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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  September 16, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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going to be in clemeson and angola, indiana and chicago. find out details at glenn in new york, call me, by the way, call me. from new york, good night america. america. >> mixed news on the economic front. an annual report shows poverty levels at the highest in decades. is president obama trying to circumvent the nomination process. and the pope arrives in great britain with a message of traditional values. live from our studio in washington. this is special report. good evening, i'm bret baier. president obama looked to the future today saying he is confident the country will emerge from the current storm, with the stronger economy. but for the average family, that positivity about tomorrow doesn't necessarily translate when bills need to be paid today. chief washington correspondent jim angle looks at the economic situation. >> more signs of a struggling economy today as mortgage
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lenders repossess more homes in august than any month since the housing market crashed almost three years ago. >> looking at rising foreclosures and the expectation is we're not going to peak until at least the middle of next year. >> reporter: in all banks repossessed more than 95,000 homes last month. up 3% from july and an increase of 25% from august of last year. and some say administration efforts have only made things worse. >> they've spent recklessly in many regards, trillions of dollars and what do we have to show for it. we have extraordinary unemployment with no relief in sight. >> reporter: one of the causes of the original housing crash, mortgages to anyone who asks for one, with or without a job, has changed. >> people now unlike during the credit boom actually have to have a job to get a mortgage. and we have to adjust to that new market. >> reporter: some economists worry until more jobs are created the housing market will continue to struggle and there's only a little encouragement on that front. a report out today says first
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time claims or unemployment have leveled off a bit. dropping 3,000 from the previous week to 450,000, the lowest level in two months. still, very high, though it is down from more than 500,000 new claims a month ago. >> the unemployment rate hangs stubbornly 9 1/2, 10%. new claims for uninsurance the same i think this. it's down from its worst, but it's stabilized at an unacceptbly high level. >> reporter: and the budget director agrees. >> we're seeing a recovery. none of us are satisfied with the rate of the recovery. none of us are satisfied with the sustained high levels of unemployment. >> reporter: the pain of the slow pace of recovery was made clear today in an annual report by the u.s. census, telling what many americans already now the loss of jobs for the last two years, driven the poverty levels for working age americans to the highest since 1960's.
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39.8 million people to 43.6 million meaning one in seven americans are in poverty. >> getting the labor going and economy going, that's the problem for us. >> reporter: since unemployment doesn't fall until about a year, that number is likely to get worse. >> bret: thanks, the s & p gave back about a half point. the nasdaq was up 2. the debate over extending the bush era tax cuts to avoid a tax increase in tough times continues on capitol hill, but it isn't just whether to extend them, but also, how the legislative process would move forward and even what they should be called. correspondent james rosen gets into the specifics. >> house minority leader john boehner seized a new tactic to pressure democrats into extending the tax cuts not just the middle class. daring house speaker nancy
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pelosi to put that to a test on the house floor. >> the speaker allows an up or down vote i'm confident that the american people will not see increases in their taxes. >> reporter: minutes later speaker pelosi made clear she has no intention of being maneuvered by the minority, but that she does intend to rebrand the tax cuts. >> without getting into procedure and timing and process, what we are going to do is to say at the end of the day, the extension of the obama middle income tax cuts will take place. >> reporter: yet, it appears growing numbers of democratic lawmakers want to end the impasse by extending the tax cuts for some length of time for all brackets. two pelosi lieutenants, tenny hoyer and chris van holland both of maryland recently signaled at much and one brave freshman persuaded 30 democrats to sign a letter along those lines. >> the speaker said she doesn't necessarily agree with our position on this, but we're still having a conversation and still talking to folks who are coming to us now and saying, you know, we
