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CNN NEWSROOM

Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Mark Sanford Under Fire Again

Aired November 23, 2009 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Making news right now: You think health care reform is only in trouble from the right? Think again. The Republican National Committee's insurance company covers abortions? Mr. Steele?

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: We will be back to you on that later on. But there's no hypocrisy here.

SANCHEZ: Another transit police officer in a takedown in Oakland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please get off the train now.

SANCHEZ: But did he do anything wrong? We ask you during your national conversation for Monday, November 23, 2009.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

I want to start with some breaking news, Mark Sanford, embattled governor of South Carolina, accused today of breaking state laws, not one time, not two times, 37 times, according to the finding by the state ethics commission, 37 counts of law-breaking, which means Sanford's problems may transcend the political now, even as an impeachment committee is set to convene tomorrow.

You're going to recall the governor's problems began when he disappeared from view for something like five days last summer. It was a big story then, still is. Aides said that Sanford was -- quote -- "trying to clear his head" hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

But he was spotted then by a reporter getting off a flight from Argentina and then was forced to admit what we all now remember he ended up saying in a news conference, forced to admit to having a South American mistress at the time.

Since then, his wife has left him. She says the couple's separated. She is also writing a book about him. Any talk of a presidential run, forget about it, and now, on top of potential impeachment, 37 counts of breaking state law, much of it stemming from Sanford's frequent travels. Joining me now from Washington, CNN's Peter Hamby, who spent a lot of time chasing this story in South Carolina.

Look, we get the ethics thing. What I think you need to explain to us is how this becomes a criminal issue and specifically what crimes are we talking about.

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Well, what we're talking about here. And the ethics commission is not saying that he's actually broken a law yet. What they have found are 37 counts in this complaint that he may have violated state law by using his office for personal gain.

They list three different kinds of charges against him that they will argue in a hearing. They haven't set a hearing date yet, but they will soon. Many of those counts say that he upgraded from business class to coach on flights going back to 2005.

SANCHEZ: So what? Is that a big -- who doesn't? Do you mean that they upgraded him or that he used money, public money, to do that?

HAMBY: Well, yes, exactly.

SANCHEZ: Is that what they mean?

HAMBY: Exactly. Exactly, that this was state business, that he used state money to upgrade.

SANCHEZ: Oh, OK. All right.

HAMBY: Right. Right. Right. So, he either -- the way that it's worded is, it says he used his official position for his own personal benefit by authorizing, approving and/or allowing the purchase of a business class ticket for himself on a flight from wherever to wherever.

SANCHEZ: OK.

HAMBY: It also accuses him or suggests that he used a state plane, state-owned plane to attend political functions around the state and the country and that he used campaign funds for his own personal gain.

SANCHEZ: So, the real deal here is not that he did what he did, which by any measure obviously looks like a foolish and just morally wrong thing to do. We all get that.

The real upshot here is the fact that he may have been using our money, I mean taxpayers' money, for this affair that he seemed to be having.

HAMBY: Exactly. And that's a big political headache for Mark Sanford. It's a big issue for him because his M.O. since coming to office and one of the reasons he was a rising national star in the Republican Party was that he was a champion of fiscal responsibility. And this whole fiasco for him, beyond the affair, these state legislators in South Carolina have seen him as a hypocrite in some respects, which is why a lot of them want him to resign and several are leading a charge to impeach him come January, when the session comes back...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: And yet in many ways, when it comes to that measure, he is certainly not the first and most likely will not be the last in that regard.

Peter Hamby, great stuff. Thanks for bringing us up to date on this breaking story.

HAMBY: Sure.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it.

HAMBY: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right, here's another big story that we're following for you right now. Just how hard is it going to be to pass health care? I mean, a serious question. We got a preview over the weekend when Democratic leaders had to push and push and push and push in the Senate just to agree to talk about this issue, not to pass it, just to agree to consider it.

And that was the easy part. In a moment, I'm going to be talking to Senator Bernie Sanders, who is a liberal, not a conservative. And yet he says he may vote against health care reform. Think about that the next time -- says the only people who are blocking this are on the right.

First, here's our congressional correspondent, Brianna Keilar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: The yeas are 60, the nays are 39.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a moment Saturday night it looked like Senate Democrats and their health care reform bill were gathering momentum, after months of political posturing.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: All we're asking today is have a debate on it.

