tv PBS News Hour PBS May 20, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: president obama and israeli prime minister netanyahu disagreed today on the way to peace in the middle east. good evening. i'm jim lehrer. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we assess what comes next after the two leaders met at the white house with former national security advisor steven hadley and former california democratic representative jane harman. >> lehrer: from bahrain, margaret warner interviews a journalist who was targeted after calling for government reforms. within he was caught up in a crackdown that has detained more than a thousand
bahrainies, mostly doctors, teachers, and it has cost thousands more their jobs. >> woodruff: ray suarez looks at the week that was for republican presidential hopefuls. >> lehrer: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> woodruff: and jeffrey brown profiles former poet laureate robert pinsky, looking back at a career of writing about american life. about to write about is culture almost too fancy a word. it's what americans make jokes about, are afraid of,. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities.
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and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: they shook hands and played down disagreements, but there were clear tensions at today's obama-netanyahu meeting. the head-to-head at the white house followed the president's middle east speech a day earlier. president obama and prime minister netanyahu shared a few brief smiles for reporters after a lengthy session behind closed doors in the oval office. >> i reiterated and we discussed in depth the principals that i laid out yesterday-- the belief
that our ultimate goal has to be a secure israeli state, a jewish state living side by side in peace and security with a contiguous, functioning and effective palestinian state. >> woodruff: the president had raised israeli hackles on thursday when he directly endorsed a key palestinian demand-- for peace negotiations to be based on a return to 1967 borders. that's before israel occupied the west bank, gaza, and east jerusalem in the six day war. he also called for land swaps with the palestinians to compensate for disputed areas. the president did not mention the 1967 borders today, but netanyahu did. and, as yesterday, he rejected the idea. >> while israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the
1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible. remember that, before 1967, israel was all of nine miles wide, half the width of the washington beltway. and these were not the boundaries of peace; they were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on israel was so attractive. >> woodruff: still, the prime minister said he valued the president's efforts toward making peace. >> israel wants peace. i want peace. what we all want is a peace that will be genuine, that will hold, that will endure, and i think we both agree a peace based on illusions will crash eventually... >> woodruff: netanyahu acknowledged he and the president may have "differences here and there," and mr. obama agreed. >> obviously, there are some differences between us-- the
precise formulations and language-- and that's going to happen between friends. but what we are in complete accord about is that a true peace can only occur if the ultimate resolution allows israel to defend itself against threats. >> woodruff: the israelis weren't the only ones to complain about the president's 1967 border reference. republican presidential candidates joined in, mitt romney saying the president had "thrown israel under the bus". the border issue was put in stark relief last weekend when arab protesters stormed israel's borders with syria and lebanon, and israeli troops opened fire. and today, there were new clashes in gaza and the west bank between palestinian demonstrators and israeli forces.
at least one person was wounded. this afternoon, the other members of the middle east quartet-- the united nations, the european union, and russia-- announced they strongly support the u.s. vision for achieving peace between israel and the palestinians. meanwhile, more than two dozen protesters were killed in syria today as the government there continued a bloody crackdown. thousands of people took to the streets once again after friday prayers in at least a half a dozen towns and cities around the country. activists said security forces opened fire and killed demonstrators in maarat al numan and in homs. the new violence came just two days after the u.s. imposed new sanctions on syrian president bashar al assad and other key leaders. yesterday, president obama had warned that assad must lead the transition toward democracy or
"get out of the way." in yemen, president ali abdullah saleh ignored his earlier promise to sign a deal to step down. instead, at a government rally, he called for early presidential elections, but did not set a date for them to take place. we get more now on all this from stephen hadley, national security adviser under president george w. bush. he's now with the united states institute of peace and is an international business consultant. and jane harman, former democratic u.s. representative from california. she stepped down earlier this year to take over as president of the woodrow wilson international center for scholars. thank you both for being with us. stephen hadley, to you first what are the prospects for peace in the middle east after the president's speech yesterday and this meeting today at the white house which on the surface looked contentious? >> well, it may on the surface. i actually think there's more there to work with than
