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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Health Care Passes; Tiger Woods is Interviewed; Immigration Law Reform Rally; Underwater Search in Aruba; Disaster Avoided
Aired March 22, 2010 - 01:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a victory for the American people and it's a victory for common sense.
DON LEMON, HOST: It is a Cinderella story for President Obama and the Democrats. Votes came through. Health care reform has passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just because some politicians got attacked they shouldn't be whining and crying about it.
LEMON: The vote might be over, but the debate over the name calling and heckling continues to heat up.
Plus, it's Tiger Woods' first interview since news of his affairs surfaced in November. Hear what he has to say about how he strayed from the straight and narrow.
Good evening, everyone, I'm Don Lemon at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Health care reform is now history.
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID OBEY (D) WISCONSIn: On this vote the ayes are 219, nays 212. The vote to concur the Senate amendment is adopted. Without objection the motion reconsiders laid on the table.
LEMON: There you heard it. More than a year of high drama came to a climactic end just a short time ago. For the man whose presidency was riding on this it was a win he badly need.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream. Tonight we answer the call of history as so many generations of Americans have before us. When faced with crisis we did not shrink from our challenge. We overcame it. We did not avoid our responsibility. We embraced it. We did not fear our future. We shaped it.
LEMON: Now that health care reform has passed here's some of what you'll see right away that will go into effect. Small businesses can get up to 50 percent of their health insurance premiums as tax credits. Those who feel they are unfairly denied coverage by their insurance company will be able to appeal to an independent panel.
Seniors not currently covered by the Medicare part-D drug benefit will receive $250 per year to help pay for prescriptions. Insurance companies will not be allowed to set coverage caps for serious illnesses including cancer. Adult children up to the age of 26 can be covered by their parent's health insurance. A $5 billion fund will provide temporary coverage for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions including children.
Two of our seniors, our Senior White House correspondent and Senior Congressional correspondent Dana Bash and Ed Henry both joining us right now. You guys look surprisingly fresh for late into the evening. You've been working all day.
I'll start with you, Ed, only because the president was the last to speak here, and he -- well, Nancy -- the speaker of the House spoke. Let's start with the president. Boy, bounce in his step. Joe Biden as well. He needed this.
ED HENRY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it and the people you did not see, let me take you -- peel the curtain a little bit -- inside the eastroom where I was. We were the only network going live from there, I should add. Bottom line, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, all these other top aids were on the other side of the room.
Many of them in jeans, casually dressed. Almost midnight when the president came out on a Sunday evening, rarely they'd be here working that late. Smile, almost smirk, on Rahm Emanuel's face looking over at me and some of the print reporters were there as if to say you guys didn't think we'd do this. If you think there was a bounce in the president's step after all these stories about internal strife and the like, his staff was beaming.
LEMON: The speaker of the House came out, and really her work is going to get a lot tougher and the president as well. Not just with this, but we're talking about the lawmakers who are concerned, Dana, about what happens back home. I want you to listen to this. This is Congressman Elliot Engel. I spoke with him just a short time ago in New York talking about what cost.
REP. ELLIOT ENGEL (D) NEW YORK: It's always a fear. You always look at the political aspect of a vote. I think, you know, we're here to vote our conscience and vote our hearts and vote our districts and vote what's best. I think at least for me paramount is I need to do what I think is right. I think political considerations are important, but they're secondary. We have to do what's right by the American people.
LEMON: The work to keep a respectable number of Democrats in office is probably going to get harder in some instances and it may get easier in others. Who knows, Dana. DANA BASH, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's true. I've spoken to several of the Democrats who -- the Democrats that Elliot Ingle was talking about. He's in a relatively safe district. There are a lot of Democrats who voted for this health care bill tonight knowing full well that their jobs could suffer from it. They could lose their jobs from it.
And it was a very tough vote for a lot of these Democrats, but you know, on the other hand, many of them campaigned on this issue. Campaigned on the issue of coming to Washington and after, you know, almost 50 years of in ernest of fighting for broad health care reform, like what passed tonight, they felt that they -- the message that the president was giving them in private and public, the Democratic leaders were giving them and they were hearing back home that they -- that this needed to be done. That weighed more heavily than the political cost many of them may face.
