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D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS

A Humorous Look at the News

Aired March 1, 2009 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


D.L. HUGHLEY, CNN HOST: Hey, now, how are you guys doing? All right. Thank you for coming out. Great-looking audience. Do me a favor, give yourselves a round of applause. What a great-looking audience. Yeah.

New York is represented. I'm very excited about this show. Of course, we're going to talk about Obama's speech. Of course, everybody, a lot of you might have seen it on Tuesday. With motivational speaker and former NFL coach Herm Edwards. He's going to be here.

Michael Steele is the new chairman of the Republican Party, and Chuck D. will be here together. That is going to be interesting. And my doctor, Dr. Drew, will talk about how the country is addicted to spending.

But one of the things that's happening in California that is amazing to me -- of course, they're in the middle of a huge budget crisis and they're thinking outside the box. They're actually thinking of legalizing marijuana and taxing it. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use and taxing it.

And I got -- I got to tell you, I am so in favor of this. I am so tired of pretending like I have glaucoma -- or going to visit my grandmother twice a week. It's hard. Just think what that would do for the economy. Can you imagine what sales of Cap'n Crunch are going to be like? Are you crazy?

People will say, are you high? Yes, and I'm allowed to be.

The new California State motto is, gas (ph), grass or ass. That's it.

But I'm excited to talk to my first guest. Of course, he was -- is the newly minted chairman of the Republican National Committee. A guy who I have seen a lot of but never have gotten a chance to talk to. Please welcome Michael Steele. How are you doing, Michael?

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: I'm doing great, man. How are you doing?

HUGHLEY: Good to see you.

STEELE: Good to see you.

HUGHLEY: Now, you're chairman of the RNC.

STEELE: Yes. HUGHLEY: Why do you think they gave you the job?

STEELE: Well, I think, you know, I have long time service in the party. I started -- I grew up here in Washington, DC. Native Washingtonian. Cut my teeth in politics here. Actually learning from a lot of Democrats because that was the only game in town. And just as I grew older decided, hey, I want to be involved and looked at the two parties and decided that the GOP, which you know has historic links with African Americans. It made sense. It fit based on my upbringing and the philosophy that my mother passed onto me. I was the first black lieutenant governor of the State of Maryland. So I had been out here for a while and have seen a lot and done a lot. And I have something to say.

HUGHLEY: I believe you have. And I have seen you for a long time.

STEELE: A good opportunity.

HUGHLEY: I really do. I think you're a really bright guy. And they hired both of us because we have a black president.

STEELE: That's right.

HUGHLEY: You, me, Bobby Jindal, we're all working because of the brother in the job.

STEELE: That's right. All the brothers in the same room, right?

HUGHLEY: I read a lot of what you said. One of the things you said is the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we wanted to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings. So you're going to bring hip-hop to the GOP?

STEELE: Yeah, and the idea, really, I have a deep affection and friendship with Russell Simmons and a number of folks in the community that we talked about issues like poverty and education, and I think that the GOP, if it took its head out of the sand and paid attention to what was going on around it, focused on how communities are changing, the dynamics of the communities, the makeup and how we look and sound and go into those communities and speak about those issues and the context of what we believe with respect to education and charter schools, for example, you know, economic empowerment and opportunity, home ownership, those type of things I think resonate.

At least to the extent that people will pay attention and listen and you're not dismissed right out of hand because you have got this crazy look in your eye.

HUGHLEY: No. I think that we have an obligation to -- to kind of support the party that we believe we have the most kinship to. But the Republican Party, clearly, has a bit of an image problem with African Americans.

STEELE: They do. They do.

HUGHLEY: Because even if you put it to hip-hop, how do you rap, ""I'm against affirmative action." How do you remix that?

STEELE: This is where it becomes interesting, because I'm not. I'm an affirmative action baby, if you will. I grew up with it. I recognize the power and importance of it.

HUGHLEY: But the Republican Party isn't.

STEELE: This is the other point, D.L. The Republican Party should. Because the first affirmative action program that was put into place was 40 acres and a mule by Republican congressmen after the slaves were freed. The second ...

HUGHLEY: Look how that worked out, Michael. Is that part of the stimulus package? I ain't get mine.

