tv Meet the Press MSNBC November 18, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST
this sunday, it may be the lowest moment of his presidency. >> i am not a perfect man and i will not be a perfect president. >> the obama care crisis, and the white house in retreat. >> we fumbled the rollout on this health care. >> democrats are in revolt as the clock is ticking on the government's website healthcare.gov. it does feel like the president is fighting on all fronts. his credibility is lower than ever before. and we don't know if obama care will even work. and how do you get young people to sign up for something they don't necessarily want? in a moment, i'll pose those questions to nancy pelosi, leader of the house democrats.
plus, perspective and insights about the politics of obama care this morning. plus, 50 years after jfk's assassination. there is still a lot of emotion surrounding that day, and we'll talk about that in just a moment. what if john kennedy had lived? would he have gotten civil rights laws passed, as he campaigned to do? and what about vietnam? what would he have done in vietnam? tom brokaw has produced a ground-breaking documentary called "where were you the day jfk died?" and tom is here to talk about that. welcome to "meet the press" on november 17, 2013. good sunday morning. this is the headline in the weekend edition of the usa today. "health law shakes the presidency." it seems to sum up the effect of obama care on the white house at
the moment, and with the kind of confidence and pressure to change the health care law is growing. the renewal of millions of policies to be canceled under the current law and it also sells similar laws to new customers. the problem isn't fixed and obama threatens to veto it. joining me now the leader of the democrats in the house, nancy pelosi. welcome back to "meet the press." >> good morning. >> good to have you in studio. there is a crisis and the country feels it about obama care, but it seems to go deeper. 39 democrats voting with the republicans on a bill that doesn't look like it's going forward. has it reached a point where democrats don't believe the president can pull this off and make obama care work? >> no, i remind you that 39 voted for this resolution the other day. the number has been in the 30s when it was to agree with them on the mandate for businesses,
the mandate for individuals. so this is approximately the same number. >> but there is some real frustration among your democratic caucus. fair? >> that's true, but you focused on the number, and the number is approximately the same of two, three months ago as it is today when the republicans put forth a political initiative. people respond to it politically. >> i think the question is, are democrats losing confidence in the president's ability to make obama care work? >> no. let me just say this. on all these specifics, we have to completely step back and see the bigger picture. what i love about health care professionals is that they are calm. and we must remain calm when we talk about the health of our country. the affordable care act, as i call it, have always called it, the affordable care act is right up there with social security, medicare, affordable care for all americans as a right, not a privilege.
the rollout of the website, that's terrible. but the fact is that will be fixed. and that is the instrument of enrollment, as you know. what the republicans did on friday was not a fix. and if i just may, the law does not demand that all of these cancellations go out. the law says if you had your plan before the enactment of the law, you can keep it, and that's what the president said. so there is a distinction between those who had it before and what this law does is say other people can be enrolled in these bad initiatives which -- >> i don't want to get too far in the weeds on it, but i want to stick to point of democratic frustration. you know from calling to your colleagues about this, they've got to be worried about reelection next year. are you and others going to campaign on obama care in swing districts around the country, and if so, what will the message be? >> the fact is i'll get back to the affordable care act, and the affordable was named that
because it makes it affordable. the experience in states where it is working in kentucky, in california, where we have our own state marketplace, it's working very well. and i have full confidence, as do my members, however they voted on this, this is political, they respond politically. but the fact is when this website is fixed, many of these people in these bad, bad policies that are costing too much, what the president did, and it's really important to mention this, what he did in his statement the other day was to allow people who have been in the plans since the enactment of affordable care for there to be a delay in enforcement for those. the others can always stay in. there is nothing in the law that says they can't stay in. but what he said was that the insurance companies must tell the policyholder what they are deprived of, that they're not getting preexisting condition, any --
>> but there are cancellation notices going out. there is a million of them in california. >> what they have to do now is send another letter that says, this is what this is going to mean to you in terms of you won't get preexisting condition discrimination, and here are the other options that are available to you in the marketplace. >> but the president has been apologetic, he's been accountable for saying something that was not the case. you were speaker of the house. you in many ways were seen as an architect and key ally on this. this is what you said back in june 2009 on msnbc. watch. >> what we are talking about is affordable quality accessible health care for all americans. it's about choice. if you like what you have and you want to keep it, you have the choice to do that. >> are you accountable for saying something that turned out not to be correct? >> well, it's not that it's not correct, it's that if you want to keep it and it's important for the insurance company to say to people, this is what your plan does.