KEILAR: And prodding from the president.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people.

KEILAR: The Democrats had their 60 votes, enough to send the measure to the Senate floor for debate, but with so much dissension in the ranks.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: We need to do a much better job of making transparent what things actually cost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're telling people you have to buy insurance.

SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: I worry about a government-run plan that would be subject to recommendations that might be applied universally without respect to patients.

KEILAR: It became clear, the bill won't fly as written, and Republicans looking to slow down the process seized the opening.

SEN. JON KYL (R), MINORITY WHIP LEADER: It might take longer, but it would provide a better results and most Americans think we should get it right rather than hurry it up.

KEILAR: Majority leader Harry Reid got his 60-vote majority but it's how he accomplished it that speaks volumes. Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted yes, after scoring a provision in the bill that boosts spending for her state by $100 million to $300 million.

MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I'm proud to have asked for it. I'm proud to have fought for it. And I will continue to. That is not the reason I'm moving to debate.

KEILAR: Still, with so many Democrats on the fence and no Republicans leaning their way, there are still plenty of hurdles to come for Democrats and this bill.

REID: The road ahead is a long stretch, but we can see the finish line.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Obviously, look, one of the biggest obstacles in passing the health care bill, the question of creating a government- sponsored plan to compete with private insurance companies. That is what's known as the public option. You've heard it again and again and again. And it's caused a deep split even among Democrats.

That's important to point out. While some conservatives say they're going to vote against any bill with a public option, some liberals are saying, we will vote against anything that doesn't have the public option. So, these are polar-opposite positions.

Bernie Sanders is a liberal senator from Vermont who has been on the show several times. He's saying if there's no public option, there will be no yea from Senator Sanders.

Make your case, if you would, Senator.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, first of all, I'm a progressive, not a liberal. There is a difference.

SANCHEZ: All right.

SANDERS: But, second of all, if we are serious about fulfilling what the American people -- want what do they want? People don't trust private health insurance companies for all the right reasons.

They know that private insurance companies are out for one reason alone. And that is to make as much money as they can. But people all over this country are saying, overwhelmingly, give us a choice. Maybe we will go with the private, but we want to have the option of looking at a Medicare-type public plan.

That's what the people are saying. That's what the president is saying. That's what the House of Representatives is saying. And that is what a strong majority in the Senate are saying.

So, we have got to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Let me nail you down on this, Senator. You're essentially saying, if it came down to Bernie Sanders, if everybody had voted, and you're the last vote, and this thing doesn't have the public option in it, you will vote against it?

SANDERS: No, what I'm saying is, it would be very, very hard. There are other things in this bill. But it would make no sense to me and it would be very, very difficult for me to support legislation that doesn't give people the choice and doesn't allow for us to move forward in cost containment.

If you don't have a strong public option, what's going to stop the private insurance companies from raising rates exponentially, which is what they have done in recent years? So, I think the American people want a public option. I want a public option. It will be very, very difficult for me to vote for a bill which doesn't have one.

SANCHEZ: It's interesting, because you keep using the word strong. And I'm trying to get a sense of what you mean by that. Can you stay, stay a little bit?

We have got to take -- we got to get a break in, but I want you to stick around. I want to get a sense, Senator, of what you mean by the word strong. And then I also want to ask you a question that I think a lot of other people out there who might be supporters of the president, for example, might ask. Would you be willing to damage his capital, his standing, or the progressive standing by voting nay.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Well, hold your answer. I am going to get it on the other side, if we could -- Bernie -- Senator Bernie Sanders joining us.

We're going to get a break in. We're going to come back with that.

And we also have this coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: So, we will be back to you on that later on. But there's no hypocrisy here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Michael Steele stammers over the question of abortion. He's looking into it.

And this incident is caught on camera at a train station in Oakland. Did the officer go too far? Was he just doing his job? We have got some revealing new information on the suspect, the guy being thrown into that glass right there. And we're going to bring it to you.

Also, by the way, you can always get ahold of me on our Hey, Rick line. It's 877-742-5751. That's 877-742-5751.

I'm Rick Sanchez. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Rick, this is Nick (ph) from Connecticut just looking at what you stated about Bernie Sanders saying no public option, no competition, no bill.

