expense that year, a month, was $960. now i go to 2007, and the cost came out to $1,990 a month. that's almost $24,000 that year because we could no longer afford that kind of cost. we did the unthinkable, we dropped our insurance. >> it's a little scary not to go to the doctor, you think maybe, well i should have this checked. >> we finally got her coverage. it was around $500 a month. not a very good plan. >> still today, with changing my deductibles, higher deductibles every year an still costs keep going up, up, up. >> it took a huge chunk of our income. >> we cut way back on most all of our expenses. we just don't do the things we used to do. not knowing and not knowing that you could lose everything if something happened, that's what was scary about it. >> i feel very nervous and uneasy about that and i shouldn't be. i shouldn't have to feel that
way. in my senior years i should be able to feel secure. >> we had planned so many years for our retirement and to be able to do things and travel and spend time with our grandchildre grandchildren. fy get in trouble with the law i have a right to an oern. i should have a right to health insurance, affordable health insurance. there's something wrong with that picture. >> a lot of people discussing health care reform. a lot of them are really taking their concerns to some of these town hall meetings that i'm sure you have seen in the media. they're taking place across the country. our question for you today -- would you go to one of those town hall meetings if you could and why or why not? go ahead and send it in, cnn.com/heidi. then just post your comments there. you see a little synopsis of the story we're looking at today.
a los angeles area prison is still locked down days after a riot injured around 200 inmates. here are some of the first pictures now of the destruction caused by the saturday riots in chino, california. corrections officials think racial tensions sparked the riots. 11 inmates are still hospitalized.
around 1,100 others are now in other facilities. california has been dealing with heavy overcrowding at prisons. at chino, they had 5,900 inmates but the prison was only built to hold 3,000. a u.s. soldier is in custody in el paso, texas today. police say he was the hitman in the shooting death of an official in a mexican drug cartel. cnn's ed lev dara has the story. >> reporter: 18-year-old michael jackson apodaca still wearing his military uniform, in handcuffs and charged with capital murder. police say he fired the shot that killed this man three months ago. outside his home in an upscale el paso neighborhood. the shooting victim was a mid-level member of the juarez drug cartel but also an informant for american federal agents. >> we do feel that this was retribution for the fact that
the deceased person had pretty much gotten the person in trouble in juarez, he was arrested by federal authorities over there, and so consequently this was retribution for that arrest. >> reporter: according to court documents, apodaca was hired to carry out this hit and paid by reuben rodriguez, a member of the juarez cartel. court documents say he ordered the murder because the juarez cartel discovered the victim was talking to american authorities. >> i want to stress that this was a pay-back situation and not an ongoing type of battle like y you see in mexico right now. whole lot different. though it can be considered to some degree as spillover, you don't look at it in the same way. >> reporter: officials at ft. bliss in el paso, say michael apodaca joined the army a year
ago. his family doesn't believe the charges against him. >> he was in the top of his class. he talked to all of his sergeants. he's a good soldier. now before he went in, he was in with a bad crowd. >> cnn's ed lavendera joins us now live with more. ed, any other arrests expected in this case? >> there is, we understand, one other arrest expected. we've asked if that's prapg going to be another member of the military. we've been told that that does not appear to be the case at this point. >> all right, let us know if you learn more about that situation. ed lavendera for us this morning. want to get to this. just a few minutes ago we received the new video here of justice sonia sotomayor, supreme court justice, after her confirmation on saturday. arriving at the white house where she will be attending a reception for her. it is going to happen around 10:15. about a half-hour from now held by the president and the first
lady. going to take place in the east room. just wanted to show you these pictures of her arriving. once again you see there, supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. also this now to show you, pretty incredible pictures, in taiwan right now, a massive rescue effort going on. in fact, 103 people are dead. dozens believed still missing and thousands are either stranded or displaced across parts of the island. typhoon morakot caused the worst flooding in 15 years. rob marciano joining us now with more on this extreme weather. man, the video's unbelievable. >> the amount of rain that they got is unbelievable. over 100 inches in spots in just a few days. enough rain to cover up yao ming's head.
