tv Smerconish CNN November 20, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PST
happy birthday, mr. president. for real. i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. like so many of us, president joe biden marked the turn of another year with an annual physical which for him took place yesterday at walter reed hospital. but his had historical significance. remember, biden ran by promising transparency on the health issue. and this was his first physical in office as the oldest first term president in u.s. history. now, we have a report on the results, the first extensive update we've received on his medical health since december 2019. dr. kevin o'connor has been working with biden since vice president. says, quote, president biden
remains a healthy vigor ous 78-year-old male. the president probably breathes sighs of relief because of poll. in the report, biden has experienced coughing and possibly worsen ned by a herni. and the president's ambulatory gait is stiffer and less fluid than it was a year or so ago. and does not say whether or not mr. biden went through cognitive testing which doctors recommend for older adults. the report was a return to the norm before his predecessor.
you may remember when candidate trump was running against hillary clinton in december 2015, his campaign released most unusual doctor's letter from this physician harold bornstein which claims if mr. trump, i can state unequivocally will be the most healthiest individual ever elected. later learned that it was dictated by president trump. who knew. and then the visit to walter reed which instead of gain grisham said was, quote, to begin a routine physical exam was actually for a colonoscopy. biden had a colonoscopy yesterday, temporarily transferring power to kamala harris for 80 minutes. it came to light recently in the tell-all book in which she writes that trump kept it private because he didn't want mike pence to be in power
saidated and did not want to be the butt of a joke. here's a skit on "saturday night live" with multiple bidens at different ages. >> how can you be me, you seem so happy, carefree. what's the word i'm looking for? >> lucid. >> yeah. >> kidding aside, the white house must be hoping, the new physical results halt and reverse a trend reversed by the morning poll. it's an elite concern around the issue of the president's physical and mental capacities. only 40% of voters surveyed agreed with the statement that biden is in good health. while 50% disagree. that represents a massive 29-point swing since that question was asked in october 2020 when voters believe that biden was in good health,
53/34%. when asked if mentally fit for the job, 46% say yes, 48%, say no. and perhaps the most concerning to the administration results among independents. we'd expect trump voters be inclined to find biden lacking and democrats inclined to support him. among independents asked if in good health, 31% say they agree, 54% say they strongly disagree. that's a gam of 23 points. this is not an outlier. a recent harvard/harris poll found voters 47% mentally fit for the job, 58% believe he's too old to be president. for those who find today's conversation to be in poor taste, need i remind you in october of donald trump's
presidency, 27 psychiatrists who had never examined donald trump writing a book warning that his state present a clear and present danger to our individual and well-being. throughout his term, there were many discussions in the media about his unfitness for office as well as countless petitions including one signed in 2019 signed by 350 psychiatrists claimed that his mental health was deteriorating rapidly. the head line on "the wall street journal" this morning puts the political situation in stark terms. it says, as joe biden turns 79, a panic over kamala harris, he's unlikely to run in 2024, and his vp is deeply unpopular. what does yesterday's physical and the polling mean for biden's presidency and the chances that he'll run again in 2024? you might remember in his first news conference, the president
confirmed his plans to run for re-election in 2024. >> have you decided whether you're going to run for re-election in 2024. >> my answer is yes, my plan is to run for re-election. that's my expectation. >> that was a while ago. answer this week's survey question, will joe biden seek re-election in 2024? joining me now is mark caputo, national political reporter and senior writer for politico. he wrote the piece that i have been discussing. mark, thank you for being here. do you think that the decline in biden's numbers that i just referenced is the result of a kcome cumulative or based on on event that has transpired in last year. >> it might be a little bit of both, it reflects the fact when someone is unpopular, people
give negative ratings across the board on everything. there's also that possibility, folks are a little upset, they don't approve of the job that joe biden is doing. therefore on other metrics when asked they're liable to give a negative rating. of course, the opposite could be true, they could be disapproving of his job because they don't think he's up to it. now, when you talk to pollsters and consultants who have sort of studied what happened to joe biden's numbers, you look at approval ratings they basically collapsed with afghanistan. there are those who believe one of the reasons they collapsed with afghanistan is that joe biden up until that point has been racking up relatively easy low-hanging fruit victories in congress. sort of smooth sailing. you know, vaccinations had been increasing the rate of covid infections had been declining. and then you have this big international crisis over america's longest war. and people really started to focus and pay attention to it. when they started to zero in and
pay attention to the president, this theory goes, they didn't necessarily like what they saw. there's a little bit of a correlation possibly in the democratic primary, i covered joe biden's campaign from the start. it's notable that the two states where joe biden did the worst in early on when there was a big competitive democratic primary, for iowa and new hampshire, and those are the two states he spent the most amount of time meeting people individually and doing retail politics. so, the question is this, do people like joe biden less or approve of him less the more he see of him? i don't know. >> so, here's my theory, here's my theory that i will run past you, first of the predicate, where there's so much decline this is an issue that transcends fox news where they love talking about it on a loop. my theory is is you no longer have the daily contrast with donald trump. >> right. >> and so the analysis is solely
