tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN November 29, 2020 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
good evening. you are live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm jessica dean in washington. we begin tonight with breaking news. a huge night for president-elect joe biden and for all americans out there wondering what his administration will look like. it turns out, it will be different. in some ways than any white house in history. let's get you right over to mj lee in delaware. what are you learning about his picks? >> reporter: jessica, this is already looking like the beginning of a very busy week for the biden transition team. tomorrow, they are expected to
announce some key members of joe biden's economic team, some names that we can already report tonight including janet yellen who is expected to be named the treasury secretary. this is something that cnn has been reporting for a while now. she, of course, will be the first woman to serve in that role and served previously as the cahairwoman of the federal reserve. another name is tanden. she's going to be named the head of management and budget and we have rouse, a princeton economicist. noteworthy that these are three women who are being named to very important positions to head up some of these economic positions. we are told that we should expect an announcement to come tomorrow and then a formal event here in wilmington on tuesday to
sort of formally introduce some of these folks that biden will be choosing. this team will have their work cut out for them as they work on the economic recovery amid the covid-19 pandemic. >> a key focus for the biden transition team for sure. a lot of familiar faces for those who follow the biden campaign. what makes this historic? >> reporter: historic because they are an all-female team, senior members who will be serving in various communications roles inside the joe biden white house. some names that will be familiar as you said to people who have covered the campaign, covered the transition, the first name is kate bedingfield. she's going to be named the white house communications director. we know her as the deputy campaign manager for biden's 2020 campaign. we also have jen psaki who is being named press secretary. we will be seeing her behind the podium inside the white house
briefing room. two other names i want to mention, symone sanders is being named the chief spokesperson for vice president-elect kamala harris and carekarine jean-pier. they will be serving throughout the white house and we should note there's real racial diversity here. two things that biden has talked about as being important as he forms his future government and administration, jessica. >> and we also heard via the pool report this afternoon that president-elect biden twisted his ankle on saturday playing with his dog. interesting, they gave us that information, the transition team, in contrast to president trump when we still don't know why he went to walter reed. what can you tell us about president-elect biden's condition this evening? >> reporter: yeah, a bit of an incident involving his dog major. we are told by the transition
office that joe biden was playing with his dog yesterday, slipped and twisted his ankle and so today after returning to wilmington, he was taken to see an orthopedist and the initial readout from his doctor is that x-rays show that he does have a sprain in his right foot. but that there are no -- there's no obvious fracture. but we did just get a glimpse of the president-elect leaving another facility so he could get an additional ct scan. so we'll keep you posted if in the coming hours we get any additional readouts from that. obviously, it is always important when we have any health updates about a sitting president or the president-elect, but i will quickly note that some members of the traveling press pool, these are reporters who are currently with the president-elect, they said that he did appear to give a thumbs up. trying to show that this was not a big deal. just one of the hazard of playing with a large dog. >> yeah, right.
i think we can all identify with that. anyone who has had dogs before. thanks again so much for your reporting there. and for more on all of this, i want to bring in former labor secretary under president clinton. mr. secretary, thank you so much for joining us. tell me first, what do you think these potential picks tell you about biden's economic policy and his priorities as he gets ready to take office. >> these are extremely competent economists, people who dealt with economic policy for years. they're concerned and have committed themselves to full employment, that is as many jobs as possible, and also raising wages, as you know the median wage has been stuck for 40 years, adjusted for inflation. almost no growth for the typical american. these are all people who are very, very dedicated to changing that. and i might add, although every president i know in recent years
has talked about making a cabinet or making appointments that reflect america, i don't remember a cabinet or a senior appointments that are this diverse. this is -- with regard to women, this the just breaking the glass ceiling, this is shattering it. >> it was something that president-elect biden said again and again on the campaign trail. he wanted his cabinet to look like america. it's interesting to see the picks and we're starting to get a sense that it is going to look like that. what do you think the expectations should be for the average american out there who is watching this, someone who is at home saying how will these people affect my taxes or my pocketbook or the savings that i'm able to put together? >> there's not a direct relationship, obviously, between appointees or even a president and the economy. what these people and what joe biden and kamala harris all have in common is a commitment to improving the bottom two-thirds
of america in terms of income, job security and so on. there's no guarantee that's going to happen. we're on the verge of another kind of double dip in firterms a recession. joe biden was part of an administration in 2008 that inherited one of the worst economies since the great depression. he is now inheriting even a worse economy than the great depression. in many ways, worse than the great recession. and he is probably -- and his economic team -- going to be spending much of next year or two doing nothing but focusing on both getting covid under control, which is absolutely critical to get some control over the economy and get jobs back, but also the economy. >> right. those two things seem so linked together, getting covid under control and also bringing the economy back. it seems like they are absolutely linked together. >> totally linked together. that's interesting. he does have also a separate
group of people who he has named who are going to be his advisers on the coronavirus and he has this new group that he's talking about -- or he has designated, apparently, with regard to the economy. those two groups are going to have to work very closely together because you can't solve one without solving the other. >> all right, we're going to leave it there. thanks so much for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. >> thank you. president-elect biden has also announced an all-female senior white house communications team. we just mentioned these. we'll go through them again. the press secretary will be jen psaki. she was white house communications director under president obama. biden has named indicakate bedid as white house communications director and symone sanders will be press secretary for vice president-elect come harris. let's bring in chris is a lizza.
