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Rick's List

President Obama Makes Hard Push For Health Care Reform; 'Dating Game' Serial Killer?; Interview With Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt

Aired March 10, 2010 - 16:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We have just gotten some tape in of Representative Patrick Kennedy going ballistic on the House floor. And his target is the media. We're going to let this -- we're going to let you hear this for yourself.

And, before we do that, here's a list of what else is coming up on this show.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Here's what's making the LIST.

President Obama taking back the bully pulpit, this time in Saint Louis.

Meanwhile, those who want health care reform are rallying for it again. Is this part of a new Democratic strategy?

The lists you need to know about. Who's today's most intriguing? Who's making news on Twitter? It's why I keep a list, pioneering tomorrow's cutting-edge news right now.


SANCHEZ: OK, first on our LIST -- an emotional moment just a short time ago on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: Congressman Patrick Kennedy saying we, the news media, have the wrong priorities on what gets our attention.

Now, listen to what he says as he's trying to discuss what is a resolution -- resolution, right? Yes, a resolution on Afghanistan. Here it is.


REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: Anybody who wants to know where cynicism is, cynicism is that there's one, two press people in this gallery!

We're talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV. We're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives. And no press? No press. You want to know why the American public is fit? They're fit because they're not seeing the Congress do the work that they're sent to do. It is because the press -- the press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that's the laying of lives down in the nation for the service of our country. It is despicable, the national press corps, right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman's time.


SANCHEZ: Wow. Kennedy, the Democrat from Rhode Island, is retiring from the House after his term. He makes it clear there in that very angry reaction he thinks the media's coverage of politics is part of what is broken in Washington.

We should point out that, because House floor debates are televised, few reporters actually sit in the chamber where he was pointing to. Most monitor the debates now on television and at their desks outside the chairman -- the chambers to write about them.

Nonetheless, his point is what it is. We're going to bring in Candy Crowley in just a moment and talk about that, and we're going to continue to get reaction on the outburst.

Candy Crowley's standing by now to bring us up to date on what's going on. In fact, she -- do we have Candy yet? All right, we got Candy.

Candy --


SANCHEZ: -- good to see you.

I'm kind of taken aback by that. I -- I know his father was known to give fiery speeches.


CROWLEY: It's funny you should mention that --


CROWLEY: -- because it is -- he just reminded me so much of his father in that moment, particularly because he -- obviously, because he brought so much passion to it.

And, listen, I don't think anyone is arguing that the war in Afghanistan and whether to continue funding, and what they need, and -- and whether the strategy is right is more important or less important than the -- the Massa story. I think it is one that -- what he is arguing is that it is one of perspective, and -- and obviously believes that Massa's been given too much attention, where the war in Afghanistan is not.

You know, we could argue one way or the other, but it is very clear that he -- the Democrats in particular, and certainly Congressman Kennedy in specific, would like the Massa story to go away.

SANCHEZ: It's interesting, though, that he makes a good point, in many ways, because let's go ahead and be self-analytical here. The media does chase its own tail an awful lot when it comes -- I mean, we probably are the least of it, because we do have certain standards here.

And, you know, look, we -- I'm -- I'm not putting us on any pedestal, but there is the media, and then there's the media, everything reaching all the way down into the blogosphere, where people are sitting in their -- in their basements writing about whatever it is that they feel like writing about anybody they want to writing about.

But the fact that we have grown so much and that there is such a competition for ears and eyes does at times stretch the credulity of our own business, doesn't it, and the things that we do?

CROWLEY: Well, I think, also -- I mean, there's also a discussion here about the pure definition of news. Is it the latest thing to have happened? As we know, the war in Afghanistan has been going on for some time. Does it deserve attention? You bet it does --

SANCHEZ: Of course.

CROWLEY: -- because lives are being lost in Afghanistan, American lives, Afghan lives, Pakistani lives, in that whole region. So, of course it does.

And I would argue that the news media has covered it and does continue to cover it. The Massa story broke last week. It has gotten more and more peculiar as we have gone on.


CROWLEY: The -- the -- it is, in itself, an interesting story, because it's just sort of a train wreck. Plus, the Democrats are losing another vote.

Now, they're losing a no-vote, apparently, but -- but, nonetheless, it is a story that I don't think has, as we call it, legs beyond next week --


CROWLEY: -- unless something else comes out. So -- so, you're -- you're always -- as you know, news decisions are always about, you know, what's new, what are people interested in, and what do people need to know?

And it's finding that balance. And not everyone is very happy with the balance sometimes.


CROWLEY: And, clearly, he is not.

SANCHEZ: And predictability sometimes comes in to play as well. When the story is the same day in and day out, it is hard to tell it day in and day out and have an audience for it.

But let's -- let's switch the subject. The president of the United States is in Saint Louis, Missouri. He's about -- it looks to me like this president is trying to take back the bully pulpit.

