AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening.
I’m Amna Nawaz.
Judy Woodruff is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: withdrawal fallout.
President Trump defends his decision to remove
U.S. troops from Syria, as the violence there
escalates and the U.S. House votes overwhelmingly
to condemn the move.
Then: taking the stage.
After a dozen Democrats square off in prime
time, analysis of the debate and how its reshaping
the primary fight.
Plus: Millions of Americans struggle with
the daily ravages of Alzheimer’s, but breakthrough
medicine right at the edge of possibility
is spreading hope in the battle against this
DAVID KNOPMAN, Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Center, Mayo Clinic: We need to be doing more
of these phase one trials, looking at different
We need to take 99 shots on, 100 shots on
goal to find one that’s good, I’m fine with
AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
AMNA NAWAZ: A
president and his agenda under assault on
The U.S. withdrawal in Syria and the impeachment
inquiry kept President Trump on the defensive
He spent much of the day ignoring impeachment,
and insisting his shift in Syria was the right
At the White House, President Trump, after
meeting with Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella,
dismissed criticism of his withdrawal from
Northeast Syria and the ensuing Turkish invasion.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I’m not going to get involved in a war between
Turkey and Syria.
AMNA NAWAZ: The president then likened Kurdish
fighters belonging to the PKK militia to the
Islamic State fighters they helped the U.S.
fight in Syria.
DONALD TRUMP: Now, the PKK, which is a part
of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse
at terror and more of a terrorist threat in
many ways than ISIS.
AMNA NAWAZ: Mr. Trump insisted he is making
good on a longstanding promise to get U.S.
troops out of long-running wars.
And he played down fears that Russia will
fill the vacuum.
DONALD TRUMP: Syria has a relationship with
So they will come in for their border.
And they will fight.
They may bring partners in.
They could bring Russia in.
And I say, welcome to it.
Frankly, if Russia is going to help in protecting
the Kurds, that’s a good thing, not a bad
AMNA NAWAZ: Those words drew sharp criticism
from a Trump ally, Republican Senator Lindsey
LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To rely on Russia and
Iran to protect us against the rise of ISIS
is, quite frankly, insane.
AMNA NAWAZ: The president fired back at Graham.
DONALD TRUMP: Lindsey Graham would like to
stay in the Middle East for the next thousand
years, with thousands of soldiers and fighting
other people’s wars.
I want to get out of the Middle East.
AMNA NAWAZ: Still, the president dispatched
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo to Ankara this evening to
press Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan
for a cease-fire, a plan Erdogan dismissed
before Turkish Parliament today, unless the
Kurds withdrew from the Turkish-Syrian border.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): Operation Peace Spring will last
until we go down to 30 to 35 kilometers along
the line from Manbij to the Iraqi border,
as we have previously declared.
There is no doubt or hesitation about this.
We will have no open doors on this matter.
AMNA NAWAZ: All of this as President Trump’s
other critical challenge ground on, with another
key witness testifying in the impeachment
Michael McKinley, a senior adviser to Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo, abruptly resigned from
his post last week.
He was reportedly telling congressional investigators
that his departure was driven by a concern
over the treatment of former Ambassador to
Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
She was recalled from her post in May, amid
agitation inside the White House that she
was disloyal to the president.
Also on the Hill today, a surprise second
appearance from former U.S. envoy to Ukraine
State Department official George Kent told
lawmakers yesterday that Volker was part of
a group that took over the administration’s
Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly said
the group also included Gordon Sondland, the
U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and
Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
They allegedly dubbed themselves the three
With back-to back interviews and depositions
this week, House Democrats are pushing on
with the probe, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi
said yesterday the House would hold off on
a vote to formally authorize the inquiry.
Today, House Republicans again accused Democrats
of running an unfair process.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said
they are being denied access to closed testimony
KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Somehow, we’re supposed
to trust what comes out of that?
And they deny members of Congress, who are
lent the power and the voice of the American
public, to even read what goes on.
They deny members of Congress from even the
ability to sit inside that committee.
AMNA NAWAZ: The investigation continues tomorrow,
with Ambassador Sondland testifying behind
Both impeachment and Syria converged at a
late-afternoon White House meeting, where
Mr. Trump clashed with top Democrats after
a bipartisan vote in the House condemned his
action in Syria.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think the president
was very shaken up by the fact that 300 — was
it 350 — 354 — I had to make sure I had
the number correct — and that means a majority,
a big majority of the Republicans voted.
What we witnessed on the part of the president
was a meltdown.
AMNA NAWAZ: For more on the developments today
and this week on the House impeachment inquiry,
I’m joined by our own Yamiche Alcindor, who’s
been tracking developments from the White
House, and Nick Schifrin, who’s following
the diplomatic storylines.
Yamiche, let me begin with you now.
We heard the president there defending his
decision in Syria to pull back those U.S.
How is that defense complicating or impacting
the very real political challenges he’s facing
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, President Trump’s
decision to withdraw troops from Syria is
really complicating the political landscape
as he needs Republicans to back him, and as
Democrats are forging ahead with their impeachment
Today, as you noted, the White House held
a meeting with Republican leaders and Democratic
leaders, and that meeting really went into
chaos and devolved into partisan attacks.
Nancy Pelosi, as you said, said that the president
had a meltdown.
She also said that people should now pray
for the president’s health because he’s essentially
not really mentally stable.