it's the first time to see all women in these senior positions. >> yeah, i think joe biden wanted to make clear, as a 78-year-old white man in both his vp pick, let's not forget that, kamala harris, first south asian and african-american woman to be vice president of the united states and in his actual team, who will be the face for many people of this administration, certainly in the case of jen psaki who will be doing press briefings, he wanted to make a point here. i think that is important. symbolism matters, number one. number two, he's not just picked random people. he's picked people with long track records. kate bedingfield has been in politics for a very long time and was obviously extremely high up in the biden operation. jen psaki. i knew jen when she worked for the house democratic campaign committee. simone worked for bernie sanders
and there was a big coup when she announced that she was going to work for joe biden. it was a big deal during the primary. these are names that people who follow politics will know and more importantly for joe biden, they're people who have been there and done that at this high level. that's very important if you want that first 100 days to matter. you need people who know what they're doing. >> right, they're going to have no time to waste and a lot of things to tackle. i also want to talk about biden's ankle injury. he sprained his ankle playing with his dog in the backyard. it's interesting to see, we're getting readouts from the biden team, keeping the press informed about this injury. a sprained ankle. it is quite a departure from how the trump white house has handled medical conditions. we still don't know why president trump visited walter reed over a year ago. i'm interested to hear your take on the contrast here in terms of
the transparency we're getting from the biden team versus what we got from the trump team. >> as someone who was 63 when i was 14-year-old ols sprained ankles are not new to me. we heard he was getting a ct scan, getting regular updates. compare that, right around november 17th was when donald trump went on an unscheduled visit to walter reed. we and the media, cnn, everybody else has lots of questions. they initially said that he's just getting a jump on his physical. then it was, well, he's finishing up his physical. we never -- it's stunning. remember, this is a man who we have very little medical information about. the letter that was written as justification for his candidacy, the doctor who wrote that, donald trump's personal doctor prior to going to the white house, said that donald trump
told him what to write. we know nothing about this man's health prior to coming to office. he released very little, by the way, of medical records and we have this unexplained visit that they have multiple explanations for. transparency is a good thing. transparency in office is a good thing. the president, the vice president, these people work for the american public, particularly in a situation, donald trump is 74, joe biden is 78. oldest elected first-term presidents, joe biden broke donald trump's record when he won. their health is important. they're the leader of the country and the more transparency about their health and everything else, the better. >> that's absolutely true. it's what the american people deserve. chris, thanks so much. always good to see you. >> thank you, jessica. right now, as one american life on average is lost every minute to the coronavirus, president trump isn't talking about the pandemic. he's laser-focused on the
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while president-elect joe biden is assembling his white house team, the current president is determined as ever to make the case why he didn't lose the election, which he did. president trump was on fox news today, but little of that conversation could really be considered news. he spent the better part of an hour spreading baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud. we go to jeremy diamond. jeremy, help us understand all of this, among many baseless accusations, the president seemed to implicate his own fbi and justice department were in a plot to steal the election from him. >> reporter: that's right. he did. it was just one of a slew of conspiracy theories, lies and frankly just delusional statements that the president was making about the 2020 election. despite the fact that over the last nearly four weeks since the election, what you have seen is more evidence that this election
was free and fair. more evidence backed up by the 30-plus court cases that the president's campaign and their allies have lost during this -- since the 2020 election. and recounts as well showing very clearly that this election -- recounts in wisconsin, an audit in the state of georgia, showing clearly that the election results held up. and then there was this allegation about the fbi and the justice department where the president suggested that perhaps they too were involved in, quote/unquote, rigging this election. listen. >> this is total fraud. how the fbi and department of justice, i don't know, maybe they're involved. how people are allowed to get away -- with this stuff is unbelievable. this election was rigged. this is the essence of our country. this is the whole ball game. and they cheated. joe biden did not get 80 million votes. >> reporter: and you heard that notion from the president over
