August 19th, 2009
09:40 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 8/19/09

Tonight, security remains a top concern as Afghanistan holds its second-ever presidential election against a backdrop of escalating violence. President Hamid Karzai is competing with more than three dozen challengers–including two women– for the votes of 17 million registered Afghans. The polls open just hours from now, at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

Health care reform is also a major storm on our radar. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today denied reports that the Obama administration is considering pushing health care reform through Congress without any Republican support—the so-called nuclear option. Tonight, we’ll try to get a firm handle on a simple question: Is there any chance, at this point in the bitter debate, of bi-partisanship?

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Jon in D.C. on vacation

    my dad quit smoking in the early 1960's without any medical help he was a musician who ha smoked since his teens. He is my hero and is an example you can quit smoking.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  2. Beth W New Orleans, LA

    I just think its amazing that companies can discriminate against anything that you do legally with your own body on your own time! Whether its smoking (which was still legal last time I checked) or the amount of food that you put in to your body or the amount of exercise you do! What's Next?! It really is scary!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  3. Anthonia-(Bay Area)California

    Wow...i was rooting for Megan to pick him too..!
    this is an odd story..
    may God bless her soul!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  4. natalie from cleveland

    i think the cleveland clinic is doing a great thing by not hiring smokers or people who are obese. there is nothing wrong with setting a standard, which i think is a must in many fields, the health care field being one of them. it's nice to know you are receiving care not only from good doctors, but from people who take their own health seriously as well.

    anderwson i liked your comment about asking president obama about his smoking. i would have!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    They should collect a DNA sample from every American at birth and put it into a national database. It would make solving crimes much easier.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  6. jim

    70% of Forune 500 companies are entering "open enrollment" for health benefits. Once employees see the deduction increases in their paychecks, the debates may change some.
    And why should an employee who works hard to stay in shape pay the same as someone who doesn't. It's not unusual for employees to be rewarded for extra efforts.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  7. LisaL - Canada

    DNA testing was probably valid until cloning was started - would be interesting to know if cloned DNA has a marker indicating it was cloned? sounds futuristic, but so do many things that now seem to be possible

    August 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  8. David Gergen

    Hello again - I wrote a longer note a few moments ago, pushed the submit button but not sure where it went... ah well, has been that kind of day.

    Anyway - a salute to Barney Frank, agreement that we need to know know about health insurance co-ops, and a hope that you will join us Friday night for Anderson's special on health reform.... will give us a chance, as he would put it, to dig deeper.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  9. Ron from Connecticut

    I agree that we all have to do something about our health. However, I disagree with discrimination, disguised as health related. Give incentives to quick smoking, loose weight, do not discriminate. Our country's medical and food experts could have solved these problems decades ago. It wasn't until it became a dollar issue, then it became an issue. What's next, do not hire people that drink alcohol in any setting.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @Karen, you gain weight because you no longer need 2000 calories/day. Metabolism changes with age. Cut it to 1800 and you'll probably loose weight.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Dulcie - Denver

    I tend to think that medically caused obesity is pretty rare. I think many use it as an excuse not to make the lifestyle changes necessary. For thyroid conditions there is medication, etc. But it is true that it's much harder for some people to lose weight than others.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  12. Sydney, Grosse Pointe Park, MI

    I believe it is fair to refuse to hire smokers. Smoking, albeit a hard habit to break, is a choice and therefore just grounds for disqualification. Maybe a financial motivation is what it will take to get people to stop smoking as health consequences have obviously proven not to be enough.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Kathy, Andover

    Pretty soon, you'll have to give DNA, before you're hired, for cryin' out loud!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  14. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    fibers are only specific to the bolt they came from.

    In sewing, you learn to buy more fabric than you will need so it will match perfectly...same dye lot.

