tv PBS News Hour PBS November 25, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: unrest continued in egypt today as protesters demanded monday's elections be postponed and the present military rulers step aside. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> warner: and i'm margaret warner. on the newshour tonight, we have a report from cairo by john irvine of independent television news, and we look at the white house call for a transfer of power to a civilian government. >> brown: then, another in our "american graduate" series on the nation's high school drop- out crisis. tonight, hari sreenivasan reports on how detroit's public schools are tackling poor graduation rates. >> the situation outside and inside classroom has become so grim in places, parents are
taking their kids elsewhere. >> warner: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> brown: we get an update from japan on one fishing community's struggle to recover from the ravages of the tsunami eight months ago. >> one of japan's fishing ports all but desert. it reopened in june but it's not what it was. >> warner: and ray suarez gets the full story behind newly released tapes that detail president nixon's meeting with anti-vietnam war protesters at the lincoln memorial. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> computing surrounds us. sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's very surprising where you find it. soon, computing intelligence in unexpected places will change our lives in truly profound ways. technology can provide
customized experiences tailored to individual consumer preferences, igniting a world of possibilities from the inside out. sponsoring tomorrow starts today. >> and by bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: tens of thousands of egyptians flooded cairo's tahrir square again today, keeping up the pressure on the military government. it was the seventh day of protests in the worst violence
since the fall of president hosni mubarak in february. more than 40 people have been killed to date. john irvine of independent television news begins our coverage from cairo. >> reporter: the second revolution, approaching the magnitude of the first. they needed a big turnout and they got one. an end to the violence around tahrir square may have taken some of the edge and urgency out of this demonstration, but it also allowed more supporters to flock here. if the generals thought they were up against only angry young men, then the makeup of this crowd showed them to be very much mistaken. there was a cross-section of egyptian society calling for real change. but there's a problem-- they may be standing shoulder to shoulder, but they're not quite the cohesive unit they were back in january. then, their clarion call was a simpler one-- for the resignation of hosni mubarak. today, things are a little bit
more complicated. the demonstrators are split over monday's historic elections, the first in modern egypt without a predetermined outcome. some see the ballot as a step in the right direction, but others regard it as a sham, because the elected m.p.s will still be subordinate to the army. will you be voting on monday? >> i don't think so. >> this is the first time i will vote. i am 46 years old and this will be my first time. >> i don't actually agree with anybody who's running for the parliament. >> i will still vote because this is the only game in front of me. >> reporter: they've been selling photographs here of infamous toppled dictators. ten months after egyptians got rid of their one, it's confusion and turmoil that reigns. they're impatient for a better future.
the new prime minister held the post in the 90s under president mubarak. he today insisted he would have greater authority than his immediate predecessor, who has resigned. the ruling generals also announced first phase of parliamentary vote, set to begin on monday, week extended from one to two days. late today, three american students were reportedly released by egyptian police and planned to catch flights out of cairo to begin their way home. they were arrested last sunday and accused of throwing firebombs at egyptian security forces fighting with protesters. >> brown: early this morning, the obama administration issued its strongest statement to date, urging the military council running egypt to speed up the transition to civilian rule. in a written statement, the white house said, in part: "the united states strongly believes that the new egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately. egypt's transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously. we believe that the full
transition of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner." >> warner: for more from cairo, we're joined by phone by gameela ismail, a journalist, activist and politician. she is a candidate for parliament in the upcoming elections. gameela ismail, thank you for being with us. what is the situation now, nearly midnight in cairo? where do today's events leave things? >> reporter: today was a day, a sort of conclusion to all of the violence that took place in the last week or so. last saturday, asun, criminal attacks were made by the security against protesters and this is why i had to stop my-- suspend my campaign. we're having elections in the next 72 hours. however, it was very important to be in tarear, which is the core of my constituency.
all of these criminal attacks that took place were ended yesterday. there was a cease-fire. and protesters were deployed at the entrance. today was the important announcement of two things. of a new cabinet staffed by the military, and another trans-cabinet, or trans-council, that is going to rule as well. attacks and criticisms from protests are since rumors circulated last night. he was the prime minister back in the early 90s.