to use chinese vernacular, and them some. when you have that a water, especially in mountainous areas, you've got problems. we had similar worries when hurricane felicia was heading toward hawaii. thought it would be strong enough to maybe squeeze out a lot of moisture. going to get some rain. here's the center of it. just a remnant low at this point. that's good news with felicia. just some rain showers, maybe some breezy conditions across the hawaiian islands today. back in the lower 48, cool front coming across the northwest. then this front across the southeast will be the focal point for seeing showers an thunderstorms pop up throughout the afternoon. some of these will create heavy downpours. yesterday we had thunderstorms pop up from florida, back through oklahoma, into the southeast an even the northeast up through parts of new hampshire which saw 2 1/2, 3 inches of rainfall. just about anybody at any time
will see those showers pop up. when we do, they'll be pretty heavy. the new york area for the most part will be rain-free today. just a slight chance. showers across the lower anticipa appalachians and northern georgia. 95 in dallas. could be worse today. 89 in kansas city. 86 in atlanta. 81 in new york city. back to the west, 105 expected in vegas. 107 in phoenix. 82 for our friends waking up in los angeles. i think we should have some video, heidi, of the perseid meteor showers? >> let's! >> have you ever seen a shooting star? >> i have seen a shooting star. made a wish upon it. >> that got you this job working with me. >> yes! how did you know? that is exactly what i wished for. right now i'm wishing for the video. >> apparently we're not getting it. >> it was a good tease.
zplil's tell you this, the perseid meteor showers happen every year, this time of year. they peaked last night but tonight should be a good show as well. check them out. get away from city lights, go up on a hill with a blanket and look up to the stars. >> you're such a romantic. >> quite romantic, yes. >> so we'll see that video tomorrow. very good. rob marciano. corporate jet controversy. congress now changing the plan abandoning their idea of adding new luxury planes nobody wanted. . and zyrtec® starts... relieving my allergies... 2 hours faster than claritin®. my worst symptoms feel better, indoors and outdoors. with zyrtec®, the fastest... 24-hour allergy medicine, i promise not to wait as long to go for our ride. zyrtec® works fast,
an uproar over new jets now has congress changing course. they are actually pulling their request for four new planes the pentagon never asked for. the house added $270 million to the defense budget to pay for two gulfstream jets and two larger 737-type aircraft. the gulfstreams are used to feary members of congress. taxpayers will not save any money on this. the $270 million is already approved and will be used for something else. a lot of people taking their health care concerns to the town hall meetings that we have been
covering here all week long and we wanted to know a little bit on what you think on this. would you go to one of those town hall meetings, if you could, and explain why you would or you wouldn't. go to my blog. cnn.com/heidi and host your pauments there. you'll see more about the story or always call the hotline to heidi number, that number 1-877-742-5760. a whole lot going on in the next hour of the "newsroom." let's check in with candy crowley in iowa this morning. >> from site of the first of four town hall meeting that chuck grassley will hold today, it could get lively, so stick with us. >> i'm poppy harlow in new york. here's what we're going to be talking about. 140 square miles of land, could urban farming, could it be the answer for detroit?
we'll have more on that at the top of the hour. very quiet hurricane season in the atlantic, hasn't even started. we have a tropical depression or will it be our first tropical storm? talk about that in the next hour. heidi? also the emotional toll and the danger of search and rescue operations in taiwan. incredible pictures here. cnn takes you to where villages stood before the typhoon.
new sips investigators in the michael jackson case are focusing on his personal physician, dr. conrad murray. they uncovered evidence that he bought propofol from there. more from cnn's ted rowlands. >> reporter: the fifth search warrant in connection in the michael jackson death investigation with dr. conrad murray. this was the doctor that was with jackson at the time of his death. the pharmacy that was raided in
las vegas is the pharmacy where murray was able to purchase propofol or diprivan, that strong drug normally only used by anesthesiologists but a drug another source told cnn dr. murray gave michael jackson in the 24-hour period before his death. this comes on the heels of the coroner saying they have finished their report and they have the toxicology in and a cause of death and they're holding it pending the complosion of the lapd's investigation. we talked to dr. conrad murray's attorney prerepresentative and y have no comment but they stress they continue to cooperate with authorities. >> here's some of the other stories we're watching right now. costa rica's president has the h1n1 flu.