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agree with your position on this. so we're going to continue to build as much support behind our position as we can. >> reporter: on the senate side, nebraska democrat, ben nelson, never afraid suggested he might break ranks with upper income. >> do you feel so strong you'd join the republican in a filibuster. >> i don't think it would come to that. >> reporter: do you feel that strongly about it. >> i feel strongly about it, but i don't think we'll have to come to a filibuster to get it done. >> reporter: do i get an answer? >> i don't think there's an answer when there's not an effort out there to throw a filibuster. who wants to invite one. >> reporter: meantime, two senate republicans, george voinovich of iowa lemeiux of ohio, handing the president, sets aside 30 million in taxpayer funds for community banks to lend small businesses, a measure the g.o.p. had been filibustering since july. >> every week that we've waited to pass this bill has been another tough week for
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small businesses throughout our country. >> reporter: finally, on a procedural vote, senate democrats rejected a measure that president obama has identified as a top priority on his economic agenda, the permanent extension of tax credit that businesses receive for research and development. bret. >> bret: james rosen live on capitol hill. thank you. most presidents struggle with getting their nominees through the senate confirmation process, but some republicans are accusing president obama of bypassing the system to avoid a fight. white house correspondent wendell goler reports tonight while the president will bring his choice on board. she will be shaping a new government office instead of running it. >> in the end, there was less question about whether elizabeth warren would oversee the new consumer financial protection bureau than how the president would arrange it. he made clear she's been his choice from the start. >> the idea for the agency was elizabeth warner, she's been a dear friend of mine, somebody
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i've known since law school and i've been in conversations with her. >> reporter: sources say warren will be be assistant to the president and advisor to treasury secretary geithner and writes the rules governing credit cards, and the move frufs, this is a disingenuous effort to circumvent the senate confirmation process and i oppose it. >> reporter: this senator says it's a pattern. >> creating czars and czarinas unaccountable. last time i checked there are three dozen of them. >> reporter: warren's scolding of banks during the crisis, and push to raise taxes,out of here expertise, bankruptcy, but made her a hero on main street. ♪ .
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>> reporter: suspects say warren's a victim of the republican filibuster strategy. >> said that, look, i think she's qualified, and seems the opposition expressed already, by certain votes you need to have to overcome the 60 vote margin. >> reporter: as much as they warren about warren, republicans are troubled the agency itself is too powerful. >> i'm all for consumer protection, but i thought it was irresponsible of us to give so much people to one person with no real check against rule writing. >> reporter: the senator corker worries that warren might want to dispense what he calls social justice, but says that warren won't run the office. senator dodd who warned the president against makeling warren a recess or interim appointment says the president must choose someone to run the agency who can win senate confirmation, officials suggest warren will set up the office and help mr. obama choose that person and then step aside. >> bret: wendell goler on the north lawn. thank you. china slightly increased
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holdings of u.s. treasury debt in july edging up to 846.7 billion dollars, the increase came after two months of declines. meantime, the obama administration is vowing to take a tougher stance with china on trade issues. treasury secretary timothy geithner says china must move faster for the rise of the u.s. dollar. a senate ratification for a nuclear arms treaty with russia. the new start as it's called seeks to shrink the streak warheads by about a third and change some procedures by inspecting each country's arsenals and compliance. the treaty heads for a vote. the united kingdom where the pope is speaking towards the growing trend toward secularization and making the case that religion is of benefit to the world. the poll, the question tonight, how concerned are you about the secularization of society? you can text your answer to
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36288, type sr 1 for very concerned. sr 2 for slightly concerned or sr 3 for not concerned. we'll bring you those results at the end of the program.
