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Can Democrats "Go It Alone" In Health Care Reform?; Couple Killed by Wild Dogs; President Obama Considers Nuclear Option to Pass Health Care Reform; President Employing Pastors to Preach Health Care Reform; "Save the Whales" Billboard by PETA Offensive to Some

Aired August 19, 2009 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Coming at you right now. Killed by a pack of wild dogs.

MARK SCHWEDER, SON OF VICTIMS: They were wonderful, dear, kindhearted people.

SANCHEZ: The woman and her husband. He tried to save her. How does this happen?


REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: On what planet do you spend most of your time?

SANCHEZ: Congressman Barney Frank tells the town hall crowd what he thinks.

FRANK: To be honest with you, I...

SANCHEZ: Brutally honest or just plain brutal?

SANCHEZ: Then, there is the Nazi question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has...

FRANK: Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with the dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

SANCHEZ: You will see the exchanges.



SANCHEZ: Is this Tina billboard offensive?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a way to get your message across.

SANCHEZ: I will ask Roland Martin in our new R and R segment. But there's not rest and relaxation here.

(END VIDEO CLIP) And in photos. Who would let their kid do this? Flying into the national conversation. The first social media newscast for Wednesday, August 19, begins right now.


SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez with the next generation of news. It is a conversation. It is not a speech. And it is always your turn to get involved.

Democrats who once said they are so committed to passing health care reform that they would do it even if there would be blood on the streets in Washington may now be on the verge of doing whatever it takes to get it passed.

That means the party who won the most recent election and who now controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives may be willing to go it alone. Could they pass health care without Republicans' support, without negotiating with Republicans, without giving in to the heated rhetoric that has marked this debate like this?

Watch as Congressman Barney Frank takes on his critics at a town hall meeting in Dartmouth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was wondering, can you pledge to all of us here tonight that if a new government single-payer program is instituted that you will opt out of your Cadillac insurance and into the same one that we will be forced to take?


REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, as I said before, first, unfortunately, there won't be a government single-payer. I wish there would be. And I would join it.

Secondly, apparently, I wasn't clear when I said...



FRANK: I'm just curious, do you really think that's thoughtful conversation? Do you really think that advances your argument?

I mean, I thought you were thoughtful people here to have a conversation. I am really disappointed at the level of response.

I'm on Medicare. I have been on Medicare since 1965. I will continue to be on Medicare. I am not going to get any younger. So, the answer is -- come on, which one of you wants to yell first? And I will...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can we trust you with health care, sir? Can you answer that question?

FRANK: Well, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pay 35 percent of our income towards income tax. You are going to bankrupt this country, you and the Democrats. And you're making a mistake. You are going to indebt my generation and we are going to pay more taxes because of you, sir.

FRANK: All right. Let me respond.


FRANK: First of all -- first of all, the biggest single waste of money in one fell swoop in federal history was the war in Iraq. It was a terrible idea.

It is -- I know -- I guess the more you don't like it, the more you yell, but it doesn't seem to advance this country. The war in Iraq will cost well over a trillion dolls, with no return.

It has -- I'm sorry. But I really -- I don't understand your mentality. What do you think you accomplish by yelling?

The question was about the deficit. I think that the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. And I continue to believe that the military budget -- the military budget -- the military budget is excessive, not just in Iraq, but going forward.

By the way, the war is not over. And it should be. We are still there refereeing an internal set of fights. There was never a threat to the United States. And even if you thought there was one, there's not one now, and they want to spend tens of billions more. And that's a great mistake. That's money that you are going to have to pay.

Well, I will explain this to you, sir. You said you are worried about the deficit. Then you said you weren't talking about the war. Who do you think paid for the war, Santa Claus? The deficit was exacerbated by the war. That's a problem in your thinking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you...


FRANK: Let me...


FRANK: When you ask me that question, I'm going to revert to my ethnic question and answer your question with a question.

On what planet do you spend most of your time?


(SHOUTING) FRANK: Do you want me to answer the question? Yes.

As you stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated.


FRANK: Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.




SANCHEZ: Patricia Murphy writes for

Good afternoon, Murph.

