tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 19, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PDT
next on "meet the press," republican attempts to take down hk a hillary clinton are in full swing. will republicans stop at nothing to keep her from running in 2016? i'll be joined by reince priebus, the chair of the republican national committee, and claire mccaskill, democratic senator from missouri who has already endorsed clinton for president. plus, the high profile firing that has rekindled a national conversation about women, power, and leadership. as the debate rages over the dismissal of "new york times" editor jill abramson we'll ask are women in power positions held to a different standard than men. and new york shriver, carolyn ryan, and carly fiorina, former
ceo of hewlett-packard are here to share their views. and the growing scandal of the va. is the government failing to give american veterans the care they were promised? va secretary eric shinseki says he's mad as hell about what's been uncovered, but that isn't stopping calls for him to resign. what reforms are needed to ensure this never happens again? from nbc news in washington, the world's longest running television program, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. >> and good sunday morning. we'll begin with the story that's been dominating much of the political conversation all week long and that's karl rove's attack on hillary clinton. is this just the start of a republican strategy to persuade her not to run? our own andrea mitchell is here with more on this. good morning. >> good morning to you, david. this week there is no longer any doubt that some powerful republicans are playing hardball against hillary clinton raising questions about her age and her health, even before she decides whether she's a candidate.
>> reporter: it all started when karl rove once called bush's brain said hillary clinton suffered traumatic brain injury after a 2012 fall and concussion. in baseball terms, it looked like a brush back pitch, perhaps to scare clinton from even running. >> we don't know what the doctor said about, you know, what does she have to be concerned about, we don't know about -- she's hidden a lot. >> reporter: team clinton took it seriously enough to bring out their heavy hitter. >> first they said she faked her concussion, and now they say she's auditioning for a part on "the walking dead." >> reporter: the republican playbook, first a not so innocent item in rupert murdoch's "new york post." the page 6 gossip column. as expected it went viral, "the washington post," "new york times," and beyond. >> hillary clinton versus karl rove. >> last week karl came out swinging. >> it's sometimes a little bit difficult for the mainstream media to on its own say, gee, is
her age a legitimate topic of public debate. >> reporter: republicans were already attacking clinton or her handling of ben ghazi and even bow co-har ram. one republican operative said karl is either an evil genius or just evil. >> he doesn't make mistakes. he takes whispers and rumors and things with no substance and turning them into news stories. >> this is a legitimate issue. the health issues of a presidential candidate nearing 70 have always been part of the debate, and it's not going to be disallowed no matter how hard the clinton campaign tries. >> caller: clinton will turn 69 two weeks before the 2016 election. ronald reagan was eight months older when he ran in 1980. >> i would expect to see a lot of attacks like this, age or health, without any foundation whatsoever, and also ones that go more subtly to the issue of gender and whether a woman can really do this job. >> reporter: but this woman who describes herself as cracking the glass ceiling -- >> i think we should crack it
also. i am 100% in favor of that. >> reporter: -- is already getting more than her share of curveballs, and it's only the preseason for 2016. and we should note that some republicans, including newt gingrich think that rove's attacks are out of line and could even backfire, especially as the gop is trying to compete for women voters. david? >> andrea, thank you so much. i'm now joined by reince priebus, the chair of the republican national committee. welcome back to "meet the press." >> good morning, david. >> what about those republicans saying this is over the line. should karl rove apologize? >> it's up to karl rove. he's a political operative. >> but do you think it was over the line? >> look, i think health and age is fair game. it was fair game for ronald reagan. it's fair game with john mccain. when people came at john mccain and said maybe he's li psychologically not fit because he was a prisoner of war. >> there was innuendo, there was a suggestion about he's just not -- his brain doesn't work right or in this case it's her brain may not work right and she's hiding something about it.
