tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS July 12, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
thank you for watching. "cbs evening news with scott pelley" is next. >> pelley: tonight, the president tells us social security checks may be in jeopardy. >> i cannot guarantee that those checks go out on august 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. >> pelley: during a historic moment for the nation, mr. obama says only courage will head off financial default now. assassination in afghanistan. mandy clark reports that president karzai's brother was gunned down. laid off on day one. cynthia bowers in a city so strapped it's firing cops as soon as they get their badge. and the first, first lady of the modern age, bill whitaker remembers betty ford who forever changed how america views the white house. captioning sponsored by cbs
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley reporting tonight from washington. >> pelley: good evening. it was a striking thing, today, to hear the president of the united states say that he cannot guarantee the 27 million social security checks that you are due to be mailed august 3rd. august 3rd is the day after the government will default on its debts if democrats and republicans do not agree to increase the nation's borrowing limit. both sides say they won't raise the limit without a deal to massively cut the federal deficit. a u.s. default would shake the world economy. the stakes could not be higher. time is growing short. in our interview, president obama said the situation is dangerous. >> we met the president this morning at the white house on another day of deadlock. the question is whether a deal to cut the federal deficit will include tax increases as democrats insist, or rely only on budget cuts as republicans
demand. the republican speaker of the house, john boehner, started the day with a vow that the house will not raise taxes, period. >> this debt-limit increase is his problem and i think it's time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the congress can pass. >> pelley: the republican leader of the senate, mitch mcconnell, fired a shot that was jarring to many who heard it. >> but after years of discussions and months of negotiations, i have little question that as long as this president is in the oval office, a real solution is probably unattainable. >> pelley: speaker boehner said this morning that the debt ceiling is the president's problem, full stop. >> this is not a republican or a democratic problem, this is a national problem that has to be resolved. >> pelley: but the republicans don't see it that way. the minority leader, senator mcconnell, today said in the senate there will be no solution as long as this president is in
office. >> well, let me say this. mr. mcconnell said, i think, the day i was elected that his job was to try to see me beat. i think what the american people are looking for is not that kind of partisan politics, and what i'm offering is a way for us to finally solve this debt and deficit problem in a serious way with substantial cuts in discretionary spending, substantial cuts in defense spending, substantial changes to entitlements like medicare and social security that would stabilize those programs and make them available for the next generation. and what i'm asking for in return from the republicans is that people like myself who can afford it put a little bit of revenue in so that we don't end up having to put the entire burden of dealing with this debt on the backs of middle class families and seniors and students and poor kids. >> pelley: every day, you bring the leadership in to the cabinet
room right next to the oval office, but i wonder, is it the problem that a large number of the members of congress will not follow your leadership or the republican leadership? >> well, i actually think that the democrats are prepared to make compromises and will follow my leadership. >> pelley: you can deliver the democrats? >> i am absolutely positive that democrats are willing to compromise. that doesn't mean i'm going to get 100% of democrats, because you don't get 100% of anything around here, and yes, there is going to be resistance in my party, traditionally, to any changes in entitlement programs. we have to be willing to take on some of our sacred cows to solve the problem. and doesn't it make sense for oil and gas companies, for example, who have made tens of billions of dollars because gas prices have been high to pay a little more? doesn't it make sense for a hedge fund manager who made a
billion dollars last year who at least pay a similar rate to the file clerk that works for that hedge fund manager? i don't think that is a... >> pelley: the republicans don't think so. >> i... i understand, scott, i guess my point is this: i understand the republicans don't think so, what i'm saying is what makes sense and i think the american people would answer the question and say that makes sense. >> pelley: can you tell the folks at home that, no matter what happens, the social security checks are going to go out on august 3rd? there are about $20 billion of social security check that is have to go out the day after the government is supposedly going to go into default. to go into default. >> well, this is not just a matter of >> well, this is not just a matter of social security checks. these are veterans' checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. there are about 70 million checks that go out each month. >> pelley: can you guarantee, as president, that those checks will go out on august 3rd?
