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tv   [untitled]    April 25, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT

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about it while you're working for somebody else. i mean, you've got to reach some kind of accommodation or understanding. one of the things you learn as a staff person, you get to express your point of view to your boss, whoever that may be, occasionally. you may fundamentally differ. if the differences are big enough, you've got to leave. he's the boss. and you can go find some place else to work. on the issue of gay rights, when i worked for president bush, he strongly, felt strongly about it and supported the effort to amend the constitution to define marriage. i didn't agree with that. and he and i talked about it on more than one occasion. he expressioned his views. i expressed mine. it depends in part upon that relationship. you know, there are various ways to participate in the process.
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if you're going to be a staff member for a president, he's the boss, he got elected, you didn't. you've got to remember that in terms of how you participate and whether or not you support his policies. if the differences are big enough, you probably ought to move on and find another line of work. but you may also want to participate in the process as an advocate. you may want to spend full time worried about your particular issue. whether it's gay rights or environmental issues or the tea party organization. i mean there are a great many ways to be a part of the process. you don't have to run for office. you don't have to only serve as senior staff person of the president of the united states. some of you will probably have that chance eventually. but there's also the basic fundamental fact that when you're working for an elected official, he's the one, or she, who put their name on the ballot
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and went out, worked hard, voter by voter and got themselves elected. and your first obligation is to them unless it's an issue you feel so strongly about that you can't accept that and then you need to find somebody else to work for. >> corey, thanks. let me conclude on one final point. you have looked at this the from a number of different vantage points. now mitt are many know is going through the process of selecting a running mate. which advice would you give him and his team? >> i've been involved in a couple vice presidential searches. some more successful than others. the thing that i think it's important to remember is that the decision you make as a presidential candidate on who your running mate's going to be is the first presidential decision. it's the first time you're making a decision that you're
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going to have to live with. it gives the public a chance to watch you operate and see what you think is important. what kind of individual you choose to serve as your running mate. what are the criteria. i think the single most important criteria has to be the capacity to be president. that's why you pick them. lots of times in the past that has not been the foremost criteria. it really varies administration to administration. as you watch the talking headings out there now, they're talking about, well, gee, you better get a woman or hispanic or pick somebody from a big state. those are all interesting things to speculate about. it's rare an election ever turns on those kinds of issues. it's much more likely to turn on the kind of situation where they'll judge the quality of your decision making process based on whether or not this
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individual is up to the task of taking over and serving as president of the united states. should something happen to the president. that's why you're there. aside from serving as president in the senate, your only constitutional responsibility. >> do you have any book in you? >> not yet. i'm thinking about it. this was the -- we could have written five or six of these. but we tried to keep it at reasonable lengths. we brought about 600 panels, which is what the president publisher wanted. >> thank you very much for being with us. we appreciate your time. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> enjoy your time here in washington. it really is a remarkable
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opportunity. i know you'll have a great time and learn a lot and just jump in with both feet and some of you might even find honest work as a result of it so good luck. >> stay seated for a moment and we'll walk the vice president out. >> i have seemed to have earned a certain place where people will listen to me and i've always cared about the country. and the greatest generation writing that book gave me a kind of a platform that was completely unanticipated.
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so i thought i ought not to squander that. so i ought to step up as a -- not just as a citizen and as a journalist but as a father and a husband and a grandfather. if i see these things, i ought to write about them and try to start this dialogue, which is what i'm trying to do with this book, but where we need to get to next. >> in his latest, the time of our lives, tom brokaw urges americans to redefine the american dream. sunday, may 6th, your questions for the former anchor and managing editor of nbc "nightly news" in his half dozen books, he's written about the greatest generation, the 1960s and today. in depth sunday may 6 live at noon eastern on cnn sp span 2's tv. >> rosie o'donnell was the president's first choice to be here this evening. she withdrew. citing a nasty and brutal confirmation process.
