Senate GOP leaders press ahead on a health care reform bill: What's in it, what's not, and will voters like it any better? Then, lessons learned from the Republican victory in a Georgia special election on Tuesday.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign rebukes Hillary Clinton for claiming she will be the Democratic nominee. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party establishment is making plans to avoid an ugly conflict at their convention in Philadelphia this summer. A new poll shows a majority of Republicans want their party to unify behind Donald Trump, who’s showing some signs of a more traditional candidacy. President Obama ties another non-decision from the Supreme Court to a lack of action on his nominee, Merrick Garland. And the federal government looks for ways to shorten long airport security lines. A panel of journalists joins guest host Allison Aubrey of NPR News for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.
- Molly Ball Staff writer, The Atlantic
- Stephen Dinan Political editor, The Washington Times
- John Harwood Chief Washington correspondent, CNBC; reporter, The New York Times
MS. ALLISON AUBREYThanks for joining us. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News sitting in for Diane Rehm. Donald Trump unveils his slate of Supreme Court nominees. The Democratic party looks for ways to avoid a contentious convention in Philadelphia this summer. And the federal government and airlines begin to take action to fight long airport security delays.
MS. ALLISON AUBREYJoining me for the domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup, John Harwood of CNBC and the New York Times, Molly Ball of The Atlantic and Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times. Welcome to the program, all of you.
MS. MOLLY BALLGood to be here.
MR. JOHN HARWOODGood morning.
AUBREYSo we also want to hear from you this hour. Give us a call, 800-433-8850, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see us on our live video stream this morning @drshow.org. Molly, I want to start with you. There's fallout in the Democratic party after a shall we say raucous convention in Nevada last weekend. What happened?
BALLWell, the process for selecting Nevada's delegates to the Democratic National Convention is quite complicated. It begins with the caucuses that we had back in February and then those caucuses actually elect precinct delegates who go to county conventions and the county convention delegates go to state conventions and it is the votes of those delegates that choose the national convention delegates.
AUBREYAnd that's why they were all gathered in Las Vegas.
BALLThat's why they were all gathered. And so I actually covered this as a local reporter in Las Vegas in 2008, when, of course, it was also hotly contested all the way down to the end between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and it is imperative that the campaigns, if they understand the rules, get their supporters to fill these delegate slots so they have the votes to get the delegates in the proportions that they were voted in the original caucuses.
BALLThe Sanders campaign, apparently, neglected to do that, but many of the Sanders supporters felt that they were being unfairly disqualified from casting votes based on the rules for voter registration and it gets very technical...
AUBREYAnd that's when it started to get ugly, is that right?
BALLThe upshot is it did get very ugly. And there were threats hurled. There were some physical altercations. The state chairwoman faced days and days of disgusting, you know, death threats and voicemails and nasty stuff. And, you know, I think the takeaway from this is that as we reach the sort of bitter end of the Democratic race, there is not a real coming together on the part of the supporters of the two candidates.
BALLAnd maybe this is just a small faction of dead-enders for Bernie Sanders, the hardest core of supporters, but there definitely does exist a hard core of Sanders supporters who are very angry and very opposed to Hillary Clinton and may by hard to reconcile.
AUBREYGot it. And John, it's seems a growing number of Democrats are bracing for a divisive convention in Philadelphia. There are reports that the DNC plans to offer Sanders a key concession at the convention. Do you think that's gonna be enough to satisfy Sanders' supporter?
HARWOODProbably in the end. You know, when you're in the heat of it at the end and you're Hillary Clinton and you're wanting to turn to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is resisting and he doesn't seem to be in a very good mood. If it was a basketball game, you'd say it's getting a little chippy. And but we had the same thing go on in 2008. Hillary Clinton went all the way through June. We had a likely nominee in Barack Obama, who people weren't sure, as Democrats, that you could elect and African-American candidate.
HARWOODSo there was a lot of anxiety at that time. Is she hurting him? Is she going to undermine him? There were statements that were made in the end by here that were seen as divisive. So I suspect, at the end of the day, because of the nature of our politics, it is so polarized, it is so tribal that in the end, the Democratic tribe is going to unite behind Hillary Clinton the way the Republican tribe seems to be doing so around Donald Trump.
AUBREYTrump. That's right. Stephen, Sanders won easily the Oregon primary and declared at a rally in California this week that he will stay in the race until the last ballot is cast so all eyes on California, right?
MR. STEPHEN DINANYeah. No, absolutely. Remember, in 2008, of course, Hillary Clinton, I believe, actually won California, you know, at the end there, still didn't overcome. But, you know, Democratic party leaders say that -- and whether this is just for public consumption or they really believe this -- they say he has every right to do that and should do that. Part of it is just helping to continue to channel those voters that he is drawing into the party.
MR. STEPHEN DINANIt also gives them to sort of work through some of these issues, have a couple more calm contests, you know, between now and the next three weeks. And hopefully -- look, I agree with John. In the end, look at what did happen with the Republicans. The antipathy toward Donald Trump there a month ago was easily the same as what you're seeing among the Bernie Sanders supporters for Hillary Clinton. And now, you know...