was that over the line? >> i don't think there's a graceful way to bring up age, health, and fitness for a candidate that wants to be president of the united states. i think the more important issue for me as leader of this party is what's the record of hillary clinton? what was her record as a secretary of state, benghazi, bow co-har ram, syria. those are the issues -- sgroo but we can get to that. but karl rove doesn't do things by accident. what he injected was an attack into the firmament of the republican grassroots. you're head of the party. would you like to side step away from this or would you like to double down? >> no, it's not a matter of side step for double down. it's going to be an issue. it's going to come up. we're going to be at this point at some time if hillary clinton runs for president. the issue of her health and her age is going to come up -- >> do you think she's suffering some sort of brain injury that raises legitimate questions about whether she's healthy to
serve as commander in chief? >> i'm not a doctor. what i do know is the issue will come up as it does for any person running for president. what i think is going to make her rethink whether she should actually run for president -- by the way, i don't actually think she will bif she had another month like she just had but the issues i just talked about -- >> that's what i want to follow up on. the month she just said. gail collins writing in "the new york times," i'm going to put a portion up and get your response. for the right, clinton is responsible for nearly everything bad that occurs in the world including the terrible kidnapping of the nigerian school girls which happened because benghazi made us look weak or because the state department never formally des sig knitted bow co-har ram as a foreign terrorist organization. somewhere right now someone is working on a story that will reveal that hillary clinton started the elevator fight between jay z and his sister-in-law. is the mission to persuade her not to run? >> it's not the mission. but she's coming out with a book
called "hard choices" or something like that. shaetion ma she's made a series of bad choices. benghazi shouldn't be swept under the rug. boko haram. these people have over 200 girls in nigeria. the syria issue. >> just to be clear because there will be a lot of follow-up, are you suggesting that somehow hillary clinton as act secretary of state who started an independent review of what happened at benghazi was trying to sweep it under the rug? >> she is trying to sweep benghazi under the rug. she absolutely is. if you want any evidence ask the families of people who lost their sons in benghazi. they've talked plenty about what happened in benghazi. the fact -- >> it doesn't mean she swept it under the rug. they may be dissatisfied -- >> when senator johnson tried to ask her questions about benghazi and her response was what difference does it make, i assure you it will be an issue if she decides to run. my issue though given the month she just had, i doubt whether or
not she will run for president in 2016. i know a lot of people around her want her to run, and i think that they're purposely creating this environment around here which is causing us to talk about her today. >> is she the candidate that you as the head of the republican party most fear? >> no. actually i don't fear -- i think hillary is a known product. actually i think it's sometimes worse running against a blank slate. hillary has decades of history for us to explore. you know, her role in hillary care when she was first lady. her senate experience where there's nothing significant to point to. and her secretary of state experience which is not just not significant, but there's all kinds of problems for her. >> all right, chairman priebus, always good to have you. thank you for being here. >> thank you, sir. >> we'll continue this turning to senator claire mckas skicacc democrat from missouri. do you think karl rove should apologize? >> i think karl rove is struggling to be relevant. this is a guy who took hundreds of millions of other people's
money in the last cycle and had abject failure. so i think he's trying to be part of the conversation. i think we all know what this is. it's a cheap political shot. it's the kind of politics that kind of make people not want to participate, and it's too bad. >> we see a lot of this around, and i have to ask you what happens on the democratic side of the ledger as well. harry reid, the majority leader in your body, in the senate, has said this about the koch brothers and their efforts to raise money and influence the political debate. let me show that. >> are the koch brothers right to degrade our democratic process? it's too bad that they're trying to buy america, and it's time that the american people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-american as anyone that i can imagine. >> calling political opponents un-american. is that along the same lines as what karl rove did? >> well, you know, i don't think that is something i am totally comfortable with. i get why harry reid is very
frustrated with the koch brothers. i think the problem here, david, is not that the koch brothers want to spend their fortune on trying to buy elections. the problem is that so much of it is secret and dirty, dark, secret money. the american people have a right to know who is funding campaigns, and that's the problem that we have tried to fix, and the republicans continually block. that is, making all of this money come out into the light of day. >> as you look at secretary of state clinton, how she handled some of the questions that have emerged about benghazi or even about her health. as you know, a question for any candidate. do you think she could have done better? should she do more to be completely transparent? >> listen, this is a strong, smart leader who is going to be a terrific president, and i don't care what reince priebus says. they do not want hillary clinton because they know she is going to ignite a spark of enthusiasm across this country, and she has
got the strongest resume for president of anyone who has run in a very long time. so i really think she's answered all of the questions about benghazi. she's the one who called for an independent investigation, and, of course, her frustration when she said it doesn't matter was because she wants to make sure this doesn't happen again, and it was the republicans that were blocking funding for embassy security. that's why she was frustrated. >> senator, you're an interesting figure politically with regard to the clintons. back in 2006 you told my colleague jeffrey goldberg then in "the new yorker" this, hillary clinton is a sensitive subject for mccaskill. she has told people in missouri and washington that a ticket led by clinton would be fetal for democrats on the ballot because you didn't think she could win missouri. i came out with two other prominent women to endorse barack obama at the same time hillary clinton could have made history in 2008 and yet now you're one of the first people to endorse her. what has changed over this arc of time that makes her so formidable in your mind now when she wasn't before?