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may still exist. ask your doctor if nexium can help relieve your heartburn symptoms. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. >> as the connecticut sfat sfat race tightens. richard blumenthal is bringing in the big guns. tomorrow wonder if a presidential visit is worth the risk. white house correspondent mike emanuel has the story. >> president obama is heading back out on the campaign trial answer though his personal popularity dipped ten points from where it was during of 2008 campaign. mr. obama will hold fundraisers in connecticut for
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richard blumenthal the democratic candidate for senate and state democratic party and linda mcmahon shows he's the career politician in the race. >> it's interesting for mr. blumenthal who, you know, wants to be an outsider to washington and yet, he's thoroughly embracing, you know, the president coming in and you know, it's a big bear hug and embrace. >> it's time to shake things up. >> mcmahon is self-funded and used wealth from wrestling corporation, to fund. and a poll shows blumenthal's lead eroded from 41 points in january to 6 point lead. >> i'm actually a little ahead of where i expected to be at this particular time, but again, it's a little like being in a diet and the last ten pounds a hardest to lose. >> blumenthal's campaign says he's unavailable for an interview, but mindy meyer
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says it's honor to have the president's support and quote, his support will make a difference in our campaign and helping against our opponent. despite mr. obama's ability to raise money from party faithful, there are potential hazards. >> it's a calculated risk because although all of our surveys show that blumenthal is probably the most beloved public official in the state, we have to remember that we really are facing an anti-incumbent mood in the electorate, even in connecticut. >> and professor mclane says that blumenthal's strategy seems to be raising much needed money, but limiting the large campaign rallies that could end up in his opponent's ads. >> the last thing that the blumenthal campaign wants to do is to turn the senate race into mcmahon versus obama. because right now, obama is not as popular as blumenthal. >> senior aides say that
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mr. blumenthal will continue the campaign efforts in races and districts where kadz believe he can be helpful. with that may come risks and rewards, bret. >> bret: mike emanuel live in the white house briefing room. thank you. rahm emanuel met privately wednesday night with illinois democratic congressman jesse jackson, jr. to discuss the chicago mayor's race. both men have advised an interest in the job. long time mayor richard m daley announced he will not seek a 7th term. in the arkansas senate race, john boastman continues to lead blanche lincoln, a 17 point cushion. 51% to lincoln's 34%. the margin is unchanged since early last summer. a controversial issues that bridges science and ethics, has gone from the courtroom to capitol hill. and shannon bream looks into the research that some say could save a life and others say potentially could end one.
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>> we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. >> reporter: when president obama signed that executive order in march of last year, it did little to settle the debate over whether taxpayer money should be used to fund embryonic stem cell research. just weeks ago, a federal judge in washington ordered it to stop. that injunction has been temporarily stayed while the case progresses and now, lawmakers have stepped in. >> the evidence is overwhelming about the importance of embryonic stem cell research, to deal with the maladies of the world. >> democratic senator arlen specter has introduced legislation designed to restart federal funding for the controversial research. and democratic congress woman diana degette has done the same in the house. but there are many lawmakers on both sides of the hill with strong objections, including the man who co-authored the law at the center of the legal case. republican senator roger wicker, it demands federal funds from which human embryos
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are destroyed. >> this is a matter of conscience for me, but more importantly, it's a matter of conscience for millions of americans who are deeply troubled by the idea that their taxpayer dollars may be used to destroy another human life. >> reporter: new polling numbers show that 57% of those surveyed believe that funding for embryonic stem cell research should be left to the private sector 33% believe that taxpayer money should be used. even within the scientific community there is strong disagreement about the research. >> if this research is slowed or halted, the greatest loss will be suffered by the millions of americans with conditions that might be helped by human embryonic stem cells. >> the public is not going to be at risk of losing anything in terms of new therapies and new cures by not doing human embryonic stem cell research. >> to date, researchers spent more than a half billion dollars in funding on embryonic stem cell research. and the legal battle is due on
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metropolitan. shannon bream, fox news. >> bret: next month hearing for the man charged with fort hood shootings will be open to the public. a military officer rejected the defense request to keep the proceedings of army hassan closed. the presiding officer said the public and the victim's families have a right to hear testimony. later, we'll have a look at how an effort to legalize marijuana is dividing california's black community. and great britain rolls out the welcome mat for a famous face with an equally famous mode of transportation. copd makes it hard for meo breathe.
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>> checking world headlines now, an american airman has been killed and a soldier wounded on a base north of baghdad in what the military described as a controlled detonation.