Here's a shot of him getting off of Marine one. There's Claire McCaskill coming in behind him, which is what some would argue is the real reason he's there: votes.

But this is a president that didn't do so well, Candy, when he was trying to orchestrate and legislate and figure things out, and I'm going to do this deal and that deal.

When he gets out in the American public, and he starts selling his program, he becomes harder for the Republicans to battle, doesn't he?

CROWLEY: Well, he does. And he's -- he's -- there is no match for him currently on the political scene in terms of the powers of persuasion.

And this is where the Democrats want the president to be, is just keeping the heat on. They need him out there. And -- and, clearly, there's been a change in tone from the summit, where it was, OK, here's our bipartisan best.

Now, as we saw most recently, he is going to hammer Republicans. He may again today. And so there -- there is a clear change in tone here, as the Democrats head toward what they hope is the finish line. Now, we have had many times we thought we saw the finish line, and didn't.

But they, the Democrats, really feel that the president can serve them best, now that the legislation is down to the nitty-gritty, and talk about reconciliation and who goes first, and what happens next, that the president doesn't need to be involved in that, but he does need to be involved in bringing around the American public, which, by the way, they don't expect that he will be able to do much between now and the time this package passes or does not pass.

But keeping the heat on those Democrats -- this is no longer about Republicans -- keeping the heat on Democrats is very important.

SANCHEZ: It almost seems, though, that, in many ways -- and I think back to my point -- is that many of his opponents were better at relaying their message to the American people than the White House was, certainly in the last month or two, when it comes to this debate.

But let me tell you something he's doing today. And I want to get your take on this. This is different. He's going to go out and say that the federal government is wasting billions of taxpayers' money. He specifically says, $98 billion that is paid to the wrong person, to the wrong persons, or for the wrong reason, this is all part of mistakes and Medicare fraud and Medicaid fraud that he's going to do away with by sending auditors out and compensating them only by how many mistakes they find and how much money they get back for the American people.

It's hard to argue with an idea like that. The interesting thing is, it's not his idea. As I recall, that was Tom Coburn's idea, when they had that meeting. Here's the president giving a rally today talking about something that it was suggested to him by a Republican.

CROWLEY: Yes, it's -- it's a Republican idea, and it is part of the Democrat's argument. It first started at the White House with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. We have heard Nancy Pelosi put this argument forth, that you can have a bipartisan bill without having a single Republican vote.

So, it is sort of twofold here. Who votes in midterm elections in large numbers? Seniors vote in large numbers. And we see the youth vote generally goes down in midterms. And one of the things that has been a very potent argument for Republicans has been this notion that he's going to make Medicare cuts, that they -- that seniors will not get as much.

This is clear pushback. And it is using a Republican idea to say, we try to be bipartisan, for instance, here's a Republican idea, and also says, and we're not going after your benefits; we're going after people who are cheating the system.

So, it is kind of a dual message.

SANCHEZ: Candy Crowley, you're the best. Thanks so much for joining us.

And, yes, I was surprised by that Kennedy moment there.


SANCHEZ: But we will -- I hadn't seen it. I was just told in my ear, throw to this --

CROWLEY: Yes, I hadn't either.

SANCHEZ: -- and then bring Candy Crowley in.


SANCHEZ: So, hopefully, we will get a chance to share more insight on that as well.

Thanks, Candy. Appreciate it.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: All right, take a look at this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there.


SANCHEZ: Chief Justice John Roberts reveals how he has very thin skin when it comes to the president of the United States at State of the Unions.

And then bachelor number one from "The Dating Game" a convicted serial killer. What?

And the president, of course, is going to be speaking any moment now. He's going to reveal his plan to cut Medicare fraud, the one that I just started to take you through. We are counting down to it. It should be coming your way in about 25 minutes or so. Stay right there. The first pictures come in, we will share them.

Stay. We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Making the eternal list for awkward moments, this one during the State of the Union address -- the president of the United States calling out the U.S. Supreme Court, and a justice in the chamber visibly saying that the president was wrong.

Now Chief Justice John Roberts is speaking out about that moment, calling it very troubling.

First, let's take you back. This is what the president said, with the robes just a few feet away, about their ruling on campaign finance reform.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.



SANCHEZ: Now, do you remember this moment? That's Justice Samuel Alito, a more conservative member of the court, watching the president, and he shook his head and mouthed the words, "Not true."

There was a lot of talk about separation of powers in the wake of that moment. Roberts was at the University of Alabama Law School yesterday, where he criticized what the president did and, more importantly, where he did it.


ROBERTS: There is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum.

The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court, according the requirements of protocol, has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling. And it does cause me to think whether or not it makes sense for us to be there. This -- to the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there.


SANCHEZ: Meanwhile, Justice Antonin Scalia says he already skips the speech, because the Supreme Court is reduced to "bumps on a log" -- stop quote -- in a partisan atmosphere.