Chuck Schumer also said that the president
was attacking Nancy Pelosi, calling her a
The White House, though, is pushing back on
The White House is saying that President Trump
was actually very measured and that Democrats
walked out of the meeting and that they didn’t
really get the work done that they were there
But all of this is really because President
Trump is feeling very, very anxious about
the fact the House overwhelmingly voted in
a bipartisan way to condemn his actions in
AMNA NAWAZ: Yamiche, that meeting we talked
about was late today, this afternoon at the
Also late today, you got your hands on a letter
that President Trump sent to President Erdogan
Tell us what was in that letter and what kind
of response it’s getting, especially from
members of the president’s own party.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, again, the president
is really alienating and angering Republicans
at a time when he critically needs Republicans
on the Hill, in the House and the Senate,
to be on his side because of this impeachment
I want to read what the president released
It’s a letter to the president of Turkey dated
It says, in part: “Let’s work out a good deal.
It will look upon you forever — history will
look upon you forever as the devil if good
things don’t happen.
Don’t be a tough guy.
Don’t be a fool.”
So, that’s President Trump really trying to
give Republicans something to say, look, I’m
being tough on Turkey here.
Now, Republicans who also were in that meeting
at the White House are backing up the president.
Kevin McCarthy was saying that the president
was actually trying to get things done and
that Nancy Pelosi was really overly politicizing
But what is clear is that there is bipartisan
condemnation of the president’s actions.
And the House is actually going to be now
looking into a sanctions package that is going
to be above what the president is doing in
So Republicans, while they’re backing up the
president with his rhetoric, they are really
pushing back on his ideas and his actions
AMNA NAWAZ: Bipartisan anger there.
Nick, step back with us for a second.
Let’s fill in some context here.
It’s not just Syria that members of Congress
are angry about here, right?
What else is Trump facing right now from them?
NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, I think and Congress reflects
a kind the national security consensus that
we have seen largely since 1945, since the
end of the World War — since the end of World
War II, that the U.S. should play a leading,
if not the leading role in the world, and
that the U.S. military is a key tool in order
to pursue U.S. interests.
And, today, that has led the U.S. military
to have bases in over 70 countries.
Now, President Trump referred to that number
today, and not in a good way.
And he criticizes and fundamentally questions
the idea of how the military has been used.
And he advocates for restraint of the U.S.
military, how it’s deployed and where it’s
And he gave one of the most clear explanations
of a kind of Trump doctrine, a kind of grand
strategy, when, as we saw a little bit of
in your piece, when he was responding to criticism
by Senator Graham.
DONALD TRUMP: When I ran, I ran on a basis
we’re going to bring our great soldiers back
home, where they belong.
We don’t have to fight these endless wars.
Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle
East for the next thousand years, with thousands
of soldiers and fighting other people’s wars.
The people of South Carolina don’t want us
to get into a war with Turkey, a NATO member,
or with Syria.
Let them fight their own wars.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And, by the way, President
Trump is not the only one making that argument.
Last night, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic
candidate for president, also said, hey, look,
the U.S. should come out of the Middle East.
AMNA NAWAZ: So we’re hearing the president
say, I ran on this.
This is what I promised I would do.
This is my foreign policy.
But the criticism he is facing isn’t just
coming from members of Congress, right?
It’s coming from other government agencies,
NICK SCHIFRIN: From largely within his own
government, because of that foreign policy
The military, the State Department, intelligence
officials I talk to all advocate a policy
that they say Syria is a perfect example of,
It is a small military footprint all over
the world, and that those small military,
special operations forces, largely, will be
training local forces who can pursue U.S.
And, of course, Syria is an example.
And that is instead of sending 100,000 troops,
for example, to Iraq and Afghanistan.
And these people believe that Syria was a
good version of it, and also that it was sustainable.
They also argue it’s necessary, because if
the U.S. is not in places like Syria or Afghanistan,
then there could be vacuums, and in those
vacuums, terrorists could plot attacks against
the United States.
And there’s one last critique that I talked
to — that I heard from people who even argued
for restraint today.
And they said, if you’re going to restrain
the U.S. military, you need to reduce the
budget for the U.S. military, you need to
increase the budget and kind of focus on the
State Department, the diplomats, the intelligence
And they say that President Trump has increased
the Pentagon budget and decreased the State
But President Trump says he just has got a
different world view.
AMNA NAWAZ: Some inherent tensions there.
Yamiche, back to you.
Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile, on Capitol
Hill, the impeachment inquiry continues.
There are still a number of officials appearing
on Capitol Hill and testifying as part of
Who else do we know was on the Hill today,
and what do we know about what happened there?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There was some critically
important testimony going on, on the Hill
today related to the impeachment inquiry.
Michael McKinley, as you noted, was here on
Capitol Hill in D.C. talking about what he
thinks was the unjustified removal of the
former ambassador to Ukraine.
Sources tell me that he said that diplomats
were being mistreated under President Trump’s
He also said that people’s careers are being
upended because of political reasons, I’m
told by sources.
That said, we’re going to see more of this.
Gordon Sondland is supposed to be coming to
the Hill tomorrow to testify.
He is the current ambassador to the European
Now, he is someone who is seen as an ally
to President Trump.
But, at the same time, these testimonies have
really been surprising in a lot of ways.
So, it’s going to be important to really watch
Also, Bill Taylor, he’s a career official
who is still working at the State Department.
But he’s the person who sent that text message
that said he thought it would be “crazy” — quote,
unquote — to withhold aid from Ukraine for
He was concerned about that.