it doesn't prevent you from being discriminated against on the basis of preexisting conditions, lifetime limits, annual limits. >> there is a bottom line which people understand and the president won't acknowledge, and that is if the government has decided there has to be minimum requirements in any health care plan, so if you have something and you like it, and it doesn't meet what the government says you have to have, you cannot keep it. and that's not what you said here. >> if you had your plan before the enactment of the law in 2010. if you had your plan before. there is nothing in the law that says you have to. but again, we can go back and forth on this. >> this is an important deal because the grandfathering has changed. the president is acknowledging, and it doesn't seem like you're acknowledging that people say back in 2009 you can keep what you have. this is all about choice. >> you could if you had your plan before the enactment in 2009.
grandfathering is for those before 2009. let me say this, and i commend the president. he's gracious and he's taking responsibility. but that doesn't mean that there was anything in the law that said if you like what you had before 2010 you couldn't keep it. i think it's really important to make that point. he took responsibility for the big picture and that's important for him to do because that's what people see. but there is nothing -- you said earlier the law says that you must -- you can't, the law doesn't say that. but again, near here nor there. how do we go forward? >> the bottom line is people are getting policies that were canceled and that's not the representation that was made. it was also foreseeable, it was part of the debate this would actually happen. >> i would agree with you for the policy since 2010 but not for the 2000 before. the approximately also said the insurance companies, and many have been responsible, some not so, the insurance company has to say to you you're not getting the preexisting conditions, you will have lifetime limits, you
will have annual limits, and, by the way, you have to tell people that they can go to the exchange, the marketplace, where they may qualify for a subsidy or they may just get a better price. >> the big picture on this is it doesn't seem to be working right now. you argued at the time, look, there's a lot of controversy around it, it's politically hot and people still don't understand the good things that are in it. but then you said this in march of 2010. watch. >> we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy. >> and hasn't that idea that you have to pass it before you know what's in it, isn't that really the problem, as you look back on it, that there was such a rush to get this done, no republicans voting for it, and now there are unintended effects of this that were foreseen at the time that you couldn't know the impact of it and now it's coming home to roost. >> what i was saying there is, we're the house and the senate, we get a bill, we go to congress, we ping-pong it and
then you see what the final product is. however, i stand by what i said there. when people see what is in the bill, they will like it, and they will. while there is a lot of hoop-de-do and ado about it, not surprising. i said it would take a great deal to pass this bill. if we go up to the gate and it's locked, we'll unlock the gate. if the fence is too high, we'll pole vault in. if we can't do that, we'll helicopter but we'll get it done. we had to pass the test of the courts, and we did. the first rollout in the first part of the implementation went very smoothly. the website has not worked. that's caused problems people contemplating those changes. it has not turned out to be easy. what happens is what happens at the kitchen table of the american people and how they
will have more affordability, more accessibility, better quality care, a healthier nation honoring the founders of our nation, honoring the liberties of a changing policy. >> you consider it a success if 80,000 people are able to get on and sign up. is that acceptable? >> that's just by the end of this month. >> is that acceptable? >> it's not acceptable ongoing, but they're saying with the fixes to the website, they're anticipating that 80% by the december 1 as we go forward. no, it has to be improved upon then. but, again, the measure will be how many more people can sign up? how fewer mistakes and glitches, and again, the shortening of the time for people to get on. but the thing is, this is a big deal.
this is a very important pillar of economic and health security for the american people. >> well, all the more important to get it right. why aren't you concerned at this point that this is in grave danger of not being done right? >> i'm very unhappy about the website, as you can just imagine the president is. but i know the makings of the legislation and what it does for people. and, again, look, this republican measure on friday, what makes matters so worse allows the marketplace to be deprived of people who should be there getting lower prices with better benefits and perhaps even a tax credit. so that wasn't a fix, it was a make matters worse. but you're in the political arena and you expect that. but you can't be knocked for a loop just because somebody is playing politics. if that was the case, we never would have passed it in the first place. >> democrats won't lose seats next year over obama care?