"The Dating Game," we all watched it. We can all probably hum the music. This was a contestant who almost had a date with a serial killer. This guy turned out to be a serial killer. He is now tied to murders of four women and a girl. Why risk appearing on one of TV's most popular game shows? That's part of the story, folks.

All right, let me show you a live picture now. This is what's going on with the president of the United States, due to arrive in Saint Louis any moment now for this big campaign reform -- or -- pardon me -- it is not a campaign --


SANCHEZ: -- although many are saying it certainly sounds like one.

It is, of course, a health care reform rally that he's having there with Claire McCaskill.

And the opponent of the president from Missouri is Roy Blunt. And there he is now, good enough to join us in just a little bit. I'm going to been taking you through it.

And we will be right back.


SANCHEZ: We have got a couple of live pictures I'm going to show you, first of all, the runway where the president -- where Air Force One is about to land. There it is. They're awaiting the president.

And they're also awaiting the president on that shot just on the bottom right of your screen -- yes, the bottom right of your screen. That is Saint Charles High School in Missouri. And they're getting excited. The president of the United States is about to arrive in town. The president's got a message for the folks there.

And one of the fellows who does not agree with the president of the United States is Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri. He, interestingly enough, is running as a Republican candidate for the Senate in Missouri, and has been a leading voice against health care and a leading voice on trying to get the GOP's version of health care out there of late.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Hey, Rick, it is good to be with you. And I'm glad you mentioned that second part, because there are lots of things that could be done to improve the health care system.

A few of them may even be in this monstrosity of a spending bill that the president's talking about. But the Missourians --

SANCHEZ: Yes, here's one. Here -- here --


BLUNT: -- the Missourians he's going to see today are not for this.

SANCHEZ: Here's one. Here's one. Look. The president of the United States says, every year, $98 billion is lost because of money that is given to the wrong people or given for the wrong reason. He says Medicare and Medicaid fraud is through the roof, and he's going to assign auditors, compensated based on the amount of improper payments they identify and that are reclaimed for the American taxpayers.

That's a Republican idea. That's Senator Coburn's idea that the president's going to be talking about in your home state today. What do you think of that?

BLUNT: Well, and even if that -- if that is a good idea, you ought to use that money to save Medicare and help Medicaid.

It's not like these programs we have already committed to are in such good shape that we don't need to worry about them. Everybody knows that Medicare, particularly, gets in big trouble as early as 2017. Any -- only the federal government would say we're going to take $500 billion from Medicare to start a new government program, as opposed to we're going to find savings in Medicare to save Medicare.

This is a no-brainer anywhere else in America. Only in Washington would that even be a reasonable thing to talk about.

SANCHEZ: But -- but it -- but isn't it also a no-brainer, though, sir, that, if you have the WHO saying you're 37th in the world in health care, if you have 47 million Americans, arguably -- I know that number goes here and there -- all numbers can be played with -- but if you have 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance, if you have health insurance costs and premiums going through the roof, and you've got small businesses are saying, I can't afford to insure my people anymore, so I got to close my doors, you got a problem, right?

We -- we have got to do something.

BLUNT: But, Rick, you have got a bigger problem if you try to solve this one by spending $200 billion a year.

If this was a great plan, which it's not, we couldn't do it and shouldn't do it because it costs way too much. There are lots of things you can do in health care to solve those problems that wouldn't involve taxpayer dollars. And where you did spend taxpayer dollars, you could save that many more dollars by doing things like medical liability reform, small business or association health plans, buying across state lines, leaving kids on their -- their family policy longer than we do now, as -- as they're -- as they're young adults.

There are lots of things you can do. But the -- the number-one reason not to do this is, it costs way too much. They're going to raise $1 trillion between Medicare cuts and tax increases over a decade. Then they're going to spend all that money in about five years.

It's a -- it's not a good plan, but it costs too much even if it was. The American people know that. That's why two-thirds of them are opposed to it.

SANCHEZ: But -- and, you know --


BLUNT: They're not opposed -- they're not opposed to it because they don't understand it well enough. They're opposed to it because they do understand that this is not the kind of health care reform they want.

SANCHEZ: But I just heard you say there are things we can do to bring down costs.

BLUNT: Sure. Right.

SANCHEZ: I just heard you say that.

BLUNT: Right.

SANCHEZ: Republicans had been in power for a long time, sir. Why didn't they ever do any of this stuff?

BLUNT: Well --

SANCHEZ: I mean, why are all their good ideas coming out now?

BLUNT: Well, of course, that's just wrong. We did a lot of these things, particularly in the House.


BLUNT: In the House, well, we did -- we did Medicare modernization with the Welcome to Medicare physical, health savings accounts, trying to make the program we had committed to work better. (LAUGHTER)

BLUNT: But we sent seven times in 10 years -- now, listen, if you're going to ask the question.