AUBREYEveryone's rallying around.
DINANEveryone's rallying. The only conversation in the Republican party is basically some Washington punditry and a few politicians. If you talk to voters out in the country, they're perfectly fine with him. That's almost certainly going to happen with Democrats.
BALLJust to play devil's advocate on that, though, the difference between the Democrats in 2008 or even the Republicans this year and what's happening in the Democratic party now is that so much of Bernie Sanders support comes from independents and from young people who've never voted before. So these are not reliable Democratic voters. It's true that reliable partisans tend to rally around their nominee, but the Sanders supporters, a lot of them, may not feel any loyalty to the Democratic party.
AUBREYSo we don't know what they're gonna do.
BALLAnd that may make it harder to bring them into the fold.
DINANBut they also, of course, didn't start off as part of the Democratic base, baked into the cake, you know. They do matter if she wants to reestablish the full Obama coalition, but they're not necessarily part of the Democratic base if you're talking about a base verse base election. So you're exactly right. We don't know what will happen with those voters, but you also have to imagine that a lot of this depends on, obviously, what Sanders does and how he goes about his reconciliation, if there is one.
DINANBut, you know, in a comparison, the same thing the Republicans are going through right now, looking at, well, we didn't like Donald Trump, but Hillary Clinton, you know. Democratic voters and those independents, many of them are going to do the exact same calculation and say, Donald Trump, no.
HARWOODAnd Allison, Bernie Sanders has sent mixed signals because on the one hand, he's said I'm in it to the last vote. He put out a statement yesterday rebutting Hillary Clinton after she said that she'd effectively wrapped up the nomination. He said, oh, no, millions of people have growing doubts about her candidacy. We're gonna fight all the way to the end. He's also said he's gonna work 24/7 to make sure that Donald Trump is not president.
HARWOODHillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee and I think most Democrats expect that he means what he said about Donald Trump.
AUBREYAnd when Hillary Clinton eked out a win in Kentucky this week, did she take back some momentum, if you will? You just said, she's gonna be the nominee, but she's been struggling a little bit as she stays in these primary races. It's hard to, you know, address what Trump is saying about her.
HARWOODWell, certainly better than losing and it does interrupt the prospect of a streak of Sanders' victories that would allow him to keep pressing the argument that she's a weak candidate. And this is the, you know, Molly was playing devil's advocate a moment ago. I'll play devil's advocate against my own argument and say Hillary Clinton is a very vulnerable candidate. She has -- there's a lot of doubts about here trustworthiness.
HARWOODShe's not charismatic in the way that Barack Obama was in 2008. He ended up being an exceptionally strong candidate. Can she -- will she look like a very strong candidate when we get to the fall? It certainly doesn't look that way now and so the more that he softens her up, that's a source of concern for Democrats.
AUBREYSure. On the GOP side, a new poll out yesterday indicates that Republicans, as we just said, are coalescing around Trump as their candidate. New York Times/CBS News poll finds that eight in ten Republican voters said their leaders should support Trump even if they disagree with him on important issues. Stephen.
DINANYeah, there's no question that's gone on, you know, and it's not just in the polling. When you go talk to these voters and, you know, you go talk to voters showing up at the polls in some of the last couple of states, they're saying that, too. We've gone out and talked with folks, you know, basically circled back with voters from earlier who'd voted for other people and they're like, yeah, you know, okay, fine.
DINANWe are where we are. The contest happened. It really is a Washington conversation about the, you know, a third party or independent, recruiting...
AUBREYSure. Out there, it's sort of decided, is what you're saying.
DINANIt's absolutely decided. And for that matter, you know, the Paul Ryan dance is sort of interesting here with him not actually endorsing Trump yet.
AUBREYBut playing nice.
DINANPlaying nice. And we all expect him to endorse, barring some major mishap. You know, that's simply a matter of the House Republicans are working on their own agenda and they need to make sure that that agenda doesn't end up too much in conflict with Donald Trump's agenda. So they will eventually get there, but for a few very loud voices.
HARWOODI will say that eight in ten is not good enough in the system that we have right now. Every recent Republican nominee has gotten more than 90 percent of the Republican vote. Donald Trump isn't quite there yet. He's made progress. In April, in our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he was at 72 percent with Republicans, but he needs to do a lot better. There are more Democrats than Republicans. Republicans typically have a higher degree of cohesion.
HARWOODAnd on Paul Ryan, last night, Donald Trump was giving a fundraiser for Chris Christie and he talked about trade, which is something that Paul Ryan cares a lot about. And he said, we're gonna make the best deals for our country, might be free, might not be free. That's not...
HARWOODThat's not what Paul Ryan wants to hear.
AUBREYGot it. So at the same time that -- Trump, this week, started showing signs of being a more traditional candidate, if you will, Molly, hiring pollsters, installing state directors in key battleground states, Ohio and Florida. What do you make of this?
