November 3, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode
11/03/2021 | 57m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
November 3, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
Get extended access to 1600+ episodes, binge watch your favorite shows, and stream anytime - online or in the PBS app.
Already a RMPBS member?
You may have an unactivated RMPBS Passport member benefit. Check to see.
11/03/2021 | 57m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
November 3, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: vote 2021.
President Biden weighs in on the surprising results from yesterday's elections.
We look at the issues that mattered to voters and lessons for both parties looking ahead to next year's midterms.
Then: guns in America.
For the first time in over a decade, the Supreme Court hears arguments in a firearms case that could have major implications for regulation.
And House call.
We go door to door with health care workers as they try to increase vaccination rates by administering COVID shots at patients' homes.
PATRICK ASHLEY, D.C. Department of Health: It does provide yet another option for individuals to get vaccinated, so that we're not just doing seven out of 10.
We're hoping for 10 out of 10 eventually.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
(BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The results of yesterday's elections have turned to states on the East That came this morning in a statement.
He said -- quote -- "I am confident that the Coast a lot less blue and left Democrats feeling a lot more blue.
Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage of an outcome that has Republicans celebrating.
LISA DESJARDINS: Cheers heard around the country, as Virginia elected its first GOP governor in more than over a decade.
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), Virginia Governor-Elect: My fellow Virginians.
LISA DESJARDINS: First-time candidate and former investment CEO Glenn Youngkin defeated former Virginia governor and former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
The governor-elect said his win was for freedom and families.
GLENN YOUNGKIN: Together, together, we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) GLENN YOUNGKIN: And, friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one.
LISA DESJARDINS: Youngkin campaigned on more oversight for parents in public schools, as well as tax cuts, gun rights and a pledge to heal political divides.
And while President Trump endorsed him, Youngkin avoided campaigning with or referencing him.
With that formula, Republicans flipped Virginia just one year after President Biden won it by 10 points.
While that is a historic Virginia trend, rejecting a new president's party, exit polls showed Republicans made particular gains with suburban women, like those we spoke with over a week ago who voted Youngkin and had real concerns about schools.
DANA JACKSON, Virginia Voter: People that speak out for their kids are targeted and sort of afraid to do it now.
LISA DESJARDINS: In all, it was the first statewide loss for Democrats since 2009.
With the votes still close last night, McAuliffe waited to concede.
long-term path of Virginia is toward inclusion, openness and tolerance for all."
Republicans also won down-ballot, with Winsome Sears, who touted her support of gun rights, becoming the first woman of color to win lieutenant governor in the state.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, more alarms for Democrats, with its gubernatorial election still too close to call.
Democratic incumbent Governor Phil Murphy narrowly led Republican Jack Ciattarelli as mail-in ballots continued to be counted, this in a state with one million more registered Democrats than Republicans.
PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Well, we're going to have to wait a little while longer than we had hoped.
We're going to wait for every vote to be counted, and that's how our democracy works.
JACK CIATTARELLI (R), New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate: We're going to lower property taxes.
We're going to make this a better place to do business.
We're going to downsize state government.
We're going to support our state and local police.
LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats could find bright spots in mayoral races across the country, including a number of historic votes.
In New York City, Democratic former Police Chief Eric Adams became the second Black mayor elected.
ERIC ADAMS (D), New York City Mayor-Elect: We are so divided right now.
And we are missing the beauty of our diversity.
We have to end all of this division of who we are, where we go to worship, what do we wear.
Today, we take off the intramural jersey and we put on one jersey, team New York.
LISA DESJARDINS: Boston's new mayor will be City Councillor Michelle Wu, making history as the first woman and person of color in the 200 years the office has existed.
MICHELLE WU, Boston Mayor-Elect: We're ready to be a Boston that doesn't push people out, but welcomes all who call our city home.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MICHELLE WU: We're ready to be a Boston where all can afford to stay and to thrive.
LISA DESJARDINS: In Cincinnati, Aftab Pureval will be that city's first Asian American mayor.
And voters in Dearborn, Michigan, chose the city's first Arab-American mayor, Abdullah Hammoud.
Leadership was on the ballot, but so were issues, as in Minneapolis, where residents voted to keep the city's police department and reject a new agency proposed after the murder of George Floyd sparked wide protests last summer.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The results of Virginia's gubernatorial election in particular are looming large in Washington today, as President Biden and congressional Democrats feel mounting pressure to find a path forward on passing his infrastructure and social spending bills.
For more on this, Lisa joins me here, along with our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor.
Hello to both of you.
So, Yamiche, to you first.
What is President Biden's message today after the news Democrats received last night?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, President Biden's message is that Democrats need to do better and that they need to pass legislation in order to do better in future elections.
He said that Democrats really need to make sure that they find a solution for prescription drug prices.
They need to give people tax breaks.
They need to essentially pass the infrastructure plans that have been mulling through Congress, but have not yet been passed.
Here's a bit of my exchange with the president from earlier today.
QUESTION: What should Democrats possibly do differently to avoid similar losses in November, especially as Republicans are now successfully running on culture war issues and false claims about critical race theory?