>> i don't think you can tell what will happen next year, but i will tell you this. democrats stand tall in support of the affordable care act. we have great candidates who are running who are concerned about our economy and our concern that the government was shut down because of a whim on the part of republicans costing us $25 billion to our economy and 4.6% of our gdp growth. they're concerned about overwhelming the people with immigration reform support, background check support, ending discrimination for people in the workplace. all these kinds of concerns are concerns of the american people. jobs will be the major issue in the campaign as they always are. and this is an issue that has to be dealt with. but it doesn't mean, oh, it's a political issue so we're going to run away from it. no, it's too valuable for the american people. what is important about it is that the american people are well served, not who gets reelected.
>> leader pelosi, thank you very much for your time. thanks for being here. >> nice to be here. >> next we have senator kelly ayotte. senator, welcome back. >> thanks, david. >> i know there is a delay between us and we'll bear through that. respond to leader pelosi who, in effect, says there is some hysteria politically around all this, these things will get righted and ultimately people lz -- will see the benefits of the affordable care act. do you not see it that way? >> no matter how much congresswoman pelosi tries to spin this, this is a mess, david. i'll tell you what i'm hearing from my constituents. they're writing me about cancellation notices of plans they wanted to keep, rising premiums so some of their deductibles are doubling, they're paying more for health care, people losing hours because the definition of the work week is 30 hours. in new hampshire there is only one insurer on the exchange. 10 of our 26 hospitals are excluded.
so this really is a mess, so she can try to spin it, but this -- i think it's time -- the president said he fumbled the rollout. it's time for a time-out which i've been calling for so we can go back to the drawing board and really talk about bipartisan solutions for health reform in the country. >> so the political headline this week was at the latest gop obama care strategy, keep out of the way. is that right? is this being viewed as a new way to try to end obama care and the affordable care act altogether? >> well, i think what we're interested in is actually there are areas we need to address. rising costs in health care, that's a timeout for this thing. let's go back to the drawing board. let's not forget how this was passed, david. it was passed on purely partisan lines, no input from republicans. that's what you get when you try to push it through, and as the former speaker said on your show and said previously today when
you played the clip for her, we have to pass it so you can find out what's in it. now the american people know what's in it. my constituents are very unhappy with the notices they're receiving and higher premiums. >> this is what the "new york times" wrote this week about what the president is up against. the failures getting this rolled out, but also this. mr. obama is battling a republican opposition that has refused to open the door to any legislative fixes to the health care law and has blocked him at virtually every turn. there is no republican proposal that i'm aware of that would seek to address the problems, basically 40 million uninsured americans, that the affordable care act seems to address. isn't that true? >> well, david, i would say this. let's start with the principal that in medicine the first rule is to do no harm. and politicians addressing health care need to do no harm. we would like to get to some bipartisan solutions. let's allow a greater competition, why can't people buy insurance across state lines. if we can drive down costs, we
can give people greater access. why not allow people to be treated the same in terms of tax treatment? let's address preexisting conditions. there were state high-risk pools we can buttress. but there are many things the republicans are will to work on a bipartisan basis on, but they are so stuck on this law and trying to implement it no matter what the cost, no matter what to the american people. >> what is a viable alternative that really solves the problem? >> i would say let's get to the table on a bipartisan basis and let's make sure we have a plan that has more choice, not less. let's have one where we're driving down costs and increasing competition. have the insurance companies compete in a way that they aren't right now. let's get together and figure out what are the best models from the state law on the high-risk pools to address preexisting conditions. there are many ideas, i think, that we could do that won't harm people that have policies now that they would like to keep. and i think that's the problem that we're seeing is a law that harms so many people who right
now were trying to do the right thing and have health insurance, and now they're receiving she's cancellation notices and higher premiums. it seems to me we should work together to address this health care reform instead of the way this was done on party lines. >> we're going to leave it there. senator kelly ayotte, thank you so much for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up here, we're going to go beyond the politicians' talking points to actually talk about the future of the law. that's coming up next. a little bit later on, 50 years after the assassination of jfk, how the world might have been different had he lived. tom brokaw and chris matthews are here to reflect on that. we're back here in just a moment. tom brokaw and chris matthews are here to reflect on that. we're back here in just a moment. [ lane ] are you growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair has the fastest retinol formula. to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just one week.