67-year-old president is resting at home this morning but is expected to be back at home next week. 27 people have died from the swine flu in costa rica. president obama welcomes the newest supreme court justs to the white house. here's justice sonia sotomayor arriving a few moments ago. she is the special guest of honor. these are live pictures we're looking at right now. this will all take place in the east room about 15 minutes from now, we understand. sotomayor was confirmed last week and sworn in as the 111th supreme court justice over the weekend. now, secretary of state hillary clinton is in nigeria this morning urging leaders there to crackdown on corruption. she's also talking to religious leaders about recent violence that killed 700 people. nigeria is the fifth stop on clinton's seven-nation tour to africa. >> well, first of all, another
myth that we've been hearing about is this notion that somehow we're cutting your medicare benefits. we are not. >> hey, hey, hey! everybody sit down. everybody sit down. >> to begin this hour in iowa where a leading republican faces the prospect of a long day and short tempers. senator chuck grassley has four town hall meetings on health care reform. candy crowley is in winterset where the first meetings get under way just a few minutes from now. we have seen a lot of fireworks as we just saw on our air and, of course, arlen specter from yesterday at these town hall events seems most of it directed at democrats. to be fair, there are also many of the town hall meetings
happening where there are civilized discussions. you are there with a leading republican. is senator chuck grassley expecting a rough crowd today? >> i don't know if he's expecting a rough crowd, but he's preparing for it. one thing we know is that senator grassley is at the core of the debate now in the u.s. senate because he's the leading republican on the senate finance committee which has been struggling for weeks and even over this break to try to come up with something in the way of health care reform that would be acceptable in the u.s. senate where you need the magic 60 votes. so, certainly he's at the core of this andien withes, as you know, are pretty plugged in politically, even when it's a nonpresidential year. also the other thing about this is that iowa has a population that is holder than average in the u.s. and much of the criticism and much of the angst that we heard has come from senior citizens worried about
medicare and worried about what is in there that might affect their life, their quality of life. a lot of reasons that i expect you will see some very pointed questions. while i've seen rowdy iowa crowds, mostly what i have seen from iowa crowds are good, tough questions, but not craziness, if you will. >> well, i have to wonder and you may not have a great idea about this. i see all the people behind you and i imagine you are talking with some of them about what they plan to say or do, any idea what some of the most common questions will be today for the senator? >> yes, i'm going to ask our other cameraman, floyd, to let you get the drift of people gathering here. they moved this outside, which is great because it is a gorgeous day. it was going to be inside because the venue was going to be too small. some of the points that, in fact, people are worried about and that is, really, the personal points because what we
know is that while most people think health care needs reforming, most of them are also happy with their health care. so, a lot of questions. how is this going to affect my health care? how is this going to affect my pocketbook? will i be force under to a program i don't want to be forced into. we have been hearing a lot lately about end of life decisions and things stuck in these bills and part of the problem we have, heidi, there's no one bill and everybody, i mean, the reason they have judges is they look at the law because people dispute what the law is about and that is doubly true when it is a piece of legislation that people read one thing one way and read it the other way. end of life, what is it going to cost me, are you going to come back on medicare and can i see my own doctor and one thing conservatives want to talk about a lot is how much is this going to cost a nation as a whole. a lot of conservatives who say at this point in the country's
history, we simply can't afford that it's a debt we pass on to our kids and grandkids. >> all major concerns in the thick of it, candy crowley, cnn political correspondent in iowa there this morning. thank you, candy. with congress on recess, the health care debate has moved way outside the beltway now and ali velshi is on the road to find it in the cnn express. paducah, kentucky, good morning to you, ali. >> hey. we left paducah, i last talked to you we were leaving paducah and heading towards east st. louis to missouri. but we had a conversation, we are having a conversation about health care and are calmer and a lot more civil than these town hall meetings. we pulled to paducah and had a
conversation with people about health care. there was a little gazebo by the side and the restaurant across the street and here's a little of what we were told while we were there. >> my husband and i are 2 of the 47 million plus that don't have health care, i'm not talking insurance. i want health care. my husband has diabetes and he just had a bout with cancer. what insurance company is going to cover us? if i get sick today, where do i think i'm going? i'm going to the emergency room. who is that costing? it's costing us the taxpayers. if they have to tax me more in order to get health care, tax me, tax me, tax me. i am willing to pay. >> let's talk about the 47, 48 million number of people who are not insured on this country. >> i would love to drive a hummer, they're cool cars. i can't afford one, so i drive what i afford. >> i can't believe that you're saying that people don't deserve health care if they can't afford
it. >> where did i say that? >> if you can't afford the hummer, you can't drive it. if you can't afford health care you shouldn't get it? >> no, no, no. you have the basic stuff. you have catastrophic illness, a car accident, something like that happens, of course you get coverage that. >> little bit of trouble with the cnn express right there, ali velshi, our signal not so great. if you want to see more of the town hall he held, do that at cnnmoney.com as ali makes his way towards st. louis now. a look at some of the town halls we're monitoring for you. democratic senator arlen specter held one in state college pennsylvania. he had that one yesterday that we had live on our air, a lot of fireworks yesterday. this is day two for him. meanwhile, senator chuck grassley wrapping up another one