on biden. and you're not seeing him on a split screen where you're seeing him saying this guy or that guy? your thoughts? >> yeah, to that point there was something i posted on twitter and my editor john harrison wrote about this prior to the campaign, in 2019, a rival of biden had lamented that he believed biden was going to be the nominee and the choice was going to be between biden and trudge, this is his word, the nice old guy with alzheimer's, against the mean old man with dementia. when you look at the 2020 polling biden was doing relatively well on the metrics of mental fitness and physical fitness. and donald trump wasn't. so biden kind of beat him at that game. and the question now going forward is if you have donald trump run again, is the electorate still going to hold the opinions of donald trump and see him as physically or less
physically fit than joe biden. joe biden among the great things he has is this, compare me to the alterlteralternative, not t mighty. and we're going to have to do more polling to find out what they think. >> mark, thanks for the analysis, people should read it and judge themselves. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> what are your thoughts, tweet me at smerconish or go to my facebook page. what do we have, kathryn? from the world of twitter. really, less than a year on the job, you're talking about this. stan, you're blanking me, right, stan? with the whole predicate i just laid out. massive erosion with acceptance of independence as well as these on these issues and i'm what, supposed to ignore it? no. go to my email@example.com. will joe biden seek the election
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st. john's college in annapolis, found barry weis and my next guest kneel ferguson. among those, larry summers, arthur brooks, dorian abbott, andrew sullivan and jeffrey stone. this week, he posted a statement of purpose on the license substack titled we can't wait for the university to fix those, so we started a new one. and citing nearly a quarter of academics in social sciences or humanities endorsed ousting a college for having a opinion that they disagree with. and ph.d. students threatened for disciplinary actions for their views. 62% said the climate on their campus prevented students from saying what they believe. and nearly 70% of students favor
supporting professors if the professor says something students find offensive. they plan to launch next summer with forbidden courses that according to its founders will tackle, quote, the most provocative that could lead to censorship in universities. they're seeking to raise $250 million. expand to masters programs and eventually undergraduate courses. now, two have withdrawn from the board of advisers, steven pinker, a harvard societyist a guy on my program, and robert zimmer the chancellor said the university made a statement about higher education in general, largely quite critical that diverged very significantly from my own views. neal ferguson joins me now from stanford university and author of 16 books, most recently
"doomed: the politics of catastrophe." he's also the author of bloomberg where he wrote this piece "i'm helping to start a new college because higher ed is broken." doctor, thank you for joining me. at the university of austin, will critical race theory be taught? >> well, it's one of the many things that students should be able to study. i think it's extremely important to emphasize that we're not trying to create an institution that indoctrinates. we're not trying to create an institution that commits to one ideology, per committed to pursuit of truth and we should be able to study from the most conservative thinkers of the last century. i don't see the need to exclude anything before we start. >> why the need? le i cited statistics but i
would rather here your estimation? >> i don't want to exaggerate, in 1980, 42% increase in public institutions. if you asked students and others do, it's clear they're not happy. i think the telling fact is that 62% of students feel they can't speak their minds on campus. now, that can't be healthy. universities should be places where young adults can think freely, speak freely, make mistakes. that's how you learn. i'm afraid i think it's impossible to deny that the atmosphere in most campuses has chilled in recent years. we've had cancellations and all kinds of disciplinary procedures against professors and students who say the wrong thing. anybody who claims this is okay seems to be completely
delusional. we try to create students that raise the game in other institutions. start modestly, start small. we're a startup. and just try to do something which i think just clears the atmosphere. that's the aim. i think it's a modest and reasonable aim, we can't stop founding new colleges. i think there's only three founds in all of the united states this century by american standards is a pretty low rate of innovation, wouldn't you say? >> would you respond to this critique? it's from derrick robinson published in politico. i'll read it for you and for everyone i'll put it on the screen. the university of austin's explicitly stated ideological commitment is to a pluralistic classically liberal freedom of expression. but as system and others have pointed out, the university's project today rests on an
inherently political critique of schools. it can't exist in the current academic landscape. its affiliated thinkers comprise a monoculture in their own right. they're nearly all icons of the same confrontational nonprogressive liberal rational li rationalism. >> it's precisely why we reached out for broad advice including rob zimmer. it's very confusing with spirits running so shy on campuses to do this kind of thing. i don't think anybody can claim that we set out to establish a monoculture. quite the opposite. we seek democrats, liberals and conservatives with issues. and my message is simple, we don't need to agree on
everything. we only need to agree on one thing. that is college can be a great experience. there can be greater freedoms for academics there can be greater freedom for students and it can't be healthy for professors to be run off campus in the way that peter bergosi was harassed in oregon state because he failed to point out that there were bogus scholarships. he was explained. if i didn't see people losing their jobs for speaking their minds, that's not academia as i remember and undergraduate in the 1980s. we can do better. anybody who denies there are problems in higher education is dreaming. there are problems -- ask any undergraduate, ask any professor. the atmosphere on campuses is not healthy. that's why we're doing this. >> okay, a quick final question. i'm limited on time.
