tv In the Arena CNN June 17, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
activists. they say they support democracy yet when you look at the human rights abuses going on in bahrain they are less vocal and that has a lot of these protesters just kind of deflates their excitement and not feeling positive toward the u.s. government right now, john. >> have great weekend. we'll see you monday. "in the arena" starts right now. good evening. welcome to the program. i'm eliot spitzer. tonight a tale of explosive lael allegations that the cia gathered information because the professor's views were critical of bush administration policies. sounds unamerican, doesn't it?
we'll have an exclusive interview in just a moment. first, a look at the other stories i'll be drilling down on tonight. it's its economy, stupid. how smart do you have to be to understand what's wrong? robert explains it all in only two minutes and 15 seconds. and is there hope for greece? reshuffling the cabinet. another bailout. is it enough to prevent a real life tragedy? richard quest isn't so sure. >> this is an absolute sewer of a mess. >> then honk if you love freedom. in saudi arabia women defy the ban against female drivers by getting behind the wheel. is this the start of the arab sisterhood? tonight in covert action, did the bush white house use the cia to spy on an american citizen who was a critic of the iraq war? it's a scary charge. the critic in question is juan cole, a controversial history professor at the university of michigan who often wrote about his unfavorable views of bush administration policies.
the person asked to do the spying but says he refused is glenn carle. he says white house officials wanted to get juan cole. glenn carle is the cia officer in question and joins me for an exclusive interview. after he tells his story, professor juan cole will join the story. welcome. glenn, let me start with you. you were asked to do something that you believed and is in fact illegal. tell us what happened, how the request was made to you, and what followed thereafter. >> sometime late in 2005, i don't remember the exact dates, it is a while ago, sometime late in 2005, my superior returned from a meeting at the white house and called me into his office and asked me if i knew about professor juan cole, who was he? i said of course i know who he is. we had worked together on
national council business a number of times and then started to ask questions about lifestyle and background in saying what you just summarized that the white house found him a severe critic and wanted to get him and i was flabbergasted. >> you objected to the request to get professor cole and you nonetheless saw a few days later that this effort appeared to be continuing. describe that for us. >> the following morning there was a staff meeting i had to attend. details i can spare but in attending the meeting i had to carry a memorandum that would be routed to the white house i believe it was. although i don't know the people to whom it was destined. i do not know that. in this memorandum was a note on professor cole as i recall four paragraphs long describing him, his personal life. not that he thought shia were doing this or that.
the substance of what interested him for the national council but about his personal behavior and taste and practices. only one of the paragraphs was objectionable. i was stunned. i took it to the acting chairman of the council immediately and said this is really very disturbing. you need to know about this. you need to take action because it's beyond my power to stop this. he immediately did. he said watch me. >> was that david gordon? >> david gordon was the acting chairman, yes. in front of me scratched out the offending paragraph of that memorandum. >> there's no question in your mind the memo that you read one paragraph of which you found objectionable was responsive -- would have been responsive to the request to get information to get professor cole. this is what somebody had crafted and prepared in response to that sort of request?
