tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 27, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
it's interesting to me that actually, hassan rouhani scooped the president by tweeting it before he came into the press room to announce it. >> i want to play some sound from president obama talking about this and get reaction from you. here's the tweet. let's hear from president obama right now. >> just now, i spoke on the phone with president rouhani of the islamic republic of iran. the two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over iran's nuclear program. i reiterated to president rouhani what i said in new york. while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, i believe we can reach a comprehensive solution. >> i believe we can reach a comprehensive solution. it's a remarkable thing for an american president to say about iran. we have been hearing nothing but rhetoric from the u.s. government that iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. >> no question. he is mimicking president
rouhani's comments from earlier in the week saying i believe we can reach an agreement within one year. he said he's going to have something for the americans to look at next month in geneva so now both of them on the same page, both of them have directed their foreign minister and secretary of state to pursue an agreement. it's also an interesting point, when the handshake didn't happen earlier this week, we were all talking about well, the hard liners in iran must be pulling rouhani back. now you have a phone call. so it appears that he has the backing there and has the muscle to do something. >> did he have an option not to take that phone call? >> clearly someone alerted the president that the iranian president was going to call. >> i want to bring in fareed zakaria in new york. the good money is always on skepticism whenever we hear of two parties that have been at such loggerheads for so many decades, but this was a remarkable announcement by the president, whether or not it pans out of course is another matter. >> oh, of course. as you pointed out, this is the first time since 1979 that the leaders of the two countries have talked. i think part of what was going
on here, of course, was president rouhani i would guess was trying to kind of reassure the administration that he has enough control over his government and his policy that he can actually make contact with the president of the united states without having to check back home with tehran with the hard liners and such. i think it was progress in that sense as well. maybe there's some -- some consternation back in tehran but it demonstrates that the president of iran does have the ability to make those kind of decisions, which is important, because ultimately, neither side is going to get exactly what they want in this deal, and the question is, on both sides, president obama, president rouhani, can they deliver, can they get their countries to accept a deal that's 80% of what you want but not 100%. >> fareed, earlier in the week as jim just reminded us, president obama wanted to meet and have a handshake with president rouhani, and president
rouhani sent the message back to the white house he can't do that, the politics back home are too difficult. what would change so that this phone call and this conversation about a comprehensive agreement could take place? >> i would guess that president rouhani was probably startled by the amount of blowback that came. i met with him with a small group of people, small group of journalists, right after that, the next morning, and the question i asked him was how can you assure us that if you don't have the authority to shake hands with the president of the united states, how do we know you have the authority to negotiate a nuclear deal with them. and i think they realize that they had a problem, that they had signaled to the world that the president of iran didn't have this kind of leeway, this freedom of action. so i would guess the movement came on the iranian side, where they realized they had to demonstrate the president had more authority than was being assumed. >> candy, right here in the
studio with me, this is certainly not expected. >> it is unexpected and it is interesting to me that it comes a couple days before the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, comes to meet with the president. he's coming next week. we have already seen his response to rouhani which is do not trust this man, this is the same man that has done a, b, c and d. the whole idea -- >> they are partially responsible for the bombing of the jewish center -- >> absolutely. i could say another rough meeting at the white house between netanyahu and this president, who have had a rocky relationship, as you know. but i think iran, because israel is already convinced that they have passed that point where it's very obvious that they're making nuclear weapons, the u.s. is not as convinced. i just think this is going to be an interesting meeting. >> if there is a savviness there, it is very savvy. obviously, the news of this, president rouhani of iran
tweeted about this conversation before president obama could announce it. tell us, how is this being reported in iran? >> reporter: well, very little reaction to it now. it's very late in the day. but obviously, this is a history-making event. tomorrow it's going to make headlines here in iran and also across the world, especially in the u.s. if you look at this trip by president rouhani, if his attention was to capture the world's attention, win over the world's media, he certainly accomplished that. now this phone conversation, the first time a president of the united states and the iranian president have talked to one another. that's going to make headlines. but here's a critical point. i think lost in all this publicity is the fact that president rouhani, even with his
new mild mannerism that's a stark contrast to the former president, even with his conciliatory tone, he's made it clear that his position is not different than the islamic republic's position and that is they're not going to back down from what they describe as a peaceful nuclear program. they are not going to back down so no matter how this is viewed by the world, this nuclear program and these negotiations are going to come down to what kind of agreement these two countries are going to be able to hammer out. so certainly this is going to make headlines but in the end, are these two countries going to be able to strike a deal when it comes to the nuclear program, its obstacles that's in the way of these two countries establishing a relationship. >> i want to go to fareed zakaria. i don't mean to put you on the spot here but if you can explain that tweet that we saw from president rouhani.