LEMON: So, Dana, you've been working all day. This is as much action as I've been seeing behind you today. Tell us what's happening? Are people scrambling to leave or doing live shots? Who are these people running around up and about with you?
BASH: These are our colleagues and competitors scrambling to leave because the Democratic leadership just wrapped up their final event of the night. So I think what you're seeing is our colleagues running to file.
LEMON: Ed, the president is going to be on the campaign trail even after this. What gives?
HENRY: You know, it's funny, after 14 months of covering him, in many cities across this country, we thought, OK, maybe finally the road show is over, but no, not by any stretch of the imagination. This evening I was talking to some of the president's senior advisers. One of them got interrupted by the conversation. The president was calling him, tweaking his remarks tonight so he had to go.
But he was telling me the president later this week, in fact, is going to be hitting the road again. Barnstorming around the country. Part of this gets to what Dana was talking about. Promises made to various Democratic lawmakers about giving them political cover and frankly this president has promised lawmakers he's going to go out and sell this now.
So between now and November we're going to see the president, especially in the next few weeks, go out there and say, look, it's going to cover 32 million more people. Get into the substance of the fact that no longer can there be recisions where an insurance company will kick you out if you get sick when you've already been covered.
It was going end pre-existing conditions for the children, in the short term, in the long term for adults as well. They've got a whole list of things that they say will kick in the first six months, not years down the road and they want to sell them, and they want to sell them now. LEMON: They want the person out in front selling it for them. OK, guys, take the toothpicks out of your eyes. You can stop living on coffee. You can --
Dana's being modest. Those people behind her, there was a competitor trying to scramble to keep up with her because she's been dominating the story.
BASH: Right back at you, Ed.
LEMON: Lawmakers congratulating each other. Good to see you guys. Get some sleep.
And we go from a first in health care to a first for Tiger Woods. At least since his life went spiraling out of control. Tiger speaks, this time answering questions about his wife, his life and infidelities. Tiger in his own words moments away plus, watch your mouth.
Lashing out in fits of anger from the House floor to the Town Square. Should lawmakers be held responsible when voters put their angry words into action?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a defining moment in our nation.
Their protest on Capitol Hill had nothing to do with health care reform, but it could reveal the nation's next big contentious issue.
LEMON: They weren't just rallying today for health care in Washington. Immigration reform was also a big issue outside the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a defining moment in our nation.
LEMON: Tens of thousands of people filled the National Mall to support an overhaul of immigration laws. Organizers say 150 people attended the event. Bipartisan Senate bill is being drafted, that its authors say will create a tough but fair path to legalization, tighter borders and temporary worker program.
Moscow's fire chief died last night while trying to save people from a massive building. Russian media say the chief died when the business center's roof collapsed. Luckily none of the people he was trying to safe was injured. A spokesman says the alarm didn't work or never existed. By the time crews got there, the building was engulfed.
Police in Aruba want to know if this, look closely, is a picture of Natalee Holloway's remains. It was taken by an American couple last fall while they were on vacation. Aruban police are preparing to send divers back into the water to search for the Alabama teenager. She was last seen leaving a bar with a man on the final night of graduation trip that was back in 2005.
A sigh of relief in Fargo, North Dakota, tonight, because it appears the major flooding threat there has passed. City leaders say the Red River has crested and is now falling without causing any major damage. River topped out at 19 feet above flood stage. Happened this afternoon. So rapid snow melt caused by warm weather is blamed for the rapidly rising water levels there. The threat is gone. We turn to CNN's Jacqui Jeras to tell us about the weather situation. Good news, right?
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Don, even though the river has crested, it's something we're still going to want to watch other the next couple of days because we're still in major flood. That's expected to continue all the way into next weekend. We're looking at at least another week that we need these sandbags and these dikes that have been built to continue to hold.