>> it was a response to a request for personal information about professor juan cole, yes. >> not substantive information about his views about the iraq war or middle eastern affairs but personal information that would have been deemed derogatory or critical or useful in an effort to discredit? >> who is juan cole, the man, and to include inappropriate personal assessments of him or behaviors he would engage in. none of which i recall whatsoever. >> clearly just to complete the circle, david gordon must have agreed with you because as you say he x'd out one of the paragraphs coming to the same conclusion you did that it was not appropriate information to pass along. >> absolutely. i knew him to be an outstanding professional and man of judgment and he also was the man in charge. that's why i went to him telling him he needed to know about this. he needed to take measures to stop it because i was aware of
this and i was unable to stop this sort of thing. and he said never, ever, would he have involvement in something like that and he would see to it that at thit was stopped. >> was there a further instance where you got the sense or direct evidence that there was an effort to get information about professor cole? >> the answer is yes. one could have thought this was the episode we just talked about. this is strange and misunderstanding end of story. a number of months later i was about to have lunch with a colleague of mine who said, glenn, take a look at this. he showed me an e-mail to him seeking guidance from a concerned or troubled more junior officer saying how do i respond to this? this is bizarre was the inquiry. this is a person that my colleague was mentoring and the request was from as the article describes from the front office
of the agency for personal information that anybody knew about professor juan cole. there i thought my goodness. this is inconceivable. this is really not just nothing. i took steps to stop it and within my circle of knowledge i think i succeeded. >> can you tell us to whom you reported this at the point when you saw the second incident. you concluded this was not one misstep. this was a continuum course of conduct. can you tell us to whom you reported and what paper evidence should be there to corroborate the story. >> i have no documents or proof whatsoever. it's just my word against the institution and other individuals of course, which is unfortunate possibly from me. everything i'm telling is
exactly the truth in what happened. there were e-mails and other individuals and colleagues of mine have said to me that they remember the events as i do but they are unwilling to speak. >> as you just said, this will ultimately become a test of your credibility versus the credibility of those in the agency who may want to dismiss this. let me just sort of lay the foundation and probe a little bit. how many years did you spend in the cia? >> almost 23 years i served. full career. >> what was the most senior position you obtained? your highest position there? >> i had somewhat unusual career. i was an operations officers. to most of my career i was undercover and was doing things i can't really speak about. that's what i did until my last position which was the most senior one to answer your question and there i was the deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats. a long winded term for senior most analytical position on
terrorists analysis. >> so you went from being james bond to q. >> not q. he makes funny gizmos. >> just so we understand what you were doing. you left the agency on your own terms. you were not dismissed? you were not fired? there was no ongoing litigation between you and the agency? >> no. i retired normal retirement. >> do you have any reason to believe there are other instances of inquiries such as the one we've been discussing where the agency was asked to gather information that could be used to injure somebody's reputation? >> this is the question that "the new york times" asked me and everyone asks and would like the answer to. i have spoken to the facts that i lived them. i only know the incident concerning professor cole as we've summarized it today. i don't know what happened
beyond my knowledge or sight or professional activities. >> you know these facts. you lived them as you just said. do you believe those facts constitute illegal behavior, the request, and the effort to gather information through the agency that could be used to damage a u.s. citizens reputation? >> this is why i was shocked and why i took the steps that i did and why i said i was flabbergasted and hurried around the building looking for the person to challenge about it. it smothers milk in the agency. the executive order that says cia has nothing to do with and doesn't spy on or collect information on or do anything concerning american citizens unless there's a very rigorous protocol followed. this is information unrelated to a national security issue and clearly the cia cannot engage in. all of my colleagues and i know that. >> professor cole, i apologize. you have been more the innocent bystander in this conversation. obviously what the cia did is
core of this problem. having heard this, having read the stories that have emerged over the last few days, what do you believe should happen and what should be done to pursue and investigate this? >> well, it's clearly extremely improper and illegal even for the paragraphs that may have been sent over which were unobjectionable about an american citizen, cia shouldn't be telling the white house about an american citizen and it's just impossible for me to believe that the white house asked the cia to google me and they were just passing along publicly available information. there must have been an implication that they should actively dig up some kind of dirt. and that is illegal and it's extremely troubling, and i believe that the senate intel
je find out what's going on and who the request came from at the white house and what's the background of this. i think eric holder should look into it at the department of justice and i think that unless we get to the bottom of this story, we can't be sure that there weren't others so targeted and other people were perhaps reputation was ruined for political purposes. to tell you the truth, we can't be sure there aren't black cells inside the cia that continue to behave in these ways. i think we really need to shake things up here and get to the bottom of this. >> juan cole, glenn carle, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> we've received a response to the allegations made by former cia officer glenn carle and professor juan cole. the cia spokesman says and i quote here "we've thoroughly researched our records and any
allegation that the cia provided private or derogatory information about professor cole to anyone is simply wrong. we value the insights of outside experts including respected academics who follow many of the same national security policies that we do. >> how greece's debt problem could affect every american and who better to answer that than richard quest. richard? >> i'm going to explain how the greek crisis affects you. >> a scary scenario. thanks, richard. up next, when republicans attack. tim pawlenty took his time about it but he's going offer front runner mitt romney. of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites...