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: I think we should produce for the American people.
People need a little breathing room.
And what happened was -- I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So there is President Biden really centering the idea that passing legislation is the way to avoid midterm elections where Democrats suffer some of the losses that they saw last night.
Now, I also push the president on this idea of Republicans being able to successfully run on false claims about Critical Race Theory, but also on claims about the economy.
The president said the way forward is to speak the truth.
He also said there's understandably a lot of -- quote -- "confusion" out there.
And he says that people are confused about COVID, about the way forward with their children going back to school.
The president, though, said that really the way to figure that out is to pass legislation to better people's lives, to give them tax breaks, to do all of the things he's been talking about in his Build Back Better agenda.
The other thing to note is, the president said, "We will do just fine" -- quote, unquote - - talking about Democrats and the midterm elections.
So here's the president who, even after last night and sustaining some of the losses, he still says that he feels confident that Democrats will be able to do better next time around.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And so, speaking of that legislation Yamiche is referencing and the president's talking about, Lisa, where does all that stand right now?
LISA DESJARDINS: Right, getting stuff done.
Is it getting done?
I can report tonight that, actually, the House is poised to now move forward this week, as I thought they would.
The House Rules Committee is meeting right now.
And that means we could have a vote on both Build Back Better and the infrastructure bill as soon as tomorrow.
My reporting is, that's where House leadership is going, votes tomorrow on both.
However, it's interesting, Judy.
Everything you and Yamiche are talking about with the Virginia election is affecting sort of the idea of the atmosphere in Congress over when things happen.
And I want to play the difference between someone like Senator Joe Manchin, a more moderate or conservative Democrat, vs. a progressive, Pramila Jayapal, how they see the results last night, and what they're saying that means for this agenda right now.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It's unbelievable to see what went on in Virginia, and then not just not just from the governor's race, but all the way down that ticket.
People have concerns.
People are concerned.
They are very much so.
And for us to go down the path that we have been going, and they were trying to accelerate it, and it's has been slowed down.
I think that we need to take our time and do it right.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Every attack that I saw against Terry McAuliffe did not say, Congress hasn't passed the infrastructure bill.
It had to do with education and parents.
And I think what we have to do is, we have to get real relief to parents who are struggling, to families who are struggling.
And that is the best case for why we have to pass both these bills, the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better bill, this week.
And I think that's what I'm hearing from all my colleagues as well.
LISA DESJARDINS: So, Manchin, I think, is the outlier here.
He wants to slow things down.
But, honestly, everyone else is in the House and Senate, Democrats, seem to be wanting to speed things up when it comes to these two bills.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, in the Senate, you need 50 votes.
LISA DESJARDINS: That's right.
I think it's going to take a few weeks at least.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, last night, you were reporting on a deal on prescription drug prices.
Tell us what else is not resolved in all this.
LISA DESJARDINS: There's so much happening right now.
I want to take viewers through a few of the key points, things that we're watching very carefully that are unresolved and in discussion right now, first, paid leave.
We reported on that.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put in the House version four weeks of paid leave.
That's a compromise from what House Democrats, progressives, had wanted initially.
That is going to be in the House version.
Immigration, there is a potential compromise there that's being talked about, about five years of what's been called parole for some undocumented immigrants.
That means it would not be a path to citizenship.
That is where the House is going right now.
And then on state and local tax deductions, this is an issue especially in the Northeast, some moderate members had said they won't vote for anything unless there is more of a state and local tax deduction than there is currently.
The deal would raise the cap from $10,000, which it is now, to $72, 500.
All of these are things that we're going to talk a lot about more.
But I want people to understand that this House bill, whatever is voted on this week, as we expect, is definitely not the final.
This is sort of a first issue from House Democrats, a first idea.
And then the Senate will respond.
This will go back and forth.
But this is getting the process moving.
That's what House Democrats want to do more than anything.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a matter of days or longer, weeks.
LISA DESJARDINS: I think days for this House bill to pass, and then weeks before we get to a final sort of endgame here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, And, finally, Yamiche, back to you.
When the president went to Europe for the climate summit meetings, he was saying he hoped that at least one House would get this legislation passed.
What is the White House doing to try to push this legislation?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, Judy, as you said, the president really, really wanted this to be passed, at least one of these bills, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he wanted it to be passed while he was in Europe.
He wanted it to actually be passed when he landed in Europe.
That, of course, did not happen, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing lawmakers and saying let's give the president a vote of confidence from Congress.
When that did not happen, the White House continued to engage.
I'm told by White House sources today that the president, as well as top White House aides, they're going to continue to engage with lawmakers.
They're really trying to make the case that this is exactly what lawmakers, including critical senators, Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, this is a bill that they should be able to get behind.
This is a bill that they say does not add to the deficit.
They also - - reports show that they're adding things back that progressives wanted, including paid family leave, something that was very critical to people across this country, especially women of color, but also men as well who are going to be able to possibly be able to take care of someone, whether a sibling or a family member, if they need to be able to be on medical leave.