Temperatures in the daytime above freezing, by the way. Below freezing at nighttime so that's the kind of slow thaw that we do like to see. Elsewhere in the country today, we've been watching this upper level low pressure system that brought all that heavy snow into Oklahoma across parts of the weekend. Take a look at some of these snowfall totals throughout the area.
Fayetteville, Arkansas, has as much as a foot, Westville, Oklahoma, 11 inches and look at that prior Oklahoma, had 7 inches of snowfall. No more real heavy accumulations expected with this. We'll continue to watch this as it's a rainmaker with occasional snow mixing in across parts of Arkansas. Thunderstorms have been pushing in across parts of Georgia into the Carolinas. Nothing severe will be anticipated.
Now, this storm system is going to be on the move. As we head into the workweek, now, we'll watch this move up towards the mid-atlantic then into the northeastern quarter and the concern here is that we've already seen plenty of heavy rain and flooding creeks and streams. This could aggravate the flooding situation with another 1 to 2 inches on top of what we already have.
In addition to that, we kick off the workweek here on your Monday. Expecting to see some airport delays as a result of that low. Potential delays of over an hour for Boston, New York City metros, Washington, D.C., as well as Philadelphia and delays due to low clouds and winds for Atlanta, Charlotte, and Miami. Don, back to you.
LEMON: Thank you very much for that.
It was an uphill battle, sometimes nasty battle, but Democrats are celebrating a major victory tonight.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To every unsung American who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an e-mail hoping your voice would be heard, it has been heard tonight.
LEMON: This next story might be higher than the newscast if it were not for health care vote tonight. In his first one-on-one interviews Tiger Woods offers his most personal comments yet about the scandal that shattered his public image and private life.
The passage of health care reform bill brought an instant response from the White House. I want you to listen as President Obama lays claim to tonight's achievement as a sign of the change he promised when he ran for president.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today's vote answers the dreams of so many who have fought for this reform. To every unsung American who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an e-mail hoping your voice would be heard, it has been heard tonight. To the untold numbers who knocked on doors and made phone calls, who organized and mobilized out of a firm conviction that change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up, let me reaffirm that conviction.
This moment is possible because of you. Most importantly, today's vote answers the prayers of every American who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care system that works for insurance companies but not for ordinary people. For most Americans this debate has never been about abstractions, the fight between right and left, Republican and Democrat. It's always been about something far more personal.
It's about every American who knows the shock of opening and envelope to see their premiums just shot up again when times are already tough enough. It's about every parent who knows desperation of trying to cover a child with a chronic illness only to be told no again and again and again. It's about every small business owner forced to choose between insuring employees and staying open for business. They are why we committed ourselves to this cause.
Tonight's vote is not a victory for any one party. It's a victory for them. It's a victory for the American people and it's a victory for common sense. It probably goes without saying tonight's vote will give rise to a frenzy of instant analysis, will be tallies of Washington winners and losers, predictions about what it means for Democrats and Republicans, for my poll numbers, for my administration.
But long after the debate fades away and the prognostication fades away and the dust settles, what will remain standing is not the government-run system some feared or the status quo that serves the interest of the insurance industry, but a health care system that incorporates ideas from both parties. A system that works better for the American people. If you have health insurance this reform just gave you more control by reigning in the worst excesses and abuses the insurance industry with some of the toughest consumer protections this country has ever known. So that you are actually getting what you pay for. If you don't have insurance, this reform gives you a chance to be a part of a big purchasing pool that will give you choice and competition and cheaper prices for insurance.
And it includes the largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in history, so that if you lose your job and you change jobs, start that new business, you'll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable care and the security and peace of mind that comes with it. This reform is the right thing to do for our seniors. It makes medicare stronger and more solvent. Extending its life by almost a decade and it's the right thing to do for our future.
It will reduce our deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade, and more than $1 trillion in the decade after that. So this isn't radical reform, but it is major reform. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like.
LEMON: President speaking out right after that bill. The vote on that bill. Republicans, though, predict Democrats will pay at the polls in November for tonight's historic vote. Are they right? What about voters in the middle. Trio of independents, we invite them to come on here a lot on CNN. They're weighing in on whether the health care debate singles a new shift in the halls of power.