>> warner: dr. el barde is going to head some transitional group, and does that satisfy activists like yourself, enough to go ahead with elections? >> yes, it does satisfy main people in tarear because they feel at least their demands were met, the fact that dr. berdei and others formed the government where the national forces agreed upon and where the activists agreed upon. not everyone does agree. basically, it's much, much acceptable than all of these attempts made b during the last few months, whereby whenever there is a protest in tahrir, or a big demonstration here and there, they were suggesting, and putting forward some ideas and offers that are completely
opposite to what the protesters want pgh >> naoko: today the white house issued a statement urging the military rulers on to speed the transition of the government, to have as much power as possible. was that widely reported in egypt? and what was the reaction? >> what we read here was the european's warning. i haven't read about the white house warn, but i read about the european warning, and maybe i missed the other one. however, close to 1.5 million were here today. i don't think that they really give attention to signs coming from abroad because they are really involved in what's happening in tahrir, and they really believe stepping one meter back means a big loss, and even if they have an excellent statement from the u.s. administration or an excellent statement from the european parliament or the european union. >> gameela ismail, coming to us
from cairo, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we get another perspective from robert malley who worked in the national security council in the clinton administration. he's now program director for the middle east and north africa at the international crisis group. and robert malley, welcome back here. what do you make of the situation now, particularly after what gameela ismail just said is it. >> well, if in fact, bardei will be playing a significant role that's a major concession by the military which proves once again what has been a pattern, that the military will make a mini-concession and there's more pressure from the street and it gives more and that's been happening basically since they took power. let's wait and see exactly what the fine print and what mohammed bardei's powers will be but it may be a breakthrough which will defuse the situation if it's accurate. >> does it still appear to you the military council is determined to just plow ahead with this plan, which is get to
elections monday and start some alternative process going here? >> i think the military doesn't have a plan. i think that's been the other factor in all of this. it's a zig-zag ad hoc policy. part of it is understandable. they are not used to exercising power in a democratic system. they are trying to do what they can while holding on to their privileges. if you want to take a step back, the military is afraid of losing the power perfect the street is afraid of losing its revolution, and the muzz lum brotherhood is afraid of the one opportunity of winning an election or doing very well in the election. all three seem quite confused. when the street speak and you have a million people in tahrir square, others have to listen. >> other reports were not a million. but it certainly seemed to fill the square. the white house at the same time, parse it for us. what course of action was the white house urging? >> when you look at when the
administration speaks, it's looking at two things-- how many people are on the street and how violent is the repression against them? when both of those reach a certain level, then the administration speaks publicly and more sharply. and what they're saying is transfer power to a civilian authority, don't make all the decision by yourself. you need a credible authority to make it. keep a schedule for elections, which is quick enough, they say expeditiously, which may be monday or maybe a short delay, not too much of a delay. they're saying get on with the transition. don't hold on to power. give it to civilian authorities. >> it raises the whole question who would appoint the civilian authority. >> if mohammed bardei is the person they elected they're choosing somebody credible enough with the people on the street and credible enough with the political parties he may be the ideal choice. the military, we know, don't really trust him, but he was the consensus candidate, or appears to have been because they want
somebody who, without having electal legitimacy. >> it would be an interesting development because i understand elderlier today baradei was quoted as saying, "no one has ever contacted me." >> i think it shows the military doesn't really know what world it's in right now. it's used to having the own system, its own authority and working behind closed doors. and now it expects it's going to have popular support for what it does and sees at least a sizable portion of egyptians. we don't even know if they're the majority, but a sizable portion of the egyptians is talk back, resisting and they have to give in. >> what kind of influence does the u.s. really have? we heard what gamell said-- >> wasn't even aware of it. >> in terms of public opinion and the military. >> public opinion, there is something about when the u.s. speaks, people tend to listen, even though they moeb listening less and less. and second, the huge amount of military aid the u.s. gives,
which is gives now to the party making the decisions. that's where the u.s. has influence. but the resonance it has is only relative, and frankly, if you're in egypt today, if you're the military, you're looking at two things-- your prerogatives and what's happening on the street. and what the white house says matters but it comes in a distant third. >> robert malley, international crisis group, thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: tackling the dropout rate in detroit; shields and brooks; rebuilding a tsunami-ravaged town in japan; and richard nixon's encounter with vietnam war protestors at the lincoln memorial. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: a deadline set by the arab league for syria expired today without agreement from the syrian government. the 22-nation league wants syria to admit an observer mission to monitor the now eight-month-old uprising against president bashar assad's government. without it, economic sanctions could be implemented as early as tomorrow.