it said president rouhani says have a nice day. and president obama says thank you, khodahafez. explain to our viewers what that means. >> it's actually pronounced khodahafez. >> you're wrong, too, jim. >> means god be with you. in fact, it's a point of contention in the islamic world. lots of people use the standard slang but the hard liners now say [ inaudible ] but that's inside baseball. >> thank you, fareed. i want to go to the white house and brianna keilar, our white house correspondent. brianna, one of the criticisms we have heard from republicans about president obama's posture
when it comes to negotiating with john boehner is he'll negotiate with president rouhani but he won't negotiate with house speaker john boehner. i don't know that that's necessarily a fair criticism but he certainly gave them more ammunition with this announcement. >> reporter: certainly, and i think it's probably fair to say obviously clearly today, president obama has been on the phone more with the leader of iran than he has with the speaker of the house, as far as we know. i think here at the white house, and i haven't posed the question exactly to them this way, but i think they would say that at this point, they may actually see more promise or certainly i think a potential reward to talking to iran at this point. i don't think they necessarily see that in dealing with house republicans. but talking about the government shutdown, it was almost -- i mean, this is what we were expecting, right. there was the vote in the senate today. we were expecting president obama to talk a lot about this. we knew there was a lot going on with foreign policy. he might discuss it, maybe he would say something about syria,
iran really stole the headline there, but on the government shutdown, president obama really trying to highlight this funding bill that has gone through the senate and trying to put the pressure on house republicans. i think what he was really trying to do is again, we have seen him do this before, try to be the grownup in the room, the reasonable one trying to say, really outline the stakes if not only republicans shut down the government, but also if this gets to a point where the debt ceiling could actually be breached. part of the issue, though, is that while polls are in his favor in terms of the shutdown, shutdown, polls are not in his favor when it comes to ohe's so that. also, his approval ratings have dipped recently so he's in this position of where he's trying to on the shutdown really not -- really not negotiate and on the debt ceiling, not negotiate at all. that's what he's saying, i'm not negotiating. i think he's trying to strike
this position of strength where he is insisting he's not going to blink but at the same point, by saying republicans really have all of this power and it's really up to them to do it, it also creates this position where he's a little bit weak as well. >> brianna, in fact, when we're talking about the showdowns, we know that the showdown over the potential government shutdown which would come at midnight as monday becomes tuesday next week is actually nothing compared to the potential showdown coming in a few weeks if the congress does not raise the debt ceiling, allowing the government to spend more money and continuing with its functions. in fact, president obama again showing no wiggle room when he spoke about this just a few minutes ago. let's play that sound. >> raising the debt ceiling is simply authorizing the treasury to pay for what congress has already authorized. failure to meet this responsibility would be far more dangerous than a government shutdown. it would effectively be an
economic shutdown, with impacts not just here but around the world. we don't fully understand what might happen, the dangers involved, because no congress has ever actually threatened default. but we know it would have a profound destabilizing effect on the entire economy. on the world economy. because america is the bedrock of world investment. >> brianna, what i'm hearing and you can translate for me as well, if you want, but what i'm hearing is i'm not going to negotiate on the government shutdown, but i'm really not going to negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. is that what you're hearing? >> reporter: that's exactly right. even though a government shutdown would hurt the economy, in the estimation of the white house and economists as well, a debt ceiling just could be really a disaster. you heard president obama say we
have never really seen it and so we can't even really speculate on how bad the consequences would be. but you know, one of the things we've heard republicans talk about on the government shutdown, they obviously have wanted to, some of them have wanted to defund obama care. the president just said that's not going to happen today. so i think that's a line we'll hear a lot of. but on the debt ceiling, you now heard house republicans talk about kind of a list of things that they would like to see, delayed implementation of obama care. there are a couple of things, jake, and this is sort of interesting, that might be more palatable or certainly not as un-palatable as anything having to do with obama care. but the keystone pipeline, asking as part of this for it to be approved. i think a lot of people actually think the administration is going to go ahead and approve that, that they would do that even without these negotiations. but despite that, the white