Joe Gandelman joins us tonight from Hartford, Connecticut, Nicole Kurokawa is in Washington, D.C., as is Omar Ali. Thank you, guys. Does this make you more optimistic or pessimistic as an independent about what you saw happen tonight. Joe --
JOE GANDELMAN, THE MODERATE VOICE BLOG: I'm actually -- to a certain extent I'm a little more optimistic. I did see some -- what happened tonight aside from some of the tone of some of the debate, I did see some coalition building. I mean, it started off the day with the Democrats being divided and Republicans being united. It's nice to see there's some kind of deal making made. The whole idea that you try to create coalitions, it isn't just one stance or you exclude somebody. I was a little on mystic by that aspect of what happened tonight.
LEMON: All right, Nicole, what about you?
NICOLE KUROKAWA, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: No, I must respectfully disagree you, Joe. I found it really depressing as an independent because it seemed to me that they were not interested in reaching to independent or to Republicans. That this was just -- it was pushed through. Obviously the Democrats are pretty divided on it as well. I think going forward I'm just worried about what's going to be pushed through next now that Democrats have the majority.
LEMON: Omar, you got to break the tie here.
OMAR ALI, INDEPENDENTVOTING.ORG: Well, I think I have to side with a yes and no in the sense I'm optimistic that 81 percent of Americans are now saying that yes the political system is broken, but that it can be fixed. In some ways, Obama now can turn his attention to issues that are of importance to independents and so in that respect, I agree with Nicole that there wasn't sufficient reaching out to independents. There's an opportunity here, though, to reach out and do something big as the next step in this presidency.
LEMON: It's going to have to be the last word. Thank you guys very much. We'll see you again soon.
Coming up, fielding questions for the first time, Tiger Woods opens up. How much is he willing to share? What he had to say about the mistakes he's made and pain he's caused.
Plus this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than anything else I was saddened. I don't have any ill feeling of malice toward the people who used the "n" word, the individuals that spat on my colleague.
LEMON: The health care debate turns into an angry war of words. A congressman and civil rights icon is targeted with racial slurs.
For to look at stories making headlines in the week ahead from politics to the economy to entertainment. We start tonight at the Defense Department.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. This week Defense Secretary Robert Gates travels to Mexico with other U.S. officials to talk about ways to curb the drug violence there. Then he returns to Washington to Capitol Hill to talk about the runaway costs of some weapons programs.
JILL DOUGHERTY, FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jill Dougherty in Washington. The media's peace process and drug violence in Mexico. Both issues at the top of the agenda for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this coming week. Monday she speaks to the APEC conference here in Washington. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also speaking at that conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both speeches coming at a time of tension in the relationship between U.S. and Israel. Then Tuesday, a trip to Mexico as head of the U.S. delegation to a high level conference on drug violence.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Here's some of the big stories we'll bring your way this week on CNN Money. Closely following the all important health care vote and focus on economic recovery with reports on new and existing home sales expected. We'll get the latest reading on consumer sentiment. For coffee lovers out there, Starbucks holds its annual meeting on Wednesday. We sat down before that one-on-one with a strategy talk with the CEO. We'll bring you that as well.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: On "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. We're expecting big news breaking regarding Sandra Bullock's marriage. Her husband Jesse James allegedly cheated on her with a tattoo model. So we're going to be asking, whose mistress is the most outrageous? Jesse James, John Edwards or Tiger Woods' many mistresses? Look for Dennis Hopper to get his star on the Hollywood walk of fame. We wish him the best as he battles prostate cancer.
LEMON: All right, thank you very much guys. Also happening this week, Wednesday, National Urban League releases its annual report on issues affecting black America. Topics include education, health care and home ownership.
On Saturday, Tea Party Express launches its next nationwide bus tour with a rally in Senator Harry Reid's hometown. Internationally this week, abortion rights advocates will be watching Kenya where a draft of the new country's constitution defines life as beginning a conception.
Google could announce as early as Monday on whether it will pull out from China. China is known for censoring content there on Google's search engine there blocking content the government considers objectionable.