>> well, i think she was formidable then. it was just a very tough choice. we had two amazing candidates, and it was a difficult primary for our party because they were both so extraordinary. now she has the experience of secretary of state. i think she has enhanced her resume. she's learned so much about how you win these campaigns. she knows how to ignore all the cheap shots and stay focused on the american people and the opportunity that everybody deserves. so i just think it's her time, and i'm excited to try to be a part of it. >> reince priebus said after this past month she may think twice. do you think hillary clinton will think twice and not run given what's headed her way? >> listen, we do not know for certain that hillary clinton is going to run, but there's one thing i know for certain, karl rove engaging in cheap shots is not going to back off hillary clinton. >> all right. senator mccaskill, we'll leave it there. thanks so much for your time. >> thank you. now, we'll turn to another big story of the week. in a surprise move, "the new york times" fired one of the most senior women in american
journalism, executive editor jail abramson. it's raising questions about equal pay for men and women and the treatment of female leaders in positions of leadership. abramson is due to give the commencement address at wake forest university tomorrow. there's where rehema ellis is for us this morning. >> reporter: the stage is set at wake forest university for commencement speech to remember. >> everyone is talking about it. it should be really exciting. >> it's going to be bigger than all of us. it will be a pivotal moment. >> reporter: jill abramson may be in a fighting mood. her daughter posted this picture of her 60-year-old mother on instagram #pushy. as executive editor of "the new york times" abramson was one of the most powerful women in journalism until last week when she was abruptly fired after less than three years on the job. while there are reports that abramson was terminated after she questioned whether she was paid as much as her male predecessors, in a strongly worded statement issued saturday, the newspaper's publisher denied that allegation
saying, i decided that jill could no longer remain as executive editor for reasons having nothing to do with pay or gender. i concluded that her management of the newsroom was simply not working out. that ignited a furious debate on social media about whether a sexist double standard was in play. while others were asking, maybe the grievances against her are justified? why treat women as victims? a recent study on gender differences and leadership styles found that women are perceived as being less competent, more apologetic, which raises the question when women break from perceptions, are they penalized? >> there's a double standard. >> reporter: kathy phillips is the incoming senior vice dean of the columbia business school. >> there's a lot of backlash when a woman speaks up, when she's assertive and confident. that doesn't happen if a man does the same thing. >> reporter: abramson's commencement address will be her first public appearance since she was abruptly dismissed.
the university president says he can't think of a better and more timely message for the graduates of 2014. that class here is made up of 4,800 students, 50% of them men, 50% of them women. who will probably be listening closely to her every word. >> david. >> thanks so much. i'm joined by nbc news' maria shriver, carolyn ryan, washington bureau chief of the "new york times," and carly feor reno, former ceo of hewlett-packard. she's now global chair of opportunity international. welcome to all of you. maria, we have been talking about this. the facts of jill abramson may be murkier now, right, not completely resolved? the larger question about equal pay, about equal treatment for women in leadership is a conversation that will go on independent of jill abramson's circumstances. what do you think? >> absolutely. i think this is a teachable moment. we don't know the facts of jill abramson's situation, but pay discrimination, pay inequity
does exist. it's like global warming. only a frung finge few deny its existence. it particularly affects women in low income jobs, women of color, 57 cents on the dollar. it's one of the reasons 1 in 3 women in this country, working women, are on the brink of poverty. things can change that, passage of the fair paycheck fairness act can change that. i think this is also a teachable moment for women in leadership. how do women lead? what is their style? are they judged differently? i think they are, and women have to decide for themselves what kind of leaders do they want to be? can they withstand what being called certain names? how can they survive in the workplace? >> and that's one of the issues here. carolyn ryan, you're washington bureau chief for "the new york times." i'm put you on the spot by even asking the question, you look at her management style, tough editor obviously. so many women are telling each other time to lean in, time to get over self-confidence. is the culture ready for that? >> in terms of the culture, the
one thing i worry a little bit about is it feels like there's all this legitimate pent up frustration among women about broader sexism issues, and i worry a little bit with this story that it's essentially become a chair couture. so you have jill abramson, who is an extraordinary journalistic thinker and one of the best brains of her generation, formidable intellect, and now she's being caricatured as a victim, and "the new york times," which is essentially its major news department is being run by women day to day is being caricatured as a bastion of sexism which isn't true and hasn't been my experience there. so i just worry that there's a way that much of the frustration gets transferred onto the story that isn't accurate. >> is this a case -- i mean, now you're seeing publicly in "the new york times" essentially being very clear about why they fired her, about management problems, how she was treating people, her manner with colleagues, publicly embarrassing them. it's gotten pretty acrimonious.
