tv Political Capital With Al Hunt Bloomberg May 24, 2014 9:30am-10:01am EDT
>> this week on "political capital," the head of founder and chief executive officer of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, paul rieckhoff talks about the v.a. scandal. and the primaries. >> we begin the program with the ceo and founder and chief executive officer of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, paul rieckhoff. you heard the president on the veterans scandal.
were you satisfied with what he said? >> no. that was no action or plan. it has taken three weeks. we expected to hear news. we thought he would tear into the issue with the severity it deserved. we did not hear it. i immediately heard from our brothers nationwide saying, is that it? we are disappointed. >> should general shinseki go? >> we will talk to our members. we pulled our members and we will make a decision based off of that. we'll talk about it and make sure we talk to our members nationwide. they are outraged and disappointed. this is about nine different cities. about six years of problems. one thing after another. if you have been paying
attention, we have been outraged for a few years. >> what would you like to see him do right now? >> he dithers. the congress could take action. it will strengthen the v.a's ability to fire people. shinseki has lost the confidence of veterans and the american people. >> the president on memorial day always talks about veterans. what would you like to hear him say? >> memorial day is a time to reflect on the people we lost, but also action. empty rhetoric comes out of washington all of the time. how he is going to reform the v.a. and prevent suicide. we have 22 veterans that are
dying every day. there is a suicide crisis in this country and we have an act. we need the president's support behind the bill. this might be the one thing republicans and democrats can get along on. the president has to lead that. >> in general, how would you rate this administration on veteran affairs? >> it has been incomplete. there have been increases to the v.a. budget and there have been goals on homelessness. we see bold goals that they do not reach. the same is true on the backlog. it was entirely a preventable problem. they want to pat themselves on the back by lowering 50%.
only in washington is that positive talking points. the real legacy for the obama administration is veteran affairs. millions of people depend on the v.a. and if he cannot get it to work, that will be his legacy. >> one more question on shinseki. you know he cares. >> there are a lot of people who care. that is six years of stonewalling in congress and coverups and maybe cooking the books. a real disconnect from the ground. he has to show he is in touch and he can handle it. we are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide. we need a leader who responds with urgency. >> i will get to the suicide question in a moment. some conservatives said you should privatize.
>> we do not think that is an answer. >> is it a bad idea? >> yes. we want to the v.a. to succeed. it has to work well. it is how government works and does not work. it is a political talking point. millions of veterans depend on it. it is about customer service. when you submit a claim, it should not take 2 years. it should not take 30 or 40 days before you see a doctor. we are failing our veterans. >> you mentioned 22 suicides a day. you had your story in the hill. mental health is a centerpiece of what you want to do. senator walsh is sponsoring. >> we have another senator on board as well as senator mccaskill. we feel we will have bipartisan
support. >> how about senator mccain? >> we do not know. it is disappointing. we need him to step up. he and senator walsh can be like the g.i. bill. working together and putting what is right ahead of politics. >> are you optimistic? >> i am. i am not normally optimistic about washington. clay hunt, a young sniper we lost a few years ago. he was on the hill. he went to the white house to advocate for mental health care. we lost him to suicide. >> there is more the president can be doing? >> yes. he can have a national call to action. there are 1000 open mental health positions at the v.a. and most people do not know that.
the president can say, you can go be a qualified health care professional. that is one example of how executive action could make a difference. >> you have been supportive of the ratification of people with disabilities act. it has not mustered the vote. why do you have confidence it will? >> it is the next phase of the american with disabilities act. we have stood with senator dole. we have 60 votes and we will need a couple more. we hope to pass it by senator doles' 91st birthday. he is going to crank away. we think it is important to veterans and the business community. >> by his birthday.
>> welcome back. it seemed like it was all hillary all of the time. we bring in our update with two of the finest political minds in washington, david plouffe and john sununu. it has been all hillary. the karl rove attack. was it ineffective? >> i do not think so. it is an important election. everybody's fascination. my suspicion is it was not planned by karl rove. it was an errant missile. she is out there with a lot of energy. they are going to have to come out with a better attack. when you look at the presidential race, if she does
not run, others will get in. who will win the electoral college majority? have the republicans done anything? a resounding no. >> pick up on that. >> i agree it was not planned in any way. i think it's a couple of things. hillary clinton is a good story. she is going to run. the intensity in which the pushback came is an indication that she is very likely to run. >> have republicans done anything to help themselves with minorities? >> i do not think that is necessarily the case. you have younger voices like marco rubio as somebody like rand paul who is out there talking to younger voters and latino voters. that does not mean that republicans do not have work to do.