This is the kind of guy that's just out of touch with reality. Come on. All the Republicans are out of touch with what -- really what the American people want. These people need to be voted out. The American public want this. That's why we elected the Democrats. That's why we elected Obama. These people just have to go.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: Bernie Sanders is joining us.

He has you confused with a Republican. Now, here's what's interesting. You are not only not a Republican. A little while ago, I referenced you as liberal. Now, knowing you as long as I have, or knowing you as a senator as long as I have, wouldn't most people consider you to be liberal? I noticed you wanted to say, no, no, I'm a progressive.

What's the difference? Why won't you call yourself a liberal?

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: No, progressive is defined as somebody whose primary focus -- I don't mind the term liberal -- is standing up and fighting for working families in this country at a time when we have a terribly unequal distribution of wealth and income, and the rich get richer, while the middle class is collapsing.

So, I prefer to define myself as somebody fighting for ordinary families against very powerful special interests who have enormous power in the government.

SANCHEZ: How is that different from liberal?

SANDERS: Well, it's too long a story to get into in the segment that we have. Bring me back. We will talk about it some other time.

SANCHEZ: Well, just one final question on that.

SANDERS: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Is it a PR thing for you, where you think there's a negative connotation to the word liberal?

SANDERS: No, it's not a PR thing. No, that's -- I am liberal in many respects.

SANCHEZ: You are, yes.

SANDERS: If you ask me about my views on the environment, on women's rights, on gay rights, I am liberal. I don't have a problem with that at all. Some of my best friends are liberal.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: But my major emphasis is to do something about the collapse of the middle class, the increase in poverty, the fact that we're the only country in the industrialized world that doesn't have a national health care program, and the fact that we have 1 percent of the population earning more income than the bottom 50 percent.

So, I think it's just terribly important that the middle class have a voice and action.

SANCHEZ: All right.

And you call that a progressive cause.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: All right, we will leave that. We will move on to the next couple of questions that I wanted to ask you.

And, obviously, the first one is, some people in our audience are suggesting that, if you were to take a vote, if it came down to Bernie Sanders, and Bernie Sanders voted against the health care reform bill based on the fact that it didn't have the public option, he would be doing harm to the president's capital, his standing, and the progressive standing. Would you not agree with that?

SANDERS: Well, it's more complicated.

Look, I am a supporter of President Obama. And I'm delighted that, finally, after eight years of Bush, where our health care system was deteriorating, costs were soaring, nothing -- they brought forth nothing -- at least the president and the Democratic leadership have put something on the table and demanded the American people engage on this important issue.

So, I'm there. But what I have to worry about is that, at the end of the day, this bill doesn't become just a massive bonanza for private insurance companies who receive hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money and then can raise rates as high as they want. The American people overwhelmingly want a public option.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Fifty-six percent, according to the last poll.

So, essentially, you're saying, look, without the public option, these guys are going to be free to do what they want to do, a position you have stated in the past.

Let me ask you this question. After reading the information that you put out this morning -- and I went through it -- and I kept seeing the word strong. You're not just calling for a public option. You're calling for a strong public option.

SANDERS: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: What's the difference? What do you mean by that?

SANDERS: The difference is that the House -- the bill that passed the House had a weak public option. It allowed about 2 percent of the American people to have a public option. The Senate bill was even weaker, with the opt-out provision.

I think that almost everybody in this country, some exceptions, should have the right to choose between the private insurance company and a public plan. That's what I'm going to fight for. That's the way you lower health care costs and give people more choices.

SANCHEZ: What do you think of the House version? Because Robert Reich, who a lot of folks respect, certainly on the left, he says it's already been diluted so much, it's going to be meaningless. Do you agree with that? The public option, I'm talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: That's right. That's what I'm saying. The House public option is a weak one, and the Senate one is a weaker one.

We have got to make it stronger. People need the choice. Costs -- look, at the end of the day, you just don't want to give money to the private insurance companies and say, look, I want you to provide insurance for this guy, and it's OK if you raise your rates exponentially, because we, the dumb taxpayers, are just going to keep giving you the money. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

You need cost containment. And one way you get that is by having real competition between a Medicare-type plan that doesn't have to make excessive profits, pay high CEO salaries, have a huge bureaucracy.

You have that kind of competition, keep rates lower.