does anything strike you about this as being a double standard? would a man be treated the same way upon an exhibit? >> absolutely not. the most obvious example is the announcement about her departure. here is a woman who having been told she has an abrasive style, how many times have women heard that? she's been a distinguished reporter for "the new york times" and editor for three years. there is not a single word in her departure announcement about her contribution, about her record, about her time at the "new york times." she is excised from history. no more lectures, please, from "the new york times" about the treatment of women. arthur salzburger, the more he talks, the more clear it becomes to me that, of course, she was treated differently. whatever the issues in the newsroom were, the dynamics about her departure would not have been the same for a man. >> i mean, not here to speak for the newspaper. i think jill is known as a truth teller, and i think she wa
wanted -- people talk about her departure. i think she wanted it to be clear she was being fired. she didn't want the ceremonial -- >> there wasn't a single positive comment about her in her statement of departure, not thank you for your time, not thank you for a wonderful record of service to "the new york times," not a word. that is disrespect -- >> can i -- >> -- in the most public forum. >> i want to ask maria because when you and i were talking about this this weekend, i raised this as well. i have an 8-year-old daughter. fast forward to the point she's in her early 20s, the advice i might give her about getting into this business i know something about that can be pretty rough and tumble. what qualities would i want her to have? i want her to be true to herself but i also would want her to have the toughness to deal with what she'd have to face in an industry still dominated by men, which would create a certain toughness -- >> i think any advice you give your daughter today about the workplace she's going to walk into will be outdated. the fact is the united states of
america needs to modernize its laws to help women stay in the workforce. we don't have paid leave. that's one of the reasons that women drop out and then come back to lower paying jobs. in the shriver report, we reported that if we close the pay gap, we would cut poverty in half in this country at half a trillion dollars to the economy. so i think we need to have these discussions about leadership, about how women are treated, about the pay gap. we need to talk about modernizing our law so that young women can grow up and work and still take care of their families, still be treated with respect, be judged for who they are as leaders and human beings as opposed to women or men. >> but very quickly, carly, in terms of what women case in leadership in situations, do you think it's going to change? do you think it's going to be outdated? >> it is changing. we see more women in positions of leadership. when i became the ceo of hewlett-packard, i was one out of the fortune 50. we now have 12.
clearly things are getting better and yet women remain the most subjugated people on the face of the earth. women remain an underutilized resource and may i say politics is part of the problem here. when liberals use women as a political cudgel, when they basically say if you don't support our liberal orthodoxy on all these issues, you're waging a war on women, that's disrespectful to women, we are half of this great nation. every issue is a woman's issue. the dynamics around women are different than the dynamics around men. "new york times," exhibit a. >> we're going to leave it there. thank you. coming up, we'll look ahead at some crucial primaries coming up. big political week across the country as well as a discussion of a political debate we saw this week like i don't think you're ever going to see for some time. >> i'm about as politically correct as your proverbial tur d
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an important week coming up. we are two days away from the closest thing to a super tuesday we'll see before november's elections. in a moment we're going to go to our round table to discuss that. first, our nbc political director chuck todd is here with his first read on the week ahead of politics. chuck t. >> as you know, it is super tuesday, or the closest thing we have. six states coast to coast will vote in primaries and it showcases all the big national story lines of this election season. >> reporter: stir line number one, the battle for the soul of the gop. three states tuesday will feature the latest round in the tea party versus establishment primaries. a battle the establishment has been winning. in kentucky, republican matt bevan has struggled in his quest to oust mitch mcconnell. but keep an eye on the size of the anti-mcconnell gop vote.
it won't be easy for him to get these folks back. in georgia's senate, two tea party congressmen have faded. it's three establishment backed candidates that are fighting for the top two slots in the july runoff. and in idaho's second house district, mike simpson appears poised to survive his tea party challenge. the tea party could go 0 for 3 tuesday. story line number two, democrats and women. both as candidates and voters. the party is counting on them to save their senate majority. michelle nun in georgia and allison grimes in kentucky are among a strong group of female candidates for the democrats this year. but republicans have a good story to tell here, too. there are some potentially strong female senate candidates in places like west virginia, iowa, michigan, and after tuesday oregon may be added to that list. both nun, daughter of sam, and grimes, daughter of a powerful long-time kentucky power broker, are part of another key 2014 theme. democrats banking on famous or powerful political families to win in red states.