BALLWell, there's a degree to which when you become the nominee, the establishment sort of takes over and a lot of things go on autopilot. So even as Trump has indicated no interest in running a traditional campaign in terms of tactics, right, he's said that he doesn't really believe in things like a ground game, the RNC will do all of that for him, just as they did it for Mitt Romney. And the RNC, in fact, has been planning for four years to take over these operations because it is better positioned as a long term institution to do a lot of the technical things that come with campaigns.
BALLBut I'll believe that Trump is changing his own behavior when I see it because he's repeatedly asserted that he might do that and then not done it.
AUBREYGot it. Stay with us. More of our Friday News Roundup coming up after a short break. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News sitting in for Diane Rehm.
AUBREYWelcome back. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News sitting in for Diane Rehm. If you'd like to join us, give us a call, 800-433-8850. You can also check out our live video stream at drshow.org. So I want to move on to something that came up this week. Stephen, Donald Trump released his potential Supreme Court picks, 11 judges he would consider. What do you make of the list?
DINANWell, so, first of all, the list -- eight men, three women, all of them white, a mixture of federal appellate judges and state supreme court justices -- overall, a very conservative list, with some very notable names on there. One that we had expected, first of all, because he'd said it and, second of all, just because of who is advising him on this, was Judge William Pryor. He's interesting for a whole bunch of different reasons. In particular, he sparked, essentially, the fight -- one of the fights -- the filibuster fights with Senate Democrats back under President George W. Bush. All of that bad blood is essentially now playing out with Merrick Garland and what not. So picking that name, a very important signal to Republican base, conservative base.
DINANThere are also a couple of other names on there from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both judged that he named from there or that he listed from there, they were both part of a decision upholding a South Dakota -- it was a law that required abortion doctors to tell their patients that abortion could lead to a higher risk of suicide. And there are obviously some -- a lot of folks question whether that's true. But the judges in the Eight Circuit, including those two, upheld that law. Overall, look, the most exuberant reaction to this came from the pro-life community, who said, that's what -- that's the sign we were looking for. Those are a good slate of judges. You know, we have to get behind him.
DINANThat was essentially the statement out of the Susan B. Anthony list. Paul Ryan, actually, his only reaction to the list yesterday said, look, I'm not going to get into all this, but, you know, it's a pretty good list. And, you know, the pro-life issue plays very big in his calculations as well.
HARWOODThe one thing worth adding though is he did not commit to picking one of those people that he listed. He said, I will pick somebody like these people.
AUBREYHmm. So, and imagining that Trump's announcement takes some pressure off the Senate to move on the Merrick Garland before the lame duck, is that right, Molly?
BALLWell, I don't know much pressure the Senate was feeling in the first place. The determination on the part of the Senate majority Republicans not to hold hearings has held pretty firm. We haven't seen a lot of cracks in it. But, you know, the question for traditional Republicans, conservative Republicans, social conservatives, as John alluded to, they like this list a lot. They just don't know if they can trust Trump to stick to it. And they have seen him be very unpredictable. But I think they want to get onboard. And so this gives them an opportunity to say, even with all the reservations that we may have about him on a lot of issues, the Supreme Court is too important for us to stay home. I think that's the effect that the Trump campaign hopes this will have.
AUBREYJohn, the Supreme Court this week decided, in essence, not to decide a case that would have settled a dispute between religious end players and the Obama administration over the contraception issue and the Affordable Care Act. What happens next here? It goes back to the lower courts?
HARWOODYes. I mean, this is one of the punts that occurs when you have an evenly divided court with an even number of justices on it. So I think there are a lot of people who don't mind a little break in the wars over Obamacare. And so this amounts to a bit of a pause.
HARWOODBut it certainly fuels the angst on both sides about who that ninth justice is going to be and when is that person going to be picked and who's going to be picking him?
DINANI don't know that we actually know that this was a four-to-four tie situation with this remand. You know, the -- granted, it was earlier when there were eight justices -- but they had earlier signaled that they were looking for a compromise. And it had actually taken a somewhat unusual step of asking for both parties to rebrief or add new briefs on whether they could come up with a compromise and, you know, felt that there was enough grist in what those briefs were that there was a compromise. Look, so far, we haven't actually had -- we've had one labor decision. It was the California teachers and the labor union dues issue, where a four-four decision actually came through.
DINANThere are a couple of others that may come up, in particular, the immigration -- the president's executive action on immigration and Texas' lawsuit against that, where a four-four decision is very likely. And that would leave the lower court -- the Appeals Court's decision, which actually blocked the president's policy -- that would leave that in place. But, by and large, the four-four decisions have not made -- have not played a major role. Democrats are very vehemently arguing that an eight-justice court does matter. But, so far, we haven't seen a lot of effect of that.
DINANNow, you know, obviously if it goes much longer, you will have a situation. If you get into next year, they're -- apparently, the list of cases that they're already listing for next year is less than folks had hoped. So that may be playing out there.
AUBREYHmm. So on Tuesday, the Obama administration announced an increase in overtime eligibility, Molly. What does this mean for workers and employers?