He’s now going to be coming to Capitol Hill
next week to testify.
So, these are all things that we need to watch,
as the president continues to be very, very
angry about this impeachment inquiry and really
is saying the Democrats are doing this to
hurt his presidency, and not to look into
actual wrongdoing here.
AMNA NAWAZ: Another jam-packed day here in
Yamiche Alcindor and Nick Schifrin on top
of it all, thanks to you both.
In the day’s other news: General Motors and
United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal
to end a month-long strike.
Terms of the four-year contract were not released,
but the UAW said it won major gains for some
The union had demanded higher wages, better
pay for new hires, and a promise to build
more vehicles inside the U.S. Union leaders
meet tomorrow to vote on the deal.
The U.S. special envoy on Iran says the withdrawal
from Northeast Syria doesn’t undermine efforts
to pressure Iran.
At a hearing today, senators from both sides
warned the pullout will aid the Syrian regime
and its Iranian allies.
But Brian Hook disagreed:
President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear
deal with Iran.
BRIAN HOOK, State Department Special Representative
for Iran: I gave a speech a couple of weeks
ago looking at the sort of history of the
The president’s decision with respect to Syria
is not going to change our Iran strategy or
the efficacy of it.
Iran doesn’t have the money that it used to,
to support Assad and support its proxies.
So Iran is going to face a dilemma.
They can either support guns in Syria or prioritize
the needs of their own people at home.
AMNA NAWAZ: President Trump withdrew from
the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year,
and has imposed a wide range of economic sanctions.
There were signs today of a possible new Brexit
deal may be close.
Britain and the European held talks through
the night and into the day.
The chief E.U. negotiator reported good progress.
The leaders of France and Germany said an
agreement could be sealed at an E.U. summit
Spain is enduring a third night of street
violence over Catalonia’s push for independence.
In Barcelona, thousands turned out and battled
riot police this evening.
Protesters set fires and threw rocks and bottles.
The violence began Monday after nine separatist
leaders were convicted of sedition and sent
In Hong Kong, chief executive leader Carrie
Lam criticized votes in the U.S. Congress
backing pro-democracy demonstrators.
She warned it could — quote — “hurt American
interests in Hong Kong,” and she noted there
are more than 1,400 American businesses and
85,000 U.S. citizens in the city.
CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong Chief Executive (through
translator): I don’t need foreign parliaments
to tell us how important Hong Kong’s human
rights, freedoms and judiciary are, because
these are the core values of Hong Kong, which
every Hong Kong person will try their best
AMNA NAWAZ: Earlier, pro-democracy lawmakers
jeered and blocked Lam as she tried to give
an annual speech.
She eventually spoke via video link and insisted
Hong Kong is still a — quote — “very free
Also today, a leading protest organizer was
attacked by unknown assailants with hammers.
Supporters charged it was part of a campaign
of political terror.
Chinese tech giant Huawei has reported a double-digit
gain in sales, in the face of U.S. sanctions.
The company said today that sales for the
year were up 24 percent through September.
President Trump says Huawei is a security
risk, and, last May, he limited its access
to U.S. technology.
So far, though, he has delayed enforcing those
Back in this country, New York’s Democratic
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill aimed
at President Trump’s use of his pardon power.
It will let the state prosecute people even
after they receive pardons for federal crimes.
The goal is to ensure that the president cannot
use pardons to derail state investigations
of his associates.
Jury selection began today in Cleveland in
the first federal trial stemming from the
Two Ohio counties are suing six drugmakers
Some 2,000 other suits are still pending.
Today’s proceedings come amid reports that
three of the companies are offering a settlement
of $18 billion over 18 years.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 22 points to close below 27002.
The Nasdaq fell 24 points, and the S&P 500
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: analysis
of the critical moments from last night’s
Democratic debate; hope in the darkness, opening
a new frontier in the fight against Alzheimer’s;
and much more.
We turn now to the Democratic presidential
Twelve candidates faced off in a sometimes
heated debate last night in Westerville, Ohio.
Yamiche Alcindor was there and is back now
with this report.
AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The attacks on Senator Elizabeth
Warren started early and came from all sides.
AMY KLOBUCHAR: You can’t say you’re for corporate
responsibility if it doesn’t apply to everyone.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Senator Warren said we can’t be running any
We have got to level with people.
BETO O’ROURKE (D), Presidential Candidate:
Sometimes, I think that senator Warren is
more focused on being punitive or pitting
some part of the country against the other,
instead of lifting people up and making sure
that this country comes together around those
ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
I’m really shocked at the notion that anyone
thinks I’m punitive.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For months, the Massachusetts
senator has been gradually rising in the polls.
So when she again declined to go into detail
about the cost of her Medicare for all plan:
ELIZABETH WARREN: So, let me be clear on this.
Costs will go up for the wealthy.
They will go up for big corporations.
And for middle-class families, they will go
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Some of the more moderate
voices on the stage pounced.
That included Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
AMY KLOBUCHAR: The difference between a plan
and a pipe dream is something that you can
actually get done.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And South Bend, Indiana,
Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan
for everything, except this.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In past debates, Buttigieg
mostly stayed away from direct confrontation.
But, last night, he launched to several sharp
TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), Presidential Candidate:
What is an endless war if it’s not a regime
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Allow him to respond.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Respectfully, Congresswoman,
I think that is dead wrong.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That included exchanges
with Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard over
U.S. policy in Syria.