other key dynasty candidates or tuesday's ballot, mark pryor in arkansas, son of david. and say jojason carter in georg grandson of jimmy. finally, the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the health care law. kentucky's state exchange has been a success story, but out west in oregon, not so much. the gop hopes that state's troubled health insurance exchange helps elect republicans to statewide office. something they haven't done since 2002. in fact, the republican candidate that oregon could end up nominating is a medical doctor. so, david, they see a real opportunity there to suddenly bring health care back onto the national stage in oregon. >> chuck, thanks very much. to get a sense of how some of these themes are playing around the country, our kevin tibbles went to lexington, kentucky, where one of the big primaries chuck just talked about will take place tuesday. it is today's installment of "meeting america." >> reporter: they still call lexington with its bluegrass and
ponies the horse capital of the world. the historic downtown now bustles with rejuvenation and people. and with the hotly con vested republican prescribe marry between long serving senate leader mitch mcconnell and matt bevin just a few days away we came to listen to the thoughts and concerns over issues facing the country. oh, the american stories this old building could tell. they've been distilling spirits on this site since 1780 when the nation was in its infancy. but modern day government red tape rankles jeff weissman, owner of barrel house distill g distilling. >> there's no better place than america. unfortunately, we have so many government regulations on us that it's cumbersome. >> reporter: so this is aged in -- >> used bourbon barrels. >> reporter: that's very nice. weissman wants his small distillery to thrive and grow and hire more people.
a message he says can't be heard over all the bipartisan bickering in washington. >> i think the heated rhetoric is okay if at the end of the day you can sit down and have a bourbon together and work something out. >> reporter: putting people to work seems a common theme. >> i think the american dream got put on hold. >> reporter: outside lexington, crystal conway manages one of the commonwealth's many prosperous horse farms. this time of year doting moms keep a close eye on their foals. crystal's not a fan of the affordable care act. she says with obamacare, government has become too invasive. >> in a lot of ways i think we are losing our freedom. they're getting involved in too many of my decisions. they shouldn't be able to tell me how i'm going to a lot my paycheck each week. >> reporter: a recent nbc news/maris poll found most in kentucky, like crystal, do not like obamacare even though many
who voiced an opinion do support their state-run health exchange. just as many didn't know it existed. north carolinians robert and mary ruth smith are retired. they've stopped by the barrel house distillery for a tour and a taste and now a talk. >> the system is cracked, maybe broken. i think we have two houses that don't work as much together in trying to do what is right for the country. that's my opinion. >> reporter: like grandparents everywhere, they look to the future and have concerns. >> my kids and grand kids. >> it will be hard to get out there and find a good job i think even with good education. >> reporter: in kentucky, as in the rest of america, elections approach. they have weathered recession and have not been broken. >> americans can overcome. >> reporter: but they want their representatives to acknowledge how hard they've worked. for "meet the press," kevin tibbles. >> kevin, thanks so much. the round table is here. chuck todd who you just saw,
carolyn ryan is back as well from "the new york times." also with us dr. ben carson, a neurosurgeon now retired from medicine who is making waves in republican politics to say the least. his new book is "one nation: what we can all do to save america's future." also here former democratic senator blanche lincoln. we've been talking about the midterm. what is going to define what this race comes down to? are we going to battle about health care, immigration, or is it really just about president obama? >> well, interestingly enough, it's about more than all of those things. as i have been traveling around the country, what i have discovered is that people recognize that this is a pivotal election. this one and the one in 2016 in terms of what kind of nation -- >> do we ever cover nations that aren't pivotal moments for our country? >> i think this is more pivotal. >> what is at stake? >> what is at stake is what kind of place is america going to be? are we truly an exceptional nation with a different core of
values than the rest of the world? is that what led us to the pinnacle position in the world? are we a nation that's for and by the people or for and by the government. that's what this election is about. >> it gets to this larger thing about has obama weakened america? here at home or abroad? >> the stakes are high, okay? the obama presidency arguably is on the line. he gets a democratic senate and domestically has a chance of doing something potentially. if the republicans get control of the senate, domestically you could argue his presidency is over and at this point it's like the last two years of bush presidency where he is going to be forced to just focus on foreign policy. but the difference i think i see out there from '06 and '10, the last two midterms we saw big change is i think the public has given up on washington, and i think you are seeing -- we're seeing enthusiasm down particularly with the middle of the electorate and we're seeing a lack of passion out there. and i think that this election is going to be defined by an