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[ applause ] i wasn't even the second choice. dennis miller was the second choice. but he got hung out by an illegal nanny tech that caught. but isn't that what the confirmation process is all about here in washington? weeding out the truly qualified to get to the truly available. [ applause ] >> i thought when you got into office, you would put a swift end to your basketball pickup plan, you know, i mean come on, first black president, playing basketball. that's one step forward, two steps back. [ applause ] and really, are you any good? i bet you you think your game is really nice right now, don't you? [ laughter ] yeah, come on, nobody's going to give the president a hard foul with the secret service standing there.
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>> jon stewart and wanda sykes are two of the comedians who tried their hand at entertaining the president at the annual white house correspondents dinner. this weekend, cnn span will again offer live coverage of the event saturday night. see what other comedians have said at these dinners online, the c-span video library, archived and searchable at at this year's white house correspondents association dinner, late-night talk show host jimmy kimmel is the featured entertainment. our coverage of the dinner gets under way at 6:30 p.m. eastern saturday with guest arrivals, commentary from reporters covering the dinner and tweets from celebrities and journalists in attendance. and of course president obama addresses the gala.congressiona
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directory. inside, you'll find each member of the house and senate, including contact information, district maps and committee asignments. also, information on cabinet members, supreme court justices and the nation's governors. you can pick up a copy for $12.95 plus shipping and handling at the u.s. general overseeing operations in southwest afghanistan says he's had no cooperation from the pakistani army in securing the border between the two countries. he spoke at the atlantic council in washington this week and he took questions. >> i'll ask one question and then just look to the audience for -- to continue the discussion. you gave us a good sense of sort of the threat specifically but can you talk sort of more
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broadly about the taliban, you know, where are they now if your estimation? what's the chances of them popping back up? i know that depends on the trajectory of the afghan security forces. but can you give us a sense of where they are politically and militarily in your view? >> i think the taliban -- there's always going to be i believe a hard core element that is going to want to install sharia law. you know, i've seen some of those folks. i've actually had the opportunity to speak to some. it's just -- it's a hard-core radical belief that this is the way you need to operate. what produced that, i'm not exactly sure. but i think they will continue to exist. currently, they're operating on the other side of the border. they're operating in pakistan. they're operating in quetta. quetta's been a safe haven for the senior leadership of the
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taliban as long as i've been there. we have tried in numerous ways to engage the pakistani army on the border. to work with them, my case, 12th corps, pakistan. at least to put some pressure, not make it so easy for them to move cross border. but it's gone on. so that's where the taliban senior leadership are operating. the reintegration, reconciliation program that general allen has been encouraging the commanders to really use that program is focused on the midlevel and lower level taliban. really, the midlevel's been our objective. those are the ones, i just mentioned earlier, if you look at the midlevel taliban, they're residents of home and province of kandahar. they come from those districts. in many cases, they turned taliban because the leadership
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in the local level at the time was abusive, totalitarian, author tarrian government. what we're seeing now is they're wanting to come back into the fold. and it's all a result of making some progress. so there will be a taliban will exist. they'll always be -- i don't understand it but they'll always be people willing to kill themselves. to put a suicide vest on or drive a suicide vehicle. and they abuse that. the senior taliban abuse that. but i think they'll always be peep peeple willing to conduct that business. we always make sure to maintain our guard. so i'll end it there. but i mean -- i'll end it there. >> thanks.
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any questions from the audience? yes, in the second row here. >> hi, my name is -- [ inaudible ] hi, jegeneral, my name is gretcn peters. [ inaudible ] if you could describe the nature of the enemy there. 'cause when i communicate with folks out in helmand these days, a lot of areas they seem to be -- the groups that they're fighting seem to be as much local criminal organizations, drug trafficking networks and another category that i sort of loosely describe as young men being stupid, but whether they're actually formally connected to the taliban other than paying tax to them or protection money is a lot harder for me anyway to figure out. >> that's a very good question. i will say that the nature of the enemy in helmand province varies depending on where you are. if you're in the south, basically explained, used the analogy that the taliban are
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completely on their back. they're not operating in the southern part, places like that, et cetera. in central helmand, which really is the responsibility of task force helmand which is the uk forces, we use the analogy that they're on their knees. they're still getting support funding and i can talk in more detail but they're still getting funding through some of the criminal networks that are fueling the activity in central activity. places like nari surage which today is the most kinetic district in afghanistan. it's changed dramatically over the past year due to some of the things we did this year. but so there is still some taliban insurgent activity there. then in upper helmand valley, places like haji ki.
