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tv   Way Too Early With Willie Geist  MSNBC  September 7, 2009 5:30am-6:00am EDT

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our round table on the war in terror and the 9/11 attacks there
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we are back with our wround table. i have to say, if i were planning a sunday brunch, it doesn't get better than this. these folks around the table. tom brokaw still on health care for a couple of minutes. one of the things i'm told from top democrats is that the idea of reconciliation is more likely than not. in other words, the president tries to get this through with a simple majority of 61 rather than going for all the votes. >> it is a process designed to
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deal with budget issues as you know. they think if they go to reconciliation and try to focus on the cost of health care they can get there. what do they get out of all that? they hope to get a mandate where everyone has to have health insurance of some kind and one of the senior advisers to the administration is saying we think we can get the exchange process in place where states will organize and exchange a shopping mall if you will for people who are looking for health insurance to go and have a competitive environment. they are not saying anything about the public option in all that. we just say one other thing, for the full disclosure of the mayo clinic the cleveland clinic and the mayo clinic systems that are doing well believe the administration is missing a big opportunity to restructure the cost of medicare and medicaid so that you pay for performance and not just for tests. no one is addressing that as will. there are so many elements in all this that are in play now,
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and the administration took a big bite and now the question is whether they can adjust to all this. >> let me ask the political question on health care. we'll put up the graphic about the independent voters, because it shows that obama's approval rating is slipping down to 43% since july down ten points. the issue he has here in the democratic party, he has a left that really wants the fundamental change he campaigned on, but he wants the reality among independent voter and central democrats that say we are spending a lot of money here. it is just a difficult time to take on all this. what is his message to his party right now? >> well this is a framing challenge. there's no question about that. there are just a couple things i would say. one, in terms of health care itself to me one way to frame it, there's a huge competition. who needs health care more than american business today? taking the burden off business so they can compete globally. and that is to me an independent/republican issue
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that tends to be more of a democratic left issue. the second is i keep coming back to this point. if he doesn't have republicans already saying yes for an answer, let's work with the administration. you can hear that the public option isn't going to be there. he is drifting to the idea of the insurance exchange. it was mitt romney's idea in massachusetts. he is going to drift to the idea of paying for this by taxing some health care benefits. which where did i hear that? that was john mccain. can the republicans say yes to mccain/romney ideas? it is not clear that they are not out to pull the plug on obama much more than anything else. >> mayor? >> i think the senate has a proposal that i don't hear that talks about a real reduction in costs and a realistic way to cover more people through tax breaks tax exemptions subsidies, things like that. i think the republicans could support it. the republicans have -- i supported, along with john mccain, a major reform of health care, if he incorporated a lot of those things in it i would support it.
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>> let me get to a couple interesting issues. the speech the president planned to give on tuesday was an education speech to students coming back from their summer break and he wanted to talk about studying hard. we brought it up with david axelrod. it created a firestorm. here's the new campaign in public schools, writing a parent level, and in it saying, in developing their plans our principals have considered issues such as developmental issues, the speech is being broadcast and the importance of assuming the responsibility for the selection of instructional materials. the faculty will view the speech download it and after making decisions look at how to use it in the future. including deciding if its appropriate for various grade levels. talk about tortured language. what's going on here? >> signs of the apocalypse. i come from a time in life where it would be thrilling to have
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the president of the united states address staying in school. this president is a symbol of working hard coming from difficult circumstances and getting to where he is in part because of education. i think it is so right for satire. it is unbeliefable. the superintendent of the gettiesburg public system designed a plan from abraham lincoln who will be coming to make an address. look, what is the most tortured thing i can imagine. it sounds like east germany trying to force restrictions on people leaving the eastern sector to go to the western sector. i think it is perfectly appropriate for parents to say, i don't want my child to hear that. i would rather keep them out or put them in a different school that day, but this is completely out of control in my judgment. and it is not -- it is not partisan. i mean when i was a student or when my children were in school if it had been dwight eisenhower or john kennedy or bill clinton or ronald reagan or george bush the idea of hearing a president
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of the united states saying we should study hard and that's how we advance. we all need to get in on this i think it is an appropriate message. >> mayor giuliani you ran for president. one of the things i covered about president bush is the lack of respect for his presidency. does that trouble you? >> yes, it does. tom is right, but the difference is we looked at president eisenhower president reagan even up to about that point, president bush differently. there's a lack of respect for the president, there's a lack of respect for politicians. david axelrod said well this isn't politics. everything the president does nowadays is politics for a better word. people are distrusting the president's motives or the administration's motives. it is not just about the speech it is about the lesson plan. i think it is unfortunate. i think -- it almost seems a shame to say what's the harm in
