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Obama, the Next President?; Which GOP Candidate Will Take New Hampshire?; Book Takes Tom Cruise to Task for Religion; Healthcare in America

Aired January 7, 2008 - 19:00:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, say hello to the next president of the United States. Why I believe this man could be our next commander in chief and why a vote for Barack says more about you than it does about him.

Plus, markets crumble around the world. How long before we`re living here and driving one of these?

And a personal voyage through the nightmare that is our health-care system. How a recent surgery taught me what really matters when you go under the knife.

All of this and more tonight.


BECK: Well, hello America. No matter how much the health-care system would try to keep me down, I`m back. And I`ll have more on that later, on how getting well in this country could actually almost kill you.

But first, the New Hampshire primary is just hours away. So here`s "The Point" tonight.

Barack Obama just may be the next president of the United States. Granted, it could be the painkillers I`m taking right now. But here`s how I got there.

There`s been a groundswell of support for Senator Barack Obama. In just the last week, he beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 points in Iowa, and in a recent "USA Today"/Gallup poll, it shows him now with a 13-point lead ahead of her in New Hampshire and 19 points ahead of pretty-boy John Edwards.

So what is accounting for this increased popularity of Barack`s message? Is it his message? I don`t think so. Not entirely. I think people want to vote for him because they`re tired of the same old-same old. And they want to vote for him because it says more about them than him.

The same way people say, "Oh, I just loved `The Kite Runner.` More than `The Transformers`." Yes, right.

Americans want change. You can`t find a candidate out there that more embodies a break from the usual suspects than a young African-American who seems to be an awful lot like you and me. If Obama can handle being challenged on the issues and none of his opponents find any skeletons lurking in the back of his closet, this race, I believe, is his to lose.

Now, what about Hillary Clinton? Is it too soon to count her out? Oh, young Obi-Wan, not too fast. The Clintons are tenacious political animals. She has a light saber. She is definitely not going down without a fight.

And you have to ask yourself why her campaign is unraveling. I believe it is -- it goes right to the heart of the matter on people being so disenfranchised. So many Americans feel that they are just sick and tired of the status quo.

As much as Barack Obama represents the future of American politic, Hillary Clinton represents its past. She is old school. And these days, that just ain`t cool. I`m so hip.

So, tonight, here`s what you need to know. It ain`t over till it`s over but for the Democrats, Barack Obama seems to have all the right moves. Plus, I hear he knows Oprah.

Hillary Clinton needs to not only overcome the policy differences between her and Obama, but more importantly, she needs to create the perception that Barack Obama isn`t Mr. Right; he is just Mr. Right Now.

Leslie Sanchez is a Republican strategist and author of "Los Republicanos." Keith Boykin is the host of BET`s "My Two Cents" and a "New York Times" best-selling author.

I mean, really, Keith, who isn`t? You know what I`m saying.

And Josh Green is the senior editor for "The Atlantic," where he covers politics.

Keith, let me start with you. I think that Obama is basically a Prius, that it may not be his ideas, as much as a Prius, everybody likes to say, "I`m doing it for the environment." The No. 1 reason people state that they bought a Prius is because "it says something about me."

I think he has the White House within his grasp because there are a lot of people that will vote for him because they`ll say, "Well, it`s about change, and he`s young and he`s exciting and he`s black. And I was there, and it was great." Am I wrong?

KEITH BOYKIN, HOST, BET`S "MY TWO CENTS": Well, you`re half right. I mean, it`s true that it does say something about people when they support Barack Obama, but I think it`s not accurate to compare him to a Toyota Prius, for God`s sake.

BECK: Well, he`s good for the environment, I`m sure.

BOYKIN: Well, yes, sure. But you know -- you know, what`s really going on is bigger than an automobile. You know, this is like what Victor Hugo said. Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has gone.

Barack Obama`s time has come. He`s got the four "M`s" on his side. He`s got the money; he`s got the momentum; he`s got the message; he`s got the media, all on his side. There`s -- there`s a momentum and a movement that`s happening here that no one anticipated in the media. And this is historic.

BECK: Yes. Now Josh, let me -- let me go to you. Because I -- I don`t mean to compare him to a Toyota Prius, by any stretch of the imagination, I`m just saying it`s more of a slam, not on him. It`s more of a slam on us, that we are a country that just likes a good marketing tool.

I mean, he`s a great product. I`m not sure it is the message. Is this a win for America? Is this a win for him? What do you think is happening here?

JOSH GREEN, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I think the phenomena you`re talking about is certainly one element of the sudden and explosive movement you see around Barack Obama.

But I would argue it`s much -- it`s much, much broader than that. It`s not just Americans that want to feel good about themselves by voting for an attractive black candidate. It`s a chance, all at once, to kind of turn the page on history.

BECK: Yes.