STEELE: Wait a minute -- but the second and the most significant one, though, was 1968 to 1972. In the Richard Nixon administration, Art Fletcher, African American Republican, created what we know today as affirmative action. And the idea was to create a tool for economic empowerment to level that playing field. So I say to Republicans all the time, how can you be against the very thing that you help put in place to empower people? If you have a problem with it, fix it to make it work so that people don't lose whatever opportunities they have.

HUGHLEY: Michael, you know -- I agree with you to some extent. But the only reason that they are even thinking about it, they get you and they get Jindal, very bright guys. It reminds me of a Kmart sign. Remember Kmart? I remember they had a marketing slogan, we changed the sign but none of the merchandise. Like all of the things they want to do are still the same and they have you and Jindal to play at diversity. But the fact is 98 percent of the people, of Republicans that are in government, in federal government, are white.

STEELE: First off, 98 percent of the federal government is not made up of Republicans.

HUGHLEY: I'm talking about 98 percent of Republicans that are in office are white.

STEELE: That may be true. But the same is true among -- among the Democratic Party. I mean, the reality of it is, black empowerment and political ownership is really a new thing for us right now. We've reached a whole new level of discussion in this country because we have a black president.

But don't think, D.L., that the Democratic Party sat back and said, oh, here's a two-term state senator from Illinois. We're going to make him president of the United States.

HUGHLEY: Absolutely.

STEELE: So there was some giving a little leverage there and a little leeway as well to put Barack in the position that he was in. Remember, in 2004, my good friend Kweisi Mfume was bumped for Barack to give that speech. So there was already in play this notion of kind of positioning and removing his message to the forefront. And that's fine. That's perfectly fine. I think the party is doing the same here in my situation.

HUGHLEY: I absolutely have my problems with the Democratic Party. I have more -- I think of myself more as an independent. But when I see some of the things that have happened over the course of history, I will not put it just to eight years but specifically we will talk about those. Like now what's going on with the stimulus package. There were people that opposed it. You have Mark Stanford in South Carolina. You have Haley Barbour in Mississippi. You have Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. They are opposing the parts of the stimulus package that specifically address unemployment insurance.

STEELE: Right.

HUGHLEY: So ...

STEELE: But, D.L., do you know the whole story there?

HUGHLEY: No, just the part where black people don't get money. When I see black people don't get money. I go, I don't want to read this anymore!

STEELE: But there are two parts of this. Real quick on that. There are two parts. The reason those governors have a problem there is that what the stimulus bill does is it puts in place a permanent change to their unemployment laws that will require them to do certain things that have a cost attached to it. In two years, that $100 million that they're getting today, they won't get in year three.

So the state has got to come up with that $100 million in year three. And number two, they've got to have a permanent change to their laws in order to get the money that they're getting now. So the reality of it is, those governors said, look, I'm for this portion because there's no strings attached. You want to help the people of my state, great. But don't tell me how to run my programs and give me an unfunded mandate in year three.

HUGHLEY: The truth of the matter is, regardless of what party we have, there are not that many good ideas, and there certainly aren't that many pleasant choices.

STEELE: Yeah, that's true.

HUGHLEY: But it seems to me, just from my point of view, that the Republicans always look from business down instead of -- instead of people up. And that's just something I've noticed.

STEELE: You know what, I'm not going to disagree with you. Fair point. Because that in the last eight years in particular has been the worldview that the global market, the broader market is going to be the salvation. Just as in my view, the view of this administration, is that government will be the salvation. And I don't think that's the case. I think it's a hybrid that we need to get to ...

HUGHLEY: You're absolutely right.

STEELE: And this is where I agree with the president. I agree with the president in sort of creating this bipartisan nexus so that we can bring those ideas that the government has a role to play, the free markets, business has a role to play, and we focus it where we need to and that's on the small business owner.

HUGHLEY: Michael, you're absolutely right.

STEELE: It's mop and pop that are going to create the jobs, not the corporations.

HUGHLEY: You're absolutely right. But, remember, I want to take you back over some of the examples of things that I saw.

STEELE: Sure.

HUGHLEY: In 2006, the president, then President Bush, tried to privatize Social Security. Can you imagine if that had actually gone through? We would be Costa Rica right now.

STEELE: I hear what you're saying. I happen to support a form of privatization of Social Security that allows an individual to have a choice. Now, for my mother, who God bless her, is still kicking at 80-plus, and my dad, they're still doing their thing out there, I don't want to touch their money. I don't want to touch it. Let them do and get what they deserve because they've earned it.