>> i cannot guarantee those checks go out on august 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it. >> pelley: the president says he will meet with the house and senate leadership every day until a deal is done. today's meeting just broke up, it was the longest so far, more than two hours. nances cordes joins us. nancy, are things going as badly as the republican leadership says? >> well, scott, both sides appear very pessimistic at this point. you've got senator dick durbin, a democrat saying flat out yesterday's meeting did not go well. he said he said a prayer for today's meeting then you have a
republican senator, saying that the white house essentially walked away from $500 billion in cuts that the two sides had already agreed to so no one right now can point to any progress that these talks are achieving. >> pelley: senator mcconnell proposed a stopgap plan today in case they miss the deadline. what was that about? >> well, it's a pretty complicated plan, scott, and it essentially boils down to allowing the president to raise the debt limit in fits and starts over the next year and a half and essentially puts off any talk of spending cuts to a later date. the plan went over with a thud among house republicans who see this as giving in, but mcconnell says that he doesn't want to be a party to default and he certainly doesn't want republicans to be blamed if there is a default, scott. >> pelley: thanks, nancy. this deal to reduce the deficit could be huge. somewhere between $1 and $4 trillion. they're talking about taxes, social security, medicare, defense and most everyone agrees that it has to be done by next week to give congress time to pass the legislation. in our interview today, we spoke with the president in the same room where f.d.r. broadcast his fireside chats. it wasn't that long ago when compromise in washington was
considered a virtue, not a vice. >> pelley: ronald reagan and tip o'neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done. do you like speaker boehner? >> i do. and i think john would like to do the right thing. >> pelley: do you trust him? >> i... i do trust that when john tells me something he means it. i think that his challenge right now is inside his caucus, but i think ronald reagan and tip o'neill are a great example. ronald reagan repeatedly took steps that included revenue in order for him to accomplish some of these larger goals, and the question is, if ronald reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize ronald reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises? >> pelley: do you regret any of the things you have said in all this? >> no, i think i have been pretty restrained. >> pelley: well, you told the congress they don't do their work as well as their daughters do their homework.
>> what i said was that they procrastinate, and that is absolutely true. i don't think i would get any dispute about that anywhere in the country. i mean, the fact of the matter is that we should not be leaving an issue of this magnitude that affects the world economy as well as the american economy to the last-minute, and yet, congress often leaves things to the last-minute and engages in the kind of brinkmanship that i think is pretty dangerous. >> pelley: how optimistic are you that a deal can be done? time is running out. >> if it turns out that the other side won't budge on anything, we're going to be here every day until we get this done. >> pelley: but sir, the republican leader in the senate said today they can't do business with you. "as long as you occupy this
house, there will be no deal." >> well, then he's going to have to explain to me how it is that we're going to employ default, because i'm going to be president here for at least another year and a half and i don't think the american people would expect that the leader of the republican party in the senate would simply say that we're not going to do business with the president of the united states. >> pelley: we invited speaker boehner to talk with us and we're looking forward to having him here for you one day soon. the white house says today that it condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the assassination in afghanistan today of president hamid karzai's half brother, ahmed wali karzai, seen as the most powerful man in southern afghanistan was shot in his own home in kandahar by a man he knew and trusted. mandy clark is in kandahar. >> reporter: ahmad wali karzai was rushed to this kandahar hospital but with multiple gunshot wounds there was no chance he would survive. outside in the street lay the body of the man who had gotten through a tight ring of security to gun him down. >> my younger brother was
murdered in his house this morning. president hamid karzai announced. ahmed wali karzai was a tribal council leader and considered the most powerful man in southern afghanistan. the attack stunned the city that has been hit by a series of targeted assassinations. this is the place, headquarters in kandahar city. just moments ago word of the shooting came through as the police chief was wrapping up his interview with us and he rushed out to take charge. general abdul raziq told us that security was improving in the city when his two cell phones lit up at once. karzai's death leaves a large power vacuum behind. he's a skilled mediator of tribal disputes but over the years there were persistent reports not just of corruption but also ties to the drug trade. last year in an interview with cbs news, he dismissed those allegations. >> i never profited from any drugs. i never been part of any drug activity and this is all politics.
>> reporter: who are your enemies? >> my enemies are the enemies of afghanistan. >> reporter: if the question is just which enemy killed him, the gunman is being described as a commander of a security checkpoint outside kandahar and a close personal friend of karzai. >> reporter: it's a pattern of failure all too familiar in the city. today's killing is the only difference in the importance of the target. the taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, describing it as one of their biggest successes ever, but some doubt the insurgents are behind it. sources told cbs news that the motive for the killing may have been a personal dispute. mandy clark, cbs news, kandahar. >> pelley: a city is giving police officers pink slips the same day they graduate from the academy.