GREEN: To move beyond the Clinton era, the Bush era, and really to -- if I might borrow a line from Bill Clinton, to kind of build a bridge to the 21st century. Obama really is kind of the candidate of the future. And I think that there`s a palpable excitement about that that a lot of people have tapped into that now, and that`s what`s driving the support.

BECK: I`m going to -- I`m going to try this a third time now. I`m going to try it with you, Leslie. I`m going to try it a third time. Here it is. And it might be the drugs, the medication that I`m on, talking -- speaking here. So let me see if I can make it clear.

It`s not that he`s a Prius. It`s not that he`s a handsome black man. It`s the fact that it`s all of this stuff and people are tired of the same old-same old.

I ask people who are supporters of Barack Obama, who say, "Yes, I`ll vote for Barack Obama."

"Really? What is one of his policies that you like?"

"Well, change."


BECK: They don`t know. It is -- I mean, it`s a rock-star thing that`s happening right now.

SANCHEZ: The people have romanticized what this candidacy is. It`s a little bit of celebrity, a little bit of pop culture.

But you have to look back. Historically, this happens about every generation. If you look at JFK in the 1960s, he was the New Frontier candidate versus the establishment, which was Lyndon Baines Johnson. People were ready for something different.

It`s definitely a time where his time has come, but there`s a lot of caveats. And there`s a mine field out there for Barack Obama that he still has to maneuver through.

BECK: Josh, let me -- let me go to you. And let me change it to Hillary here for a second. What the heck happened to Hillary Clinton? I mean, that was an implosion.

GREEN: Well, I think that`s what her candidate -- her campaign is asking themselves right now. I think the answer is that, you know, her strategy all along was fundamentally flawed. I mean, she was presented a year ago. The rationale for her candidacy was that, you know, she was going to be the Democratic nominee. This was going to be more of a coronation than it was an election.

And I think that in the summer, when you saw her leading by 20, 30 points, you know, voters were grudgingly accepting that, because there didn`t seem to be an obvious alternative. Now there is. And the Clinton campaign is discovering that this is a democracy, not a monarchy.

And the whole idea that her candidacy was inevitable, I think, sort of plays up the brazen sense of entitlement that you get in her that so many people find off-putting. And I think only now does she and her campaign begin to understand the trouble that that`s caused them.

BECK: Keith, one final question to you. Do you think that we have really -- do you think that we have changed that much as a nation? I`ve never had a problem voting for a black man for president. I don`t really care what the color of your skin is. You`re black, you`re yellow, you`re pink, I don`t care. I mean, look at me. I don`t even know what color I am. Look at my face and my hand. I mean, I`m like Michael Jackson sitting here.

SANCHEZ: I think you`re Latino. I`m convinced.

BECK: Yet you have a situation where 30 percent of the public say they won`t vote for Mitt Romney because he`s Mormon. Are we more tolerant, or have we just changed targets?

BOYKIN: We are more tolerant. And I think Barack is the perfect black candidate to vote for president right now. You know, Hillary, on the other hand, may not be -- it may not be that America is not ready for a woman president, but she`s not the right woman president, apparently. And Barack is the very perfect, archetypal, quintessential black presidential candidate. I mean, he is really in the driver`s seat right now. If he wins New Hampshire tomorrow, it`s pretty much over, I think.

SANCHEZ: I have to -- I have to disagree with that. I think he`s had many hurdles to overcome. There`s no doubt...

BECK: Oh, yes. He`s got to -- he`s got to -- he`s actually got to be pushed to the wall and...

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

BECK: ... and challenged here.

But I appreciate it guys. We`ll have you back, Leslie, Josh, Keith.

So tell me where I`m wrong, America. Barack Obama`s message, better or worse, is winning. His image is winning. I think the presidency is his to lose. Agree or disagree? Go to right now and cast your vote.

Coming up, U.S. health care gone wrong. Yes, got firsthand experience in that department. I`ll tell you my story in tonight`s "Real Story."

And the GOP presidential candidates look like a bunch of headless chickens, running around a political chicken coop. Is it possible for them to get their act together? We`ll explore the options, coming up.


BECK: Well, if you have access to the Internet, you`ve probably heard about my recent disappointing experience with our health-care system here in America. If you haven`t, buckle up. It`s going to be a bumpy ride. And trust me, your bottom will hurt at the end of it. It`s my health-care nightmare in tonight`s "Real Story."

Now let`s go to the Republican Party. It`s a mess. The big picture is, the party doesn`t know what it wants to be any more. You`d think that after the beating they took in 2006, they would have made sure that the guy in the Oval Office and everybody else would have done more than just wear the lucky red tie. But no such luck.

Let me run it down for you. Since I`ve been gone, Huckabee ran away with the Iowa caucus. He was spent -- outspent 5-1 by Mitt Romney. The trouble is six out of seven Huckabee voters are evangelicals. How do you put together a win outside of the evangelical vote? That spells to me a loss in the general electorate -- election.