SANCHEZ: All right. All right.

BLUNT: Seven times in 10 years, we sent medical liability reform to the Senate, never got to the Senate floor once. A half-a-dozen times, we sent associated health plans.

Those two things put together would have made a huge difference in the system, and we sent them over and over again. Only this year did the national media discover that it took 60 senators, apparently, to have any responsibility to do anything.

We sent these over -- time and time again. I have talked about health care for years. We improved Medicare in significant ways. We created health savings accounts. We improved the -- the whole idea of high-risk pools. And that's an idea that we ought to be expanding and using it more, so that people who do have preexisting conditions can get -- can have access to coverage.

SANCHEZ: Well --

BLUNT: Access to coverage is the real question here. And the Republican alternative on the House floor was the only bill anybody offered that the Congressional Budget Office said would have reduced coverage costs for every single American that was going to buy insurance, individual purchases --


BLUNT: -- big -- big group, medium-size group, or small group.

SANCHEZ: We -- you know -- you know -- you probably know, because I'm sure you have watched from time to time, we do a very social-media-oriented show here.

BLUNT: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

SANCHEZ: So, we have lists, and we have people who we engage. And we -- when we told them that you were going to be on, we asked all kinds of folks to send in questions.

BLUNT: Sure.

SANCHEZ: Now, the Democratic Party of Missouri tweeted us this. And we wanted you to give -- we wanted you to get a chance to respond to it, because, you know, they're tweeting this out to our followers. And there's 100,000 people there.

BLUNT: Mm-hmm.

SANCHEZ: "Wednesday's to-do list for Roy Blunt," they say, "take insurance lobbyist money after bashing insurance reform in D.C." I mean, this is something you hear all the time, obviously, that, you know -- I looked you up. I did a little bit of my homework.

BLUNT: Right.

SANCHEZ: And I looked to see how much money you take from the -- you took, according to, health professionals, $104,000, and from the pharmaceuticals $71,000.

Frankly, compared to other folks, that's really not that much.

BLUNT: Not that much.


BLUNT: The pharmaceutical companies, by the way, spent $100 million last summer to try to get the president's bill passed.

So, you know, this -- this idea that -- that there's one side -- that our side's defending the status quo is just not true. The -- it was the insurance companies that didn't want associated health plans that I voted for six times.

It was the trial lawyers, clearly, that didn't want medical liability reform that I voted for and we sent to the Senate seven times.

SANCHEZ: Uh-huh.

BLUNT: So, I -- I think it just doesn't -- doesn't stand up.

We're working as Republicans in Congress. And a lot of Democrats are on our side. Remember, the no-votes on the health care bill, that was the bipartisan vote. One Republican voted yes. Thirty-nine Democrats voted no, and several Democrats voted for the alternative that we brought to the floor.

SANCHEZ: Congressman Roy Blunt, my thanks to you, sir, for taking --

BLUNT: Good to be with you.

SANCHEZ: -- for taking time to take us through this.

We are now about 15 minutes or so, maybe a little bit more, from hearing the other side of this equation, which will be the president's response to -- to Congressman Roy Blunt.

And there is the president's venue anyway. That's the high school where he's going to be speaking in just a little bit. Those are -- oh, pardon me for leaning into the camera. I couldn't see. Getting old. Those are live pictures from the school. That's the podium where the president's going to be speaking.

I think we also got a shot -- has the plane arrived yet? Have you got a -- Rog, have you got a shot of the runway? Oh, there it is, Air Force One, on the ground, wheels down, as they say.

So, I will tell you what. Let's just go to break out of this. Let's start doing the setup for the president's arrival and his speech, to counter what Mr. Blunt had just said, or Congressman Blunt.

And we will be right back.


SANCHEZ: By the way, just to be fair, Robin Carnahan is running against Congressman Roy Blunt for that Senate race that's being vacated by Kit Bond.

And we are extending an invitation to her to come and speak today as well. Interestingly enough, she's not there in Saint Louis today, when her president is speaking, which is something which is making headlines as well.

Speaking of her president, and our president, he is in Saint Louis, Missouri. There's Air Force One, wheels down. There's the auditorium at the high school where he's going to be going to. And you are going to see that live, as soon as the president starts to speak, in the next 10 or 15 minutes, once they get him from that plane over to the auditorium, which, when you have a motorcade and a limo, it is faster than you think, folks.

Meanwhile, let's go to the very top of our creepy list today. That's right, the creepy list. Did you ever watch "The Dating Game"? Remember the 1970s? Remember the music? Featured a little sexual innuendo from time to time, a lot of good-looking girls, and guys who acted like lady killers? Except, there's one who actually was a lady killer.

Our correspondent here is Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back in 1978, "The Dating Game" was a popular TV show. And in his only appearance, the 35-year-old photographer was a hit.

