Return to Transcripts main page


Troubled GOP Health Care Rollout; Food as Fuel; Cavett Talks Politics; Cavett Talks Comedy. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 9, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:53] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So conservative leaders breaking the party line on the house health care proposal. Who's to blame for the rollout? Is there any blame to be had?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner," host of the podcast "Examining Politics," and CNN political analyst David Drucker. Is this botched? And, if so, why?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's botched marketing. I don't really think it's a botched piece of legislation in the sense that Republicans for the past year in the House were working on different ideas for health care reform. Everybody was invited to be involved. A lot of people were involved. And they all sort of knew what was coming. I think a lot of them just figured, well, who know if President Trump -- who knows if Donald Trump's actually going to win. Who knows if we're actually going to ever get to do this. And Over the past couple of months, everybody was so busy trying to figure out their new way in this sort of new world order here in Washington that they didn't pay close enough attention.

However, Chris, I will say this, as long as I have been covering Congress, these guys don't know how to sell anything. They get so caught up in process, they get so caught up in how they're going to move things through the House and the Senate and all the different rules and things in relation to that, that they never seem to remember there's an outside game here, and what you want to do is bring people on the outside along so that you have pressure on people on the inside to actually support the thing. And that's where I think they really messed up.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Well, enter President Trump. I mean if there's one thing Donald Trump knows how to do, it's sell. He's highly persuasive. So now comes the work that he has to do of getting all these different factions somehow to coalesce. Should -- I mean we've started to see the process. He called in conservative leaders yesterday to the White House. Should he have been doing this weeks ago, or is this all going a pace?

DRUCKER: Well, look, no, I think -- I think that the White House could have done a better job as well. I think they could have brought people in as this thing was being put to bed over the past couple of weeks, and they could have had conversations with people and said, hey, look, we'd like you to be on board. They should have, in other words, presold it. And I think Donald Trump comes from the world of real estate. He knows what pre-selling's about. And they didn't do a good enough job of that.

However, now we are where we are, and I think this is going to be a test of Trump's leadership and also his ability to persuade in this setting. And the selling something in a government political setting where you're dealing -- the issue isn't just whether or not something should be done, it's how it should be done, and that's what politics is all about. And notice what Republicans have been saying on The Hill. They've been putting this in terms of whether or not Republicans are prepared to keep their promises. What they're trying to do is basically say, this is the bill. Now either you're going to repeal and replace Obamacare the way you said you would or you're not, and that's what the president is trying to use to put pressure on people to do it.

And they're -- look, the president's taken ownership of this. I mean as much as they may be soft peddling that part of it, the president is owning the bill. And now we're going to see if he can deliver.

CUOMO: Well, I don't know, they've taken a hedge position on that, right? Some people are saying, you know, it's Ryancare, don't call it Trumpcare. We're still trying to fix what Obama put there.

[08:35:03] Let me get your read on something else, this statement from Sean Spicer.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no reason that we should -- that we have to think that the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever. The one question dealt with whether or not -- the tweet dealt with wiretaps during the thing. The other is an investigation. They are two separate issues. And there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice.


CUOMO: Now, that is a very confusing statement.

CAMEROTA: Your thoughts, David. No, just kidding.

CUOMO: We got a --

DRUCKER: Why am I supposed to translate that gobbledygook.

CUOMO: Well, we've helped you. We've helped. We actually did Spicer a favor with that edit, by the way, because it make it sound a little bit better than it was. There was a couple more iterations in there. He got a note after he gave the first answer.

CAMEROTA: First he said that, yes, Donald Trump is the subject of a federal investigation.

CUOMO: Right, of an investigation. Then a note came out and he came out with this.

CAMEROTA: Then somebody came out moments later and he was handed a note.

CUOMO: My suggestion is, do you think this might have been the note? Can you come tight on this? Might this explain the answer that he wound up giving afterwards? You think this might have been that note and that might have explained why he seemed to go in seven different directions?