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meanwhile, the iraqi cabinet approved a 400 million dollar settlement for americans who claim abuse by saddam hussein's regime dating back to the 1990 invasion of kuwait. after two days of peace talks between the israelis and palestinians, secretary of state hillary clinton says she's convinced the two sides are trying to seek common ground. clinton met today with palestinian president abbas who says he sees no alternative to continuing negotiations with israel. an american envoy to north korea says he sees no signs that the communist nation is ready to meet washington's conditions for rejoining nuclear talks so the u.s. will continue to enforce sanctions and also today, u.s. officials say north korea's alleged attack 0 and south korean warship was an act of war. north korea denies involvement and has proposed a joint probe with the u.s. into the deadly sinking. a message about the dangers of secularism was brought to great britain today bye a
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figure not seen in those parts in a while. >> pope benedict xvi made history with the first official visit to britain by a pope in nearly 500 years when king henry viii split with the head of the church of england. queen list bet greeted him. it's always been a national identity and historical consciousness. >> the pope had a rng with a for england. >> always maintain traditional values and expressions-- >> thin crowds along the route, 5 million catholics in 60 million people and overall church attendance reportedly around 12% and the trip has been marred by controversy,
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the conservative stance of conception, homosexuality. >> those views are not shared by most british people, they're not shared by most british catholics. >> the ranks of british priests have not been affected by those of ireland or continent europe, still, the pope addressed the issue on the flight in, calling the practice perverse. >> the authorities of the church were not sufficiently vigilent and incisive in taking the measures. >> controversy seemed to be set aside late today as pope benedict celebrated a huge open air mass in glasgow. and they received the pope and worshipped and singing ode to joy. >> the pope flies to london tonight and the next leg of the trip includes a service at westminster abby where the coronation of king henry viii was held and a century later the pope is still putting up a
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good fight. >> bret: don't forget about the text to vote poll. the question, how concerned are you about the secularization of society. you can text to 36288. time sr 1 for very concerned. sr 2 for slightly concerned. sr 3 for not concerned. we'll have the results later. the grapevine is next. @=h
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>> and thousand, some fresh pickings from the political grapevine. delaware's senate race jumped into the national spotlight after tuesday's upset primary and senate majority leader harry reid made it clear to the hill. he's a big fan of chris coombs, quote, i'm going to be very honest with you, chris coons, everybody knows him in the democratic caucus, he's my pet. he's my favorite candidate. meanwhile, anyone seeking information about republican nominee christine o'donnell has to look somewhere other than her official website. there is no information about o'donnell or her positions on issues on the home page. there's only a button for supporters to donate to her campaign. a saved version of that page from tuesday night include tabs with info about the candidate. and finally, veteran congressman mike castle has not yet communicated with o'donnell since his loss to her, but he has been doing a lot of other communicating since tuesday night.
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"the washington post" reports dozens of his colleagues have contacted the republican, and he has had conversations with both president obama and vice-president biden. it looks like someone may be trying to stir up a cat fight between michelle obama and her french counterpart carla bruney. a book claims at that when mrs. obama was asked by bruney about her role as first lady. she responded quote, it's hell, i can't stand it. but mrs. obama's press secretary denies the first lady ever said it. so does the french embassy which maintains the book was unauthorized. and finally, middle east peace talks held here in washington earlier this month are making headlines thanks to a controversial photo. leaders in attendance, walking in the white house with president obama. here is the same photo as it appeared in an egyptian newspaper. in the original. mubarak was to the left and slightly behind the other leaders, but the egyptian paper apparently altered the
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photo to give mubarak a more prominent position and the president removed the doctored photo from its website, but has not commented. california's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana has become a civil rights issue according to some supporters, but as correspondent claudia cowan reports not everyone in the black community is it jumping on board. >> the march for equal rights often led to the voting booth, but in california a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for adults is dividing the black community. the california naacp argues allowing local governments to tax and regulate pot will reduce arrests among minority use and advanced civil rights. >> if you look at the disproportionate number of arrests that happens in our community, the law has not been applied equitybly across the board and therefore we're targeted and makes us believe that it's a civil rights issue. >> it's martin luther king could know that our oldest