soon in winterset, iowa. the president has three more scheduled around the state and steve rothman holds a pair of them in new jersey. another democrat alan boid has two scheduled in florida today. by now, you probably have seen these town halls turn ugly pretty quickly, but are these meetings just turning into places to vent or are americans really taking something away from them? we'll ask three people who were in the crowds recently in our snapshot across america. make sure you catch that coming up at the half hour. now, to southern california where some ranchers are moving their horses and other livestock out as the fire closes in around them. burned more than 32 square miles in santa barbara county fueled by the dry brush in the canyons. more than 1,000 firefighters are trying to contain it, in fact. so dry that parts of texas, farmers are beyond desperate. they started praying for rain and praying to st. isidore, the
patron saint of farming. 32 square miles or 3,200. >> probably 3,200. but praying never hurts, you know. >> definitely not, for rain, obviously. >> i've done it to try to get a forecast right at times. >> showers in the forecast for texas, but not as far south as we probably need them. so, that's the problem here as is the problem in southern california. we're getting rain across the southeast today where it was raining quite a bit yesterday in spots, so, it's kind of hit or miss. where you get it, you get it pretty heavily and these have been known to produce rainfall one, two inches over a couple hours. be aware of that. the new york and northeast, got their fair share of thunderstorms and that action so far has sunk down to the south. the rain showers getting a little bit closer to philly and up towards d.c. and getting to raleigh and north of atlanta and then more spotty as you head towards the gulf of mexico.
let's talk a little bit about the tropics. here's what's going on in the atlantic. tropical depression number two. looks fairly impressive on the satellite imagery. moving west at 12 miles per hour, but still, oh, goodness, about 1,000 miles away from the windward islands. because of that, we're not looking at too much action as far as where this thing is going to go any time too soon. but the national hurricane center has its forecast to become a tropical storm if that happens become the name of anna and that will be pretty darn late to see one develop this late in the season. getting a slow start for sure. official forecasts for this is for it not to become a hurricane, but intensity is always an issue. we'll keep you posted over the next three or four days. 88 degrees expected in memphis and 81 degrees in new york city and back to the west, our friends waking up in san francisco, 69 degrees and for this time of year, heidi, that's pretty toasty. >> that's lovely.
i like it. rob, we'll check back later on. meanwhile, lots of live events we're watching for you coming up this hour in the newsroom. the president hosting a reception for new supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. live pictures out of the east room and we'll check on it there. focus on health care reform, we'll keep a close eye on a town hall meeting just getting under way in iowa. will a leading republican also face public anger? s that make every day special. fancy feast introduces an entirely new way to celebrate any moment. fancy feast appetizers. simple high quality ingredients like wild alaskan salmon, white meat chicken, or seabass and shrimp in a delicate broth, prepared without by-products or fillers.
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we've bhin watching a lot of town hall meetings taking place on health care reform across the country. things have started in iowa, senator chuck grassley. winterset, iowa too, be exact. this is just the first of four different forums that he will be holding in his state. since he holds a key position on capitol hill, things could get heated. we'll keep an eye on it. let's listen in right now. they moved this town hall outside to accommodate more people. let's listen. >> i won half of the process of government and you folks are the most important process, half of the process for representing a government. all of our constituents and you talked to me and you talked to your congressman and your other senators and everything and what you do is you try, you try to,
you try to take what you receive at the grassroots and take it back to washington to do good things. so, we're here to listen. we're here to answer questions and we're here at a time when i sense that people are scared for our country. people are scared for our country and that's why we're having these big turnouts. and i think it's related as much to issues involving health care, but a lot of other issues where people feel that on a fisclial policy and economic policy, that things are not headed in the right direction. so we come here to listen and
i'm going to take a few notes. so, if i'm not looking at you while you talk to me, you know, don't worry about it. i want to write some things down that i get here. i take notes not only for my own benefit, but i take notes, as well, for -- i don't think it will make much difference. we don't have. there's no microphone. okay. then let's go back to the basic issue. there's concern about what's going on in the country and i think that's for the big turnouts. and i think some of you are coming because you're wondering what i feel about health care issue. and i want to discuss that with you, but i also know that a lot
of people -- >> we just wanted to give you a little bit of flavor. we'll continue to monitor this for you as things get under way in winterset, iowa, as the cameras begin to steady because senator chuck grassley getting ready to take up quite a few questions. meanwhile, to this right now. live pictures for you. president barack obama and supreme court justice newly appointed sonia sotomayor. this is a reception for her that is being held in the east room and we know that the president will speak and then she will be making some brief comments after he is finished. let's go ahead and listen in right now. >> all right.
