tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS May 17, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm PDT
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>> is now providing answers. seimens. answers. issue one, cooking the books. >> will you explain to me after knowing all this information why you should not resign? >> i tell you, senator, that i came here to make things better for veterans. that was my appointment. >> embattled veterans affairs secretary, eric consecki about whether he should resign in the face of a growing management scandal in his agency. the v.a. hospital system has a management goal of making an appointment for sick veterans to see a doctor within 14 to 30 days of a call. last month's retired doctor told cnn that the phoenix veteran's hospital met that goal by cooking the books. one list submitted showed
appointments scheduled within the goals. the second list, the real list, showed between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months. 40 veterans are alleged to have died awaiting care. but the v.a. only confirmed 17 deaths. the inspector general's office is now probing whether the allegations are isolated to phoenix, or a part of a larger nationwide scandal. veteran's welfare has been a special focus of first lady, michelle obama, the white house has gone into damage control. dispatching deputy chief of staff, rob neighbors, to the veteran's administration on a salvage mission. the nation's largest veteran's association is calling for resignation. >> has the general lost the confidence of the nation's veterans? pat buchanan.
>> general concheki is two purple hearts. he was in the defense department. i think he is basically a good man. and i don't know that he had any foreknowledge of this scandal or tragedy where 40 vets died. it's a disaster. he sits on top of an agency, the medical and health part and hospital part of the veteran's administration, 250,000 employees, countless hospitals all over the place. this scandal blew up and i think as long as he gets on top of it and they prosecute the people that really lied and left these vets hanging and 40 of them apparently died. i think i would stick with the guy. i don't think initially him sitting in washington can be held fully responsible for what happened in phoenix and fort collins. >> there have been seven previous investigations of the agency. what do you think about this situation? >> i completely disagree with pat. he can be a nice fellow. we can like him. he served the country honorably
and we thank him for his service. but his attitude alone, quite frankly, is frightening. there have been reports after reports. investigation after investigation. this is just the tip of the iceberg, not to mention quite frankly, all of the stories we have been watching over the last year about other problems with the v.a. we have got men and women who are survivors of military sexual assault who are fighting for benefits in the v.a. other people get disability in the v.a. for other types of post- traumatic stress disorder. you aren't getting it for military sexual assault. it's problem after problem and quite frankly, it's a very, very serious issue and governance starts at the top. we have to have confidence in the v. a. >> reviewed a half a dozen previous reports. has he failed to connect the dots? >> evidently. whatever you think the merits of the two views of his direct responsibility. when you're the head of the veteran's administration and
the american legion has given up on you and says you have to go, you are eventually going to go. this is going to be a bipartisan scandal. we saw it when he was on the hill this week where democrats are going to be nearly as outraged as republicans. i think the writing is on the wall for him. >> is this widespread on the part of hospital administrators to this fantastic? >> it is outrageous. it has been going on for quite a while. the number of deaths exceeds 40. i'm sure there are a lot of other illnesses that have not been properly treated. it's unimaginable nobody followed up on this. i do not understand it. i have been involved with hospitals for decades. i have never heard anything even close to this kind of thing. so, in my judgment, who deserves to be well treated because of his war record, nevertheless is not in that job in this stage of the game. it's on the basis of how well he is able to manage that department and he has failed. >> is it a few bad apples or
systemic rot? >> it's systemic. it is government run healthcare. it has not been run well. we have had scandals in the veteran's administration for as long as i can remember. i'm hesitant to say look, because this disaster pops up, let's go throw this guy to the wolves. maybe he does deserve to go, but i don't think so far it is proven. the american legion would do regard notwithstanding. >> what's the political exposure of obama? president obama? michelle. >> we have seen michelle obama and the vice president's wife going out constantly talking to us about the importance of how we deal with military families. we have so many people coming back from afghanistan, iraq, and other areas around the world with all kinds of issues. whether they be psychological, physical issues, mental health issues, that need to be dealt with properly, and this is important for the obama administration because this is his secretary who said i'm
going to change the culture of the v.a. from top to bottom and as mort said, he failed miserably. he has served the country honorably, but this is a very, very serious issue. no one should have to wait months for medical treatment. particularly after coming home from serving your country. >> and politically, it will play into the narrative of the administration's incompetence, coming on the heels of the healthcare.gov disaster. but this is a problem indeemic, not just to the v.a., but to single payer type healthcare systems where you have an unaccountable bureaucracy that ultimately is not about the consumers, but about its own interest. there's a reform bill in the congress, john, that seems so common sense. you would think it would have been adopted decades and decades ago, giving the secretary the power to fire top management when they are engaged. the person who is heading the phoenix facility at the center of this hasn't been fired yet. >> is obama standing by
