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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  October 23, 2009 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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>> production assistance for "inside washington" was provided by allbritton communications and
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"politico," reported on the legislative, executive, and political arena. >> the reality is that fox news often operates almost as either the research arm or the conditions calm of the republican party. >> this week on "inside washington," the obama white house goes to war against fox news and other critics. >> the white house must stop dithering while america's armed forces are in danger. >> dick cheney continues his national-security war against the obama white house. >> what vice-president cheney caused dithering, president obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the american public. >> senator john kerry talks to afghan president karzai into a runoff. >> it doesn't offend our values when executives of big financial firms -- it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms that are struggling are paid huge bonuses as they rely on taxpayer
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assistance to stay afloat. >> add a word on the passing of jack nelson, one of the reporters -- one of the great reporters of our time. >> the evil the was inflicted on blacks in the south was almost unbelievable. captioned by the national captioning institute >> a ranking republican in the u.s. senate says that the obama administration seems to be creating an enemies list of people who criticize the president to senator lamar alexander, who worked in the nixon administration, says that this st. paul's -- this street brawl strategy to get you in trouble. in a two-part series this week,
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"politico" reporters mike allen and jim vandehei writes that the obama administration is working systematically to marginalize critics of the party. >> there is a huge downside for president obama, because people voted for him because they liked it was partisan willingness to uniify and work with other people. if you start fighting with a bunch of groups, you look like just love the politician. -- just another politician. >> according to a poll, only 20% of people identify themselves as republicans. and a majority of independents do not trust republicans to make the right decisions, 83%. given those numbers, why would the white house go on the attack, mark?
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>> you will have to get the answer elsewhere. i do not understand tactics or the strategy. obviously, there are people not on your side. you give them short shrift and cold shoulder. but the idea of using the presidency and the white house, which, as mike allen said, was elected any prospectus and surge in the country and a desire to -- in a post-partisan search and the country and a desire to get beyond the bickering, makes no sense. >> only 20% of people identified as republicans, charles? >> fortunes of parties wax and wane, but the percentages of people who identify themselves ideologically conservative or liberal remains steady. 22% identify themselves as liberal and i think twice as many identify themselves as conservative could you have to make a distinction between people's political tendencies and how they feel about a party at a particular time. >> lamar alexander says the
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white house has produced and nixon-like enemies list 3 anybody we know what? >> -- anybody we know on it? >> if either roger ailes or mike allen think he has a shot at running for president, one of them needs to get more rest. administration's make short-term decisions, and to go on the offense of publicly against fox was not too bright. the bush administration would just cut people off, freeze whole institutions out, and not talk about it, and was much like the mob. when you talk about it publicly, you diminish her influence. >> what do you think about the strategy, colby? >> they are foils for each other, fox for the obama administration and obama for
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fox. fox's ratings are going to the roof, and obama's supporters on the left are loving it, too. we have to distinguish between the un for criticism -- the unfair criticism and the criticism unfair tactics and the opposition to the chamber of commerce. there are several substantive issues, whether it is health care, cap-and-trade energy legislation, they have a right to hit back at the chamber of commerce. with respect to the enemies list, i worked for the united states senator who made nixon's enemies list. let me tell you, is wanting to be on the enemies list like nixon's and another thing to be the subject of criticism from an administration. they're they're talking about going after someone's career and taking away contributions and the tough stuff. that is not happening here and the language is overwrought. >> charles, you wrote this week
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that "the fox news 6:00 program is the best news program on television." you are on it, right? >> i am on it almost every night -- [laughter] and i would say that even on the nights i am not on. brit hume started and ran for 10 years, and now bret baier, and i would recommend it, since our audience and talent here is overwhelmingly liberal, have a look. you will be enlightened. >> i will be watching "the newshour with jim lehrer" instead. >> do you watch it when you are not on? >> i do, i do. >> knock it off! >> criticism of the fox is not unbased. i would call shep smith a very straight political anchor and reporter, and others as well --
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i think chris wallace is a very professional reporter. glenn beck is a raging psycho. let's be very blunt about it. he is a knockoff version of how would appeal in the movie "network." "i am mad as hell and not going to take it anymore." he might threaten to off himself, to. sean hannity is nothing more -- make is understood -- nothing more than and a cheerleader, and critical, is a list cheerleader -- uncritical, zealous 2 leader of all things conservative. he is running rallies -- >> is this really that difficult? in newspapers you have a front- page editorial page. everybody understands there is a difference. -- a front page and an editorial
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page. everybody understand there is a difference. you have the news shows with bret baier and shep smith, and "fox news sunday," high-quality news shows that rank with everybody's, and then there are opinion shows. how is that different from msnbc which does not even have -- >> here is where you can make a very valid comparison. you start at 6:00 in the morning with "fox and friends." i do that, then i switched at cnn with john roberts. two completely different approaches to the news. "box and friends" unabashed from it gthe get-go bashing obama. that is not happening with cnn on the news show -- >> cnn is not critical of, and neither are the major -- >> that is really not fair. it is hard for people to know the difference in television