He has fought to maintain his privacy in the wake of a sex scandal that broke after a November 22nd auto accident. Today Tiger Woods opened up and gave interviews to Golf Channel and to ESPN. Interviewers could ask whatever they wanted to, but did Tiger answer? Judge for yourself.
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I've done some pretty bad things in my life. It all came to a head. Now after treatment, going for in- patient treatment for 45 days and more outpatient treatment, I'm getting back to my old roots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a lot of people the spark of those bad things is November 27th, early that day. What happened?
WOODS: Well, it's all in the police report. You know, beyond that everything is between Elin and myself. That's private.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you lose control of the car?
WOODS: As I said, that's between Elin and myself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's a private matter, why issue a public apology?
WOODS: I owe a lot of people an apology. I hurt a lot of people, not just my wife, my friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person, and my actions were not according to that and that's why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I've done. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you've made transgressions. How would you, in your own words, describe the depth of your infidelity?
WOODS: Well, just one is enough and obviously that wasn't the case, and I made my mistakes. And as I said, I've hurt so many people and so many people have to make an amends to and that's living a life of amends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you were in treatment. The simple question is, for what?
WOODS: That's a private matter as well. I can tell you what, it was tough. It was really tough -- to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself, that's pretty brutal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you see?
WOODS: I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was that?
WOODS: I had gotten away from my core values, as I said earlier. I got away from my Buddhism. And I quit meditating. I quit doing all the things that my mom and dad taught me.
And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled. And that is not how I was raised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The interviews have lasted only five minutes each. And as you can see, they asked but he didn't always answer. When asked for his wife, about his wife, Elin's reaction to his infidelities, Tiger said that she was very hurt, shocked and angry, and that she had every right to be.
Tensions are boiling and tempers are flaring, and it's not just in Congress. Coming up: two lawmakers respond to the increasingly ugly protests, and what they have to say may surprise you.
LEMON: Two historic votes tonight that aim to transform health care in America. First, the House took up the Senate's version of health care reform. It passed 219 to 212. Now, it goes to President Obama for signature.
But many Democrats objected to certain provisions of the Senate bill. So, a reconciliation bill of changes was also voted on and it passed 220 to 211. Now, the Senate will take up the reconciliation bill in the coming days.
Supporters and protesters on both sides of the health care debate rallied outside of the Capitol today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWD: Kill the bill, kill the bill, kill the bill!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: About 300 tea party activist, some carrying signs and waving American flags, chanted slogans and sang the national anthem. One protester made it into the House gallery and shouted "Kill the bill," while several Republicans cheered him on. Others protesters said the legislation goes against what most Americans really want.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ERWIN, TEA PARTY PROTESTER: The American people don't want this. They know the American people don't want this. They want the health care fixed, but they don't want it fixed like this. You don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
JAN SOLT, TEA PARTY PROTESTER: I sense unity. I sense patriotism, and I sense that people just love their country. I know, I love my country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: On Saturday, the crowds of protesters were much larger, in the thousands, and some of the protests took an ugly turn. Several Democratic lawmakers, including civil rights leader John Lewis, were the target of racial slurs. One representative, Emanuel Cleaver, said he was spat on by an angry protester. And Congressman Barney Frank, who's openly gay, says protesters yelled anti-gay comments at him.
Well, Congressman Lewis likened the slurs to what happened 45 years ago when he was marching in civil rights demonstrations. I spoke with him about what's fueling the anger and the name-calling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What is it about this process that pushes -- it seemed in the last year to push people to do things like this? Can you explain it? Do you have any idea?
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, I think there's a great deal of frustration and just outright anger. People being mean to each other. And I think there's something loose in the land that is creating the climate, this environment, which we need to just pause for a moment and return to the way we did -- tried to do in another period.
LEMON: You seemed to brush it off yesterday. Were you -- did it affect you? Did it hurt you when you heard those words?