BALLWell, I think we're going to see, as it gets put into practice, exactly what it means. This is a change going into effect that the administration had previously announced that raises the overtime threshold, so raises the level of salary that people can earn and still be entitled to overtime. And this is something that I believe had not been raised for decades and it had become a sort of progressive cause by some of the same campaigners who were advocating to raise the minimum wage, saying this would put more money in the pockets of the middle class and working class and help people.
BALLBusinesses, though, are saying that it will be a burden on them and will end up actually not helping workers because the -- because businesses will be forced to scale back to afford the salaries.
AUBREYSure. So change will likely cause workers to receive more pay when they actually work overtime. What's the reaction, John, on the campaign trail? What are the candidates saying?
HARWOODWell, first of all, Republicans in Congress say that they're going to try to block this rule. And I think they will try to block it. I doubt that they can do that in the end. I think this is a big deal. This is something that Hillary Clinton welcomes. I don't know that we've heard from Donald Trump on the overtime rule. And Donald Trump has set interesting signals at different points about wages for average workers. There was a debate where he was talking about the burdens on business, and he said wages were too high.
AUBREYThis week, he talked about a willingness to increase minimum wage.
HARWOODThat's right. Although, it's not clear, Is he talking about federally, is he talking about state increases? But I think this is -- this falls into the category, like with the climate change rules, the clean power plan...
HARWOOD...that the administration has come forward -- ways that the Obama administration is seizing to advance its agenda, to try to take a step toward curbing inequality, raising middle-class wages, that does not require Congress if they can simply avoid Congress blocking it.
AUBREYGot it. Speaking of the stances of the candidates, I want to go to you Stephen. A New York Times article suggested that, on a range of issues, Mr. Trump seems to be taking a page from the Sanders' playbook, talking about the minimum wage issue, making clear his opposition to free trade will be a centerpiece of his campaign. Reactions to this?
DINANSure. Though, I, you know, I think Donald Trump might say that Bernie Sanders was taking a page from his campaign. Not -- the point being that Sanders, I guess, has probably been very clear on those issues longer than Donald Trump. But it's no surprise to anybody that they've both ended up on the same stance on trade, in particular, and, you know focusing on income disparity from the Sanders campaign and just on, you know, lower, blue-collar workers for the Trump campaign. You know, it's interesting, when you look at the exit polling, Democrats have been about split on the question of whether free trade helps American jobs or hurts American jobs. Republican voters, surprisingly, have been overwhelmingly in the negative on that question.
DINANAnd so it's always been the sort of reverse from how the sides line up politically here in Washington versus, apparently, how the voters out there see it. Part of that may just be that, with President Obama in the White House, Democrats are maybe a little more willing to accept a free trade deal right now. But, you know, very interesting and a lot of -- John had talked earlier about Paul Ryan and Donald Trump disagreeing on that issue. There are actually a couple of major things, immigration, you would add that into that, too. Two big issues that Paul Ryan stands for and Donald Trump stands in opposition on both of those.
DINANBut, you know, there's absolutely a sentiment out there that both of those guys are tapping into. And it goes back to something Molly talked about earlier about those Sanders voters being independents. If there is a danger to Democrats, it is from an issue like trade and where some of those independents may flow to Donald Trump.
HARWOODA couple points on that one.
AUBREYGo ahead, John.
HARWOODI think one of the reasons that you see that opposition from the Republican base on trade that Stephen just talked about, is there's a conflation of free trade with globalization, globalization with immigration...
HARWOOD...with the changes -- cross-border changes that the United States has experienced. Secondly, I think there's a very interesting possibility for a shift in the dynamic when we get to the general election. Hillary Clinton, following Bernie Sanders, said she's against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I don't know anybody in democratic politics who actually believes that she's against it. She was -- she called it the gold standard when she was secretary of state. She -- her former colleagues put it to completion. And so, when we get to a general election, does she try to capture the center on that issue?
HARWOODNow there are different ways to define the center. And there's a lot of opposition on the left and the right. But it's possible that she may send a different signal to business, to people -- college-educated voters who are more inclined to support trade and have an unusual positioning there -- Democrat versus Republican -- in the fall.
AUBREYSo this is a tough one for positioning. Molly.
BALLWell, I mean, the larger issue is that, you know, the reason so many conservative Republicans have objected to Donald Trump's candidacy is they do think he sounds like a Democrat on a whole range of issues. He clearly does -- even though he has taken social-conservative positions, does not have any interest in waging a culture war on behalf of social conservatives. He said that George W. Bush lied to get us into Iraq and that was a mistake. And he said that we need to take the money we're spending on foreign intervention and invest it here at home instead. Sounds like a lot of Democrats I know. And on economic policy, he's been all over the map. But hasn't -- he certainly has not taken the Paul Ryan line on cutting entitlements.
BALLSo the question, I think, for Trump is, is he going to run as sort of a Democrat in the fall election, try to make up for the Republicans he's lost by bringing in a bunch of voters in the center and even on the left? Or does he try to reassure conservatives by running more to the right? And I don't think we know that yet.