the commander in chief gives a hero the nation's highest military honor. and, presidents and first ladies come out to say goodbye to betty ford. when "the cbs evening news" continues. with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a clot. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mg reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin. and with pradaxa, there's no need for those regular blood tests. pradaxa is progress. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk
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million americans looking for work the labor department reported today there were only three million job openings in may. in cleveland, cynthia bowers reports it's so bad the police recruits were fired the very day they were supposed to hit the streets. ♪ ♪ >> the majesty of the graduation march was not lost on these cleveland police academy cadets. many like 32-year-old robbie prock had waited a long time. >> reporter: how long have you wanted to be a police officer? >> 20 years or so. >> reporter: the father of two left a steady job shoveling in a salt mine to live his dream, but the joy was short-lived. less than an hour after they got their guns and badges, they had to give them back. >> it's like we just rented it for a little while. >> reporter: all 42 men and women were immediately laid-off because the city cannot afford to pay them. how did you feel? >> pretty much like i just got stepped on. you're full of joy that you
finally got in and everything is going good, and then all of a sudden it just gets ripped away from you. >> reporter: so far this year, cleveland has laid-off 321 employees to try and close a $35 million budget hole, and this city is not alone. more than a half million state and local government jobs have been lost since june of 2009. in the past, hiring by state and local governments has often helped fuel economic recoveries. not this time. the great recession so decimated tax revenues that local governments still haven't recovered enough to pay their bills or hire new workers. cleveland mayor frank jackson worries about the long-term costs. >> i don't necessarily believe that just hiring a bunch of public employees would get us out of a recession, but i do believe that laying off a bunch of them will help make the recession worse. >> reporter: it could be at
least a two-year wait for these rookies to get a chance to walk the beat. >> we were all prepared to go hit the streets, try to make cleveland a better place, but it doesn't-- you know, it's not going to work out that way this time. >> reporter: for the prock family, and millions more, the recession lingers. experts fear the public sector could continue to shed up to 30,000 jobs a month into next year. cynthia bowers, cbs news, cleveland. >> pelley: when the f.b.i. finally caught up with whitey bulger in california, last month, the former mob boss didn't put up a fight, and it was a good thing, too. the feds have released pictures of the arsenal they found in his santa monica home. 30 guns, some hidden in the walls. forcing change in syria. today, president obama goes farther than he has before to condemn the dictator. ♪
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yesterday the u.s. embassy in damascus was attacked by a mob. i wonder what you say to the dictator in syria. >> well, you know, we have been very clear that what we've seen on the part of the syrian regime has been an unacceptable degree of brutality directed at its people. we've definitely sent a clear message that nobody can be messing with our embassy and we will take whatever actions necessary in order to protect our embassy and i think they've gotten that message, but more broadly, i think that increasingly you're seeing president assad lose legitimacy in the eyes of his people and that's why we have been working at an international level to make sure we keep the pressure up to see if we can bring some real change in syria. >> pelley: for its part, the syrian government is complaining about u.s. interference in its internal affairs. sergeant first-class leroy petry joined an elite group, today,
when president obama presented him with the medal of honor, the nation's highest military award. petry, an army ranger, was shot in both legs during a fire-fight in afghanistan in 2008. then, when a grenade landed nearby, petry tried to throw it away. it exploded and blew off his right hand. petry's actions saved the lives of two of his comrades. a final farewell to a former first lady. that story is next.
people alive. next on cbs 5 no ids tues no ids tues >> pelley: finally, tonight, most americans didn't know much about betty ford when her husband suddenly became president in that turbulent summer of 1974 after watergate. she couldn't have been more traditional, until she changed everything with her courage and her candor. many whose lives she touched said goodbye to her today in palm desert, california, and bill whitaker was there. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: the broad range of people from across the political and social spectrum who paid tribute to betty ford today speaks volumes about this former first lady. in this time of political rancor and mistrust, it was betty ford's wish that her service be bipartisan. republicans shared pews with
democrats. when rosalyn carter's husband jimmy carter drove the fords from the white house it ignited an unlikely friendship across the political divide. >> the most appropriate description of betty: someone who had the courage and grace to fight fear, stigma and prejudice wherever she encountered it. >> reporter: ford was remembered today for her compassion and candor at a time when the word "cancer" was only whispered, betty ford told the world in 1974 she had breast cancer. >> there are women all over the country like me and if i don't make this public, then their lives will be gone. they're in jeopardy. >> reporter: her candor could be controversial. she spoke out for women's rights, for a woman's right to choose abortion, she spoke openly about premarital sex, but her greatest legacy came from her greatest challenge. after admitting she was addicted to pain pills and alcohol, she opened the betty ford clinic
near palm springs which has helped almost 100,000 people with their addictions since opening in 1982. >> before her sudden assension to first lady, she said, "i'll move to the white house, do the best i can and if they don't like it they can kick me out, but they can't make me be somebody i'm not." >> reporter: she was the first lady with the common touch. betty ford brought people together in life and so now, in death. bill whitaker, cbs news, palm desert, california. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: that's "the cbs evening news" with thanks to the jones day law firm for this window on the capital, i'm scott pelley. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, goodnight. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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