Another thing to note is that the president had a message today for Democrats as it relates to these bills.
It was five words: "Get it on my desk."
Those were the last words that he spoke at his press conference.
That tells you that the president is urgently trying to get his party on the same page, though it's anyone's guess in terms of whether or not the president will be able to bring this together.
Of course, Lisa smartly is saying it could be weeks, maybe a few days for the House vote.
But here at the White House, there's really this feeling that the president is trying to continue to be the closer in chief.
He has not been able to get there yet.
But the White House is watching all of this very closely.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The drama continues.
Yamiche Alcindor at the White House, Lisa Desjardins following it on the Hill, thank you.
LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And to help us understand more about what these election results mean, I'm joined by three political experts.
Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville worked on many Democratic campaigns, including as lead strategist for President Bill Clinton in 1992.
He is now the co-host of the podcast "Politics War Room."
And full disclosure, the other co-host is my husband, journalist Al Hunt.
Former Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, she represented Northern Virginia until 2019.
She is now a senior adviser at the law firm Baker Donelson.
And Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report With Amy Walter.
Hello to all three of you.
And, Amy Walter, I'm going to start with you, because you have been looking very closely at these exit polls, interviews with voters as they left their poll places yesterday.
We want to try to understand more about who voted and how they voted.
Tell us what you're seeing.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, Judy, it's pretty career, whether it's Virginia or New Jersey, that this was really a repudiation, in many ways, of the president.
President Biden's low approval ratings nationally are also pretty low in these blue states.
The exit poll in Virginia showed that President Biden's job approval rating was just 45 percent.
This is a state he won with 54 percent.
So the drag that the president's disapproval rating has goes all the way even into these state and local rails, down-ballot, as well as the gubernatorial.
All politics now is national.
It's not local anymore.
So I think that's one big factor.
The other is there is a question throughout the Trump years from Democrats and Republicans about just how sturdy this suburban movement away from Republicans and to Democrats would be.
As one Democrat said to me during that era, he said, I'm worried that we're just renting these voters.
And based on the results of last night, indeed, it looks like they were just rented, at least at this point.
Democrats lost the ground they had made up during the Trump era with many suburban voters, especially the exurbs outside of the Beltway in Washington, in and around Richmond, and in the Tidewater area.
They didn't lose as much ground as going way, way back.
They didn't abound as well as, say, Barack Obama did.
But you combine that with really solid turnout, above presidential level numbers, for Glenn Youngkin in some of the rural areas, and that was just really politically a deadly combination for Terry McAuliffe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And very quickly, we can show our viewers a graphic that shows that Glenn Youngkin was able to pull in, what, 53 percent of suburban voters in Virginia, compared to President -- former President Trump, 45 percent just last November.
James Carville, to you, looking at these results, your party, what went wrong?
JAMES CARVILLE, Democratic Strategist: Well, what went wrong is this stupid wokeness.
Don't just look at Virginia and New Jersey.
Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis.
Even look at Seattle, Washington.
I mean, this defund the police lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln's name off of schools, that -- people see that.
And it's just -- really have a suppressive effect all across the country to Democrats.
Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.
They're expressing language that people just don't use.
And there's a backlash and a frustration at that.
And you're right.
Suburbanites in Northern Virginia, suburbanites in Northern New Jersey pulled away a little bit.
Youngkin never ran any ads against Biden.
And I think what he did is just let the Democrats pull the pin and watch the grenade go off on them.
And we have got to change this and not be about changing dictionaries and change laws.
And these faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don't know what are -- they're not working.
Look what happened in Buffalo, again, Seattle.
I think the Republicans may have won a city attorney's race in Seattle, the autonomous zone.
Who could even think of something that stupid?
And they're suppressing our vote.
And I have got news for you.
You're hurting the party.
You're hurting the very people that you want to help.
And Terry got caught up.
He's a good friend of mine.
He's a good guy.
He got caught up in something national, and we have got to change this internally, in my view.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Barbara Comstock, we have heard that perspective from James Carville, the Democrat.
What about from the Republican perspective?
What did Glenn Youngkin do right?
What did the Democrats do wrong?
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R-VA): Well, I would agree with James on the wrong end.
But, for Glenn, he's just a very uniquely talented candidate, competent person, and he understands that politics is about addition, not subtraction, like Donald Trump.
And it's bringing people together, the sunny optimism you saw in him.
And as James knows, it's the economy, stupid.
And the economy was the number one issue in Virginia.
And he focused on that.
And as a competent businessman, but also somebody who was very involved in charity and philanthropy, he really -- his genuineness came through.
And then focusing on the education issues, those are always state issues.
And parents have been homeschooling their kids online, and they want to be engaged and involved.
And that -- I think Michael Steele called Terry's line on parents not being involved as sort of throwing parents under the school bus, a pretty disastrous line, and those things happen in elections, and he just doubled down and wouldn't leave it.
And then the public safety issue, I think James is exactly right, that public safety issue played in Virginia, and you had police and law enforcement strongly supporting Glenn.