He also sparked on gun policy with former
Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
BETO O’ROURKE: To do what’s right.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: I don’t need lessons from
you on courage, political or personal.
Everyone on the stage is determined to get
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The candidates did agree
on one critical issue.
ANDREW YANG (D), Presidential Candidate: I
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Their support for the impeachment
inquiry facing President Trump.
KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
He has committed crimes in plain sight.
JULIAN CASTRO (D), Presidential Candidate:
He should be removed.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Last night also marked included
billionaire Tom Steyer’s first time on the
He has been pushing to impeach President Trump
for the past two years.
TOM STEYER (D), Presidential Candidate: Impeaching
and removing this president is something that
the American people are demanding.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Tremendous corruption with Biden.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Also a big topic, President
Trump accusing former Vice President Joe Biden
and his son Hunter of corrupt business dealings
Those unproven claims helped spark the impeachment
JOSEPH BIDEN: My son did nothing wrong.
I did nothing wrong.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Biden defended his family,
and went on the offensive.
JOSEPH BIDEN: The president and his thugs
have already proven that they, in fact, are
What we have to do now is focus on Donald
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Biden also criticized the
president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces
from Northern Syria.
That decision allowed Turkey to launch an
attack against the Kurds, who helped the U.S.
JOSEPH BIDEN: We have an erratic, crazy president
who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy
and operates out of fear for his own reelection.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: New Jersey Senator Cory
Booker joined in.
CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
So, first of all, understand that this president
is turning the moral leadership of this country
into a dumpster fire.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It was also the first debate
since Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suffered
a heart attack two weeks ago.
BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
We are going to be mounting a vigorous campaign
all over this country.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Sanders announced a rally
in New York this coming weekend.
BERNIE SANDERS: We’re going to have a special
guest at that event.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That special guest is New
York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
She’s a member of the so-called Squad of four
She and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are expected
to join Ilhan Omar of Minnesota in endorsing
An aide to the senator told “NewsHour” Sanders
hopes to also get the endorsement of the last
member of the Squad, Congresswoman Ayanna
Pressley of Massachusetts.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, will last night’s debate change
the presidential race?
For some post-game analysis, I’m here with
two “NewsHour” regulars, Amy Walter of The
Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s
“Politics With Amy Walter,” and Stu Rothenberg,
senior editor for Inside Elections.
And welcome to you both.
Three hours of debate last night.
If there was one candidate, Amy, who everyone
else had their sights trained on, it was Senator
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: It
AMNA NAWAZ: How did that go for her?
AMY WALTER: Well, she was, I think, every
— she was the target, I think, of every single
person on that stage.
We saw the clips about Medicare for all, which
was a big component of the attacks, on how
her plan would get paid for, which is — her
plan is actually Bernie Sanders’ plan.
But she was also attacked for sort of her
my way or the highway approach, that her plan
to — even her plan to break up big tech was
criticized by Andrea Yang.
So it was pretty clear that she’s seen now
as, if not the front-runner, at least a co-front-runner,
with Joe Biden.
But I think she handled it pretty well.
There wasn’t a moment in which you thought,
boy, that was a pretty terrible answer or
she looks really rattled.
There’s no doubt that her opponents and press
coverage is going to continue to focus on
her answer on how to pay for this Medicare
for all plan.
That’s not going away.
How she responds to it over time, I think,
So that was probably her least impressive
But, overall, I thought it was pretty good.
AMNA NAWAZ: Stu, what did you make of that?
STUART ROTHENBERG, Inside Elections: Same.
AMNA NAWAZ: That Medicare for all moment,
that — she took a lot of heat for that, not
really answering the question.
STU ROTHENBERG: Yes, she did.
She ducked the question.
And it was asked of her two or three times.
And she kept ducking.
I kind of felt like she fell off the horse,
but she got back on it pretty quickly, unlike
If you remember, in the second debate, when
Harris was attacked very early in the debate,
she kind of disappeared for the rest of the
Not in this case with Elizabeth martin.
She was as feisty as ever, as aggressive as
ever, as ever defending herself.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: That whole fight over Medicare
for all and some of the differences that were
obvious in that conversation last night, you
have talked about this before, some of the
fundamental choices that are within the Democratic
Party right now.
STU ROTHENBERG: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: Were any of those reconciled last
STU ROTHENBERG: No, but I kind of feel like
we’re coming to a head here, a critical point,
an inflection point maybe, whereby Democrats
are going to have to choose.
Do they want a populist progressive, like
Sanders, or more likely Warren, or do they
want somebody who’s progressive, but isn’t
so — isn’t so — is pragmatic, it’s not my
way or the highway?
And this is a decision I think we have been
waiting for, for months already.
And it kind of felt like last night like we’re
getting to the point where Democrats are going
to start making those choices, other choices
Do they want an older candidate or a younger
Do they want somebody with D.C. experience
or more of an outsider?
These are the critical choices we have been
waiting for them to make.
I think they’re on the cusp of starting to
make those choices.
AMY WALTER: That’s right, now that we’re getting
closer and closer to the fall, right?
STU ROTHENBERG: Yes.
AMY WALTER: Or we’re in the fall.
AMY WALTER: To the end of the fall now.
I’m not admitting it yet.
AMY WALTER: But, yes, now that we’re getting
closer and closer to when people actually
And I think Stu is right.
