Return to Transcripts main page
Talk Show Host Causes Trouble for McCain; Supreme Court to Rule on Washington, D.C., Gun Laws
Aired February 27, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Barack Obama. After last night`s debate, he seems untouchable. And with reports that the RNC is actually asking people what they can and cannot say about him, it may actually be true. But is it necessarily a good thing?
Plus, the most important gun control case in years headed to the Supreme Court. Could your Second Amendment rights be in the cross-hairs?
And a shameful moment of truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever had sexual relations with someone other than your husband?
BECK: The reasons this woman confessed to cheating on her husband in front of millions will give you a moment of nausea.
All this and more tonight.
BECK: Well, hello, America.
I just want you to know my middle name is Edward. You know, it really doesn`t come up very much mostly, because it doesn`t have anything to do with how I live my life or my job. And I think we can all agree my middle name, completely irrelevant.
However, there are some trying to make Barack Obama`s middle name an issue for stupid people in the presidential election. So here`s "The Point" tonight.
Apparently, in America the facts and the real issues are out and crazy political correctness is in. And here`s how I got there.
Bill Cunningham is a radio talk show host who went out of his way at a McCain rally yesterday to emphasize Barack Obama`s middle name: Hussein. Apparently, he was doing it to hurt the likely Democratic nominee by drawing comparisons to Iraq`s former dictator. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CUNNINGHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Barack Hussein Obama.
Barack Hussein Obama.
Barack Hussein Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK. Bill, I think you crossed the line there, and you pandered to the lowest and the dumbest common denominator. Yes, Obama`s middle name is Hussein, like Saddam. Yes, Obama rhymes with Osama like bin Laden. If that`s the best ammunition the Republicans have against Barack Obama, you might as well forget about his middle name and just start calling him Mr. President.
The only reason to play the name game is to be as slimy as possible, just like when someone released those photos of him in the traditional Somali dress.
You know, if you want to take down Barack Obama, then stop screwing around and go after him on the issues. Trust me, the facts on the issues are not on his side.
However, I want to say this. I think it`s worth stating that I don`t want anyone telling me what I can and can`t say about a possible president, even if it is about his middle name.
On Monday, MSNBC`s Keith Olbermann wondered after seeing the Oscars if Jon Stewart can make a joke about Obama`s middle name, I`m quoting: "Does that give someone like Ann Coulter the same right?" No, Keith, actually, it doesn`t. The fist amendment gives Ann Coulter that right. Funny thing about free speech. It applies to everyone.
Unfortunately, we`re living in PC times these days, and I think it`s about to get much, much worse. You have to ask yourself: should there be a taboo topic for the guy who wants to run the free world?
Tonight, America, here`s what you need to know. Anyone whose vote is swayed by Barack`s middle name shouldn`t be allowed to vote in the next "American Idol," let alone for the next American president.
However, PC has reached the point where it has been reported that the Republican strategists are actually polling focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or a female candidate.
At the end of these top-secret sessions, which can`t be so top secret because I`m talking about them on national television, the GOP advisor has said that the findings suggested that the Republicans, quote, "need to be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion discussions." You clowns needed a focus group to figure that one out?
Stephen Hays is a senior writer for the "Weekly Standard" and author of "Cheney: The Untold Story of America`s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President."
Let me start here with you, Stephen. Jack Kemp said, quote, "You can`t run against Barack Obama the way you could run against Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry. You have to be sensitive to issues that affect urban America. You have to be careful."
Gosh, that doesn`t sound like sensitivity. That sounds like fear.
STEPHEN HAYES, AUTHOR, "CHENEY": Yes, well, there`s a fine line, I think. I mean, if he`s suggesting that John McCain come up with, you know, a huge urban plan or something to that effect, I think it just won`t work. I mean, John McCain does best when John McCain campaigns as John McCain.
BECK: Well, didn`t he prove that he`s not doing that yesterday? Yesterday for Bill Cunningham, how many times did he apologize?
HAYES: Right. Right. Well, that`s -- I think this is a problem for McCain. Look, it was appropriate, I think, for him to distance himself from the remarks, because as you pointed out in the introduction, it was over the top. It was stupid. It felt like a schoolyard taunt.