Then you have John McCain. He may be leading now in New Hampshire by 6 percentage points, according to the latest CNN numbers, but with him you don`t need any kind of an attack ad. You don`t need a spear campaign to show that he`s not a conservative. All you have to do is read the list of some of the bills that he`s been part of. You know, McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Lieberman, McCain-anything. You know, taking his own past spells trouble for his future.

Then you`re left with Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani. Are these guys even in the same party?

If the Republicans don`t get their act together pretty soon, they`re going to lose the White House and so much more. I think it`s going to be a rout.

Craig Shirley is a Republican strategist and Reagan biographer.

Hello, Craig. How are you?


BECK: I`m good.

At any time in history has there been a party this split at this time that`s been able to pull it together and really held on or won?

SHIRLEY: You could make a case for 1976, the Republican Party starting in 1974 under Richard Nixon.

BECK: Well...

SHIRLEY: Let me finish.

BECK: But that was Carter.

SHIRLEY: It did but Carter won very, very narrowly. Ford almost pulled it out. But it was more because of Carter was running somewhat as an odd duck or an oddball campaign -- candidate, other than Gerald Ford making a compelling case.

But more importantly is that the same stimulus and response that you had in the early and mid-`70s, the corruption and betrayal of conservative principles, that created the demise of the Republican Party in that time period, is present today in the Republican Party.

BECK: Gosh, Craig, I`ve got to tell, I think you`re the only person I`ve heard say this on TV. I`ve been saying this for a while. We are going to relive the 1970s. I think there`s a possibility we end up with a Jimmy Carter again.

I mean, Mike Huckabee is kind of that Jimmy Carter, cut from the same cloth as Jimmy Carter, where it`s just like, "Hey, let`s just have somebody that we can trust in there," et cetera, et cetera. Our economy and everything is 1970s.

SHIRLEY: Right. And to your point, you know, in August 1974 when Nixon resigned, only 18 percent of the American people dared to call themselves Republicans publicly. Today, that figure is 25 percent. We`re only 7 percent off the worst numbers ever for the Republican Party.

BECK: Giuliani, I thought it was stupid for him to stay out and wait until the Super Tuesday.


BECK: It may turn out to be brilliant.

SHIRLEY: Well, who knows with this compressed primary schedule? John Connolly tried it in 1980. It didn`t work for him. He tried to make a firewall, and by that time Reagan was already rolling toward the nomination. Al Gore tried it in 1988 to make a southern strategy his firewall. It didn`t work for him either, and Dukakis rolled over him and got the nomination.

BECK: Just because you are a Reagan biographer, let me just ask you this question.


BECK: Not on policy, by any stretch of the imagination but the most Reagan-like figure out there in the field today is Barack Obama, isn`t it?

SHIRLEY: Well, you set aside ideology, just go to charisma and his ability to motivate people and touch people and reach out.

BECK: And hope.

SHIRLEY: You`re under, I think, what is a very important point. People don`t realize, like, for instance, in 1980 in the Wisconsin primary, it was open. Democrats could cross over and vote in the Republican primary. Reagan lost the Republican vote to George Bush, but he won a plurality of the Democratic vote that crossed over. Instead of voting for Carter. And because he made a cultural and philosophical appeal, crossed over to vote for him and give him the Wisconsin primary. He did that in state after state after state in `76 and in `80.

BECK: Craig, we`ll talk to you again. Thank you very much.

SHIRLEY: My pleasure.

ECK: Now I want to talk a little bit about the Republican Party and how fractured it is. But there`s one guy who`s been beating his drum for a very long time. His name is Congressman Duncan Hunter, presidential candidate. He joins me now.

Congressman, how are you, sir?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Glenn, I`m doing good. How are you doing?

BECK: I`m very good. You know, I`m torn -- I`m torn on what has happened here recently. For instance, you were left out of the debates. Ron Paul left out of the debates. While, you know, I want to hear from -- I want to be able to get into more meet meaty answers from candidates. Who is the media to decide who should be in a debate and who shouldn`t be?

HUNTER: Listen, Glenn, you`re singing my song. I just did a press conference in which I said this. I said ABC closed me out, blacked out my TV by basically taking me off the debate stage 72 hours before the debate.

FOX News, whose trademark is, "We report, you decide," decided that our candidacy wasn`t worth having that last debate 24 hours before the polls open.

So, you know, I said, you know, FOX and ABC have been asking me if I`m going to stay in or quit. Here`s my answer. I`m staying in, and you know what I did during the debate, the ABC debate? I held my own teletown meeting with Chuck Yeager, General Chuck Yeager, and with 3,100 independent New Hampshire voters.

We talked about jobs. We talked about bringing back national security and the industrial base and also sealing up the southern border. We talked about what I call Republican classic. That`s what it`s going to take to bring this party back.