you-- than meets the eye. i think prime minister netanyahu gave the speech to the knesset before he came to the united states. i think there are actually a number of positive elements in that speech that have largely been overlooked. i think president obama made a contribution toward moving the process forward. and if you look at the three things that prime minister netanyahu said he could not accept, they're actually things that he's not being asked to accept. he said they couldn't go back to '67 boarders. well, everybody knows those borders have to be, and they're not borders, they're actually armistice lines of 1949. everybody knows that israel can't go back to those lines. there need to be negotiated a just-- adjustment. he says he can't negotiate with hamas, everybody agrees. the only issue is about palestinian right of return and that is an issue, as president obama said, that needs to come in the second phase rather than the first phase. >> i think there's more hope there and more common ground than maybe the initial press commentary suggests. >> woodruff: jane harman, how do you see it? are things maybe not as bad
as they seem? >> well, i basically agree with stephen. i would add that there is an urgency now. facts have changed on the ground. at this point there is a tsunami going on in the arab middle east. the arab spring is changing government everywhere. israel's relations with egypt are decidedly cooler, the same is true with turkey, they're frozen with iran, something we strongly agree with, our country strongly agrees with. and the youth bulge in arab families both inside israeli and around israeli-- israel is enormous. and israel will not be able to be a jewish state with defensible borders unless we get on with this. and let me just finally say as the daughter of a refugee from nazi germany, i mean, i am passionately committed to israel's security. but i do think this is a time for forward movement. and i applaud president obama for trying in the crucibl, in the 2012
election and with everything else going on in the world to put out some markers yesterday. >> woodruff: so stephen hadley, to your point about the border issue and these-- and these other issues maybe not being as significant a split as it looks, we heard netanyahu, the prime minister today, say this is something that we can't work with. he said-- he flatly rejected it sounded like what president obama was proposing. >> what he said was the '67 lines do not provide for defensible borders for israel. and they do not reflect the realities of the settlement blocs, that is true. and that is why president bush in the letter with prime minister sharon in 2004 said everybody understands their new realities. the settlement blocs are going to have to be part of israel. we're not going to end up at the 67 lines but there needs to be adjusted negotiations and land swaps. in a way that is what president obama said.
unfortunately, he lead with the '67 boarders and only then got to the land swaps and didn't say anything about the settlement swaps and i think that is what a little bit unnerves the israelis. i think if you flipped the order, say realities on the ground, 6 lines won't do it there need to be negotiated swaps, so i think it is a toneal, do you lean right, lean left. but i think the substance of the issue, everybody agrees as to how we need to approach it. >> suarez: jane harman this is an issue you have been watching very closely for years, the years that you've served in congress. do you see ground for negotiation here, room for negotiation between the two sides. >> absolutely. there's room for negotiation. the question is there a political will to negotiate. and the rhetoric is making this harder. i think that president abbas op ed in "the washington post" a week or so ago saying that palestine would go ahead with a vote in the u.n. general assemblies as
an independent state, something the united states properly strongly opposes, was not very helpful. and i any that-- think that prime minister netanyahu's comments left out a piece of what president obama said. so i would just hope that both sides would cool down a bit and figure that in each case, both in a was's case an netanyahu's case-- both in abbas case and netanyahu's case t there is an opportunity for each of them, for real political legacy. if they don't do this i think the events will eclipse them. and i will make one other point about israeli politics. their form of democracy requires rebuilding the coalition of support every single morning, every one who has been prime minister has said that. but i think that for netanyahu, if he would be a little more forward leaning here, what would happen is that kadima might make up
for him and of the far right parties that he might lose if he took a bigger role for peace and he might be "the peacemaker" israeli-- israel has been looking for for years. >> woodruff: if you back up and look at president obama's statement yesterday about the broader middle east, the arab spring and you know, there is-- the suggestion now that the u.s. is changing its long stance in favor of stability in the region and saying we're going to support some of these democratic movements, even if it means the outcome is not as clear and clean as what, i should say stable as what we previously wanteds as a country. is that a significant change or difference on the part of this administration from what came before? >> well, i think in some sense it's a return to some of the freedom agenda that was in the bush administration. but what we learned was support for authoritarian regimes did not give us stability, it gave us