HAYES: You just wanted to say, come on. But McCain, you know, as he often does in these situations, I think over-apologized. He kept talking about how sorry he was. This will never happen again, he promised. He said he admired Barack Hussein, I mean, Barack Obama. On and on. Your intro threw me for a loop.
But he went on and on about this thing. And I think there`s a risk there that -- that you`re distracting from what you`re actually intending to do, which is apologize.
BECK: Right. OK. Now let me show you -- last night I thought Barack Obama came out looking like the good guy. Above it all, last night in the debate, watch. This is what happened in the debate when asked about those Somali pictures that someone released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, so far as I know, it did not, and I certainly know nothing about it and have made clear that that`s not the kind of behavior that I condone or expect from the people working in my campaign.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I take Senator Clinton at her word that she knew nothing about the photos, so I think that`s something that we can set aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: So I watched this and I think, "Wow, look at that. I mean, he`s playing the bigger man." Behind the scenes, has Barack Obama or his people, is he playing the race card at all? Or is he...
BECK: He is?
HAYES: I think in this case he clearly was. What happened was these pictures were posted on the Drudge Report, and there was an accompanying shore (ph) article that said that the pictures were being, quote, "circulated" by the Clinton campaign.
Now, we didn`t know what that was, but if you read the text that went along with this e-mail that included the photographs, essentially it sounded to me a lot like something that, you know, one person on the campaign was sending to another person on the campaign. It was far from clear that these were intended to leak to do what people, I think, suggested that they were trying to do.
But Obama`s campaign came out almost immediately and called them fear- mongering and shameful and offensive, when it was unclear that that was ever the case. And the irony to me is, in a conference call shortly after they condemned these tactics, an Obama advisor said, "Well, actually, we really don`t know where the pictures came from, and we don`t know why they made -- they were ever made public."
BECK: OK. Stephen, thank you very much.
HAYES: You bet.
BECK: What everybody seems to be talking about today is the rivalry between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. However, there`s a new "Los Angeles Times"/Bloomberg poll out that shows, in a head to head national contest with each Democratic candidate, the likely Republican nominee, John McCain, beats them both, Hillary by six points and Barack by two. What does McCain need to do to maintain that or increase that lead?
John Ridley is a political commentator for National Public Radio.
John, I say issues matter, not middle names or anything else. John McCain, when it comes to -- let`s say he`s going head to head with Obama. When it comes to Iraq, he`s got to win on that, right? With the average person.
JOHN RIDLEY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I would say the substantive differences between how the two would continue to execute the war or not execute the war. Obviously, Barack Obama was running for Senate, made a big deal out of opposing the war. He`s made a lot of bank on that.
John McCain is antipode to that, opposite end of the spectrum. He`s been in favor of the surge and for troop increase.
RIDLEY: And at this point, it looks like it`s working from a military stand point. So that`s a big difference. And it`s a lot that John McCain can make a big deal out of going forward: national security and protecting the individuals in Iraq.
BECK: And Barack Obama must pull the troops out, right? Otherwise he -- I mean, if he gets in, after all of this time, saying, "I`ll pull the troops, out, pull the troops out, pull the troops out," he`s got to do that or he has no credibility left with his base.
RIDLEY: Well, again, it`s a campaign promise that he`s made. He`s made it very clearly. He`s talked about it...
RIDLEY: So yes, absolutely. He`s got to be able to pull the troops out or have some kind of incredible reason why they can`t come out within the timetables that he set up. You`re right.
BECK: Now, you haven`t been able to -- Hillary hasn`t been able to go after Barack Obama on a lot of things like health care or the economy or fiscal responsibility, because I mean, they`re so similar. There are differences, but it`s not like John McCain and Barack Obama.
Which is the next one, economy that McCain says in his own words he didn`t understand, but he did buy the new Alan Greenspan book. Or is it fiscal responsibility? What`s next where he can really set apart the differences?
RIDLEY: Well, in some ways, it`s actually both. With the electorate, the big deal is the economy. That`s the No. 1 issue right now. Barack Obama would like to stimulate the economy by putting about $70 billion directly in the hands of the American public and also tax cuts for a lot of the lower class and middle class wage earners.
John McCain is more interested in tax cuts for corporations. Get business flowing, allow them to be the engine that drives the economy. The question is, putting a lot of money back into the economy for Barack Obama through these kinds of tax cut and then trying to get universal health care, he can be set up as a tax-and-spend Democrat. That`s obviously one thing that Republicans like to throw at the Democrats.
