tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business November 16, 2013 10:00am-11:01am EST
it's a big day in america. we know now why the obama administration has refused for so long to tell the public how many americans have signed up for obama care. hhs secretary kathleen sebelius confirming just a short time ago that the initial enrollment numbers are woefully short of the administration's target and far below even their lowered expectations. i'm lou dobbs. good evening, everybody. the number is 106,000. that's how many americans have enrolled in health care plans in the state and federal exchanges
through the first month of obama care, just a fifth of what administration officials had projected before the launch of healthcare.gov and the opening of the exchanges. to make matters worse, the federal exchanges operating in 36 states accounted for only 27,000 of those successful enrollments. 80,000 originated in the state-run insurance exchanges. on a conference call this afternoon, secretary sebelius revealed the embarrassingly low number, but then opened herself and the administration up to outright ridicule by calling those numbers consistent with what massachusetts, a state of only 6.5 million people, experienced in its initial rollout of romney care. sebelius also did not reveal the number of people who have actually paid for their new plans. she did not explain why the obama administration will withhold those numbers from the
public until the middle of next month. >> the numbers are consistent with enrollment numbers that massachusetts reported and that we feel are the most accurate. by the 15th of december, we'll be able to begin to tell you how many people actually have paid for the first month of coverage. >> the sebelius revelations come after hours of heated testimony in front of two separate house committees. the top government technology officials grilled by house oversight on when the website will be fixed, and why it was launched without proper testing. and department of homeland security officials questioned by the committee on the site's lack of cybersecurity. fox news chief congressional correspondent mike emanuel with our report. >> reporter: many house lawmakers gave the health care website a failing grade today and wanted to know when taxpayers would get what was promised. top administration technology officials testified before the
house oversight committee about what went wrong with healthcare.gov. while officials say the website was designed to handle 50,000 to 60,000 concurrent users, the white house chief technology officer says it isn't there yet. >> the thing i would be comfortable saying is that the system has been comfortably handling at present about 20,000 to 25,000 current users. >> reporter: the administration promised the obama care site would be fixed by the end of november, two months after launch, but now officials may be trying to lower expectations. >> you got to tell us when it's going to be in good shape. can you give us a date? is the end of the month realistic? >> the team's working really hard to hit that goal. that's what i'm able to say right now, sir. >> reporter: at the white house, jay carney described the website as a work in progress. >> the fact is on november 13th, we are not where we will be and want to be by november 30th. but it remains the case that we believe the site will be working smoothly for the vast majority
of users by the end of the month. >> reporter: in the new fox poll, only 31% of those surveyed expressed confidence that the website will be fixed by november 30th. house oversight's top democrat expressed doubt that republicans want to fix the system, but did say -- >> the centers for medicare and medicaid services and its contractors failed to fully deliver what they were supposed to deliver, and congressional oversight of those failures is absolutely warranted. >> reporter: one lawmaker asked if healthcare.gov is as secure as online banking. >> okay. so it's fully tested as the other i.t. projects you've overseen into that same standard? >> i'm trying to understand what you mean by fully tested. it was tested -- >> fully tested? holy cow. this is like a new low. >> reporter: another asked the officials to prove their belief in the website's security. >> would you put all your personal information about you and your loved ones in it? >> yes. in fact, i've recommended my
sister, who is unemployed right now, to actually -- >> did she successfully register? >> i haven't talked to her lately. she's been out of the country. >> interesting. >> reporter: also today, the house homeland security committee probed the issue of online threats. >> how many cyberattacks have there been on the healthcare.gov system? >> we are aware of one open source action attempting to perpetrate a denial of service attack against healthcare.gov site that had been unsuccessful. >> reporter: the administration's tech officials did not want to predict how much money it will take to fix a website that has already cost the taxpayers more than $600 million. lou? >> joining us tonight is congressman tom price. he serves on the house budget committee as well as the house ways and means committee and is an orthopedic surgeon. he spent 20 years caring for patients. he is also a member of the house senate budget conference committee, which met by the way for a second time today. congressman, good to have you with us.