SANCHEZ: Did you watch "60 Minutes" last night?

SANDERS: No, I didn't.

SANDERS: There were doctors on there in their first report that said about our health care system it will bankrupt our nation, several of them. And it was a very detailed report. It was actually a good report. You should look at it when you get a chance, or read it.

Do you agree that our present health care system in this country could bankrupt our nation?

SANDERS: It is bankrupting our country. We are spending -- here's the point that we should be focusing on. Why is it that, with 46 million uninsured, we end up spending almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other major country, most of those countries have better health care outcomes than we do?

Why is it that, in eight years, if we don't do something, health care costs will double? Who could afford a doubling of health care costs? That is insane. It's unsustainable. It can't happen. We have got to get a handle on it. That's why, among other things, Rick, I am a strong supporter of a Medicare-for-all single-payer system.

That takes out the waste, hundreds of billions of dollars in administrative costs and profiteering that go to the private insurance companies.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Last Friday, we had Barrasso on. And he represented the GOP perspective on this. And now we have Bernie Sanders, Bernie "Call me a progressive, not a liberal" Sanders. And he was able to take us through the other side's argument.

Senator, my thanks to you for taking time to talk to us. We will do it again.

SANDERS: My pleasure, thank you.

SANCHEZ: A passenger causes a ruckus on a train station and he has to be removed -- has to be removed the hard way, as a matter of fact. Now, Bay Area rapid transit police are defending one of their officers again.

Here's what I want to do with this story. I want to take a good look at it, not just look at the tape, as often happens, and say, OK, look at that. Oh, my goodness. No, let's drill down on this thing. Let's see if the officer did something wrong or did not do anything wrong.

And I'm going to have our own law enforcement analyst here to take us through it. So, stay there, because we're going to do that in just a little bit.

Also, don't forget the after-show. It comes on right after we're done on CNN.com/live right at 4:00. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Be right back.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Rick. This is Candy (ph) from Florida.

I'm calling to let you know that I love the public option in the health care reform bill. If it's not in there, why even bother about health care reform? It's just the same old thing. And we didn't vote for the same thing. I didn't vote for the same thing. I didn't stand on the corner with the flu holding up a Barack Obama sign just for the same old, same old.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

The Stupak amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions aren't covered under this new plan. And it was a successful challenge, by the way. But now it's been revealed that the Republican National Committee's own insurance policy covers abortions.

It puts Chairman Michael Steele in a very difficult spot, one that -- well, one that he had on his party's platform that calls abortion an assault on human life. On the other hand, it's offered to his employees in some cases.

So, CNN's Kiran Chetry this morning asked Michael Steele about this and actually seemed to catch him by surprise by the question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: That's got to be a part of the final conference report if this ever gets to that stage, where you're very clearly stating that you're not going to do the accounting gimmicks that Washington is noted for by putting it over here in this pot and you know that that pot can be used for a whole host of things, including abortions.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Politico's...

STEELE: And that...

(CROSSTALK) STEELE: And let's just clearly spelled out. This is not necessarily going to be what the American people want when it comes to this issue.

CHETRY: "Politico" is asking if there's a little bit of hypocrisy involved here given that you actually just found out that your own health insurance plan by Cigna for the Republican National Committee actually covered elective abortions and has covered elective abortions since 1991. How did that happen?

STEELE: Well, actually, we're about to -- we have done some digging into that and we're -- it's not as it appears, as we found out from our insurance carrier. And so we're going to be having further conversation on that point. But just taking the initial news, the Republican Party has made it very clear, I certainly have as chairman, that we will not cover such elective abortions in our insurance policy.

I have notified our insurance company of that. They have done an investigation and have come up with some very interesting information, which we're sorting through right now. And so we'll be back to you on that later on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: "We will be back to you on that later on." And, of course, we will be standing by for that response and we will stay on top of it.

This is weird. The incident is caught on camera at a train station in Oakland. Did the officer go too far as he does what he does? Or is he just doing his job? Some revealing new information about the suspect we have learned today as well.

And is the global warming debate over? Well, it is according to one lawmaker. You are going to hear him say it for himself.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

You're about to see two people get hurt pretty badly, a policeman and a guy he's forcibly removing from a commuter train in Oakland. It's you asking about police use of force and the touch decisions made by officers a thousand times a day as they do their jobs.