shensecki because he doesn't want to face another health fiasco? >> whether you like it or not about obama, i will say this. he doesn't fire people easily. >> is that a good idea? >> kathleen sebelius, there's a part of that i like. he doesn't throw someone to the wolves when the press comes after him. it's not completely proven. >> he will be shocked to hear that. >> when we said it is indeemic, it is. i don't know how you get the system with 250,000 people all over the place. all these people pouring in. all these veterans from korea and world war ii. and that you aren't going to have these kinds of problems. >> did he fail to fire because he doesn't want the appearance of caving under pressure and he feels it's more president-like not to yield? not to fire? or is -- >> i also think look, you throw him to the wolves. it isn't going to cause the wolf pack to stop going after
people. >> this is not a false issue. this is not a false issue, okay. it's not just the 40 plus people who died. there are countless others who have been badly treated. if you can't follow up on the quality of the medical care you are delivering, then it seems to be you shouldn't be in that job. >> should we have a v.a., because it happens all the time. >> it needs to be fund mentally reformed. >> he was brought in to change the culture of the v.a. this is not an administration that wants the number one to think we don't care about vets. number two, we're going into midterm elections and looking to 2016, the prospect of hillary clinton running for president. this issue that we have not talked about in great detail, but this issue of military sexual assault and the large numbers of women being raped and they cannot get disability benefits is a huge problem and anyone who cares about the women's vote and women vet is going to take this seriously. >> you are talking about a new problem that has come up that is enormous.
should we fire hagel? is he responsible for not running this? look at the naval academy and other places. we have tremendous problems in these systems these guys can't solve. >> you have an under performing cabinet official. >> you have an under performing society, john. >> how can you pretend to be a strong president by failing to fire the cabinet official? >> do you think anyone would say look, i think there's a problem in phoenix. some whistle blower just came out and told us about? >> this has been going on for long enough time that they had to find out about it if he was on top of the case. don't say a single payer doesn't work, if i may say so. they have a single payer system in canada. they have better health outcomes and 1/3 the cost of they are here. >> you think britain has a superior system? >> you can do it well and they do it well in canada. in the united states, particularly for the military, it has to be done well. >> exit question. is this scandal waxing or waning? >> just heard it, it's waxing.
>> waxing big? >> it's waxing. >> waxing big? >> it's waxing big and the political reality is, he will have to go. >> it's not only waxing, it will melt the secretary. >> waxing big. don't forget the mclaughlin group has its own website and you can watch this program or earlier programs on the web at any time from anywhere in the world at mclaughlin.com. what could be easier? issue two, hillary's health. >> is hillary clinton in top health? that's what republican strategist karl rove wants to know. at a conference in california brought up the possibility that clinton's health may not be up to par. rove recall that in late 2012, a year and a half ago, clinton, while sec secretary of state, was hospitalized for a blood clot in her head. the episode led to her postponement of testimony from a congressional committee about the events in benghazi, libya.
she was wearing therapeutic eyeglasses, which led mr. rove to speculate, quote, and when she reappears, she is wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury. we need to know what is up with that. unquote. the reaction to mr. rove's comment was swift. white house press secretary, jay carney, mocked mr. rove's own cognitive ability. >> here's what i would say about cognitive capacity, which is that dr. rove might have been the last person in america on election night to recognize and acknowledge that the president won reelection, including the state of ohio, so we'll leave it at that. >> hillary's president, william, also defended the former first lady. >> look. she works out every week. she is strong. she is doing great. as far as i can tell, she's in better shape than i am. now they say she really has
brain damage if she does, i must be in tough shape, because she's quicker than i am. >> mr. rove stands by the issue of hillary's health. >> i didn't say she had brain damage. she had a serious health episode. my point was, hillary clinton wants to run for president, but she would not be human if this didn't enter in as a consideration. and my other point is, this will be an issue in the 2016 races whether she likes it or not. >> question, is rove right about one thing? that hillary's health will be an issue in the 2016 race, whether or not she wants it to be? rich. >> yes, it will. she had a serious health episode. she gets a virus and dehydrated. she falls, she gets a concussion, and then they discover this clot which is a very serious issue in and of itself. she will have to be open about this. if there's nothing to hide, there's no problem being completely open about these records, but yes, she'll have to deal with it.