BECK: OK. Congressman, you know that I`m a fan of yours, and I -- and I just respect you so much. And you`re a great American. And you really are classic, classic conservative. And it`s good to have that from time to time, just to remind us where we should be.

However, let me play devil`s advocate with you, because people will call me about Ron Paul and everybody else and they`ll say, "Glenn, he`s got great ideas," whatever. Some of his ideas are crazy. Some of his ideas are right.

But you know what? Let`s take Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson is in the same boat. If you can`t excite people, that`s part of the deal. If you can`t get people to rise up and start to steam roll, you shouldn`t be the president of the United States.

So what -- what is it that you want? What is it, Duncan, that you and Fred Thompson and Ron Paul feel like you haven`t gotten that the others have gotten?

HUNTER: Well, one thing that I haven`t gotten -- and it`s my own fault -- is money. Because where I`ve been able to focus my message, Glenn, as you know, I won the Texas straw poll at the state convention in Texas by 2-1 over the next guy, who incidentally was Fred Thompson. I won the Arizona straw poll among elected Republican leaders. I tied Giuliani and McCain at the top in the first big straw poll east of Mississippi, and that was in South Carolina. I did that because I was able to speak to the voters.

BECK: Right.

HUNTER: And so you`ve got to get -- you`ve got to move electrons in this business. That means if you don`t get on the air, you`ve got to buy that air time, and that means you`ve got to have some bucks.

BECK: Let me ask you this. Is it a little frustrating for you where you`re a guy who -- you`ve been saying the same thing consistently forever now and John McCain, I mean, I look at what`s happening in New Hampshire. And I think, Republicans, what, are you out of your mind? John McCain -- McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman, McCain-anything, again. Is it frustrating that somehow or another people just forget, and he can change his stripes?

HUNTER: Listen, never frustrating. You`ve got to keep looking at tomorrow if you`re in this business.

But one thing you`ve got to remember about John McCain is this. He will -- he`s a stubborn guy. And he did vote -- put together this amnesty bill with Ted Kennedy. If he becomes president, that`s what you`re going to have.

So if you want a secure border, you can`t go with John McCain. You can go with Duncan Hunter, because I built that border fence, and I wrote the law that takes it across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. And you know something? I think that the independents of New Hampshire voters will come out in a couple of days.

BECK: Congressman, thank you very much. Coming up, Tom Cruise, really the No. 2 guy in the Church of Scientology? And if so, why do I care? I`ll explain religious bigotry, coming up.


BECK: Well, in his new book, "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography," author Andrew Morton makes some pretty serious allegations, one of which is that Tom Cruise is the No. 2 guy in the controversial Church of Scientology and that he consults the church on all private and professional matters.

You know, you can say whatever you want about a guy`s movies. I mean, actually, there was a time there I was rooting for the aliens in "War of the Worlds." You know what I`m saying? But Tom Cruise`s religious beliefs are off limits. Once we let one faith be attacked and marginalized, isn`t it a slippery slope before everybody`s religious freedom is in jeopardy?

David Kuo is the Washington editor of

David, I`m a pretty religious guy myself, and I was -- I was dumbfounded when I saw some of the allegations coming out in this book, one of which is that "Rosemary`s Baby" was happening.

DAVID KUO, BELIEFNET.COM: Yes. I`m curious whether or not the author actually looked at pictures of the child. Because if you look at the pictures of the child next to Tom Cruise, they sure bear a somewhat striking resemblance.

BECK: Hang on just a second. Let me -- let me ask one of our producers. Do we get those pictures up? Do we have them? Because I want to show the pictures. OK. There they are. Tell the allegation that is being made here.

KUO: Well, I think the allegation here is that somehow the idea is that this is the frozen love child of L. Ron Hubbard. I can barely get it out, it`s so preposterous.

BECK: OK. So it is.

The next thing that they talk about is what I just said, that he`s the No. 2 guy in this faith and he consults with his -- with his fellow churchgoers on all of his major decisions in his life.

KUO: And I`m stunned -- stunned -- that -- that this is possible.

BECK: Right.

KUO: The man is in a senior position in the church, and he actually consults the church...

BECK: That`s crazy.

KUO: ... for what he wants to do. I just -- I`ve never heard anything quite like this. I think that, frankly, it should be front page of "The New York Times" tomorrow. He consults his church. It`s shocking.

BECK: So it is -- it is religious bigotry. It`s just that it`s not the right church for him to go to and consult. Because if it was the right church, if it was the church of Al Gore and environmentalism, you probably wouldn`t see this book.

KUO: I think that`s more than a little possible.

Listen, scientologists have, you know, a controversial past. There are a lot of people who have a lot of things to say against them. But, you know, there`s a way to talk about and critique religious faith, and it is with, you know, an understanding and kind dialogue. It`s not by publishing some huge smash celebrity, you know, trash book and wrapping it in someone`s faith.