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civil rights organization is calling legalizing a drug civil rights, he would turn over in his grave. >> church leaders like sacramento bishop ron allen contend passage of proposition 19 would devastate the black community, even if, as supporters claim, it would help raise revenue for the cash-strapped state. >> do you truly believe any money that would come into the community would not be exceeded through health care, public costs, drunk driving? we're going to have such a mayhem that the little money that's coming into the community will disappear. it will mean nothing. >> reporter: but the naacp and the national black police officers association point to a recent study showing african-americans in the state are two to three times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana offenses. >> anytime government intervenes and treats one group worse than it treats the other group, then it's a civil rights issue. >>, but according to veteran
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pollster dicamilldicamillo, that resonating. >> african-americans, latinos, asians are on the plurality on the no side by significant margins. >> in fact the latest polling has the measure too close to call which may not bode well for prop 19 supporters. political experts say when an issue is as controversial and clear-cut as this one is, voters tend to maintain the status quo, regardless of the color of their skin. in san francisco, claudia cowan tfox news. >> bret: the company's being sued over the gulf oil spill are accusing the u.s. government of mishandling a key piece of evidence. drilling rig trans ocean says that investigators are not adequately preserving evidence from the failed blowout preventer, the white house science czar wants the term global warming replaced. he faulted the scientific community for saying it's a dangerous misnomar, should be
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replaced with global climate disruption. the fight continues over extending the bush tax cuts. the allstars duke it out after the break. concierge claim centers. so i can just drop off my car and you'll take care of everything? yep, even the rental. wh if i'm stuck at the office? if you can't come to us, we'll come to you in one of r immediate response vehicles! what if mother won't let me drive? then you probably wouldn't have had an accident in the first place. and we're walkin'! and we're walkin'... making it all a bit easier -- now that's progressive! call or click today. climate protection. challenges as vast as the space race a generation ago. and tal to global security. to reach this destination, our engineers are exploring everyossibility. from energy efficiency to climate monitoring. securing our nations clean energyuture is all a question of how.
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>> she ought to pledge, to be an up and down vote on all of the upcoming tax hikes. anything less than that is unacceptable. the speaker allows an up or down vote, i'm confident that the american people will not see increases in their taxes. >> well, the talk there from the house minority leader about extending the bush era tax cuts, all of them wanting the house speaker to have a vote on the house floor. up or down. just moments after that news conference, house speaker, nancy pelosi appeared. she was asked at one point. is there any chance the top bracket tax cuts would be extended this congress? here was her answer. >> the only thing i can tell
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you is that the tax cuts will be extended this congress. >> bret: well, that barometproma clarification from her office. after that the speaker made her position abundantly clear and clearly said she supports president obama's middle tax cuts, opposed for the wealthiest percent because they add hundreds to the deficit and do not create jobs. obviously, that's a term they want to use now. the democrats do, the obama middle class tax cuts. let's bring in the panel. steve hays writer for the weekly standard and from "the washington post," syndicated columnist, charles krauthammer. >> republicans sense there is some momentum here they could possibly force a vote on this. what's your thought? >> what a fun game of chicken. last weekend you had john boehner, essentially tipping his hat or saying he could live with the democratic compromise and now today, nancy pelosi implying, i
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think, that she could live with what republicans want to do. extend the tax cuts. the question is how do you get there procedurally. the only bill right now that would actually extend all of the bush tax cuts or the only bi bill that deals with the tax cuts, is mitch mcconnell and amt. the democrats don't have one of the the question is whether harry reid wants to have one before they go home or whether he doesn't. there's been some noise that he's open to it and talk of a baucus bill, but nobody knows exactly what would be in that. and they're worried, the democrats are worried about what the deficit numbers would be like, if they include the amt. does it, does the projected deficit number go from 2.2 billion to 3.2 billion. but i think broadly speaking, the momentum remains on the republican side, at least retorically and at least politically because republicans are going to be able to say if there is no vote or if there's a vote and it doesn't extend to all the tax cuts they're going to be able to say what i think is the strongest argument still today, why are we, why are we raising taxes in the middle of