We have heard your questions, so we're going to drill down on this.

First, let's watch the video. It is kind of dramatic. And if you listen carefully, you are going to hear the startled reaction from the crowd that's watching in shock as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (SHOUTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should get off the train. You should get off the train, buddy. Please get off the train now. Get off (EXPLETIVE DELETED) train.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Did you hear the people applauding right there as they were taking him off the train? Now, most of the injuries appear to be the result of that broken pane of glass which shattered on impact right there. Both men are cut and bleeding. And both had to be treated at a hospital.

Mike Brooks is a former D.C. police detective and is now a law enforcement analyst with HLN and "In Session," we're happy to say, off the ground, huh?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: That's it.

SANCHEZ: Wait to go, Mike.

BROOKS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Listen, as I look at this tape, I'm trying to decipher why so many people are so upset with the police officer. Should they be?

BROOKS: No, I don't think so.

If you look at this case, the guy was doing his job. You heard the applause. And did he mean to break the glass when he pushed the guy against it? Probably not, because the officer, he is the one that received stitches and a concussion.

The -- Mr. Gibson was injured slightly, but did not require any stitches whatsoever.

SANCHEZ: Now, this guy was obviously -- what do you do when you get called as a police officer and they say, look, there's some drunk on a bus or some drunk on a train? And that's what they're saying. We don't know whether he was or wasn't. We will give him the benefit of the doubt.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: But that's what the charge is. You go in there. The guy is being abusive. He's screaming and yelling. What -- do you -- what do you do with something like that?

BROOKS: You have a number of options. You kind of come in and survey the situation, decide, OK, am I going to -- is he going to go with me peacefully? Am I going to have to put my hands on him to take him with me? Am I going to use my baton? Am I going to use my pepper spray? I didn't see one on his belt, but if he had one, am I going to use a taser?

Now, we see it on video, Rick. How many times have we talked about this? No matter which of these -- I'm going to call them less than lethal, because that's what they are -- less than lethal. Under certain circumstances, they can be lethal. But, when you use less than lethal, it always looks ugly, no matter what. If we had this video, if he had to use a taser, people would be going, that's terrible. If he had to use the pepper spray, would have said the same thing.

My question is, was it this man or this man's family who actually filed a complaint with police?-

SANCHEZ: I've got some information for you. The suspect's family -- let me read what it says on my notes. The suspect's family is saying that he has -- no, but listen, he's got mental problems, possibly schizophrenic, possibly bipolar.

(CROSS TALK)

SANCHEZ: And if you add the alcohol, as is accused of in this case, obviously, you know, it worsens the situation. So the question is, does the officer need to know that? Is there any way that he could surmise that? Can you not blame a go for what he doesn't know?

BROOKS: No. If you're looking at someone and you look at their actions, you don't know his mental health history. You don't know if he has an altered mental status.

Is it a possibility? Yes, he could seem intoxicated to you. OK, that's fine. If he's intoxicated, can someone who's intoxicated put up a fight? Absolutely. Rick, I have to tell you, when I was a young officer in a sandwich shop on 14 street, I was called to a situation like this in the sandwich shop. And this guy started tussling with me and there was a counter right in front. We went through and the glass broke. None of us got hurt, though. But those things do happen.

SANCHEZ: How tall are you?

BROOKS: I'm 6'7.

SANCHEZ: Man, I wouldn't mess with you. Thanks, Mike.

BROOKS: Rick, always a pleasure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it doing to my lungs? What is it doing inside of my body?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: She's talking about some allegedly dangerous building materials, the same stuff that could be in your home. Where did she dry wall? Where did that dry wall come from? You may need to know where yours came from. I'm going to give you a good reason to want to answer that question in just a couple minutes.

Also, don't forget, you can join me right here in our national conversation as well. It's called the "Hey Rick Line," 877-4-CNN- TOUR. Pardon me. I've got the lines mixed up. That's the telephone number you call if you want to join me here personally and be on a set during our show. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: This just in now on a story that we have followed since it broke last spring. Today, federal investigators report having found a strong association -- a strong association between chemicals contained in imported Chinese dry wall and complaints of severe corrosion in tens of thousands of American homes. Your walls.