electorate that has given up, that washington and politicians -- >> what do you think, senator, having left politics? >> well, i think that what's going to be critical for people is results and that's what they're really looking for, and yet i think chuck is really right, that they're kind of seeing just the bottom of the barrel, it's the scum, washington can't produce that. you've got a lot of primaries out there right now that are going to be tough. i went through one. you're going to see the republicans in a couple of those primaries beating each other up, and it's going to make it tough in the general election. so i think people are looking for results, and i think they're really, really concerned about whether or not washington can bring them. >> yet there's so much focus even about hillary clinton. we're fast forwarding to what her leadership would be about or even what her campaign would be about. >> this is a fascinating dynamic because she's going to go on this book tour, which is really kind of a trial campaign starting next month, and one thing that's fascinating to me if you listen to her speeches just in the past few weeks, how
does she handle barack obama because she doesn't seem to be running as the third term barack obama. she seems to be running as the third term for bill clinton, and what does that mean for a white house that is already weakened, that is at risk of losing the senate. if you sort of have this democratic figure, this democratic icon out there who starts to pull all the energy of the party toward her in 2016 -- >> she had an odd statement on friday where she was asked about the midterms and she just said something very distant. it was something about, you know, well, people are going to be making some choices on this. it was not a passionate defense of the democratic party. i assume that changes and somebody will say, whoa, you can't say it like that. it didn't sound like somebody who was ready to go save barack obama's senate. >> ben carson, how do you define yourself in politics? a lot of people talking about you as a rising star in the republican party. you're not a party guy regardless, but you have certainly put government on trial in a way. here is one of the things you said about the affordable care act that raised a lot of eyebrows. i will play it.
>> you know, obamacare is really, i think, the worst things that has happened in this nation since slavery, and it is in -- it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. it was about control. >> people who have health care who didn't have it before i suspect would disagree strongly with you, but i wonder in addition is that really how you wanted to be defined? how you want to put government on trial in a political way? >> well, first of all, recognize what i said, worse thing since slavery, didn't say that it was slavery. people who are well-read and particularly -- >> you said it is slavery in a way because it is making us all subservient to the government. >> right. >> that's what you said. >> and i said in a way. in a way anything is slavery
that robs you of your ability to control your own life. and when you take the most important thing that you have, which is your health care, and you put that in the hands of government bureaucrats, i think you have done the wrong thing, and as i was about to say, you go back and you look at the neomarxist literature and look at what they say. you don't have to listen to what i say, about taking control of health care of the populace and making the people dependent. this is not what america is about. do i believe in health care for everybody? absolutely. but i think there are much better ways to get there which leave the care in the hands of patients and of doctors. >> senator lincoln, winning the fight over health care is important in the midterms. it's also important if democrats want to get anything else, right? because part of the view is that health care has taken all the oxygen out of the room for president obama to get some of the other things he'd like to get done. >> uh-huh. well, the affordable care act is by far not perfect, and no piece of legislation that comes through is, but i certainly don't regret my vote on that. we had to move forward. we had to make sure that more
people in this country got insured, and that's what we're doing. we're seeing it happen through the affordable care act. it's going to take time. this kind of unbelievable legislation doesn't happen overnight. it's a surgical situation where we really have to spend the time developing how it fits, but look in arkansas. we've got over 200,000 people, working poor, who did not have health care who now have health care delivered through an exchange by private insurers. you know, that's not government. that's private industry providing them health insurance that's going to give them some coverage that they have never had. >> let me button up some of the hillary conversation we've had this morning. dr. carson, do you think she's the most formidable candidate republicans will face? do you think she's beatable? >> yes, i do think she's beatable. everybody is beatable. anybody who is human is beatable. >> right, but i'm not asking about world patterns here. i'm asking about a specific person. what do you think about her?
>> you know, i have met her, talked to her on a number of occasions. she seems like an intelligent individual. i suspect the democrats can come up with a lot of people. we're 2 1/2 years away. there are lots of pocketssibili. >> would you consider running? >> it wasn't on my bucket list at the time i retired. i didn't and i still don't want to. there's a lot of pressure. i'll see how things go. i'm never going to say absolutely or absolutely not until it is an absolute. >> we can come back here and talk about it some more. thank you all very much. we're going to take a break here. coming up, this growing anger that you have heard of all week over the va scandal as the head of the department of veteran affairs says he's mad as hell. will all of the anger trigger the needed reforms? i'll speak with two key military voices on that coming up here next.