i just heard what you said, nikole hannah-jones, the 1619 project, you know the controversy recently at unc. would she be welcome at the university of austin? >> i'd certainly love to bring her and have a debate about whether this country originated in 1619 or 1776 with the declaration of independence. that's the kind of debate we want to have. there are invitations and no disinvitations for her. people have criticized and she has creditize criticized us al social media. >> that is a debate i'd love to watch. dr. niall ferguson thank you for your time. on twitter, higher ed is not broken. you are supporting indoct indoctrination centers.
>> really, dmc? you're using the critique of a monoculture. i think there's a need for it and it would be healthy. that's the kind of campus environment i would love to be a part of. do you remember back in march during president biden's first news conference he said he plans to run for re-election in 2024? >> have you decided whether you're going to run for re-election in 2024? >> the answer is yes. my plan is to run for re-election. that's my expectation. >> go to smerconish.com and answer this week's survey question, will he, will joe biden seek re-election in 2024? up ahead, congressman paul gosar was censured by congress and steve bannon indicted by the doj. and yet both seem thrilled. i think i can tell you why in just a sec. ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar,
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by now, you know that republican congressman paul gosar was censured this week in congress in response to his having shared a 90-second anime clip slashing representative alexandria ocasio-cortez in the back of the neck and swinging two swords at president biden. the cartoon is sophomoric and ap appalling. the house voted with two, liz cheney and adam kinzinger joining to censure gosar. it's a stronger punishment than reprimand.
relative recent examples of censure include in 1983 jerry studs and joe crain were censured for having sex with pages. go sar was the first member censured since rangel. but punishment hardly defines how this was received by go sar or by his colthat he apologized politico. instead in the house proceeding he compared himself to alexander hamilton. >> i voluntarily took the cartoon down not because itself it was a shut but because some thought it was. if i must join alexander hamilton the first person censured by this house, so be it, it is done. >> watching him i haven't seen on the receiving end of punishment so happy since, well,
steve bannon was hauled into court for contempt of congress. and gosar's colleagues seemed unperturbed. they spent time talking about the hypocrisy of democrats who ignored similarly bad behavior. house kevin mccarthy said rules for thee but not for me. he called out specific democrats for their prior acts. guess what, he referred to this comment by congresswoman maxine waters were they encouraged protesters to keep demonstrating. >> we've got to get more active. we've got to get more confrontational. we've got to make sure that they know we mean business. >> mccarthy also discussed how house majority leader steny hoyer and speaker nancy pelosi defended her. hoyer called her passionate. and pelosi likened her remarks
to confrontations during the civil rights movement. mccarthy said more but you get the point. i happen to think mccarthy is right to single out bad behavior across the aisle, but it's hypocrisy for both sides not to apply the same mirror to their own. "the wall street journal" channeled in part, my thinking with an editorial on this entire mess what they said this, this week, the episode revealed that many members of congress now behave as if their job is to become social media influencers or cable tv stars, as opposed to accomplished something. health care and tax policy are so establishment. tweeting a cartoon is a perfect metaphor for today's house of representatives. the journal said that gosar say 62-year-old man who acts like a teenager on tiktok. and they deserves ridicule more than censure which shore reserved for more serious offenses. this reminds me in september two months before "the wall street journal" observation, i spoke at the reagan library in simi
valley, california, which is a greater honor because i came of age in ronald reagan's period. i said this. >> it used to be that the way you get ahead in washington was to get elected and bide your time. establish seniority. get re-elected. get a choice committee assignment and most importantly get something done. today, it's a lot easier. and potentially quicker. you say something provocative, you get on cable television, you become a fundraising magnet in short, you act like a talk show host. it doesn't matter if you're aoc on the left or matt gaetz on the right. why spend time trying to pass some complex legislation when instead you could be a verbal or social media bomb thrower. anybody disagree with that. after the gosar censure i