we are back. a lot of confusion over some of the latest obama care developments, what they actually mean. joining me to break it down, columnist for the wall street journal dan henninger and ed -- editor of the post. is there a worry about this? >> the big worry is that people who can't sign up now, the people signing up are older or sicker because they need insurance more. the younger people you have to balance out the risks to keep premiums low. in the second year you have premiums going up in the insurance market. but look, if they get the
website up and running in a much better way in the next two weeks, in the next month, you have a number of months after that until at least march for people to sign up and get the high-risk pool going. i think it's much too early to say whether it will follow that trajectory or some other. >> my friend in college said, i would be willing to sign up for something the government said i should sign up for if they were running it right. they're not running it right. >> they're not running it right, and i think ezra put his finger on the issue and whether they can construct it from front to rear, where you go in, price the insurance policies, interact with the insurance companies and the medical providers. this is extraordinarily complicated. there is no way they're going to get this done in two weeks or a month. if they continue to fail like that, i think that at the margins, the young people, the
healthy people who, of course, are running around using iphones and applications successfully to redesign their own lives, they're the ones that are going to fall off obama care and lose faith in it. i think to a great extent their faith to the government's ability to deliver an entitlement like this is also being put at risk by the problems. >> ultimately, i'm trying to find one or two things to kind of keep our eye on, because any one of us can get lost in a level of detail that if you don't have experience in the policy, the health care background, you just can't keep up with it. are premiums going to go up or not? the insurance companies will be happy to just raise premiums if this thing doesn't work out. they were told they would get more people signed up. if not, they'll raise their premiums. >> obama care was up against too many sick people coming in and not young people coming in. one of the things is a risk corridor. if they misprice their insurance, if they price it too
low, the government will reimburse them about half the difference. that's a big thing. let's say they think in 2014 this thing will just be a mess. you'll have the exact same problem of what we're talking about here. but by 2015, you have a tighter mandate, you have the website up and working because i don't think anybody thinks they can't get it in a year. and it might make a ton of sense for them to keep premiums low in 2015 in order to get the healthy people because otherwise they've got the worst of both worlds, they have a terrible risk pool. i don't think it's automatic what they do, we just don't know yet. >> dan, you and i had an exchange this week and you made the point that this president has gone way too far in his quest to use government to do good, that it's become coercive, the idea of the mandate is the center piece of obama care. is that the big test of this? >> i think so.
the theory of liberal politics going back to fdr is they could come up with ideas to do good like social security and medicare and medicaid, and although it might be inefficient, they could just make it work. the administrative state, the bureaucracies could make it work. that has been the theory. we are seeing a test case right now with obama care whether this grand entitlement can be made to work by the administrative bureaucracies. if it continues to have the sorts of problems it is, i think a lot of voters for whom government is on the bubble right now, make no mistake about it, are going to start pulling back their support for this basic idea that liberals and progressives have pushed for the last 80 years. >> i think there is a lot of truth to that. i think sometimes we underestimate how much everybody has at stake in government trying to do these things well. if you look at paul ryan's health care plan that he brought out in 2009, it had exchanges. the federal and state had to set up exchanges. if you look at the medicare plan which is also in the budget, it also moves medicare over to
exchanges. so republicans, democrats, liberals and conservatives, they somehow need the government to be able to function well. it's bad on both sides if the government can't construct these kinds of tasks conservatively. >> we need a reality check beyond what the politics are saying, which lead people kind of in the argument of confusion. thank you both for being here. i appreciate it. coming up here, the president's legacy. is the rough rollout of obama care compared to hurricane katrina. is it fair? we're going to talk about it with our roundtable, tom brokaw, kathleen parker, mike murphy and chris matthews, after this. ♪ [ male announcer ] new vicks dayquil severe. helps relieve your ugliest, nastiest, roughest, toughest cold symptoms. new dayquil severe. with maximum symptom fighting ingredients. ♪
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you can see interviews we're going to talk about his legacy with two men who know a lot about it, tom brokaw and chris matthews. [ lane ] are you growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair has the fastest retinol formula. to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just one week. neutrogena®.