Will that stick that time around? Will John McCain be able to say, "Look, I`m more fiscally responsible. I`m targeting these tax cuts towards business. Also, I`m not advocating universal health care the way Barack Obama is"?
BECK: John, I had a person call me on my radio program today, and she was a progressive. She said, you know, "We can`t afford this war, and we need universal health care."
And I said, "Universal health care is much more expensive than the war. What are you talking about?"
How do you not get the name of tax-and-spend when you`re proposing these gigantic programs, and health care is only one of the programs that Barack Obama wants to introduce?
RIDLEY: Well, you can certainly expect John McCain and the Republicans to start throwing that at Barack Obama. Barack Obama would probably say, "Look, I`m talking about taxing, but I`m talking about taxing the upper echelons of American wage earners."
And most people would say, "Look, that`s not me, so it`s OK."
RIDLEY: Whether it sticks, whether it works, that`s what we`re going to find out come November.
BECK: Unbelievable. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Now coming up on the program, your right to bear arms could be in jeopardy. Boy, oh, boy, we don`t want to lose this right. The most significant gun case in years goes to the Supreme Court. Take a look at where the candidates weigh in on the issue. It may shock you.
Plus, universal health care headlined last night`s debate, the whole notion of the mandate of anything is my biggest issue on these. Find out where the candidates plans fall far, far, far short from what Americans really want, in tonight`s "Real Story."
BECK: Coming up, free health care. Wow! It`s free! I wish I could get more stuff from -- from the government for free. Wouldn`t it be great? No is the answer. Hillary Clinton`s free universal health care plan does come with a price. It may cost you your right to choose. I`ll explain in tonight`s "Real Story."
Now, you remember the movie with Jack Nicholson, "A Few Good Men"? "We live in a world of walls, and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns." OK. Really bad Jack Nicholson, but you get it.
Colonel Jessep was the character who was talking about national security, but the same sentiment could be easily applied to the walls of your home or your business. Too bad the biggest news surrounding your Second Amendment rights is bad news today.
The most significant Second Amendment case in years, Washington, D.C.`s gun ban is headed for the Supreme Court for review. The result will have national impact.
Now, here`s the news. How do the presidential candidates respond to a possible restriction of your Second Amendment rights? According to this morning`s "USA Today," Hillary Clinton has dropped her support for the licensing of new gun owners and registration of new guns. Barack Obama also says he no longer supports a broad licensing and registering of firearms like he did when he was in the Illinois Senate.
Even the Bush administration is softening its pro-gun stance.
Anchor for ABC News "20/20," John Stossel, knows this better than most people.
Please tell me, John, get it through the American people`s head it does not reduce crime to take away guns.
JOHN STOSSEL, ABC NEWS: There`s certainly no evidence that it has. The National Academy of Sciences has looked for it. All these different jurisdictions have different gun laws. And they are yet to find any law that reduced crime.
BECK: Does it -- does it drive you crazy, John, that you see -- for instance, up in Illinois, when that kid came out from behind the curtains and then took the time to look at everybody, then fire off rounds, then reload, I see this story and I say, these kids are sitting ducks.
If I were in that classroom and I had a license to carry, I would have been able to hide behind a chair and shoot him and save lives.
STOSSEL: And that has happened in several cases where a shooter was picking people off. But the media just tend not to report that.
BECK: Give me -- give me a case of that, John.
STOSSEL: The Appalachian Law School case. Two students subdued the shooter because they had guns on them.
And once I asked all the presidential candidates in the last election, let`s talk about gun laws. And the only one who came was Al Sharpton. But it was fun when I asked him, what would life be like if it was legal for an adult to carry a concealed weapon, any adult?
And he said, it would be a nightmare. There would be terror in the streets. And most of the people with whom I work feel that way. It`s the liberal media. And as a former government-loving leftie who has finally become a Libertarian, it was one of the toughest things for me to accept, to know that in most states it is legal to carry a gun on your person. And those states have no more crime.
STOSSEL: Because the criminals know if they rob somebody he might be packing.
BECK: Well, here`s what kills me. Tell me where I`m wrong on this. I think -- I mean, in front of my house, it says, you know, got a security system, got a guard dog, blah, blah, blah. Basically, that tells anybody who`s going to think about robbing my house, you`ve got some, you know -- some hoops to jump through.