that came as more violence wracked cities across syria. activists said at least 11 people were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters. separately, the syrian military announced a military bus was ambushed on the road between homs and palmyra. a spokesman said ten security personnel were killed, including six elite pilots. the holiday shopping season officially began today on "black friday," the day retailers hope to begin making a profit. many of them actually opened late on thanksgiving day. in new york city, about 9,000 people flooded the macy's in herald square for its midnight opening. more than 150 million people nationwide are expected to shop this weekend, 10% more than last year. but the bargain hunting wasn't without incident. los angeles police are searching for a woman who pepper-sprayed rival shoppers overnight at this walmart. >> they're was, like, a fight at games and people started
screaming and kids were on the floor and everybody started inhailing it. she sprayed it in the air. >> there were like 20 people in the back. their faces were red. this one guy was coming up to my wife, are, phone an ambulance. of the it was hectic. it was like a little riot in there. >> holman: elsewhere, a "black friday" shopper in northern california was shot when he resisted a pair of armed robbers outside a walmart in san leandro. and in north carolina, there was gunfire at a mall in fayetteville, but no injuries were reported. europe's debt woes weighed down wall street again today. in a shortened trading day, the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 26 points to close above 11,231. the nasdaq fell 18 points to close at 2,441. this was the worst thanksgiving week on a percentage basis for the dow since 1932. it lost nearly 5%. the nasdaq fell more than 5% this week. the author and journalist tom wicker has died.
his wife said he died of a heart attack near his home in vermont. wicker covered the assassination of president john f. kennedy for "the new york times," and later became that newspaper's washington bureau chief. wicker also was a prolific author, writing ten novels and ten nonfiction books on myriad subjects. tom wicker was 85 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the high school dropout problem. over the next 18 months, the newshour and other public media partners are examining the consequences of, and solutions for, one of this country's most pressing education issues. the project is called "american graduate." tonight, a look at detroit, where four out of ten children don't graduate. education secretary arne duncan has called it "arguably, the worst school district in the country." but he's also said he's encouraged by new efforts to improve the schools. newshour correspondent hari sreenivasan reports on some of those efforts in this co- production with detroit public television.
>> sreenivasan: it's another morning at cody high school in detroit, and teachers like antonio baker know that, for some of their students, just getting here is a victory. >> i had a young man who came in the classroom. he was really upset and he was just lashing out. he had like little dried up blood on his uniform, so i asked him what's going on. he was like, "well, mr. baker, i am sorry for cursing at everybody, but last night, my mother stabbed me and she kicked me out of the house, and i slept in an abandoned house." but this kid still got up and came to school the very next day. he could have stayed out there, he could have been in the street, but he came to school. >> sreenivasan: the situation outside and inside the classroom has become so grim in places, parents are taking their kids elsewhere. combined with the economic
downturn, the district, which includes 130 schools, is already shrinking. 66,000 kids started school this year. that number is down 10% from the year before. in fact, a new statewide school district is scheduled to take over the lowest performing 5% of detroit's schools. the problem is so severe that the city is tackling the problem on multiple fronts. some schools that are not being taken over are being turned around. non-profits are stepping in, as well. the united way supports cody high and a handful of other schools. within this one building are five separate schools. the aim? more attention per student. teacher ron tracy. >> instead of having 2,000 kids, eventually, that are kind of lost in the shuffle, we want to have groups of 500 to 600 kids, because most research shows it is not even about the smaller classroom, necessarily. it's about having 500 or 600 kids that are known, so that when they walk by me in the hallway, i still know.
