American Morning

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June 12th, 2009
02:00 PM ET

We Listen!

American Morning’s Friday audience was predominantly concerned about the future of healthcare in the U.S., in response to John Roberts’ interview with Senator Tom Coburn. Senator Coburn’s remarks were not favorably received, as most found him to be completely unclear.

  • P: i just saw john roberts interview sen. coburn on health care. Did even john understand the man's answers? i didn't and i have a PhD in biochemistry.
  • John: The Republican Senator you interviewed this morning said that Medicare Administrative costs are 21%. A study in 2006 by Milliman, the actuarial firm, concluded that Medicare administrative cost are 5.2%. He needs to get his facts straight!
  • Ernest: If you are going to present a critique of a "Public Health Care Component "to Universal Health Care, do you think you could have the integrity to present both sides? The "Lewin Group" which you "suggest" as an independent evaluator is owned, in totality by the "United Health Group. This "Group" owns United Health Care, Prescription Solutions, AmeriChoice,, Optum Health and other PRIVATE, for profit, health care offerings. Now, I wonder what conclusion the will come to? Do you inform the public that they are NOT an impartial arbitor? No. Then, you have the nerve to present Tom Coburn as a spokesperson, with no one to counterbalance his positions. He, a conservative senator and MD who is pro-life and threatened to block the 100 year commemoration of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" as "junk science". He is certainly not the "expert" that I want to listen to about public health care. Of course, you can invite him, but how about having someone like Howard Dean on at the same time? Are you, CNN, joining the greedy insurance companies to bring down universal health care coverage in the US once more? Where is your concern for the forty million plus citizens who have no health care or provisions to pay for medication? Where is your concern for the countless others who are going broke trying to pay their exorbitant premiums? Finally, if I hear one more journalist talk about the poor health care companies that may go out of business, I will send you all Kleenex. Make up your mind whether you believe in Darwinian capitalism or not. Do the CEO's of health care companies and HMO's need to make millions per year? A public component will keep whichever for-profit providers that survive, HONEST. I respectfully ask you for HONEST reporting.
  • Dorothy: I am an RN/Family Nurse Practitioner (retired) and I was very interested in John Roberts' interview of the Senator who opposes including a public option in a health care reform plan. I would like to see additional information on this as much of the information presented by the Senator contradicts information from other sources. The figures presented by the Senator on the percentage of costs which are administrative in private health care plans (22%) are much lower than any I have ever heard. Also, he stated that Medicare costs are higher which is also something refuted by every source I have ever seen. Please present further information on this topic so that the American people can have appropriate information on which to base their decisions. Thank you for your attention.

What did you think of Senator Tom Coburn’s comments about President Obama’s health care plan? Do you believe that the “profit” motive should be completely removed from health care? How do you feel about insurance companies’ involvement in the process of determining health care legislation?


Filed under: We Listen
June 12th, 2009
11:35 AM ET

Meet AM: Matt Arnold – Senior editor/producer

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Matt Arnold finishes his editing on the day’s piece."]

Each Friday in “Meet AM,” we’ll introduce you to the people who get American Morning to air.

This week, we’d like you to meet Matt Arnold. Matt is the senior editor/producer who works with American Morning. You see his work nearly every day in the pieces that our correspondents report, or the short soundbites that we air after an interview. Matt has worked with American Morning since the day it started seven and a half years ago.

How did you end up doing what you do?
I started out in a very broad TV field in college and one day my advisor told me that I had great creativity when it came to post-production. I found a love for it when I started co-producing and editing a TV show called “2 The Xtreme” in local broadcast. While producing that show, I was also freelancing here at CNN. It was only 6 months before CNN hired me full-time.

Describe your average day:
Usually the night before, I get a call from the editors’ supervisor alerting me to our edit in the morning. I wake up early and start thinking, in the car on my way to work, about the ways to be creative in putting together the piece. After arriving at work, the AP I work with, Erica, tells me what video and graphics we have in the system. I look at the script and gather all the tapes in the edit bay. I then start the creative process of constructing the piece. I like to put together the piece with extra time to spare so I can watch it through thoroughly and make it extra-compelling. I look at my job as making an already interesting story sing. So I am trying to do that while I edit the piece. Sometimes with the material that we have, it can be difficult. But we do well. Sometimes during the show, I am also asked to cut smaller soundbites from interviews the anchors conducted, or new video that we have just gotten in. After the show, I work on pieces that are for the next day, or other shows. Then I go home and get ready to do it all again.