good morning, everybody. welcome to the white house. i am glad all of you could be with us today as we honor the newest member of our highest court, who i'm proud to address for the very first time as justice sonia sotomayor. we are also honored to be joined by justice sonia sotomayor's new colleagues. we have justice ginsburg who is here, as well as justice stev s stevens. so, i just want to thank justice stevens and justice ginsburg not only for being here today, but for your extraordinary service on the court and i know you'll
be giving justice sotomayor some good tips. i also want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to bring us to this day. i want to thank, especially, our jud judiciary chairman senator patrick leahy. as well as our senate majority leader, harry reid for their outstanding work, for their outstanding work to complete this process before the august recess. i want to thank senator schumer both who are justice sotomayor's home state senators. i want to thank all the members of congress who've taken the time to join us here at the white house event. and i want to acknowledge all
the advocates and groups who organized and mobilized and supported these efforts from the very beginning. your work was absolutely critical to our success and i appreciate all that you've done. so, pat yourselves on the back. congratulations. two members of congress that i just especially want to acknowled acknowledge, senator bob menendez who worked so hard on the senate side. and congresswoman vazquez who is our congressional senate caucus. and i think we all want to take a moment to recognize the woman who in so many ways truly made this day possible, justice sotomayor's mother.
mrs. sotomayor is here with her husband, omar, and justice sotomayor's brother, juan, and other members of their family and we're thrilled that they could join us here today. and, by the way, i don't normally do this, but let me also just thank my extraordinary white house staff who helped usher this stuff in. we're very proud of them. thank you very much. of course, we're here not just to celebrate our extraordinary new supreme court justice and
all those who've been a part of her journey to this day, we're here, as well, to celebrate an extraordinary moment for our nation. and we celebrate the impact justice sotomayor has already had on people across america who have been inspired by her exceptional life story. we celebrate the greatness of a country in which such a story is possible. and we celebrate how with her overwhelming vote to confirm justice sotomayor, the united states senate, democrats and republicans tore down yet one more barrier and confirmed our belief that in america the doors of opportunity must be opened to all. with that vote, the senate looked beyond the old divisions and they embraced. they recognize justice sotomayor's intellect, her integrity and her independence of money. her respect for the proper role of each branch of government and
her fidelity to the law in each case she hears and her devotion to protecting core right. in order for government to ensure those rights for all its citizens, government officials must be attempted to the concrete human realities at stake in the decisions they make. they must understand as justice brennan put it, the pulse of life beneath the official version of events. the pulse of life beneath the official version of events. justice sotomayor understands those realities because she witnessed them first hand as a prosecutor, litigator and a judge working up on our laws and keep our community safe and give people the chance to live out their dreams. work that she has done with devotion, with distinction and with an unyielding commitment to giving back to this country that has given her so much.
and she understands these things because she's lived these things. because her life is one of those only in america stories. raised by a single mom in the south bronx, determined to give her every opportunity to succeed. prupo p propelled by the talent and hard work that would earn her scholarships at the best schools in the country and driven by the belief that it doesn't matter where you come from or what you look like or what challenges life throws your way, no dream is beyond reach in the united states of america. with her extraordinary breath and depth of experience, justice sotomayor brings to the court both a mastery of the law and an understanding of how the law actually unfolds in our daily life. its impact on ohow we work and worship and raise our families on whether we have the opportunities we need to live the lives we imagined. that understanding is vital for the work of a supreme court justice.
as justice stevens and justice ginsburg will testify. the work of applying principals set forth that are founding to the cases and controversies of our time. for as visionary as our founders were, they did not presume to know exactly how the times would change and what new questions fate and history would set before us and they sought to articulate ideals that would be timeless and the changing circumstances of our lives and our most sacred rights and freedoms. when justice sotomayor put her hand on that bible and took that oath, we took yet another step towards realizing those ideals. we came yet another step closer to the more perfect union that we all seek. because while this is justice sotomayor's achievement, the result of her ability and determination, this moment is not just about her.