HARWOODAnd if he does that, will she appeal -- make a more fulsome appeal to moderate Republicans?
AUBREYSo we have an email from Paul in Oxon Hill, Md. He says, where is it written that aspirants to major party presidential nominations must throw in the towel and support the leading candidate before their conventions. I'm old enough to remember when these people would regularly take their delegates through the convention process and through actual votes on the convention floor. This is why delegates are selected to go to the convention, after all. Bernie's delegates -- and he goes on to talk a little bit more about what the Bernie supporters have earned. John.
HARWOODWell, I think that correspondent makes a good point. It is Bernie Sanders' right to continue his campaign. I think the reason why there is impatience within the Democratic Party towards Sanders has to do with the fact that there is a known opponent on the Republican side now.
HARWOODWe have a polarized system where the familiar political armies line up each time. They're pretty closely divided. You need all hands on deck to beat the other side. And so there's an impatience to get that process going. But it is correct that we have in the past seen campaigns go all the way to the convention. And as we have discussed earlier, in the case of 2008 when Hillary Clinton took it not to the convention, but all the way to the end of the primaries, worked out okay.
AUBREYI'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News. You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." If you'd like to join us, give us a call, 800-433-8850. Or send us an email to email@example.com. You can also check out our live video stream. Molly, I want to talk about Trump and women. There was a bit of a kerfuffle, you could say, following a New York Times article that was pretty critical. It included interviews revealing what they -- The New York Times reporters called unwelcome advances and unsettling workplace conduct. Tell us about this.
BALLIt was a fascinating article. And I think it was more nuanced than the way Trump described it, which was as a quote, "hit piece." But if you read the whole, very lengthy article, there were a lot of very interesting interactions detailed. And some of the behavior was certainly unsettling, certainly creepy, certainly not acceptable behavior toward women by Trump. But he also had a record of promoting women in his companies and giving women positions that were very unusual in the real estate industry at the time. So the idea of him as just sort of a straight-up woman hater -- and his father was described as not approving of some of the women that he put in high positions.
BALLBut -- and Trump clearly was willing to break the mold in that way. So I think there was a nuanced portrait. Trump took issue with it very loudly. And the woman quoted in the lead of the piece came forward to say that she felt that her quotes had been misrepresented or wrongly framed. So you see Trump trying to throw up a cloud of doubt around this whole issue. The fact remains, Trump is very strongly disliked by women voters. They are the majority of the electorate. And I don't think it's enough, simply to cast doubt on a negative New York Times story, for him to begin courting that vote. And it's going to be interesting to see as this campaign proceeds, how the female electorate continues to respond to Donald Trump.
AUBREYStephen, as Molly just said, one of the women quoted in the piece came out and said I'm not so happy with the way I was portrayed here. What do you make of this?
DINANWell, so, look, you know, I think Molly's analysis is right on, on that. You could actually have -- The New York Times could have led that article off with the part about -- a very striking part, about how much he broke the mold of the real estate companies in promoting and giving a lot of responsibility to women executives. And, you know, The New York Times chose to go a different direction.
DINANAnd that's part of why -- and that, plus the fact that several women have come out and said, look, you know, they got what I said wrong or I didn't even want to talk to them and they took some, you know, in the case of the former Miss California, I believe, saying I didn't even want to talk to them so they had to go to my book to take stuff out of context. This is one of those things, the stories sort of become a Rorschach test for a lot of folks.
DINANYou know, if you go into it thinking Donald Trump is sort of, you know, a brash and sort of outlandish personality but you don't necessarily mind him, you're not going to mind a lot of what you see in there. But if you go in with the attitude already that, well, what I've seen of him makes me creeped out by him, you're going to find a lot more ammunition to be creeped out by him.
HARWOODI would just say, I agree with Stephen. It is a Rorschach test I think in a slightly different way. It has to do with your cultural orientation and your subjective judgment about right and wrong and appropriate and not appropriate. So you had both a layering of reporting and analysis in the piece. The reporting hasn't been questioned. The problem is the analysis. And so the reporters looked at the same facts involving this incident with the woman and drew a different conclusion than she drew about it. That's what was -- created the opening for Donald Trump to question the story. It was described as a debasing encounter. And she said it wasn't debasing. So it depends on how you view a set of events.
AUBREYGot it. We have a call from Jeff in Brighton, Mich. Jeff, you're on the air.
JEFFHi. I heard a really wonderful op-ed, I think it was Sunday, on the media with Robert Krulwich, in which he opined addressing what he sees as a sort of general media normalizing of the Trump personality. And I'm really glad that you're sort of addressing the in-the-week set of articles that are bringing to light some of what I would call more than just brash personality ticks.
AUBREYThank you so much for that call. Coming up, your calls and questions. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
AUBREYWelcome back to the Friday News Roundup. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News sitting in for Diane Rehm. The CDC has found that 279 -- 279 pregnant women in the US states and territories show lab evidence of possible Zika Virus infection. Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, Congress took up this issue of funding for Zika this week. What happened?