    I think it can prove that the fabric was there and that the person owes that fiber.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  15. Tony Thornton

    Why is this doctor targeting people that r obese?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  16. starr, formerly known as vincent

    The CSI stuff is facinating and frightening. Can't wait for the special.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  17. Kathy Chicago

    Yikes, unless you see the crime committed, how can you be sure of guilt?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  18. Gail in SC

    @ Robin
    I think they would have to split the bill if reconciliation is used , but that's the way they could get it passed. 50 plus one. I say do it and vote on the public option first!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Obesity is one of the fastest growing health problems in the U.S. There hasn't been much done because the arguement that we live in a free country and can do what we want comes up. Yet, obesity is crushing the healthcare system, and only seems to be getting worse, especially in our youth and lower income areas. It really is a catch 22, how do you tell people to control their lives in a better fashion, when all you ever here is I live in America and I'll do what I want?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  20. Max

    Why is people so concerned with the cost.....Can anyone here give me an approximate value for life?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  21. Julie

    Americans need to lighten up on smokers. Maybe Cleveland Clinic should not higher people who eat fast food every day.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  22. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mayor Barrett is real hero!!!!! I am glad he is ok now, I am really proud what he had defend himself for his safety to protect his granddaughter.......

    August 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  23. Steve - southern Illinois

    After 34 years of smoking I, along with my spouse, quit on April 27, 2007. I am forever grateful to the VA for encouraging me to quit on every visit at the VA Hospital. I think incentives to quit smoking and lose weight are a wonderful idea.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  24. karen swanson

    stop hiring obese people, i am called obese, but i dont eat more than 2000 calories a day, but i am post menopause, i have watched my weight grow in the last 2 years though i have not changed eating or exercixe habits. but no doctor wants to address that? all these men make health care desisions, they have never been through menopause.eat healthy, dont eat fast food but still i continue to gain weight?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  25. Kathy, Andover

    I doubt if the Cleveland doctor is looking out for his employees. He's looking out for insurance premiums. Good thing for Obama he didn't have to worry about getting hired by the Cleveland doctor.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  26. Donna

    What constitutes unhealthy? What activities do people engage in daily that cost health care dollars? People who drink too much, people who have unprotected sex, people who jaywalk, people who drive recklessly? If this clinic refused to hire people who drank too much, well there wouldn't be a very large pool of people for them to choose from.

    Addittionally, how many thin people are in accidents, get sick, die – yes, amazingly enough thin people get sick and die too.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  27. Lisa A. Philadelphia, PA

    Thanks Erica, that was interesting. Just seems unbelievable to me. So if you quit smoking they would hire you? That's not to say that damage was already done and they will be paying for your health care anyway. What about people who sky dive, mountain bike, visit third world countries frequently, drive fast ... all these have high risk factors. Where will it end?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  28. starr, formerly known as vincent

    @ Max – well said!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  29. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I think smokers should be hired, but banned from smoking on company premises, and charged more for their contribution to their health care.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  30. Heather - Spokane, WA

    I can see not hiring smokers for a doctor's office as saying to the employees to be the good influence on others, but obese people? Some people cannot help being obese, there are medical issues that people have that cause obesity. You can stop smoking fast but obesity is alot harder.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  31. Bill (Toronto, Canada)

    Erica, will the MJ story end at the interment?

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  32. frank in florida

    Even those with health insurance still smoke, don't exercise, and are overweight- preventative medicine will not lower healthcare costs if the misbehavior persists

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  33. Barbara A. Marion, IA

    It is great to give an incentive to lose weight, but the food industry needs to make healthy food cheaper. It's not like we are all rich and have money to be spending. it is always the fattening food that is cheap! I don't think we should treat overweight people like 2nd class citizens. Losing weight is not at easy as everyone tries to make it sound.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  34. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    We need to stand more at work...not sit 8 hours.

    People need to walk during breaks and the boss needs to get them to take advantage of it.

    At Nevada Power, they do just this....walking teams during breaks and a dining area that has salads and other healthy fair.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  35. Anthonia-(Bay Area)California

    But some people who are big are healthy...! so why would they not want to hire obese people..? I clearly understand why they dont hire people who are smokers..but obese??