PATRICIA MURPHY, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Goodness. Good afternoon. Wow.


SANCHEZ: That was something, I will tell you. Some are calling Frank's comportment brutal. Others are saying, it is about time. What do you make of that whole scene?

MURPHY: First of all, this is Barney Frank. This is Barney Frank's communication style. This is how Barney Frank behaves on the floor of the House of Representatives. It's how he is in committee. It's how he speaks to colleagues. That's how he speaks to other senators.

This is Barney Frank unplugged. However, this is Barney Frank talking to his constituents. I think they are his constituents. They could be from anywhere. But talking to American taxpayers, the last question, I certainly understand why he wrote off her concerns and wrote her off when she was asking about the Nazis. Other people's concerns about raising the deficit, I think, are serious questions, and I do think they deserved a more serious answer, although I think he believes he was giving a serious answer.

SANCHEZ: Yes, they are serious questions, by the way...


SANCHEZ: ... especially when you start talking about people's taxes and serious concerns.

But let me ask you this. You said this was unique to Barney Frank. So, let me pick up on that. How about the rest of the Democrats? Can the rest of the Democratic Party, all the way up to the White House, take this devil-be-damned attitude that he just exhibited there and win this health care debate with that attitude and with that comportment?

MURPHY: Well, listen, the -- the Barney Frank style is not going to work across America. It barely worked in that town hall meeting.

I think what you're talking about specifically is this rumor that came out this morning, actually a report on "The New York Times," that the Democrats might go it alone, that they might try and ram this bill, ram health care reform through the Senate without Republican votes.

That would be done through a procedure called reconciliation. And I don't want to get too far into the weeds, but it is very much open for debate whether or not that is even possible. It technically is very, very, very difficult. There is almost no way to get all of health care reform through the reconciliation process.

SANCHEZ: Well, let me ask you this then. Just judging from the way the conversation has gone so far, what is really left for them? And let me ask you this as a caveat to that.

Do you think Americans, watching this thing unfold, believe that Republicans have negotiated with the president of the United States in good faith?

MURPHY: I think if Americans are just watching cable news, they could easily be led to believe that Republicans are not negotiating in good faith, particularly Charles Grassley coming out and adding -- kind of adding air to the rumor that granny is going to get the plugged pulled on her if there's a death panel. Those type of comments are not helpful.

But if you wait outside of the negotiation rooms, where I have been, they are in there negotiating, Democrats and Republicans. They are trying to come to some common ground on these issues. It is just incredibly difficult. It is -- it's a huge bill. It's 17 percent of the American economy.

And that is why, if the Democrats decided to try and go it alone, to ram this through, to do it without Republican support and without some Democratic support, they would not get all Democrats on this bill. It would be very, very dangerous.

And I think, for Obama, who wooed independents by promising to reach across the aisle and said, there is not a blue America, there is not a red America, we're all Americans, if he gives up on bipartisanship six months into his presidency, he is going to have a...


SANCHEZ: Well, but he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yes, he guaranteed bipartisanship, but he also guaranteed that he would pass a health care reform plan through that would have the public option in it.

So, which promise will he break, Murph?

MURPHY: That's his problem. I don't know which promise he is going to break. That's why it's hard to be a politician. You can't go making promises if your promises don't line up with each other. And that's the pickle he has gotten himself in at this point.

SANCHEZ: Well, the pickle. I love your word choice there, as my old professor Irving Fang at the University of Minnesota in journalism would have said.

Let me ask you one final question.


SANCHEZ: Who stands to take the biggest political hit on this, the Republicans, if Obama passes this despite their protests, or the president, if he has seen to lost as so many have lost before on this very same issue, by the way, including the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton?

MURPHY: It is riskier for the president, because the president has so much to lose. The Republicans have nothing to lose at this point.

They are way down on their numbers. All they're doing is rebuilding. The president right now, he has got midterm elections in 18 months. But they feel like they are creeping up really quickly. He can lose. It is possible to lose a majority in the Congress if he had massive losses.