tweeted removing gosar from a committee assignment is meanings punishment. that would only matter to members who wish to accomplish things. marjorie taylor greene was stripped of her committee assignments a move supported by only 11 republicans. but like i said at the reagan library in september that punishment presumes that making it harder for greene to legislate will have some pripr prescript tiff value. but like gosar, she's not there to that today sadly mean do something incendiary. invoke passion and raise money. speaking of the need for grown-ups and civility in washington, my next guest has always been respected and admired. admiral william mccraven was a
navy s.e.a.l. for 37 years, rising to the commander of all u.s. special operations force which is includes s.e.a.l. team and the raid that killing osama bin laden. he's combined his experience as a s.e.a.l. with the most famous address of importance of making your bed. he's now written a children's book called "make your bed with skipper the seal." admiral, good to see you, i began by making my bed this morning. scout's honor. and you are speaking of character in children. but how do we likewise reach adults? >> thanks, michael. great to be with you. you know, my hope would be that some of these people you were referring to would, frankly, go back to reread the books that their parents read to them when they were children. i'm sure all of these books talked about the golden rule, talked about respect, talked
about being kind to people. and caring for people. their parents were reading not to just to make them better children but to make them better adults. and somewhere along the way they have forgotten those very, very basic lessons. so, i think they need to go back and get a little more child-like first before they grow up into the individuals that are trying to govern the country for us. >> you know what worries me, admiral, the most are individuals who would-be admiral mcravens. maybe it's on a school board or congressional level. perhaps they themselves are contemplating a career in public service but it becomes so nasty that they just say, it's not worth it, i'm going to stay out of the fray. what would skipper the seal say in that context? >> i think skipper would reinforce the values that our parents, our coaches, our teachers taught us when we were young. let me offer something else,
michael, i have been around some of the toughest men in the world. there is this belief in order to be tough, we have to be mean-spirited or beat little people and be disrespectful. the tough men and women that i grew up in my s.e.a.l. team were anything but. they were respectful. they understood the value of honesty, integrity and character. so this belief that somehow in order to be tough in congress or tough on the school boards or tough anywhere, we've got to be again, mean-spirited or disrespectful i think is a false narrative. and we need to try to change that. >> admiral, i read all the 2020 books, all the post-trump books that came out, i haven't seen you, edward deuvers book, battle for the soul. i will put on the screen something that he reported because i wanted to ask you about this and whether you're
aware of it. he's talking about president obama. obama started the latest round of his favorite game. who do you want to be the democratic nominee? this time he had a new form at: who do you want in your head? who do you want in your heart? who could win?" obama's head choice was bill mcraven, the commander of the navy s.e.a.l. raid that killed bin laden. and at that time, the chancellor of the university of texas who kept putting himself out defending the media and falking about keeping democracy together. did you ever have a conversation with him about it? >> no, i didn't know that and he and i never had a conversation about me running for president. i'm flattered by it. i'm appreciative, but, no, that's the first time i've heard that. >> hey, two months ago, i became a grandparent. the book goes home for that purpose.
thank you for being back. >> hey, my pleasure, michael, thank you. still to come, the friday the jury in the trial of kyle rittenhouse aqucquitted him on l accounts. joey jackson is here. when vice president kamala harris was on "good morning america" when asked about whether president biden have discussed re-election? -- so you're not discussing 2024? >> absolutely not. >> go to my question a at smerconish.com and answer the question, will joe biden seek re-election in 2024? and then...the present. and finally, ebenezer...the future! introducing the all-electric eqs. happy holidays from mercedes-benz.