house is just saying no, they're not taking the bait on any of that. they say they are not negotiating and we keep trying to check, is there wiggle room and i will say, it is a few weeks out, but they are insistent there is no wiggle room. >> let's go to capitol hill to senior congressional correspondent dana bash. dana, how are president obama's remarks being received on capitol hill? >> reporter: so far, with silence, which is very interesting. i just got an e-mail back from an aide to speaker boehner asking if he was going to come out and respond to what the president said, to give a sense of where the house republicans are, and the answer was no. i can tell you that absolutely must be because he doesn't know where house republicans are. i was e-mailing with another republican source in the house saying they just don't know how they're going to go because they don't know where the consensus is among house republicans. that's critical for two reasons. one is because to find consensus among house republicans, they are going to have to make changes to this bill funding the government that the senate just
sent over, and any changes that a democrat said, they won't pass so that spells trouble. but also because, you know, last week when we first saw that this was the strategy emerging on the house side, that they were in fact, even though john boehner didn't want to do this, going to go ahead and pass a bill defunding obama care on the bill funding the government, thought that maybe once they got it out of their system, the conservatives in the house, and the reality smacked them in the face that the senate led by democrats wasn't going to pass that, that they would kind of let it go and the speaker would allow a funding bill to pass with the help of democrats, i just got word from a boehner source saying that's not going to happen, that they very much are still focused on getting consensus among right now the number is 217, 217 republicans in how to do this bill. that means anything they get consensus on is not going to be acceptable in the senate run by democrats and again, that spells big trouble. >> thank you, dana bash. we have to take a quick break.
when we come back, you would be hard-pressed to find less of a fan of president obama than the radio host mark levine. he talks to six million pairs of ears a day. what does he think about the president's phone call with iran, with his posture towards congress? we'll ask him coming up next. if there was a pill to help protect your eye health as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin dedicated to your eyes, from bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite is uniquely formulated to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health. and now there's ocuvite eye + multi. an eye vitamin and multivitamin in one.
only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're covering breaking news now. president obama just spoke by phone with iranian president hassan rouhani. the first communication between the u.s. and iranian leader
since 1979. president obama says they have reached a quote, comprehensive solution over iran's nuclear program. that's the hope, anyway. >> now, we're mindful of all the challenges ahead. the very fact that this was the first communication between an american and iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. >> i'm joined now by a conservative radio host, mark levine, author of "the liberty amendments, restoring the american republic." author of the "new york times" bestseller. mark, thanks so much for joining us. obviously we had this interview planned previously to talk about your book and to talk about the budget fight, but president obama gave us some breaking news to talk about. what's your reaction to news of this phone call? >> that's my reaction.
>> a yawn. just for the transcript. >> well, i'm sorry. but the dictator of north korea going to call him next and we'll sit down with them and so forth? the fact of the matter is, did not this moderate say that they're not changing policy with respect to their production of nuclear weapons? didn't he say that? well, so what are they talking about on the phone? i have no idea. i don't know what progress they're talking about. it's amazing to me. the irony is unbelievable. the president gets up there, he talks in very nice prose about this is the first time we're having this discussion. this is a regime that hangs gay people. this is a regime that kills american soldiers. this is a regime as i speak that's torturing freedom fighters in that country. meanwhile, he talks about the republicans as if they're holding hostages. one of his flunkies was on your show yesterday talking about them having bombs attached to their chest and i'm not going to talk to them. now, the iranians, sure, we'll talk to them. this is a first. boehner, no, no way i'm going to
talk to them. does he even understand how silly he looks? >> that was one of the things i noted is that republicans have been very critical of the fact that president obama putting outstretched hands to talk about -- to talk with dictators, whether it's bashar al assad or now rouhani, whereas there's very strong criticism he's not doing enough to negotiate with congress. his position on the government shutdown is congress cannot achieve unto itself, it doesn't have enough votes in the senate, to get rid of obama care, and therefore, it's not fair, nor democratic, to try to force defunding of obama care through -- by threatening a government shutdown or threatening not to raise the debt ceiling. why is he wrong? >> oh, i see. so the only congress that was democratic was the one that passed obama care. so we're stuck with it forever. i understand when he was a senator and he voted against increasing the debt ceiling, that was not going to throw the economy into hell.
