John King was off this morning and who better to fill in for him on State of the Union than Wolf Blitzer?
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in the DC studio this morning to discuss health care reform. There are many suggestions on how to pay for this reform for instance: taxing health care benefits and additional taxes for those who are the wealthiest. Blitzer also asked her about whether the latest swine flu vaccination would be ready by flu season. According to the Secretary, there are about 1 million cases of swine flu right now in the US. (Why was this number a shock? You would think when the number of cases got this high the media would have been reporting on it.)
Senators Judd Gregg (R), Debbie Stabenow (D), Lamar Alexander (R), and Kent Conrad (D) talked to Blitzer about health care reform legislation. No consensus among the group on whether employer health insurance should be taxed or if there should or shouldn't be a public option.
The Senators also discussed the information the CIA withheld from Congress on VP Cheney's order. Isn't it interesting that all of a sudden when CNN tries to get a comment regarding this that the former VP is not available for comment.
Next on State of the Union were some highlights from Anderson Cooper's interview with the President while in Ghana.
More of the interview can be seen at 10PM Monday during AC360.
John King may not have been in the studio this morning, but his report on rural health care aired. He spoke with a health care provider and a couple, who do not have health insurance and do not seek medical treatment because they can't afford it, in coal country, Clay, West Virigina. This was one of two reports on this topic that aired during the program.
Howard Kurtz was back from vacation with a full hour of Reliable Sources. Kurtz missed the Palin resignation story last Sunday, but made up for it this morning. Kurtz spoke with Keli Goff, Matt Frei, and Michael Medved. They also talked about scandal fatigue: Ensign, Sandord, Burris...
The next topic for the panel was the coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service.
Kurtz then focused on the Washington Post scandal concerning Katharine Weymouth and corporate sponsored dinners. It turns out that other news organizations already do this. Steve Roberts and Kara Swisher discussed the controversy.
Kurtz interviewed Sir David Frost earlier this week. What is Frost doing these days? Working for Al-Jazeera English. His program is called Frost Over the World. Kurtz also asked him about the Frost/ Nixon movie and his interview with President Nixon. They also briefly touched on the debate over whether or not news organizations paying for interviews and whether or not the practice is ethical. Frost had an interesting point that although some networks refuse to pay for interviews for ethical reason those same networks will "triple" advertising rates when the interview is aired.
At the end of the hour, it was back to Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer spoke with Mary Matalin and James Carville about the CIA withholding information from the Congress.
The next topic for the two strategists was health care reform. And then they discussed Gov. Palin's decision to resign.
John King was in San Francisco earlier this week and taped the CNN Diner segment at Howard's Diner. He spoke with three people who do not have full health insurance coverage about health care reform.
The next panel included Ed Henry, Jeffrey Toobin, and Candy Crowley. They discussed the confirmation hearings of Judge Sotomayor which start in the Senate on Monday morning. The panel also discussed whether the Justice department will prosecute officials involved in harsh interrogation (torture?) techniques.
As typical, the top of the last hour of the program brought us a repeat from the 9AM hour. 44 minutes later live programming resumed. The Last Word went to Representative Patrick Murphy (D) from Pennsylvania. Blitzer talked to the Congressman about the "don't ask/ don't tell" policy. 13,000 service members have been forced out of the military under this policy. The Congressman pointed out that this is the size of three brigades.
In case you missed the program this morning, you can always catch up with the podcast:
And this week, Tom Foreman had another article in the Metro: Obama-Palin in 2012?.
When Sarah Palin took her unexpected swan dive into Lake Nevermore by announcing she was quitting as governor of Alaska, I was suitably puzzled. I assumed she must have been conked in the head by a rogue moose, or stumbled into a patch of unripe salmonberries, or she had some secret hidden on the Appalachian Trail, if you know what I mean.
The full article can be found on the Metro's website.
A reminder that CNN's coverage of the Sotomayor confirmation hearings start at 10AM on Monday morning with Wolf Blitzer anchoring the coverage along with the "Best Political Team in Television" (of course).