But for my 20-year-old son, who wants -- who is now looking at markets and is in the market playing and doing his thing, let him have some options and choices. And there are ways to do that in which you don't have to put your money just willy-nilly into the market. And I think what the administration poorly explained, they were not going to go into stocks of Google or stocks of something else, but very slow growth, very safe investments, bonds and other types of securities, in which you had very little risk given the fluctuations of the market. But when you don't explain that, when you don't lay it out, and you don't set it as part of a broader plan that separates those who are currently in the system versus those who are going to be coming into the system, you get the mess that we had in '06.

HUGHLEY: OK, Michael. You stick around with us. We're going to be joined by Chuck D. We're going to discuss ways that hip-hop can help the GOP.

Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: We are back with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. And joining us, this man actually needs no introduction. He is a hip-hop legend. Pleads give it up for Chuck D. Thank you for joining us.

CHUCK D, HIP HOP ARTIST: Thank you.

HUGHLEY: You were in the back. You listened. You heard me talking to Michael Steele.

D: It was so exciting, just eloquence across TV.

HUGHLEY: He's an eloquent man. I don't know that I necessarily agree with him but I can honestly say that I never heard -- never heard the Republican agenda articulated so accessibly.

D: About time.

HUGHLEY: Yeah, right. Can hip-hop save the Republican Party?

D: I wouldn't even mix it. Hip-hop needs an infrastructure, an administration that's really showing that it needs help. The record business is in trouble and hip-hop is really seriously, you know, as a fiscal situation in trouble, too. So it needs its own infrastructure instead of figuring out how it can be used to help something else. I think it's a culture, subculture comes out of the people, has got to be given back to the people.

STEELE: Chuck D, that's exactly my point. It's going to the roots. And you just laid it out very clearly. The reality in the black community that it has moved from a slave mentality into a self- empowerment mentality, which is so critically important.

And one of the things I recognized and what moved me into the GOP when I was 17 years old was the idea that this party focused on the individual, the right and the ability of the individual to articulate a vision and a future for themselves and move towards that.

And what struck me about hip-hop as a genre, as music, as whatever you want to call it, a culture, was the fact that you have guys like yourself who come out of the projects, come off the street. Myself, I grew up on Eighth Street in DC. That's a whole different world from where I am right now. And the reality of it is, you took that struggle ...

D: I grew up in Roosevelt, Long Island, it's not the projects. It's where black people live.

STEELE: Where black people live. I'm just saying, where people, stereotypically or otherwise find us living, we moved from that into something different. And the question is, what do you do with it now that you're here?

HUGHLEY: Well, Michael, I agree. I'm telling you, if it were the sign alone -- in other words, the tenets of the Republican Party are amazing and they seem warm and welcome. But when I watch it be applied -- like you didn't have to go much further than the Republican National Convention.

STEELE: Agreed.

HUGHLEY: It literally look like Nazi Germany. It literally did. I make that point, not only are we not welcome -- not only are we not welcome, but they don't even care what we think. And that ...

STEELE: Well, I'm here now ...

D: I'd like to say I covered the Republican convention in '96 for MTV. I have been involved with the Choose or Lose and Rock the Vote for the last 12 to 20 years. Seriously, their agenda was totally somewhere else, which told me, you know, did not have black people or people of color in mind. They have a big -- they may have the right person to try to sell them. I'm just saying the tricks should be over as using something else to try to get black people. I mean, real talk is going to have to get people of color for real things. I mean, I feel that -- first of all, the two-party system is just played. It has to expand. The Green Party had Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, with issues and dealing with a lot of issue that's we kind of felt but also at the same time maybe the rest of America would have had a problem with it. So it's got to be a situation where maybe three parties, maybe four parties, talk to all of the people, and maybe the whole system being repaired.

HUGHLEY: Well, you're right.

A lot of the things I see Republicans do specifically are reactionary. They'll go, you know what, they don't like Hillary? Let's give them Sarah Palin. They voted for Obama. Let's give them Michael Steele. And the other guy who will not show who he is yet. It is always so plastic, that you go, wow, is this what they think? They think that -- they're missing the entire point of what happened during the Obama transformation. They missed the entire point. And I don't understand that. That's what seems so off-kilter to me.