here this morning, tom brokaw, kathleen parker, chris matthews and mike murphy. back to "meet the press." >> we're here with our roundtable. a big deal to see the president come into the white house briefing room and to lay it all out about the mistakes that were made. here's a compilation of it. >> clearly we, and i, did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. ultimately i'm the president of the united states and they expect me to do something about it. that's on me. we fumbled the rollout on this health care plan. we should have done a better job getting that right on day one. >> tom brokaw, is this the low point of the presidency? >> well, there have been several low points, but this is certainly a low point at a critical time coming into the 2014 elections, and a lot of democrats beginning to bail on the idea of obama care. what is striking to me about that statement, we should have been aware. i would think, given the importance of obama care or the affordable care act, eight months ago the president would have started every meeting with, how we doing?
is that going to be ready? that's going to be our big play for the second term and demanding from kathy sebelius and other people involved in it that they were ready and sending people over there to take a look at the rollout. that it suddenly landed the way that it did in utter chaos and it's not going to be an easy fix is just inexplicable. >> you were making a point to me this week about where is bobby kennedy? who has the muscle? he did say the user of this site is everything. who has the muscle to get it done and get done what he wants? >> you always go where you've been arguing before. i've always been arguing this president doesn't have a chain of command, a clear line of authority and unique responsibility. i remember sebelius, most like her, she's a public servant, but when asked who was in charge of that committee under oath she started talking about somebody in cns, that this person had rollout responsibilities. look at japan.
the occupation of japan was simple, but one man in charge, doug mcarthur. the president doesn't want to have a real chief of staff like jim baker. he doesn't want to give authority to people, and i think it's a real problem. >> you can have a crisis of responsibility where people don't think you're telling the truth, ask you can have a crisis where people don't think you can do anything. this is going to make it worse for the democrats. >> did you buy nancy pelosi's argument that she's going to defend it? >> as a republican, i had a good morning because it's fun to watch nancy retreat faster than a french general. it was something. so i think they've got a problem. what interests me is what's going to happen next because politics are dynamic. what is the president going to do? huge opportunity here, but if we sit around and high-five each other about being right about this, that's a mistake. it's time for us to come up with
our own policies so we can move forward, which we need to do all the way through 2016. >> i thought it was interesting that nancy pelosi said there was nothing in the law that people can keep their policies. the president said it over and over and over again. what the republicans are going to do, i spoke to john boehner just yesterday, and they are planning to continue to apply severe oversight and target -- be very aggressive at targeting legislative moves to fill in gaps and help americans deal with some of the flaws. but this is, i think, just a colossal mess beyond -- the president made the first promise that we're all familiar with, and then he said you can get it back, which i don't think was true. >> all comparisons are imperfect. and it is right in terms of a screw-up. but i think it would be accurate
to say if george w. bush had rushed into new orleans with a lot of action and a lot of effort and had failed initially, that would be more like it. the problem with katrina was apparent indifference. one thing you can't hold against the president is indifference about health care. he rushed in, pushed through a program with pure democratic support and took all the risks involved in it. it's a different kind of screw-up. >> it's also got two really important parts. we're talking about the politics of it now. what has not changed are the enormous economic consequences of leaving health care where it is. 17.5% of our economy now goes to health care and it's only going this one direction. the fact is a lot of leading businessmen who are republicans say the republican party is not doing its part because they are standing around and applauding and they're not coming forth with a workable plan that will drive down those costs. not just for individuals who are trying to buy insurance but for companies that have to provide it as well. this is an enormous part of the
american political and economic scene as well, and we'll see whether the republican party now does come forth. >> that's totally right, but we have the opportunity now. part one had to be the show, and we're right about this thing. six months ago when republicans were talking about delaying it a year, there was ridicule. now it's looking pretty smart. but part two is, it's a jump ball. we need this for middle class economic policies, but it's open. if we freshen up our policy and we go to the working class about we're the party on your side going forward, we can fix a lot of democratic problems, which are tremendous. >> this is mitt romney's case the last go-round. he said, look, keeping your kids on your insurance until they're 26, that's a good thing. this may collapse, but it doesn't get rid of the idea of how to override the leading goal of most americans. >> the website will get fixed but the next thing is going to