no, no, no, no. now as president of the united states he's talking about a government shutdown, we have to pay our bills. does he even understand how this works? you're paying existing interest, principal and pensions. existing. not prospective. we take in $200 billion a year. that covers all that and more. he doesn't want to negotiate because he doesn't want to talk about that. that's perfectly fine. now, we've shut down the federal government 17 times in 19 years. i've got it right here. it's nbc so it must be true. from 1976 to 1995, people got their checks, the military didn't go home, the border was as secure as it was then as it is now. so all these scare tactics mean nothing. i just want to inform some of the folks at cnn, the tea party is not like the reptile house at the zoo, this tiny group of people. it is people who are concerned about $17 trillion in debt, $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. this president has added
enormously to this. so it's kind of ironic that he's talking about paying our bills and the debt and so forth when he's accumulated so much of it. >> without question, there's a lot of people who are concerned about the debt and the tea party caucus and tea party patriots, the groups -- >> so what's he going to do about it? >> here's my question. why is president obama the only one responsible for the deficit if congress is not able, both the house and the senate, to pass a budget that starts to bring the united states within its means? >> that's an excellent point and you're exactly right, which is the reason i wrote this book. but he talked today about the budget. the person who is stopping the passage of an annual budget is harry reid. harry reid's working with the white house. the house as i understand it keeps passing budgets, sending them to the senate and they die. so i don't know what he's talking about. we need to have a budgets every year, okay, tell your friend harry to get a budget. you do control the senate. you do control the white house. there are still some democrats left in the house.
there is some french republicans left in the house to go along with you. >> i wanted to ask, what exactly is a french republican? >> a french republican is a republican who beats up on conservatives and is constantly praising the democrats and contributing to the massive spending in this country while they go home and pretend otherwise. >> okay. why french? >> i could have said worse. i could have said worse, but french seemed fine to me. >> let me ask you a question about not so much the government shutdown which might happen come midnight monday, as monday becomes tuesday, but -- >> can i ask you something? >> sure. of course. >> what happens when the government shuts down? what happens? >> what happens when the government shuts down? various government agencies tell nonessential personnel, it's a specific label -- >> i was in the reagan administration, we shut down the government six times. essential personnel make up 40% or 50% of the personnel in the bureaucracy.
i want people who watch cnn to understand it's not like saturday and sunday when the government really shuts down, there's nobody in the offices, or a government-paid holiday when nobody's in the offices. there is actually people in the offices, the military doesn't go home, the border patrol doesn't go home, the ships don't go into dock. i just want them to understand the social security checks are still cut. we're talking about the rest of the government. >> point taken, sir. i want to talk about the debt ceiling, though, because as you know, the debt ceiling is whether or not we pay the bills that have already been incurred. this is the spending that has already taken place that the house, the senate, president obama have already allowed to happen, and not raising the debt ceiling as you know can cause serious harm to the american economy for a number of reasons. why is it fair for the republicans, the house republicans, to use the debt ceiling, i'm going to try to avoid using any of the metaphors
that offend people, but why is it fair to use that as a bargaining chip when it's not their economy, it is all of our economy, it is the united states economy? >> because we live in what's called a constitutional republic. it's interesting under article one, spending, taxing, borrowing has to come from the house of representatives first. maybe the president doesn't understand that. so if he's really concerned about a government shutdown, he's really concerned about the debt, he would have spent the last five years trying to figure out how to work with republicans but he doesn't. so we have, for instance, obama care. what does he do? he decides who gets waivers. he decides who benefits. he decides what he's going to extend and not extend. that's not the way our republic works. so he should pretend i guess that john boehner's the president of iran, maybe get a phone call, maybe they could tweet each other and maybe have a discussion about the constitutional responsibilities of both, but obama, when it comes to domestic policies, it's his way or the highway.
when it comes to foreign policy, he's quite the appeaser. >> as you know, president obama argues and this is me relaying his view, that he wants to negotiate with the republicans in congress, but they refuse to talk about tax increases which he wants to be on the table along with other things such as entitlement reforms and spending cuts, and he says because they are not willing to negotiate, they are the ones who are saying my way or the highway. your response to that? >> okay, great. my response to this is this whole federal system is completely out of control. the trajectory is one way. when you have a nation that has $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities and not enough money on the planet to pay for that, and you have $17 trillion debt and the executive branch is not serious about talking about it, the senate is obstructing whatever the house does, and even the house isn't serious about it, both political parties
to one extent or another are involved in this. the problem is we, the american people, have to deal with this. we have the general accountability office, part of the federal government that says this is unsustainable. we have the congressional budget office that says this is unsustainable. we have the trustees and actuaries for social security and medicare saying this is unsustainable. and these guys are fighting over well, i'm not going to talk to this one about whether we keep the government open or not. let me tell you something. at some point in some day in some way, these people are saying it's unsustainable, it is unsustainable. and it's going to crash, one day, some way. >> you have a book here, "the liberty amendments" which obviously you are here to talk about. you propose 11 new amendments to the constitution which would be done on the state level. we don't have the time obviously to go through each one. but i do think one of the ones that i wanted to ask you about has to do with term limits. you propose no more than i believe it's 12 years aggregate,
is that right? for members of congress? >> 12 years for members of congress, aggregate. one house or the other or both. not only that, what i'm proposing is under article five of the constitution -- i know when i talk about the constitution, it's very quaint, but these guys, they swear to uphold it and so from time to time, we ought to refer them to it. under article five, there's two ways of amending the constitution, through congress or through the state legislatures. the framers at the time said in 1787, some day, your congress may become oppressive. some day, your federal government may become oppressive. there has to be a way for the american people to react to this, respond to this in a constitutional legitimate and civil way, and that's through the state legislatures, proposing amendments to all the states and just like if the congress proposes them, three-fourths of the states would ratify. the problem right now is we have a centralized government, concentration of power, unmoored from the constitution.