>> thanks, lou. good to be with you. >> we're dealing with very simple subjects here tonight, just the budget, just obama care. as you're looking at these numbers, the repeal of obama care that republicans have been talking about defunding it, now the democratic caucus meeting is saying to the administration we want a fix by friday or else. what are your thoughts? >> welll as i've said before, you can't make this stuff up. look, this is exactly what the republicans have been fighting about for the last three plus years, three and a half years, and that is that this plan doesn't work. this law doesn't work. it doesn't work for patients. doesn't work for doctors. doesn't work for families, employers, employees, and it clearly doesn't work for states or the federal government. so the kinds of things we have been saying are coming to pass now, and the american people are recognizing that oh, look, it was the republican conference that was telling the truth, not the president. so here we are and the democrats in the senate who are up for re-election in 2014 are now waking up and saying oh, my
goodness, we've got to do something. >> your colleague, congressman michael mccall of texas, revealed that there are -- and chair of the house homeland security committee, revealed an estimated 500 fraudulent websites posing as healthcare.gov. on top of everything else, and we didn't hear the chief technology officer for the white house say we've got a secure website, it may be broken but we've got a secure website that will protect all of your personal information. >> well, they can't say that because it's not true. the fact of the matter is -- >> it hasn't stopped them in other instances. >> no, you're absolutely right. but we're going to see more and more problems with this and it's going to be a new problem. first it was the web design and the web not functioning, and it's still not. then it was if you like what you have, you can keep it. people recognize that was not a true statement. soon it will be the cost, the costs are going to be huge and skyrocketing. the data breaches that are going to occur, the identity theft
that's going to occur, this is a terrible law. the problem is, lou, is that it's doing real harm to real people, and it's time for the president and his democratic colleagues in the senate to wake up and say stop the madness. >> congressman, one of the reasons i like you is i know you focus on solutions and as a physician, you care about people. this isn't just an abstraction or a political issue to you. it is about people. >> that's right. >> what are the solutions that seem first the most simple, the simplest, the most direct? >> yeah. i always try to bring this issue back to patients, because this is about patients. and the fundamental is that patients and families and doctors need to be making medical decisions, not washington, d.c. or insurance companies. the truth is that there are wonderful positive solutions out there that result in that patient-centered health care. you can get folks covered in this country with insurance that they want, that they select for themselves and for their family, not that the government forces them to buy.
you can solve the insurance challenges, affordability and pre-existing, without putting washington in charge and you can save hundreds of billions of dollars and you can do all of that without raising taxes one penny or putting the president in charge of your health care. so h.r. 2300 is the bill we authored empowering patients first act. that's the direction we need to go. the president says he wants solutions. we've got solutions, mr. president. let's talk. >> on another difficult and complex subject, the budget, your conference committee meeting again today. are we looking at the prospect here of sequester being dissolved, taxes rising and more spending being put in place? >> no. there's no reason to raise taxes to chase ever-increasing spending. that's a nonstarter with the house republican conference. as i said today in our conference meeting, our second conference meeting, we've got to learn to walk before we can run. i think we need a relatively targeted agreement and i'm hopeful that we can get there. i think there's a path to an agreement that actually
mitigates the across the board cuts of the sequester, doesn't decrease -- doesn't elevate spending. in fact, it would decrease spending even more, but makes it so that the reductions are in a wise, prioritized way so that it looks like somebody's looked at it with some common sense as opposed to an across the board cut. >> we are out of time, but is there sufficient common sense in that bipartisan conference committee to prevent even the discussion of taking up the entire tax code and quote, unquote, reforming it? >> yeah. we won't do that in the budget committee. tax reform needs to be done in ways and means and finance committee and that's where it will be done. >> in regular order. >> in regular order. yes, sir. >> excellent. great news. congressman, always good to talk with you. congressman tom price. the secretary of explaining stuff, explaining something to president obama. senator david vitter joins us to talk about his proposal to make the president and congress sign up for obama care. welcome back. how is everything?