DRUCKER: Well, look, I think this is the -- inevitably what happens when you have a president who doesn't consult with his top aides before he decides to make an issue of something. And if there's anything we know, and this is true, is that Donald Trump, the president, at any time after he sees something on television or just gets something that bothers him, will go to Twitter and start -- start pontificating. That's what he did. H didn't consult with anybody. And then his aides are left to clean up the mess. Then, of course, we beat up on them. How come you can't explain it? You need to explain this, what's really going on. They don't know what's going on. They didn't ask him to do this. This wasn't some grand strategy where they sat in a room and decided how this was going to go. That's the way most presidents have worked in the past. Some people have found it to be overly rehearsed. But this is the downside of being completely free and clear and unrehearsed.

So I'm going to cut Spicer a break here. They don't know what's going on. There's no proof of anything that the president said, but they're left trying to make it sound legitimate and that's a really hard thing to do.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, look, yes, in the past you have meetings, strategy meetings, before the president makes a statement to avoid things like that. But then you also have communications meetings before you send Sean Spicer out. And I'm not sure that that's happening either, which is why he's getting a spontaneous note in the middle where he has to clean up and do these verbal backbends to try to explain what he's trying to say.

DRUCKER: Well, I think part of the problem is the president made a number of accusations that were not proven. And in some -- and on the one hand, I think what the president was trying to do was get us all to talk about the possibility that the Obama administration wasn't on the up and up. And in that regard, he was successful, because we've spent all weekend talking about that.


DRUCKER: But on the other hand, he implicate -- he potentially implicated himself as being the subject of an investigation, which would only happen if a FISA judge found a -- found it credible that a warrant should be granted for him to be monitored or people associated with him to be monitored.

CUOMO: And he set himself out to have the heads of maybe multiple intel agencies come into a now maybe public hearing, if Adam Schiff gets his way, and say that this is not true and who knows what else they'll say. Although this defense of Trump that, you know, he's a New Yorker and you know how they are. Chris Ruddy (ph) said that. That's B.S. You know, the idea that just because you're from New York you're going to say thing that are completely, you know, flying in one direction away from the facts.

CAMEROTA: Well, they --


CAMEROTA: Shoot from the hip. But -- we've got to go. Hold -- hold that thought until -- well, yes, till tomorrow. Thanks, David.

DRUCKER: See you guys.

CUOMO: Hold your insult of me until tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Yes, hold that.

Vice President Mike Pence was asked directly about President Trump's tweets accusing former President Obama of wiretapping him. So how did the vice president respond? We'll play that, next.

CUOMO: He is not from New York.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's right.


[08:43:01] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day.

Number one, "House lawmakers debating the new GOP health care bill into the wee morning hours, and they continue. The House Ways and Means Committee passed their part of the bill, the first step towards an Obamacare repeal.

CUOMO: Vice President Mike Pence ducking a question about whether he believes President Trump's claim that the Obama administration wiretapped the phones at Trump Tower. Remember, the president accused former President Obama of a felony. The House and Senate are examining the allegation.

CAMEROTA: The number of undocumented immigrants caught at the southwest border crossings plummeted last month. Customs and Border Protection data show a 40 percent drop. Supporters of Mr. Trump say that it's proof the president's tough talk and policies are paying off.

CUOMO: The FCC is doing some digging on why At&T customers could not get through to 911 for hours on Wednesday. At this point they say it is unclear what prompted the issue.

CAMEROTA: And a first look at "The Last Jedi. A clip of the upcoming top secret -- it's very too secret -- Star Wars movie screening for Disney shareholders. We don't have any spoilers here, but "The Last Jedi" will be in theaters December 13th.

CUOMO: That right hand. Did you see the right hand?

All right --

CAMEROTA: For more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to for the very latest.

CUOMO: All right, CNN's series chronicling the history of comedy is taking a look at the dark side of the funny business. We're going to speak with the legendary talk show host Dick Cavett. There he is.

CAMEROTA: There he is. He looks funny already.

But first, going gluten free does not mean that you have to give up pasta. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen shows us what's out there besides rice and corn in today's "Food as Fuel."