STOSSEL: Pick another house.
BECK: Yes, right. These gun-free zones, doesn`t this say, nobody here to stop you?
STOSSEL: It is an invitation. There`s some evidence that some of these shooters have paid attention to that and knowingly went to places that said gun-free zone. Free-to-shoot-people zone.
BECK: Any indication at all where you think the Supreme Court is going? I mean, I was horrified when I saw that Hillary Clinton said she`s not for any new licensing of guns. That`s horrifying.
STOSSEL: I would never speculate where the Supremes will go. It`s interesting. It`s the Washington gun law case that they`re looking at, and Washington is another example where they passed much tougher gun laws, and gun crime went up afterward.
BECK: Because the people who want to have guns will get guns. I mean, I don`t know how...
STOSSEL: We`ve interviewed for "20/20" guys in the pen talking about these gun laws. And they said, "Look, we don`t care about the laws. We`re criminals. We`ll get guns."
BECK: There`s no -- drugs are banned in prison. You can get drugs in prison. I mean, criminals are criminals. I read a poll today, shows 73 percent of Americans say that it is their right to own a gun.
I talked today to my radio audience. People called in on the radio audience from all over the country, from cities, from rural areas. They all said, "Government`s not taking away my right to own a gun."
If the Supreme Court would go against what the American people feel about guns, any idea what would happen?
STOSSEL: I think it`s a fatal conceit to predict the future. I`ll stick to reporting what I know.
BECK: You`re no fun, John Stossel.
STOSSEL: No fun.
BECK: You`re no fun at all. All right, sir, thank you very much.
STOSSEL: Thank you.
BECK: Now, I could talk all day long, you know, what I think it means when it comes to your Second Amendment rights. But one politician has said it better than anyone else.
Quote, "All men are born free, independent. They have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights. Among them, which may be reckoned, is the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties." That politician, by the way, John Adams, our second president.
BECK: I don`t know about you, but I got performance reviews once in a while in my job. What do you say we give Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who testified on the Hill today, a little midterm review? Let`s see. We should start with gold, oil, wheat, all trading at near, historic highs or at historic highs. Home prices just posted their largest drop in history. Stock market still way down from its highs. Wholesale inflation is at its highest level since Reagan`s first term in office. And our dollar, which no one seems to want to talk about, has just dropped to its lowest level ever against the euro.
Forget about the midterm review. What do you say we go right to the pink slip?
Bob O`Brien is a stock editor for Barrons Online.
Bob, they`re talking about reducing the Fed rate yet again, which I don`t think anybody really understands. The money isn`t just sitting somewhere. We`re printing more money, are we not?
BOB O`BRIEN, STOCK EDITOR, BARRONS ONLINE: Well, we are effectively printing more money, but, you know, Glenn, probably a little unfair to be giving all the blame to Ben Bernanke and not laying some of it on his predecessor, Alan Greenspan.
BECK: Oh, we`ve already been on that one. That boat`s sailed years ago for me.
What does the average person take away -- when they say, you know, oh, the Fed is going to cut yet another point possibly, we could get down as low as two. They`re going to cut -- they`re going to cut the rate again. They`re going to print more money, et cetera, et cetera. The dollar is falling in value. Tell the average person what that means.
O`BRIEN: Substantively, not much to the average person, unfortunately, Glenn. Right now, you know, it would mean more if there was a robust economy, if folks were out there buying houses and taking out leases on cars and getting improved rates. But frankly, most of them aren`t doing that.
The impact that we`re going to see on the consumer is, hey, you`re going to the grocery store, you`re paying more for a quart of milk. You`re going to the gas station, you`re paying a lot more to fill up the tank. You`re going just about any place, and you`re seeing higher prices as some producers try to pass along some of their own higher costs to you, the consumer.
I mean, look at what the airlines have been doing. Look at what Starbucks did. Starbucks has raised price on java drinks twice so far in the last year.
BECK: Yes, we had 12 percent -- the dollar has fallen 12 percent against the euro in the last four months. Four percent of that has been in the last three weeks, which is disturbing to me, because I had an economist say -- you know, I take these people out to dinner and then I just suck their brain dry trying to figure stuff out.