He had endorsements from a lot of Democrats in the law enforcement community because of what the Democrats had been doing.
They endorsed Glenn.
And I think what you saw in Minneapolis and New York with having now a new mayor who's a former police officer, I think the defund the police was also disastrous.
So these things all came together in a perfect storm.
But Glenn also did even better with rural base voters than Donald Trump did, because I... JUDY WOODRUFF: We saw that.
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK: And many of that was women, because I think women realize we like to have a nice person with a sunny personality.
It wasn't that we disliked Republican ideas.
We didn't like Donald Trump.
People like me, an anti-Trump Republican, in my family, a lot of my friends, it was very easy to vote for the positive, bringing together vision of Glenn Youngkin after going through the toxic years of Donald Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that's what I want to ask you about, Amy Walter.
Terry McAuliffe went into this campaign trying to make former President Trump a big issue, tried to tie Glenn Youngkin to him.
What happened to that strategy?
AMY WALTER: Well, quite frankly, it didn't work for the reasons that Barbara just laid out.
It was hard to make Glenn Youngkin a Trump clone because he didn't embrace Donald Trump.
Yes, he had to sort of thread the needle during the nomination process, so he didn't completely give him a stiff-arm and say, get away from me, but he did keep him out of that race.
This is going to be the real question going forward, Judy, is, will Republicans be able to do the same thing, be as disciplined as Youngkin was as we go into many of these Senate and House contests in 2022?
The first thing that happened, there wasn't a traditional primary in Virginia this year.
That meant there wasn't a long, drawn-out process where the president, former President Trump could come in and sort of make mischief.
That's not likely to happen in 2022.
Plus, many Republicans do believe that Donald Trump is the answer in their states, which may actually work in some states.
It doesn't work in a state like Virginia.
So the Trump piece, while it was critical when Trump was in the White House... JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
AMY WALTER: ... using Trump as a lightning rod doesn't work when he's not there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, James Carville, we heard some of your prescription for what Democrats need to do or not do going forward, as we look to the 2022 midterms.
But what about President Biden is saying today, that if you will just pass Build Back Better, if you will just pass this infrastructure bill, people will be helped and that will make a difference?
How much difference will that make?
JAMES CARVILLE: Well, I think it can make an enormous difference.
And, by the way, it seems to me and a lot of other people that the virus numbers are really getting better.
There's a ton of pent-up demand in this economy.
I'm just not one of these people that thinks that we're necessarily doomed in 2022.
We could have a roaring economy.
This Build Back Better is going to give people a lot of confidence.And as long as we talk about things that are relevant to people and understand what they're going through in their lives and get rid of this left-wing nonsense, this claptrap I hear, I think we can be fine.
But we have got to stop.
We have got to get off of this.
These people have got to understand they're not popular around the country.
People don't like them.
And they're voting because that's the only way that they can express themselves and how much they disagree with this.
And, again, I go back.
And it's not just Virginia and New Jersey.
It's literally everywhere, up to and including Seattle.
And there's a real lesson here.
And it can be corrected.
But they have got -- these people have to understand, no one -- you're not popular.
People don't want to ride in the car with you.
They don't want to ride next to you in the subway.
You're annoying people.
And they got to understand that.
It's very important.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just to clarify, James Carville, before I go to Barbara Comstock, you're saying President Biden is not a drag for Democrats?
JAMES CARVILLE: Well, look, he probably was somewhat, but I don't think so.
Youngkin never mentioned President Biden.
He just let the Democrats sit there and light themselves up.
And, literally, Terry just got caught up in it.
But I don't -- I think he can be -- if they get this through, they have got a lot of good things in it, and they have got to sell it.
If they don't -- some Democrat -- every Democrat wants to be a policy maven.
No one wants to be a salesperson.
Well, you got to get out there and sell your product and tell people what's in it and quit worrying about being in the policy shop or being some self-important bureaucrat.
That's what I think.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Barbara Comstock, finally to you on what -- if Biden, President Biden, is able to get this passed, is that going to help Democrats?
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK: Well, I think their policies are what's unpopular right now.
And Biden's numbers, as well as Terry's numbers, were underwater, whereas -- and I would point out Trump's numbers were underwater in Virginia also.
It was only Glenn Youngkin, who was focusing on policies, the economy, schools and public safety.
His numbers were -- he had good numbers.
He was positive.
And so this is the kind of thing that if Republicans get back to the issues and the popular issues we can focus on, have pleasant people doing it and get rid of the surly sore loser who hopefully is in the rear mirror now, they can do much better.
And I think they will.
And the problem for the Democrats is, they're going to continue this infighting.
We had it with our Freedom Caucus and that hurt.
But now everyone is united to get back in the game.
So it's different for Republicans.
And Democrats have already spent a year of this infighting, and I think it had an impact.
And thank you very much, Congresswoman Jayapal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's the day after and a lot to chew over.
Barbara Comstock, James Carville, Amy Walter, thank you, all three.
We appreciate it.
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK: Say hi to Mary, James.
JAMES CARVILLE: I will.