STEELE: But let me mention a couple of things. There was a Michael Steele before there was a Barack Obama. The reality of it is, I had established -- I was the only black lieutenant governor in the country at the time. I was the only statewide black elected official when I was governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007. And then Obama got elected from 2005. So that wasn't about, oh, geez, let's do this because of Obama. The fact is -- let me make the second point. The second point is, when I talk about hip-hop, I'm really not talking about specifically just hip-hop. I'm talking about the Republican Party having -- having an urban agenda, an agenda where our community lives, where our community is creating wealth, gone to school, living and dying and have something to say to them.

I'm not trying to play off of hip-hop. I'm not trying to use hip-hop. What I'm trying to recognize is there something of value that's happening in the community that's reflected on the economic side of hip-hop. And I think that's something we're talking about.

D: There are more things that have to be involved if you want to say a hip-hop state of mind. There's school curriculum.

STEELE: Absolutely.

D: There are new systems that have to be -- like systems have to be implemented there. If you want to talk just economics or how people could get bigger and we return to nothing but the Benjamins type of living, you know, that's not going to work with the masses of people. STEELE: Agreed. But you don't get anywhere without an education. I can take you right now to Frederick Douglas High School in Baltimore City, where the educational system that's supposedly training and teaching the future generation of black folks ain't doing that. It's not doing it at all.

So the question then becomes -- and Republicans aren't running the City of Baltimore. So the question then becomes, how do we as a community become self-empowered to make the system, whether it's run by Democrats or Republicans, work for us?

HUGHLEY: You know what we do, we talk like we're talking now. You have your view. I have mine. We don't need incendiary rhetoric.

STEELE: Exactly.

HUGHLEY: Like Rush Limbaugh, who is the de facto leader of the Republican Party.

STEELE: No, he's not.

HUGHLEY: I will tell you what ...

STEELE: I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party.

HUGHLEY: You know what? I can appreciate that. But no one will actually decry down some of the things he says. Like when he comes out and says he wants the president to fail. I understand he wants liberalism to fail. Like, I get it's not about the man. But it is still about the idea that he would rather have an idea fail so his idea can move to the forefront. And that would succeed. And that to me is destructive.

STEELE: How is that any different than what was said about George Bush during his presidency?

HUGHLEY: You're absolutely -- let me say something. You're absolutely right.

STEELE: So let's put it into context here. Let's put it into context here. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. He has his an incendiary. Yes, it's ugly.

D: You do get a sense that he would say anything.

HUGHLEY: He influences the party. And I tell you what, you're the first Republican I have talked to, and I have talked to a lot, to say he's not the leader of his party. I have never heard anybody say that on any show. We get past a lot of things when three men from all kinds of different backgrounds, who all have different ideological views, can go I can respect that in you or I do not respect -- I do not have any preconceived notions. I thought you were a bright guy then, I think even brighter than I did before. I just think that the brand you're selling ain't for us. It's just not. I ain't been sold, baby! I'm just saying. STEELE: What I'm saying is the brand needs help. The brand needs work. There's no doubt about that. I'm not trying to sell it. What I'm trying to make it is valuable and something that people can look at and consider, and I think that we do have something to say on some very serious issues that touch a lot of people on empowerment and ownership and opportunity, and I'm going to make sure we say it. And that's the point.

D: Can I ask this question, Michael?

STEELE: Sure.

D: Does the party look to you as being some sort of desperation attempt?

STEELE: No, no. And as I said before, I have been doing this a long time. I have been a Republican since I was 17.

HUGHLEY: Right.

STEELE: It was a choice that I made before the pro-life issue was out there, before a whole lot of stuff that now defines this party was in play. What defined it for me was that value that the party actually respected me like my momma did as an individual. And that made a difference for me.

HUGHLEY: You know what, there's no doubt that you're worthy of respect. But this does seem like a common situation when you get in trouble, always bet on black men. You know what I'm saying! You know what I'm saying. I'm just saying.

Hey, Michael, hey, listen, they didn't just do it to you. The whole country went, we're in trouble. Let's get a black guy. Always bet on black. We're in style now, baby!

STEELE: Wait a minute, D.L., when you bet on black, don't you win?