What of them said to me, "Glenn" -- what he was concerned about is at some point the Fed is going to run out of room. They`re not going to have anywhere to go anymore. And then the falling dollar could snowball, and it could just pick up steam and it could just spiral out of control.
Do you think that`s possible?
O`BRIEN: Well, it is. I mean, for the first part, look, the Fed`s only going to take rates as low as about 2 percent. That means there`s two more opportunities for the Fed to act here. After that, it`s got to start jamming its foot on the brakes very hard. So there will be no more arrows left in that quiver.
As for what the dollar can do, this is not simply a cyclical move on the part of the dollar. We`ve got, for all intents and purposes, a new realm. We`ve never seen this historically with the dollar trading this low.
What we`re starting to see is that other foreign banks, other foreign governments are looking to other denominations. They`re looking to the euro, for example, as the reserve currency of choice.
We could get into a situation, and this is certainly the direst circumstance, where the dollar becomes what they refer to as the funding currency and the carry trade. Effectively, the dollar becomes what the yen was for most of the `90s.
BECK: It doesn`t get any better. Let`s have yen talk.
Bob, thank you very much.
BECK: Up next, medical patients in England spend an hour stacked in waiting rooms and ambulances. National health care right around the corner. It sounds fantastic, doesn`t it? Not so much. "Real Story" next.
BECK: Coming up, you and I both know television, I mean, it stinks on ice. But there is one show in particular that I -- frankly I believe epitomizes everything that`s wrong with television today.
OK. No, wait. There`s this show and this other show. And I`ll tell you about the other show in just a second.
But first, welcome to the "Real Story."
Despite Brian Williams` best efforts last night, Hillary and Barack just would not shut up about universal health care. They spent an eternity on it, which is ironic given the fact that there`s -- I mean, the difference in their plans is about this much.
Here is Hillary trying to explain it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For example, it`s been unfortunate that Senator Obama has consistently said that I would force people to have health care whether they could afford it or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK. I guess it`s only unfortunate because it`s true.
Under Hillary`s plan, every single man, woman and child in this country would be forced to buy health care. That`s the facts. I mean, why she`s trying to cover that up is beyond me considering that minutes later she launched into an explanation as to why history proves mandatory government programs are such a great thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: And, in fact, it would be as though Franklin Roosevelt said, let`s make Social Security voluntary. That`s -- you know, that`s -- let`s let everybody get in it if they can afford it, or if President Johnson said, let`s make Medicare voluntary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Oh my. Oh my, imagine if we were to have those two massive government programs that have been so mismanaged to the tune of trillions of dollars in unfunded liability, imagine if you would only have to opt in or out of that.
My gosh, America might actually not be up for sale to the Chinese today. Oh, the humanity.
But that`s how these progressives think. Our financial well-being is just some sort of a minor nuisance.
I mean, we can print more. And we`re taking care of people that can`t take care of themselves. But is that even really true?
You hear these politicians on TV all the time say there`s 47 million uninsured people in America. The "Real Story" is, a good number of these people choose to be uninsured.
I learned this in "The New York Times" last week. About a third of those people come from households that make at least $50,000 a year. Those people can afford coverage if they wanted it. They`ve just decided they`d rather spend their money elsewhere.
Remember, the entire concept behind insurance is that it`s -- to be honest, I think it`s like legalized gambling. Insurance companies are betting that you`re not going to get sick.
If you choose not to buy insurance, you`re betting on the same thing. You can say what you want about that decision. I personally think it`s stupid. But when I was 20, I did it, too.
The point is, it`s your decision to make. I`m all for affordability. But ask yourself, which government program exactly has been effective at make things more affordable?
I mean, let`s look to France, shall we? Oh, please give me government health care. And they got it. Now 90 percent of the country also has to buy private health care to pay for everything that the government health care doesn`t cover. So I guess we can only dream of the day when we have two insurance premiums instead of one.
Michael Tanner is the director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute.
Michael, this is insanity. First of all, let`s talk about Massachusetts.
Massachusetts just did this. They put it in. Mitt Romney was part of it. They can only force about half of the people into it, and they`re fining people now $1,000 if you don`t get into it.
MICHAEL TANNER, CATO INSTITUTE: Well, that`s right. The two plans are very much alike.
In fact, Jonathan Gruber from MIT was the adviser to Mitt Romney on this. He was also Hillary Clinton`s advisor.