>> sreenivasan: some teachers here are trying to change how they communicate with parents, by calling home not just when things go bad with students, but also when things are good. michelle shorter calls it her "sunshine" phone calls. >> i decided to make a phone call to say that johnny actually got it today. so after the parent was already so after the parent was already upset-- "what did you... what did johnny do now?" and i said, "well, johnny actually got it today and i've been working on him with this concept, and he actually raised his hand and he got it right. and i wanted to call home and just let you know that, so you can praise him at home, and i've praised him here, and we can get more of this type of behavior from him." >> sreenivasan: every instructor will tell you that parental support from home is crucial to a child's interest in education, to a child making it to graduation.
but sometimes, the parents are facing their own challenges, and in need of their own support. sharon kilgore has two daughters. she remembers one of her worst days. her husband had just gone to jail, she lost her job, and she broke down crying in the unemployment office. >> it was an unbearable, like, cry, you know. it was heartbreaking for me, and all i thought about was my girls. just trying to make sure that they were going to be all right, trying to make sure that they didn't miss a beat. >> sreenivasan: she turned to the detroit parent network, a non-profit that provides support for parents and students. the agency is there for them when they need it to decrease dropouts, increase graduates, and reconnect parents with their children's education. >> they empower me to know how to deal with the teachers when there's an issue, how to deal with... if angela's gpa is not where i want it. >> sreenivasan: dpn provides career counseling, workshops on financial literacy, leadership
skills, or even occasional food baskets, whatever the parent needs. >> one of the things we realized is you can't change a whole community, but you can change how a family functions in that community. >> sreenivasan: yolanda eddins, a director at dpn, says they have resource centers established at eight detroit public schools, but even with phone calls, emails and texting, there is no substitute for someone coming to visit. a parental coach stops by the kilgonre home every week with the latest information on scholarships, schools and tests. >> she can send it to up to ten colleges for free. >> we work directly with the parents, because we believe if they become that nagger, that natural nagger asking their kids, "did they do their homework? how is it going in school? when are you going to take the a.c.t. test? lets get this paperwork done. lets apply for scholarships." it makes college more of a reality for children. >> sreenivasan: the idea of college as a reality was
slipping away for katelynn morris of romeo high school. in one year, she had lived in four different foster homes, and she felt lonely and depressed. >> freshman year, my grades started slipping really bad, and i was like, "there's no point in even doing it. i can't bring my grades up. it's not going to happen. there's no point in even trying anymore." >> sreenivasan: her school didn't give up on her. instead, teachers saw her risk of dropping out and doubled down. one of the key ways to stop a dropout is to identify them early. volunteer coordinator kelly carson says katelynn had a natural interest in giving back, so the school got her involved. she's making blankets as a part of project linus, which donates blankets to seriously ill children. >> the kids that volunteer the most are the kids that have the least. i think they just know what it's like when somebody does something nice for them. >> sreenivasan: principal michael kaufman says, along with making sure kids are getting the
academic attention they need, increasing their engagement with school pays off. >> a lot of our initiatives are really focused on engagement in school, about building connections, about relevance. relationship is incredibly important to make sure the students feel connected, so that when they come to school, it is some place that they want to be. >> sreenivasan: it seems to be working in katelynn's case. she says, along with the volunteer program, she is now involved with the key club, teen court, and even the marching band. >> the more clubs you join, the more close friends you have, which helps you through whatever you're going through. >> sreenivasan: in this process, katelynn is also an example of what's possible through a statewide initiative known as the superintendent's dropout challenge, a way to build an early warning and intervention system. each school identifies 10-15 kids at risk of dropping out. they're selected based on their abcs. >> you've got trouble in attendance, or you've got
trouble in behavior, or you've got trouble in course proficiency, and we remember that as the a-b-c. >> sreenivasan: leisa gallagher coordinates the dropout challenge for michigan. she says this simple idea is catching on. >> we launched it in july. in october, 1,100 buildings took the challenge. 40% of all elementary buildings in the state took it, 20% of all the middle schools, and 40% of all high schools took it. >> sreenivasan: including cody high, which is not just part of the superintendent's challenge, but also part of the detroit parent network. regardless of how many programs, initiatives and support available, teachers know that keeping their kids in the classroom, and getting them to graduation, requires a tremendous amount of work. >> teaching is not just 8:00- 3:00. it's whenever the last kid goes home. i've been here some nights till