JIM LANGE, GAME SHOW HOST: Please welcome Rodney Alcala. Rod, welcome.

FOREMAN: He was, in game show fashion, charming, funny, and suggestive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your best time?

ALCALA: The best time is at night, nighttime.

FOREMAN: Flash forward. This is Rodney Alcala now, convicted of murdering four women and a 12-year-old girl in separate incidents around Los Angeles around the time of that show, when he acted like just another guy.

ALCALA: We're going to have a great time together, Cheryl.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Serial killers are tremendous actors.

FOREMAN: Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, watches that show and sees nothing unusual because, she says, that's what he wanted.

BROWN: Serial killers are predators and, yes, they act like an animal that is trying to get his prey, and the rest of the time is trying to blend in, so we don't notice him.

FOREMAN: At least one person noticed something. Bachelor number two, Jed Mills, still recalls how Alcala seemed dark, slimy, and obnoxious, treating others like objects, until he wanted something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm called the banana and I look really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you be a little more descriptive?


FOREMAN: Investigators have long pursued Alcala even before he appeared on the "Dating Game." He had been convicted of kidnapping and raping a young girl. He was convicted twice in the killing of Robin Samso, that 12-year-old on her way to ballet class. Twice the case went to retrial before finally this latest conviction for her and four other murders.

(on-camera): And over the years, investigators have raised many questions about possible connections between Alcala and other murders. But time and again they have not come up with enough to charge him.

(voice-over): At the end of that game show, Alcala even won the girl. Published reports, however, say they never went on that date. And perhaps that's just as well. Tom Foreman, CNN.


SANCHEZ: Wow, what a story. Tom Foreman telling it for us.

Let's get a shot of the president's plane. It's just arrived there in St. Louis. The doors are going to swing open any moment now. Here come some of the escorts. The president will be coming down from Air Force One and getting ready to speak there in Missouri. The president's going to be making statements about obviously the health care plan. There's the door. Can we stay with this? What do you think? Let's stay with this. All right. This is one of those official telephone moments where you pay respect to the office, really, of the president of the United States, when he arrives at a certain venue, in this case, in St. Louis. There's that big, beautiful Air Force One. There comes some of the local officials and security folks to see the president. There's the arrival now of his limousine. The president arriving -- you saw him leaving Marine One earlier today in Washington and from Marine One he got on Air Force One. Then they flew in.

The person who was with him, I don't know if you caught that as you saw was Claire McCaskill who is really one of those people who has been on board with the president before just about anybody else was. When a lot of folks in the United States, including folk in the Senate and Congress are going, Barack who? She was saying that she was putting all of her support behind him and has stayed very loyal to the president ever since. That's why the president has returned the favor in many ways and returned back to St. Louis. Now recall that St. Louis was the place where the president had one of his largest campaign stops when he was candidate Obama. There's that famous picture of the St. Louis arch and through it you see hundreds of thousands of people there on the mall waiting for the president to speak. So this is a return, if you will, for the president of the United States, this picture coming in by the way from KSDK. We appreciate that.

Let me just tell you what's important about what the president's doing. You heard this conversation I had with Roy Blunt (ph) a little while ago. Obviously the president is going to continue to put heat on the health care insurance companies and say that too many of them have raised their rates of late and that's what he did in Philadelphia recently. But today he's doing something else. He's going to be saying, co-opting, if you will, a plan that was presented by a Republican, Tom Coburn, when the president met with Republicans at that meeting where they swapped ideas and swapped stories. The idea is -- and this is what we received from the White House today -- what the White House is telling us is, billions and billions of dollars are being wasted by American taxpayers. Imagine this, this is a big nut, folks, $98 billion is just lost, thrown away, every year in the United States, according to the White House, because of improper accounting, improper payments, payments that are made to the wrong people, payments that are made to the wrong organizations, payments that are made to the wrong contractors or for the wrong reasons. And somehow nobody's out there finding this money and getting it back, $98 billion of your money. So all -- much of it coming from Medicare and Medicaid.

So what the president's going to be announcing at this meeting is that he's going to assign auditors that are only going to be compensated based on the amount of improper payments that they're able to identify and reclaim for the American taxpayer. That's an interesting proposal, providing a powerful incentive for those folks to find it and the pilot program, run by Medicare, in three large states -- California, New York and Texas, from 2005 to 2008 has already found $900 million for taxpayers.

All right, we're waiting and waiting and he hasn't shown up. We'll tape it for you. Let's take a break. We'll come right back with the president of the United States arrival in St. Louis, Missouri -- oh, wait. Is that him? There he is. Let's stand by. Didn't you know that was -- Brooke? I mean it's Murphy's law.