it's about every child who will grow up thinking to him or herself that if sonia sotomayor can make it, then maybe i can do. every mother or father who looks at the sacrifices justice sotomayor's mother made and the successes she and her brother have had and thinks i may not have much in my own life, but if i work hard enough, maybe my kids can have more. about everyone in this nation
facing struggles and challenges in their life who hears sotomayor's story and think physical she can overcome so much and go so far, then why can't i? nearly 80 years ago as the cornerstone was laid for the building that became our supreme court, chief justice hughes declared the republican endures and this is the symbol of its fate. justice sotomayor's rise from the hummable beginnings to rise of achievement is yet another symbol of that faith. faith that the american dream still endures. faith that equal justice under the law is not just an inscription in marble, but an animating ideal of our democracy. faith that in this great nation all things are still possible for all people. this is a great day for america and i know that all of us here are proud and honored to have been a part of it. and, so, with that, i would like to introduce the newest member of the united states supreme court, justice sonia sotomayor.
countless family members starting with mom and my brother and the many friends and colleagues so many of you who are here with me today and the others who aren't, who have helped me to reach this moment. none of this would have happened without all of you. mr. president, i have most heartfelt appreciation for the trust that you've placed in me by nominating me. and i want to convey my thanks to the judiciary committee who led by chairperson leahy for conducting a respectful and timely hearing. and to all members of the senate for approving the president's selection. i am so grateful to all of you for this extraordinary opportunity. i am most grateful to this
country. i stand here today knowing that my confirmation as an associate justice of the supreme court would never have been possible without the opportunity s presented to me by this nation. more than two centuries ago in a constitution that contained fewer than 5,000 words, our founders set forth their vision for this new land. their self-proclaimed task was to form a more perfect union, to establish justice and to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their postearty. they have endured as subsequent generations have expanded those blessings. these rights and freedoms to more and more americans.
our constitution has survived domestic and international tumbles, including a civil war, two world wars and the catastrophe of september 11th. it draws together people of all races, fates and backgrounds from all across this country. who carry its words and values in our heart. it is this nation's faith in a more perfect union that allows a puerto rican girl from the bronx to stand here and now.
i am struck again today by the wonder of my own life. and the life we in america are so privileged to lead-in reflecting on my life experiences, i am thinking also today of the judicial oath of office that i first took almost two decades ago and that i reiterated this past weekend. to judge without respect to what a person looks like, where they come from or whether they are rich or poor and to treat all persons as equal under the law. that is what our system of
justice requires and it is the foundation of the american people's faith in the rule of law and it is why i am so passionate about the law. i am deeply humbled by the sacred responsibility of upholding our laws and safe guarding the rights and freedoms set forth in our constitution. i ask not just my family and friends, but i ask all americans to wish me divine guidance and wisdom in administering my new office. i thank you all again for the love and support you have shown me and i thank president obama and the united states senate for the tremendous honor and privilege they have granted me. thank you. >> thank you. thank you. you're going to be great. best of luck.
>> so president barack obama and supreme court justice sonia sotomayor reception that he and the first lady holding for the newly confirmed justice you see there. we saw her get a little emotional there and i believe that is her mother that she is hugging. very nice, once again, coming from the east room this morning. meanwhile, we are continuing to watch a number of live events happening on this busy morning. to winterset, iowa, where chuck grassley is holding one of four town hall meetings on the health care reform today. we are watching this and continue to check on that throughout the morning for you bringing any sound and questions from the large crowd that has gathered. they had to move things outside
very quickly back to this because we have been watching a number of these town hall meetings taking place across the country, health care reform, obviously, the issue. this one, in particular, as you can tell, being held outside to accommodate the large crowd that has gathered in winterset, iowa. chuck grassley holding the first of four he will tackle today. we've been listening in taking a lot of questions. candy crowley is also there. a lot of people, as you see, taking notes and trying to get as much as they can out of this particular town hall meeting. well, you've seen some of them also get pretty angry and angry crowds pushing and shouting and shoving at the health care town halls. what are they mad about in particular, though? we're looking at what's fact and what's fiction about health care
plans being considered on capitol hill. remember, we don't have a bill yet. it's still being formulated and we have our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen and josh levs on the cnn truth squad today. one of the big questions is, will my employer actually going for the public option? first, we want to listen in to what the president's response was to that question. >> i think private insurers should be able to compete. they do it all the time. i mean, if you think about, if you think about it, you know, u.p.s. and fedex are doing just fine, right? no, they are. it's just the post office that's always having problems. so, right now you've got private insurers who are out there competing effectively, even though a lot of people get their care through medicare, medicaid or d.a.