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♪ you love money ♪ well, you know i love it too ♪ ♪ i work so hard at my job ♪ and then i bring it home to you ♪ ♪ i love money in my pocket after a slow start, the republican presidential campaign for 2012 is taking shape. the field is pretty much set with a couple late entries still to come and position of candidates is coming into focus. to drill down on the state of the race, i'm joined by steve kornacki, news editor of salon.com on the left and reihan salam from the right. welcome to you both. let's set the table this week.
we saw michelle bachmann rising. we saw newt gingrich gracrashin over and over and we saw tim pawlenty wandering aimlessly and mitt romney hovering above the fray. what does it tell you about the republican party. you're in that camp. give us your best shot. >> i think it's very encouraging. a republican party abandoned issues that were not constructive and moving the party forward growing its base. you see them connecting with a lot of american voters. i was actually very pleasantly prized by the debate. it was a big improvement over the first one and we'll see more improvements to come. >> i think there are two republican races going on right now. one of them features a small field. it's the race to be sort of the establishment favorite on on republican side. default choice for people in the party that decide six or nine months from now they want to win in 2012. that's a competition between mitt romney and tim pawlenty and maybe john huntsman if and when
he gets into the race. among them mitt romney clearly had the better debate. the other one is to be the candidate of the grassroots and to be the passionate ideological firebrand and i think michelle bachmann emerged as that candidate for now this past week. interesting to see the tension between those two groups as the campaign develops. it's potentially a good thing for romney if this is romney versus bachmann. >> i got to say i agree with steve's analysis of this. i don't agree with any of them but this is mitt romney saying i could win and michelle bachmann saying i'm the pure candidate. can michelle bachmann if she is the candidate of purity get 50 plus 1? >> people run for president for different reasons. some run to raise their profile. some run to raise profile of a particular issue they articulated successfully or to represent a movement. my guess is that michelle bachmann is going to bring a lot of attention to a lot of her
views some of which are quite outside the mainstream. >> that's a kind way of saying it. >> as views are tested and exposed it will be useful for the broader republican party. >> but to replay 1964 where goldwater was the nominee and johnson won in a landslide. is mitt romney most people concede right now a close race given the economy, his ceo credentials would become a viable argument for him to stand in opposition to president obama. does he get pulled so far by michelle bachmann and tea party argument that he loses some of that centrist credibility by the end? >> there's a deep misunderstanding of what the tea party cares about. if you look at what's happened to the republican party over the last two years, there's the fixation of a lot of folks in the media over birthism and other phenomenon. when you see republicans talking about simple things like pension and health benefits for public employees and making government leaner and more effective.