There’s always been these two lanes right
now, this sort of pragmatic, in the form of
Joe Biden, which is the return to normalcy,
Let’s just kind of go back to where we were
with Obama, get rid of Trump, that’s our first
priority, vs. the big structural change of
Warren and Sanders.
But what Pete Buttigieg did yesterday was
— and he’s been building this case for a
while — is, he said, well, there’s actually
a third way.
You don’t have to buy into just this or just
You can pick me.
I am going to be more — because I’m younger
and I’m more of a visionary.
I’m not a Washington insider.
I’m going to be different from Joe Biden.
I’m not all about returning to normalcy.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a pre-Trump
At the same time, I don’t have an interest
in getting into these protracted all-or-nothing
fights on policy, whether it’s on guns or
Medicare for all or on immigration, that some
of the other people on this stage want.
And so really setting up a way for voters
who may not feel like they’re comfortable
in either one of those lanes to have a place
AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned you were going to
watch Pete Buttigieg in that debate.
And since the debate, his campaign actually
announced he’s raised a million dollars since
You have also been following the money, which
is an interesting place to look.
The FEC deadline for those third-quarter fund-raising
numbers was yesterday.
Do we know anything about what that…
AMY WALTER: Well, I do think that more than
— more than this debate performance, the
money is going to be really the story going
forward, and the fact that Pete Buttigieg
did have a breakout night.
But he also raised a lot of money in that
And he’s sitting on $20 million — $23 million.
Joe Biden, the front-runner, at least in the
polling, has only $9 million in the bank.
That is not a very good place to be as we’re
headed to where we’re getting to big spending
time, getting into December especially.
STU ROTHENBERG: I mean, isn’t that also, though,
a problem for Elizabeth Warren, in that Bernie
Sanders has a boatload of cash sitting on?
AMY WALTER: That’s right.
STU ROTHENBERG: He’s not the kind of person
to just go away.
AMY WALTER: That’s a good point.
STU ROTHENBERG: As long as he has the money,
as long as he gets some endorsements that
he thinks are useful to him, whether I think
they’re quite as — like AOC, I’m not quite
so sure that is as useful to he thinks.
AMY WALTER: Right.
STU ROTHENBERG: But as long as he thinks they’re
useful, isn’t he likely to stay in the race?
And isn’t that a problem for Warren, because
they are — they’re not competing for identical
groups of voters, but similar sorts of supporters.
AMY WALTER: Right.
AMNA NAWAZ: There is some overlap there.
There’s also — you saw from the outside some
of those lower polling candidates.
We always say these debates are a great opportunity
for them to try to punch up, try to break
Stu, did you notice anyone else — Amy mentioned
Pete Buttigieg — kind of really standing
out to her.
Did you notice anyone else breaking away?
STU ROTHENBERG: Well, I thought obviously
Amy Klobuchar did.
I thought she did a good job.
She was very aggressive, again went after
Warren and really positioned herself as someone
who is realistic, pragmatic and can work with
Republicans, or at least put forward policy
proposals that are reasonable.
And she’s willing to compromise.
Having said that, I don’t know if there’s
any way for her to go as long as Joe Biden
is in the race.
And nobody else stood out to me.
I don’t know if I would say that’s a missed
I keep waiting for Kamala Harris to bust out
But she didn’t.
And Booker was fine.
But it’s just hard to stand out when you have
a crowd, and when you have the focus on three
or four people at the top of the list.
AMY WALTER: That’s right.
And they all seem to, though, be positioning
themselves, even Buttigieg, for what happens
if one of those three front-runners is no
longer in the contest, in other words, that
they have slipped.
STU ROTHENBERG: But it’s not just one of the
three front-runners, right?
AMY WALTER: Well, specifically Joe Biden…
STU ROTHENBERG: Specifically Joe Biden.
AMY WALTER: … if you’re Pete Buttigieg.
And if you’re Elizabeth Warren, you’re hoping
that it’s Bernie Sanders is unable to turn
that money into actual votes, and that there
STU ROTHENBERG: Right.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, over the course of the night
— really quickly — too, I want to mention
President Trump’s name was introduced again
and again and again into the conversation.
One of the main questions for Democratic primary
voters out there is, who can beat Donald Trump
Did anyone, you think, set themselves up as
the man or the woman who can stand up to President
AMY WALTER: Listen, Joe Biden, on polls, still
leads on that question.
It’s been dropping, the percent of Democrats
who believe he can beat Donald Trump.
Elizabeth Warren is the one who really has
to break through that ceiling of electability.
And I think the fact that she was the target
last night should stand her well in making
the case that I know what it’s like to take
incoming, and I know how to be able to deflect
that and also punch back, and, as Stu said,
to stick with my message.
I’m not going to get distracted by all the
different attacks that I’m going to get in
AMNA NAWAZ: Stu, just 30 seconds.
STU ROTHENBERG: I guess I don’t think that
the electability argument will be decided
until early 2020, after the Iowa caucuses.
Let’s see who does well.
Let’s see who improves or fails over the next
couple of months.
Electability will be important, but we really
don’t know what it’s going to look like in
the late winter, early spring.
AMNA NAWAZ: Still a long way to go.
AMY WALTER: Yes, long way to go.
AMNA NAWAZ: And another debate just a month
AMY WALTER: Yay.
AMNA NAWAZ: Amy Walter and Stu Rothenberg.
STU ROTHENBERG: I can’t take another one.
AMNA NAWAZ: Thanks to you both.
STU ROTHENBERG: Thanks.
AMY WALTER: Thanks.