It is possible that he is going to miss out on the one chance Democrats believe they have to reform the health care system. He promised to do it. He also promised to be bipartisan, and, again, he has made two promises he might not be able to keep at the same time.

SANCHEZ: Darn good correspondent following this situation for us with

The Murphster, thank you. We appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right.

You want to make an Israeli-American angry, I mean, you want to make an Israeli-American really angry, you want to insult an Israeli- American, do this while he is talking.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... soldiers. Here, we just stop but we don't respect them.

The guys -- did you hear this? She's saying to a Jew "Heil Hitler." You hear? I'm a Jew. You telling me "Heil Hitler"? Shame of you. Shame of you.


SANCHEZ: "Shame of you."

You will see that exchange in its entirety. That's coming up next. Stay right there.

Also, later, Roland Martin is passionate about this billboard. It's a PETA billboard. Is it offensive? Is it offensive to women? You decide, and then you tell me on Twitter or on my blog. Just Google me. You will find it.

Oh, and remember the after-show, right, 4:00, At 4:00, we continue the conversation. Stay with us. I will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Important moment of the day that we think that you are going to get probably a reaction to, if not us. If you have been following these town hall forums this summer, maybe you have noticed something. After weeks of this, it seems a national consensus is developing from the left and from the right, by the way, consensus that seems to go something like this. Using Nazi symbols is wrong. What it is, is, it is a bludgeoning tool used to try to beat your opponent in a conversation.

Just do this. Compare whatever you are arguing about to Hitler, and you walk away thinking that you have won the conversation, because I compared them to Hitler.

Guess what? You haven't. When you do that, you haven't won, especially when you are talking to someone who is from Israel.

Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have national health care in Israel. Works fantastic. We take care of our soldiers. They don't left in the streets there in Israel. When they got -- they have the best health care. It's national health care in Israel. We don't give the -- and when we -- and we have memorial day in Israel. We respect the soldiers. We don't do (INAUDIBLE) we respect soldiers.

Here, we just stop but we don't respect them.

The guys -- did you hear this? She's saying to a jew "Heil Hitler." You hear? I'm a Jew. You telling me "Heil Hitler"? Shame of you. Shame of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have something to want to say? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why you (INAUDIBLE) tell me Hitler? You're telling me to a Jew "Heil Hitler"? (INAUDIBLE) family got killed in the Holocaust. "Heil Hitler"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then you ought to be the most against President Obama. You ought to be the most...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to talk not against Obama or for Obama. I want to talk about the health (INAUDIBLE) I wasn't -- I didn't have insurance. I didn't have insurance. I go to Spring Valley (ph) Hospital, two hours in the emergency room. How much you think they ask me to pay, two hours? Eight thousand dollars.


SANCHEZ: Tell me what you think about that. I will be waiting for your comments. Go to my blog. You know where it is. Or tweet me. If you can't find either one, just Google me and it will come up right away.


SANCHEZ: All right, up next, an elderly professor and his librarian wife attacked and killed by dogs in their own neighborhood, an unbelievable story. I am going to talk to somebody who says that police are ill-equipped to handle these animal situations.

We are going to be right back. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: The great thing about this national conversation is, it is just that. We get your reaction instantly.

Look at FaithFab. She is reacting to that story we just did about the "Heil Hitler." She says: "Anyone who heils Hitler, no matter what side they are on, makes me want to support the opposite side." Interesting take.

We have got a second one on that that came in right away. This is from E_Joyce saying, "More of the same from these hate-filled, deliberately ignorant people. How does one become so evil and angry as this woman?"

We will continue to share your comments.

By the way, I want to talk to you about something now.

You see those dogs behind me running around there? They are all dead now, all of them. They have all been put to death by authorities in Georgia. Why have they been put to death? Because they attacked and they killed an elderly couple. This is one heck of a story.

Brooke Baldwin tells us. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the last pictures of the dogs. By now, 11 adults and five puppies have been euthanized per court order. Friday night, on this rural road, the same pack of dogs mauled Karl and Sherry Schweder to death, according to investigators.

They say Sherry Schweder had gone out for a walk that evening. And when she didn't come home, her husband went looking for her.