Filed under: Meet AM
June 12th, 2009
10:17 AM ET

Student saves dean’s life

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Dean Glenn Swinny sits next to Charity Caldwell, the nursing student who came to his aid during his heart attack at her commencement ceremony."]

This was not a test. A nursing student put her skills to work just minutes before she graduated. She saved a man having a heart attack at the commencement ceremony, yelling out “I’m a nurse” while wearing her cap and gown. It turned out the man whose life she saved was the dean of her school, a man she'd never met before.

Charity Caldwell is now a practicing nurse in Memphis, Tennessee. Glenn Swinny is the dean of mathematics, health and natural sciences at Southwest Tennessee Community College. They both spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday.

Kiran Chetry: You guys have quite a story to tell. Let me ask you dean, how are you doing this morning?

Glenn Swinny: I'm doing great and getting stronger each day.

Chetry: You ended up having to have a double bypass, right?

Swinny: That's correct.

Chetry: Well, it's great to know you're doing better. You got out of the hospital in the middle of May. Charity, tell me about how all of this happened. You guys were there celebrating your graduation. I'm sure it was a very exciting day. When did you realize someone was in distress?

Charity Caldwell: I was running ten minutes late to graduation; pouring down rain and ran through the hallway trying to go through security and friends were waiting on me. And I came down the hall and saw a man lying on the ground with a crowd gathered around him and instantly dropped to my knees and started assessing what was going on and saw that he was in distress and yelled “Call 911. Who is he? Who is he with?”

Chetry: And this is when you started doing chest compressions? You did that for several minutes and drawing on your nursing skills knowing you had only about three minutes to get his blood circulating again and then you started worrying about brain damage. What were you doing at the time?

Caldwell: Well, as I assessed him, I felt for a pulse. I saw that he was barely breathing and as I yelled to call 911, he lost his pulse. And at that time, I began chest compressions and Dean Swinny opened his eyes and I could see these big brown eyes and he took a big breath and went out on me again. And I was yelling “Come on, you can do this, stay with me, it's going to be okay.” And I started chest compressions again. And during that time, paramedics arrived and started hooking him up to the defibrillator and an Ambu bag to breathe for him. And I asked them do they need me to stay on? And they said they had it at that time.


Filed under: Health
June 12th, 2009
09:11 AM ET

Big blow against big tobacco

By this afternoon, the president could be signing a bill into law – giving the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco companies. It's considered a huge step in the effort to snuff out smoking in America. The Senate overwhelmingly voted yesterday to strike a big blow against big tobacco.

Filed under: Business • Politics
June 12th, 2009
08:57 AM ET

GOP campaign rallying cry returns

One of the saving graces of this recession has been the low prices at the pump. But not anymore. High gas prices are making a comeback. And so is a campaign battle cry from 2008... "Drill baby, drill!"

Filed under: Economy • Politics
June 12th, 2009
06:34 AM ET

Avlon: ‘Wingnuts’ spread hate of Obama, Jews

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Reverend Jeremiah Wright (L) and Pastor Wiley S. Drake (R). Getty Images."]

A new survey by the Pew Research Center reaffirms that America is a religious nation, but it also shows that young voters across the political spectrum are turning away from the inter-mixed influence of religion on politics.

This week’s wingnuts on the left and right offer examples of why the separation of church and state is making a common sense comeback for this new generation – the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Pastor Wiley Drake.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright became a staple of campaign ’08 with comments that elevated him to all-time Wingnut Hall of Fame. But after he almost sank former parishioner Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency, Rev. Wright mercifully faded into the background.

That was until this week when he reinserted himself into the political debate with an interview to Virginia’s Daily Press, in which he said: “Them Jews aren't going to let him [President Obama] talk to me." Read more

This off-hand anti-Semitism brings to mind the reverend’s previously infamous sermons. There were his post-9/11 comments that “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

There was the accusation that the U.S. government was behind the AIDS virus and the infamous riff that “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

In this week’s comments, Rev. Wright reaffirmed that he has no regrets for these and other flashes of extremism from his 20 years on the pulpit in Chicago, which were characterized by content as well as controversy. At a time when President Obama is trying to build new bridges to moderates throughout the Middle East, Rev. Wright’s comments remain unhelpful in the extreme.

On the right is a less widely-known name. Pastor Wiley Drake served as a second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, he ran to be vice president of the United States alongside former ambassador and Obama adversary Alan Keyes on a fringe third party ticket. Now he says that he is praying for President Obama’s death after his prayers for the death of Kansas abortionist George Tiller were "answered."


Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
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