Both plans would mandate that you have to buy health insurance. And neither one has come close.
The Massachusetts plan, about half of all the people who were previously uninsured chose not to sign up despite the mandate. And, in fact, of the people who signed up, almost all of them had their policy at least partially paid for by the government. Almost nobody who is unsubsidized signed up.
BECK: OK. So, I mean, I just want to be -- this is going to sound horrible, but it`s the truth, America. If you have the money to get it and you decide not to get it, why should I then take care of you?
It`s like, for instance, you have fire insurance because if your house burns down, the bank doesn`t want to be on the hook for it. Car insurance, you know, you`re going to wipe somebody else out.
But when it comes to health insurance, hey, fatty, fat, fatso, you want to eat all the Oreo cookies and marshmallows you want, go ahead and do it without health insurance, but I ain`t paying for the firemen to cut a giant hole on the side of your wall and drag your fat ass to the hospital. Not my responsibility.
TANNER: Well, we do have a society that says, look, I`ll pay for the fries. You pay for the Lipitor.
BECK: Right. I mean, that`s crazy talk.
Why am I responsible to paying for that? If you choose to make those choices and live your life that way, oh, well.
TANNER: Right. And the problem becomes that, once we socialize the cost, it gives the government the right to step in and start monitoring our behavior. It says, since we`re going to have to pay for your bad health through our health care system, we can tell you what to eat, whether or not you smoke, how much you have to exercise and so on.
BECK: You know what? I`m never going to qualify for health insurance if they start doing that. I`m just never -- because I`m not exercising. And you know what? If I have a heart attack, my fault.
Michael, thanks a lot.
Now, whether or not our health care system needs reform isn`t the question. Of course it does. It stinks on ice.
The real question is whether the government is the institution that should be in charge of that reform. The people who say, oh, yes, yes, they always point to countries that already have universal government-run health care as shining examples of what they can become. Really? I lived by the Canadian border. I know.
They say look at the U.K. then. Don`t look at Canada. Oh, it`s Utopia over there. Free health care for everybody. It`s like candy in the streets.
And people live to be 297 years old. Really?
The "Real Story" is these proponents simply have fallen victim to the grass is always greener syndrome. Progressives never will advertise this, but every country around the world with universal health care is having their own share of problems.
In fact, in the U.K., wait times in emergency rooms had gotten so high that the government had had to come in and fix the problem that they created. They stepped in and said, we are going to pass a law to guarantee that you go to a hospital, you will definitely see a doctor within four hours.
Wow. Shooting for the stars.
Great idea, except the regulations that they just did now created loopholes. And you know that. Look at our tax code.
So providers got around the rule by keeping patients not in the hospital, but in the ambulance, parked outside of the hospital, until they were sure they`d be able to be seen within the government`s four-hour limit. It`s called patient stacking. And in some cases it`s resulted in seriously ill patients waiting an eternity only in an ambulance, to only then go inside and wait another four hours, some people as long as nine- hour waits.
But the government guarantees you`ll be seen by a doctor in four.
The patient stacking has another side-effect. Ambulances that are needed for other calls are stuck idling outside hospitals. That`s causing massive delays in response in some cases, like a 16-year-old boy who had leukemia.
The doctor kept calling, where`s the ambulance? Where`s the ambulance? Waited two hours for the ambulance to take him 300 yards. Unfortunately, it meant death to that 16-year-old.
Now, the delays are not exactly rare in the United Kingdom. Forty- four thousand people sitting in front of a hospital were reported in the last 15 months.
I`ve got to tell you, our system may not be perfect, but if you`re willing to take an honest look around the world, you`ll realize really nobody`s system is perfect. We`re pretty close.
If you think the grass is greener around the world, it`s only because they`re using taxpayer dollars as fertilizer. And unfortunately our politicians are fertilizing something my grandfather used to call bull crap.
Helen Rainbow is a senior research officer at Doctors for Reform in England.
Let`s just start with this. You guys have a color-coded system for hospitals on whether or not they can take any more people? For instance, what does black alert mean?
HELEN RAINBOW, DOCTORS FOR REFORM: I think basically that means the hospitals can`t take any more patients unless they`re absolute emergencies. So patients will go to other hospitals in the area.
BECK: OK. So you`ve got a color-coded -- we can`t even handle the homeland security color code system.