HUGHLEY: Absolutely! You better come to our side. Michael Steele, Chuck D.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: Well, every week I see news footage and wonder, what were they thinking? So this is Bill Clinton on LARRY KING LIVE talking about Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Can you try to live like a normal person, going home to Chicago? Kids go to school, he helps them to school, plays basketball, goes out to public restaurants, can you keep that up?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: The president needs a release.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HUGHLEY: That joke writes itself, don't it? Bill, maybe you should have took up basketball. That would have been cheaper. Of course, this is Alan Keyes being interviewed by a Nebraska TV station.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN KEYES, CONSERVATIVE: Obama is a radical columnist. I think that's becoming clear. That's whey told people in Illinois, and now I think people realize it's true. He's going to destroy this country. And we're either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: Now, if you excuse me, I have to go. I hear the master calling me. This cotton won't pick itself.

Here's Obama at an event honoring Stevie Wonder. Now check out the white guy to the right of him.

(MUSIC)

HUGHLEY: Eight more years of this. Jesus, when did the White House turn into "Soul Train".

Here is John McCain at Obama's rally on Tuesday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: And watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: That could have been me. Thank god he won. Now, here is Sully, the pilot, at the same event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: ... watching to see what we do at this moment ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: Not even I can land this plane. And here is Bobby Jindal's rebuttal to Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LA: Some are problem the government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina. We have our doubts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: For the last time, no, I'm not the kid from "Slumdog Millionaire"! Next, we'll talk to former Kansas City Chief about the commander-in- chief.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: Well, $787 billion later, President Obama realized what America really needed was a good, old-fashioned pep talk, which happened to be a lot cheaper. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But we are living through difficult and uncertain times. Tonight I want every American to know this -- we will rebuild. We will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: Joining me now is a man who knows a thing or two about inspiration, former NFL head coach Herm Edwards. How are you doing, Herm?

HERM EDWARDS, FORMER NFL COACH: Good to see you. Thank you, D.L.

HUGHLEY: Well, Obama's the coach. America's the team. How did he do?

EDWARDS: I thought he did a great job of really talking to the people and giving them encouragement and hope about his plan and what he intends to do. Now, with that being said, I think what he's going to run into is that the people that he's surrounded with have to go a good job of giving him the information so that he can make a decision. You know, everyone has suggestions and ideas, but someone has to make a decision. He's made a decision now for this country, regardless of what party you affiliate with, to try to do the right thing for the people. And if you hear him talk, he's talking about the people. He's not talking about parties. He's talking about what's good for this country. And if you trust him, you got to believe in him, and we've all got to have responsibility on what he's talking about.

HUGHLEY: You have been responsible for getting people on board that weren't necessarily with your game plan, that had doubts.

EDWARDS: Well, yeah.

HUGHLEY: So it is kind of like a coach. So when you're speaking to people that may have doubts about what you want to do and what system you want to run, what goes through your mind?

EDWARDS: Well, I think the first thing have you to do is encourage them and let them know that they're all important, their ideas are important, but there has to be a plan eventually. And someone has to make the decision on the plan, on the things that you're going to be asked to do. And I think when you look at this big picture, you know, he's really placing his responsibility not only in the parties, in the people that work in Congress, but us as citizens. That we have a responsibility to do things the correct way, and he's going to give us a plan how to do that. It's about trust, it's about everyone knowing their job and doing their job.

HUGHLEY: You know, it is. I keep -- I hate to stretch this analogy, but he is like a coach and he's a winning coach right now, he's very popular. But like coaches, what happens when you start losing, when you've had victories that people thought you have had, when people's faith in you is eroded, what happens then, what's the next move?

EDWARDS: I think the great thing for him is he has great vision. There's going to be some detours and some roadblocks. There's no doubt about that. That's part of the journey that we're about to take as a nation. And I think what we can't allow ourselves to do is fall into the trap and want instant gratification. This is going to take some time. We didn't all of a sudden get into this predicament in a year or so. It took time to do this.

HUGHLEY: But the people want a championship now, baby. They do.

EDWARDS: They do. I understand that. But there's nothing now unless you go to Seven-Eleven, and this is not Seven-Eleven situation. You've got to understand that, D.L. You see what I'm saying.