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our next guest, the author of an amendment that would put the end to federal health insurance subsidies for president obama, congressional lawmakers and their staffs, and end that special treatment. he claims mr. obama has ignored the law and is featured prominently in a new citizens united media campaign. >> it was a back room political deal. barack obama ignored the law and issued a special rule. he exempted congress from the pain of obama care and gave them a huge taxpayer funded subsidy for their health care that no one else gets. >> joining us now is senator david vitter, a member of several committees, including the armed services committee and the environment and public works committee. also joining us tonight is david
bossy, president of citizens united, leading that campaign. let me start with the vitter amendment. senator, what is the future of your amendment, how likely is it that living by your laws is something that most senators and most congressmen would even contemplate? >> well, lou, i think the big difference is when i secure a vote, i'm fighting for a vote right now and when i get an opportunity for a vote, and i will eventually, then a lot of votes will come our way. has to either side with america or side with washington. so i feel good about our ultimate chances but the first step is fighting for that vote. >> not to get too into the weeds on senate parliamentary procedure and rules, are you going to be able to move this thing, this vote, to the point where you will actually have both a vote and an amendment that could succeed? >> i think we'll eventually get
there. it may take a couple of tries. right now, this week, i'm trying to get a related vote on a bill about drug compounding. next week is the national defense authorization act. both of those are key opportunities for related votes and i hope to have a related vote at least to make sure there's complete public access to information about how different members treat their staffs, who's going to the exchange, who is not. that would be a key first step. >> everybody goes to the exchange, no one gets a subsidy. >> under this vote -- >> wouldn't -- [ speaking simultaneously ] >> some folks don't even have to go to the exchange at all and that's a part of this debate. so that's why i want full disclosure about how congress is handling the law. >> as i was saying, the idea that everyone would have to go into the exchange on capitol hill and over at 1600 pennsylvania and do so without
subsidies. that would be radical to most of the people on capitol hill and the president's staff listening to your voices here tonight. >> well, look, lou, i think you're 100% right. there should be full accountability and the senator's being modest because he was offered i believe last week for an opportunity to have a vote up or down on his bill, but when he lost, he would not -- he would have to agree not to bring it back up. and he stood tall and he said no way. we're counting on and we hope the people will go to live by your laws.com, sign the petition to support senator vitter's effort here to make congress have to live by the laws they pass on everyone else. >> i've got to ask you both, how much angst do you believe is in the white house tonight after president bill clinton, who has been the president's great ally and if you will, on most issues his alter ego, saying keep your
promise, mr. president, even if you have to change the law. david? >> well, i think it's all about politics and this is a pretty good indicator that a very smart politician thinks the political winds are blowing against obama care, and he is trying to put his wife in the best position. so that's a pretty good indicator from a very smart politician that things are not going the president's way at all. >> david, you have the last word here tonight. >> lou, thank you. 66,000 people in tennessee were told today you're going to be losing your coverage. a million in california today are getting cancellation notices from one health care provider alone. we are seeing this thing crumble down around the white house. they own this and they can't correct it fast enough. i think as the senator just said, bill clinton is trying to distance his wife from obama care. >> senator david vitter, david bossy, thank you both for being
here. good luck with your effort. president obama has tried to dismiss the benghazi scandal by calling it phony. but it's not going away. weekly standard's stephen hayes asking more questions about benghazi that the administration doesn't want answered. at od, whatever business you're in, that's the business we're in. with premium service like one of the best on-time delivery records and a low claims ratio, we do whatever it takes to make your business our business. od. helping the world keep promises. hmm. ♪ mm-hmm. [ engine revs ]
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cbs' "60 minutes" issued a rare apology for a two week old piece about the terrorist attack in benghazi. the source for their story, a man who used the pseudonym morgan jones, who misled apparently the program staff when he claimed he rushed to the compound the night of the attack, at least according to the fbi. the apology lasted only 90 seconds, revealed nothing new about why they trusted jones in the first place, who had admittedly lied about the account to, well, not admittedly, but who had been accused of lying about the incident to his employer and the fbi. three cia witnesses to that attack are set to testify in a closed door session before house intelligence subcommittee later this week. my first guest has been
reporting on the attack since the first day. he says the hearing could offer significant contradictions to the obama administration's account. joining us is stephen hayes, senior writer for the weekly standard, fox news contributor. stephen, let me begin first by saying good to have you here. secondly, the "60 minutes" basically took the word of the fbi that his account, morgan jones' account, his pseudonym, varied from the account given in a debrief in the uk. is that correct? >> yeah, and certainly differed in some significant and striking ways from the account that this mr. jones included in his book. and i think the fbi's right on that. i think there are discrepancies in the account. i think he looked uneasy even on that initial "60 minutes" story telling the account. i think it was pretty clear that lara logan had some questions about his veracity because she
