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tv   Inside Washington  ABC  August 9, 2009 9:00am-9:30am EDT

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>> just say no! >> this week on "inside washington," the health-care debate heats up. are these a mob scenes or democracy in work? >> this notion of a grass-roots campaign is totally phony. >> we were taken to a location and when we walked through the door, we saw standing before us, president bill clinton.
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>> bill clinton's north korean rescue mission draws mixed reviews. >> this is a propaganda success for kim jong il on the north korean regime. >> the senate approves sonia sotomayor for the supreme court, with the help of a few republicans. >> i do not believe that the constitution tells me i should refuse to support or merely because i disagree with her on some cases. >> congress comes up with another $2 billion to buy your clunker, but why stop there? >> why not an increase in demand for boats, or how about rv's, or how about refrigerators? captioned by the national captioning institute >> happening all around the country, congressional democrats
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at town meetings trying to sell the president's health plan, finding themselves shouted down. on the internet, there is doctored video of the president appearing to say that he will eliminate private health insurance. the white house is fighting back on that. the people >> who always tried to scare people whenever you try to bring them health-inrance reform are at it again, and they are taking sentences and phrases out of context and cobbling them together to lead a very false impression. >> linda douglass, a communications director of the white house office of health reform. the white house says there is a vital whisper campaign to kill health care reform, but it is not all whispers. how did disruptors know about congressional town meetings? they can go to web sites like this one, which list the meetings state-by-state. the goal is to rattle the speaker. the memo says to get them off the script and agenda. jeanne, how much of this is going on and how effective is
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it? >> it has been pretty effective so far, and it amazes me that the democrats and white house were not ready for it. this is the opponents' best opportunity to water down the bill or kill it, and they are seizing the moment, and they are pretty effective at it so far. these things have gone viral on the internet. everybody is aware of them. it has conservatives charged up and ready to go. there is a risk of backlash. there are people who have real concerns about the health care plan that do want to gut it out -- that you want to go town hall meetings but do not want to yell the congressmen either. those conversations are being disrupted. >> mark, and none of this is illegal. >> no, but jeanne put her finger on it. the downside is that if it appears thuggish, shouting down so that other people, residents of the congressional district, to not get a chance, and they
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are causing people in, that is a problem. that does not mask the fact that there are real concerns. the resistance is strongest among those who have health insurance. i think that has been the challenge, not only of congress but the administration. >> charles? >> well, if you are protesting against the bush administration, like code pink, that is patriotic dissent. if you are protesting against the messiah, then it is a mob. i thought here we are, and administration attacking ordinary citizens who go out and express their citizenship by speaking their minds and protesting government policies. it is ironic that the attack on them comes from the administration led by a man whose first job, as i remember, was community organizer,hich, if i understand correctly, is a
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guy who goes out to ordinary citizens, organizes them to go out and speak their minds and protest against authority. i do find it rather curious. >> evan? >> mobs and paranoia are not new, but there is something about american culture now that allows you to be as angry as he won all the time. incivility is kind of limit is. >> michael steele, the republican national chairman, says that to call this a republican cabal is baloney. let me read what "washington post" columnist steven pearlstein. "the efforts have been some misleading and disingenuous that they can always bring from a cynical ever to gain partisan political advantage. by poisoning the political well, they have given up any pretense of being a local opposition and have become political terrorists
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willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems." >> i think we have to be -- i think that is too broad a brush. there is an element of that. i appreciate what charles is saying. i think code pink does not have a great reputation. these people will not either, this segment of them -- swastikas burning an effigy, horns on the members' faces on big posters. those are the people taking it too far, the ones that steven pearlstein is talking about. beneath that, though, there are real concerns about what this means, and the democrats have not done a good job of making that case. the only now getting their act together, and you'll see if they can push back against it. i do think that the rabble part of this is overplaying its hand. >> code pink is not comparable. clever on charles, but it is
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inaccurate. code pink is very much a splinter group, never endorsed by mainstream democrats or congressional leaders -- if i could finish while you are interrupting -- that is the first point. the second point is that there is an awful lot of misinformation being circulated. there are advertisements saying "why will they cover abortion," which is not in the bill," but they will not cover an emergency appendectomy? why is there euthanasia part of it?" there is some truth squad work to be done. >> the idea that the republican establishment in any official capacity or authority is endorsing be one or two idiots who carry a swastika is absurd. the mainstream of these people, if you look at the town halls, is ordinary, it usually middle- aged people. they do not look like terrorists to me. they are expressing themselves.