HUGHLEY: This is a joke, Herm. Hold on. Between you and Michael Steele, I'm not going to be working. Jesus Christ. But I wanted you to take a listen to a part of the speech where he not only sounded tough but he was tough specifically with people that he felt were taking advantage of the system. Can we roll that tape?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Given these realities, everyone in this chamber, Democrats and Republicans, will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars, and that includes me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: Wow. Which would be the equivalent of you telling a star player that he can't pad his stats, he has got to be concerned about the team. And I don't know that we're ready to do that.

EDWARDS: Well, if we're not, then we're not going to have the success that you want all of a sudden tomorrow, correct? You have to come together as a team. And I think that's what he's stressing to everyone. And I think the thing that he's making people realize, and we know this, is what we do in the dark eventually comes to the light. And we have done a lot of things in the dark that we thought we were going to get away with and now all of a sudden we are paying the price for it. And now what we have to do is understand, this is the situation we're in, let's confront it, let's move on so we can be successful. HUGHLEY: But this is more or less a crisis of confidence, like when you deal with athletes, let's say a running back, what you do is you design a play to make him feel better, to develop more confidence. We need something like that, don't we? Don't we just need a first down? Don't we need an out route or something, quick and easy so we start to feel better about ourselves?

EDWARDS: No doubt about it. You need to make some first downs. And if you make some first downs, eventually, the field is going to wind up in your way and you're going to have some success because eventually you're going to score. But you're exactly right, you have to do the little things right all of a sudden to make the big things happen.

HUGHLEY: Let me ask you something and this is probably the most important question I've asked you, that we made the football analogy, which football player is liable to shoot himself in the leg? Who is the Plaxico Burris of the Senate, who is that?

EDWARDS: I don't know. There's a bunch of them that might be jumping out of windows if he gets what he wants, so we'll find out.

HUGHLEY: Thank you. Herm Edwards, everybody, thank you very much.

All right, next we're going to meet some fashion folks who dress even nicer than me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: It was Fashion Week here in New York last week, and we knew we needed to send our most stylish correspondent to cover it. So that's why we sent the glamorous Loni Love.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LONI LOVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, D.L., I'm here in New York City for the 2009 fall collection of fashion week. But for some reason, I just don't feel right. I need to do something. I'll be right back.

Ta-da! Now I'm ready for Fashion Week. Let's go see.

Twice a year at Bryant Park, the models strut, the celebs come out and the VIPs pretend to be important. But what is it all about?

What is the purpose of Fashion Week?

TOMMY HILFIGER, DESIGNER: We want to show all of the buyers and all of the press our clothes for next year, for next season.

LOVE: What's hot this year at Fashion Week? Turns out, I am!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look amazing. Love the tiara.

LOVE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look amazing. I love all of the bling going on.

NATASHA BEDINGFIELD, SINGER: You always look good in what you wear.

LOVE: Oh, thank you!

I will take the compliment, even though Natasha thought I was Terry Shepherd (ph) from "The View."

But I wasn't the only one that looked fabulous.

I like this little Count Dracula. Like Blacula. I like it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wearing this Army/Navy vintage black sweater.

LOVE: Hi, you borrow that hat from Dick Cheney?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!

LOVE: Three Britneys. They're so cute. Look at them. And I met a white Patti Labelle. Look at this.

Full of glitz and glamour. But this year felt kind of different.

Do you think that the economy is affecting fashion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it has, yes. You will notice that a lot of things that are usually looked at as kind of tacky are becoming kind of trendy. Instead of using a lot of leathers and furs, they are using faux fur and Pleather. So you're seeing a lot of that on the runway.

LOVE: We're backstage at the Rebecca Taylor show. And look what I found. Food! I didn't think models ate.

Pinkie is a model. You should be tiny. That should be your name, girl. Can you go over there and eat some food?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.

LOVE: Now, tell me, what happens to models when they get old, like in their mid-20s, do they like get rid of them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

LOVE: So what size are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea.

LOVE: She has no idea! Oh, God, I have no idea how big I am either!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am here with designer Rebecca Taylor. This is her fall collection.

REBECCA TAYLOR, DESIGNER: Fall 2009.

LOVE: What are the trends here? TAYLOR: What are the trends? We are looking at a lot of strong, shouldered silhouettes. We're not going '80s. We're not ready to go back there yet.

LOVE: I can't do the spandex.

I love your accent. Are you from Brooklyn?

TAYLOR: I am.

LOVE: She's from New Zealand.

TAYLOR: I live in Brooklyn.