Hospitals say it`s a black alert, so you can`t go into the hospital because it`s too crowded. We`re having a problem with overcrowded hospitals here.
Why, with your universal health system, are hospitals more crowded? Why aren`t there any beds available in this Utopian society?
RAINBOW: I think we have real problems with essentially imposed (ph) system. You mentioned the example of targets, which, you know, basically, are the ways that the government is trying to control the system and trying to bring down waiting times, et cetera. But the problem is, you know, many places will try and kind of play around those targets, which has led to some of the kind of -- the thing you were talking about, patient stacking.
BECK: Right. But you also have -- who would have seen this coming -- when you have got a government program and then the union`s involved, there`s nothing that could go wrong there.
You also have -- the doctors have negotiated union rules. Now, there`s no real incentive for them to work at night. Is that true?
RAINBOW: Yes, that`s true for kind of local practice and general practitioners, primary practitioners, due to the new contracts that were negotiated a few years ago. There`s really a kind of lack of incentives for doctors to cover out-of-hours care, which has led to an increased number of admittances to emergency departments, which is adding to this problem.
BECK: Helen, it`s my understanding that it is your belief that your system, you know, is just poorly run, but a government-run system could be good. I mean, I -- doesn`t "government program" and "poorly run" go hand in hand every time? How can you have a government-run program that works?
RAINBOW: I think, you know, the problem with our system is that it`s very much centrally imposed. What we would be calling for is a much more kind of localized system where actually the power is kind of right down to the level of consumers, and they`re drawing (ph) the system, whereas at the moment it`s very much top-down, which is leading to these kind of real issues that we`re seeing.
BECK: Right. So a little closer to the consumer, it`s almost -- what`s that called? Like private health care almost. Maybe not.
RAINBOW: I think we...
BECK: No, go ahead.
RAINBOW: I think we kind of look -- I was just going to say I think we`re kind of looking for a system where actually money is (INAUDIBLE) to individuals. Still a national system...
RAINBOW: ... while still kind of paid for by the taxpayer, as opposed to kind of responding to top-down levels. Responding to what individuals want.
BECK: Helen, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
That`s the "Real Story" tonight.
Coming up, a couple that ruined their marriage in front of a national TV audience for cash. Reality TV in a new low.
BECK: May I -- may I tell you something? I know very few things in life, but I know this to be absolutely true -- television is a soulless pit of despair made by morally bankrupt, money-hungry jackals, and made for the weak, desperate and the depraved. At least that`s what it says in my job description.
Once you cross over to this over-the-river sticks, into the world of mercenary reality TV, you`d find a better class of people on death row. The latest example was seen on last night`s Fox series "The Moment of Truth."
Oh, the fun started when the wife of a New York City police officer admitted to cheating on him and wishing she was married to another man. Oh, great.
Then the couple said they went on the show for the money. Fortunately, Frank and Lauren Cleary went from being on "The Moment of Truth" to starring as the biggest losers, because they didn`t walk away with one thin dime.
It seems Lauren Clearly -- and this is where it really got good and satisfying -- she blew her final question. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN CLEARY, "THE MOMENT OF TRUTH": Honestly, I think I am a good person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: False.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Robert Thompson is a professor/director of The Blyer Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
How can you go on national television and say, I cheated on my husband, I should -- bring the boyfriend out, I think I should be married to you. But I believe I`m a good person.
ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Yes.
BECK: Don`t you just roll the odds on that one that you`re not?
THOMPSON: That`s what makes this show -- I mean, I agree with you. This is a tasteless show. It`s a really bad idea. But I have to confess to you, I watch it. I find it really, really compelling.
BECK: Oh, you do not.
THOMPSON: And when somebody -- when someone says, you know, "Have you ever been paid to have sex?" you can`t change the channel.
BECK: Oh, yes you can.
THOMPSON: You have to wait to hear that answer and the next six questions.
BECK: And -- OK, wait. Hang on, hang on, hang on.
You`re telling me that you can watch -- play this piece where she talks about the boyfriend. You could sit there and watch this? Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe I`m the man you should be married to?
CLEARY: Well -- wow. I`m going to be honest and say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I mean, what we`re watching is the destruction of a family. We`re watching the destruction of individuals. There`s no way to win this game ever.
THOMPSON: Well, that may be the big question. I mean, first of all, there`s so many ways to scam this.