terrorism. and that if you want stability over the long term, you need to support the progress toward freedom and democracy. that is who we are as a people. that's what we stand for. so what the president's speech really said is we are in the business in the middle east of supporting transitions to a democratic future. that's-- we're-- we're on the side of the people in that effort and we are going to help and support them. they have to fight and win their own freedom. they are doing it. not in response to our calls. they're doing it in response to their own aspirations to the future. but we can help. and i think he tried to put it solemnly, rightly on the side of the people seeking freedom. >> woodruff: jane harman we saw today more killing of protestors in syria. yesterday the president said to syria's president lead the way to reform or get out of the way. should the u.s. in your view-- should the president be more aggressive in what he says. >> well, i applaud the fact that he stood squarely on the side of the syrian
people. he also made some very tough comments about iran. and i think that is the right side of history. and consistent with our moral interests. one thing, though, i would say, i think it's up to the people in each country to select their own leaders. and i think we will get a lot farther as this earthquake of change hits the middle east if we support the building of political space and real democratic infrastructure in those countries which we have done through our national endowment for democracy over some years. but if we support that, then let the people decide who the next leaders or whether to keep the present leaders. >> woodruff: just quick, bottom line, final word from each of you, when it comes to the israelis and palestinians, you see the possibility for movement in the right direction. >> i do. but everybody talks about what bebe netanyahu needs to do. what president abbas needs to do is to show that a palestinian leader can actually accept a peace. because two good offers have been made first to arafat, then to abbas, neither of them was accepted.
so there is a burden on the palestinians to show and to prove that they're prepared to actually accept a deal that leads to peace. >> and there is a further burden as president obama said on the palestinians to show that this new union with hamas means that hamas will renounce violence and recognize the jew is state of israeli-- israel as part of any peace deal. >> woodruff: we will leave it there, jane harman and stephen hadley, thank you both. >> lehrer: still to come on the newshour: a newspaper editor targeted in bahrain; the republicans on the campaign trail; shields and brooks; and an ambassador for poetry. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the former head of the international monetary fund, dominique strauss-kahn, was released from jail in new york today. law enforcement officials said he posted $1 million bail and was taken under armed guard to an undisclosed safe house. he is to remain there, awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault against a hotel maid. the people of vicksburg, mississippi, can breathe a sigh
of relief this weekend-- the mississippi river crested slightly lower than expected. the crest came thursday at more than 14 feet above flood stage. it eased concerns that water might breach the city's main levee. farther south, a five-mile stretch of the river was closed at baton rouge, louisiana, today. the coast guard said four grain barges broke loose, and two of them sank. president obama congratulated workers at the cia today for the years of work that led to finding and killing osama bin laden. the president visited the intelligence agency's headquarters in langley, virginia, and he praised what he called "one of the greatest intelligence successes in american history." >> you're often the first ones to get the blame when things go wrong, and you're always the last ones to get the credit when things go right. so when things do go right-- and they do more often than the world will ever know-- we ought to celebrate your success. >> sreenivasan: the president has already met with the army
helicopter pilots and navy seal team involved in the bin laden raid. the long struggle to help the paralyzed walk again has made a new advance. the medical journal "lancet" reported today on the case of rob summers, who was paralyzed in a car accident five years ago. in 2009, doctors implanted an electrical stimulator onto the lining of his spinal cord. summers was then able to stand, wiggle his toes, move his knees and hips, and take a few steps on a treadmill. >> on the third day of turning the stimulator on i was able to stand independently, not only did that boost my confidence and continue to give me hope towards my ultimate goal of getting up and standing and walking, but it helped me out physically and emotionally as well. >> sreenivasan: the treatment was developed by doctors at the university of louisville in kentucky. summers still spends most of his time in a wheelchair, but he is the first person with a complete spinal cord injury to show such progress. world renowned cycling champion lance armstrong has been accused
again of using a drug to boost his performance. armstrong won the tour de france race seven times from 1999 through 2005. now, former teammate tyler hamilton has told cbs news that he saw armstrong inject the blood booster e.p.o., and he said he used it himself. hamilton said it happened during the 1999 tour, and before the 2000 and 2001 races. armstrong quickly denied the charge and said, again, he has never failed a drug test. the professional wrestler known as randy "macho man" savage died today in a car crash in florida. his gaudy get-ups and flamboyant style helped make him a star-- and pro wrestling a national phenomenon-- in the 1980s. he was known for rivalries with the likes of hulk hogan and ricky steamboat. at his death, randy savage was 58 years old. on wall street, stocks finished a third straight week of losses. the dow jones industrial average fell 93 points to close just over 12,512. the nasdaq dropped 20 points to close at 2,803.