>> mort. >> i'm going to, if i may, tell a particular story that i happen to have participated in. i was at a dinner with her and there were six other foreign secretaries there. she was so far and above everybody else and this was after this so-called injury, okay. she was so far and above everybody else, she was so lucid, she was persuasive. she knew her facts. she knew her arguments. you can't tell me she suffered anything. i would love to suffer what she did. if i was half as smart as she is, i would be happy. >> it's not as severe what happened in argentina. she had a hematoma, bleeding between the brain and the skull. >> she fell down? >> well, i don't know whether she fell down or what it was. it's the same type thing. but i agree. look, if she gets a clean bill of health on this, she'll get a clean bill of health. what rove has done, whether you like it or not, he put this into the bloodstream and we are talking about it. i have seen it on television for a week. they are talking about her age. john and mort, she had a tough
two months. more and more people are saying, what did she accomplish? you have the reset with russia was a complete failure. the failure to declare a terrorist organization. what single thing did she do? >> bill clinton says, quote, she is doing great. now what does that mean? does it depend on the meaning of is? if it means the precise moment. it's hardly a ringing endorsement. but if by is, a great yesterday, is today, and probably will be doing great tomorrow? >> look, you're reading so much into grammar at this stage of the game. >> it depends on the meaning of is. >> it isn't reminiscent of anything. back in the news. >> i'm glad you brought that up too, john.
that's really relevant. i'm sorry. i disagree with you. >> listen, i'm not arguing about the way television panelists work and i will also say to you in terms of age, unless i'm mistaken, there are a certain number of panelists and this panel who is older than hillary and still doing well. i don't think there's any rational for it. i don't want to mention any names. >> let me unravel this a little bit further. how much faith can we place in his words when he says, quote, as far as i can tell, she's in better shape than i am? as far as i can tell. bill clinton has a history of a continuing heart disease problem. >> i think you are looking into what the former president has said way, way, way too deeply. the world can look at hillary clinton every single day of the week. her schedule is probably just as vigorous, if not more vigorous than obama's. i will say it is a legitimate question to ask, is she healthy? just like is it legitimate to say is governor cristie healthy
enough in his present condition? >> she came out fine after six months. i dropped my teeth. six months? >> okay. >> and that's the first we heard that. that's the first we heard that. state department spokesman said she was instantly better and john is right to be paranoid, because there's a long history of politicians lying through their teeth about their health. let me move forward. forget her health, what about age? >> hillary clinton turns 67 in october. six months from now. if she runs for the presidency in 2016, she would be 69 years of age on election day. 69 is the same age at which ronald reagan in 1980 won the presidency. in fact, he was the oldest person ever elected to the presidency. similar to other presidential contenders, like bob dole and john mccain, mr. reagan's age did become a campaign issue. not only when he was originally
elected, but when at age 73 he sought reelection against walter mondale in 1984. here's how reagan handled the age issue. >> i'm not going to exploit for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience. >> question. can hillary afford to shrug off concerns that she will be too old for the job in 2017? i ask you, mitch. >> she can't afford to shrug it off. one of the things where you demonstrate by doing. in 1979, reagan had a light campaign schedule, so the word was out, you know, he may not be up for it anymore and he put that to rest by going out there very aggressively and showing he was up for the rigors of the campaign and important for an older candidate to have a forward looking optimistic campaign so you don't get hit
the way mccain and dole did. >> what about the democratic coalition? isn't it youth centered? >> look. it is -- it may or may not be youth centered. the bottom line is, in the democratic caucus, hillary clinton is beloved. it's legitimate to ask if she will be too old. there's no questions. there's no doubt she can't do the work and quite frankly, it smacks a little bit political because, i guess we have evolved since the people were talking about her cleavage and her pantsuits and whether or not she dyed her hair. if you're going to throw age into the equation, you're going to have a serious problem. >> out riding horses. >> how many presidents in the united states? >> i think this is the 44th president of the united states. >> right. >> i think cleveland was president twice. >> the current president is the 5th youngest president this nation has elected. >> t.r. was the youngest and jack kennedy second youngest. >> yeah, the fifth youngest, so the nation is youth oriented.