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between which programs are opinion -- excuse me -- and which are not, and it is like european newspapers were the two blind. >> so we should hand out a reader's guide for functional illiterates? >> do not pretend that sean hannity and glenn beck and bill riley -- >> it is not news. i am not -- that is the editorial page. >> i had a feeling this was going to be lively. the war of words continues in afghanistan. >> having announced his strategy in march, president obama now seems are free to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander -- now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide this matter with the trustee's suit complete the mission. >> the vice president was for seven years not focus on afghanistan, and even more curious, given that an increase
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in troops sat on desks in this white house, including the vice- president's, for more than eight months. >> mr. cheney spoke out receiving the keeper of the final word from the center of security policy. his former aide scooter libby got the "service before self" awarded a barely president obama is waiting for the results -- apparently president obama is waiting for the results of the election and afghanistan. is that putting the troops in danger? >> it does not endanger them, but it puts the mission on hold until something is decided. there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about who your partners will be in afghanistan. that is going to have an impact on what you and afghanistan and also you have to watch pakistan, what pakistan is doing against the taliban as well. before you come out with a decision on engagement with
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afghanistan. the criticism that the president is to the ring is something that the president needs to answer, though -- that the president is in dithering is something the president needs to answer, though. i cannot imagine that there are a lot of unasked questions. >> i can. >> i doubt it. i think they are waiting to see the results of what is going on in the region. >> what is puzzling is this excuse about the election. first of all, general mcchrystal and petraeus are as aware of the difficulties and the corruption in afghanistan as anybody, and the uncertainty as a result of these elections, and they get recommend a troop increase with a chance of success. secondly, everybody knows that afghanistan tomorrow, after these elections, is going to be like afghanistan yesterday.
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weak, pro-american, and corrupt. there will not be any change. it is not like it will be anything you buy afghanistan after the election. why is the decision on the troops held up? i think it is a convenient excuse, but i i'm not sure there is a relationship between the makeup of the cabinet that is going to merge and whether or not we will engage -- >> nina. >> first of all, this is a possibility that it will not be an election where abdullah abdullah gul reach an accommodation with karzai and have a coalition government. >> that would be interesting to . >> secondly, the incas and troops as a chance of success, but there is a chance of failure as well. if you are going to risk american lives and money for this effort, which everybody acknowledges has a series was of
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a failure, you want to maximize the possibility of success. when you make the decision, it seems sensible to wait and see what kind of putting you have under nicu. -- what kind of a footing you have underneath you. >> the former vice president -- i would remind him of the words of general norman schwarzkopf, and he should be especially mindful of them -- it takes no courage to order disorders and marines into battle. it takes courage to go into battle -- to order soldiers and marines into battle. takes courage to go into battle. something mr. cheney carefully avoided when he had the opportunity to serve, because he had other priorities. i think we have right now is a situation that is so dire and grave that the president has to decide, and time is not his ally. but there is no decision on the horizon that will be satisfactory political and policy. >> abc news/"washington post"
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poll -- should we send in more troops? the country is split. >> that is now, and if it gets worse, it will be split -- >> the iraq war had a lot of support in the beginning when it was successful -- >> he has got to take his case to the public. >> the obama administration puts them down on big bucks for top executives. >> i have learned about the incredible gap, the chasm, between wall street perceptions and mainstream perceptions. >> that is ken feinberg, the man the obama administration has put in charge of keeping a lid on executive compensation. critics predict that the most talented executives will jump ship and the country will suffer as a result. >> they are only making $1 million a year instead of $10 million, so they're going to
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disappear and go work where? >> the obama administration passed a plan to slash competition for top executives of companies -- administration's plan to slash competition for top executives of companies that received billions in bailout money did like willie sutton said that he bought the banks because that is where the money is, the most gifted companies will go to those willing to pay millions for their efforts. >> i have absolutely no objection in principle in slashing the salaries of people who work at these enterprises. it is not an attack on private enterprise. they are not private. any enterprise that goes belly up and is saved by your tax dollars and mine is a subsidiary of the u.s. government, and it is in charge. however, you and i are shareholders in citigroup, for example. we own 1/3 of it. to potentially dry out people --
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drive out people who lack the expertise, and at what level? it is purely a pragmatic business decision. they do have alternatives. london, hong kong, elsewhere. but i have no objection in principle at all and putting them out on the street if you have to wearing a paper hat and a bag. >> colby's "washington post" colleague eugene robinson says that capping salaries is arresting to walker's while the robbers are down the street. >> that is funny, but that is that the issue. they can and should do what they're doing with the sec of salaries. and because there taxpayer interests in disparate but i am more concerned about -- taxpayer interests in this. but i am more concerned about the steps the fed will be taking it institutions that have no federal endeavors.