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a presidency? i think the president should be given the opportunity -- >> the governor of minnesota said there's a sense that it is being hoisted on the schools. is there la jat mat criticism? students could write letters to say how to help the president. >> i traveled to afghanistan in february of '02, we took with us letters from students in our own congressional districts along with seven other members of congress to deliver them to students in afghanistan. we asked them to do it. we thought a clever and smart and interesting way for kids to connect. i wish when i was in fourth grade the president of the united states when i was in fourth grade, it would have been 1978 or '79, jimmy carter was president. i wish in '82 when i was in seventh grade he said study hard work hard and obey your teachers. if that's bad in america today, we have worse problems than going into a school and speaking. >> you said it it is a firestorm. we live in the age of firestorms. today, this week the president is speaking in a school. what it means is for people to
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stand up and say, that's flat out stupid okay? that's flat out stupid what you are talking about. the president of the united states addressing the school children in this country to study hard work hard becau that's the way you advance in today's world economy. instead of that, we kind of dance around it it is flat out stupid. >> you talk about van jones as well, the fact that in in media age, what he said by anybody's estimation was objective. the government was behind 9/11 but it goes to something that's going on in this information age, which is you can be a target real fast. >> david, when everyone has a cell phone everyone has access to youtube, you are a filmmaker. when you have access to blogging you are a newspaper writer. tell your kid, tell your kids okay be careful. every move they make is now a digital footprint. you are on candid camera. unfortunately, the real message to young people in all these
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incidents, okay i'm not hear to defend anything anyone said but from all the incidents, really keep yourself tight. don't say anything controversial. whatever you do just kind of smooth out all the edges and maybe you too, when you get nominated to be ambassador you will be able to -- >> one of the things i have been saying to the audience is, this question comes up a lot, and a lot of people repeat back to me and take it at face value something they raid on the internet. my line to that is you have to vet information and test it the same way you do when you buy an automobile or when you go on to ply a new flat screen television. you read the consumer reports and have an idea of what the lasting value is. you have to do the same thing with information because there is so much disinformation out there that it is frightening, frankly, in a free society that depends on information to make informed decisions. this is across the board, by the way. it is not just one part of the
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political spectrum or the other, it is across the board, david. we have to address its and it requires a society with political and cultural leaders to stand up and say this is crazy. >> the internet is an open sewer of untreated information, left, right, center up down. it requires that filtering. i always felt when modems came out, that every modem in america should have come with a warning from surgeon general that said judgment not included. that you have to upload the old fashioned way. church synagogue mosque teacher, school and too often now people say, we have all heard it but i read it on the internet. as if that solves it. i'm afraid not. >>er with talking about our society. i want to talk about a society halfway around the world that america is engaged in changing and that is afghanistan. the war in afghan san francisco is a critical time. tom friedman you write about
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this in your column today on this question of more troops. the headline from babysitting to adoption, we are not just adding more troops in afghanistan, we are transforming our mission from babysitting to adoption. we are going from a limited mission focused on babysitting afghanistan in order to prevent an al qaeda return. this is a much bigger undertaking than we originally signed up for. before we adopt a new baby afghanistan, we need to have a new national discussion about this project. how much time it would take? what would make it compelling and who is going to oversee this policy? i feel a vast and rising ambivalence about this in the american public today. two sundays ago, admiral mull lynn was on this program, and i asked him about what the u.s. enterprise was in afghanistan. watch. >> to a certain degree there is some of that going on. >> is that what the american people signed up for? >> right now the american people
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signed up i think, for support of getting at those who threaten up. >> tom, are we fulfilling our central mission there? >> david, i want to pick up with admiral mullen. he gave a really smart speech this week to a veterans group, in which he said i would rather debate this issue than ignore it. and what i think he was implying there and here i think he knows, actually the last time i went to afghanistan was following him and i saw a lot of things that he saw. and it was very clear to me that the strategy has chand. basically, what the military has concluded is that the only way we can possibly succeed there is by building the regional government that will protect and serve the afghan people so they won't want to sign up with the taliban for any number of other reasons. that's what they have concluded, but the only way to do that is with state building 101. i think the thing we all have to
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debate okay and we really knew -- i do believe we have to redebate this issue on a national level. do we want to undertake that project in this country? does it serve our interest? i believe it is a fantasy to think we can go to this sort of smal . work? do you think george bush would have figured that out over eight years? you can't collect the intel you need. if you are in small units traveling around the country, you won't know who is who. that's not going to happen. >> this has uncle sam weeding through the mud in afghanistan and the question can the u.s. ever tame afghanistan? is this approach the right one? >> i'm not sure the strategy has changed. i just heard david axelrod say the main strategy is to disrupt the taliban, disrupt al qaeda, that's the place from which the attack of september 11 emerged. i hope they remain focused on that goal because that is a
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worthy goal, a necessary one and probably needs more troops. i think the president in this instance is living up to his campaign promise, i support him completely, i think he has the right focus. i think we have no choice. we can't become afghanistan-cenric. >> general mccrystal made it clear, the mission is protecting the population. this is the counter insurgency strategy, but there's a lot of work that goes into protecting a population with this kind of culture, this kind of poverty and distrust of anything not the taliban of the central government of which there's not much. >> and we should get it done. we should accomplish it. i think we ignored afghan stan for too long. i think the troop requirements were necessary there. >> under president bush? >> we did. we were focused on iraq. i hate to see it focused so much on afghanistan that we don't complete the job. >> is this war worthy? >> it depends on how you define it.