LOVE: The show was just about to start. The order of the models was posted.

Look at number 11 and 12. There are a lot of vowels. Can we get some consonants? Anastasaija? Sasha. What is Obama's daughter doing here? There's Pinkie, she's number six. Watch out for her.

Where's Pinkie? Where's Pinkie? I can't tell who pinkie is. They all look like Pinkie! There's Pinkie! Go, Pinkie! Go, Pinkie! Look, she doesn't have her hair combed. None of them have their hair combed.

Clothes by Rebecca Taylor. Hair by the wind.

The show lasted about 15 minutes. It was great, but I wanted more. OK, we're just about to meet Christian Siriano, the winner of "Project Runway." This is his show.

CHISTIAN SIRIANO, DESIGNER: Fabulous!

LOVE: See, you all have been talking about me.

SIRIANO: This is from the collection.

Oh, my gosh!

LOVE: You are so cute!

SIRIANO: I'm nervous, but it's like, what are you going to do? It's too late now. You look good.

LOVE: These are beautiful clothes. Do you have anything I can wear to Applebee's?

SIRIANO: You can wear -- let me tell you, there are really staple great blouses you can wear out any evening.

LOVE: How about Heidi Klum, have you kept in touch with her?

SIRIANO: Yeah, I love Heidi. She's so great.

LOVE: Is she a big, old bitch? You can tell me. SIRIANO: No, not at all. She's the coolest girl.

LOVE: Thank you.

SIRIANO: Thank you for coming.

LOVE: Congratulations.

SIRIANO: Thank you.

LOVE: I can't wait to see the show.

There walk is so funny to me, hilarious. I like the clothes, though. Can't wear them, but i like them. The purse is bigger than her.

The day was almost over, but there was one thing that I still needed to do -- live out a dream.

That's it for Fashion Week here. I've learned three things about Fashion Week. Number one, I'm not a runway model. Number two, I'm not a runway model. And number three, those other two things I just said, I am not a runway model. But I had fun. Thanks, D.L

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HUGHLEY: Man, I'm so glad I didn't go there.

Next, we'll learn why America may need a new 12 step program for (inaudible).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: During President Obama's speech about the economy, he spoke about what Americans need to do. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What is required is now for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face and take responsibility for our future once more.

Now, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that for too long we have not always met these responsibilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUGHLEY: But do we really want to be honest with ourselves? Nah! Here with me now is the host of MTV's "Sex with Mom and Dad," one of my favorites, Dr. Drew Pinsky. How are you doing, doc?

We -- he did speak to us about responsibility.

DR. DREW PINSKY, MTV: Yes.

HUGHLEY: You think we're ...

PINSKY: You think we're ready for that? Ready to grow up?

HUGHLEY: No.

PINSKY: I think we are. I think we have to. It is things like this that really make humans step up and do what we have to do. We have been going through this long trend in this country where people have been sort of narcissistically preoccupied, preoccupied with me more than anything else. It's about time we become concerned with us. We all are going to have to contribute to make this thing work.

HUGHLEY: I will give you an example of why don't think that is. We understand the core of the problem or the genesis of the problem, it probably started with the mortgage crisis.

PINSKY: Right, the subprime.

HUGHLEY: Let me show you a clip from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Do we have that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage who has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills. Raise your hands. President Obama, are you listening?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: I'd heard about that. I saw that clip.

HUGHLEY: But I think that we do have a mentality that I didn't do this, and how come this and why me? So I don't know that we're ready to take responsibility and to really understand that we're literally all in this together.

PINSKY: Right. And what's going to happen if we don't?

HUGHLEY: Right.

PINSKY: It's going to be painful enough when we finally do, I suspect. I suspect. And let me say we have a lead -- regardless of which side of the political spectrum you're on, we have a leader taking bold action at a time when bold action is necessary. People are concerned it's going to dig us in deeper ultimately. I don't know. He has smart people around him. Isn't that what we really want, smart people making the decisions?

HUGHLEY: I think he's a very bright man. But I think in this country we have voted people in for all of the wrong reasons for so long.

PINSKY: Historically.

HUGHLEY: Well, they had name recognition. Or I like his stance on abortion. Or I like her stance on women's rights. And they weren't necessarily all that bright a people. And now we ask those people that we put into these important positions for all of the wrong reasons to deal with a crisis they were never -- they are mentally inept and they have no concept ...