that's why they get into these fights. know what they're fighting over, jake? they're fighting over power. who's going to be imposing their will on the american people. that's not the way it's supposed to work. the system is broken. the constitutional construct is broken. what i suggest in "the liberty amendments" is we have to restore the republic by breathing life back into the constitution. >> one just quick thing, sir. that is i just want to ask you quickly, the one most cogent argument i have heard against term limits for members of congress, and you do also propose them for the supreme court as well, but for members of congress, the strongest argume argumentative' heard against them is all that would do is power amonnonymous lobbyists an staffers who would have more power in this town. are you concerned about that? >> i am concerned about that. i'm not the font of all knowledge. i proposed 11 amendments and god
willing if we get to this convention of the states to propose amendments to the rest of the states, this is something that really ought to be taken up as well. we have a permanent ruling class, they go in one direction, you could see it in the debate with the attacks on ted cruz. it's not just the democrats, it's the republicans, too. it's not just obama. it was bush before him, too. massive debts. the president says i have cut the deficits, greater than world war ii he says today. he gets it down to $700 billion. $700 billion yearly deficit? that's the biggest deficit that has ever existed prior to the obama presidency and he's bragging about it. that $700 billion is added to the $17 trillion in overall fiscal operating debt. >> mark levin, "the liberty amendments" a very successful popular conservative talk radio host. thank you for coming on.
hope you come on again. >> i will. god bless, jake. >> you as well. let's go back to our panel. gloria borger, candy crowley and jim sciutto. obviously a lot of strong views for mr. levin. let's go back to what president obama was talking about, specifically with hassan rouhani. jim, the tweets he was sending, here's -- this is three i'm going to read very quickly. obama tells rouhani, according to rouhani, i express my respect for you and the people of iran, i'm convinced that relations between iran and the u.s. will greatly affect region if we can make progress on nuclear and other issues such as syria, it will certainly be positively affected. i wish you a safe and pleasant journey and apologize if you're experiencing the horrendous traffic in new york city. that's what president obama says. you have to give mr. levin his due. he's right. the iranian government is in the middle of some horrific actions right now, and i haven't heard rouhani, although he is certainly a much more palatable spokesman than ahmadinejad for
an american audience, i haven't heard him say anything that deviates from we want to have a nuclear power program, we don't have a nuclear weapons program and i don't understand what the big problem is, which was ahmadinejad's message, although slightly a little bit more antagonistic. >> i mean, the great irony of course, here's the iranian president tweeting but in iran, you cannot access twitter or facebook. >> there's no internet. >> well, there's internet. there's intranet. still, they don't have nearly the same freedom he's exercising here. >> who is tweeting, anyway? >> probably the same way the white house would send out its tweets. he was describing what the president said to him and also sent out tweets saying what he said to the president in regards to the nuclear issue with political will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter. but you're right. iran still has one of the greatest numbers of political prisoners in the world. they released 80 last monday but the real challengers to the
government are still sitting behind bars. they still support terrorism around the world. >> literal terrorism. not the kind obama and the white house talk about when they talk about house republicans. >> he was asked about it today at his press conference. president rouhani was. it was someone from the arab press who used the term resistance but we were talking about terrorism. we were talking about hezbollah. he said something, i can't quote him, but he said something like this is not mutually exclusive with the kind of outreach we're doing. so in effect, he's not backing off the support for hezbollah. >> in other words, we're talking to obama and the president today, you know, to be fair to the president, he said it's got to be meaningful, transparent and verifiable. that's what he says about the united nations' agreement. that's what he says about syria. so the question is how can it be transparent and verifiable, because there's not much in iran or syria that's transparent as far as i can tell. >> let's remember that reza also reported that nothing has changed about their nuclear