MARK SCHWEDER, SON OF VICTIMS: It's a huge shock. It's a huge shock.

BALDWIN: Mark's (ph) parents' bodies were found Saturday morning mutilated, riddled with hundreds of dog bites, according to the county coroner, the dogs still standing guard above their prey when authorities arrived on the scene.

JIM FULLINGTON, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: It appears at this time that she was attacked and killed by the dogs in some manner at some point. And then possibly, later on, he came up. But we feel sure that she was probably attacked first.

BALDWIN: Animal control was called in to capture their dogs. The sheriff described them as aggressive. After the animals attacked two of his deputies, tranquilizers had to be used. The dogs were wild, according to county officials, but they say an 83-year-old man, the only man to live on this road, had been feeding them.

While this kind of dog mauling is brutal, the Humane Society says it is rare. In the first eight months of this year, there have been 20 fatal dog attacks nationwide. Compare that to 22 in 2008 and 33 the year before.

Even though this sort of attack is unusual, it's little consolation for Mark Schweder, who will never see his parents again.

SCHWEDER: And they were, you know, wonderful, dear, kind-hearted people. And we just -- we miss them. And this is just terrible, terrible.


SANCHEZ: A couple of notes to share with you here. Oglethorpe County sheriff as of this time says no charges have been pressed at this point. Animal shelter says that they weren't big dogs, all under 35 pounds.

I want to bring in Kenneth Phillips, who joins us live from Los Angeles. He is an attorney who specializes in these kind of cases, dog attack cases, or dog bite cases.

First off, thanks for joining us. Good afternoon.


SANCHEZ: If you would, your general thoughts. What is your reaction when you watch that story?

PHILLIPS: Well, the story is a tragic one. Seniors are the ones that are injured by these dogs so often.

But we have a little bit of a problem here in the U.S. with these stray dogs and people who hoard dogs. This could be one or the other, this particular case. And it's a problem.


SANCHEZ: Did you say hoard, hoard dogs?

PHILLIPS: Yes. There are people it that have the -- what's thought to be a possible mental illness, where they hoard animals, as many as hundreds of animals, whether they be cats or dogs.

SANCHEZ: And in this particular case...


SANCHEZ: But they would argue -- let me just stop you there. These people would argue, I love animals. I love dogs. I love cats and whenever I find one, I bring it home and let it live in my backyard or in my house, because I love animals.

PHILLIPS: That's right.


SANCHEZ: They would take issue with what you just said, right?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. They take issue with it.

But the fact is that when the authorities go to these homes, they find animals that are badly treated, in bad health, malnourished. They even find dead animals there. They find the animals eating each other.


SANCHEZ: So, what you are saying is that -- and I'm sorry for interrupting. I really didn't mean to. But I was just curious about the point that you were making, because I have never heard anybody make this point before. You are saying one of the problems we have in this country is that there are people out there who don't understand that it's great to have only as many dogs as you can actually take care of and not even one more, right?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

And you have to have a dog that is right for your circumstances. There was another death this weekend, a death of a three-day-old baby by the family pit bull. That's another deadly circumstance that we see occurring over and over again, the wrong dog for the household.

SANCHEZ: I -- let me personalize this. I have a beautiful dog. He's a rottweiler. We love that dog. He's kind. He's generous. We think we have trained him pretty well. We have even hired someone to help make sure that he was trained well, because I also have four children.

From time to time, I will see that dog show just a little tiny bit of aggressiveness. And it will worry me, though, for the most part, 99 percent of the time, he doesn't show that aggressiveness.

Do you have advice for people like myself who may worry that there is something about their dog that can be sparked and can make them behave like these wild animals, what else could I call them, did -- that killed this elderly couple?


Rick, in your case, you probably are a responsible dog owner. You have got to take care of the dog, keep it healthy. You have to train the dog, so that the dog is obedient to commands. And you have to socialize the dog. In essence, the dog has to know that it is subservient to human beings, including your kids.

SANCHEZ: That's what our trainer taught us.

PHILLIPS: Exactly. So, you see, that kind of a dog can be fine. Even a pit bull can be fine.