PINSKY: So you're talking about the rest of the Congress. Everybody else.

HUGHLEY: When you have to realize, you know what, half of these people are not that bright.

PINSKY: You know what? Alexis de Tocqueville came over from France in 1820 and examined democracy in America. And he felt that a group, a democracy, would always arrive at the right decision, better than a meritocracy or an autocracy of people with smart things sitting together, grinding things out. He felt that people as a whole, as a group they would arrive at the right decision more than just a small group of smart people.

HUGHLEY: But, you know what, I can't say I agree with that.

PINSKY: These days we have to see the evidence.

HUGHLEY: But specifically, even if we look back over the last few years, we thought it was a good idea to go to war.

PINSKY: Yes.

HUGHLEY: We thought it was a good idea to go to war.

PINSKY: You think about history, we can't tell if it was a good or bad idea right now. Feels like a bad idea. It feels like a horrible idea. But until history is written, you don't know. George bush may look good in retrospect. I'm just saying.

I don't know. That's how -- that's how confused I feel.

HUGHLEY: I'm going to help you.

PINSKY: But that's how confused I feel will the historical situation we're in. Until the books are written, I don't know what the heck. I say, let's just stay with our simplest priorities. Let's focus on our families and friends and take care of that and really do what's important. And I hope that gets us refocused back into the right priorities. It's so scary to try to compete, too scary. Let's just stay -- My kids are good, they're healthy. Let's get them into college. Let's figure that out.

HUGHLEY: You know, my daughter, she will graduate from college in May. My other daughter will be graduating and going to college in May. And I had a conversation with my daughter, who is graduating. And she's really worried about what kind of future she'll have.

PINSKY: I'm worried about her too. I'm more worried about them than us.

HUGHLEY: Right. So there is a malaise that has fallen over this country where no one knows what to do. The people who are supposed to be, they are the children and the future is theirs and it's very bleak. And it's hard ... PINSKY: It's not the first time we've had a bleak economy. I have great faith in the American spirit, don't you? We're a problem solver.

HUGHLEY: I don't.

PINSKY: You really don't? The last time we got together, you said you never thought they would put a black man in the office as president.

HUGHLEY: I think that we are -- have not learned the lessons of history.

PINSKY: No one ever learns the lessons of history. No one ever does that.

HUGHLEY: And that's the problem. I think that all great empires come to a place where this happens. We just -- I think we either will decide what kind of country we're going to be.

PINSKY: Yeah.

HUGHLEY: Or we will cease to be the country we recognize.

PINSKY: We are highly addictive, we are highly compulsive. Really what it is is the kinds of things -- we all don't feel good and we look for things that make us feel good all the time. And the things that we look to feel good that culture gives us are television and Internet and money and sex and drugs and these are the things. When in fact what really makes us happy is interpersonal relationships. That's what really makes us happy. When people are faced with death, and I deal with death a lot, and when they try to make sense of life, they always say the same thing, it was the important relationships that made life meaningful. That's it. Bottom line.

And hopefully this crisis will sort of drive us back to that reality. And again, we will emerge. I guarantee we will emerge. It's going to be a bleaker hour in this country when we're long gone, I suspect.

HUGHLEY: So you said the things that make people - the money and TV and sex ...

PINSKY: Yeah.

I don't want to take those thing as way from you, man.

HUGHLEY: That makes me feel good now. I could not have money and want sex.

I guess finally what I want to know, and I believe that we'll be all right. But do we have what it takes to finally start to wrap our heads around this, to become better for this?

PINSKY: I may be an eternal optimist. I walk down the streets of New York and I see nothing but vibrant, healthy people. I remember, strangely, when you ask that question, I remember after 9/11 thinking, we will emerge from this thing. This is not a country to lie down. The people that I relate to are not people that roll over because they're stressed. That's when they roll up their sleeves and that's when we actually come to our best often times. When we're stressed, this country, that's when we are at our best.

HUGHLEY: Yeah. Give it up for Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Next, I want to talk about an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUGHLEY: Now, it's time for one more thing. I'd like to discuss something of great importance to me.

I didn't mention this earlier, but California lawmakers want to make marijuana legal for recreational use.

I talked about that earlier? Man, this glaucoma is a bitch!

See you guys next week. Thank you very much. Thank you.

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