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they're talking about putting downward pressure on them. >> what about regulating these banks -- >> that is my point what it ought to be doing is what paul volcker is urging the administration to do, and nobody will listen to him, to put a barrier -- make commercial banks do what they do best and only bathat. the risk with the investment bank's ought to be done without the government, but if they screw up, let them go under. we can work best to commercial banks -- weekend rescue commercial banks, but do not rest to the investment banks. >> i agree with much of what colby said, and that they are lobbying the banks by putting enormous loopholes into regulations. however -- and i agree that
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there is a risk that people will leave, some, but not all, otherwise we would have nobody to sit on the supreme court or the sec did people like the jobs that give them responsibility. having said all that, even if it were true that you are losing some people, there is the potential here of a real pitchfork rebellion. people are so outraged that if you do not do something about these kinds of fees and bonuses, companies that have taxpayer money, you are just asking for a revolution, really. >> why haven't we had a pitch for rebellion, mark? >> we've not had a leader, honestly. >> glenn beck. >> glenn beck, the self- described rodeo clown? come on, you are the fox
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authority. let us hear it for ken feinberg, a great public servant. did all the families of 9/11, he is doing this. aig, $183 billion in taxpayer money to save them. 17% of the tarp money has been paid back. they give themselves $165 million in bonuses. >> one thing about this loss of talent -- there is no such thing as loss of talent. you want to be a lawyer, you take a test, if you want to be a doctor, you take a test, you want to be a banker, you say you are one. [laughter] let them jump ship. >> amen. >> nancy pelosi does not have numbers for the robust public option, right, mark? >> i have confidence she can get
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the numbers. but that is absolutely true, and there is a reluctance on the part to but house members to vote for an option that will never see the light of day in the senate. the senate -- chuck schumer has been smart on this, putting the public option in and making the other side take it out. it will be an option that is not robust in that sense. it would give the states a chance to probably opt out. there will be a triggering device. but it will be a public option, in my judgment, in the senate bill comes for a vote. >> harry reid said as much this week. >> he is confident that that will be in, and i've been critical of chechen from time to time, but i think he deserves credit for is still -- critical of chuck schumer from time to time, but he deserves credit for this. >> i think it will get there, and i think of the house
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republican side as well -- but it will have to give their core constituency of vote on the public option, even in the senate side. even if you get to 50 for some of votes, might get the 60, you can fall back to the trigger mechanism. but it will have to go on record with the vote because it is important. for those who are not, they have to pay the price for it. >> right, and you don't have to make people walk the plank. in moderate districts -- there will not be a robust public option in the final bill, assuming there is a final bill. >> let's say there is a final bill with some sort of public option in theire, will it do wih the president wants it to do? >> it will call for more americans that are covered
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today. -- it will cover more americans that are covered today, but i think it would extremely inefficiently, at a cost societally and to the government doctors will retire and become bankers, because of his the, you could just declare -- but there will be a reaction in the medical community that will be quite shocking, with the added of levels of regulation. and the other issue is that the insurers are going to become utilities. i am not sure why we even need a public option if you regulate the insurers so that they have no say on who goes into their system and how much is paid out. it is like a power company. you can have good government control. >> senator sherrod brown, who was on earlier in this piece, the senator from ohio -- he is a very strong supporter of the robust public option. i guess we call of the robust
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public option now. 52-55 senators will support that. whether in fact harry reid as the senate democratic majority leader can persuade all 60 democrats to support him to cut off filibusters -- if that is the case, you can get to a vote, a 55-vote for it, and there is a chance of its surviving in the senate, quite frankly, with a robust form. if they really want to roll the dice -- >> we got humiliated this week in trying to do the doctor fix. it is impossible. >> i can do that very easily. you restore the cuts -- there are supposed to beat a 20% cut in reimbursement to doctors. instead of fixed it year by year by year, most of the democrats support a general fix to get rid of those cuts.
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it was an unfounded mandate. now you have energized whoever. >> award on the passing of a grid and courageous journalist -- a word on the passing of a great and courageous journalist. blitzer prize-winning investigative reporter jack nelson risk his life to cover the civil rights movement in the south in the 1950's and 1960's, "los angeles times" bureau chief for to give your tickets at a time when that really meant something -- for two decades at a time when that really meant something. >> he was an extraordinary human being, courageous, smart, a great writer, indefatigable, and very generous. when nobody had ever heard of me, and i had to profile to edgar hoover, he shared sources with me, and he was not the only journalist we lost this week.
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the pulitzer prize-winning reporter for "the new york times," one of the early woman reporters, another wonderful and a generous person, who walked onto a bus in 1960 and sat down next to me, a little reporter from "at the peabody times," one of the big guys would sit with me and i was the only woman on the bus. >> jack nelson was a mentor to a lot of people in this town and was a very friendly guy. i met him when i was not in journalism. he was still friendly. he was that weight to a lot of my friends, a guy who just reached out. >> courage is a hallmark. he took on the georgia state mental hospital abuses of patients that was something out of the middle ages, the dark ages. he was in selma, at every site and battle one of the civil- rights movement.
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as a native born southerner, he had a passion about racial justice in the country. he took on a j. edgar hoover when he tried to question. -- when j. edgar hoover tried to crush him. >> jack nelson, it was an honor to have known you. see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to
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