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places like that. the taliban are on their heels. because we recently -- it was really the last piece of real estate we cleared was haji ki dam. so they're on their heels. but behind them is a transit area for drugs, for poppy growth, that's owned by our friend that i just mentioned earlier, and his boys. they still own that territory. at this stage, we are no longer in the business of clearing real estate. it is now the afghans providing the security. so from south to north, it gets increase -- it's increased taliban involvement. taliban funding. et cetera. but you're absolutely right. there is -- there are a lot of local nationals who get themselves into trouble, who get
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an opportunity to make a few bucks by planting an ied. they're really not taliban. they're just people that quite honestly if we'd afforded them another opportunity for employment, they wouldn't be taking the job. because if you look to the elders and the responsible people in helmand provence, they're not supporting that. again, goes back to this -- i think we're the home team at this, we got the support of the local nationals, and it's building. >> yes, eric schmidt, in the middle. >> hi, general. eric schmidt with "the new york times." you said you've tried to engage 12th corps and pakistani army on the other side. what success, if any, have you had, getting them to help interdict fighters, ied materials, other things like that? thank you. >> unfortunately, from my perspective as a tactical commander in regional command southwest, i have had no support
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from 12th corps. i've -- we have tried to conduct operation -- conduct discussions and conferences and there always seems to be something that interferes with that. it's an area that i know my boss at the time general allen and general scalbeie ni, my commander have been working very hard at. but it's difficult. because 12th corps -- as you know, helmand province has pakistan and iran as its borders. helmand and nimruz. on the pakistani border is a place called ba. rum-cha. i know for a fact drugs are moving out of pakistan and lethal aid is coming in on a regular basis. barum-cha is a long way away from the helmand river valley. to provide forces down there to
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interdict, stop that, it detracts, takes away from efforts that i'd like to be working in upper helmand river valley. if i had 12th corps, if i had the pakistani army support, to at least conduct patrols along the border and limit the amount of movement across, it would really help. that's been my focus. but i haven't been able to really get that kind of support. >> thanks, general. another example of how critical pakistan is to this effort. second row. viola. >> thank you. bloomberg news. general, couple questions. one, you mentioned that it's really important to sideline the sort of actors that you were referring to in -- who is a senator now. how do you think is the most effective way to do that? and how difficult do you think it will be for the ansf and the remaining coalition forces in helmand to maintain the sort of
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progress that you've been describing after september when there will be a significant number of marines that will have been withdrawn at that point? >> i guess two parts to that question. i will say that the first and the first question, akanazan is an individual who has a large financial investment in helmand province. a lot of it comes through the drug trade. he's got his hands all over it. and the only real way of changing his impact -- there's two ways. one is we have to do a better job of working the government of
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afghanistan's units. which is working closely with the dea. doing a great job in teaching the narcotics interdiction unit and the narcotics lead in the government of afghanistan in things which are challenging for the afghans but they're getting better at it. things like collecting evidence. and doing criminal investigations. because it's got to move from paramilitary operations to legitimate criminal investigations. and using the rule of law to hold these people accountable. we're making progress but it's nascent. it's really only in the past year that the narcotics interdiction units and the government in afghanistan has been effective in collecting evidence. that has curtailed his activities and his cronies. it has curtailed that activity. so that's a good thing.
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that i think is going to pay dividends later on. the other thing i think is vitally important is that the central government has to, particularly people like sma, sharaa mohammad assad, has influence over the government officials who are now in the process, appropriately, of appointing leaders in various districts and provinces. they say, i'm going to pull this governor out, in kaji ki for example, because he's not doing what i'm asking him to do. all a sudp, somebody comes in and it becomes a district governor and you find out his last name is akanazada. it's because they've influenced the decision process. the constitution that was drafted for afghanistan is if you read it is similar to what the united states looks at.