In addition, I need you to hear this part. Investigators are now saying that they found a possible link, a link between gas emitted from that drywall and reported health problems for people living in those homes. Back in April, we told you about tens of thousands of homes virtually rotting from the inside out, allegedly because they were built with contaminated dry wall from China.

I'm here to tell you now that the problem has spread. We have told you about Florida. Then there's California, Alabama, Virginia, surely other places as well. Including now we learn parts of New Orleans, where the stuff is reportedly in the home of one of the biggest celebrities in the city.

Here's correspondent Sean Callebs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taking over the Saints after Hurricane Katrina, Sean Peyton has always had sympathy for storm victims. Now he also knows what it's like to be displaced. Peyton's Northshore home was built almost entirely with tainted dry wall from China, dry wall that emits noxious and potentially damaging gases.

When SEAN PAYTON, HEAD COACH, NEW ORLEAN SAINTS: When something like this happens to the head coach of the New Orleans Saints or somebody that might be a little bit more visible, I think it draws attention to the fact that this thing really could happen to anyone.

CALLEBS: Investigators say they think they've traced the harmful dry wall to a single coal mine in China, the source of hazardous waste used as filler. Scientists say humid conditions bring out dangerous gases that attack and corrode metal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had five computer failures. We're on our fourth hard drive right now. We had 13 air conditioning service calls, three different coil failures. We're on our third microwave oven panel. We had to install a second set of phone lines, a second alarm system.

CALLEBS: Dry wall from China came pouring into Florida and the Gulf Coast states after a series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.

It isn't all bad. The problem is, homeowners don't know what is tainted until it's too late.

Toxicologist Patricia Williams says investigators have consistently found three different toxic gases in the dry wall, and she's getting a growing number of calls from people worried about their health.

PATRICIA WILLIAMS, TOXICOLOGIST: They begin to think, well, if it can do this to copper wire, what is it doing to my lungs? What is it doing inside of my body? I think they have to get out, first and foremost.

CALLEBS: Few are as lucky as Sean Peyton. He, his wife and two children have moved to the comfort of their beech house in Florida while his million-dollar house is gutted. A host of lawsuits in the south have been rolled into a massive class action suit being heard in New Orleans. But it's an uphill fight.

CALVIN FAYARD, ATTORNEY: I don't see this as an easy situation for the consumer or for the homeowner or the property owner. It will take some effort to collect.

PAYTON: You get mad at the reaction of those people that you were counting on in the beginning. This product is passed through a lot of hands. And the problem is it takes a lot of time to sort through who's at fault here.

CALLEBS: That is the question. The contractor who put it in? The supplier who sold it? The Chinese producers? Many, like Payton, a plaintiff in the class action suit, just want the dry wall replaced. But it could end up that so many victimized by nature are being victimized again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: And Sean joins us now live. Sean, how do we make sure no more of this stuff is coming into the country?

CALLEBS: A couple of things. First, the border patrol says they now have the situation under control. And they are monitoring this to make sure that no more comes in. They maintain that none has come in since -- in the year 2009.

Secondly, they say they have also kept a handle on the inventories that are out there, and they are making sure the tainted stuff still floating around isn't ending up in a contractor's hands and then ending up in your house.

SANCHEZ: The problem is there's a lot of people out there who have had it put in way before 2009 and are just finding out about it now, right?

CALLEBS: Exactly. The big concern is they don't know. After months of study, they are no further along in telling us is there a health risk. They say they're going to need more time. And that's just not good enough for a lot of people, as well as Congressional investigators.

SANCHEZ: What a mess. Sean, we're glad you're all over that story for us. Thanks for bringing it to us.

OK, the plot is made up. But these bulls are very real and they're on the loose. You see, this has to do with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise,that bull. I'll explain.

Also, for some people, climate change is one of those politically divisive issues, like abortion or the death penalty. For Senator James Inhoffe, it is that and more. I'm going to explain in just a little bit.

Also, don't forget, the other way to participate in this national conversation, now, you can call us at 877-742-5751. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We told you we'd offer a chance for many of you who watch this show on a regular basis, when you're in Atlanta, to actually come here and sit down and enjoy the show with us. Look at this. We just had a bunch of people walk into the studio. And they're going to be following up on our conversations as well. And they're going to be following what's going on.