there is nothing inevitable about this destroying the public marketplace as long as, this is a legitimate point you're raising, it's not set up where the government is basically being subsidized by the taxpayers. >> okay. here's the concern that the president was trying to address just there. some of the plans, including his own say, hey, let's have a government-sponsored health insurance program for people under the age of 65, we already have one of those for people over the age of 65, it's called medicare. the concern is that plan is going to be cheaper. now, usually we think of cheaper as good. here's the worry. the premiums for the government plan will probably be 10% to 20% less than for private plans etna, united and those folks. employers are going to say, wow, 10% to 20% less let's jump on that band wagon and forget the private insurers we're going to go with the government plan. a couple things to say about this. first of all, employers right now don't always go for the
cheapest plan. they can, right, they can buy whatever they wanted. they don't always go for the cheapest plan. often they go for something that is a bit more expensive than what they could get because they want to compete for employees and because maybe they like the slightly more expensive plan. that's one thing to keep in mind here when we're talking about this government-sponsored health insurance plan. >> will all employers be allowed to use this government-sponsored plan or does your company have to be a certain size or make a certain profit or what's up with that? >> that's an excellent point, heidi. not all companies can say, okay, we want the government plan, let's do that. different plans spell it out differently, but there are limitations as to how many companies can jump on that band wagon. for example, under some plans, if you're a larger company, you just can't get this insurance, you have to get a private plan. only small companies can do the government-sponsored plan. all sorts of parameters out there. no, every company just can't jump on the government health
care band wagon, even if they want to. >> understood. elizabeth, thank you for that. also at the town hall meetings that we have been keeping our eye on, we hear claims from people in the crowd, including some assertions that seem to be popping up more and more frequently and josh levs have been looking into some of those, particularly, josh, one they have been bringing up. what is this about? >> we've been hearing it several times and the basic idea, some voters saying they're concerned as far as health reform, the government might have access to their private health accounts. >> on page 58 and 59 of this bill which gives the government access to private individual bank accounts at their free will, i do not think the government has the right to do that. i would think i would have to brush up on my constitution, but i would think that is unconstitutional. i know definitely it's unamerican. >> heidi, let me get you
straight to the major points. we'll go to some graphics. the first thing to understand here. there is a version that the house is looking at that calls on the government to set rules for electronic transitions. but on the next screen we'll show you the means of those, the purpose is to set up standardized payment system business between insurers and the offices of doctors, not private accounts. so, on this last screen you'll see our ruling on this. the truth squad is back with our ruling, determine that to be false because it affects companies in medical billing and does not affect individuals. simply the way the law read right now. as you mentioned a lot of things can change and the truth squad will be around to change that. at cnnpolitics.com and we'll be back as we follow these attacks and claims and assertions on all sides, heidi. >> very good, josh levs, elizabeth cohen, thank you very much. appreciate that, guys. would you actually attend a town hall meeting, if you could. a lot of calls coming in to the
heidi hotline. here's what somebody said, listen. >> i would attend a town hall meeting to make sure that washington understands that we will not put up with them rushing through a bill. >> my husband and i had hoped to go to a town hall meeting and we found ourselves really turned off by the crazy stuff that's been going on in these meetings. >> i wouldn't be interested in attending those meetings. i feel a lot of people do not have the true facts. >> well, that's just it. everybody really searching for the facts in all of this at this point. in fact, we get a lot of responses on our blog, as well. cnn.com/heidi. let's go over to the heidi mac and take a look right here. one of them said, absolutely. again, a response to whether or not you would go to a town hall. i need to know the facts and my opinions need to be heard. i'm sick of hearing all the rhetoric and sound bites. the town hall meeting is the only place to hear at least most
of the truth to be taken with a grain of salt, naturally. then also this one. i would want to go to a town hall meeting. if i am assured there will be intelligent conversation. from what i've seen on tv, questions are not heard or answered. this is a shame. we'll try to do it a little bit differently here. i'm showing you some town hall meetings that have not been as explicit, as well. it is not too late to weigh in. you can go to my blog at cnn.com/heidi or call the hotline to heidi number 1-877-742-5760. in fact, speaking of, we are looking at senator chuck grassley there in winterset, iowa, holding one of four town hall meetings on health care reform that he will be doing today.