They have been asked these questions ahead of time. They`re asked twice as many questions, so none of these come as a surprise to them. What motivates those people to be on that show is a whole different question that I don`t have the answer to -- to that.
BECK: All right.
THOMPSON: But I don`t think we should be implicated by liking it. I like "Hamlet" and "Richard III" and "The Sopranos." I certainly don`t approve of what the characters on those shows do.
BECK: I`ll give you "The Sopranos," but the other ones, I don`t know. I don`t know -- OK.
So, Robert, let me go here with you. I think if we`re going to go for it, let`s really go for it.
I think the audience -- I`m just trying -- because you`re a professor of TV, so you know these things better than I do. I think it would be a good game show to combine this one, where they say something like that, and then the audience gets a little tally, a little vote themselves, they can push in yes or no, and if the audience -- 60 percent of the audience thinks that you answering that on national television just made you a scumbag, you get, like, a jolt of electricity. You get some, like, electric shock.
Why not go there?
THOMPSON: Oh, I think season two they might do that. How about this? Why don`t we do -- why don`t we do "Moment of Truth: The Presidential Candidates Edition." That would be really...
BECK: Well, I`d like to strap those guys to electric shocks if they don`t tell me the truth on that one.
What I`m asking you is, aren`t we running -- I mean, we`re towards "The Running Man." What`s left?
THOMPSON: Well, you know, I mean, to some extent I think we used to, in a less polite era, we used to have things called freak shows. I think this is kind of the replacement of that.
But reality TV is all over the place. The beginning of the week we`ve got "Moment of Truth," which is this really, granted, kind of sleazy sort of thing but fun to watch, I think. Sunday, we`re going to have Oprah Winfrey, an entire reality TV show, to have an entertainment-based philanthropic initiative to give away money to people who need it.
BECK: Well, that sounds watchable.
Robert, thank you very much.
Coming up, presidential race, already chockfull of personality and drama. But what if it were made into a movie? I`ll tell you who should play each candidate in a movie. Not my choosing. Your choosing -- next.
BECK: Well, Hillary Clinton is upset. And when Hillary is upset, I`m upset.
She seems to be a little annoyed by the fact that she`s being beaten by a man who can say anything about anything and have the media swoon around him like he`s the second coming of the messiah. Although, that`s probably not a good analogy, because if Jesus would come back, I think the media would be treating him like, you know, a bigoted hatemonger. Why is he healing so many white people, Mr. Jesus? There would be commercials on TV, "Call Jesus` office and tell him we don`t want his floating down from the heavens unannounced to implement his racist policies of healing."
Last night, Hillary and Obama debated for I think like the 934,000th time, and Hillary took the time to complain about the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Well, can I just point out that in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time. And I don`t mind. You know, I`ll be happy to field them. But I do find it curious.
And if anybody saw "Saturday Night Live," you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he`s comfortable and needs another pillow. I just find it kind of curious that I keep getting the first question on all of these issues. But I`m happy to answer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I think maybe it is a vast left-wing conspiracy.
You know what, Hillary? I am sorry, but there`s no time ever on planet Earth that I`m going to feel bad for you being a victim of media bias.
I`m a conservative. I`ve been singing that song for a while. Not only did you and your husband got nonstop hugs from the media every time you could possibly justify it, and you`ve admitted to starting some of the most slanderous organizations on the planet.
Honestly, it`s not the media who`s taking Hillary Clinton down. It is the American people, who don`t really find her all that endearing.
In this new society, it seems we`re looking for -- oh, it`s not a president, it`s more of a rock star. And Hillary just doesn`t fit the bill.
It was illustrated in "USA Today" this morning, where the paper reported that a poll was just taken where they asked people, who would be the best to play the candidates in a movie? John McCain, they said Tommy Lee Jones should play him.
OK. It makes sense. I don`t see him making any anti-Iraq war movies. He seems like a good fit -- strong, competent, no nonsense, fatherly sort of action hero.
Barack Obama, it was Denzel Washington. Again, strong, competent, no nonsense. But an action hero that probably is making love to your wife right now.
Hillary Clinton? The polls said best person to play her is Martha Stewart. Fair or not, Martha is seen as a cold, calculating and white collar criminal. In fact, she is the best person to play Hillary Clinton.
From New York, goodnight.