for the week, the dow was down more than half a percent; the nasdaq lost nearly 1%. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: now, margaret warner wraps up a week of reporting from bahrain, that small but strategic persian gulf nation that is home to the u.s. fifth fleet. tonight, she talks to an editor caught in bahrain's crackdown on dissenters. >> warner: mansoor al-jamri, former editor of bahrain's largest independent newspaper, this week found himself being the story rather than covering it. on wednesday, he arrived at bahrain's high criminal court to face charges that his paper, "al wasat," intentionally published false news reports to destabilize the persian gulf kingdom. at his lawyer's request, his trial was adjourned until june. son of a revered shia cleric, jamri spent 20 years in exile in
london, then returned about a decade ago to found the paper. the progressive "al wasat" was bahrain's most popular and profitable newspaper. its reporters covered opposition parties, as well as the government. jamri's daily column was a voice for non-sectarian moderation. during bahrain's arab-spring inspired protests earlier this year, he urged the sunni royal family and the shia-led opposition to negotiate their political differences. but after the government imposed a crackdown on march 15, jamri and his papers became targets. he was caught up in a crackdown that has detained more than 1,000-- mostly shia doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists and unionists-- and has cost thousands more their jobs. government-run bahrain tv broadcast an exposeé, charging that "al wasat" published items and photos from other outlets as
if they were about bahrain. jamri and his two top editors resigned. within days, they were all criminally charged. today, critics say, "al wasat" is just another government mouthpiece. for daily coverage of bahrain, readers here now have only state-linked newspapers. for nearly two months, jamri and his sunni wife-- also a journalist-- have been keeping a low profile close to home. he spoke with us yesterday in his first television interview since being charged. mr. al jam ree-- al-jamri, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> warner: why do you think are you singled out for prosecution. >> i was part and parcel of the reform process. i was invited by the king to company to bahrain to launch this newspaper, al wasat which i founded and launched and it became successful commercially. and then on the 15th of march, 2011-- was attacked
and damaged. and we had to work from home. later on some e-mails cropped up into our system which we didn't know they were boggus news. and they were published. later on we found all came from one single ip address located in a neighboring state, saudi arabia. they went through the system because we couldn't work, we were working from home. and because the authorities didn't give us the protection for our journalists who were targeted at check points in every other place. >> warner: so you were set up. >> it was a settup. we were framed into it. and later on attacked using it as a launching pad fors closing down the newspaper. >> warner: you were founder of this paper. how does this make you feel? >> i feel really very sad. the al wasat newspaper was distinct, a large freedom of expression it also enabled the leadership of the country to understand things that were not understood
because there was not proper coverage. ministers, top leadership people, opposition, pro government and everybody who was interested in public affairs and issues of bahrain must read "al wasat" it was a must-read for anybody in bahrain. we always acted in good faith calling for progress toward better democracy and a better reform process. we were part and parcel of the reform process. and to target "al wasat" the way it was targeted, it was targeting the reforms rather than "al wasat" >> so what message do you think they were trying to send with the arrest of you and some of your top editors? >> i think they wanted to say that bahrain now is different. what ever we had before is finished. i think it is in a way to draw despair or to instill fear in many people so that, oh gosh, i mean all the suffering that we are having, we would love even to go
back to what we used to be just prior to the protests. and i think the message is you won't even get that level. what we have now bahrain has turned from a political crisis into a humanitarian crisis. >> warner: where does the basic neutering of "al wasat" account charges against you, how does that fit in the broader crackdown of what is going on now? >> it is creating -- i mean, if you target mansoor al-jamri you are targeting-- he came to bahrain by invitation of the king. he came to bahrain and was allowed to function and to work on a free, at larger margin for freedom of expression. and to attack that margin basically you're sending a message, look, even mansoors was targeted and he's being persecuted. and therefore i think the message now, nobody's untouchable. everybody, we're coming to
everybody. and we're going to do whatever we like to do. >> warner: the government insists this is about the sunni shi'a divide in this society. is it? >> it's not about shi'a-sunni divide. although the confessional divide is being superimpres superimpress-- imposed on the problem to cover it up. i think this is between as operational society, looking at what is happening in the world and wanting to live in a better condition. the majority of the bahraini, sunnies and shi'as want to have democracy, a constitutional monarchy and they don't want to have conflict with the ruling family or with the neighboring countries around bahrain. as it is now, if you were a shi'a are you told you are unwanted, you are a no citizen, you are zero, you are out. if you are a senior official, you will be got riden of. if are you a sunni, you're okay, you're our friend.