and over again, this disbelief that president-elect joe biden could have beaten him and gotten 80 million votes. but disbelief is no substitute for evidence. as i said, court after court, judge after judge has rejected this notion. there's no evidence to back up what the president is saying there and the president suggested at one point that the fbi was, quote/unquote, missing in action as it relates to investigating these cases of widespread fraud. they're missing in action because there is not evidence to back up the claims of widespread fraud or any kind of plot to steal the election. the president made clear he's not going to abandon these fantasies and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. even as he said earlier this week, he would leave the white house on january 20th if the electoral college certifies joe biden's victory as president of the united states. the president said today that even six months from now, he will continue to believe that this election was stolen from him. jessica? >> jeremy diamond at the white
house, thanks so much. let's turn to the pandemic and some troubling breaking news tonight. the u.s. reporting more than 93,200 people hospitalized with the coronavirus right now. that's according to the covid tracking project. and that is a record number of people. a record number of people hospitalized right now. and that's before we begin to see the results of thanksgiving. this weekend has brought the highest levels of travel since the pandemic began. and the weeks ahead offer more opportunities for people to do exactly what we shouldn't be doing right now, gathering to celebrate. dr. deborah birx said if you left your bubble over thanksgiving, you need to take preventive steps now. >> we know people may have made mistakes over the thanksgiving time period. so if you're young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to ten days later. but you need to assume that you're infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and
others without a mask. we're asking families to even mask indoors if they chose to gather during thanksgiving and others went across the country or even into the next state. >> dr. celine gounder joins me now. your team will soon take the wheel on this pandemic. thanks for being with us. tell me right now how often you're meeting and what are the top concerns? i know there's a lot when it comes to this pandemic. what are some of your top concerns right now as a team? >> well, some of our top concerns are precisely what dr. deborah birx was describing, the surge on top of a surge we're going to be seeing after the thanksgiving holiday and then heading into the christmas and new year's holidays. we are already overwhelmed in hospitals. i myself am seeing patients at bellevue hospital and i can tell you we're steeling ourselves for a big surge in the coming weeks. i think that is our number one,
two, and three concern right now is, is there a way to slow this down, is there a way to explain to americans, remind americans of that whole flatten the curve concept of trying to slow the spread so that hospitals can still care for the patients who come to them. >> yeah, and dr. birx also said she's hoping to be able to brief your team tomorrow. you haven't been able to talk to one another until that ascertainment happened last week. if and when that happens, what are you hoping to learn from her? >> well, there's a lot of detail that you don't get in the "new york times" or on television about, you know, things like supply chains and logistics and the details of the negotiations and operational plans with pharmaceutical companies for vaccine distribution or what the big pharmacy retail chains are going to do with vaccines, what state and local health departments are already doing in coordination with the federal government. a lot of it is the nuts and
bolts of how those things are going to happen as opposed to big picture policy. >> getting into the details. i know a lot of people express concern when it comes to the vaccine distribution because it's an intricate process and there's so much planning that has to go into it that you all were going to be behind and that could cost people lives. do you feel like now that you're going to get this data you need, that it's enough time? >> i certainly hope so. we're just starting that process. i certainly hope we can make up for the time lost and that there won't be a real toll as a result of that delay. >> yeah. and dr. fauci said, as you mentioned, we could be looking at a surge on top of a surge. when you start thinking about america's health care infrastructure and what happens if these cases and hospitalizations keep going up and perhaps explode as predicted, how do you plan for that? how do you help hospitals, even rural hospitals, especially, prepare for something like this? >> the biggest challenge here is
a question of staffing. you can invoke things like the defense production act to put pressure on manufacturers to make more ventilators, for example. but there's no way to accelerate the production of new healthcare providers and right now healthcare providers are burned out for months and months of fighting this. they themselves have gotten sick due to exposures on the job, perhaps because they didn't have enough personal protective equipment and they would like to have some time off over the holidays to spend time at home with family which means that very often we have skeleton crews working over the holidays, really just the essential people. so i think this timing is really terrible in terms of meeting the needs of people when we are short staffed and can't generate new health care workers with the snap of a finger. >> it's daunting to say the least. dr. celine grounder, thank you so much for being with us. we appreciate it. almost a month after the