But the problem occurs when a person owns a dog that they should not own, either because they know nothing about training and socializing and keeping the dog healthy or because they have too many dogs.

SANCHEZ: That's interesting. Good stuff. Thanks so much for bringing us up to date on something that I think a lot of people out there would probably want general information.

And I guess you would probably argue, if you have any doubts about the dog, I know it can be a little expensive, but some people will do this pretty inexpensively. Get a trainer, right? Get professional help to make sure that your dog is trained properly, right?


PHILLIPS: Absolutely, because the stakes are high.

SANCHEZ: Yes, any are, as this elderly couple found out.

Thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

PHILLIPS: Thank you, Rick.

President Obama is turning to religion, to religion to win support for his health care plan. Pundits say it may be all he has got left. One of the evangelical leaders who is meeting with the president is going to join me to make news in just a little bit.

Something really bad just happened there. And the reaction is kind of strange. Are they just that used to it? This is crazy. You are going to see it play out.

Remember, also, the aftershow comes on at 4:00. And we will welcome you there, so we can continue the conversation.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

Sometimes, the best way to know that a country is out of control is not by what happens there, but rather by how people react to what is happening there.

Take this, for example. An Iraqi leader is giving a speech at the Al-Rasheed in Baghdad when suddenly all hell breaks loose, a series of bombings, one after the other, in succession. It rocked the capital.

Watch his reaction. Watch the reaction of the people there on the front row. Keep watching. Keep watching. All right, this one guy is walking out, but look at the people in the front row. They are still seated. The guy keep -- keeps talking. He is still giving his speech and they are still listening.

Could you imagine in this country if something like that happened?

Let me tell you what just happened, by the way. Six bombs went off within one hour. Ninety-five people are dead. More than 560 people are wounded. And he is still speaking.

Just ahead, will the president go nuclear with his health care? Well, he is meeting with religious leaders about it as well. That's next. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Let's go to the twitter board and try to answer Curious' question because we like to involve you in our discussion. That's why we call it the national conversation.

If only one person owned all those dogs, shouldn't they be charged? We checked. Georgia authorities say there is an investigation is going on.

And that conversation about the Nazi line hit a nerve with some people. I want to share this with you too. Go to the second one if you could there, Robert, on the twitter board. As a child of two holocaust survivors, there is one word to describe this hate-filled woman, "reprehensible."

In less than an hour President Obama is going to pick up the phone and commute and talk to religious leaders to try and enlist them o sell health care reform from their pulpits.

Jim Wallis is going to be one of those. He's going to be talking with the president. He's good enough to join us now. He's president of the progressive Christian group Sojourners.

Reverend Wallis, good to see you, sir.


SANCHEZ: Where do I start? Let me ask you this. I have been wanting to talk to you about this for some time as I have been watching this debate, which at times has not been very Christian-like on either side.

Do we as a society have a moral imperative to make sure that people have affordable health care as some on the left have charged?

WALLIS: Yes. I'm not saying that from the left. I'm saying that from a biblical point of view.

I was watching -- I came in earlier. I was watching some of these confrontations. Wow. "Heil Hitler." I mean, this is very worrying to me, in the shouting, in the anger, in the fear, even now we can say hate.

We are losing the moral core of this debate, which is that we need to reform health care because the system was broken for too many people, too many people are hurting. They are not covered or they are covered but they are not getting what they need. They are paying too much.

So if you like your health care, great, keep it. But for those who are hurting, we have to fix a broken system. That's where we were.

SANCHEZ: Is that in the Bible, help the least among you?

WALLIS: Yes. Well, you know your bible, Rick.

SANCHEZ: I'm a Catholic.

WALLIS: I know you are a Catholic, and Catholic's social teachings are about the common good.

Health and healing are fundamental religious principles here, that's why we're involved. So tonight, evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, black, Hispanic, we are all going to be on the call with the president saying this is not just a partisan issue, a political issues, it's a moral issue.

And in fact, anybody can join the call. You can join -- just It is an open call for anybody who wants to join.

SANCHEZ: By the way, that's not to say that people who have serious concern about this and are saying, look, I'm all for health care, but, god, please don't jack up my prices, my taxes anymore. I can't afford to pay the taxes I have now. So let's just be balanced about this as much as we possibly can.