be how to actually operate this thing for rising costs. when they recalculate these things for risk pools, a year from now right at mid-term elections when people are looking for a huge government subsidy to pump this up -- >> you are so right, and the big political question will be whether when obama goes to the republican house and says i need more financing here, because young people are not joining this system. they're going to say not. >> here's the other political question. look at the president standing at the poll in personal attributes. is he honest and trustworthy? look at the change. he was in october. now 44 to 52. that has completely changed. people say this is about katrina. i think it's more like a rock. the comparison is everybody looked at bush through the prism of a rock. here i think people are going to look at obama through the
implementation of obama care when he wants to talk about something else. >> the war is such a huge deal and so separate from everything else, but i do think people lost faith -- it was the straw, finally that broke the back in terms of whether people felt the administration was competent. and that is the comparison that has some merit, which is now people look at obama and say, my gosh, can he be trusted but do these people even know what they're doing? >> it also comes at the end of not a very good run for obama, because what happened is he kept moving the red line in syria and then the russians bailed him out. he was getting cover from all kinds of places that didn't emanate from 1600 pennsylvania avenue. suddenly obama care blew up. he hasn't had in the last year one big triumph that you can say, wow, he's on his second
term, and as you know, in the white house staffing there is still a lot of confusion and infighting going on. >> right now at hillary clinton headquarters they're having a meeting saying, we're not going to have to knock off the obama bumper sticker with a circle and moon rise that every democratic candidate has for two years. now the question is where do the democrats go? you're going to see i think the progressive left in the democratic party go back to their argument which is, why don't we do single payer? >> is there not a progressive fight, and i've talked to democrats who say, hey, we finally get to talk about the budget again, and that's where
republicans seem to direct this predilection of hurting themselves. they're sort of counting on that coming up in a couple months. >> i understand why people turn to politics because there are no good guys anymore. it used to be someone won and someone lost. in the shutdown, that was the democrats' time to applaud, now the republicans are laughing at the government's foibles. nobody is a good guy. >> just think how different things would be right now if president obama had said, okay, we're going to delay one year. his quote, not enough awareness, there should have been, obviously, but they could have delayed it a year and preempted the republicans and said, look, we're not quite ready. we've looked into this, we've got some glitches in the computer system. we're not going to roll this out until we're 100% sure we can rule the people. >> it's not like when the republicans said that they were really there to help. >> wouldn't that have been a better alternative to what's going on right now? >> it's always a sneaky trick to politics when your opponent is having a bad time, steal it and get credit. but this is how they got in trouble on this, i think. they won a campaign, so any problem they have they reach into the tool box, all the things that look great when you want to ruin mitt romney's
reputation. but it's hurt them on this thing. now the campaign is over, and they need to move forward in a way, but they've been defensive. >> you don't think it's in comparison to iraq. obviously everything is different. but the idea there was a line going on, the hard left will say dick cheney and everyone else lied us into that war when, of course, it's grayer than that. did obama systemically say i'm going to promise everybody who has health insurance they can keep it, although i know it's not true. he will argue i thought the market forces would work and it would offset that problem and i wouldn't have to deal with it. this character issue is the really penetrating attack. if you can hit obama on character, you can take that 40% which is already eroding down to about 20. and that's what they're up against, the hard people like cheney who is up in numbers right now. >> they did know these policies
were going to be canceled. and it would have been so much simpler from the very beginning, and i felt obama's advisers, the president's advisers, they've given him horrible advice. but why not say from the very get-go, look, i can't guarantee you're going to keep the same policies, but under the affordable care act, you're going to get better policies. >> a lot of doctors are being pulled out of the system by the big carriers. that's below the radar at the moment because everybody is concentrating on this. we're in for a very tough year. and frankly, the health care of any country, and especially this country as part of our national security, if you have half the population or more terrified they're going to get a terminal disease or something that will keep them from working and they have no place to go to get coverage for that, it's more than just a political issue. >> i asked somebody who is in the health care business and i asked him, what is your big question? and he said, when does this all get settled? the less certainty there is about this, it's going to affect who is spending where, what they're doing around health care, people just want the final answer.