The Supreme Court they don`t quite know how to define obscenity. You know, they kind of only know it when they see it. Well, religious bigotry is kind of the same way. You know, we know it when we see it. And, you know, what Andrew Morton is trying to do in this book, he`s trying to rip a religion. He`s trying to riff Tom Cruise, and to bring the two together, it`s a bad combo.

BECK: I -- did we get the picture of my son with the Brigham Young beard? Because there was the -- no, we didn`t get.

So the last question, the last place I have to go with you is the book wasn`t published in England. Kind of curious.

KUO: Yes. Apparently Britain`s libel laws are somewhat stricter. I heard someone say, yes, it`s because in Britain you actually have to publish the truth.

There are legitimate -- again, there are legitimate critiques to be made against the Church of Scientology.

BECK: Yes.

KUO: But the problem here is this is being done within the context of pop journalism and by someone who simply wants to make a buck. And he`s not doing this for the public service.

BECK: Thanks, David.

Coming up, "The Real Story" and my butt surgery. Oh, yes, next.


BECK: Well, you may look at the recent surge of oil prices to over $100 a barrel and get, I don`t know, mildly concerned. But the reality is, it`s something that`s not only impacting our economy but the economy of the entire world. It is scary, and you need to know about it.

Coming up in just a bit, I`ll explain.

First, welcome to the "Real Story."

Now, since I`ve been out of work for a while recovering from surgery, naive little me thought, "Hey, Glenn, it would be a good idea if you post a video up on YouTube over the weekend and explain what happened." Well, there it is.

The next thing I know, the video is picked up by "The Drudge Report," made it on the front page of, and now well over half a million people have seen it. My wife came in to me and said, "What were you thinking? It says on the bottle, `Don`t operate heavy machinery.`"

And I said good video. It`s not heavy.

So, if you didn`t listen to the radio show this morning, you still may be wondering exactly what kind of surgery I had. So here it is.

It was butt surgery. I had surgery on my ass. And that`s about it.

So go ahead, make all of the jokes. I mean, I`ll be here all night, so you can continue to make them.

The reason I went public with this whole debacle, despite the inevitable public embarrassment that I`m going to have to live with for the rest of my life -- and you can read all of the embarrassing details at, if you really want to -- is, the reason I went forward with it is because what it taught me about health care in America.

I have seen our system at its very best, and unfortunately I`ve experienced it now at its very worst. You`ll hear some of that at the end of tonight`s broadcast, but in each case, the difference had nothing to do with having the latest equipment or a facility that looked like the Taj Mahal.

It had to do with people and compassion. It had to do with respect. It had to do with people treating people the way those people wanted to be treated themselves.

There were times over the last couple of weeks when I quite honestly was nothing more than a number. I really thought when I got out of the hospital I should get a driver`s license as well, because I felt like I was at a DMV.

There were times when people literally turned their back on my cries of pain and pleas for help. And I believe it was all because we have forgotten that the secret to health care, is contained right there in the word itself, "care."

Somewhere along the way we`ve lost that.

Don`t talk to me about universal health care or HMOs or how much you need a new MRI machine until you can look me in the eye and tell me that you have a staff full of people that have true compassion for their patients. Our politicians are right, we do have a health care crisis in this country, but it`s not going to get fixed by them. It`s not going to get fixed by a politician.

It`s not going to be fixed by the government or attorneys or by insurance companies. It`s certainly not going to be fixed by throwing more money around. After all, at the lowest of my lows, I didn`t care whether that hospital had marble in its bathrooms or plasma TVs up on the wall. The only thing I cared about was finding somebody who actually cared about me.

Regina Herzlinger is the author of "Who Killed Health Care?" and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

We seem to be, Regina, a society or a system now in health care that is just trying to shove the patients out that door as fast as they can. Is that anyway to run a system?

REGINA HERZLINGER, AUTHOR, "WHO KILLED HEALTH CARE?": No, it`s no way to do it. And you know, you really can`t blame the doctors and the nurses. They would like to give you TLC, but the insurers, they say to then, get that patient out of the door as quickly as possible. And you follow the cookie cutter recipe I give you for rendering health care.

So they`re between a rock and a hard place.


BECK: You know...

HERZLINGER: ... says compassion.

BECK: Have you heard of the Huntsman Cancer Institute out in Utah?


BECK: This is an amazing place where you are -- you not only come with a doctor, you come with a scientist as well, and they try to adapt everything specifically for your genetic code. It is a totally different way of looking at health care.

Right now we`re kind of in the cookie cutter, just get them in, get them out, let`s move on. Am I wrong?

HERZLINGER: It`s -- well, we used to be not cookie cutter. We used to be in a system where doctors and nurses understood that you were a human being and that you had different needs from everybody else. But nowadays, because the insurers are so concerned about costs, they put these cookie cutter recipes and they put a lot of pressure on the doctors and nurses to get that patient out quickly.