WALLIS: Indeed. As you know, Rick, this is complicated. The health care system is so complicated. So the principles we'll be looking for are making sure everybody, all of god's children, get covered. Those who have insurance but can't afford what they have, we take care of them too.

And the thing must be built on a solid financial foundation. All of those are valid concerns.

Let's have a sane, civil, listening conversation. And let's get rid of the shouting and the hate and, my goodness, "Heil Hitler."

SANCHEZ: By the way, let's go back to that real quick. When you do see some of this wild behavior that we have seen in some of these health care forums, when you hear, for example, some of the misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases, like calling things death panels and saying that old people are going to be killed, including some of them spread by people who profess to be Christians, how do you reconcile that as a Christian yourself?

WALLIS: I have that concern. I say to some of my friends on the religious right, Christians shouldn't lie. Raise concerns and raise complicated issues. But tonight, we will have pastors, lay people, real people telling stories about whether this is working for them.

So I'm saying, let's believe the best from our elected officials, the best from the public. And this is a complicated conversation.

But our principles have to be, everyone gets access to quality, good, affordable health care, whether you are covered or not, and it has to be on a solid financial foundation. We can do that.

But the system is broken. Let's try and fix it and not use this as a shouting match on partisan politics. Pastors are telling me things like -- Rick, you wouldn't believe it. Seniors are saying to pastors, am I going to die in this new system?

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you about that. That's an interesting thing that you just said. Is it their fault, or is it the fault of...

WALLIS: No, they're afraid.

SANCHEZ: No, wait. I just saw a poll that says something like 75 percent of the people who watch exclusively right wing media and right wing television channels for example actually believe that there are death panels.

So they watch this and take this as the truth and they get out there and they get all excited and then they may act this way. So they are not really being dishonest, but their messenger may be. What do you think of that? WALLIS: They are being manipulated, I want to use that word very strongly, by a well-organized campaign that is lying about health care reform. They are lying about health care reform.

Euthanasia is not a part of health care reform. It is in none of the bills. And yet they are being told it is. Christian doctors will not have to do abortions. That's another lie. It is not in the bills.

So they are lying about this. And ordinary folk are getting afraid.

So it's complicated, as you said. It is complicated. Let's have the sane, rational discussion, and let's not forget, people were hurting in this, are hurting. There is too many stories. We have to fix a broken system. And let's do it together.

SANCHEZ: Final question. You are going to be meeting with the president in something like 20 minutes in this conversation. I know that you have been involved in these types of things before. That's why we've tapped you. What are you going to tell the president?

WALLIS: Well, he joined us in this call, leaders in the faith community. I think he really thinks health care is important.

He also thinks the faith community has a critical role to play here. Maybe the faith community can help refocus us on the moral core here, that people are hurting. We all should care about that. We all should want to bring everybody in.

When you don't bring everybody in, we all suffer. This is the right thing. It is also the smart thing, because if you don't cover people, it makes the cost of all of it go up.

The president, I think, will get support from us if he supports our principle of making sure everyone is covered, and we want to in fact be engaged in truth-telling as well. Truth-telling is a religious vocation as well.

So I hope tonight's, there will be a Q&A time. People are going to ask questions of the administration.

SANCHEZ: You are always one of the best people for putting these kinds of things into perspective. And just when we start looking at it too much from a political vantage point, you bring it back to spirituality. And I think a lot of people out there would agree it is a good place to look at it from.

WALLIS: I love being on your show because there is space for this conversation.

So, and join the conversation.

SANCHEZ: You call in and listen to the president. That would be interesting.


SANCHEZ: Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

WALLIS: Great to be with you, as always. Goodbye.

SANCHEZ: See this billboard right there? It's a picture of an overweight lady with a tag line that says, "Save the Whales" and the word "blubber" written across it.

It's PETA's new attention grabber, and boy has it gotten attention. Some people are offended. Roland Martin has a lot to say about it. He is going to join me.