asked him as he's telling the story about climbing this 12-foot wall and hitting a jihadist in the head with the butt of his rifle, she stops him and says did anybody else see this, and he says no. that of course doesn't mean that he wasn't telling the truth, obviously, but it means that she thought to ask him a little bit more about whether what he was saying was true. >> it's odd that they went ahead with the report with these concerns, if there were initial concerns before talking to the fbi. secondly, it is odd that a news organization would simply take the word of the fbi, an fbi that had not shown up at the scene in benghazi, that is that burned consulate, for three and a half weeks after the incident. there are a lot of peculiarities here and his incident report alleged, it was not signed by morgan jones -- >> right. >> -- and all we have is the word of an agency that reports
to an attorney general who has politicized the justice department to begin with. this is a very difficult story and a very difficult trail to follow because one would think skepticism would be at its highest level on all accounts. >> yes. i mean, i think skepticism should always be at the highest level. i agree with you completely on that. i think one of the interesting aspects of this story is that one of the things that republican investigators have been trying to get and have released publicly if possible is these fbi accounts, these interviews, with the survivors once they left benghazi. and the administration has been reluctant even to turn those over to members of congress. now, they've turned over some, they haven't turned over them all. members of congress would like to see more. but if you want to talk about a way to gain some clarity for those of us who are still interested in the truth, capital "t" truth with what happened in benghazi, make those available. the argument you hear against that is well, we're in the middle of this investigation and the fbi's trying to press
charges. i see very little evidence that we are in the middle of an investigation and if it's clear that these guys are going to be rung up on charges, why haven't we seen that? it's been more than a year. >> yes, and why hasn't, if they are so interested in the suspects as they would term them in the fbi, terrorists is what the cia would designate them as and try to kill them, it is a peculiar, if you will, conflation of roles between the fbi, the cia, the state department and frankly, the united states military. it looks as though the fbi investigation being skeptical again at this point, has served as nothing more than obfuscation and a barrier between as you put it, the truth with a capital "t" and the administration's political interests. is that too harsh? >> no. it's very interesting, if you talk to people who are familiar with the fbi investigation, they will tell you things or hint around things like the fbi has discovered something big, there's something, you know, we should be hearing something
public about this in the coming days, and yet week after week, month after month go by and we don't hear these things. you go back about two months ago, there was a hearing before the house intelligence committee about the status of this investigation, and in effect, what i understand is that the cia said we have the capability to be on the ground there, we could apprehend these guys if we had a way to detain them and to hold them, and the fbi saying we don't have the capability, but if we get them, we can bring them to trial. and in effect, what you have is you have these two agencies pointing like that past one another which means that we don't have anybody in custody. the united states has spent precious little time interrogating even those we know who were involved in the attack who have been held by foreign governments and never alone, only with the united states investigators. >> yeah. and now we are treated to the spectacle of the united states congress led by congressman mccall and congressman wolf, wanting to find out why if the
justice department, the fbi is so interested, why didn't they have them on their effectively most wanted list, their rewards for justice program. a question that will presumably be answered. let's turn quickly to the iran nuclear task which last week for a time, secretary kerry made it seem they were within hours of a deal, then suddenly there was no deal, and then it was the french government's fault, and today, we can sort of in the afterglow of it all, ask why is the secretary of state saying americans are neither -- the american government is neither blind nor stupid on the issue of iran. what do you make of it? >> well, it's never very reassuring when the secretary of state has to declare that the united states government is neither blind nor stupid because it suggests that those are serious questions. i think when you look at what was alleged to have been in this deal, there are serious questions as to why we would
have been a participant or pushing it one way or another. there's a fascinating new account in the guardian paper in london about the french intercession in this plan and basically what it suggests is the french foreign minister flew to geneva, inserted himself in these talks because he was afraid that if he didn't get there post-haste, the united states and iran would have basically already agreed on the terms of a bad deal. so you had the french intervening to prevent that outcome, essentially persuading secretary kerry to hang on, to wait a second, and scuttling what could have been a very bad deal. now, i think that there will ultimately be some deal. there are additional negotiations likely to take place next week at a level down, but i think there's going to be a deal, because the obama administration desperately wants a deal. >> always good to talk with you. thank you. >> thanks, lou. a tough day for the president. none of the numbers coming up his way. we take that up with the a-team. ♪
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some good news on this veterans day. the department of veterans affairs is making progress, substantial progress, on its once shameful backlog of disability claims. back in march, 256,000 of our veterans have been waiting for more than a year for their benefits, a figure that was up 2,000% since president obama had taken office. now, the number has fallen, are you ready for this, to 34,000. now, that is real progress and i want to congratulate theveteran shinseki for their progress in doing something meaningful. it took awhile but our congratulations and our thanks. the overall backlog at the v.a. was at 900,000 in march.