So they lose their humanity. The patient, it`s like a slab of meat or, as you said, a number.

BECK: Yes. You know, the scary thing is, is my best friend tried to call me at the hospital and he tried for two days. He couldn`t get through to me because the person who was answering the phone didn`t speak English well enough to understand "Glenn Beck`s room, please," which was phenomenal to me.

With the exception of one person, every person that was a nurse -- and they were phenomenal. The nurses were phenomenal. Every single one of them had an accent from another country. A job that Americans just won`t do is to be a nurse in our society.

HERZLINGER: Absolutely.

BECK: Because there`s no way for them to win.

HERZLINGER: Absolutely. And, you know, they are well paid, but it`s a lousy job. They are put under so much pressure. And they are wonderful people. They would like to do what is best for their patients, they`re smart people, but they are forced to treat you like a slab of meat. And lots of men and women say, to heck with that.

BECK: Regina, do you believe that -- have you ever seen the show "House" on Fox?

HERZLINGER: Yes, sure.

BECK: Do you believe that kind of doctor could actually survive?

HERZLINGER: Oh, it`s insane.

BECK: One that has absolutely -- that has no bedside manner at all?

HERZLINGER: Not only that he has no bedside manner, he is funny. But he`s got a staff of three people and he does no work. In a real hospital, he`d be seeing 40 patients a day.

HERZLINGER: All right. Regina, thanks a lot.

Now, these last couple of weeks, the health care hell that I have been living in have taught me something else about our society, that we are a nation of pill poppers. No matter what your problem is, chances are, they have got a pill for you. I mean, unless it`s a fat pill. I`ve been waiting for the fat pill and the flying car that science has been promising me since the 1940s, but that`s a different story.

The real story is that most Americans don`t understand that pills cannot solve everything. There is a consequence and a tradeoff every time you put something in your body, and that trade off for me nearly got me killed, I believe.

Without drugs, my pain was intolerable, and they put together a cocktail that was phenomenal. With that cocktail, I was having severe trouble breathing, and my mind went places that were darker than I have ever been before. And if you know my past, you know that`s saying something.

So how do we strike the right balance?

Dr. Marc Siegel is the associate professor of medicine for New York University school, author of "False Alarm: The Truth About The Epidemic of Fear."

Doctor, I just want to show you what I was taking. I was on IV morphine, Torinal, Fentanyl patches, Percocet every three hours, and a synthetic morphine drip. Every six minutes I could push for it.

The doctor came in the next day and he said, "You haven`t been pushing for the drip." And I said, "I`m afraid I will die."

It is an amazing situation. We think we can solve everything with medicine, but those same pills can kill us.

DR. MARC SIEGEL, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, Glenn, we`re treating the -- we`re not treating the patient. We`re treating the symptom, the pain. And so we chase it, one pill after another.

We`re not thinking down the line. People can get addicted to these pills.

You know, we have a culture here, where -- as you talked about a minute ago. It`s rapid in, rapid out. But doctors have to slow down and try to preserve the quality of care.

I agree with what you said earlier. You know, we can try to extend health care to more people, but we have to preserve quality of care.

Doctors are still in control of that. They don`t have to say, that guy is in pain, give him more pills, give him more pills.

And you know, we have one of the only two countries in the world that approves of direct consumer advertising, which means you get on the TV, you see these pills, you go into your doctor, you ask for these pills. You know, people are going around in sexy clothing, pushing the pills in doctors offices, where you have more and more prescriptions. That`s why we get resistant antibiotics, that`s why you get overmedicated in the hospital.

BECK: Yes. Well, I have to tell you, Doctor, and I want to make this very clear, I was afraid for my life, literally afraid for my life at one point on this medication. But I had the best doctors.

I mean, my doctors were phenomenal. I don`t believe they over-medicated. They agonized over every -- I mean, I heard them talking to each other, I heard them talk to me as a team and saying, Glenn, we take some of these away and your pain -- I mean, I was up on the operation table. It was not a good scene.

But specifically on medication, maybe a better -- a better example would be so many people I know are on Ambien. So many people I know are taking -- you know, we call it Vitamin A here on my floor at CNN because so many people are on Vitamin A because they cannot sleep.

I went to my doctor. I`m down to about two to four hours a night to sleep, and I`m in a cycle where I can`t sleep. And I said to my doctor the first thing, "Do not give me Ambien. Now, how do I sleep?"

That doesn`t occur to so many doctors to say, well, let me teach you how to relax.

SIEGEL: Well, that`s called a cycle of worry, as I wrote about in my book "False Alarm." And that`s caused by not enough exercise -- I mean, not necessarily in your case, but, you know, people don`t eat right, they worry too much.

BECK: Oh, look at me.