my husband died at 45 years old. every time, every time my husband reached out to the va, they just kept telling him, be patient, sir. i'm here to tell you that my dead veteran husband cannot be much more patient than he is today, but me, i'm pissed. >> an emotional outpouring as frustration grows over the scandal of the veterans administrati administration. a top va official stepped down and calls for the resignation of eric shinseki were heard lou and clear. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszews miklaszewski. >> reporter: only a week before he went to battle on capitol hill over the growingv a scandal, secretary eric shinseki in an nbc interview sounded
oblivious to the growing storm. >> reporter: do you completely understand why there's that level of outrage? >> i think i do. i'm a veteran myself. >> reporter: whistle-blowers claim over 40 veterans died while awaiting treatment in phoenix. and that administrators there and at seven other va hospitals tried to cover up the long wait times. this past week the scandal reached a boiling point. wednesday under growing calls for shinseki to resign president obama says he stands by shinseki but then orders job nabors to oversee the va response to the controversy. thursday shin she can -- sh shinseki and his deputy faced withering questions. >> are they cooking the books? >> i'm not aware. >> reporter: who do you say to people who say you of all people have abandoned them. >> i came not to fail veterans. i came to make things better for
them. >> reporter: they say talk is cheap. >> well, talk isn't cheap where i'm concerned. >> reporter: friday under secretary resigns. the va critics call petzel a scapegoat since he was due to retire soon. overall, not a good week for a decorated four-star general amid serious questions about whether he will survive. >> thanks for that. jim is here with us this morning. also here i'm joined by wes moore, former army captain who served in afghanistan. wrote the best selling book and the pbs series about veterans coming back which is airing now, and adam kinsinger republican congressman from illinois is an iraq veteran. still serves in the air national guard. welcome to all of you. questions about whether shinseki should resign is kind of the political context. congressman, let me ask you, how did we get to this moment? so many veterans in the system not being served well enough. >> well, i think that's the big question.
i mean, when i got elected, i got elected in 2010, the issue of va backlog was on the front burner, people were talking about it. there was talk a year ago of should we ask for shinseki's resignation. i don't jump on the resignation bandwagon but this was gone from incompetence to something criminal. >> people who have been told to wait, we'll get to you, we'll get to you and they're hiding that. >> yeah, and this is absolutely the wrong thing. i think it's time for shinseki to resign. he's a great american but somebody there who knows how to fix the problem. >> jim, you have been could covering government for a long time, from the white house to the pentagon, all over town. i spoke to somebody very high up in the administration that said, this is a tech problem. this is a technology problem. shinseki is a good guy. just like kathleen sebelius, very competent, but their departments are too technologically challenged to keep up with the demand. >> first of all, i agree with the congressman. secretary shinseki was a great
general. he served the military well, but, quite frankly, instead of shinseki what the va and the veterans need right now is a general george patton. somebody who is going to be aggressive and fight politically and shinseki -- >> what came through from your reporting, this is not somebody who necessarily commands the stage to say we're going to change things. >> and that's been his m.o. throughout his entire career. but very quickly, back to the problem itself, first of all, you have the most entrenched bureaucracy in washington. you have a va that is overwhelmed and underresourced, and i don't care what people say, shinseki or not, there's just not enough money right now in the federal government to fix it. other changes have to be made. >> you're doing something remarkable on pbs which is this series about talking to veterans coming home from iraq and afghanistan and asking them what that is like to come home. tremendous demand from our returning soldiers, for men and women who have mental health
challenges, who have physical challenges. they're going to need the va for a long time. it's not just the aging baby boomers from the vietnam war. do you despair over how that's possibly going to be addressed? >> it's a despair and a heart break. this is something that was promised to our men and women. as tammy duckworth said before, when we asked our men and women to go overseas and serve, they didn't tell us to wait. we didn't tell our country, hold off six months, hold off on a year on these operations and then we'll go serve. why now when our men and women are coming back home are we asking them to wait? one thing i see as this whole thing continues to evolve, these are not new phenomenons in our community. these things have been going on for a decade plus thinking about iraq and afghanistan veterans, and even as we -- what we're not looking for, we're not looking for battlefield promotions, moving seats on a deck. we want genuine accountability, but also genuine action. not something that's going to take months but weeks to get to the bottom of this. >> one provocative thought from colonel jack jacobs. he wraet on op-ed, he said it
makes no sense to have a parallel universe to take care of our veterans. there's no reason veterans can't be seen by private doctors, the same doctors who treat everybody else. should we get rid of this arm of the va and put them into the regular haek system? >> i'm not going so far as to say get rid of the arm of the va but i have a bill that says if live "x" amount of miles away, you can go to your local doctor. if somebody is waiting, let them go to the doctor and bill the va. this is a situation where there's i think things that can be done and i think what surprised me is the president has made every decision he can to avoid make it looking like he's making some kind of leadership decision. i think make a leadership decision. put somebody in there. when secretary gates heard about the problem at walter reed, he fired a whole bunch of people and the walter reed problem was fixed in a big way. >> we're going to leave it there. thank you. we'll take a break and coming
we turn now to the global debate over privacy and security ignited by whistle-blower edward snowden's revelations about the u.s. secret mass surveillance programs. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams interviewed journalist glenn greenwald who won the pulitzer prize for reporting on snowden's revelations. >> reporter: he's the man who first revealed edward snowden's leaks about u.s. surveillance to the world. glenn greenwald tells the story of how it happened in a new book "no place to hide." now it's time for your questions submitted through social media.