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as we are telling you, it is make and break month on health care reform and congress is in recess and with lawmakers going back to their hometowns and listening to their constituents. let's go and listen in for just a moment. senator chuck grassley fielding questions from a large audience there in winterset, iowa. >> i want to comment on your last point. i will ask this guy since there's so many hands up and you may think i have enemies around here i don't want to answer questions for. i will have him pick the next one. but, just a minute y want to comment. you said don't hurry it through. let me, let me suggest to anybody who's critical of me for negotiating for five months and the last two months, well, i
didn't say you criticize me. but you have been criticized for being at the table, just like i ought to be sitting at my table with my feet up on my desk and do what i'm hired to do and that is to represent the people of iowa. but the bottom line of it is that i wanted to tell you because it's good that we got this month of august to think these things through. do you know if we had a partisan bill out of finance committee, there was a markup date for june 23rd and we would have a bill through the united states senate, probably not one i would have voted for, so if anybody criticizing me for negotiating, you got six weeks to look a bill that you wouldn't otherwise have and i don't think that you would have, i would have 150 people at my town meeting or maybe 300 people here at my town hall meeting. okay, you're picking the next
person. >> this lady right here in blue. >> hi, senator grassley. i have a family of four. i have been trying to buy my own health insurance for me and my children and my husband, primarily my children. i did estimates and the cheapest insurance that doesn't have a $10,000 a year deductible per person is 830 some odd dollars. this is a problem. i can't take my children to the doctor with no insurance. i would be more than glad to buy my own insurance, if it was more cost effective. i need to know what you do for insurance companies that put it in their pocket. >> you probably don't fall into the category of people who have been denied based upon a pre-existing conditions, but that's the biggest discrimination we have and we do away with that and then for
people that have high cost and you have very high premiums and sometimes very low premiums, we're going to narrow the band of premiums and then for people that are below and what i'm telling you now is not being decided in our committee yet, but there is discussion going on right now of tax credits and if you're below 300% of poverty, it would probably be in the neighborhood of what we call a refundable tax credit for you to buy your insurance. >> i am proud 535 people up there social security is
bankrupt, medicare is bankrupt, the post office and bankrupt and now a crowd of americans is going to trust you people to do the right thing. >> the last half of your sentence -- >> how will i trust you people to do the right thing? >> i don't think enough people come to town meetings like this, that's one thing. if every town meeting was made up of people that are fearful for our country, like i sense these people and more so, you know, what you've seen on television, i think it would make a big difference. and i don't think enough people write to congressmen. i think people feel, will you hold that for me, sir?
let me get up here. i think people, i think people that writing to congress doesn't do any good and i suppose there are 535 different answers to that question, but i answer every letter. now, i'm about 14,000 letters behind right now because, because there's so many more people writing now, just like there's three times as many people coming to my town meetings as came over the last ten years on average. what you're doing by being here is going to make a big difference. in the end, unless you come and particularly in the united states senate where you have to run statewide in congress and iowa would be an exception to this, but in so many states, congressmen have such safe seats that they don't, they have to listen to their people but maybe they don't have to be as
responsive because their election margins are not so narrow. out of 435 seats, there might be 100 or 300 that fall into that category. okay. well, anyway, you asked how to participate. >> gentleman in the plaid shirt. >> i got to write that down. i'll say this, repeat the question for the senator while he's writing. the question was, if a health care bill or health insurance correction bill or whatever you want to call it gets passed,
will a senator be willing to accept that same plan for his care? the answer is yes, but let me give you a background so you know we're just not answering your question today, but i had a six-year crusade ending in 1995. to get a bill passed that's called the government accountability act. for 60 years prior to that, starting in about the 1930s, congress would pass a law affecting people in this coun y country, mostly business people. like the minimum wage laws and the osha laws and the civil rights laws. there are probably about 15 or 16 that are encountered at one time. they, you know, i'm an employer. i hire staff. and from that standpoint, we were exempt from all those laws. so, we had one set of laws for capitol hill and another set of
laws for the entire rest of the country. and so i thought that that was bad business. in other words, how could we understand what you as a small business person goes through. >> once again, we have been listening in on and off to senator chuck grassley holding a town hall meeting on health care reform. sessions 1 of 4 he will be holding today. answer questions that are coming to him from the audience and we will let you know that several other committees he's involved in, as well. taking his information that he has on health care reform bill and passing it along to his constituents that are questioning him. also want to let you know because we're looking at the dow today, up triple digits. want to point that out quickly to you before we go. up 125 points, in fact. resting at 9368. still expected to change, but the fed will announce that decision later on. meanwhile, i'm heidi collins
and take a little vacation and see you in a week. hope you have a grit week. "cnn newsroom" continues after a quick break with tony harris. 4 times the number... yog of pills compared to aleve. choose aleve and you could start taking fewer pills. just 2 aleve have the strength... to relieve arthritis pain all day.