SANCHEZ: There's Claire McCaskill and there's the president of the United States arriving in St. Louis. We'll just watch him go to the bottom of the stairs. Then they'll be getting on to the limo, the motorcade, heading over to the auditorium. Now, Angie Massey, let's do that break. Hey? I told you.


SANCHEZ: This is one of those generational stories. This fellow was a hit in the 1970s and 1980s, known for movies "Lucas" and "The Lost Boys." He was 38 years old, Corey Haim has passed away. (INAUDIBLE) a good way, but I guess there are different versions of death, this is kind of sad to hear how he went. But here you are to take us through this.

BALDWIN: This story has totally blown up Twitter today. As you say, I get to use this on you today, when you grew up in my generation, Rick Sanchez, you know exactly who Corey Haim is. Here's what we know as far as a time line going back to last night. Apparently, according to his agent who spoke today, 38-year-old Haim was with his mother last night, said he what's feeling well, kind of had a low-grade fever, trouble breathing and then just collapsed right around midnight. What happened next, I want to pass it off to the LA County assistant coroner.


ASST. CHIEF ED WINTER, LOS ANGELES CO. CORONER: Corey woke up around 1:30 this morning, became a little dizzy. He kind of went to his knees in the bedroom. His mom assisted him into bed. He became unresponsive. That was around 1:30. She called paramedics. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced at 2:15. We found no illicit drugs. However, we did recover four of his prescription meds at the location. It's currently under investigation. We don't have a cause. There will be an autopsy performed and there will be pending the results along with toxicology.


SANCHEZ: So is this a possible overdose but not from illicit drugs, from --

BALDWIN: We don't know definitively. You just heard him, we got to wait for those toxicology reports. LA police are saying that Haim's death appears to be accidental but it may be due to an overdose. What kind, we don't know yet, got to wait for the tests. But the agent again today said Corey was under the care of a doctor. And I've never heard this word before, but an addictionologist, precisely what you think it would be. His agent says, Corey though was clean. In fact, he had struggled with drug abuse through the years but was staging a comeback.

SANCHEZ: I just heard the coroner say they found drugs.

BALDWIN: Prescription drugs. We don't know if that was because of perhaps if he was sick, if he had this low-grade fever. I had read that his mother had given him some over-the-counter meds. I don't know if it was prescription drugs for that or for another reason.

SANCHEZ: Corey Feldman, who was the other Corey in the 1970s, he's going to be on Larry King tonight.

BALDWIN: Nineteen Eighties. 1980s. Yes, he'll be on Larry King tonight. And basically was like a brother. In fact he spoke out today through his publicist saying this is a tragic lost of a wonderful, beautiful tormented soul. Just to remind you, in case you don't know who Corey Haim is, best known for movies "The Lost Boys," "Dream Little Dream" and "License to Drive."

SANCHEZ: We've been getting like you said so many tweets.

BALDWIN: A lot of tweets on this. Here's a quick clip from "License to Drive." Let's shut up for a minute. So classic movies.

SANCHEZ: Look at Ashton Kutcher. He just sent this tweet.

BALDWIN: Let's take a look at the quick tweet board here Ashton Kutcher writing in, lots of celebrities. RIP Corey Haim, childhood hero, also another one from Christina Applegate.

SANCHEZ: Alicia Malano (ph).

BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) my thoughts go out to Corey's family and friends, so so sad.

SANCHEZ: He obviously -- (INAUDIBLE)

BALDWIN: He was a childhood star. He was just 38.

SANCHEZ: How sad.

BALDWIN: Sad, sad.

SANCHEZ: Good for the information. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. Thanks for visiting. Stick around. Let's watch the president's arrival. Can you?


SANCHEZ: OK, president of the United States about to arrive right there in that auditorium you're looking at. That's at a high school in St. Louis, Missouri. The president is going to be talking health care. He's unveiling a new plan to cut fraud in Medicaid and Medicare and we are going to let you see it as it happens. Stay right there.


SANCHEZ: Let's take you to the top story on the list today, tops in politics, tops in news. The president of the United States on the road again, like he was the other day in Philly. He's talking about campaign health care reform and he's got some new ideas. Let's show you some of the video that we've been picking up from St. Charles, Missouri. That's the school gymnasium where the president's going to be addressing the audience in just a little bit. We also had a shot of Air Force One when the president arrived just a little while ago. We've got Dan Lothian who's standing by, as well as Wolf Blitzer who is going to take us to this. You know what's interesting guys, hey, Robert, get a shot of this one tweet here. I kept talking about how the fact that the president's incorporating Tom Coburn's idea about using a way of cutting fraud in and Medicare and Medicaid, this tweet says, the sad part is that now that the president is pushing something Mr. Coburn suggested, he, Mr. Coburn, will probably be against it. You know, our viewers, I've got to apologize from time to time for them. I don't understand, Dan, why they're jumping the gun like that. But I suppose it's not that unfair, huh? There has kind of been a pattern of that. Hasn't there?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that does -- in fact, that's what Robert Gibbs will always point out, that Republicans will come out with an idea, the administration will look at it and said, hey, that's a great idea, we'd like to do it, then Republicans will say, well, wait a minute, we no longer support this. That's been the argument from the White House now for quite some time as they've been pushing for health care reform.