7:30 everyday i'm taking someone home. they don't have bus fair need a ride or they just need to talk and so its sacrifice its a lot of sacrifice >> sreenivasan: a sacrifice that will determine the future of >> warner: "american graduate" is a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. >> brown: now to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks, who joins us tonight from philadelphia. >> david we had a republican presidential debate number-- whatever it is. i'm not sure what we're up to. >> 412. >> brown: this one, david, was on foreign policy. what did you take on that as a general overview of where republicans stand? >> on foreign policy i guess they're a bit all over the map. we've seen incredibly dramatic events in foreign affairs, especially in asia, and one of the interesting political debates among republicans is
they are much more hostile, some of them are very hostile to china. some of them are not at all hostile to china. that's a big debate within the republican party. i guess i would say in general among republicans, there's relatively little agreement, little focus, little energy committed to foreign affairs. >> brown: mark? >> i thought what was most interesting to me-- i agree with david-- but what was most interesting to me was how the terms of foreign policy, national security debate, has changed just under barack obama. there was a time when democrats were seen as soft and you could hear the echoes of that language that somehow he'd turned over the prosecution of the war on terror to the a.c.l.u., i think was one of the charges that representative bachmann made. that must be news to the c.i.a. after the capture and elimination of osama bin laden. and then the use of drones, to the extent they have been. but it's interesting because while obama is just in terrible, terrible shape on question of
people's approval of his handling of the economy, disapproval, basically, on his handling of terrorism, americans almost by a two to one margin approves of what he's done. that changedly the dynamic. it was always interesting to see newt gingrich emerge-- he is somebody who i think i owe an apology to because when his entire staff quit and he stopped raising money, and went to the greek isle with his wife, i said this guy is dead. and he said, no, i will climb back in through the debates. and through my big ideals and he has done that. >> brown: david, first, on the question of foreign policy and the switch mark is talking about, you said on the program i think a few weeks ago you thought foreign policy might play a bigger role. we keep talking about how it's all about jobs and the economy, but do you still think so, david, that foreign policies has a bigger role potentially? >> yeah, i think absolutely. i think that now more than ever. look at what's happening in the
world. president obama did a very significant shift in asia, getting the u.s. much more involved in becoming a rival to china. that's not going away. second thing, tahrir square in egypt. the iranianes, we just had another report showing the iranian nuclear program is still going on. the middle east, believe me, you can't escape it, it's coming back. and finally, i think the number one issue in shaping this election is now sitting in berlin withangula merkel. i think angela merkel at this moment has a bigger influence on whether barack obama will be re-elected than barack obama does. the european financial crisis gets scarier by the way. we saw a very weak bond auction in germany this week. we saw the italian government getting hit again by the bond markets. we saw the germans not really yield, not showing any willingness to cosome sort of solution there, very scary possibility of a second recession there caused by europe, and so i think foreign policy is going to merge into
the economy and be a big issue next year. >> brown: interestingly enough, mark, that did not come up at the debate. >> it was fascinating to me that the euro zone and the crisis in europe, whether it-- i mean, what began as greece and italy and now is basically a threat to the entire region and to the entire unit i, never did come up. but that's why i think-- they were singing an awful lot of the old songs -- we're tough. we're hard. we're from the military and the other side isn't. i think it's increasingly less relevant. >> brown: you brought up newt gingrich. the biggest sort of aftermath issue, i guess, on this was newt gingrich on immigration when he suggest the the possibility that some illegal immigrants could be allowed to stay in the country. opponents pounced. will that have some last, impact? >> he had a very select group. if you've been here for 25 years, paid taxes, had children and grandchildren and belong dod a local church eye don't know if
you weren't an active church member-- let's be frank. we're not going to round up 11 million americans or 11 million people here in this country working, the estimate is, and deport them. it would be absolutely suicidal to our economy, nothing else beyond the humane elements of it, the legal questions. but newt gingrich showed himself to be a recklessly compassionate or a bleeding heart liberal or something-- >> brown: "recklessly compassionate." >> you saw what happened to rick perry when he defended his state law which allows the children of undocumented immigrants who do work here and who graduate from a texas high school with the grades to get them into university granted in-state tuition. who's interesting is 42% of iowa caucus goers, told the bloomberg news that rick perry's position