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sometimes rudely, and should not. but the fact is that the polls on the obama care have gone south ever since july 22, when he held his press conference, long before any of the town halls. it is because the substance of this does not hold up. what killed it was the objective numbers out of the congressional budget office. it was not republicans, it was not blue dogs. it was the fact that the numbers to not add up. >> they are not holding up because the administration has not been able to define what is. most people cannot tell you what it is all about. it is an extremely confusing subject. i am regularly confused by it. obama seems to me -- maybe it is too late, but if there was ever a time for the president to show leadership, it is now, not just with the public, but with congress. he has to find a clear way of articulating what he wants.
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>> he gave himself an hour of prime time in which he devoted almost exclusively to health care, and he could not explain it, as you said. nobody understands what exactly he is doing. >> there is no bill. they held that press conference with the thought that there would be a bill. they thought that the senators were closer to compromise than they were. >> just on what evan said, it is time for him to be ronald reagan in making the case publicly and forcefully and simply, and to be lyndon johnson and dealing with members of congress one on one. that is the test that he will either meat or fail. >> so far he is neither. he is definitely not a lyndon johnson arm twister. >> he does not have a case because he does not have a plan.
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>> the past 140 days has been the most difficult, heart wrenching time of our lives. we are very grateful that we were granted amnesty by the government of north korea. >> bill clinton and al gore, pals again. the unpleantness of the 2000 campaign apparently forgotten. the two women work for al gore's current tv network. we have not heard much from former president bill clinton since his wife became secretary of state. he realized his network of -- utilized his network of business and political contacts and flew to north korea to free these captured journalists. the obama administration wanted to send out more, but apparently, kim jong il wanted bubba. >> look, i commend the president, but it was not his
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doing. stuff like this is mired completely in advance. it was the white house negotiating through i think it was the swedes' as intermediaries, and it was that kim jong il want it to have the highest ranking american outside of the administration in a photo op to show that he is not a vegetable, and that he is actually active. if you are in a country like that, in which all power is in one man, and they worry about the stroke you have, and they worry if you are all there, showing up with president clinton and speaking and having a dinner with him is extremely important. he wanted it and he got it. it cost him two hostages. >> john mccain says it is a big propaganda success for the north koreans. >> well, it certainly is. they did well by this. as charles said, they wanted to get respect and a respected but it also is a win-win for us. we got two hostages back alive
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and well, and not only that, we dropped in to north korea for five really smart people who can at least get a look at the place, get some sense ave. we have no intelligence out of north maybe we do not have a lot now, but a little bit more than a week ago. >> we found something for bill clinton to do. that is important. >> the criticism of this transaction just kind of befuddle to me, i have to be honest with you. there seems to be a talking point among many on the conservative side that any negotiations are awarded to the country you are negotiating with, in spite of the fact that ronald reagan and richard nixon and allepublicans other than george w. bush negotiated with our sworn enemies. i do not know what the payoff is for this. kim jong il obviously wanted somebody to look up to, and bill clinton met the test by being a foot and a half taller than he is. i think it is a positive, it is
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good, and spur some people, good news is just intolerable. >> wait a minute, it is not all good news. it had to be done, i would have done it, you are right, ronald reagan did it, richard nixon did it, everyone does it read when hostages are held, you have to pay a ransom let's not pretend it was not a ransom. you do it as moral obligation to your citizens who are snatched, but there is a price. it gives legitimacy to a government like that. there are also hit in prices. you may not know what was promised in advanced, food aid or fuel aid. it will happen in the future and we will not even know about it. >> first of all, barack obama showed a certain sense of self by agreeing that bill clinton, a giant figure, would go into this. in that sense, it was almost reaganesque.
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when jesse jackson repatriated the lieutenant goodman and brought him back, ronald reagan welcome to them to the white house, because he was happy it happened, rather than somehow saying "you violated federal law." >> evan, he spent part of your vacation in pakistan, which is lovely this time of year. what did you find? >> food was actually pretty good, but electricity does not work about half of the time. the capital feels like the capitol the day before it falls. the streets are empty. whenever we had to go anywhere, they had to clear the streets with soldiers so that we would not get killed. the president's office, a great plate glass window with a great view but a glass wall in front of it. it feels like a country on the brink. >> there are reports that the cia may have killed the commder of the pakistan taliban, baitullah mehsud.