LEWIS: Well, more than anything else, I was saddened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A number of Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner condemned the name-calling that Congressman Lewis and colleagues endured, saying it is reprehensible. But another lawmaker is finding himself having to clarify remarks he made on C-SPAN earlier today. GOP Representative Devin Nunes of California was asked if the slurs and spitting go too far. Listen to his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: I think that when you use totalitarian tactics people, you know, begin to act crazy. I think, you know, there's -- people will have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it. It's not appropriate. I think I would stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people who were protesting, that all of them were doing that. I mean, I was --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are just some of the stories, just some of the --
NUNES: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- comments.
NUNES: I think that the left loves to play up a couple incidents here or there, anything to draw attention away from what they're really doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, tonight, I spoke with Congressman Nunes and asked him to clarify exactly what he meant by that.
NUNES: Well, what I said is they should expect this when they behave the way that they do. The Democrats have been using -- really abusing power here. They've allowed no amendments, no debate.
LEMON: Well, what does one have to do with the other? What does calling someone the N-word or the F-word have to do with a process that's happening in Washington? The two don't seen to match up.
NUNES: Well, first of all, I don't know anything about those stories, and what I said was, is that people have a right to say whatever they want to say in this country, and we in Washington should defend that. Just because some politicians got attacked, they shouldn't be whining and crying about it. We're politicians. We get attacked on a daily basis.
So, if the left wants to play this game of race-baiting, they can go ahead and do it. But to say that I didn't say that the people that were doing that were crazy, that's exactly what I said. I said they were crazy and shouldn't be doing it.
LEMON: Now, I don't know -- can you call it race-baiting when something happened to them? I think they're just reporting it and calling someone the F-word or spitting on someone, that's not race- baiting.
NUNES: No, but I do call it race-baiting when the liberal blogs attack me for something I didn't do. And, meanwhile, you have Nancy Pelosi carrying a gavel through the crowd this morning instituting the 1965 Civil Rights Act and saying that has something to do with this health care bill. So, yes, in fact, they are race-baiting.
And I did -- I said exactly what I would always say, is that I'm always going to protect people's rights to attack politicians. I'm not going to condone it. I'm not going to say it's the right thing and I'm not going to say people should use those words. But we are here to protect the people's rights.
LEMON: You said rights to attack politicians. What do you mean -- you mean in speech?
NUNES: Well, attack politics -- freedom of speech, especially politicians. We get attacked every day, just like I've been attacked all day for something I didn't even say. I'm not mad about it. It's what we should come to expect.
LEMON: Nunes there saying his words have been taken out of context.
But a lot of fighting words have been coming right from lawmakers in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: We're about 24 hours from Armageddon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There's more where that came from. Straight ahead -- we'll ask our political director -- political editor, I should say, Mark Preston, how words have impacted the health care debate.
And it's part festival, part charity event, and it's all about connecting people globally for a greater good. And it has a lot to do with Twitter. Coming up, I'll talk with the creator of Twestival 2010 and how you can get involved.
LEMON: So, a lot of you have been giving me your feedback about this next story. Throughout the health care debates, we have been hearing angry rhetoric. Some of it pretty shocking. And it came to a fevered pitch just in the last few days.
So, we wondered -- what's in a word? And who's responsible when words become action? "Armageddon," "blood on the floor," "baby killer" -- just a bit of the language thrown around these days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) BOEHNER: We're about 24 hours from Armageddon.
CROWD: Kill the bill, kill the bill, kill the bill!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Protesters yelling the word "faggot" at openly gay congressman, Barney Frank.
LEMON: John Lewis, Dana, correct me if I'm wrong, the N-word, is that what we're talking about here?
DANA BASH, CNN SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Correct. That's what he told our congressional producer.
LEMON: Barney Frank, the F-word which rhymes with maggot, right?
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think the Republicans made a great mistake in thinking they can benefit politically from this kind of thug tactics.
KARL ROVE, FORMER ADVISOR TO PRES.GEORGE W. BUSH: We will see if they pass this bill. I hope they don't. I pray they don't. It will be an economic disaster for the country if they do.
ED GILLESPIE, FMR. COUNSELOR TO PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: It's going to be a lot of blood on the floor at the end of the day, and it's not going to be Republican blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used the word "Armageddon." What did you mean by that?