it's true that there are so-called fever swamp issues but those core economic issues were not widely discussed during the bush years and you see them discussed now and i think that that's what you're going to see. >> a powerful point. i view the republican agenda right now as hooferism for 21st cinch as century. the republicans are only ones saying standing up saying fiscal sanity. how will president obama respond to that? >> you talk about goldwater in 1964. let's say romney gets the nomination. i suspect whoever gets the nomination, the republican party platform in 2012 will be the most far to the right extreme platform since 1964 but that will not be the campaign especially if romney is the nominee that the average voter sees because the average voter sees this as a referendum on where the economy is and what has obama done to improve the economy. if the republicans nominate mitt romney and economic conditions are as they currently are, we don't have to go too deep in the
platform to see republicans have the advantage. >> is their agenda not hooferism rewritten for the 21st century. hoofer did not solve the depression. ho hooverism did not work. they are embracing what he did to the economy. >> one of the cons senensus iss is deregulation and who made the persuasive calls, the institute which was bill clinton's think take of choice and called for rolling back regulations and i think when you look at romney and the other republican candidates they talk about it in similar ways. >> i don't want to prevent you from hopping in here. defend as necessary to restructure the economy that was failing. >> taking that position, the repeal position, is an absolutely essential thing for republicans to do when you're the out party and economy is
down and other party controls the white house and you can blame every single thing they did and say it was health care reform, regulation of wall street. what republicans can do in 2012 and advantage they have and why this isn't a level playing field, it's the reality of politics, they can point to anything that's happened and anything democrats have tried to do and they can say this is holding back the economy. this is what the democrats did. it didn't work. this is why you need to throw down. >> was paul ryan's medicare proposal a huge mistake politically? put aside your substantive analysis of it. >> i would stay that like a lot of republicans i think that paul ryan advanced a plan that had a lot of flaws and problems and that's why republicans and democrats are thinking about how to craft entitlement reform that is reconcilable. >> there are a couple names that are not formal. huntsman, palin, do they come in
or when we see john huntsman next week is that the entirety of the republican lineup? >> i don't think palin ends up mattering in the end. she'll get publicity but the republicans have decide she won't be nominee. perry is relevant because of potential to get support from elites. there are obstacles but they have potential to emerge as consensus alternatives to someone like mitt romney. >> does sarah palin look at michelle bachmann and say i think she stole my thunder? >> it's true that michelle bachmann occupancyies a sweet s that would be sarah palin's sweet spot making it less likely she'll run. i think that rick perry captures energy and enthusiasm that sarah palin brings to conservative grassroots and he can change the dynamic of the race. >> another texas governor running for. there's zero possibility he
becomes the nominee for a multitude of reasons. i don't dispute he could make a splash but i don't think it could possibly happen. >> we'll see. all right. thank you so much for your insight as always. up next, a viral video that actually teaches you something. a shockingly simple and simply shocking picture of our economy using a sharpee. i'll show it to you when we come back. [ male announcer ] this is charlie whose morning flight to london starts with arthritis pain... and a choice. take tylenol now, and maybe up to 8 in a day. or...choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain.
it's a look at the economic mess we're in. we're going to be hold how we got here in just two minutes and to prove his point he took out a marker and made this video. take a look. >> what's the problem with the economy? let me connect the dots and show you the big picture in less than two minutes 15 seconds. since 1980 the american economy doubled in size. but adjusting for inflation most people's wages have barely increased. second, where did all that money go? almost all of the gains have gone to super rich. the top 1% used to take home about 10% of total income. now it takes home more than 20% and the super rich have 40% of the nation's entire wealth. the third dot, all this money at the top has given super rich
lots of political power especially power to lower their tax rates. before 1980, the top tax rate was over 70%. now it's down to 35%. and much of their income is capital gains subject to only a 15% tax. according to the irs, the richest 400 americans pay only 17%. fourth dot, this means huge budget deficits. tax revenues are down to 15% of the total economy. the lowest in 60 years. so public services are being cut at all levels of government. our kids are being crowded into classrooms with more and more other children. roads, bridges, levees, health care, safety nets, all being sacrificed. the fifth dot, instead of joining together for better wages and jobs, many people are so scared that they are competing with other working people for the scraps that are left behind. so we get union versus nonunion. public employee versus private. native born versus immigrants.
final dot, the vast middle class unable to borrow as it could before no longer has the purchasing power needed to get the economy growing again which means continued high unemployment and an anemic recovery. so you see the big picture. the only way we can have a strong economy is with a strong middle class. >> well, i don't have a sharpee but i'm telling you this, i couldn't agree more with what professor riech says. he nailed it. coming up in athens, they are rioting in the streets. greece as they say is the word. it could further cripple the global economy when we come back.