SANCHEZ: Yes, nothing but raw politics. Wolf Blitzer, why is this trip for the president of the United States important, specifically in Missouri?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Missouri's one of those key battleground states that every presidential candidate wants to cover -- wants to win. It is a bellwether the way Missouri goes, almost always indicates the way the country as a whole is going to go in a presidential contest. There are a lot of electoral votes, a lot of importance out in Missouri in the heartland of the country. The president now by his own White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' account has less than two weeks that he wants to see this resolved, that he's going outside of Washington deliberately to make the case for health care reform. This rally that he's about to do is going to try to make that case once again.

SANCHEZ: It is not just that though, Wolf. You know what else he's doing? I mean you and I have talked about this and Dan, I'm sure you're familiar with this as well. The president used to be pushing this as something the United States needed because there was a whole bunch of people out there who were uninsured. And the folks who are insured were saying, well, tough. I got my situation fixed and don't tell me to pick up the tab for everybody else given the economy right now. But now he's spinning that. He's going out and telling people, you got to vote for this because even if you have insurance, yours is going to go up because look at what those folks in the insurance companies are doing. Right? It's kind of a different strategy -- Dan?

LOTHIAN: Well, it has been -- they're focusing more on that part of the strategy. All along when the president has been talking about reform, he has -- part of that has been that your insurance premiums will go up. But yes, we have seen a turn here in the last couple of weeks where the administration has really been beating up on insurance, on the insurance industry. We saw that just outside Pennsylvania earlier in the week. We expect that again here today. You heard Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this morning talking to these executives and saying, listen, you have a choice here, you can either be on board with us to help us get legislation for reform or you can fight us. In the short term you'll make some money. Long term though, employers will drop these policies and you'll end up losing money. Of course the insurance industry's saying this legislation isn't going to lower costs for them.

SANCHEZ: Wolf, before our president comes out, it is a smarter strategy though. Isn't it? It will reach more people, right?

BLITZER: It is very smart to tell all those people who are happy, satisfied with their insurance programs right now, you know what? You still have problems out there down the road because if you get sick, they could potentially cut you off from your insurance and if -- they could just do things to you even if you have insurance and if you get really sick they may not want to pay for some of the procedures the doctors might be recommending that you want. So those are some of the arguments that the president has made and will continue to make.

SANCHEZ: All right, let's sneak a break in. We'll come right back. We expect the president will be announced and you will hear the beginning of his speech there in St. Charles, Missouri, show me state. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Wolf Blitzer, Dan Lothian joining us as we get ready to hear the president's message there in St. Charles, Missouri. Did you hear my conversation Wolf with Roy Blunt just a little while ago? He really held his own, but he's been getting a lot of pushback from the Dems on what the GOP's failed to do over the last 10 years. He says, no, we've been looking at health care for many years and there are some things that we did as a result of our legislation. Is he right?

BLITZER: They did improve the prescription drug benefits for seniors during the Bush administration. That was a significant development. The criticism they've been getting for that as you know is they didn't quote pay for it, in other words they didn't reduce spending in other areas. They increased this entitlement which is certainly helping seniors get the prescription drugs they need, but it is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next many years. So it's two sides of one coin. But it's part of the problem out there. You do something, it's good for a lot of people, but then you got to pay for it. It is going to increase not only the annual budget deficit but the national debt.

SANCHEZ: For those of you just now joining us, here's a shot of the president arriving just a little while ago in St. Louis. This is when Air Force One had touched down and the president was able to come down to his motorcade. That's Claire McCaskill to the president's left. Dan, it is interesting, Claire McCaskill has really been -- I mean the woman behind this candidate/president. Hasn't she? LOTHIAN: She has. You look back to when it was candidate Obama, she was one of his staunchest supporters when a lot of Democrats at the time were behind Senator Clinton, then-Senator Clinton. So the president remembers that. That's one of the reasons he's here, not only raising money for her but other Democrats as well in the state of Missouri. Even though I should point out that she is not up for re-election until 2012. But the president will be here after he makes this event stop here will be then going to a fund-raiser for her later this evening. I should also point out though one of the things that the president will be focusing on -- this is something that the White House has been putting out there -- is the president really will be touting this effort to get private auditors to scour through the system to find fraud and abuse in Medicaid and Medicare and they're believing that with this in place, that they could find about $2 billion over the next three years or so. So that's something we expect the president to be touting at this rally here today.