I will, Barbara.
Always good to see you, Amy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked consideration of a voting rights bill for the fourth time this year.
Democrats needed 60 votes to begin debate, but they fell well short.
They say the bill is needed to combat new restrictions on voting in at least 19 states.
Republicans charge that it would usurp state authority over elections.
Young children across the U.S. began getting vaccinated against COVID-19 today.
Inoculations began after the CDC approved low doses of Pfizer's vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old.
Meanwhile, White House officials warned against vaccine misinformation.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S.
Surgeon General: Every parent has a right to the facts, so they can make decisions for their children, based on accurate scientific information.
Misinformation robs them of this freedom.
That's why I'm asking parents to please seek answers from credible sources.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Officials also say that a federal rule mandating vaccinations at large private companies will be issued in the next few days.
The U.S. military warned today that China's nuclear force is growing much more rapidly than expected.
A Pentagon report said that Beijing could have 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030. the U.S. has some 3, 750.
General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he does not expect China to use its growing power against Taiwan, at least within the next two years.
Another Pentagon review has concluded that no one should be punished for a U.S. drone strike that mistakenly killed 10 Afghan civilians.
It happened amid the chaotic U.S. pullout in August, days after an Islamic State bomber killed 13 U.S. troops and 169 Afghans.
The review cites communications and targeting failures, but no misconduct or negligence.
The U.N. human rights office is blaming Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels for extreme brutality in their civil war.
Thousands have been killed and wounded in Tigray province since fighting began a year ago.
and witnesses have told of famine and mass expulsions.
The government joined in the probe and barred investigators from some of the worst-affected areas.
Back in this country, the Federal Reserve will begin easing its pandemic era economic stimulus.
Today's announcement came as prices for food, fuel and other goods keep rising.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged today that it's likely the problem will last well into next year.
JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: As the pandemic subsides, supply chain bottlenecks will abate and job growth will move back up.
And, as that happens, inflation will decline from today's elevated levels.
Of course, the timing of that is highly uncertain, but, certainly, we should see inflation moving down by the second or third quarter.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Central Bank has been buying Treasury and mortgage bonds to stimulate economic activity.
It now plans to phase out those purchases by next summer.
Wall Street took the Fed's news in stride, and major indexes managed modest gains and more record closes.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 105 points to finish at 36157.
The Nasdaq rose 162 points.
The S&P 500 added almost 30.
And for the first time since 1995, baseball's Atlanta Braves are celebrating a World Series championship.
They finished off the Houston Astros last night in game six.
The Braves erupted after the last out on Houston's home field.
It marked Atlanta's fourth World Series title overall.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": a look at the health care workers making home visits in a push to improve vaccination rates; Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the lessons of the pandemic and how to prevent the next one; a new exhibit honors the legacy of artist and educator David Driskell; plus much more.
Gun rights and the Second Amendment were front and center at the Supreme Court today.
As John Yang reports, it's the first major test of gun regulations since the court said that gun ownership was a right protected by the Constitution.
JOHN YANG: While the Supreme Court has said the Constitution gives Americans the right to keep a gun at home, gun rights advocates say that should apply outside the home as well.
TOM KING, President, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association: The Second Amendment doesn't end at your doorstep.
JOHN YANG: Tom King is president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.
TOM KING: I think that someone who is not otherwise prohibited should be issued a concealed-carry permit without any problems at all.
JOHN YANG: King's group sued New York on behalf of two Upstate members who are licensed to both were denied concealed-carry permits for self-defense because officials said they didn't prove they needed them.
TOM KING: They were turned down for no reason at all, OK, no reason given, other than, I don't think that you need it.
JOHN YANG: When the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to gun ownership in 2008, the ruling, written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, acknowledged that the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.
Gun control backers argue that limits are needed to protect another right.
Kris Brown, president of the advocacy group Brady: KRIS BROWN, President, Brady: It's about the right to live, about our ability as Americans to walk down the street, to leave our homes, to go to church, to go to synagogue, and actually be able not to fear being shot.
That's ultimately what's at stake in this case.
JOHN YANG: While King, a member of the National Rifle Association's Board of Director, says that big city gun laws do little to curb violent crime, Brown says that licensing systems like New York state's do.
KRIS BROWN: States that don't have robust permitting systems have on average, at minimum, about a 12 percent increase or spike in gun-related violence in those states.
These permitting systems work.
JOHN YANG: New York is one of eight states plus the District of Columbia that require gun owners to prove a need for a concealed-carry permit.
Some of today's oral arguments focused on the history of gun regulation in America, which the court had used to establish the right to gun ownership.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor pressed the attorney arguing for the gun group on which history was relevant.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice: In Colonial America, at least four, if not five states restricted on concealed arms.
After the Civil War, there were many, many more such states.
Some included in their Constitution that you can have a right to arms, but not concealed.
I don't know how I get past all that history, without you sort of making it up and saying there's a right to control states that has never been exercised in the entire history of the United States, as to how far they can go in saying this poses a danger.