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friday, kyle rittenhouse found not guilty on all charges. now the 18-year-old who killed two people and shot another during unrest last summer in kenosha, wisconsin, he began to cry as the verdict was read. hugged his attorney as he was breaking down.jury of five men, seven women deliberated 24 hours over the past four days in a closely watched case. joining me now, cnn legal analyst joey jackson he's a former prosecutor. joey, i watched you call week on cnn, head line news, spot-on because of your knowledge of the courtroom and your ability to communicate. i'm really glad you're here. what's your takeaway with this case? >> look, my takeaway to be with you and good morning, these are
times that obviously you have to tell a story that a jury that needs to be compelling. in any case, you have two professors, one professor being the prosecutor. and that prosecutor is advancing one narrative. and the defense advancing another. i think in this particular case there couldn't be more divergent stories told that jury. from a prosecution perspective they were trying to paint rittenhouse as an active shooter. well in order to do that you had to demonstrate he was indiscriminately shooting for no basic purpose. they also tried to show rittenhouse as a person who shouldn't be there, an enter loper, a person who was making himself an emergency medical technician and shouldn't have come out and set off a change of circumstances. the prosecution didn't really carry the day. the defense's narrative is one that they advanced upon the jury is far different. describing the circumstances.
describing a mob. their words not mine. rioters, their words, not mine, combustible, chain of events, fires, et cetera, going on, their client being in immediate attack, what else could he do? i think explaining it that way they brought home the notion he did what he did for a legitimate legal purpose because he was in fear for his life. and otherwise acted reasonably. that's what the jury thought. as a result of that, that's why we have a not guilty verdict. >> what surprised me not that he was acquitted on homicide. but i did expect they'd get him for reckless endangerment, just so there's some punishment associated with this away of the jury saying hey, you really shouldn't have gone there to begin with. did that surprise you? >> you know, mike, many people thought what you thought, that you're not alone in looking at that reckless endangerment, if you're discharging a firearm, then you're putting people at risk. what are you doing in doing
that. but i think the jury had a choice. and that choice was to choose one side or the other, not with respect to people, they're not doing that but they're using a choice in terms of what happened. remember the process. the judge is really the person who is really the referee. the judge is about the law. the jury is about the facts. and factually i think they brought the notion that he acted in a way that was legally justified. in doing so, i think what they did, right, was to say if he acted in self-defense, he had a purpose, a basis, a reason to discharge his firearm. because he was in immediate fear of death or serious bodily harm. they also felt, the jury, that his acts were in proportion to what was imposed and they felt he acted reasonably. under those circumstances it would have been difficult to say yeah, he acted reasonably. they brought that narrative as a result of that they rejected the narrative that he was reckless.
>> i think you're absolutely right. joey jackson, good job. appreciate it. >> thank you, michael. >> checking in on your tweets and facebook comments. this comes from twitter. what do we have? legally correct verdict and morally, questionable behavior. that's where our society is now. i hope we have time to do this, david french quote for "the atlantic." he did this before the acquittal, if the jury acquits rittenhouse will not be, not be, a miscarriage of justice. the law gives even foolish men the right to defense their lives but an acquittal does not make a foolish man a hero. a political movement that turns a dead any vigilante into a role model say movement that is courts more violence. and that will spill more blood in america's streets. the words of david french. he nailed it. still to come, more of your
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change. 70-30 don't expect he'll run for re-election in 2024. interesting. social media. there's a ton this week. why, pardon me. you are not getting any younger either, dude. why are you picking on joe? >> when i started this gig eight ye years ago on cnn, i think i had some hair. the answer is i'm not picking on joe. i prayer for joe's health, well-being and success, but got to talk about the facts of the day and the facts of the day are that he had a physical yesterday amidst poor polling and a huge swing in the perception of americans in terms of his physical and mental capacities. how can i ignore that issue? if donald trump were the president, you'd be saying why aren't you talking about trump? next? what do you have? when 20% of the house, when 20%
of the house of senate is over 70, why is biden's age an issue for voters? shouldn't they vote in younger senate house members as well then. >> oh. dee, yes. yes, absolutely. i think that the entire system could use an injection of youth, but mine is not to be a practitioner of age ism, but rather to take a look that suggests a 29-point swing since october of 2020 on the issue of whether he's in good health. it happens to be his birthday today, which is all the more reason to address the issue, so don't misinterpret what i'm saying. i want good things for him, but my task here is to youtalk abou the issue that people are discussing and this is an issue people buzz about. not just on fox news or there wouldn't have been an 18-point swing among independents.
so i mean it when i say it, happy birthday, mr. president, but in certain circumstances, this is a conversation that requires discussion. see you next week. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it.
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