helen asks, how much are activists, humanitarians or those outspoken about government policies targeted and how? >> we publish a document in the book about six different individuals that the government considers to be, quote, radicalizers who are not members of terrorist organizations or plotting terrorist attacks works just express radical ideas. the government has collected their intimate online sexual sites, visits to pornographic sites and plots in this document how to release this information to undermine their credibility. there are people who visit the wikileaks site. >> mary barber asks, in a recent interview you referred to daniel ellsberg. else berg stayed to face whatever the consequences would be. how are we supposed to see snowden in the same light? he ran like a coward and ellsberg shows courage and stayed in the country where he lives as a free man today. how do you reconcile the difference? >> the best answer is from daniel ellsberg himself who in july of 2013 in "the washington
post" wrote an op-ed entitled edward snowden was right to flee in which he said that the world inside the american judicial system and american political culture is radically different now as compared to when he stepped forward to go on trial. if edward snowden were to go on trial, he would be rendered incommunicado, he would not be released on bail, he couldn't argue his case to the public. >> elise asks what is his response to critic who call him a traitor and mare ji jane jones says how does he feel about making the u.s. a sitting duck to our enemies? >> it's always the case that people who bring unwanted disclosure are called traitors. i look at that as a badge of honor. i think it's a testament to the fact we're doing our jobs. >> reporter: as you know, the heads of several u.s. intelligence agencies and also in the uk have said that these disclosures have caused potential terrorists to change their method of communication which makes it harder to detect. what about that? does that concern you?
>> this claim that these disclosures have helped the terrorists is the same script from which they always read whenever people shine a light on what they're doing and i hope nobody is willing to accept it on faith but instead demands evidence that that has happened because there actually is none. >> reporter: and ricardo fernandez says first thank mr. greenwald, then ask him what is the chance we can get legislation to stop decades of the abusive application of the states secret privilege and related doctrine policy act and abuses. >> one of the most encouraging aspects of the story has been that there has been a complete breakdown in the traditional standard divisions between left and right or conservative and liberal, republican and democrat. there has been this extremely i think inspiring bipartisan coalition that has emerged that has demanded that there be constraints imposed on the nsa. >> reporter: greenwald says he has plans to reveal some of the most spectacular documents snowden leaked on the intercept, a digital magazine.
its parent company has a collaboration agreement with nbc. pete williams, nbc news, new york. >> you can see a longer version of that interview on our website. that's at meetthepress you think you take off all your make-up before bed. but do you really? [ female announcer ] neutrogena® makeup remover erases 99% of your most stubborn makeup with one towelette. can your makeup remover do that? [ female announcer ] neutrogena® makeup remover. if you're looking to buy a car,t this??er do that? now is the time and truecar is the way. just go to truecar.com to lock in guaranteed savings... without negotiation. thank you! happy memorial day weekend!
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final moment with our round table. we've been talking about hillary clinton a lot this morning. provoked some lively reaction on twitter. ha ha ha, pause, sip of coffee. the idea that after this past month she might say, no, probably not. >> this really is -- there are republicans who believe their best shot at beating her is to do whatever it takes to make her not want to run because the demographic problem of particularly among older white women flocking to her candidacy the first time, i have looked at evidence of this with women candidates first time run for the u.s. senate and governor. it's real and it makes her almost unbeatable and that's what makes a lot of republicans nervous. >> all right. thank you all very much for being here. appreciate the discussion very much. that's all for today.
we are not going to be here next week because of nbc sports coverage of auto racing, formula one. but we will be back on june 1st. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." good monday morning. right now on "first look," on alert. the first report of mers right here in the u.s. after exposure to an infected patient. the cdc is scrambling. pfizer rejected while at&t pushes forward. a lot to tell you about. michael jackson, the king of pop rules at the billboard music awards. plus the monster debut weekend. a fancy way to get around, but will it be reality. and is california chrome done before he can go for the triple crown? a very good morning for you. i'm richard lui. the first time it's ever happened in the united states. a mid steer yo