program. it's exactly the same as when ahmadinejad was in power. so this is a new package and no one knows what's inside it. >> although it is an old position of the iranian government that their program has been for peaceful purposes. we don't believe them. you're right, it hasn't changed. the proof will be in what they prove. that's going to be the real test. >> we have to take a quick break. some say certain republicans are living in an alternative universe where mitt romney is president. i sat down with mitt romney today and asked what he would do about iran and whose side he's on in the shutdown showdown. my exclusive interview with mitt romney coming up next. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for the smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the buses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution into the air. so i feel good. i feel like i'm doing my part to help out the environment.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we heard president obama talk about the latest from iran. he and iranian president hassan rouhani talking about possibly trying to reach a comprehensive agreement when it comes to the nuclear program in iran. i want to get some reaction right now. i have on the phone congressman ed royce, republican of california and chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, what's your reaction to the president's announcement? >> well, jake, i think that the history of our diplomacy with north korea might be a key indicator of how this plays out. i see what the president wants
to do here, but with north korea, we thought we were buying peace but instead, the regime there only played us for time and just kept advancing its nuclear weapons program. i think that's the concern here, that iran is reading north korea's diplomatic playbook and intends to do exactly what it did with the europeans. what rouhani has already taken credit for, same as he did with the europeans, right? >> rouhani says that all iran wants is nuclear power, not a nuclear weapons program. is there a way that they could negotiate an agreement with the international community where they have nuclear power but they are not able to turn it into a weaponized way of delivering nuclear material, that there's no nuclear weapons program? >> well, certainly. all he would have to do is stop the centrifuges from spinning and work out an arrangement perhaps where the russians would
provide him the wherewithal to have the nuclear civilian power that he would use, that they would use for electric generation, but that's not the intent. the intent of iran goes back many, many years, and this is the individual who was their chief negotiator in the past. he is the one who took direct credit for deceiving the international community, and took some pleasure in it. in his speeches he said while we were talking with the europeans, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility and by creating this calm environment, we were able to complete our work, complete the centrifuges. so it is not -- it is not a question mark over whether or not the ayatollah and the regime want to have nuclear weapons. i say that because they're working right now on one of the
largest and most advanced ballistic missile inventories in the middle east. they are developing three stage icbms, space launch vehicles for that. it is very, very clear that they're also working on miniaturization of a nuclear weapon in order to put it atop a warhead. so the iaea, i had their chief in here not long ago who told me there were over 20 sites, nuclear weapons sites, in iran. we want the inspectors in there. so here's the way an agreement could be worked out. open those up to the iaea inspectors, go in there, authenticate what's going on, stop the centrifuges from spinning. yes, we could work out a deal but my guess is that's not what they're going to do. my guess is they're just going to draw this out. >> congressman ed royce, chair of the house foreign affairs committee, thank you so much. earlier today, i had a chance to
sit down with former republican presidential candidate mitt romney. we spoke about iran. it was before the announcement of the president's phone call. romney seemed very cautious about trusting president rouhani. let's talk about iran because that's also a situation going on right now. do you think that rouhani, the new president of iran, could be legitimately ushering in a new era? he came out very openly said we don't want nuclear weapons, we only want nuclear power, and that's all we've ever wanted? >> first of all, you have to be skeptical when people say we're just looking for nuclear power when their nation is on a lake of oil. so that's part one. part two, he really doesn't set the nuclear policy of his nation. that's done by the ayatollah, and so he doesn't actually have the capacity to call those shots, but is he a moderate voice? perhaps. but let's pursue this course as aggressively as we can, but recognize again that there's a great deal of skepticism with
regards to iran's intentions in part because of their energy wealth and the likelihood that what they're trying to do is become the superpower of the middle east with dire consequences for other nations in the region. >> governor romney and i also spoke at length about the stare-down between the aisles in congress over obama care and the possibility of a government shutdown on tuesday. >> we'd like to see obama care go away. now the question is what's the best tactic. what's the best vehicle to try and make that happen. so my tactic would be different. but that doesn't mean i don't respect and honor the fact that other republicans are choosing other tactics that they think are effective because we agree on the objective. the objective is to stop obama care, because it is going to hurt the american people. that's the message that ted cruz got out with his quasi-filibuster. >> it's helping millions of americans who didn't have insurance and now do. the medicaid rolls have been expanded. >> let's look through.