JOHN YANG: Chief Justice John Roberts asked one of the attorneys arguing in support of the New York law why someone should have to show a special need to exercise a constitutional right.
JOHN ROBERTS, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: So, why do you have to show -- in this case, convince somebody that you're entitled to exercise your Second Amendment right?
You can say that the right is limited in a particular way, just as First Amendment rights are limited.
But the idea that you need a license to exercise the right, I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights.
MARCIA COYLE, "The National Law Journal": That showed one indication that the chief justice is thinking that there's something not quite right here about what's going on.
JOHN YANG: Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent for "The National Law Journal."
MARCIA COYLE: The court appeared just as divided as they were in 2008.
And, in 2008, the court was divided over what the right in the Second Amendment meant.
But, this time, they're looking at, what is the scope of that right?
JOHN YANG: Roberts and other justices pushed the gun owners' attorney on whether the right to bear arms extends everywhere, the New York City subway, crowded football stadiums, Times Square on New Year's Eve.
MARCIA COYLE: This is why this case is difficult.
There is this balance between public safety and a constitutional right.
JOHN YANG: The court will likely rule by next summer.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even as vaccinations for younger children are expected to ramp up soon, COVID-19 vaccination rates for adults have slowed across much of the country.
Nationally, about 70 percent of Americans 18 years and older are fully vaccinated.
But many cities and states aren't giving up on pushing that number higher.
Amna Nawaz reports on one effort in Washington, D.C., that brings vaccines straight to residents' homes.
AMNA NAWAZ: Every morning in this Washington, D.C., warehouse begins like this, nurses prepping, packing up, and rolling out portable subzero freezers full of COVID-19 vaccines.
PATRICK ASHLEY, D.C. Department of Health: Today, we're doing 20 vaccinations in the community.
AMNA NAWAZ: Patrick Ashley helps lead the District's health emergency response.
That includes this program that takes the vaccine straight to people's homes.
PATRICK ASHLEY: We want to take out any excuse that they might have of why they wouldn't get vaccinated.
So we have heard from some people that it's child care.
So we take we have taken that away.
We have heard that it's hard to find.
You pick up a phone, we will schedule it for you, we will come to your house.
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE, Registered Nurse: Hello.
Hi, how are you?
My name is Adae (ph).
I'm calling from Department of Health WOMAN: Yes.
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: Yes, I'm calling regarding your vaccination for today.
AMNA NAWAZ: On this day, Adedolapo Adegbite - - she goes by Adae -- is one of two nurses crisscrossing the District to dole out doses.
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: So, with this homebound, it literally makes people feel safe.
I'm in my home.
I have a nurse coming to me.
I get to be in the comfort of my zone -- of my home, and I feel -- they feel safer.
AMNA NAWAZ: Since launching this spring, D.C.'s at-home vaccine program has administered more than 1, 500 shots.
It's a fraction of the one million shots the city has given out.
But officials say it's just one part of the District's plan to boost its vaccination rate, which, at around 75 percent, is already higher than the national average PATRICK ASHLEY: We're not going to get everybody with this program, but it does provide yet another option for individuals to get vaccinated so that we're not just doing seven out of 10.
We're hoping for 10 out of 10 eventually.
AMNA NAWAZ: In fact, the majority of residents using the service are getting their first COVID vaccination.
But Adegbite's first stop today is to administer boosters to 90-year-old Peggy Templeman and her caretaker, Lillian Bazemore.
Both were originally vaccinated in the spring.
PEGGY TEMPLEMAN, D.C. Resident: It's difficult for me to get out and about.
AMNA NAWAZ: So if they hadn't come to you to give you the shots, how would you have gotten your vaccine?
PEGGY TEMPLEMAN: I would have had to go out, which would have been kind of difficult for me, more difficult than staying in the house.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: Bazemore says she works around the clock, making it hard to go get a vaccine during business hours, even though it's crucial for her job.
LILLIAN BAZEMORE, Home Aide: I work around seniors, and I'm always around seniors.
I can't afford for any of them to get sick.
So I'm afraid to take something to them.
Even though I might not feel bad, I wouldn't want to jeopardize them.
AMNA NAWAZ: Adegbite delivers the doses, monitors for side effects, and answers questions on site.
Sometimes, she asks some of her own, especially now that demand, she says, has ticked up.
Do you ever ask them why they waited until now to get the shot or why they're getting it now?
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: So, for first dosers, when you ask, it's like: My job is making me get it.
AMNA NAWAZ: Most of them because -- they're getting them because of mandates.
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: Right or, I didn't know I could get it.
Oh, I didn't know how serious it was.
Oh, there's another variant.
And it's like, wow, yes, yes, they're so -- and, some people, it's just education.
AMNA NAWAZ: Health officials tell us among the many reasons people share for why they choose to get vaccinated at home, privacy is something they hear often.
In fact, even though most of the shots they administer are first or second doses, none of those patients wanted to talk to us today.
DR. JAMES HILDRETH, Meharry Medical College: Whatever avenues are available to us to get more shots in arms, we need to take advantage of them.