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passing control and the states. less powerful central government. what we're seeing right now in afghanistan is that that constitution has not been fully enacted. that the district and local levels where there are elections particularly in helmand because we've had some success there, the central government still doesn't trust the local leadership. they want to appoint their own people. i have had three regional chiefs of police in helmand province. you build a relationship with one. he's pulled out because he's not doing what he's being told to do. somebody else comes in there. what we really need to do is stop central government's med e meddling in the local politics. the only way you're going to make a difference in afghanistan is to allow the local districts
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and provinces to control their own fate. but there isn't that degree of faith yet in the central government. they don't feel comfortable in doing that yet. it's going to come. but that's how i think you limit the impact of the senior level influence on -- negative influencers on afghanistan, in helmand province for example. the second part of your question is a lot -- more important and certainly something that at the provincial level impact. that is how do we support the afghan national security forces in maintaining stability and maintaining control in the province. first of all, you would be amazed at the wonderful strong
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relationships that, you know, everybody from pfc up to colonel have built with the afghan security forces. when i left, i mean, you would have -- i would have thought i was leaving my family. it's just was -- it was a pretty moving experience. and so after a year of sharing hardships, explosions, casualties, positive elections. i mean, all the good things. we have built a pretty strong bond. and that needs to continue. now, obviously, there's threats to that. and as you know, we have had to deal with some of the insider threats that exist in afghanistan. and if you would leave it to the media that maybe plays up this
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insider threat greater than it really is because i can for every one insider threat issue i can tell you there's a hundred events that are created a strong bond. but that's the key. is keeping that bond with the afghan national security forces. and that trust and that faith. and they'll stand up for their own. >> thanks, general, for that answer. yes, in the back. >> thank you so much. my name's christina wong from "the washington times." general, u.s. troops are expected to consolidate in the south and focus more on the east. as far as you know, what will consolidation look like? can you talk a little bit more about how you transition from a combat mission to an advisory mission will look like. and whether you expect for the spring fighting season. and how do you expect that we will be able to hold gains that we've mailed in the south. thanks. >> very good questions. i spent -- i worked hard over
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this past year to convince my leaders that the insurgency in the south is the greatest threat to the government of afghanistan. and if it should strengthen, that will provide a greater threat or the greatest threat to the afghan government. i say that because currently the south is the main effort. we need to maintain the pressure. the pressure in the south, we can't let it up. as we're going down on forces, we are also drawing up on afghan national security forces capabilities.
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capacity. getting the numbers up. most importantly, their will. those three elements of the afghan security forces are on a rise. somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot. i think we're there. but what we don't want to do is change that main effort till after this season. now, i don't like using the term fighting season. because i think to my commanders -- but certainly a little like psychosis there we use this term fighting season as if we're giving up the initiative to the insurgency. we haven't. we look at it more as a sort of poppy cycle. i think the incident in kabul where we've had some attacks.
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very weak. able to stand up to that pretty easy. last season, may 17 was a big date they were going to come out, was really going to be big. it was a whimper. so, i mean, i really do believe the insurgents cannot introduce any type of complex attack. the most complexity you're going to see is up in kabul. it's not going to happen down in helmand province. they don't have the leadership. they don't have the capability to orchestrate that kind of an attack. they don't have the capacity because the number of insurgents are not the same as they were two years ago. we'll see soon because the
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harvest is about to begin. it will take another 30 days. i do believe the afghan national security forces, with their strong capability of gathering intelligence at the human level, that it's a very powerful intelligence, and they'll know ahead of time. and then you combine that with the support of the local nationals. it's going to be very hard for them to swim among the local nationals. because they're not getting the support. so i believe that -- and we'll see. if it's correct, what will happen, though, going back to your first question, is as the main effort does shift, because the hakani network has gotten a lot of attention. the hakani network is a network that really operates to maintain itself. doesn't have that grand design. and, you know, as the rg


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