Nearly six million people in this country
have Alzheimer’s disease.
Tragically, no treatment can fully stop it
But researchers around the world are trying
to crack the complicated puzzle that is Alzheimer’s.
Tonight, Miles O’Brien reports on intriguing
research and a different approach to battling
For the record, some of that work is funded
by retired Senator Jay Rockefeller.
His wife, Sharon, is the CEO of WETA, which
owns the “NewsHour.”
This story is part of our regular look at
the Leading Edge of science.
JUDI POLAK, Alzheimer’s Sufferer: Hello, everybody.
MILES O’BRIEN: To know Judi Polak is to love
JUDI POLAK: I miss you guys.
WOMAN: We miss you too, Judi.
MILES O’BRIEN: She brims with energy, kindness
JUDI POLAK: Did I tell you about that?
Can you believe that?
WOMAN: I know.
MILES O’BRIEN: At first, you would never know.
JUDI POLAK: I mean, I can’t remember what
I did yesterday, but I can remember Stacy
Elsa from 30 years ago.
MILES O’BRIEN: But, eventually, her disease
reveals what it is stealing, her memory.
JUDI POLAK: Do I have my keys?
Of course, this is the day I can’t find it.
MILES O’BRIEN: At age 61, Judi Polak is now
five years into her new normal after a bleak
She has Alzheimer’s disease.
JUDI POLAK: I would go to say something, and
it just didn’t come out, probably just like
I’m talking now.
It’s very difficult to have a fluent conversation.
MILES O’BRIEN: She was a neonatal nurse practitioner
with a doctoral degree.
Husband Mark is a neonatologist.
So they dove into this case, the one that
came home, with a lot of professional insight,
along with the personal anguish.
MARK POLAK, Husband of Judi Polak: We need
to fight this.
She’s not going to sit here in a chair and
One of our good friends said, the first person
to be cured with Alzheimer’s is alive today.
And that became my morning and evening prayer.
MILES O’BRIEN: That conviction is what brought
them to this moment on October 16, 2018.
The place is J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in
Morgantown, West Virginia, the hub of their
professional lives for decades.
But, on this day, the gurney was turned, and
patient Judi Polak made some medical history
in a clinical trial.
A team of scientists, engineers and practitioners
deployed a novel device to take aim at a big
barrier to progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s
the blood-brain barrier.
It is a semi permeable sheathing around blood
vessels in the brain that repels harmful germs,
while allowing essential nutrients in.
The problem is, the barrier also prevents
most medications from getting through because
of their larger molecular size.
ALI REZAI, Executive Chair, Rockefeller Neuroscience
Institute, West Virginia University: If you
can open up the blood-brain barrier, you have
entry into the brain for the targeted delivery
MILES O’BRIEN: Neuroscientist Ali Rezai is
executive chair of the Rockefeller Neuroscience
Institute at West Virginia University.
Dr. Rezai is leading a team intent on breaking
through Judi’s blood-brain barrier safely
ALI REZAI: Now you can deliver much less doses,
which improves the safety profile, and you
can deliver it more targeted to the area it
needs to go to.
MILES O’BRIEN: To temporarily open the barrier,
they are using a combination of MRI and PET
scans, an injection of tiny microbubbles,
and a million-dollar helmet that sends out
precisely focused beams of acoustic waves,
Using the imagery, thousands of ultrasound
waves are aimed at the hippocampus, the brain’s
The ultrasound vibrates the bubbles in the
bloodstream, and they breach the barrier.
It is a first.
And it worked.
By injecting a contrast agent, they can see
the proof in MRI imaging.
ALI REZAI: Contrast agent doesn’t normally
cross the blood-brain barrier, but here, this
light area shows the opening of the blood-brain
barrier in the hippocampus.
MILES O’BRIEN: And, crucially, an MRI taken
24 hours later shows Judi’s protective blood-brain
barrier is once again closed.
ALI REZAI: You don’t want it open all the
That will lead to a lot of problems.
MILES O’BRIEN: Temporarily opening the blood-brain
barrier may be a more effective means to get
drugs where they are needed in the brain.
But, for Alzheimer’s, there are no effective
drugs, despite more than 700 clinical trials.
DAVID KNOPMAN, Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Center, Mayo Clinic: These drugs made people
— at least some of them, so far, have actually
made people worse.
MILES O’BRIEN: Neurologist David Knopman is
associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease
Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
DAVID KNOPMAN: It’s extremely disheartening
to have to sit in front of people, like I
did earlier today, to say, I’m sorry, we haven’t
had any success.
MILES O’BRIEN: Researchers believe two proteins,
beta amyloid and tau, are the likely causes
In the brains of those afflicted, abnormal
tau accumulates, creating so-called tangles
In between the neurons, beta amyloid forms
in clumps, so-called plaques.
For many years, Alzheimer’s researchers were
focused on those amyloid plaques.
DAVID KNOPMAN: We definitely need to look
We need to be doing more of these phase one
trials, looking at different targets.
We need to take 99 shots on, 100 shots on
goal to find one that’s good, I’m fine with
MILES O’BRIEN: But what if drugs weren’t required
to begin the fight against Alzheimer’s?
Researchers have found focused ultrasound
alone can clear away plaques in mice.
Early data suggests the technique may be doing
the same for Judi and two others.
ALI REZAI: This area had a decrease in plaques
as compared to this area, which we didn’t
MILES O’BRIEN: It’s unclear why this happens.