SANCHEZ: It's amazing. $98 billion they say is improperly paid or wasted. That's a stunning number. Anybody listening or watching this show can hear that number and say, that's my tax money that is essentially going down the drain, because bureaucrats weren't able to manage it properly. Whether you're Republican or Democrat -- what's that?

LOTHIAN: And $54 billion of that amount, according to the White House, is --

SANCHEZ: Medicaid and Medicare.

LOTHIAN: In Medicaid and Medicare. Exactly.

SANCHEZ: You're absolutely right, point well taken. Let's sneak another break in -- no, let's not sneak another break in. Let's take a live picture of the auditorium. We understand that Claire McCaskill has just arrived and the president is walking in as well right behind her. It's interesting that Carnihan (ph) is not showing up for this. You would think that Carnihan being in this fight with Roy Blunt would be showing up. Any guesses as to why this Democratic candidate isn't going to be there on the day this president is speaking to her constituents?

BLITZER: The only thing I can imagine is he doesn't think it's going to help him politically in a state like Missouri. I've not done any serious reporting on it. I've seen all the reports that you suggested, but I don't know the answer, why he couldn't be there today. Maybe he has another legitimate reason why he can't attend an event that the president of the United States comes into Missouri, goes there and speaks. At the beginning of the speech, you're going to hear the president thanking probably several dozen local politicians who have come to attend this rally and he's not going to be there.

SANCHEZ: Wolf Blitzer. You'll be picking things up for us in "The Situation Room." Go ahead Dan. LOTHIAN: I just wanted to point out, I was told that Carnihan is about 800 miles away in Washington. That's the irony of this, at a meeting there, something that was previously scheduled. But you hear a lot of pundits talking about this, why not here when the president is here and what they're concluding is that, listen, this is a time to probably put a little distance between that candidacy and President Obama.


LOTHIAN: That's sort of what you're hearing here.

SANCHEZ: Why? Why put distance between a Democratic candidate and the president of the United States who's a Democrat?

LOTHIAN: Well I think tapping into the mood across the country, a lot of frustration. There are some Democrats hearing from their constituency that they're not happy with what the president is doing with regards to health care reform. That's one of the notions that's being tossed around by a lot of pundits. But, Yes, not in the state today, you would expect someone like that to be here but we are told 800 miles away.

SANCHEZ: This has a lot to do with demographics and regionality, doesn't it? There are places in the country where if you are a candidate you want to be seen embracing this guy. There are places in this country where if you are the Democratic candidate, you want to be as far away as you can when the president comes to town. Not just with this president, but with President Bush that happened as well.

LOTHIAN: That happens all the time. I should point out to the defense of the White house, they'll tell you time and time again, when you say listen, there are poll numbers out there that show that a lot of Americans are skeptical about what the president is doing with regards to health care reform. They'll point out there are still a lot of Americans who are suffering, who have lost there jobs, lost their home, don't have health insurance or have insurance and are concerned about the skyrocketing cost of the premiums and so they are supporting what the president is doing. Certainly it's split country out there.

There are areas where you'll go where they are supporting the president and there are areas you'll go where they don't want him to be here. That's sort of symbolic I guess. When you look around here, we can spin the camera around. Quite a long line of some of them have walked away, demonstrators here on this side of the street where you are looking at right now, they were waving signs that were anti-health care reform, anti-President Obama. And then whipping around the corner, a group of people who were quite supportive of the president. This corner right here can show some of the divisions that you see across the country. I heard some -- is he coming in now?

SANCHEZ: Here's the president arriving now. We'll watch him as he does his usual entrance, shaking hands and jumping over to the microphone and not soon after that I'm sure he'll -- not long after that I'm sure he'll be taking off his coat and rolling up his sleeves as did he recently in Philadelphia. Does this guy like this stuff, Dan? Is he the kind of president who likes getting out there with the people? I remember President George Bush toward the end of his campaign was not a campaigner, didn't like getting out there. He wanted to do the nitty-gritty of the work. Does this guy like this?

LOTHIAN: He loves getting out of Washington. You'll hear him say that time and time again, that people inside Washington are following the sort of minute by minute ball game, if you will and watching poll numbers but you go out to the country and people are facing real issues. So he loves coming out here and meeting face to face.

SANCHEZ: As I said, there goes the coat. Let's listen in. Let's dip in for just a little bit.

OBAMA: It is good to see everybody here today. How's everybody doing? I've got a couple of acknowledgements I want to make. First of all, mayor of St. Charles, Patty York, where's Patty? Thank you, madam mayor. Thanks for the great weather. Yes. We also have the St. Charles school district superintendent Randy Charles is here. I just saw -- there he is back there. It is great to be here.

SANCHEZ: There is something weird about that microphone. It almost sounds like he's got -- he's going up and down. There's the president. We're going to be monitoring this for you obviously. Wolf Blitzer is standing by in "The Situation Room" to take you through all of this and then some. There you go Wolf.