it's now down to 401,000. this is the real deal. this is making a difference and our congratulations to the department of veterans affairs. among the reasons for the improvement, a new v.a. computer system, mandated caseworker overtime. we here have been severely critical of general shinseki and the v.a. for their delay in dealing with that horrible backlog and i do want to say sincerely, congratulations and our deepest thanks. there's obviously a lot more to do, but the progress that has been made is certainly something to be grateful for. on another but related matter, the unemployment rate for veterans remains 10% for those who have served since september 11th. significantly higher than the nation's overall 7.3% jobless rate. progress needs to be done here but we want to say thanks to the dozens upon dozens of companies
that you're seeing now on your screen, i hope, who have made a commitment to hiring our veterans. you see it there. it will be in much larger print on our website if you go to loudobbs.com. but for each of those corporations, for each of those organizations, again, our deepest thanks. joining us now is the a-team. democratic strategist julie rowjenski. pulitzer prize winning columnist michael goodwin. both fox news contributors. also joining us, the associate editor of the hill, a.b. stoddard. i will start with you. thank you for being with us. 54% disapproval rating by gallup for the president. this is a delicate time for the president, is it not? >> well, i think everyone forgets because we dove into the website debacle right after a three-week government shutdown, but even before that, there was a huge debate about the seriousness of our response to the civil war in syria.
it consumed the congress and really led to, you know, a plummeting of his approval ratings. he went into a government shutdown that threatened the nation, you know, going again to the edge of default. he didn't look too much like a leader although he was unscathed compared to republicans. and then right into this question about whether or not obama care is going to fail under its own weight. and so it's not surprising at all that the president has seen his numbers go down. i think at the white house they should be hoping that it can't get worse. >> can it get worse, julie? 54% his all-time record high disapproval is 55%, and this is a trend that doesn't seem to be abating. >> no, it definitely could get worse. if they don't fix this website and those of us who were fans of obama care and had said repeatedly we want obama care to succeed, if in fact this continues, this debacle with this website as a.b. put it, continues without abating, it will get worse. for those of us again who have said time and time and time
again that we truly want this program to work, we have been shilling for it for lack of a better word, for a very long time -- >> i love your candor. >> i am kind of left without a parachute here because here you have a program that i believe is the right way to go, but at the same time, it's just not something that the administration has effectively done. it's their number one priority. how can it be that a program that is their number one priority has been left to have this kind of debacle with implementation? there's no excuse for it. of course it could get worse. the website could not get fixed. that would be worse. >> michael, i have to tell you, i was put off a bit by reince priebus, head of the republican national committee. he was talking about pinning this on the heads of democrats in the 2014 election. that isn't the elevated response i would expect from one of the party's leaders. there should be substantially more coming from him, should there not? >> well, i think that if we expect anything wise from party leaders, we are always going to be disappointed.
i think what he should just do is stay quiet. i think this is not a political moment that you want to try to milk. i think it's unseemly. i think that for the republican party, they now have a real issue before them, how to help the democrats out of this mess. and i haven't yet heard an idea from republicans about how to go forward for now, because the democrats i think, the problem is not just the website. it's the actual policies behind it. once you get the website fixed, you're going to have the big problems and the question of how do you handle all those people losing their insurance. >> and losing their insurance, 50,000 people signing up and 12 state exchanges that are working smoothly. that's the best they could do after a month in which they were supposed to have a half million folks, and at the same time, another approximately 50,000 on healthcare.gov. this is without question a website problem, but it goes well beyond that. the very model of obama care is
now deeply in question, if not collapsing before our very eyes. we are going to be back with a.b. and julie and michael here in just a moment. you can join the discussion as well. take a minute to check us out on twitter. or go to our facebook page. up next, a gaping hole in the security of our food chain exposed. pounds of food being recalled. that story, much more, straight ahead. bny mellon combines investment management & investment servicing, giving us unique insights which help us attract the industry's brightest minds who create powerful strategies for a country's investments which are used to build new schools to build more bright minds. invested in the world. bny mellon.