BOEHNER: This health care bill will ruin our country.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the Republican side, as Congressman Stupak is finishing up his comments, someone yelled "baby killer" at him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who are shouting out are out of order.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
LEMON: Senior political editor Mark Preston is here.
Mark, I want you to listen to the president's comments on rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of reporting in Washington, it's just like "SportsCenter."
OBAMA: You know, it's considered a sport. And who's up and who's down and everybody's keeping score and you have the teams going at it. Rock them, sock them robots. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Mark, you were there a couple weeks ago when I interviewed the six retiring congressmen. They told me, people don't understand that once they're off the floor, that they're friends, they talk, they don't yell at each other. But, you know, they worry that some -- for some Americans, this may be all too real for them.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLTICAL EDITOR: Yes, and that is absolutely true. Look, politics is very much like a sport. They're so intertwined, Don. And who knows that better than President Obama?
Oftentimes, Don, we'll see President Obama say in a speech, "Look, this isn't about winners and losers in the political game. This isn't about my poll numbers. This isn't about if Republicans or Democrats win."
But the fact of the matter, it is all about that. It's the dirty little secret, who's going to win at the end of the day?
LEMON: So, this language, Mark, by the leaders -- is it part of what's fueling anger from some of the opposition and some of the protesters?
PRESTON: Sure. I mean, look, protesters and opposition leaders are always looking for a cue to try to really find out what, you know, where to move, what direction to go in. I think we have to be careful, though, that these people who go a step too far, who maybe go towards violence, who show effigies of President Obama -- like we saw during the whole health care protest back in August.
Look, they're out on a limb. These GOP leaders are not very happy when they see those things because they don't want to be associated with it.
LEMON: Let's talk about lessons learned. And, you know, maybe I'm a little bit too optimistic. So when we're going to have some time to reflect, might this spark an examination of how we've treated each other or what we've said to each other over the last year?
PRESTON: No. Very Pollyanna out of you, Don, because the fact is, that's not going to happen. Look, this has been going since our country was founded. If you go back 150-plus years, we actually had a congressman from South Carolina beat down a senator from Massachusetts over a dispute over the most divisive issue in our country's history: slavery. So, look, it goes back 150 years. It's going to go on for 150 more.
LEMON: Mark, take us forward to the next week, if you will. We understand that the president, this bill can't really be signed up -- at least the reconciliation -- until the president signs off on the bill now. So, there's a lot more work to go ahead here.
PRESTON: Look, there is a whole lot more work, you know, for him to do. But I'll tell you, our own Ed Henry talked about how President Obama now in the coming week after he signs this legislation into law, the Senate will have to do some corrections on their own legislatively and then expect to see President Obama barnstorming across the country, Don. He owes a lot to those Democrats that took this vote for him and helped him pass health care reform.
LEMON: You saw him when he walked out. A win is a win and, boy, did he and the Democrats, really the administration, all of them, that he needed it -- because people say, you know, his presidency was on the line, and if he didn't win this, that they were going to fight him, Republicans, at every single term.
PRESTON: And they still are. But, you know, something, he's moving this off his plate. You're right, Don, he needed health care reform done because there are a whole lot of other things he needs to deal with. First and foremost, he needs to deal with the economy. He needs to deal with jobs.
LEMON: So, listen, this is -- you know, I guess over. It's all over, but the counting or -- but for the shouting, as they say. We hear the president was looking at his brackets and talking on the phone before. So, how are your brackets doing? Are you doing OK?
PRESTON: Yes, not very good. But I'll tell you what -- my glory years was when the University of Massachusetts was in the Final Four. We haven't been there in a while.
LEMON: All right. Mark Preston, boy, it's been a long day, hasn't it?
PRESTON: It sure has.
LEMON: All right. Thank you for joining us, sir. Have a good one.
PRESTON: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Catch some sleep.
PRESTON: Thank you.
LEMON: All right.
And another controversy brewing over whether the president should have a so-called "Black Agenda." The question has caused quite a stir among African-American leaders. Television host Tavis Smiley has been at the forefront of this discussion. I spoke with him and Dr. Cornel West about what message they think should be sent to the president from the black community.