i think that ultimately gets to the bigger question about economic recovery as well. we're going to take a break here and come back, talk to our roundtable a little more about how things are shaping up for 2016. a possible nightmare scenario for hillary clinton has to do with elizabeth warren. but first a date that will forever be remembered in american history, november 22, 1963. chris matthews and tom brokaw will be back with us to talk about the legacy of jfk on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. we'll hear big voices from tom brokaw's new documentary about jfk. >> i thought he was pretty shrewd in making judgments about when not to take other people's advice. i thought the way he maneuvered through the cuban missile crisis indicated that. new duracell qua. only duracell quantum has a hi-density core. and that means more fuel, more power, more performance than the next leading brand.
ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> this week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of john f. kennedy. the country and the world stood still on that afternoon of november 22nd, 1963. with the perception of time, how might the country be different had jfk lived? back to talk about that is host of msnbc's "hard ball," the elusive chris matthews, and tom brokaw who wrote the documentary called "where are you?"
welcome to both of you. i think this really gets to where were you -- >> you can hold it up. >> i've been looking all week long the transcripts to the documentary. steven spielberg, who you talked to, talks about the reaction of his mother. watch. >> my mom was in the kitchen and she was sobbing at the kitchen table, and she was alone in the house. i remember putting my arms around my mother and she turned around and just embraced me. she was just holding onto me and she was shaking, and she was sobbing. >> the before and after. >> i think steven's mother was probably around john f. kennedy's age. he was 16 at the time so she identified with him. this is a man, i think chris will agree with us, who arrived at the perfect moment in american politics for all his qualities. it was the television age. it was the end of the
eisenhower-truman-fdr era. he came from this toothless family who was out there sailing every day and working hard to get him elected. there were a lot of john f. kennedys. he was the wealthy playboy, the iconic character. but he was also a reckless man. he came in with the cold war era. and when he left the presidency in a violent way in dallas, it was still a work in progress, david. his numbers had gone up, but that was primarily because of the cuban missile crisis. but there was a lot of work still on the table. no civil rights bill, no tax bill had gotten passed, and what were they going to do about vietnam? >> we'll get to that in a minute. chris, for me and my generation, i liken it to the before and after idea of 9/11. that's what i identify with. was it still different than even i can imagine? >> tom said it well, before and after. i can't put the death of john f. kennedy and the autopsy pictures and the tabs running now with
the life he led right up until the bullets. i wrote my book blinding myself on purpose to what happened to him so i could write about his life. what i worked on certainly was a playboy. all these things, totally true. but i tried to work on the working politician who was trying to get something good done for the country. that one part of it was truly idealistic. he was trying to figure out the politics in texas. do you want to know why the daily press was so important in dallas, why was ft. worth still a yellow dog democrat? he's studying these questions and trying to get answers like tip o'neill, trying to get things out. he needed taxes, he needed georgia, probably. just a couple weeks before he got killed, he's on the phone with dick daley trying to not be too perfect on the civil rights bill. he was working in philly to try to get the vote there. he was really a working politician, as you said, delayed
with civil right but trying to get things done. so when he died, he was still thinking how do i get this bill through and how do i get reelected? >> i mentioned the what-ifs as such a student of history. he campaigns against eisenhower as being soft on communism, eisenhower, the great general. what does he do in vietnam? >> remember the inaugural speech, let the world go forth, a new generation willing to meet anywhere in the pursuit of liberty. what does he do about vietnam? that's an unanswered question in my mind. i talked to all of his principal advisers before he died. he was playing the hawkish line right before his death. he said he believed in the domino theory three weeks before he died because he wanted to get through '64. he was going to run against barry goldwater. the spread of communism is hard to describe to a current generation. it was a palpable fear throughout this country,
democrats and republicans alike. at the same time, he was in on the assassination of the museum. we took out a leader and that country was a cia coup. my guess is he would have continued for a while but not near as long as lyndon johnson. >> you hear him talk about the death of museum, and he feels bad. kennedy sent bad cables over there. he sent bad information that led them to believe they could get away with it. but i tell you one thing, the day he died in ft. worth at that breakfast, he said, the day we leave vietnam that government falls. he was as hawkish as he could be until the end. then you sit back and say, wait a minute, would he have put half a million american troops in and mimicked the french, knowing that disaster would come, if we turned it into an american war? i don't think he would have done it that way, but who knows. >> where were you the day jfk
died airs friday on nbc on friday on nbc at 8:00 p.m. he wrote the forward to the book. you can go to flipboard to find it. coming up here, the rest of our roundtable discussion. we want to come back to give you the rest of your 2013 press. we have candidates already jockeying for position. rest of. we have candidates already jockeying for position. [ mixer whirring ] [ dad ] hold it steady! look! one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand. use less with bounty select-a-size.