By the way, we've just gotten some tape in I want to share with you now. This is a tape of the president of the United States sitting down with his cabinet. We're going to get this in just a couple of seconds. Here it is.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton spoke about issues of national security. Peter Orszag had some discussion of our upcoming budget. I updated the cabinet on the progress that we're making on the health insurance reform legislation that is moving its way now through the Senate, and reiterated the urgent need for us to get to the finish line and provide relief, both in terms of costs and the quality of coverage that Americans are getting in their health care.

The primary focus of our discussion today, though, had to do with the same thing that Americans sitting across kitchen tables all across the country are focused on. That is jobs and the economy. If you look back at where we've been, in the first several months of my administration, because of the steps taken by people like Secretary Geithner and the rest of our economic team, we were able to stabilize the financial system, and ensure that the economy didn't slip back into a depression.

And we take this for granted now. But it is something that I think all members of the cabinet who participated are extremely proud of.

Since that time, we've passed a recovery act that's put a middle class tax cut in the people's pockets, that has invested in infrastructure all across this country, and put people back to work, and something that isn't noted often enough, has helped stabilize state budgets, in a time when we could have seen hundreds of thousands of layoffs in teachers and police officers and firefighters.

Our economy is growing for the first time in more than a year. We know that economic growth is a prerequisite for job growth.

But, having said that, what I emphasize today is we cannot sit back and be satisfied, given the extraordinarily high unemployment levels that we've seen. We have only taken the first step in curing our economy and making sure that it is moving on the right track. And I will not rest until businesses are investing again and businesses are hiring again and people have work again.

Now, this is going to be a challenging task. It's challenging because of the extraordinary blow that the financial crisis delivered to the economy as a whole. It is particularly difficult because both the financial sector and the housing sector were the biggest drivers of economic growth prior to the financial crisis. So the severity of their pullback means that things are moving slower than we would like them to move.

One of the ironies that we have right now is that businesses across sectors are making profits again, but their primary way of making profit has been to cut costs, as opposed to seeing increased demand. Unfortunately, the huge rise in productively, which is normally a good thing, in this circumstance, means that they have learned to produce the same amount of goods with fewer people. All these present some significant challenges in terms of us creating more jobs in this economy.

But having said that, something that our economic team emphasized is that there are core strengths to the American economy that will put us in good stead over the long term. Having gone through this very wrenching adjustment, we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best innovation in technologies in the world. We continue to have some of the best workers in the world, the most productive workers in the world. And we have the kind of dynamism and entrepreneurship in our economy that's going to serve us well in the long term.

The key is to bridge where we are now to that more prosperous future. So a lot of discussion, in a whole range of different sectors, was how do we move that job agendas forward? For example, in the export area, I just came back from a trip to Asia in which one of my highest priorities was discussing how we can increase exports into that region. If we can just increase our exports by five percent into that region, that would mean hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. There is no reason that we can't do it. In fact, it turns out that they want our products and they want our technology. But partly because of regulatory restrictions, partly because of currency issues, partly because we just haven't been as aggressive as we need to be, we haven't gotten it. That's something that we're going to be focusing on. On infrastructure, although some of the payout extends beyond just a couple of years, us investing now in revamping our existing infrastructure and then starting to lay the foundation for things like high-speed rail, can make all the difference Anthe world.

And in green technology, we are seeing some terrific ideas that could immediately put people back to work and save consumers money and help with the climate crisis that we have in place.

So as many of you know, we're going to be having a jobs summit on December 3rd. Part of the task of this cabinet was to generate good ideas in anticipation of that job summit. We are going to be bringing together people from all across the country, business, labor, academics, non-for-profits, entrepreneurs, small and large businesses, to explore how we can jump-start the hiring that typically lags behind economic growth.

But we don't want to wait. We want to see if we can accelerate it. And I'm confident that we are going to be able to do it, because I've got as good a cabinet as I think any president has ever had.

Let me just close by saying this -- this is a week to give thanks. And I advised this hard-working cabinet to get a little bit of rest this week, particularly people who have been traveling around the globe day in and day out, and don't know what time zone they're in.

But I think it's also a time to remember that this has been a very difficult year. And a lot of people out there are having a very, very tough time. And I indicated to my cabinet that as -- as hard as they are working, and as difficult as the political environment can be sometimes, we are extraordinarily blessed to be in a position where we can make a potential difference in the lives of millions of people. We need to take advantage of that opportunity, and redouble our efforts in the months and years to come.