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in global financial markets, two words that no one wants to hear. greece and default. as that country teeters on economic disaster, worldwide markets are on a hair trigger worried about the word no one wants to hear, contagion. diana magnay joins me now from athens. thanks for being with us. there's word that there has been an agreement between france and germany to forge a bailout for greece. is this good news and what does
it mean? >> reporter: it is good news. the fact that german and french leaders have quite different position on whether to involve private creditors in that bailout and the fact that they found some solution shows you the urgency of the situation. it means that from the euro zone side they are ready to give them funds that they need. we've seen political positioning on the greece side. we were hoping to push through austerity reforms that are needed in this country and are a condition of any euimf bailout. that didn't happen. so then the greek prime minister decided to reshuffle his cabinet. >> let me see if i understand this. we see the pictures of the rioting in the streets in athens. we know unemployment there is
16%. meanwhile, the president of france is saying he doesn't want his banks to take any pain. he doesn't want banks to take a hit on this. where's the bailout money coming from? it's coming from imf. imf gets money and ecb gets money from taxpayers so taxpayers are going to make sure that banks get bailed out again. is that right? >> reporter: that's absolutely right. the people on the greek street think that's unfair. they are paying because of these tax hikes that they are suffering from because of wage cuts they are suffering from and because of job cuts they feel they are paying for the european bank and at the same time taxpayers feel they are getting the brunt of the deal. the only person who doesn't seem to be paying at this stage is the bond holder who bought greek debt in the first place. >> so there's no question that
the greek economy was living beyond its means. it was wildly out of control. i guess the fight right now is who is going to have to pay for this bailout. as you just said, it seems that people who lent money or bought the bonds are going to be made whole again. it sounds just like what happened here on wall street where we take care of the banks and everybody else has to subsidize them. is that what's going on? >> reporter: that's pretty much what's going on, yes. the greek economy was wildly out of control. the previous government had actually spun the numbers so no one really knew quite how bad the budget deficit was. there is a culture of tax evasion in this country. there are a lot of mistakes that were made a year ago when they had to answer to the bailout first time around and government promised would be put right in this first austerious austerity.
there is a problem with tax invasion and tax collection so there is still problems here, structural reforms that are needed but imf says they want to see before they'll give more money but the fact of the matter is, we have this default looming over which will push further down the road but at some point it's going to come back and bite us. >> thank you so much, diana magnay. the turmoil in athens continues. how much does this unfolding greek tragedy matter to us here? i spoke with richard quest about the ripple effect from greece. richard, as always. thanks so much for joining us. why do we care? greece is far away. it's a small economy. a small country. they got some debt. so what? >> you're right on all fronts. and you're totally wrong because the greek debt has grown. it's ballooned into the tens of
billions and it is no longer sitting on the greek shores. that greek debt is in german banks and french banks and ecb and all those organizations have got their own debt which is in other banks and other parts of the world and guess what? yep, right in the united states there are banks who are either holding greek debt or the debt of others who have got it or they have insured greek debt through credit default swaps. remember lehman brothers. what we learned there is once the dominos start falling, you really don't know where it's going to stop. this is all about confidence. it's not about what will happen. it's what might happen and who's prepared to take the risk. >> let's go back to some numbers. the united states government is still borrowing money at close to zero. as close to zero has been the case in history. greece is borrowing at 18%.