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a recession. >> bret: and some moderate democrats, a number of them are starting to say that. glenn nye from virginia is one of them. take a listen. >> i think what we need to be doing right now is holding the line on taxes, not letting anybody's taxes go up at least until we see the end of this terrible recession. i think it's a pretty simple idea. there are a number of other folks here, also, on the democratic side that agree with me on this. and you know, i led a letter along with some other members, 31 signatures on it among the democrats here that said it's not the time to raise anybody's taxes. >> so what about that? >> yeah, no, i was talking to jerry connolly on monday who was at a town hall with president obama, president obama was there, talking about not wanting to extend these for, for the upper income folks, and jerry connolly was there, saying, hey, he'd want to extend these for everyone, at least temporarily because he thinks that the recovery is too fragile. so it's not just about republicans, it's almost kind of like you've got a revolt among democrats who are also saying that maybe this
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recovery is too fragile for a tax hike at this point. they've got a problem on their hands. the request he, i go he is, will there be had a vote in this short session before they head off to elections? >> yeah, i mean, that's everybody's question. we were talking before, it looks like reid might skip down early. i mean, one of the things, and steve and i were talking about this before, in some ways it might not matter. i think a lot of the talking points about this election are built in already and even if something happens, it's not quite sure, i'm not quite sure how much folks will kind of vote on that, because, you know, we've got 9.6% unemployment rate and i don't know how much it will move the dial, whatever happens. >> bret: yeah, charles, there are some numbers that were troubling out today. repossessed homes, banks, repossessed more than 95,000 homes last month. that's up 3% from july an increase of 25% from august of last year, also, poverty, poverty is up 43.6 million
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people, that means one in seven americans, technically is poverty, according to the census bureau. >> i think these numbers are really important, these numbers are going to sway the election. i think what the democrats are trying is to create a side show with the issue of the, you know, of helping the rich, which is the old refrain, as a way to distract attention from an economy which they had told us the splus would rescue and obviously hasn't. i think on the cuts themselves, i think the real news of this week is the revolt of the young democrats and the ones who are in trouble. you go from one to 31 democrats asking the leadership in the house to allow a vote for a full extension of the cuts to everyone and that scares pelosi. if we heard her statement, which we had up earlier. you notice how she edges had her language, she says that the middle class tax cuts will be extended in this congress. but that could be a congress
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that meets after election day in which a lot of the losers already having lost, but still in office until january and perhaps i don't want to imply it's going to happen, but the dangling of an ambassadorship here or an appointment there, might join her in having only the cuts on the middle class. so, it's this congress, i don't think it's going to happen before election day, and i think it will likely, if there is a vote after election, i think it will be a full extension of the tax cuts to everybody, because as steve has said, it's hard to imagine raising these on the people who employ in the middle of a recession. >> let's play the crystal ball here, let's say they managed to put together something that extends all the of the tax cuts for two years, okay? the house passes it, the senate passes it, is president obama going to veto something like that because he only
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wants 250 or below. >> before the election, you mean? i mean, first of all, i have trouble seeing the senate pass that, frankly, they need to pick up 19 democrats, republicans, when i think that becomes difficult. the president though, what's interesting to me, you've had nancy pelosi leave the door open. the president has at least twice by my count left the door open. he's not said he's going to veto this, which i think gives some indication that he knows, he doesn't want to be flexible about it, but he might have to be flexible about it. >> i mean, his spokesman said something like, i don't think it will come to that. he'll have to whip out the veto pen, but i can't see him really doing that. and vetoing this if it comes to that. >> both sides are holding hostage here. in the end if obama has a bill which would include the cuts for everybody, i'm not sure he could veto it and survive politically. >> bret: up next, we'll talk about the pope's visit to great britain. you can still vote in tonight's text to vote poll. texting or getting on the home page, asking how concerned are you about the secularization
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of society? log on to the home page at report.