on tuition break or opportunity for children of immigrants, would be a deal break,. they would not vote for him. at the same time, in iowa in 2008, mike huckabee, who had that same position-- the former governor of arkansas-- won the iowa caucuses. so i'm not sure that beginning rich's position is totally politically reckless. but it shows a vulnerability. given the position of the republican party in 2012, ronald reagan, george w. bush, and george herbert walker bush, the last through republican candidate, based on their positions could not be nominated by these republican voters given their positions on immigration. >> brown: david, does that sound right to you? and what of gingrich? >> i'm not sure huckabee could win the caucus. it's the position he has always held. it showed he was brave enough to
say it. in the past, otherring have said we're not going to send home 11 million people who have been here for decades as mark said. to me it's a character test for mom. mom knows in his heart of hearts we're not going to send thee pease home. is he going to say the truth he believes or willing to say anything to be elected? i think gingrich is probably not going to be hurt all that much because i think a lot of people who want to restrict immigration rights basically know this reality as long as they can get the border enforced and controls on illegals as long as there can be enforcement on employeres, they understand the reality. but will mitt romney demonstrate that he understands the reality? will romney show that he's willing to say the honest truth, even if it may not be politically opportune at the moment? to me gingrich survives this, but it will show us a little more about romney in the weeks ahead. >> brown: speaking of romney, mark, he put out an ad this week that got a lot of push-back from
democrats, sort of crying foul over it, right? >> yeah, i mean, mitt romney-- nobody has any doubts about mitt romney's abilities. his education congressionals -- a graduate of harvard business school and harvard law school, his business, is exemplary family life, first-rate intellect-- these aren't the questions. the questions about mitt romney are his character and what the core of the man is, what he really believes, and in his introductory commercial he basically takes words not simply out of context, he takes words barack obama was quoting a mccain campaign person in 2008 and attributes them to obama in 2011. >> brown: soy the words, "if we keep-- balm is saying, "if we keep talk about the economy, we're anything to lose." >> yes. this is the same as if i were to say to you, "hitler said the aryan race is the greatest gift to mankind and all other groups
who aren't blond haired and blue eyed ought to be eliminate from the earth." and you said, "shields say the aryan race is supreme to all other races and all other groups ought to be eliminated." it raises character questions about him. i don't know why he did it. there are all kinds of ways to run against barack obama on his record, but to me it just-- the idea that it start a buzz about the economy, which is what the romney defense is, it raises questions about mitt romney and who he is and what he would do and what he believe he believest exactly what david said about immigration. what's at the core of the man? >> brown: david, what's your theoro that? >> well, first on the merites, i agree with mark. if any of us did that in a journalistic enterprise, we'd be in big trouble. as for the political reason, they did it completely aware of what the reaction. they wanted the reaction. they want to show republican primary voters that they can get in a big, furious fight with the obama campaign and so they did it, knowing and predicting and
hoping that the obama people would react as they did. so what's interesting to me is you're in a world sort of post-morality where you think we'll do whatever it takes to show we can be tough against obama and somehow the line maybe we shouldn't say something that's not quite accurate. somehow that line never really appeared to them. so they're off in an alternate universe. they did it for political reasons, because they want to show republican voters how tough and nanly they are. >> brown: now coming to, passion expected and as predicted by you two last week, david, the super committee failed to come up with a deal before the deadline this week. does anyone come out of this looking good? >> no. i mean, we talked last week about the low reaction of the american people toward congress, american's incredibly low faith in government. there's one thing we know that builds faith in government. it's whether the two parties coming it and hammer out a deal. it's not that people want some mushy centrism. they want constructive competition where they fight and
figure out where the lay of the land is and they get the best deal they can. people understand that this country will go into decline if we don't have a better growth-producing tax code, if we don't take care of our ket, and they want some kind of deal. to me it will create what i think is already burgeoning in this election which was an anti-both party mood. both parties have become minority parties and they're shrinking minorities both of them. >> going in there wasn't great confidence. understand this-- there were four memberes of congress who had served on the bowles-simpson commission who voted for that bowles-simpson. tom coburn of oklahoma, mike crapo, kent conrad of northica dota and dick durbin. none of the four was put on the super committee.