year. new government figures by the way show more than 47 million americans have been receiving food stamps for an unprecedented 13 consecutive months. a california company blast onion catering recalling more than 90 tons of prepackaged salads and sandwich wraps that may be contaminated with e. coli. those products have been linked to 26 illnesses in arizona, california and the state of washington. here on the east coast, new jersey health officials warning about meningitis outbreak after reports of a seventh possible case of meningitis at princeton university since march. back with the a-team now. i want to turn to you, a.b. the president right now suffering tremendous disapproval numbers, low approval ratings, no matter the poll. he is a lame duck in the classic sense. how does he maintain relevance? how does he maintain an agenda, or is it simply beyond his reach
right now? >> well, it is interesting. he's acknowledged that, you know, four, five, almost six weeks into the implementation of his signature achievement, it's really looking disastrous and it's not that it can't be fixed, but it's very likely that it can't, so he has only a small window of time in which to convince the public that they should trust the program that even when the website is working, that it is something that should have been done, that it will change the country for the better, that it won't mean high deductibles and out of pocket costs that are going to increase the cost of people's health care 200%, 400%. people have lost faith not only in the ability of government to take over and fix the economy but they've lost faith in the president. that's why you see him pushing so hard on the international front, trying to get a deal with iran to try to provide them sanctions relief for some kind of verification of some kind of
slowdown or freezing of their nuclear capability, and that's why you're looking at a president really scrambling for some kind of accomplishment. i think he knows that immigration reform or any other domestic achievement, any other big bill, unless i think he goes for a big fiscal deal and i don't think he's willing to, is not going to save him from this topic of obama care. >> it goes to his relevance, his credibility, and as a.b. said, foreign policy, chasing a deal with iran when every ally is saying do not touch this deal. he's further frankly damaging himself, is he not, in pursuing such a foreign policy? >> on iran, i don't think so. he's got the french, there's people besides obviously the united states who multilaterally are trying to get a deal with iran. our european allies are trying to work with us to make it happen. >> the french have just said -- >> they rejected it but they are all working together in concert with the united states to try to get it done.
>> i sense your frustration. >> i am frustrated. >> the truth is this president has lied on a host of issues about obama care. we will leave it solely to obama care. is there any way that he brings back even democrats at this point? >> he's got to fix the damn website. i don't know how much more clear democrats and others have been. because there's no way to gauge the effectiveness of whether he can actually purchase these products on the health care exchanges or whether he has subsidies unless, i'm sorry, but unless he gets the exchange up and running so people can check it out for themselves. >> contrast, if you will, we've got a control group, 12 states with smoothly running state-run exchanges. they have only brought in 50,000 enrollees into obama care. >> because obama care, healthcare.gov which people don't differentiate between the kentucky program and the new jersey program, for example, that's the problem that people have a bad taste in their mouth about it from all the news they've been getting about it.
>> you get the last word. >> i think if you go back to his re-election as we were talking about earlier, it's been straight downhill on the graph. if you look at the chart, it's like a bad stock. so obama care is the latest one of these bad hits for him, but i don't think it will be the end of it. i think he's got a deeper problem which is him. he is his own problem. the lack of trust is not just in the obama care website. the lack of trust is in obama. and he has got to rectify that and i'm not sure how he can do that, because all of his policies are coming to fruition now. >> as michael talks about it like the obama administration's like a bad stock declining, ironically, the stock market since he took office has more than doubled. thank you very much. thank you for being with us. a.b., thank you. up next, the new book "the man he became" details how polio actually energized franklin delano roosevelt. it did not break him, obviously. although many thought it would.