DINANSo, the House and Senate passed dramatically different bills, both of them less than the 1.9 billion dollars that President Obama has said that he needs. First of all, the President has already shifted about 600 million dollars around, most of it from Ebola fighting money from earlier to begin dealing with this. But since he needs the full 1.9 billion dollars out of Congress, the Senate passed a 1.1 billion dollar funding package that, basically, it's not, quote, paid for.
DINANThe money is tacked onto the deficit as an emergency need. House Republicans have gone a different direction. The House passed a bill in about the 600 million dollar range and they have shifted money from other funds to pay for it. The White House has a veto threat on that saying, no, this is an emergency. We didn't envision it when we reached the budget numbers we're operating under here a year and a half ago. So, at this point, you know, it makes sense to tack it on to the deficit. They're not happy with the Senate's lower number, 1.1 billion.
DINANBut they're, you know, probably willing to accept that. That was a bipartisan compromise out of there. Maybe most interesting, the administration has deployed a number of its top experts to Congress and sort of, you know, just interviews and whatnot to make the case that this is a very, very serious possibility of an outbreak here in the US. As far as we know right now, the virus is not spreading through mosquito. All the cases, or almost all the cases are travel related or sexual contact with...
AUBREYPeople coming in from places where they're getting it.
DINANPeople from South America, et cetera. And so, the big worry, though, is that as the weather heats up, and those mosquito populations become active, that you will have a mosquito born outbreak and that's when things get very serious. One other thing that's sort of interesting, you've had a couple of unique breaks in Congress. In particular, Senator Marco Rubio, you know, who late of the Republican Presidential campaign, actually was pushing for the full 1.9 billion dollars, sort of a partnership with President Obama, pushing for the full 1.9 billion dollars.
AUBREYIs that because Florida is -- yes, very vulnerable.
DINANThat's because Florida -- absolutely. So, there are, you can go online and see the maps and where they draw -- they basically draw the maps based on how successful they expect the two different types of mosquitoes that are considered the biggest carriers of this will be and how active they'll be. And obviously, the southern states are primary for the chief carrier mosquito.
AUBREYWe are going to open the phones. Zack from Indianapolis, Indiana, you're on the air.
ZACKHi guys. How are you doing? Thanks for taking my call.
ZACKYou know, I just got a comment. I think you guys are missing something in the mood of the country as it relates to cross over from Sanders to Trump. I mean, his background, I'm a risk management professor, I put myself through college twice, supported Obama twice, I worked on his campaign actively the first time. And frankly, I, and most of the people I know, we've gotten to a position where we're so sick and tired of people getting elected, they never go to work. All they do is fundraise, support special interests, and it's just status quo all the way while the country rots.
ZACKI mean, as a risk management, so I sit in insurance classes with students where we bang out, you know, solutions to social security in an hour. It's just the courage to implement. And so, it's -- you know, all things being equal, I'll take Sanders, because I think the billionaire class and those guys have had a good run for a long time, but, you know, barring, he's not going to make it, I hate it, but I gotta go with Trump. I don't know what he's going to do, but frankly, anything but the status quo is preferable.
AUBREYJohn, inaction and gridlock in Washington. Driving people to Trump.
HARWOODI will believe that there is a large Sanders to Trump crossover when I see it. I simply have a hard time believing that people who support the aspirations that Bernie Sanders is expressing are going to look at the choice in the fall, look at the two political parties, and cross over and vote for Donald Trump. And the same's true the other way around as well.
BALLI'll disagree with that.
BALLI mean, I've met some of these people and, you know, there are a lot of Sanders supporters who are ideological liberals who believe that Hillary Clinton is too centrist, too establishment, or who are responding, you know, strongly to his big liberal ideas. But there are a lot of them who are just mad. And as this caller was saying, just want to break up and disrupt the system. I have met people at Trump rallies who say, Sanders was the only other one they would consider voting for. And I've met people at Sanders rallies who say Trump is the only other one that they would vote for.
BALLSo, I think that you're right to be skeptical of how large a faction this is. Because partisanship is such a strong force in our politics, but this is a very unusual election, and I don't rule out the possibility that this is a -- that there is a significant faction of these voters.
AUBREYStephen Dinan of the Washington Times, the year of the renegade?
DINANWell, I mean, if you ever wanted a contrast in exactly what Molly was talking about, about, you know, the -- not necessarily the ideological positions, but the broader, sort of, where they come from, you know, this is it. The Clintons, she's run before, her husband was President, the ultimate insider, and a guy who, you know, hasn't decided on what political party he is until recently who -- you can't pin him down on anything ideologically. But is basically a statement of anger and anti-establishment. It's pretty spectacular.
AUBREYWe have -- yeah, we have a call from Clay in Townshend, Vermont. Clay, you're on the air.
CLAYGreat. Good morning. Hi.