there were four who voted against simpson bowles. all four of them were put on the super committee. so there was a certain orthodoxy. any deviation from what had been the party of orthodoxy was not encouraged and was discouraged. i think the democrats came out with a slight tactical rhetorical advantage, the sense they moved more, that the president tried harder, that the republicans were more obstinate, the sense that the republicans were more wed to protecting the wealthy. i think in the long run, however, it helps the republicans and the reason i say that is this-- that it discredits government. the democrats are, whether they choose to be or not, by historical mandate, the party of government. they believe that government can be an instrument of social justice and economic justice and whether it's eliminating polio, putting a man on the moon, ending racial seg gation,
rebuilding europe-- that's what democrats were about. republicans have said no, government is not the answer. it's the problem. and i think this further erodes public confidence in government and public trust in government, and in that sense it helps the republicans. >> brown: this is too depressing for a holiday weekend. 30 secondes, david, anything you're thankful for in either american government or politics you'd like to put out there? >> well, you know, this is still a fundamentally strong country. we have an amazing culture of resilience and entrepreneurialism. all those who think they are in decline they're wrong. go to the king of prussia mall today and there are a lot of happy, full bags. >> brown: mark, you can top that? >> no, i echo that. i am fundamentally an incurable optimist, but it gets-- it get tested from time to time, and black friday is the time not to restore one's confidence in human nature with pepper spray being used at the wal-mart in
san fernando valley. >> brown: happy thanksgiving. mark shields and david brooks, thanks a lot. lawyer >> warner: now, a japanese fishing port struggles to come back after the march tsunami devastated the town and its fleet. independent television news correspondent alex thomson reports from kesennuma on the northeastern coast of japan, the center of the destruction. just a moment by con, cast off. dawn and the fishing boat is being made ready to work. fishing, the life blood of the tsunami coast, is slowly going back to business. harvesting the rich markeral and salmon shoals off the coast at this time of year.
is here, perhaps more than anywhere else on the planet, the ocean gives but the ocean takes away. they're once again the provider of a rich living, the salmon being landed at dawn here, just a few months after the saw naw nawmy-- tsunami destroyed the towns the fishermen come from. at least they can get back to work, unlike so many people with land-based jobs in towns obliterated by the sea. >> ( translated ): everyone is in the same situation. just because we get back on the water, that doesn't make me happy because otherring are still suffering. so we all need to help protect each other and get over all this by some going fishing and others farming see we'd.
>> reporter: the generations used to life at sea, preparing seaweed for propagation, that's all there is here. >> ( translated ): right now the boat yard has been destroyed so they can't build or fix as many boats as we need so it's just first come, first serve. people are on waiting lists so i don't know when my turn is. >> reporter: the fishing at kesennuma, one of japan's premiere fishing ports, ald but deserted. this place did reopen in june but it's not what it was. >> ( translated ): unless the processing factories get rebuilt, the amount of fish landed here won't be asking like before. that's the first priority, and unless that's achieved, kesennuma won't recover. >> reporter: though some outside japan may shed no attacks, are are
environmentalists targeted kesennuma for years on shark fishing. these days there's talk of a new beginning. the town speaks of respecting nature, not plundering. ( sirens ) are march 11, the tsunami slams into the sound. arsound. we found the vessels a few days later high and dry. yet, three months later on june 18, the cranes moved in and the lift back to the water was under way. it all leaves kesennuma a rather different place eight months on from the tsunami. not that kesennuma is anything like back to normal.
the town is crippled, liable to flooding because the coastline has slipped by about a meter, but this is japan. at the town hall, the paintings speak of a way of life, waving off the boats for months end with their flags and streamers for good luck. they thought they'd never see this happen again here. and yet, decks with bunting and flags, they left port to hunt for tuna. >> brown: finally tonight, what some recently released audio recordings tell us about former president richard nixon and the events of one surreal night more than four decades ago. ray suarez has that story. >> it's hard to imagine an american president if this intensely security conscious age leaving the white house in the middle of the night to meet
protesters on their turf. it happened in may 1970. president richard nixon was under intense criticism for widening the vietnam war to cambodia. four kent state university students had been killed by national guardsmen just days before. thousands of yuck protesters quickly mobilized and headed to washington, d.c. around 4:00 a.m. on may 9, mr. nixon abruptly decided to surprise a group gathered at the lincoln memorial. the nixon presidential library and museum has released a series of recordings, including dictation from president nixon to his chief staff, h.r. haldeman, describing his version of that night's events. for more on the recordings we're joined by melvin small, distinguished professor of history emeritus at wayne state university. he's author ofthe presidency of richard nixon," and "covering dissent-- the media and anti-vietnam war movement." professor, isn't it priceless to have a president's reminiscences from right after an event like