first of all, a lot of people who don't have insurance still have health care because they go to the emergency room to get health care. they're not denied health care. we had that in my state before -- >> you know that's lousy. that means i end up paying for their health care. >> now you raise the question of who pays for it. so i think there are better ways than having you pay for someone else's health care. getting back to the question of obama care, the issue that ted cruz got out and that i think virtually all republicans, elected republicans agree on, is that obama care is going to be hurtful to a lot of families. it's going to raise their premiums, in many cases they are going to lose the insurance that they wanted to have and they will get a new plan they don't particularly like, and you see a number of folks losing a 40 hour a week job to getting a 29 1/2 hour a week job so companies won't have to abide by the mandate. this is going to hurt a lot of american families and republicans are saying hey, we've got to stop this. we've got to help the american people. >> how is it different from what
you did here, though? this is a state a lot of people consider to be a model for obama care because of the law you passed. how is what's going on here different? >> well, there are some wonderful differences. first of all, we don't have in my state people losing jobs, 40 hour a week jobs, going down to 29 1/2 hour a week jobs as a result of the bill that we passed. we didn't have to raise new taxes on providers and device manufacturers, which the president's does. we didn't have the kind of increase that you're seeing in premiums that many families are facing. >> you brought up ted cruz. there are republicans in the establishment in washington who look at ted cruz, look at the house republicans, who are part of the tea party caucus, who are perceived as forcing speaker boehner's hand and some people call them the suicide caucus. are you concerned about this forceful group of republicans in washington? >> well, again, we're all fighting for the same thing, which is finding a way to repeal or replace or repair, slow down
obama care. >> those are all many different things, though. >> so we don't like obama care and would like to see a different course taken. there are differences of opinion as to which tactics will be most effective. i look at senator cruz and say look, you give him credit for standing up and speaking for 20 plus hours, you give him credit for bringing attention to a very important issue. i have a harder time seeing where a shutdown leads because i don't know that you're going to get a democrat senate and democrat president to say okay, fine, we'll get rid of obama care. i think there's a better way of getting rid of obama care. my own view, and that is one, delaying it by at least a year. the other would be potentially working hard to get republicans elected to the house and senate and being able to do it in a traditional way. so that's the approach i would take. but look, we're all on the same page as to where we want to get. i'm not going to get too animated about the tactics of one republican versus another. time will tell who's been the
most effective in trying to get this very unfortunate piece of legislation stopped in its tracks. >> the debt ceiling debate is going to be even bigger, probably, than the government shutdown debate. you're somebody who invests money and has built a very successful career doing that. you know what the debt ceiling really means. it's not just a tactic. it's something that could harm the economy, did last time when our bond rating went down and we have ended up, the united states has ended up having to pay higher rates because of what happened. >> well, the reason the united states had a credit rating downgrade, and interest rates were affected, was not because of that issue. the reason was of course that congress and the president continued to spend massively more than we take in and we're printing money like crazy to try and get this economy going. >> i think it was both. didn't they say that it was -- one of the reasons was because of the political dysfunction, they didn't think there would be a solution? >> there's no question but the
political dysfunction is the cause of many of the problems of the country, and leadership is what is able to break through the kind of dysfunction you're seeing. unfortunately, we haven't seen the kind of leadership in the white house. the president spends his time attacking the opposition party. and ascribing malevolent intent to their values and their purposes. that's my opinion, an enormous mistake on his part. you've got to reach across the aisle. >> the 2016 republican presidential nominee comes to you and says what's the biggest mistake you made that i can learn from. what do you tell him or her? >> well, i think our biggest strategic error, i made a lot of personal errors that any human being is going to make but the largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in hispanic tv and hispanic outreach, to help hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity, that ours is the party that will help them have a brighter future, better jobs, better future for their kids. we didn't do that as well as we
could have. and we didn't counter some of the very effective, you know, attack ads that came through hispanic tv. they ran more effective ads and made a bigger effort with the hispanic voters than we did. we need to fix that. >> on the latino vote, wasn't one of the problems, republicans and you were seen as against immigration reform, against a bipartisan comprehensive effort, and they understood the policy, they disagreed with that? >> well, i think our position was mischaracterized by the opposition. look, i want to see immigration reform. i said that during the campaign. i have thoughts about how to do that. i think republicans and democrats have to come together in washington with presidential leadership to say, with the president pushing his own party, not just pushing on republicans and saying oh, you're the bad guys. no, pushing his own party to say look, we've got to come together here, because people in both parties want to see immigration reform and the people of america deserve to have it.