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discorrupting and trying your hardest to disband terrorism and al qaeda on our soil remains in the forefront. some of the criticism this week from noted conservatives and focused on whether or not we are focused on pack stanlg pakistan as much as we should be. there are bases critical to us being able to effectively bring changes. two, the afghans, i read tom friedman's column i take issue with some in the column only because i think there's a difference here. although the taliban, and for that matter, afghans, we didn't already parter with them, it's important to note that 90% of the country is not in favor of what the taliban wants to do. two, the elections were bad, but there was some positives that came out of it. it is also clear that the people are more pro-american. i think we have an obligation here and a responsibility because if you offshore this responsibility, we tried it in the '90s and it didn't work.
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as painful as it may be to maintain and conduct a new strategy that requires new troops, i think the president is going to be forced to do it. i hope you can find an easy and quick way out of it, but at the same time, i would much rather do this than five to ten years from now have the president -- >> let me get tom brokaw to weigh in here. >> there's a lot of concern about the administration and the people advising the administration about the level of corruption in this election. they see that at the great opening of the taliban taking advantage of that it is like the subcontinent with the olympics of election corruption. iran was in first place and now afghanistan has moved into fist place. this has been going on for some time. i was in islamabad and had a brief meeting with corzine at a motel and three of those companying him pulled me to the side and said you have no idea what's going on here. it is his family using this has a register of this entire country. the best line i heard about afghanistan and the most people who look at afghanistan from this distance think of kandahar and kabul, but it is this very
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remote country of tribes and an expert of afghanistan said to me one day, the problem with afghanistan is that the afghans have reversible turbines it depends on who you took to that day. it depends on the occupation. they are not going to stand up and salute the american flag because we are around it depends on who is in town that day. >> rudy giuliani the bigger question about the war, the war initiated after 9/11 as we approach the eighth anniversary now. is the united states safer since 9/11? >> i do think it is but i thought tom's column answered itself. it is the premises correct. if, in fact it is the place where the september 11th attack emerged, if our intelligence fails us that continues to be the place to be most concerned about. then we have to do whatever is necessary to eliminate. if that requires some form of village building town building, nation building then for our own safety we have to do it. the main thing is is your intelligence correct are the
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premises correct? i think they are. i think we are safer than we were. we are not as safe as we would like to be. it is indisputable we are safer than we were before. we've gotten much better intelligence, we have a much more active pursuit of terrorism. we have the much more on the run. thank god we haven't been attacked. the day that it happened i was told that we were going to get attacked multiple times, both that day and in the next week and for three months i was waiting for the next attack and getting intelligence from every source imaginable every one of the agencies we talk about, that new york should be ready for multiple attacks over the next two to three years, and the united states should be. >> and we still don't have them off? >> the threat we faced after 9/11 -- i tried to distinguish between terrorists and terrorism. i think we are safer for a lot of reasons the mayor referred. to. the intelligence is better, there's no question. we are going to spend the labor day weekend out biking.
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one big reason we haven't been attacked, there are two other components to this threat. one is the misgovernance, the angry people that unemployment produces not only terrorists but the people behind them. the second thing is the war of ideas. i'll feel safer, david, when more people in the muslim word turn out to protest a bombing in the heart of baghdad that kills hundreds of innocent people. >> i have to get to politics before we go. mayor giuliani you have said your thinking about running for governor of new york. what troubles you about the state of new york now that informs you about that decision? >> i'm still thinking about it. what troubles me with most people is about what's going on. the budget in new york is way out of control. it is $120 billion, $130 billion with an increase in spending. at a time when we are dealing
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with less for most people taxes have been raised and are going to be raised astro momically, a big problem in new york. we are already losing population as a result of that. people are making plans to live somewhere else. and we have a whole upstate region that hasn't had economic development for way too long. those are the things that trouble me the most. >> you sound like you are inclined to run. >> then you guessed something i haven't guessed. >> if you are still thinking about it when will you make up your mind? >> once we get through the polical season and get finished with whatever is going on right now. there's an important race for mayor going on in new york city. an important race for governor in new jersey and virginia. i have my favorites in each one of the races. >> so a november decision? >> something like that. >> all right. we'll leave it there. we got to a lot. ( conversation ) garth, you're up. hold on i'm at capitalone.com picking a photo... for my credit card. here's one from my prom. oh what memories. how 'bout one from our golf outing? ( shouting ) i know, maybe one of my first-born son.
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