CLAYThere was this statement made earlier by one of the panelists that addressed that there's local caucuses in Nevada and then they move on to the county caucus level. And then they go to the state convention. It was inaccurately described -- let me just state what happened is it was -- Hillary initially won Nevada at the local caucus level. When we moved to the county level, her supporters didn't show up at the county level in the numbers that Bernie Sanders did. So Bernie won Nevada at the county level.
CLAYNow fast forward to the convention, which by the way, there are no arrest records. There was -- it was very vocal -- yes, people were disenchanted because they were disenfranchised. Because the rule -- there was a rule, the first order of business at the state convention was to suspend the normal rules and in place, use some temporary convention rules. That was the first order of business, and the convention rules that were being suspended were to -- and normally, you use the county level delegates to determine your proportions at the state level.
AUBREYGot it. So, are you getting at here that people were angry because the -- you think the county Chairperson rushed through some of the rules that favored Clinton. Is this what you're saying?
CLAYThe rule change said, instead of using the results from the county level, the way we normally do, instead, this year, we're going to use the local level results.
AUBREYOkay, thank you so much for your call. Anybody want to respond to this?
BALLWell, it's not clear to me whether this caller was actually there. I would love to hear an eyewitness report from someone who was there, but I have heard from a lot of Sanders supporters that they feel this event is being blown out of proportion by a Democratic establishment that is anxious to rush Bernie Sanders off the stage. That there have been other clashes in other states where perhaps it was the Clinton supporters who took the lead and those have not gotten the sort of national attention and the sort of full throated condemnation from the Democratic establishment.
BALLThe calls on Sanders to apologize for his supporters' behavior and so on. And some of the Sanders supporters feel like this is just an attempt to, to silence them and to silence their concerns. Even if you disapprove of their behavior, that it shouldn't be an excuse to say, this means Bernie Sanders has to, you know, quit the race.
AUBREYSure. We have a call from Elizabeth in Tampa, Florida. Elizabeth, you're on the air.
ELIZABETHYes, thank you. I just want make a comment about a New York Times article. I read the article myself, but I can say that, I mean, I don't see how you could say it could be a Rorschach test when you'd have to be in a cave not to already know what Trump -- how Trump is with women, with everything that we've been seeing on the debates and everywhere. I mean, if you read the New York Times article, it's obviously just gonna reinforce what you've already seen for yourself from Trump himself. So, I don't really see the importance of going back and forth.
ELIZABETHAnd, you know, saying, well, is this really true, is that really true? I mean, I understand the importance of journalistic honesty, but I mean, I totally believed everything in it.
AUBREYThank you so much for the call. Stephen Dinan.
DINANYeah, look, you know, I think what John said earlier is exactly right. There was some really good reporting in here, and as the caller said, we've all seen Donald Trump and his public persona. This was getting at Donald Trump behind that public persona. His interactions when the cameras aren't on, and a lot of those interactions seem to bear out some of the -- much of the public persona we've seen. The reason I say that you can get out of it what you put into it is that other part of the article, the advancement of women is a very striking thing about his career.
DINANAnd you know, I'm sure some psychiatrists would love to sort of discuss the --mashing those two up together.
BALLWell, and I think the way a Trump defender would describe it is Trump treats women the same way he treats men. He insults them a lot. And he can be very hard on them -- he picks on their appearance. He gets at their -- some of their insecurities, vulnerabilities.
AUBREYAnd this week, he didn't exactly say, I'm sorry, but he did sort of say, oops, I said those things in the past?
BALLRight. So, he may not always be a gentleman, whether you're a man or a woman in his personal conduct, but he respects merit. That's what Trump says is that he respects merit no matter what its skin color, its gender, whatever. And that is what he hopes will be the selling point with women as well as men.
AUBREYGot it. John.
HARWOODI would just say there are large numbers of people in the country who have a different view of how men and women should relate to one another. Or do relate to one another than the one that's prevailing in most circles on east and west coast media. And Donald Trump speaks to those people. It's a more tradition minded approach and that's reflected and that's one of the reasons why people like Donald Trump. He says I'm not politically correct.
AUBREYGot it. Over here. Stephen.
DINANI would just add on, Molly made a very interesting point and we sort of have an example of this recently. In the article, Trump was quoted as telling one of his employees, gosh, you sure like your candy. You know, just this week, Donald Trump made fun of Chris Christy over, you know, hey Chris, have you stopped eating Oreos yet? So he really does, sort of, use the same --teasing's probably putting it too mildly. But the same jives against both genders.
HARWOODAnd, and the language. You know? He referred, I believe, to one of his employees as honeybunch or something like that. There are some people who think that is a harmless term of endearment.
AUBREYAnd other people who just say, look, that's just disrespectful.
HARWOODCorrect. So, that's, that's sort of the -- that's a bit of the divide we have in the country.
AUBREYSure. We have an email from Janine in Ann Arbor, Michigan, weighing in on the conversation we were having about this crossover from Sanders to Trump. And she says, no, no, no. I am a Sanders supporter, but there is no way I would ever vote for Donald Trump. He is a demagogue, pure and simple. We also have a call from Richard in Washington, D.C. Richard, you're on the air.