Also, remember, after show on at 4:00 right here.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Lots of great video in moments today that we're going to be sharing with you, and a lot of them have been getting a lot of exchange from many of you. You've been making your opinions known.

In fact, let's go over to Facebook if we can and we will start there. Chris, straighten that out so I can read it if you possibly can. Somebody just moved it somehow. Thank you, sir.

"The billboard is tactless and misleading. A vegetarian lifestyle doesn't necessarily coordinate with weight loss or good health." She's criticizing that PETA billboard that we're going to be talking about in just a little bit with Roland Martin.

Also, let's flip around and go to our twitter board. And you'll see there, "Thank you, Mr. Wallis for making sense."

Let's go down and get a couple of others. Faith Ha! (ph). This person says their sister-in-law's minister is preaching that "Democrats are pulling the plug on grandma."

This one says, "President Obama now turns to god. This is actually where he should have started."

Mike Bates is letting us know that "Reverend Wallis has evangelized for liberalism since that dismal failure, Carter, and now he backs the current dismal failure. Surprise," he says.

"Thank you for showing that not all Christians are conservative Republicans. Thank god."

SANCHEZ: There's a good mix of expression that we got coming in from many of you, and we thank you for your comments.

When we come back, we will talk about a couple of things, including that billboard from PETA, which has got a lot of people upset because of what PETA wants us all to do. In "fotos del dia," who would let their kid do this? What a "foto." We'll be back.


SANCHEZ: In "fotos del dia," that's what we call it, the photos of the day segment. In "fotos del dia," if you lean in you may be able to hear the words, "Grandpa, I swear I won't do it again. I swear."

Some parents have a time-out corner. This man ties his grandson to a bunch of wires while he flies a biplane in circles. Actually, grandpa is a celebrated ace, and his grandson is setting a record as the youngest wing walker ever. Hope he didn't have chili for lunch.

Foto dos, another guy with a camera decides he will capture a twister on video and he does. This is Beaumont, Texas, where everything is bigger, you know, including, from the looks of things, this tornado. Lucky for the guy it didn't come at him, but ten people, several cars, and a bunch of roof tops were beat up by it.

But our signature foto today is the billboard. Isn't it fun to say "foto." PETA doesn't want us eating poor, defenseless animals, and to make their point, they are saying something that some women find offensive. Women who don't want to be compared to whales, women who don't want the word blubber next to the picture of a woman.

As for how the whales feel about it, we haven't had a chance to ask. But I will be asking Roland Martin about this, because he is passionate about it. What isn't Roland Martin passionate about, by the way?

It's our new R&R segment. It debuts next.

Boom! That's John Madden. That's right, coming up next, big news about the football icon, because he will be joining me here tomorrow. He called, said he wanted to be here. I just love listening to the guy. Don't you? He's vintage.

We'll be right back. Stay with.


SANCHEZ: All right, we've got some breaking news that we can share with you right now. This came in to us just moments ago. As a matter of fact, during that commercial I received this note. It's coming in from the CNN desk. My producer Angie Massie (ph) just sent it to me.

We're learning now that one of the Lockerbie bombers, the Lockerbie bomber, I'll try my best to pronounce his name as we go on, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is being released on compassionate grounds. That's what it's being called, on "compassionate grounds," so says a senior State Department official. He's telling that to CNN.

Let me tell you why. Megrahi, 57 years old, is apparently suffering from prostate cancer. He's been serving a life sentence for bombing Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, Scotland. As you recall, 270 people were killed in this just horrific, horrific act of terror.

The Scottish government has formally notified the State Department of this decision, senior officials say, but they add the conditions of the release are still being finalized.

The announcement is expected to be made later on. We'll be all over this story.

By the way, I should let you know our friends in "The Situation Room" say they're going to be talking to a family member of a victim of the Lockerbie disaster, and that's going to be coming up here within the next ten, 15 minutes. So, stay tuned for Wolf Blitzer's interview with that.

Roland Martin will be joining us in just a little bit. We call this segment "R&R." We're debuting it today. And if it's anything like the other segments we've done in past, it will be passionate.