Thank you very much, everybody.

SANCHEZ: It's one of those rare glimpses we get inside an actual cabinet meeting with the president of the United States. And the message seems to be pretty clear. The president understands that Americans do know we're still not out of the woods. But he kept seeming to want to make the point that we're on the right track, that eventually things are going to get fixed in this country.

The folks who just walked in moments ago, into our studio -- I don't know who they are. I don't know what their political leanings are. But they have chosen to come here to be a part of this set. So let me ask them this question: a show of hands;how many of you believe or buy what the president says when he says that we're on the right track and eventually things will work themselves out?

Raise your hands if you believe the president. One, two, three, four, five,six. Raise your hand if you don't believe that things -- that we're on the track. One lone dissenter. We'll talk to all of you. And you don't have to feel bad about raising your hand that way. We're going to be right back. Stay with us. A lot more, including photos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Note to self: if you can't beat them, eat it. This has got to be one of the best dash cam recordings we've seen in quite a while.

Also, tomorrow on this program, a national debate on what the nation is debating, its involvement in the Iraq War. Except it's not this nation, it's British leaders. We're expected to hear how disjointed the communications were between American troops and British troops. All brand new information. You'll see it here. We're all over this story, live from London.

Also, remember the after show coming up at 4:00 on CNN.cm/live. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Michael is dancing right now. He just Tweeted me. These are dramatic pictures from Turkey, where flood waters are wreaking havoc, to say the very least. This poor man watches in despair as his home crumbles under the weight of a landslide caused by torrential rains. The people inside got out just minutes before it collapsed.

To Ohio now, a man busted for a bank robbery is so desperate to get rid of the evidence, he eats it. Look at that. He's actually being cuffed, gobbles up a note from the hood of the cruiser. Police say that was the note that he had given to a bank teller demanding cash. Now that's evidence not worth waiting for. You know what I mean, Chad?

Spain and the story involves angry bulls. This is not a clip from the actual running of the bulls, but they are running from something. This is a movie set. Seven bulls escaped during rehearsals for an upcoming film starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Get this, they were prepping for a scene that would imitate the running of the bulls when the real thing broke out. Yes, right, you know, that's a bunch of bull. And that's Fotos.

Unbelievable pictures. Watch this bridge. Everybody be quiet. Watch this. Ready? We're all watching. Down goes Frazier.

Chad, you're joining us now to try to bring us up to date. What is going on in Europe? These are some of the best videos we've seen in a long time of flooding. How serious are they?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you can't say best. You can't say best pictures. People are -- look at this. This was a long-term, 100-year-old bridge, and it didn't have a chance.

SANCHEZ: You know what I mean. From a television standpoint, from time to time, we get great pics. MYERS: I know what you mean. That was not a person falling in. The first time I saw that, I thought that was somebody falling in, but it was just more bricks.

Ida; the remnants of what was Ida, kind of a tropical like system, all that humidity crossed the Atlantic and it wen right into the areas here, all the way from about where Scotland and England come together, Cambria County -- this is the area that picked up 13 to 16 inches of rain.

SANCHEZ: These are some of the oldest cities in the world. How can they not be built in such a way that -- I mean, can't be the first time they have gotten these kind of floods.

MYERS: Never. Never had it. Never in 1,000 years, that they know of, has it flooded like this in this area. SANCHEZ: This is, what, Scotland and parts of england.

MYERS: Right where Scotland and England come together. There's something called conveyor belt. Think about a conveyor belt, how it takes your baggage and takes it on up into an airplane. This baggage conveyor belt took the air up into the mountains. And then it just rained and rained for days.

Sikorsky helicopters rescuing people off tree tops. It was a mess there Thursday and Friday and Saturday.

SANCHEZ: Can you stick for a little bit? We're going to do this on the after show.

How about you folks over there? Are you ready to go?

Hey, where's the lone dissenter over there. Go ahead, raise your hand. Let me see. Raise it up high. Thank you very much. If you're going to have an opinion, be proud of your opinion.

What are you guys laughing at over there? Just because you think one way, she's -- we're going to have fun with you guys in just a little bit. Stay right with us. We'll be right back with the after show as well. Here's Wolf Blitzer.