    August 19, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  36. Teresa, OH

    I think people are already being denied jobs due to obesity: arent there weight restrictions for the army, police, fire depts.... etc?

    There are simply some jobs that obesity would affect job performance.

    Obesity isnt a disease per se: its a mental issue in my opinion.

    Seems the more we focus on obesity, the fatter we get.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  37. randal

    Why is it, it seems, we only hear from the dark side of health care?
    Cannot the press talk about the plus's which are many.

    Why does the press not state what is truth and fiction? Why is it that so few explain that these are only proposals of which there 5 I believe and why don't people get it?

    Are not our public schools socialized?

    Please be more informative!

    Thank you, Randal, Raleigh, NC

    August 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  38. Isabel • Brazil

    I'm ex-smokers and in some critical moments of life the desire to smoke around. It takes willpower!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  39. Jennifer - Michigan

    Anderson, you're only anchoring the show = you're busy!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  40. Jon in D.C. on vacation

    Hi AC and company. We need real H.C. reform my wife has ovarian cancer and we have insurance and we still must pay large sums of money out-of-pocket for everything. It's not fair and the insurance people are gouging us.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  41. David, Indiana

    Very thoughtful discussion where I came in with Peter Bergen and Michael Ware.

    @Isabel, I hope somehow Afghanistan can hold together through this difficult time.

    I think the President may have to push forward, as Paul Begala says, but I have to agree that David Gergen has a strong pt as healthcare reform that does manage to cover all American is one of the biggest pieces of federal legislation in decades. It's just a big project.

    Rep Barney Frank's town hall was truly rowdy, but I thought Rep Frank put to rest some of the more absurd criticisms of healthcare reform. Thought it was hilarious when he asked that lady what planet she spent most of her time on, and she even seemed to appreciate his sense of humor at pts.

    That is one brave mayor and he didn't even know he was going to have to be brave when he went to the fair. He saved that woman and her baby from a serious assault. Glad they caught the suspect the very next day.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  42. Max

    Health care should be considered a right for all people....not just those who can afford it.....

    August 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  43. Chaney,Sarepta, La

    Hello everyone ....Our Congressman John Fleming [RLa] visited a retirement home in Shreveport La. Mon. 17. He proceeded to scare the hell out of these seniors by saying things like "You better believe that older sicker people will be last on that list: Death Panels might be a little harsh. , he wnt on with an under tone of dis-trust. One woman made the statement They're going to give us a death sentence. Now does this not cross the line of decency, are these politicians so morally bankrupt, that they will cross all bounderies to further their agenda. The Shreveport Times called him out today in an editorial. I intend to do the same. I dont think you all understand the scope of this problem, and it does have racial undertones. We need to take a page from Barney Franks book and call them out on it. I intend to.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  44. Barbara A. Marion, IA

    That's ok Anderson. You have alot to take care of!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  45. LorenaR

    @Don WA great line

    August 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  46. Lisa A. Philadelphia, PA

    I must have missed that smoker story – well, if they can discriminate against smokers then it's not a far leap to obesity. But what about people with thyroid malfunctions or other diseases that cause obesity? Smokers choose it, most obese people can do something about it. But those with medical conditions have no choice.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  47. sanja

    Good for Barney Frank ( I am not his biggest fan). I can't believe anybody can compare Pres. to Hitler. What is wrong with people?
    Since when is the health care reform become a bad thing?
    Republicans are calling reform socialism like Canada Germany and France are socialist countries. Republicans didn't think that when we asked them to go to war with us. At that time they were democratic countries.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  48. BettyAnn Nacogdoches,TX

    Barney Franks rocks! @Isabel agreed! Mj is the neverland, i mean never ending story! I wish he could RIP!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  49. ericacnn

    @Lisa – The Cleveland Clinic no longer hires smokers. AC's intvu is coming up

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  50. Isabel • Brazil

    Obesity is a problem so serious.
    I would like AC360 had more infos about this problem. I have friends who suffer so much because of it and is not always easy to help them.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
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