>> hillary will be 69, will it be a factor? >> it will be an issue. she will have to answer questions about health and make it clear to the voters that she has the capability and energy and focus and drive to serve. she has already had a very successful career, but a long career. you have to answer the question about if you are fatigued or if you have given everything. >> she is clearly somebody with enormous energy. it is not what you say, but what you do. if she runs with a lot of energy and passion, i do not think there is a question. >> the republicans have a special committee looking at benghazi. could that hurt her? >> i do not think so. i think he is trying to mollify the party which is obsessed with benghazi.
where the voters are it is a tragedy and they want to know how we prevent something like this again and we should stay on the case to hold people accountable. they know these tragedies happen in the world. it happened in beirut. they happened in the reagan administration. it was three or four weeks before the election. you know what george bush did? he did not try to politicize. >> going back, you were in politics in 1998 and that overreach by house republicans which caused backfire. >> i do not know if it backfired. we held the house and senate. >> i did not cover that. >> given we had just taken the house in 1994, look, holding on to vote and republicans took the
presidency in 2000. i do not think it is overreach per se. i do not think it will factor heavily into the presidential race with hillary. i would say, sure, have the special committee now. took everything out here and allow the process to play out and essentially put the issue behind us. i think there is substance. clearly the white house has substantive e-mails that were really important to the process leading up to misdirection if nothing else on what happened in benghazi. they withheld and that is the problem. withholding information from congress is a big problem and there should be a committee to understand what else may have been withheld and what exactly the response was and how it could have been better and if
lives could have been saved. >> this is a waste of time and money. there have been investigation after investigation. again, i think the republican party is more popular than the democratic party. they seem obsessed with health care and benghazi and not with what really matters to people, the economy. >> tim gaynor geithner has just written a book about we got it right. >> on the biggest issue, ambiguous questions and programs, they got it mostly right. the biggest and most significant were dealing with a lack of liquidity in some of the financial markets. the mutual fund, the overnight markets that are very important to preventing a wholesale run on
the bank. second, the tarp capital program that provided interim funds to banks large and small, ultimately $220 billion program. most of that money was recouped with interest. the financing of auto bailout and some of the mortgage programs that suffered losses. on the big question, they got it mostly right. >> david, i suspect you believe that. i think that -- what will history say. we were that close to sliding into a great depression. the fed, congress, and the administration took a lot of
action. none of them easy or popular. they staved off a great depression and also led growth. it is not as quick as we would like. i think so. history will say tough calls, but the right. >> history will say that it is a great day when dave and john agrees. margaret carlson and ramesh debate the primaries. ♪
>> welcome back. we'll get to margaret carlson and ramesh ponnuru in a minute. phil mattingly, the justice department was busy because they went after the chinese for espionage. doesn't everybody do espionage? >> the u.s. said they do not do it for economic but intelligence. edward snowden has impacted. the chinese have hit back. >> the indictment was filed today. it is a pretty questionable as an escalation of the cyber war.
five members of the people's army of china were indicted by the justice department. nobody saw it coming. diplomacy has fallen apart. do we look for more action? >> we do. i talked to the top officer and he said the investigations have been going on, picking up steam. he would not identify anybody. officials i spoke with said more on the chinese side and russia. >> a criminal action against -- is that an important distinction? >> from the justice department's perspective and especially eric holder who has been criticized that he will not take action, this is a new path forward. did this quiet the critics? >> no, it did not. they were told that there was no catastrophic failure.
the justice department's perspective showing they can be tough on wall street. >> is too big to jail still there? >> nobody is going to jail. no bank wanted to plead guilty. they have kept all of their clients. the officials said this is the new posture. they said we have changed how we went after financial institutions. they said at first we were afraid. they said you will see every bank face the possibility. >> nobody is going to jail. a $2.5 billion fine is big but it barely affects their stock. they cheated and they help americans cheat. >> on top of that, you hear from senators levin and mccain,
credit suisse did not have to hand over the names of their clients. until a treaty is finalized, they can hang on to it. everything that senator levin got did not come out of this. >> we will see if they get tougher. >> speaking of tough, margaret carlson and ramesh ponnuru. mitch mcconnell, got 60%. is he home free in november? >> he was not the strongest candidate. he was in favor of tarp. when they criticized him for voting for it, it did not work. could not figure out what the bill of rights exactly was. not really made for prime time. mitch mcconnell won and allison grimes will be a much tougher opponent.
>> mcconnell still has a real race? >> yes. >> do you agree? >> yes. he never wins general elections. the money has to be on him. with obama's numbers underwater, it is hard to think that democrats will win. disgruntled -- >> how about georgia? jill won easily. there is a runoff. many republicans think they are the 2 strongest. >> they are the strongest republican candidates in all likelihood compared to the people who placed fourth and fifth in the race. i say the democrats have a
better chance in georgia and kentucky. >> where is your money in georgia? >> i will put it on michelle. she stumbled on not knowing how to treat obamacare. she looked nervous. republicans have a problem. yes, normal people, not wackos not in the runoff. it is very long, nine weeks. there's a lot of time for those two. he has a lot of money. both of them, they will go in battered. >> it will be interesting to see who they prefer. he has been a member of congress for a long time. she will be a formidable candidate. again, it is georgia.
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