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tomorrow, nearly a month after the election was called, president-elect joe biden will receive his first presidential daily brief. it's the latest step towards a transition of power that president trump has actively blocked for weeks despite his divisive loss. samantha vinograd joining us now. great to see you. tell us a little bit about what
joe biden will be getting from this first briefing. >> well, the president's daily brief or pdb originated under president lyndon johnson. it's two things that arrives in the oval office every single morning. it also refers to an oral briefing that accompanies that written document. that oral briefing has historically been attended by the president, the vice president and other participants attend at the president's discretion. tomorrow president-elect biden will have an opportunity to receive the written document, the oral briefing and during that oral briefing as well, one of the key benefits is, he has an opportunity to ask questions, jessica. if he has questions about the assessments, he can request more information from the briefer and that will be critically important as he tries to formulate ideas for policies
he'll implement when he assumes office. >> it's interesting because he's done this before. it's not like he's a president-elect who hasn't gotten this before. so it will be interesting to see if that changes how he uses it or hopes to have it formulated. it's been nearly a month, though, since his victory was first announced. there have been calls by some on his team that say, look, we're worried about national security. if he's not getting these daily briefings. how far behind is he, do you think, at this point? do you think it's something they can overcome? >> well, the first point is, unlike president trump, biden won't need any cliff notes version of intelligence. as you mentioned, from intelligence standpoint, biden is arguably the most experienced incoming president. he digested volumes of intelligence during his decades on the hill and as vice president, remember, he received the pdb and he was in that oral briefing every morning with president obama. so this won't be a new format to him.
the delay in getting him the pdb was unhelpful and president-elect biden tried to find work-arounds. he looked at open source information, worked with experts, but there was a delay. and now he will have access to the most highly classified information about threats facing this country, opportunities and potentially covert capabilities as well. >> that all starts tomorrow. the next step in the transition of power. samantha vinograd, thanks for being with us as always. great to see you. as the u.s. sees a surge in new coronavirus cases, cdc advisers will be voting this week on who gets that vaccine first. this coming as doses of one vaccine are already being shipped. we've got details next. ♪ spread a little love today ♪ spread a little love my-y way ♪ ♪ spread a little something to remember ♪ philadelphia cream cheese. made with fresh milk and real cream makes your recipes their holiday favourites. the holidays are made with philly.
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authorization for that vaccine sometime after agency officials meet on december 10th. and here's how the fda website describes that process. under an eua, the fda makes a product available to the public based on the best available evidence without waiting for all of the evidence that would be needed for fda approval or clearance. with me now, dr. peter hotez from the baylor college of medicine. why should people have confidence in a vaccine that the released under this emergency use authorization? >> thanks, jessica. there's not a lot of choice at this point. the pandemic, especially in the united states, is accelerating so aggressively, we may be looking at 3,000, 4,000 deaths per day as the surges on the icus mount. so some numbers indicate half a million americans could lose their life by a week or so after
the inauguration and go on from there. the full approval process often can take six to nine months, even if it's expedited. you multiply those numbers of days times the number of americans who are losing their life every day, it's an unacceptable death toll. but what the fda has done, we haven't done emergency use authorization for a vaccine that's released to large segments of the population before. so what the fda is doing is balancing the urgency with trying to closely proximate as possible the approval process. they're on top of it. they've definitely have not compromised the phase 3 trials in any way in terms of safety or efficacy shows that the vaccine works. they're moving as expeditiously as possible without compromising any of those things. i think what we'll see is pfizer will probably have about 75 million doses of the vaccine by
march and the idea is to try to start distributing those to priority populations. and that's what this acip meeting will be, i believe, on tuesday at the centers for disease control to really prioritize those groups. >> right. but what you're saying, though, is that people should feel confident in taking these vaccines? >> yeah, absolutely. remember, the one -- all of these vaccines -- people get confused by the different strategies, the mrna vaccine, a protein vaccine, they work by the same way. they reduce virus neutralizing antibodies to the spike protein of the virus. that's the soft target of this virus. we know that will keep you out of the hospital and the icu. the idea is to get the antibodies into the system as soon as you can and don't wait for any particular one vaccine because they're all working by the same strategy. and the safety record so far on the phase three trials -- these are not small trials.