TAVIS SMILEY, HOST, "THE TAVIS SMILEY SHOW": I'm not calling out President Obama. I'm calling out black leaders who have said recently that the president doesn't need to focus on an African-American agenda. When black leaders start saying that, then what role are they playing if they're not fighting for the best interest of black people no matter who the president is? So, this is not about the president, it's about the presidency. How to you get the White House to take note of the suffering of your people and get them to address that?
PROF. CORNEL WEST, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: It's not a question of the president and the color of the president. But it is true that President Obama has tended to tilt toward the investment bankers more than he's tilting toward Brother DeMaurice (ph) and Sister Latisha on the block. That concerns me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. You know what -- the Urban League will release its State of Black America next week. I believe it is on Wednesday. So, make Stay tuned to CNN for that and to see the entire interview of Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.
I want you to head to my blog at CNN.com/Don -- CNN.com/Don. I'm reading some of your comments right now. I'm going to get them on the air in just a little bit.
Meantime, let's get some news -- some other news in here. A dangerous combination of fire and ice -- a volcano comes to life for the first time in almost two centuries.
LEMON: We have a sad story to report. CNN is saying good-bye to one of our treasured colleagues. Photojournalist extraordinaire, Margaret Moth, lost her battle with colon cancer today.
The story she covered are the stuff of legends really. For nearly two decades, she traveled the world for CNN, covering conflicts and war zones. And in 1992, Moth was shot in the face by a sniper in Sarajevo. But six months later, she was back at work.
Born in New Zealand, Moth says she never aspired to be a photojournalist. She says her path was driven by her love of history and her desire to see it unfold firsthand.
And you watch Margaret Moth's story on our Web site at CNN.com. The documentary aptly titled "Fearless: The Margaret Moth Story."
LEMON: OK. I want you to check out this amazing -- look at that. That's a video, it's out of Iceland, where a volcano and a glacier come face to face really.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from there. And it's a state of emergency, declared for several communities. The volcano is just southeast of Iceland's capital city. And authorities say, no injuries or damage have been reported so far.
But still, pretty cool video. Stay on that for a little bit. Sometimes you can see stuff like that. They don't let you fly right over a volcano in an airplane anymore because they've had problems. But sometimes, if you're flying in Hawaii and other places where there are volcanoes, you can kind of see them off in the distance.
Really amazing pictures there. Beautiful, but it can be dangerous.
You know what -- they weren't just rallying for health care today in Washington. Immigration reform was also a big issue outside of the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a defining moment in our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Tens of thousands of people filled the National Mall in support of overhauling immigration laws. Organizers -- it's really late -- say 150,000 people attending the event. A bipartisan Senate bill is being drafted -- that its authors say will create a tough but fair path to legalization, tighter borders, and a temporary worker program.
Moscow's fire chief died last night while evacuating people from this massive blaze. Russian media say the chief died when the business center's roof collapsed. Luckily, none of the people he was evacuating was injured. A spokesman says the alarm didn't work or never existed, and by the time the crews got there, the building was fully engulfed.
Police in Aruba want to know if this picture, the picture you see right here, if it's Natalee Holloway's remains. It was taken by an American couple last fall while they were on vacation. Aruban police are preparing to send divers back into the water to search for the Alabama teen. Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with a man on the final night of graduation trip that was back in 2005.
OK. Wow, we have a lot of time.
How much time do we have? We have 40 seconds? I thought we were going at the top of the hour?
Anyway, I had some tweets here. But it looks like the clock is off. If I can get to them, I will read them live on the air.
I asked you if you were insomniacs. A lot of you said, "I'm insomniac" and, "I'm the west coast." "You have a lot of fans on the west coast Mr. Lemon, he said. "Please do a story on Tavis and how they had no plan for accountability at their town hall." And he said, "Both." "I want to -- I want whoever said 'baby killer' to own up to it, have some guts, man."
So, anyway, thank you guys for watching. Sorry, we went on a little bit late. But it was important evening, historic. And I want to tell you -- I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you for watching so much. Have a good night. And I'll see you again next week.