CUOMO: You mean good tasting pasta.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

[08:44:49] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Compared to traditional enriched wheat pasta, some gluten-free options offer actually more fiber and protein calorie for calorie. This penne is made from red lentils. It has more protein that a serving of turkey or chicken and has almost half your daily value of fiber. This black bean rotini is also high in fiber. One serving will give you 60 percent of your daily value of fiber and 20 percent of your daily value of iron. And this spaghetti is made mostly from chick peas or garbanzo beans. It's also high in fiber, protein and iron. As for downsides, gluten- free pastas do tend to be more expensive than the traditional kind. They're also easy to overcook, so check carefully while cooking.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of comedians are people that are very introverted, very shy, very sensitive to humiliation, a little narcissistic, a little damaged. And so the only way to combat it is to go to the one place where you are stripped bare.

CAMEROTA: So tonight on CNN's "The History of Comedy," comedians open up about their own personal struggles. And here to discuss tonight's episode, former talk show host Dick Cavett.

Dick, great to see you.

DICK CAVETT, FORMER HOST, "THE DICK CAVETT SHOW: Well, you're not so bad yourself.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

CAVETT: Before we begin, quickly --


CAVETT: I know you're not supposed to do this.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

CAVETT: I want to commend this show and you two, Alisyn and Chris, is it?


CUOMO: Yes, I'll take it.

CAMEROTA: Chris. Chris.

[08:50:03] CAVETT: On the tremendous job you're doing in the face of the media being criticized of the delight of the (INAUDIBLE), as a gentleman can call them. And please keep it up despite in the retched media, as we're now taught to say.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for that. We really appreciate it.

CAVETT: Then then I'll sing "When You're Smiling" and we'll move on.

CAMEROTA: Well, you know, we might as well just go there for a second. We'll get to "History of Comedy" in a second. But you've been putting out -- firing out some pretty funny tweets about the political climate that you say we find ourselves in. Let me just read a couple for people.

CAVETT: You've seen my tweets.


CUOMO: Oh, yes.

CAMEROTA: You said, did I dream a protest sign? Avoid crowds. Visit a Trump inauguration.""


CUOMO: You will now be called overrated, by the way, I want you to know that.


Here's another one. "Don't you just assume that they were smart enough to give our impulsive, short-fused leader a slightly wrong nuclear code."

CAVETT: Oh, people wrote in and said, let's hope so. That's a serious thought I have. And people are concerned about this.

CAMEROTA: But you're finding humor. You're mining all of this for humor. CAVETT: Well, there's humor in it. What could be funnier than a man

standing in the rain saying, thank God it's not raining on my inauguration, while his wife's huddling -- being pelted by rain under an umbrella six feet away. Very few comedians have come up with anything that funny.

CUOMO: Darkness in comedy. Just as sometimes, you know, you have that laugh or cry thing.


CUOMO: Sometimes something so tough, you'd better just laugh about it, otherwise it will take you down. That does play a role in comedy. It is not new for people to hear that somebody is depressed or that a comic has a dark side and that that somehow motivates the humor.


CUOMO: How do they go together?

CAVETT: I don't know why it's ironic, isn't it, because comedy means laughter and fun and happiness and the business is riddled with neurosis, depression, antidepressants and suicide. And it's just the gods somehow give with one land -- you can finish the sentence. I've known it and I've seen it. It's so sad. Sitting in a little club when you're starting out and a guy goes out, another comic, and he kills them and he comes off and sits and has a couple of drinks and is depressed and has to go on again and push the (INAUDIBLE) boulder up the hill again and see it roll down.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, I mean we've seen so many of them struggle with substance abuse, obviously, and struggle with a really sort of dark places. And, you know, it's hard not to think about Robin Williams. We have a moment --

CAVETT: It is, yes.

CAMEROTA: Where you -- let's play this moment where he was on your show and then we'll talk about it.



ROBIN WILLIAMS, COMEDIAN: Look, toys all over the set. Can we -- don't be afraid. Come on, Mr. Camera, we're going crazy. Come on. (INAUDBILE). Whoa. Mother gave this so I could write my new book. Buddha, no, an ode to Fred Silverman. Take two, let's go. Let's start from the beginning again. Auto, props, let's go.