these are 30 to 60,000 trials are looking good. you want to get the vaccine as soon as you can. >> and i'm hearing you say time is of the essence, that the death toll is going to go up likely exponentially in the months to come. this is a public health emergency. in fact, today, u.s. surgeon general jerome adams says it's going to get worse. hospitalizations and deaths could be destabilizing for our country, not just for our medical infrastructure, but also our economy, even homeland security. walk me through how keep your concerns are about these striking numbers. >> remember, pretty soon, almost everybody in the country is going to know someone who not only has covid-19 but has been seriously ill from covid-19 and that's going to have a very chilling effect. and then you have the impact on food security and supply chain management. you start adding up all of those things and it's clear that this
epidemic is going to be destabilizing for the nation. when the president and vice president take their oath of office on january 20th, it's going to be a country in not very good shape for a number of reasons. and the key is to turn that around and start with having a national response which we haven't had before. it's been with the states in the lead and the u.s. government supplying backup supply chain management and ppe and manufacturing support which was important. but it wasn't the same -- it's not the same as launching a national strategy. i think we'll finally start to have that when the transition eventually occurs. >> talking about streamlined guidance across all 50 states. you also mentioned the cdc meeting is going to happen. they're going to discuss who is getting this vaccine first. we know frontline medical workers are very top priority. who else do you see at the top of the list? >> well, the priorities are based on two things, one, who is
at the greatest risk of serious illness and death, and what do we do to keep the health infrastructure system moving along. if we don't, the deaths will mount for different reasons. that's why the surges are dangerous. keeping our health care professionals healthy and alive is a top priority. i think our first line responders and we've seen how the virus hammers nursing homes and really rips through. this is one of the first things we noticed back in march, how deadly they are. so vaccinating nursing home populations which account for about 35 to 40% of the deaths from covid-19. i think we'll probably see something along those lines, our national academies of science have recommended priorities and i'm guessing that acip will likely vote along -- something along those lines and then it will build out from there. we're also hearing about individuals over the age of 65, the one pushback i sometimes give on that is sometimes we
forget that 30 to 35% of the deaths in the hispanic community, african-american community, native american community, are individuals under the age of 65. so i think we have to be -- be careful about those kinds of strict age cutoffs. >> right. dr. peter hotez, thanks for presenting us with science and facts. we sure do appreciate it. >> thank you so much, jessica. the supreme court sided with religious groups in a dispute over coronavirus restrictions and many faith leaders are applauding that ruling. could it make controlling the pandemic more difficult? we're going to talk about that next. hi susan! honey? yeah? i respect that. but that cough looks pretty bad... try this new robitussin honey severe. the real honey you love... plus, the powerful cough relief you need. mind if i root through your trash? new robitussin honey severe. strong relief for your severe symptoms. strong relief let's get checked for those around us. let's get checked for a full range of conditions. introducing letsgetchecked
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in a blow to new york governor andrew cuomo and other state officials, the supreme court's new conservative majority has voted to strike down pandemic restrictions on religious services. faith leaders are cheering that ruling. but it raises concerns over how cities will be able to control the spread of coronavirus if large religious gatherings continue. and joining me now, author of "face your fear." rabbi, thanks for being with us. walk me through, why is it not in everyone's best interest to stay home right now and congregate virtually if we know it can save lives? >> well, because faith is a vaccine against hopelessness and worship is an antibody to despair. it's not only cdc guidelines and vaccines and social distancing and medical advice we all have to follow, it's a -- the knowledge that we're going to pull through this together. the isolation that comes from worship only at home means that
we can't feel that we're a community and we feel completely abandoned and we're seeing that kind of loneliness also having an effect even on people's immune system. there's no excuse for my kind of worship service that doesn't practice proper social distancing where everybody is masked. but the original restrictions, they basically said that even cathedrals that could fit 500 or 1,000 people could only have 10 to 25 people. i know that people need to fix a flat tire and have maybe a shot of single malt during the pandemic, but prayer is important. it's an essential service. >> right, and for people who are practicing a faith, they i hear you. you are saying there's a large spectrum between packing it in with no social distancing and taking precautions when you worship together.