in fact, he's given credit in the newest book by author james tobin, polio is given credit for making him the man he became, the leader he became. that's next. customer erin swenson ordered shoes from us online but they didn't fit. customer's not happy, i'm not happy. sales go down, i'm not happy. merch comes back, i'm not happy. use ups. they make returns easy. unhappy customer becomes happy customer. then, repeat customer. easy returns,'m happy. repeat customers, i'm happy. sales go up, i'm happy. i ordered another pair. i'm happy. (both) i'm happy. i'm happy. happy. happy. happy. happy. happy happy. i love logistics. you really love, what would you do?" ♪ [ woman ] i'd be a writer. [ man ] i'd be a baker. [ woman ] i wanna be a pie maker. [ man ] i wanna be a pilot. [ woman ] i'd be an architect. what if i told you someone could pay you and what if that person were you?
a new book offering a new perspective on president franklin delano roosevelt's battle with polio and the man he became, the leader he became. the author claims fdr wouldn't have been president, even, had it not been for polio. joining us tonight is historian, professor at miami university, james tobin. his new book is "the man he became" how fdr defied polio to win the presidency.
it's available in bookstores and online and that means usually amazon.com. available today. great to have you with us. how did you decide to seize upon this issue and to really examine it carefully and closely and compellingly to explain franklin delano roosevelt? >> well, i think when i had read the biographies, i thought that previous biographers had gone too quickly over the polio episode. you know, we all kind of grew up with the idea that franklin roosevelt had overcome polio and gone on to be president. but i wondered had anybody really told the story of how that happened, had they gotten into the details. and had they told the story the way it really could be told. i was hoping that i might find that story and so that's what i worked on. it was difficult, because fdr was not forthcoming with his thoughts and emotions, but when
you put the pieces together, there was a story there that i think hadn't been told before. >> terrific story. we recommend the book highly. "the man he became." fdr and polio were almost synonymous throughout my life whenever studying him but you've run up on a number of things i had not either known or had not considered. one was where in the world he had contracted polio. tell us about that. >> it's pretty clear, if you look at the timing of events, that fdr was infected with the virus at a boy scout picnic, campout of all things, in the summer of 1921. he went to that campout, he was chairman of the local -- of the new york area boy scouts. this was at bear mountain state park on the hudson river. he came back to new york, went up to his summer home and it's about ten days later that he began to exhibit symptoms.
it puts him in contact with the polio virus 10 to 14 days before. so it's pretty clear that's when it happened. might have come from a boy scout, might have come from the polluted water at bear mountain. there was a public health report that showed that those waters had been infected, the park had been overrun, there wasn't proper sanitation facilities, so there were a couple things working against fdr who tended to be susceptible to infections. >> and you talk also about the impact on his family, his wife, his children, his mother, of course. and how polio affected, altered that relationship. >> yeah. it's interesting to look at the relationship between fdr and eleanor roosevelt. it's only three years before that eleanor had discovered this now infamous famous affair between fdr and her social secretary.
the marriage had been not destroyed but certainly deeply damaged, trust had been damaged. but when fdr became ill, she absolutely came to his aid, nursed him, literally nursed him for the first couple of months, helped him through the early stages of recovery. for a time i think it brought them closer together. but then after about a year, it was clear that he was going to have a very long recovery, he was going to have to be away from home often. she was interested in getting involved in politics and so although it brought them together at first, then i think it set them on the parallel paths that they followed really for the rest of his life. she embarked on an independent political career, not running for office, but being politically very active and powerful, and he followed his own path. they helped each other but the marriage was on a different track from that point on. >> he had of course a compelling personal story, in part because of being a victim of polio, but
this is a man who overcame polio, who dealt with it throughout his life, the pain, the discomfort, the awkwardness in many public moments, and yet he was just a man of great character, a man of great personal strength and energy. they seem to be utterly incongroous. >> i think fdr himself didn't quite understand the depth of his own strength and character until he was faced with this great trial. up until that point, everything had one fdr's way. he was brilliant, he was charismatic, he was popular. he had all the tools of a natural politician. but everything had come easy to him. he had been born into an
aristocratic family. >> i'm going to have to interrupt you to say that's why you should read the book. "the man he became." good to have you with us. available online, bookstores everywhere. good night from new york. orbiti. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve current and former military members and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. [ male announcer ] they are a glowing example of what it means to be the best. and at this special time of year, they shine even brighter. come to the winter event and get the mercedes-benz
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