The ultrasound might trigger an immune response,
or the brain’s glymphatic system, which clears
Regardless, in the case of the mice, their
behavior and memory function improved.
ALI REZAI: Hopefully, we can get replication
of the animal studies that shows that the
plaques were cleared and the symptoms improved
MILES O’BRIEN: It’s possible mice may not
be a good model for humans in this case.
After all, nearly all those failed trials
began with promising results in the animals.
But after three ultrasound treatments, Judi
and Mark are convinced she is doing better.
JUDI POLAK: I feel that I have more cognitive
I can’t tell from right now what I’m doing,
but I’m better than I was before.
MILES O’BRIEN: To try and separate the data
from the hope, the team at the Rockefeller
Neuroscience Institute is subjecting Judi
to some objective memory testing.
MAN: Car, brown, tree, bed, shirt.
MARC HAUT, West Virginia University: Go ahead,
tell me what you remember.
JUDI POLAK: Car, bed.
I was thinking about listening to it, and
then I lost my — car — I lost — I don’t
MILES O’BRIEN: Neuropsychologist Marc Haut
says it is too early to say if Judi’s symptoms
MARC HAUT: It’s hard to tell what’s true change
and what’s just fluctuation.
So, even your memory is better some days than
Mine clearly is.
And Judi is going to be even more affected
by just daily variations.
MILES O’BRIEN: None of this seems to slow
She is determined to power through, to stay
in the game, as much as the disease allows.
She still drives herself to a few destinations,
to the gym for regular workouts.
JUDI POLAK: Oh, right on my finger again.
I am not very good at this.
MILES O’BRIEN: And to her mother’s house for
a game of Yahtzee.
She is doing better.
I can tell the difference.
I used to have to show her everything.
MILES O’BRIEN: She still goes to the neonatal
intensive care unit to share lunch and love
with her old colleagues and lifelong friends.
And while she is there, she volunteers her
time as a cuddler for premature babies.
JUDI POLAK: This is what keeps me going.
Hi, little one.
Look at you.
You’re all dressed up.
You have the hiccups.
MILES O’BRIEN: This is what helps her fight
the sadness and the boredom that comes with
this relentless, cruel disease.
But the stark reality tugs hard.
JUDI POLAK: I’m fine when I’m at home, fine
doing what I do, my daily routine.
But this is going to get worse.
I mean, it’s going to happen.
MARK POLAK: I think there are still a lot
of tangles, but I have to believe that there’s
a slight improvement, which, for me, is a
If we get an hour more of her, that’s been
well worth it.
MILES O’BRIEN: Judi Polak is courageously
fighting to make and keep her memories.
And maybe, just maybe, it might lead to a
memorable impact on a dreadful disease.
For the “PBS NewsHour” I’m Miles O’Brien in
Morgantown, West Virginia.
AMNA NAWAZ: Now the story of a chef who is
working to reintroduce Native American culinary
traditions that existed long before Europeans
Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports
It’s part of his series Agents for Change.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The celebration begins
with well-known Native rituals.
But organizers at this American Indian community
center want to draw attention to the long-forgotten
Native culinary heritage.
SEAN SHERMAN, Founder and CEO, The Sioux Chef:
Because indigenous peoples had to be resourceful.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Taking center stage was
Sean Sherman, a chef better known by his brand,
Sioux Chef, as in S-I-O-U-X.
SEAN SHERMAN: So, there’s some dandelion.
There’s three kinds of mushrooms.
We have pattypan squash that we actually grew
in our garden.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He uses Native ingredients
common to the Americas for hundreds of years
before white settlers arrived.
SEAN SHERMAN: Part of our challenge to ourselves
was to cut out colonial ingredients, so we
stopped using dairy, wheat flour, cane sugar.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For chef Sherman, it is
also a way to push back against processed
foods that he and others blame for grave health
consequences in the U.S. today.
MARY OWEN, University of Minnesota, Duluth:
The foods that all of us are eating today,
most of us are eating today are killing us.
You know, they are the sources of our diabetes,
our chronic disease, our cardiovascular disease.
Native people have known how to grow and harvest
food for a very long time.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Mary Owen is a professor
of medicine who also practices at a nearby
She says poor diets are linked to two leading
causes of death among Native Americans, cancer
and heart disease.
MARY OWEN: Native people in this state die
10 years sooner than non-Natives, or white
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Forty-five-year-old Sean
Sherman grew up poor in the Black Hills on
the remote Pine Ridge Reservation in South
Dakota and began his career in Minneapolis,
working for years in restaurants, where he
learned various cuisines.
SEAN SHERMAN: Just all of a sudden, I realized
that there was no Native foods.
I just realized the other absence of indigenous
perspective anywhere in the culinary world,
nothing that represented the land we were
actually standing on.
You want me to write this to?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He set out to change that,
researching ancestral food systems and compiling
it all into a book.
“The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” won
the 2018 James Beard Award for best American
SEAN SHERMAN: What were my Lakota ancestors
eating and storing away?
How were they getting oils and salts and fats
and sugars and things like that?
So it took me quite a few years of just researching,
but it really became a passion.
We have all these beautiful ingredients around
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: With his business and
life partner, Dana Thompson, he travels around
the world to promote healthier and traditional
diets, appearing at events like the Duluth
Here, traditionally harvested wild rice is
added to the medley dished out in samples.
NATALIE SMITH, Cook: Well, it’s very different
from the things that I normally eat.