CAMEROTA: Vintage Robin Williams.

CAVETT: Rob -- there's a hilarious segment on those shows. By the way, they're on YouTube somebody told me where we add-lib (INAUDIBLE). You can't do that off camera for -- when you're -- he's -- Robin would go mad in front of you and yet be controlled, always. And he would just kill you. And then he would be sad afterwards and say, I don't know what it's all for and it was sad to see. I've seen him go out -- I saw him come off once in a club in the village and they're still applauding and they're saying, take another bow. And he was saying, why can't I make myself that happy.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. So sad.

CAVETT: Sad to see.

CUOMO: Is it timeless --

CAMEROTA: So tragic.

CUOMO: What we see in the cycle of great comics as they come and go? Do things change over time? Is funny something that winds up being manipulated by its era?

CAVETT: I don't know what happens as time goes by, but so many comics do end up miserable. There's a prominent one now who's really going bonkers.

CAMEROTA: Who's that?

CAVETT: He thinks that the -- that Obama is bugging his phone.

CUOMO: He keeps going back there.

CAVETT: But -- but seriously, folks.

CAMEROTA: This great man, I know.

CAVETT: You know, I've almost come up with an adage, if that's what this is, that comedy is the refuge of the unloved child. I've seen so many cases of it.


CAVETT: I can make an audience laugh. I can get rich. But my folks still don't give a damn about me is the case that --

CAMEROTA: It's so heartbreaking, I mean, because, you know --


CAMEROTA: Obviously they entertain all of us. We love them. I mean I still miss Chris Farley from "Saturday Night Live."


CAMEROTA: And, you know, we just -- they seem so funny-loving and then they often have substance abuse and drug problems and dark side.

CAVETT: And people -- you're right, and people would say it would convulse laughing and fall to the fall to the floor watching the -- the great Jonathan Winters, one of the greatest comic gifts of all time. What a mental price he paid with depression, booze and sadness. And it's as if the gods in the old Greek sense, the gods envy those who climb too high and smite them low. Am I being too dramatic for you?

[08:55:20] CAMEROTA: Not at all. On that note, we've leave it there. Dick Cavett, thanks so much. We love having you on.

CAVETT: Oh, I've got a lot more.

CAMEROTA: OK. All right, you know what --

CUOMO: You already used the word smite, you're over our intellectual, you know, component for the show.

CAVETT: Would smitten be better?


CUOMO: Smitten is good.


CUOMO: And that's how most people feel when they're next to Alisyn.


CUOMO: Boom, I win again.

All right, make sure to tune in for the spark of madness part of CNN's "The History of Comedy." That's tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

CAMEROTA: All right, "The Good Stuff," that's next. Stick around for "The Good Stuff."

CUOMO: He's the good stuff.

CAVETT: Oh, the good stuff.

CAMEROTA: Yes, coming up.



CUOMO: "Good Stuff" starts with a life or death scare. Orlando teacher Susan Gentry gets hit by an oncoming truck --

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: After pushing her daughter out of the way, mother's love.

CAMEROTA: It's going to get to the good stuff in a minute.

CUOMO: But she gets lucky. Four high school football players were nearby, also members of the weightlifting club. CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: The four of them, along with her husband, lift a 7,000-pound truck off her --


CUOMO: High enough -- the tire was on her chest.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: They lifted it high enough to get her out.

CAMEROTA: Come on.

CUOMO: The boys, of course, down playing heroism.

CAVETT: Watch "The History of Comedy."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right place at the right time. You know, there's a reason everything happens. You know, it feels like a God moment, you know what I mean?


CUOMO: Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Susan is home. She's healing. Her kid's OK. And the boy is wrong, they weren't just in the right place at the right time, they did the right thing.

[09:00:08] CAVETT: That's a nice story.

CAMEROTA: But they also had super human strength.


CAMEROTA: Thanks for sticking around, Dick.