>> at this point -- >> let me tell you something about this president. he may be young, but he is not exactly -- his negative ratings are at 59%. this is not somebody whose age is determining performance. >> look, hillary, let's go to hillary. what she aught to do, she aught to have an energetic campaign and be out there. be seen moving. that's the way you respond to this thing, not by talking about how old i am, but by what you are doing in the campaign. >> that's what she is doing. she doesn't focus on her age. we're the only ones focused on it. you can't look at the schedule she has and say she is too old. it doesn't make sense. >> what's the history on female head's of state. world leaders who have taken -- would be as old as hillary would be in 2016, which is 69. >> the leader of israel. >> how old was she? >> she was older than hillary. she was in her 70s. >> 71. >> i never dated her, so i just
don't know. [ laughter ] >> what year did she take control of israel? >> she was knocked out in '73. my guess is, when we had the famous -- >> quickly. you're running the threshold. what is it? >> 71 or 72. >> '69. >> okay, but she was there during the war, john, right there. that's why she left office. >> well, this group is so, so performing. issue three, 18 again? >> this july, two months from now, it will be 30 years since congress passed a national minimum age act. upping the drinking age across the country to 21 years of age. some parents might be happy their children cannot legally drink until that age. but columnist author, feminist, and provocateur, argues otherwise. in fact, not only is the law a
gross violation of civil rights, it is time to repeal it. quote, it is absurd and unjust that young americans can vote, marry, enter contract, and serve in the military at 18, but cannot buy an alcoholic drink. the age 21 rule sets the u.s. apart from all advanced western nations. it lumps it with small or repressive countries like pakistan, indonesia, omar, and the united arab. congress was stampeded into this view by mothers against drunk driving. who, with all good intentions, were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn singing crew saiders by carry nation, smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson
in growing up, as it is in wine drinking france, or in germany, with family oriented beer gardens and festivals. what this cruel law did is deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, chat, and flirt. in a free, but controlled public environment. this young americans must stop. unquote. >> question, does professor have a point? should the legal drinking age in the united states be lowered to 18? michelle bernard. >> no, this is libertarianism gone mad. absolutely mad. i don't think it should be 18. i think it is great kids can vote, but people get drunk, they don't think properly. if i had my way, i would raise the minimum drinking age to 25. 18 is too low and 21 is too low. for every person that had a
child die in a drunk driving accident, they would disagree. >> you have to be 18 before you can have a driver's license in switzerland. isn't that a good model for america? >> i disagree. one good model was 18 years old in d.c. for beer and 21 years old for liquor. i think when we go through new york. i think it was 18 years for both beer and liquor. 25, if you raise it to that age, you are going to get prohibition measure and tens and millions of lawbreakers every single weekend. >> that's what we already have. >> the idea that 18, 19, and 20-year-olds aren't drinking is a fantasy. so i think we might as well dispense with legal fiction and discuss raising the age of driving. >> the prohibition impulse in the united states is still active. syntaxes, bans on smoking, advertising restrictions, continual attacks on alcohol consumption. the latest is the focus on binge drinking. it shows that the
prohibitionists are still alive and well and among us. >> prohibitionists were prodstant oriented and the catholics were much more libertarian on this. >> all right, we'll ease out on that note. predictions, pat. >> flight to london to escape the miserable u.s. corporate income tax will create a stampede of american firms going shopping for lower taxes. >> michelle. >> hillary clinton, if she decides to run in 2016, it will be like the field of dreams. people will come, particularly women, because they will be fascinated and embroiled in the possibility of a first female president in the united states. >> mort. >> the arrangements which we are making to control iran's nuclear capabilities is creating an absolute fire storm among our allies of the suni countries, saudi arabia, etcetera, etcetera. they are having a huge reaction against the united states and what they are prepared to do. >> rich. >> at the end of the g.o.p.
primary season, republicans will have a much more impressive crop of senate candidates than they have the last two cycles. the establishment candidates will be conservative, the tea party candidates will be impressive. >> i predict despite the banks, attempts to stimulate the euro zone, growth in europe will persist in 2014, dragging down worldwide economic prospects. bye bye. the mclaughlin group is brought to you by seimens. every day, seimens answers are helping build a future of america.
next, the drought plus an early heat wave for a hot fire season. coming back with wes moore, a glimpse of the veterans returning home from the front lines. >> we know the bullets will stop flying, but the wars that many of us are facing as we come back home will not. a look at some key local races in the upcoming june primary.