SIEGEL: You know, they go -- they`re up having coffee too late. There`s a million things that people do wrong. They don`t use their bedroom just to sleep in.

There`s a lot of tricks you can learn to get yourself to sleep. Ambien is part of that vicious cycle.

BECK: But the doctors don`t -- they`re not -- they`re looking to better living through pharmaceuticals first. And you know, you say that we are being marketed to, but I was sitting in my doctor`s -- more aptly, I was standing in my doctor`s office, and I saw the drug salesman come and set up at a lunch with the doctors to go out and have lunch. And I thought, if I`m a doctor, why would I waste my time to have lunch with these guys?

Just leave me the brochures and I`ll read about them. If it`s great -- why am I going to -- as a doctor going to have lunch with these guys?

SIEGEL: Well, no, I agree with you. And these guys haven`t been trained to actually be the ones to teach you anything about pharmaceuticals.

They don`t have a Ph.D. They`re not MDs.

You know, I want to add though, Glenn, to be fair, we have some of the best medications in the world these days.

BECK: Oh yes.

SIEGEL: Some phenomenal drugs. And I don`t want the listeners, the audience to think that I`m not in favor of great drugs. But we`re talking about overuse of some of these drugs, and that`s because we have a culture of overuse.

BECK: Well...

SIEGEL: We use them as props.

BECK: ... you brought up the best example, and that`s the reason we are having flesh-eating bacteria, because we have overused our antibiotics. And we`re all going to pay for it.

Thanks a lot.

That is the "Real Story" tonight.

Now, if you`d like to read more about, or if you found a real story of your own, tell us about it. Please, visit, click on the "Real Story" button.

Up next, I am back and so that means I`ve got to do something on the horrible economy. Oh yes, the growing global economic disaster. How bad is it going to get?

The segment America has been crying out for for three weeks coming up.


BECK: Well, I don`t know how it has happened, but it seems like all of this election talk has taken our eye off a couple of things going on in the real world. For example, Iran.

Have you heard a politician talk about them lately? They have been pretty much forgotten about by the politicians and the media, and Iran has just made some noise by threatening U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend.

This is spooky stuff. Listen to this.

According to the reports, five Iranian speedboats approached the Navy ships in a hostile matter. They dropped these white boxes into the water, which I don`t know what was in those. Reportedly, they issued a radio transmission saying, "I am coming at you and I will explode in a couple of minutes."

Fortunately, the Iranian boats turned away before shots were fired. But with President Bush`s trip to the Middle East this Wednesday, and the threats that we`ve been seeing now on the Internet, this is a reminder that Iran will not go away quietly. But, of course, you can`t talk about Iran without talking about oil as well.

Twenty percent of the world`s supply of oil passes through that strait, the Strait of Hormuz, and with prices already near $100, Middle East tensions are only good for, well, the Middle East, quite frankly, and people who are in the oil business.

Our economy seems to be having a tough enough time as it is. Are we really prepared to handle an oil shock on top of everything else that we`re facing? I don`t think so.

Peter Schiff is the president of Euro Pacific Capital and author of "Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse."

Peter, are you amazed that you`re not seeing anyone, any of these politicians, really talk about what is at least possibly right around the corner?

PETER SCHIFF, AUTHOR, "CRASH PROOF": Well, because they don`t understand it. I mean, you know, with the exception...

BECK: Peter, I don`t buy that. I don`t buy that.

These people have smart people all around them. If a recovering alcoholic, former deejay can get this stuff, these guys certainly can.

SCHIFF: Look, don`t sell yourself short. I deal with these people on Wall Street all the time. And believe me, most of them are clueless.

You know, they don`t understand that the reason oil prices are rising is because we`re creating inflation. When the Federal Reserve prints new money and we spend it into circulation to pay for things like the war in Iraq, the dollar loses value and prices rise.

BECK: But how do you not understand that when the Saudis themselves said, we are going to peg the price of oil to the dollar?


BECK: And they`ve announced that.

SCHIFF: Look, you can tell. If you look at gold, in 1970, oil was $3 a barrel and gold was $35 an ounce. In the last 38 years, the price of oil has only risen by 20 percent in terms of gold, meaning that if we were on the gold standard and had honest money, oil right now would cost $3.60 a barrel. The reason it costs $95 a barrel is because of all the inflation that the government has created over the last 38 years, and the problem is, it`s only going to get worst.

BECK: Yes. OK.

I don`t know if you saw this. It was buried -- I believe -- I believe I read this on Christmas Eve. Four of the world`s biggest economists came out and said, in a nutshell, one of them was actually quoted as saying that 1929 will look like a walk in the park. More and more people are now starting to ring the bell and say what you have been saying for a while, and that is, buckle up, gang, here it comes.

SCHIFF: Well, here is the problem. The initial collapse that we`re going to see -- we`re following the bursting of both the stock market and the housing bubbles -- is going to be bigger, I think, than the crash in 1929, as far as its immediate effects. But whether or not we have another 1930- style depression is a function of what the government does.