>> governor romney and i went much further into foreign policy issues and you can see that part of the interview in the 6:00 p.m. hour right here on cnn. right now, i want to go back to gloria borger and candy crowley to react to the romney interview. very interesting, president obama, according to romney, he says, spends his time attacking the opposition party, ascribing malevolent intent instead of leading. that's a pretty harsh criticism from the unsuccessful presidential candidate. >> right. you know, his point has always been that he was the governor of a state in which he had a democratic legislature, they managed to work together because he reached across the aisle and he knew how to do that because of his circumstances, he got a lot done. including, i would add, health care reform. now, republicans, his fellow republicans would argue that he was the wrong messenger for that reason during the presidential campaign because of romney care, that he couldn't argue against obama care successfully and that
that's why they're in the pickle that they're in right now. so they're blaming him. >> candy, senator john mccain this week said look, to his fellow republicans, who are opposed to obama care, obama care was on the ballot in 2012, i went all over the country s g speaking against it. the american people re-elected president obama anyway. i asked mitt romney about that. we'll have more about that later. there are those republicans who make the point that gloria did, which is he was not the right spokesman to be against obama care, mitt romney, because of romney care. he still, as you can tell, he talks about little differences between the bills but there's no major philosophical difference. >> there isn't, and it's not just on romney care. there were other issues that we watched that governor romney walked back on as he left the governorship and began to get into the race even early on. so the fact is that romney is a republican more along the mccain lines. he even used a mccain line in here, at least i think it was john mccain who said elections
have consequences and what did romney say? my idea of fighting obama care was -- would be to elect more republicans. so i think he is not -- he still is not the republican that tea party conservatives would like to see head the ticket because they say no, we're going to use what we can now to stop this thing. that's still who he is. >> he said go the more traditional route, i.e., legislation. >> there's an idea. it can't pass. >> i have to say, i'm reminded of what so many reporters say when they meet mitt romney, which is if the guy that you met could be the guy on tv, he would have done a lot better. >> he was one of those candidates who always censored himself. i think it's because he grew up in a political family, not unlike al gore, who also was a candidate who censored himself because they know the dangerous consequences of actually being candid and romney still ended up hanging himself with his own
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welcome back to "the lead." now it's time for the buried lead. that's what we call stories we think should be getting more attention. workers at the nsa have access to the nation's biggest security secrets and they're tasked with keeping our country safe. it appears some of them have the self-control of a 15-year-old. the national security agency released details on a dozen incidents in which analysts used their spying power to snoop on a significant other or even just random people they just wanted to dig up dirt on. at least one case, an employee assigned overseas listened to phone conversations involving foreign women over a five-year span from '98 to 2003. in another instance, back in 2004, a civilian employee looked into a foreign number she found on her husband's cell phone because she suspected him of cheating. one guy even did a search of e-mail addresses belonging to his former girlfriend. but he says he didn't intend to read the e-mails, he was just practicing on the system.
most of the workers found abusing nsa policies either quit before they could be fired and none of them were charged with any crimes. at least for now. six of the incidents have been referred to the justice department for possible prosecution. now it's time for our sports lead. for the first time since that fateful thanksgiving night in 2009 when the bird in the oven wasn't the only goose getting cooked, tiger woods is once again the pga tour player of the year. it's the 11th time the golf star has received the honor. woods earned it with five big wins and by reclaiming his ranking as the number one golfer in the world. none of his wins in the past year came at a major, but he did get eight top ten finishes and he never, never missed a cut. when's the last time you heard this call at a basketball game? technical foul, unnecessary kissing. during last night's wnba matchup between the minnesota lynx and the phoenix mercury, things got heated between two players who have a long history on the court but when they braced up to each other instead of turning it into a fight, one player kissed the
other on the cheek. apparently tit was too much for the ref. he called a double technical. that's it for "the lead." you can see more of my interview with mitt romney in the 6:00 p.m. eastern hour. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf? >> jake, thank you. happening now, breaking news. a surprise announcement, a potentially watershed conversation. president obama details his phone call to the president of iran. we're covering all angles of this major historic development, including reaction from tehran. we'll go live to the iranian capital this hour. plus, the looming government shutdown. the ball is now back in the house of representatives' court, with only three days remaining. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. er you're in "the situation room." let's get on the breaking news. it's really a phonel