AMNA NAWAZ: Dr. James Hildreth of Nashville's Meharry Medical College says every shot counts.
And figuring out how to get to people who aren't looking for the vaccine is a challenge for health officials nationwide.
DR. JAMES HILDRETH: Trust is a huge issue here.
So whether it's a city or state or federal agency that's trying to get more vaccines, we have got to identify trusted organizations and trusted individuals to be engaging the communities, those who are resistant to vaccines, because that really is what makes the difference, when you have someone engaging those who are hesitant who they trust or respect.
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: We're going to the last morning appointment AMNA NAWAZ: Back in Washington, D.C., Adegbite's day continues, house after house, shot after shot.
Do you think about the role that you're playing and sort of the bigger picture ending this pandemic every day?
ADEDOLAPO ADEGBITE: Yes.
Initially, it wasn't much of like, oh -- I just felt like I was working, and that's just me doing my day-to-day work.
But knowing what the COVID did to everybody and how long it's taken for us to get over it, it's really exciting to know that people are actually coming out now.
For whatever reason they're coming out to get it, we're just glad that we are able to help.
AMNA NAWAZ: One patient and one shot at a time.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz in Washington, D.C. JUDY WOODRUFF: Late next month, it will be two years since China confirmed a mysterious new virus was behind a cluster of pneumonia-like infections in the city of Wuhan.
As of today, that virus, COVID-19, has claimed the lives of over five million people worldwide and nearly 750,000 Americans.
Many questions about the virus still exist, but much more is known as well.
We see that in a new book by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One."
In it, he has insights about the last two years and some optimism about the future.
And Dr. Gupta joins us now.
Sanjay Gupta, welcome.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, Author, "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One": What a pleasure, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Welcome to the "NewsHour."
We're used to seeing you on CNN, so we appreciate your joining us to talk about the book.
You end this book on hope, and you talk about the fight for the future, but you also have a sobering message throughout.
And that is that -- in fact, you quote experts as saying that this could be just a dress rehearsal, that many of us in our lifetime are going to see another pandemic.
Why do they believe that?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA: Well, I think what most people believe when they look at these emerging pathogens is that these jumps of pathogen from animal to human are happening more and more frequently.
Part of that is because the population of humans is increasing.
We're increasingly encroaching on animal habitats.
And that's where the majority of these new pathogens come from.
So that's likely to happen.
I think the -- that's the part of that I think alarms people.
But I think the optimistic part is that it doesn't necessarily mean that those emerging pathogens have to turn into pandemics.
I think that's what really struck me over the last year-and-a-half, Judy, just talking to experts all over the world.
This idea that we could essentially become pandemic-proof, I think, became -- first, it sounded audacious to me, but became increasingly real.
Those jumps may happen but they don't have to turn into what happened here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
And you do spell out mistakes that were made by even developed countries like the United States, that we assume would have known better.
What were some of the big mistakes you have seen and what are the prescriptions for avoiding them in the future?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA: You know, I will tell you, I will preface by saying, Judy, that, pre-pandemic, the United States was listed, according to these indices, as the best prepared country in the world, wealthy country, lots of resources.
And we all know how that turned out.
There were times when we had the highest numbers of cases, certainly per capita, but overall in the world.
I think there was a couple of sort of very specific mistakes, then more philosophical mistakes.
I think one thing was just testing.
In order to really diagnose a problem in medicine, whether an individual patient or be a societal pandemic, you have to understand what you're dealing with.
And I think, with this particular pandemic, for lots of different reasons, we simply weren't testing.
We did not do testing early enough, and even when the tests rolled out, in part because they were flawed and for some other reasons, we simply didn't have enough widespread testing.
And frankly, Judy, it's still a problem now.
In the fall of 2021, this many months into the pandemic, it's still very hard to get a clear idea of just how widespread the problem is.
If I were to ask a simple question, how many people have been exposed to COVID in the United States, you will get lofts different answers from different experts.
That's a big problem.
I think a second big one was, if you looked at the data coming out of Wuhan at a time when they were saying, hey, look we think things aren't that bad, it's not -- doesn't appear to be spreading human to human, at the same time, they were also shutting down a city of 11 million people.
And that should have been a really significant clue that this was not only spreading, but it seemed to be spreading asymptomatically, meaning people didn't even have symptoms, they didn't know they were sick, and yet they were still spreading.
And that should have really been a clear indicator that masks were going to be necessary.
So we didn't start leaning into masks in the United States until later in the spring, whereas other countries, including China, including South Korea, many countries in that part of the world were doing masks much earlier.
Those were specific things.
But, philosophically, like you alluded to, when you live in a wealthy country, I think a lot of times you have this belief that we can wait for the home run hit, we can run for the knockout punch, we don't have to do these simple things, we can just do the big thing when it comes.
And the big thing was the vaccine.
But as a result of waiting so long, I think we missed a lot of opportunities to, sadly, Judy, just very sadly, to have prevented a lot of deaths, and I mean hundreds of thousands of deaths potentially prevented.
And I don't think I'm exaggerating that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his book.