it's like going to a loan shark, right? there's no way they are ever going to repay that debt at 18% so they are getting deeper and deeper into a hole so what is the answer for greece because they got to have an answer so what's the answer? >> what happens with greece, two distinct schools of thought. one is from the markets. there has to be a rescheduling of that debt. no different to you and i when we go bankrupt or mortgage or credit cards. with he have to reschedule. the second school of thought from politicians is it can be done in an orderly fashion by getting everybody to have a voluntary agreement. that is where -- >> isn't this then really a question of who is going to suffer the pain? to the extent that you force the banks to reschedule your debt -- >> you can't force them. if you force them, you have a credit event and you have a
default and all those sorry to say credit default swaps kick in. this has to be voluntary. voluntary as much as anything ever is in the financial markets when you are talking about rescheduling somebody's debt. >> when you do is you have what lawyers would call a prepackaged bankruptcy where everyone gets around the table. banks say stretch it out over an extra five years. greek government says we'll cut pensions by a certain amount. everybody takes a little bit of pain and then things move forward. is that being put together or are politics of this too confused because banks don't want to suffer pain? we know there are riots in greece because no one wants to work longer or pay taxes. is anybody in a position to drive that sort of agreement so you don't have a massive default? >> at the moment germany wants that. the ecb, european central bank says no. if it's not voluntary, the greeks say they're not sure what
needs to be done but trying to form a government. this is a mess. i don't use this term easily or lightly. this is an absolute sewer of a mess where there is no obvious solution. the only thing that we can say is both the imf and the europeans said that they believe that more lending will come along to greece and they will be able to get a deal. at the moment it's not immediately obvious to me how that actually plays out. >> it sounds to me like more lending at this point is putting a third mortgage when you can't pay the second mortgage unless you've got an agreement to stretch it out over a length of time and makes sense out of all of it. >> what are your choices? you have to default, restructure or hodgepodge in the middle. knowing the europeans and their ability to wait until the very last possible moment when we're just about to go over the cliff and it's all looking exceptionally grim, they will
pull something out of it. we come back to this point. it might be too late for that. there are riots in greece. greece can't take much more austerity. they are absolutely being pummeled into the ground and the fear is that if you continue to squeeze down on the greek people, you don't just get riots we've been seeing. you end up with full scale civil unrest. it's extraordinary to think in europe in this day in age but that's what they are facing. >> out of the phrase these credit default swaps, these financial vehicles that caused and triggered our crisis a couple years ago, who owns them? who is at risk if there's a default and they have to pay up on these credit default swaps? which banks? do we know? >> all of them. i don't know which particular ones but it's a fair bet that it's the usual suspects. it's not just the sums involved. 100 billion here. 100 billion there. we're not talking chopped liver. it's not really that. what it is crisis of confidence.
you start looking at the people you're lending money to and saying are they good for it? how much is he in for it? what are they in for it? can they repay the commercial paper they issued last week? that's what lehman was all about. the sums involved were negligible and what the europeans and banks and everybody is trying to do now is ensure that doesn't happen. unfortunately, politics with a capital p is playing big-time as well. >> all right, richard quest. always entertaining and informative. thank you for joining us. >> a parking ticket is bad thing. not when you're a woman driver in saudi arabia. it's a badge of honor. a protest with four wheels and a cup holder when we come back. f. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ machines have a voice. ♪
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hard to believe in this day in age but in saudi arabia women are fighting for the right to drive. yep. i said the right to drive. and today despite the fact that it's against the law, women across the country took to the road. no one was arrested. maybe the saudi arabian authorities had other things to keep them busy. the female drivers took precautions wearing full islamic dress and displaying saudi flags and pictures of the king. human watch groups say saudi arabia is the only country in the world where women can't
drive but like people in the world over, they need to. >> it would be for emergency cases. like for example, today is friday. which is a weekend and my driver is off. what if i had to go is somewhere. i might as well take my own car. >> today's protest was sparked by the recent arrest of a saudi princess. she filmed herself driving and then posted it online. she was arrested and held for a week. she was released only after she promised never to take the wheel again. outraged, the princess took her case to twitter and facebook. there's no law that prohibits women there from driving but religion and social pressures do. they can't open bank accounts, get passports or go to school without a male guardian. saudi arabia is america's strongest ally in the arab world. we'll be right back.