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>> he is a real bad guy and that would be good news. but the internal problems of pakistan, of feudal country that is just in terrible shape, focused on india when they ought to be focused on the jihadists -- >> where do you see it headed? >> i see the united states desperately keeping it from just imploding into civil war. >> very reassuring, evan.
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>> yeas are 68, nays are 31. >> the world's greatest deliberative body gives its consent to the first hispanic to serve on the nation's highest court, and the third woman. 31 of the 40 republicans voted no, including orrin hatch.
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>> such activity, judging with uncertainty and instability in the law, and the result is an activist judicial philosophy that i cannot support, and that the american people rejected. >> if you voted for her, the national rifle association threatens to get your free if you voted against her, you could set yourself up for trouble with hispanic voters. >> john mccain was the biggest surprise to me. when lindsey graham, the senator closest to him on the judiciary committee, came out for her. there were only nine republicans who voted for justice sotomayor. four of them are retiring. i think that in itself is revealing. it remains a concern for republicans, who still have a keeping problem with women voters, which they lost in last five elections, latino voters,
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and young voters. >> i would think he would admire person who goes against his political interest on a matter of principle. there are a lot of for all the ds who are conservative who decided that the democratic standard on this issue -- republicans who are conservative who decided that the democratic standard on this issue ought to be applied. the democratic standard practiced by barack obama as the senator was that he opposed john roberts, as high level of a nominee as we have ever had, on the grounds of ideality. he believes his understanding of the law is one we should not have on the supreme court. that is how the conservatives have voted. it will hurt him with hispanics and women, but i commend them for acting on principle. >> but i don't think it or acting on principle. i think they were behaving in a partisan way. both sides have done it now. now we have seen that this will be the pattern for judicial nominations as we go forward. there was a time not long ago
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when the nominees would be measured based on their qualifications, and you would see a much more bipartisan vote. the democrats set the stage -- >> with bork. >> but really with roberts and alito -- roberts in particular, who was very well qualified to the republicans have now call it the same kind of behavior. -- the republicans have now copied the same kind of behavior pbc this set for sometime now, where it is basically a partisan vote. >> the republicans' best vote is that not many people are paying attention this august. >> but the hispanics were paying attention. to date. -- t oo late. the african-american vote is now said, hispanics, the largest voting -- largest growing voting population in the country. they have a problem with women.
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they are shrinking to the white male vote, which, if you look at all demographics, is really not a long-term plan for that. >> first law of politics is survival. >> i want to make a comment on the clip that opened the second, who announced her assent to the court. having the first hispanic on the court is historic, but what is really distort is having a comedian presiding over the senate. that has never happened before. or maybe it happens every day. >> charles never met george murphy, one of the real giants of the senate, who tap danced with shirley temple and represented california for one happy term. judd gregg, retiring from new hampshire, has voted for every nominee for the supreme court since he has been there for charles grassley when against his record by voting against the nominee. at suntrust, we help you manage your money at home.
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>> first they destroy the engines, then they dragged into a yard, report parts to sell, and stack them high. americans have turned in at least 150,000 vehicles. they ran out of money and congress has come up with another $2 billion. which is fine, a great program if you have a job. if you do not have a job, you cannot buy a car, you just cannot. >> you are right, you cannot do that and a whole lot of other things. that this is a government program run amok with success. it is amazing. but the dealerships are reporting profits, and this is one of the best little stimulus plans they have got going on right now. it's hard to tell whether it is related to the better-than- expected unemployment numbers this month. but it is at least one where they are -- the government is having a real effect on the economy. >> the stimulus stimulus plan is
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embarrassingly small numbers actually getting into the economy. of the $800 billion or so, it is ke $100 billion, mostly just money that goes to the states. there is a lot of starring in washington to produce not much. the economy is not in great shape. >> it works, it is popular, it gets gas guzzling cars of the streets, mixing greener vehicles available to the public. but the thing that hits the most of all talking to dealers is that it gets people into showrooms. that is the biggest complaint people of that, that nobody comes into showrooms. this has worked in germany. it started last winter. it is just successful government program. i know that bothers some people. [laughter] >> charles? >> where do i start? i have half a minute left, so much error, so little time.
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i will do one aspect of this. the environmentalists' insisted that the cars be destroyed. why? these are unbelievably worth while assets. you can sell them. if you destroy them, you will have a loss of supply of used cars and parts great increase in price. if you are a poor person or immigrant or student who wants a new car, a second-hand car, and it needs parts, the price will rise. that is the sacrifice to the earth god by the liberal environmentalists. >> you get the last word. see you next week.
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