There he goes. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: I had a football coach named Bob Hickey. He always used to say if something works, you keep doing it. So I would say, coach, what are we running on first down? He says off tackle. What are going to run on second down? Off tackle. What are we going to run on third down? Well, it depends. If off tackle worked on second down, we'll probably run it a third time.

That's kind of the way it works with Roland Martin and myself. We've been doing these segments recently, and every time we've done them they've seemed to have gotten a lot of press, they're really exploded.

And by the way a lot of people watch and then they e-mail and say, hey, I like you guys together. So we decided to make this a segment now. It's called "R&R." except you can expect no rest or relaxation during this segment.

How are you, my friend?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: All good. And I'm a black man who did not play football so don't even ask!

SANCHEZ: I'm not going there. See, you're starting already.

Let me share with you a couple things. First of all, I want to show you a billboard. It says "Save the Whales." This is a billboard from PETA.

The point they're trying to get across is that they don't want Americans to eat animals, that we should stop eating animals because it's cruel to eat something that is alive.

And they're showing a picture of an obese, or large-framed woman, and then they are showing whales, and they say "Save the Whales." Some women find this offensive. I'm getting a bunch of tweets on it.

But first of all, I know you have something to say about this, so have at it.

MARTIN: I'm not a woman and I'm offended by it, because, look, how dare you insult women in this way? You didn't put a fat dude up there, some guy who's overweight.

And also, when's the last time PETA had a BMI index on their membership application? Are here's the deal, are we walking around telling PETA it's now for skinny women?

I say it's time for us to boycott PETA. They want to boycott everybody else, boycott them. If you are a believer in PETA and you are a plus-sized woman or you know a woman who's plus sized, don't send them any money and tell them the ad is absolutely offensive and does not bring home what they're trying to talk about.

SANCHEZ: PETA started with a really good cause, didn't it? When you think about it, these are people that are trying to protect us from cruelty to animals. And there's a lot of people we've seen out there -- we had a segment on this show earlier today that was that way.

But have they gone too far...


SANCHEZ: ... by now telling people -- they don't believe, as I understand it, that people shouldn't have pets either, because we shouldn't domesticate something to be free and wild, and we shouldn't eat animals either.

MARTIN: They're complaining about the president killing a fly. Give me a break, OK? They have absolutely gone over the line.

I was in the green room, the makeup room, talking to Jane Velez- Mitchell, and she's a big-time PETA member. And she said, if they had a normal news conference, talking about this issue, nobody would show up.

And I said you're probably right, but, I said, Jane, if you walk down the street and a dude says, you know what, you're big as a whale, you're not going to say, oh, whales are so cute. You're going to be offended by it.

SANCHEZ: Yes, I think you've made your point there quite well.

By the way, has Jane Velez-Mitchell ever had a cheese burger?

MARTIN: She says she's a vegan. But I can tell you right now, I'm from Texas. I wanted a well-done steak with the spur marks still on them.

SANCHEZ: My kind of guy, scotch and steak. Some call that the best diet.

Let me ask you a question.


SANCHEZ: Has the president of the United States reached the boiling point? Is it time for this president to go -- some have used the word "nuclear," I know our guys in politics don't want us to use that word and say "the Republicans are going to go along with me. I'm just going to do it on my own. And if you Democrats want to follow me, let's charge the hill"?

MARTIN: The problem is not the Republicans. The problem is the Democrats. He has ticked progressives and liberals over the public option. You've got the blue dogs who are saying we want to see more changes.

So, look, he thought he could depend upon those liberals and progressives. And they're saying, no, we're sick of this. We're tired of you changing this whole deal, so we're not going to vote for it.

I had Congressman James Clyburn on hip this morning on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show," and he said that it is likely not to pass the House if there's no public option involved.

It's time for the president to stand up and say this is what I want in this bill, end of discussion, give it to me or there's no deal. He can't keep going back and forth on this.

SANCHEZ: You want to see more of the Hispanic guy and black guy arguing, just go to over to --

MARTIN: The black dude who didn't play football.


SANCHEZ: But we'll continue on

Meanwhile, Suzanne Malveaux is going to join you now and invite you to enter "THE SITUATION ROOM."