BECK: Yes.

SCHIFF: Because remember, the Federal Reserve created the bubble in the 1920s, but then it was bad policies by Hoover and Roosevelt that created the Depression.

BECK: Right.

SCHIFF: And I`m afraid that our politicians, who know even less than the politicians did in the 1930s, unfortunately, they`re going to be in a position to potentially, you know, turn this into a depression.

BECK: Peter, they`re already doing it. Listen to what they`re talking about.

SCHIFF: Oh, I know.

BECK: They`re all talking about spending more and becoming a bigger socialist government. I mean...

SCHIFF: The bigger difference, though, is in the 1930s, our money gained value, consumer prices fell. This time around -- yes. This time around, we can have hyper inflation while we have a depression.

BECK: All right. Help me out on this because I, for the life of me, I read this story, and it may be the medication that I`m on that made it very difficult for me to understand this.

I tried to figure out -- Jim Cramer was on this show about three weeks ago, and he said, Glenn, here is what you have to watch for. Watch for bad job postings.

Well, we just had a bad job posting, but for the life of me, I can`t figure out what it means. He said, Glenn, you`ve got to look for 150,000 jobs lost in a couple of times in a row. Well, we just had 484,000 gone, but yet the story said we added 18,000.

SCHIFF: Yes. You know, it`s government accounting.

But you know, looking at jobs is like driving and looking in the rearview mirror. The job losses are all going to come, but they`re going to come by -- it will be too late to do anything. Because, you know, as consumers see their home equity evaporate, as their ARMs reset higher, as they`re paying more money for food, more money for energy, and everything else, consumer spending is going to fall off the edge of a cliff and people are going to lose their jobs.

BECK: OK. Then be a Kreskin for me here. I`ve only got 30 seconds.

Tell me the one thing, because I`ve got a lot of naysayers in the audience. I am not one. Tell me the one thing that you`ll say, then watch for this because this is coming. And when it does, you better buckle up.

SCHIFF: Well, I think people need to buckle up now. But if you want to know when this is going to turn into a real crisis, it`s going to see when you see the treasury bond market tumble and the bubble in the bond market burst, and then you see bonds and the stock market and the dollar all going down together. When that finally starts to happen, then I think...

BECK: How far away are from seeing the bond market go down?

SCHIFF: I don`t know. I mean, it`s already overdue. It`s a huge bubble, and, you know -- but I think you`ve got to prepare in advance. If you wait for that to happen, it`s going to be too late to do anything about it.

BECK: All right. Peter, thank you very much.

Now, coming up, if the drug-induced ramblings of a primetime talk show host get over half a million views on YouTube, is it newsworthy? Well, I don`t know what it is, America.

The message behind my YouTube posting sensation.


BECK: Well, what did you do on your Christmas vacation? As you may have heard, I spent five days in the hospital, and it inspired some of the darkest moments in my life. It is amazing to me how you can go from your highest to your lowest in just a short period of time.

After my surgery went wrong, I was in excruciating pain and the doctors went on working to prescribe a drug cocktail that I believe is usually reserved for Hollywood`s starlets on I was on Morphine, Percocet, Toridol (ph), some synthetic Morphine derivative on a pump, and my favorite, Fentanyl. It is an end-of-life patch that is literally 80 times more powerful than Morphine.

The combination put me out of pain but in an incredibly dark place. I began hallucinating every time I would close my eyes. I would see horrific images of death.

Every time I would close my eyes, I would see the images of children with their faces being gnawed off by dogs. It was like entering my own movie theater constantly showing the movie "Saw."

I couldn`t escape it. It went on for two and a half days. And the combination of pain and hallucinations drove me to a point where I was literally suicidal.

I felt that there was no hope, that I would be better off dead. If I could have ended it at the hospital, at that moment, I would have if it wasn`t for one thing.

With all of that happening in my own head, you might think that I had an awful vacation, but you would only be partly right. While I would never want to live through that again, I learned something amazing.

The darkest shadows are only possible when the bright light is shining behind you. What I learned was something I guess I already knew. The brightest light in my life is my wife Tania.

At the hospital, where I was being treated more like an annoyance at times than a patient, I was basically carried by my tiny wife to a shower, and she climbed in fully clothed and cleaned me. She was my voice as she demanded that I receive proper care.

As I would drift in and out of my drug-induced mini coma, she was there. Every time I looked up, she was there holding my face in her hands.

Tomorrow morning, Tania will join me on "Good Morning America," where she will talk about our ordeal together. She actually has no desire to be on national television. She is coming at my request. You need to meet her.

I invite you to tune in so you can meet her tomorrow morning on "GMA," the woman who has saved my life, at least twice. But who`s counting?

I love you, Tania. I`ll see you soon.

America, good night.