CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported Monday night from the Center for the Intrepid, the new rehabilitation facility for wounded soldiers in San Antonio, Texas. Cooper announced he had a problem that this facility was privately, not publicly funded, as if raising private funds for Iraq vets was outrageous and inappropriate. This prompted the CNN anchor to ask Hillary Clinton a softball question using a quote from partisan hack and unwavering Clinton supporter Paul Begala about how the government could fund Halliburton and tax cuts, but not its heroes. Hillary said: "And I say Amen." But Cooper unintentionally answered his own question later in the show as he fussed over bureaucracy stalling funds for Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Throughout the show, Anderson Cooper was horrified that this $50 million state of the art facility was funded through the generous donations of the American people rather than government funds. He inquired to Bill White, president of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund: "This center was $50 million in donations from corporations, and even individuals, school kids giving them dollars here and there. Why didn’t the government do it?"
He asked Hillary: “I want to read you something Paul Begala was quoted as saying. He said, ‘It's an obscenity that a government that can find millions for Halliburton and billions in tax cuts for the wealthy cannot find a few million dollars to bind up the wounds of its heroes.’” Clinton of course replied in the affirmative: “And I say Amen.”
He again posed that question to Senator Clinton: "What does [private funds] say, though, about the American government? Why- why are private funds needed to build a hospital like this?"
In the following hour, Anderson Cooper seemed to answer his own question when covering the progress, or lack thereof, from the Katrina recovery along the Gulf Coast.
SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D) CONNECTICUT: "The federal government has put $110 billion on the table, a generous response. We'll probably have to do more in the future. But too little of it has gotten to the victims. And we're going to stay on top of this until we make sure that more of it does more quickly."
REPORTER SUSAN ROESGEN: "But how to get money to the Freedom Victim's Morgue, quickly? Still no answer to that."
COOPER: "And Susan, I mean, those questions -- these are the questions we've been asking now for, you know, 16 months. What, what seems to be the bottleneck that's stopping money from getting to New Orleans?"
ROESGEN: "Well, believe it or not now, Anderson, many people point to the state. They say that the State is holding up some of the federal money coming down because federal rules require the state to be accountable for the way local towns and cities like New Orleans here spend the federal dollars. But even state officials are saying, look, by making us the gatekeepers, you're adding an extra level of bureaucracy that is really slowing the federal money down. And they would like the rules to change and let the local towns and cities be responsible for their own spending the money wisely or not wisely, Anderson."