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premisy and a strategy of less is more. james, explain this transformation. >> if you think back a decade ago to the republican reaction and george bush's reaction to 9/11. we have to go out and transform this world. the discovery that the world was more hostile than we thought. the answer was transform it. what does that mean? regime change. democracy promotion. all of this aggressive stuff. now, obviously it failed in some fundamental ways and next question is what's the reaction to that. i think in obama we have a certain kind of idealism. he believes we're responsible to do something in libya and that america can reshape the world. you listen to candidates at the republican debate the other night and you had the feeling they think the world is hostile. the world is not a good place beyond america's borders and so the point is let's not get
ourselves caught up and not go to libya and get out of places. it's a purely negative view of the world. >> the word isolationism springs to mind. that's got political baggage but they are pulling back in such a comprehensive way and what's gone is infusion of moral values that george bush brought to foreign policy. we had to bring freedom to parts of the world where those were not notions that were embedded in civil society. is that gone when you listen to michelle bachmann is that gone? >> two things are gone. what's the alternative to george bush's moralism which turned out to be reckless. it's called realism. realism means a sober recognition that countries have their own interest and will behave according to their interests and idealism stuff doesn't work. that depends on a careful understanding of other places and recognition of differentness of different places. russia has interest. china has interest. you don't feel that either. when you listen to michelle
bachmann or gingrich or any of those candidates, you don't hear either the president's belief in democracy promotion america doing good things in the world nor do you hear the kind of old fashioned traditional sober recognition that it's a complicated world out there with which we have to be engaged in a complicated way. your wouse of the word isolatio is let's have less foreign policy. withdrawal. >> this actually is their perspective that makes sense and is consistent with their premise that less government we have, the better. >> that's what i try. one thing i try to point out in this column i wrote. there's an inherent tension between republican idea that government is bad and have less of it and notion that we should have an activist foreign policy. that's a large part of the activity and money that government spends.
when republicans say we should cut welfare, that's a trivial amount of money. defense spending, that's a big amount of money. now, i think that republicans have lived with both those for a while but you see -- >> both of those small government domestically. >> the reaction against george bush is he wasn't a real conservative. he was a big government conservative. the movement now people are competing with each other. you listen to 90% of that debate. it's about government is bad and how do we stop doing government stuff that barack obama is doing. that naturally pulls you toward the idea that we should be less engaged with the world as well as having a less activist government at home. >> part of the argument they proffer related to dollars and cents. it invoked what was uttered or used by democrats, afghanistan is costing us $100 billion a year. >> that's right. what's fascinating is this obsession with things like foreign aid. foreign aid, the amount of money
is trivial. it's a half percent of the budget or something. why slash foreign aid so deeply? it's interesting in england where you have a conservative government which has a bigger deficit problem than us, when they went to cut the deficit, they held foreign aid harmless. why? it's tremendously powerful instrument of policy. doesn't cost us anything. let's do it. here you hear none of that from leading republicans. old fashioned ones, yes. presidential candidates, no. >> let me suggest another tension. the assault or critique by republicans against president obama for some period of time was he doesn't believe in american exceptionalism. he doesn't believe that we are the guiding light for the world. and yet having invoked that as a critique of him when they seem to withdrawal from the world are they giving up their own belief in exceptionalism or just saying we're exceptional but who cares we don't need to tell anybody. >> let's think about that. john mccain would be the most recent version of this. clearly a passionate american
exceptionalist who believes that america has a moral mission in the world. why he created the league of democracies when he was running in 2008 and so forth. people use this word exceptionalism and they fling it in obama's face. how can you be an exceptionalist and at the same time an isolationalist. the answer is if you view the rest of the world beyond our borders as fundamentally not like us and hostile to our values, then exceptionalism can dictate isolation. that's why michelle bachmann could say look at what obama is doing in libya. that's all you need to know. france. as if france was some kind of barberist country which of course it is. >> can they help us win our war of revolution? >> a couple other words too. >> that may be a piece of history michelle bachmann has glided over. >> s g
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