>> jessie kashgs a pca, it's ex. we have to be careful of extremes. fanatics will say social distancing won't matter. they will pack things together. you can't risk your life in order to worship the god who commands to you choose life. the other form is to say that a cathedral where you can almost land an airplane could have ten people without any scientific barometer about social distancing. these restrictions were ridiculous. they did target religious people. that's why the founding fathers put in guarantees for religious worship. someone might say i understand why a vaccine or medicine is essential. your faith, i don't get it. i will respect it. the founding fathers said, no, we understand faith is essential. we will make sure people can't restrict it. >> what would you do at your temple? what would you do in that position? what do you think is the responsible way to meet in the middle here, if there is one? >> well, first of all, my father
passed away during the pandemic. >> i'm sorry. >> thank you very much. if i couldn't say that with a quaq -- if they need not do so -- we are careful. thank god no one has gotten sick to our knowledge. we hope no one will. we will go to restaurants, even if they are outdoors. we will go to gorocery stores. it's not by bread alone that man shall live. it's the word of the living god. i would have thought instead of a smackdown, governor cuomo -- we can't just hear doom and gloom, even while we have to carry on with restrictions. we have to hear we will get through this and we are going to
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led the charge to allow women to drive in saudi arabia. after 900 days in a pre-trial detention, her case was finally set to get underway next week. but now it's heading to one of the toughest terror courts. nic robertson is covering the story for us from london. >> this is a case that's not getting a lot of attention in saudi arabia. it certainly is one that could land on president-elect joe biden's plate. he said that he would get tough on saudi arabia, human rights one of the issues people would look to him to see how tough he gets. this woman's case absolutely front and center of what's going on on that front in saudi arabia right now. saudi arabia's most well-known female prisoner has gone from jailed rights activist to alleged national security threat. her sister is horrified.
she alleges she has been tortured in prison. >> my parents saw she was very weak, that her body was shaking and that her voice as well. even with that, she was still very focused and wanted to read her whole defense. they were being flogged, water boarded, beaten, deprived of sleep. >> reporter: authorities have repeat lid edly denied this. she campaigned for women to drive. then just weeks before saudi's ruler gave the go ahead for the long awaited reform, she was arrested. human rights groups called on world leaders to use last week's virtual g20 summit to pressure him to allow her release.
instead, days after the event wrapped, she appeared before a judge, only to learn her case was being referred to a notorious terror court. >> i believe the charges have to do with receiving money from hostile governments to pass it on to dissidents and hostile groups. >> reporter: so far, the saudi government hasn't published its evidence. saudi's courts, where evidence would be presented, are notoriously difficult to access. international pressure for her release isn't working. unclear if president-elect joep tough line on saudi, can make a difference. >> these individuals were arrested under our laws. they decide. we don't allow people to put pressure on us in order to do things against our interest.
>> reporter: unclear when her next court appearance will be. the venue is set. saudi arabia's criminal court, which according to mamnesty international is unfair. having come back from saudi arabia, one of the things i can tell you -- i think is informative about the bigger picture of what's happening in saudi arabia. the vast majority of people, and many of the young women we spoke to there, told us that they are happy with the reforms and changes happening in saudi arabia. they praise the crown prince for that. they not focused on her case. what they are looking at are the new opportunities for women which they feel are real and are there to be taken right now. >> nic robertson, thanks so much.