RICHARDYes, I am a Bernie Sanders supporter who will be voting for Donald Trump in November if Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee.
RICHARDI do not -- I just, I don't think she's trustworthy. I'm a one to two issue voter and one of those main issues is trade. And I just don't think we can trust her to, in any way, make trade benefit the citizens of the United States.
AUBREYAll right. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News. You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Stephen, you want to respond to this caller?
DINANWell, I, you know, I -- everything we said earlier is exactly right. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there, how big that population is we'll have to see. But the caller mentioning trade is obviously very important. Look, Donald Trump is counting on those sorts of voters to rearrange the electoral map that's existed in the past. It's certainly one of the reasons why you saw the recent state polling showing Pennsylvania much closer than it's been in the past.
BALLI don't know if he's still on the line. But I would love to ask that caller if his mind would change if Bernie Sanders, or people like him, if their minds will change if Bernie Sanders is on stage with Hillary Clinton, holding hands and saying, you know, in the most forceful tones, this is the candidate that we must support. If you supported me, this is the only way you can vote in November, et cetera, et cetera. If Sanders is out there making a very forceful case for electing Hillary Clinton, I wonder if that will affect the thinking of the people who now feel so passionately about Bernie Sanders.
AUBREYWe have another call from Eric in Concord Township, Ohio. Eric, you're on the air.
ERICHello, I wanted to make a comment about the comment that somebody made that Bernie Sanders supporters may end up going to Donald Trump instead of voting for Hillary because they want change. And I just think that that is a big mistake because in 2010, the Tea Party kind of got their fingers on stuff and said they'd promise -- excuse me, and promised a lot of things would happen. And really, Congress is locked, nothing is happening. So if these people decide that they need to vote for Trump because they don't like Hillary.
ERICAnd I'm not a great Hillary fan. What they're doing is voting for the Republican Party. They're strengthening that party that has done nothing in the last six years. So, although Hillary might not be their first choice, they might want to think about strengthening the party that might make things happen in Congress.
AUBREYEric, thank you for your call. John.
HARWOODWell, I like this caller better than the last caller because he agrees more with me. And the other caller agreed with Molly. But, look, I think Stephen put his finger on it. The -- yes, there will be some people who make that crossover. The question is how many of those people. I doubt it will be a lot. We'll see.
AUBREYOne more issue that we have time for, does yesterday's Egypt Air crash raise concerns, do you think, about US airport security? The crash comes at a time when the TSA is facing criticism for long lines at airports across the country. What do you say, Stephen?
DINANWell, I mean, obviously, this is something that touches a lot of Americans, a lot of voters. The security lines. I don't know whether the crash itself, and whether crash is the right term, I don't know whether that actually will have an effect on how we view the lines. But the lines themselves are -- becoming a political issue, and becoming the sort of thing where you have people pointing fingers. The airline saying the problem is the federal government. The federal government saying the problem is the airlines' bag check fees. And travelers are stuck in the middle saying, somebody do something.
AUBREYAnyone else want to weigh in? Molly.
BALLYeah, as someone who personally has missed a flight because of long TSA lines, I would like someone to do something and I would like them to stop bickering about it.
HARWOODI will say I think it says more about security at airports at Northern Africa than it does in the United States.
HARWOODAnd it raises again the specter of terrorism which most people are assuming that's what happened here. And not clear how that would affect the Presidential race. Donald Trump has said, when fears are higher, I do better. Hillary Clinton's got a resume as Secretary of State. We'll see how that plays out.
BALLI think also when government doesn't work, Trump does better. So when you have something that looks like a problem related to political parties not able to get along, Congress not able to address pressing issues and large bureaucracies not able to be effective in doing the job that they're tasked to do, I think all that fuels the anti-government, anti-establishment sentiment that's part of Trump's appeal.
AUBREYFinally, we learned yesterday that long time CBS journalist Morley Safer died at the age of 84. Safer worked at "60 Minutes" for some 46 years. He filed more than 900 reports. Quickly, John, his legacy.
HARWOODI think the most significant part of his legacy will be the work that he did in Vietnam. That -- this was a time when Americans were trying to figure out whether the war was working or not. He had delivered reports at a time when network news reports were more influential, were longer. And contributed to the ultimate break, we remember, when Walter Cronkite came out and said, it was a mistake, which had political consequences.
AUBREYWe are out of time. Thank you to my panelists for this great conversation and thank you for listening. I'm Allison Aubrey of NPR News sitting in for Diane Rehm.
Most Recent Shows
Recent Gun Violence, Calls For Unity, And What State Election Results Can Tell Us About National Trends
Perspective on recent gun violence and calls for unity, then, what election results in state races may tell us about national trends
What we know so far about Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential campaign, then, new pressure on social media and other tech companies to become more pro-active in policing content.
David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, on what the Democratic party needs to do to regain its momentum, and actor Alan Alda on the importance of being a good communicator