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>> religion has always been a crucial element in national identity. and historical self-consciousness. >> and who knows, just clued religious belief from public discourse to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. >> bret: pope benedict had an open air mass with huge crowds there. the first official visit by a pope to great britain in nearly 500 years officially, but the pope had a message, a
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warning about the secularization of society, a warning that he feels faith is being crowded out in some places. what about that, the message and the catholic church? we're back with the panel. charles. >> well, he's right. the decline of religion in europe is one of the most striking phenomenon of the last 50 years and i think one of the reasons that you see all the visits and the gestures and ecumenical, the sense that the age old rivalries that were wars in the past between the denominations is really obsolete in the face of the real threat to all of christianity in europe, which is the growing secular trend. the churches in spain, in portugal, in italy are empty. the anglican churches in england are less attended and given the mosques in england and i think that's what the
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pope is seeing as the great threat to christianity in general and i think in part the attempt is attempt to say the real issue is growth of science, the growth of some sort of enlightenment, atheism and as a result of that, we have to find a way to reinvigorate religion and that's what he and his-- that sort of, archbishop of canterbury and all the counterparts throughout the rest of europe are attempting to address. >> i guess in some ways you wonder if the pope is the right person to do it. when the pope talks about secularism, he means that people are having sex before marriage and i just don't know if, i think one of the threats to this is the rigidity of the church and that's one of the, you know, the threats to the decline in participation in church and participation in catholocism and certainly some of the scandals that this pope
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has in some ways been a part of and in some ways tried to confront. >> sure, and he addresses those. he addressed them on the way to great britain about the scandals, the saying about the priests that he called the perverse practice of child abuse that folks who were involved in that, just take a quick listen to him addressing this. >> it's also a great fact that the authorities of the church were not sufficiently vigilent and quick and incisive in taking the necessary measures. >> so this pope obviously has to deal with that specifically, steve. but there is a broader message, as charles was talking about, about secularization. is america becoming more secular than we were as a country before? >> i don't think there's any question. i mean, it's not just that america is becoming more secular, it's that america, that we don't talk about religion in public life the way that we used to 30 years ago, the way that we used to 50 years ago.
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on some senses it's better because i think there's more tolerance for other religion in other ways i think we're diminished because of it. because we don't have those kind of public exchanges in any sort of a meaningful way. if you look the way we've been talking about religion in this country, really the past decade. almost all of the focus has been on islam and in one discussion or another about it. you don't get a sense-- i mean, it's out of proportion to the number of muslims in the country and that the number of people who are practitioners of other faiths, christianings, what have you. there are actually more buddhists in the united states today than there are muslims, but you certainly wouldn't know that by the kind of discussion that we've been having over the past several years. >> there's been focus on president obama and his family's choice not to go to church and be seen going to church for a number of different reasons. what about that? does that factor in? >> well, i certainly think it does. when you think back to president bush, he was a protestant whose rhetoric,
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whose language was sort of suffused, and used rhetorical-- religious references, excuse hee, in his language. president obama does it, he does it less often, when he does it like in his inaugural, he takes the time to point out, i'm quoting scripture here, which probable didn't do. it's a different tone and the fact that the president is not as publicly religious as past presidents have been certainly sets an example. >> bret: charles. >> i'm not sure that our politicians or presidents have a level of religion. what is striking is how religious america is with our irreligious europe has become. which is remarkable. church attendance here is higher and belief in god is nine out of ten, much lower in europe. and secondly, i'm not sure it's the rigidities of the church that are leading people away, on the contrary i think
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it's the more liberal denominations who offer nothing who have the empty pews and evangelicals, reliable with a lot more structural and catholocism as well which also have structure which have sort of withstood the secular trend the best. so it's rather ironic that it works the other way around. >> bret: last word. >> i think on sundays in my community here in d.c., i see people going to all the time and i see the pews are very full. i don't know that there's necessarily a connection between what the president, president does on sunday and people's decisions to go to church. it seems like it's, you know, it's a private expression that people, you know, maybe some people watch joe olstein on sundays on tv or go to church or bedside baptist, one of the jokes goes. but i don't think there's a big kind of threat to this whole idea. >> bret: okay, well, time to reveal the results of the text to vote poll. how concerned are you about the secularization of society.
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80% concerned. 4% slightly concerned. 9% not concerned. thank you for your votes. that's it for the panel. stay tuned for more cutting at the white house. boss: and now i'll turn it over to the gecko.
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sh >> finally tonight, have you ever noticed when we go to the reports on the north lawn of the white house the grounds crew always seems to be working somewhere in the background? sometimes loudly in the background. well, they're at it again. >> i'm going to take some time to make a decision. and i think he and all of us will be focused on the president and his continuing economic crisis and continuing to get this economy going


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