And we will have the rest of my conversation with him tomorrow on the "NewsHour."
Artist David Driskell died last year of COVID at the age of 88.
A longtime collector who raised the profile of African American art and artists, his own paintings are now getting their due.
Jeffrey Brown has this report for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: Scenes of city life and nature, of Christian religious imagery and African masks, they were subjects David Driskell would return to again and again in his more than six decades as an artist, work, says art historian and curator Adrienne Childs, that deserves to be better known.
ADRIENNE CHILDS, Art Historian and Curator, The Phillips Collection: Why are we looking at David Driskell now?
It's because it's about time.
I think that his work was overlooked because his energy was not funneled into getting his work on the wall.
It was funneled into getting others noticed.
JEFFREY BROWN: Artist, historian, curator, educator, collector, Driskell influenced several generations of artists and students, and helped change the landscape of American art generally with exhibitions such as his 1976 landmark Two Centuries of Black American art, showcasing then-under-recognized individuals and art forms.
Art historian Julie McGee is author of a biography of Driskell.
JULIE MCGEE, Art Historian: I think there are probably five David Driskells or maybe more than that.
I mean... JEFFREY BROWN: Five?
JULIE MCGEE: Yes.
I think he absolutely felt a sense of mission to be an educator.
And the way that factored into his life was as an art educator and art historian who took up the mantle to ensure that African American art was known and that African American artists were supported.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now Driskell is being celebrated for his own art in David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History, co-organized by the High Museum of art in Atlanta and the Portland Museum of Art in Maine.
Julie McGee is its curator.
Adrienne Childs is coordinating curator for the installation at its current stop, Washington, D.C.'s Phillips Collection.
One of the earliest works here, the 1956 painting Behold Thy Son, a response from Driskell to the gruesome murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi a year earlier.
Till's mother had insisted the casket be open, so the world could see the viciousness of the racist attack.
ADRIENNE CHILDS: Driskell comes us with this really interesting take on it in Behold Thy Son where the beaten boy's mother is holding him up and presenting him in church to the congregation.
JEFFREY BROWN: It's painting almost in real time, but it's also looking to the history of art, right, I mean, the crucifixion, Christ on the cross.
ADRIENNE CHILDS: He's definitely looking through the history of Western art in this case, but bringing it home.
JEFFREY BROWN: Another subject for Driskell, scenes of urban Black life.
He painted Ghetto Wall #2 in 1970, a brick wall, graffiti, a figure in Black, the American flag exploded in pieces amid a riot of color.
JULIE MCGEE: So, it is very much an artist who is using the canvas to express the experience of living in America in 1970.
The associations that David Driskell would have as a Black man in America, what is it?
Do I love America?
Is the flag I, you, me?
Is it a shattered promise?
JEFFREY BROWN: Color, form, surface, composition.
Driskell was looking at artists like Cezanne and Rembrandt, and constantly experimenting as a painter.
His Homage to Romare honors the artist Romare Bearden and his work with collage.
Driskell then developed his own collage technique, seen in paintings like Upward Bound in 1980 and Flowing Like a River in 1996.
Driskell taught all his life at Talladega College, Howard and Fisk universities and, beginning in 1977, the University of Maryland, which in 2001 established the David C. Driskell Center, dedicated to furthering scholarship in African American and African diaspora art and culture.
He also had a long time home and studio in Falmouth, Maine, where he continued to work on another great love, scenes from nature, especially, in a variety of forms, the pine tree.
Julie McGee would often visit him there.
JULIE MCGEE: There's something about the studio space that was a creative sanctuary for him.
I would say that, in many ways, it is the audacity that he had as an artist and creator that enabled him to be the curator and scholar that he was.
JEFFREY BROWN: Driskell, who collected and painted African masks, often spoke of art as a priestly calling.
Here he is in a 2020 interview for The Phillips Collection.
DAVID DRISKELL, Artist: Everybody has a calling.
Everybody has a field that they are supposed to be dedicated to, and that, if one can define that field beyond self, and be inclusive of others, then that's one of the most important things that can be done, if you can pass it on, if you can say, here is my gift to you.
JEFFREY BROWN: He often walked through the galleries of The Phillips.
When he was a student at Howard University, Washington, D.C., was still a segregated city and the museum was one of the few cultural spaces open to him.
There is a sense of coming full circle back to The Phillips, where he was a student.
ADRIENNE CHILDS: Yes.
(CROSSTALK) ADRIENNE CHILDS: It is bittersweet to be here in the room with his works that were in his studio and going from the 1950s up into the 2000s, and he's not here.
JEFFREY BROWN: David Driskell helped with the early coordination of this exhibition.
It was meant to coincide with his 90th birthday.
He worked to the end of his life, dying of COVID at age 88 on April 1, 2020.
The exhibition David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History continues in Washington through January 9, 2022, and then moves to the Cincinnati Art Museum.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at The Phillips Collection.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And an important news update before we go.
The Associated Press has now called the race for governor of New Jersey for the incumbent, Democrat Phil Murphy.
He narrowly defeated Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.
And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.