for those nights when it's more than a bad dream, be ready. for the times you need to double-check the temperature on the thermometer, be ready. for high fever, nothing works faster or lasts longer. be ready with children's motrin. because you can't beat zero heartburn. woo hoo! [ male announcer ] prilosec otc is the number one doctor recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 8 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. we're back here with a little bit more time with our roundtable. i wanted to talk a little about 2016 because i thought there were interesting maneuvers in the health care debate this week, and it had to do with bill clinton who tried to defend the president on health care, but he added this. >> i personally believe, even if it takes the change in the law,
the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them know what they got. >> that was the sound of the clintons unlinking the car from the wagon train, don't you think? >> is this bill clinton saying how you get away from the obama legacy? >> not anything even near that. it nothing to do with it. i was over there saving women in the middle east and africa. >> they do have a memory of their own experience with health care. they got clocked by it. and they pushed forward very hard. she would not compromise and got her head handed to her during his term. >> kennedy was running against eisenhower in 1960 in effect, just like obama ran against bush in 2008. so does hillary clinton want this to be the continuation of the obama legacy? >> she wants it both ways, like george herbert walker bush, i'm
going to have a kinder, gentler nation. kinder than who? ronald reagan. he was the reagan third term, but he had the nuance enough to say i'll be a little bit more center than this guy and hillary clinton would be a little more to right. she's already a notch or two to the right on politics. that's where she staked her position in the last war on iraq. the great thing about bill clinton, his hands are completely in touch with the average american. he's got his hands on the american experience in a way that obama has probably lost for a while. he knows people are really bugged by this promise that wasn't kept. he knows it. >> i see two problems with hillary clinton. health care is in her world, too. she's got the problem of being up against new, which is often the most powerful thing in politics. second, chris is right. she's trying to hold the right side of the democratic primary where there is less and less oxygen every day. i actually think elizabeth warren is a credible candidate.
>> thank you for leading me right to the cover. hillary's nightmare, a democratic party who realizes their soul lies with elizabeth warren, talking about social equality like she has for years. is it a legitimate threat? >> i think it's a very legitimate threat. i'm sure you've met elizabeth warren. she's a very warm person. she can really connect with people. when she's talking to you, she makes you feel like you're the most important person in the world. she has the ability to really reach out and feel people's pain, and this will appeal to her base. >> they say that about bond villains, too. >> let me remind you it's the 17th of november and it is the year 2013. we've got three years to go before we get there. and who is going to come out of the woodwork, what more we're going to learn about all these
candidates and what is going to happen in the world. so i love the parlor game, david, but i don't think we're going to get it resolved here on a sunday morning. >> here's a great question for former secretary clinton. would you like a crowded field? a crowded field with lots of sparring partners that you could beat eventually better than a coronation. i don't think the democratic party is the republican party. democrats are crazy that way. they want to fight, they want turmoil. they would like to see hillary win the nomination, not just get it. i know people think they'll get embarrassed by it, i think she'll be embarrassed by not running. i think if she runs, it makes hillary more of a centrist, makes her more pleasant. >> it does, but it also deletes the card where she appeals to women. >> an early happy thanksgiving. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." the card where she appeals to
women. >> an early happy thanksgiving. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." good monday morning, right now on "first look," a massive weather front. torrential rain and high winds have caused deaths in the midwest and headed east. more medicine and relief supplies arrive in the philippines. mountain etna lights up the sky and fire and ash. and lady gaga and rob ford. i'm veronica de la cruz. as we come on the air this morning at least six are dead. dozens more injured. a powerful line of storms stretched from missouri up