this? >> it certainly was. and he was reacting-- he wrote it three or four days after and he was reacting to the terribly negative press that he received, which he thought was unfair. of course, richard nixon always thought the press was unfair. >> let's listen as president nixon describes a conversation with his valet and asking him if he'd ever been down to the lincoln memorial. >> i said get your clothes on and we'll go down to the lincoln memorial. i got dressed and approximately 4:35, we left the white house and drove to the lincoln memorial. >> "i had never seen the secret service quite so petrified with apprehension." did richard nixon do these things often? >> that was not that unusual. he had done this when he was campaigning and the following year in san jose, california, he got out of his car, hoping--
literally hoping that stones would be thrown at him, much to the horror of the secret service. he was both fearless and some might say irresponsible and not just on this occasion. >> it signals a kind of interesting relationship with his valet. >> yes, menolo sanchez was his valet. he was a cuban emigre. >> and they're discussing this at 4:00 in the morning after a turned down offer of hot chocolate but asked him if he had ever been to the lincoln memorial at night and what, pals along with him to go down there? >> it was a little odd because nixon had been on the phone. he made about 50 phone calls from 9:00 to 3:30. he called henry kissinger eight times. he was in a very odd situation mentally, i think. the country was falling apart, from his perspective. he later said this was the darkest period of his
presidency. henry kissinger said washington and the white house was besieged. there were district buses lined up around the white house for who knows what. the 82nd airwas in the basement of the executive office building right across the street. this was a very tense and from his professional a dangerous period and he said let's head over to the lincoln memorial. >> he went over, no entrage and no press. how was he received. >> there were seven or eight students who were in sleeping bags rubbing their eyes and there was the president standing there beginning to talk to them and many of them were absolutely astonished. by this time some of the secret services caught scup one of his aids, bud crow. >> let's listen to the president describe his interaction with the protesters at the lincoln memory pam
and most of the comment they got-- almost all of them said that the president was speaking flippantly, irrelevantly, and in fact he did-- he tried to engage them on vietnam, evidently. they didn't listen very much to what he had to say. he said he suppliesed with their interest in peace, and when that didn't work he said, "where do you go to college?" if it was syracuse, "oh, you have a good football team." if it was california, he talked about surfing to them and foreign travel. the next day the media only had those kinds of comments, which is kind of the reason why nixon a couple of days later decided to put down his memories will of the visit for the historic half record. >> at some point he days to end the conversations. he sees that daybreak is beginning. and he takes his leave of the lincoln memorial. let's listen to the president's description of that moment.
>> a restless richard nixon doesn't return toot white house, does he? >> no, he then takes menolo off to the house of representatives. i guess menoleo had never been there. they get the house open-- there are only a couple of creeping people in it. he takes his seat in his old representative seat and asks menoleo to go to the speaker's platform and deliver a short speech. then they go off to breakfast. he said they hadn't had hash since he was president. he tried a famous hash diner and that was closed and went to the mayflower hotel and had
breakfast and only after that he went back to the white house after this amazing evening, early morning. >> as someone who intimately knows the ins and outs of richard nixon's life story, what does this little vignette tell you? >> well, i think he really was sincere when he went over to the kids and said, "i share your interest in making peace." they disagreed about the way he was going about it. i think he was trying to cool the incredible passions of may 9, 1970. and he was-- he was an awkward man. he was awkward physically. he was awkward verbally. he used to ask his aides to give him little three by five cards in order to make small talk. so this is a kind of an unusual situation for him. he's making small talk without his three by five cards. >> professor small, an interesting story. thanks for joining us. >> thank you.
>> warner: again, the major developments of the day: more than 100,000 protesters gathered in egypt's tahrir square to demand a change from military to civilian rule. parliamentary elections are set for next week. and three american students who were arrested during a protest in cairo last sunday were released tonight, and are said to be headed back to the u.s., according to one of their mothers. they'd been accused of throwing firebombs at egyptian security forces fighting with protesters. and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame. >> holman: the newest mars rover, "curiosity," is scheduled to begin its 350-million-mile journey to the red planet saturday. hari sreenivasan gets a peek at "curiosity's" innovative capabilities from a mission manager. that's on our "science" page. why does healthcare in the united states cost so much, and how do the outcomes compare to other nations'? we look at a 34-nation study. that's on our "health" page. on "making sense," paul solman takes on 30-year mortgage rates and why the rate changes over time.
>> warner: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll talk to the head of the european commission as wall street and washington watch the widening financial crisis in the euro-zone. i'm margaret warner. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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