It was really fresh and kind of tasted like
STEPHANIE HEILIG, Retired Principal: It was
an absolutely phenomenal, to think that you
could put dandelion in a food and have it
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: There’s no argument that
fresh organic ingredients like these on display
are good for you.
There were demonstrations at the food expo
of how they can be turned into delicious dishes.
The problem for many people, especially living
in Native communities, is affordability and
access near where they live.
MARY OWEN: Between the cost of putting them
together and the time that it takes to prepare
them, that is more costly for so many.
You know, there is a huge problem of poverty
in our community.
People are working more than one job oftentimes.
They come home, and they’re tired.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Fresh foods and produce
are scarce on reservations, particularly rural
ones, where many people rely on convenience
stores for their groceries.
Sherman and Thompson want to tackle the challenge
of these so-called food deserts.
SEAN SHERMAN: Even if we could just get some
of those gas stations and just have one section,
one shelf of healthy indigenous options to
choose from, you know, just take away one
big shelf of chips, right?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Isn’t it true that those
chips would be a lot cheaper than the healthier
options that might replace them?
DANA THOMPSON, Co-Owner and COO, The Sioux
Chef: It’s cheaper on the front end.
And if you look at the cost of treating all
of those food-borne illnesses, it wipes that
price of the chips right out.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: There is even a cheaper
option, they say, foraging.
DANA THOMPSON: People can just go into their
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: We tag along at an organic
farm and garden run by the Shakopee Mdewakanton
Sioux Tribe near Minneapolis, as Sherman and
Thompson pick berries, plums, sunchokes, wild
herbs and greens.
SEAN SHERMAN: Well, we have some cedar.
We have some hyssop and some bergamot.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Back in a kitchen in St.
Paul, they whip up a delicious dish with the
ingredients they gathered, plus a few staples
like wild rice.
SEAN SHERMAN: It’s like autumn on a plate.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Mmm.
That is unlike anything I have ever tasted
in my life.
SEAN SHERMAN: Yes.
Like, around here, you can’t get more Minnesotan
than those foods, because they have been here
longer than Minnesota was a concept.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Most of The Sioux Chef’s
income today comes from a catering business.
They plan to open a nonprofit kitchen to train
Native chefs next year, and later open their
For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam
Lazaro reporting on, and eating off, the land
in St. Paul, Minnesota.
AMNA NAWAZ: And Fred’s reporting is a partnership
with the Under-Told Stories Project at the
University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
AMNA NAWAZ: On average, 130 Americans die
every day from opioid overdoses.
Treating addiction is proving to be a major
challenge in the states hardest hit by the
Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features clinical
psychologist Dr. Navdeep Kang.
He is working to make sure that those struggling
with addiction in his home state of Ohio have
access to the help they need.
NAVDEEP KANG, Clinical Psychologist: The opioid
epidemic is the greatest public health crisis
of our generation.
We’re talking about numbers on par with almost
a plane full of people falling out of the
sky every day.
And if we don’t do anything, we’re looking
at deaths over the next several years that
are on par with the Civil War.
I originally grew up in Cincinnati, and have
basically lived there most of my life.
We have a lot of folks who struggle to get
access to care.
And so people would have pretty frustrating
experiences of calling a place for addiction
treatment, and getting wait times in the range
of 30 to 60 days, on average.
There was a time when it took 53 days to get
into addiction medicine services in Cincinnati.
And that’s completely unacceptable.
Health care in general has understood how
to treat addiction for a long time.
But have we really operationalized it?
Have we really carried forward those methods
and applied them at great scale?
What we did was take that literature, translate
it into clinical practice, and make sure that
there is a full continuum of service.
Any time someone is looking for care across
Southwest Ohio, they have the ability to access
it, because we put 15 organizations together
who said that, 24/7, we’re going to find a
way to get people access when we encounter
I think, oftentimes, we have this false narrative
that people choose these behaviors, and so
why should we put all this energy into helping
But, really, no one chooses to live a life
They’re disorders of the brain that ultimately
impact all parts of a person’s functioning
and their family and their social network.
If we apply the appropriate health care response,
which is well-supported by science and literature,
then we can actually make an impact, just
like we do with any other chronic health care
The future of addiction treatment is pretty
What we’re talking about in Cincinnati is
mainstreaming addiction treatment into general
Just like you go to the doctor for any other
chronic health care condition, you should
be able to go to see your doctor for opioid
use disorder, alcohol use disorder, any addiction.
And they should know how to treat it.
What our vision is, is to have a community
level understanding of addiction as a chronic
medical condition warranting a health care
And what that will allow us to do is make
sure that prevention efforts are funded, and
it will allow us to make sure that folks who
are in recovery have every opportunity that
everyone else does to work, to be with their
family, and to pursue their dreams, because,
ultimately, that’s what we’re seeking to do,
not just track the number of people who are
dying of overdoses, but start tracking the
number of people who are living with substance
use disorders as productive, contributing
members of society.
My name is Nav Kang, and this is my Brief
But Spectacular take on rethinking addiction
AMNA NAWAZ: You can find more episodes of
our Brief But Spectacular series at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
On the “NewsHour” online right now: The fatal
shooting of Atatiana Jefferson by a police
officer is another jolt in the debate about
the use of deadly force.
We look at how a lack of data about such killings
from police departments can make it more difficult
to determine trends and solutions.
All that and more is on our Web site.
And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight.
I’m Amna Nawaz.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.