that is the-- that's a very dangerous message for the medium and long term. you could create security but you cannot create stability. and without stability you don't have prosperity. and you can't have democracy and human rights. to continue in the way as it is now, it is only you're planting problems for the future it cannot continue. this is not sustainable. we are either one nation and one country or we can't continue like this. the way it is now, that has created two nations and one country. living apart, one is frightened and one is comforted. this cannot continue forever. >> now the government says once we've restored law and order which we think we basically have, that we can go back to some sort of political consultation. do you think that's possible? >> you have many casualties.
how will you be addressing the injuries, you know, to the nation? people without died in custody, people who died during the protests. those who had been sacked from their jobs. the medical profession, that had been targeted. the schools the way that they were treated. you can't say to somebody forget it. and unless you come to realize that something wrong has happened, you just can't forget it, basically. >> warner: you still face trial. >> yes, indeed. and many people, many of my fellow countrymen are also facing difficult times. we all as a nation are facing a very difficult time. and we need to speak very frankly to each other. and we need to hear each other. we have not been listening to each other for the last two months. it is time that we start listening it to each other to find an exit to the surprises. >> warner: thank you very much. >> you're welcome.
thanks. >> woodruff: now, to presidential politics. it was a week that saw some contenders exit the stage, while one stumbled his way onto it. ray suarez has our story. >> suarez: for newt gingrich, this was supposed to be the week he jump-started his presidential hopes. instead, it turned into a week he might want to forget. the trouble for gingrich started sunday, during an appearance on nbc's "meet the press," when he dismissed a house republican proposal to reform medicare. >> i don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. >> suarez: those comments sparked outrage from conservatives who thought gingrich had undercut house budget committee chairman paul ryan, the author of the plan. by tuesday, gingrich had called ryan to apologize, but the damage had already been done. at one stop in iowa, gingrich was confronted by a conservative
voter angered by his remarks. >> get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself. >> suarez: the gingrich camp attempted damage control, issuing a blistering press release blaming the washington media for the candidate's troubles. and that memo became fodder for comedians, like comedy central's stephen colbert. >> you know what? ( laughter ) i don't think i have it in me to properly convey the epic genius of this verbal spiking. >> suarez: so he handed off the task to actor john lithgow. >> "the firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. ( laughter ) >> suarez: on top of the medicare episode, gingrich also had to answer questions about a report that surfaced tuesday that he and his wife callista had carried a debt of up to $500,000 with the high-end jeweler, tiffany's. then, at a book signing event in minneapolis tuesday evening, gingrich and his wife had
glitter dumped on them by a gay rights activist. by comparison, former massachusetts governor mitt romney had a pretty good week, thanks to a $10 million fundraising haul in a single day monday. but an outside democratic interest group run by former obama administration officials pressured romney today with a television ad questioning his support for the g.o.p. medicare plan. >> mitt romney says he's on the same page as paul ryan, who wrote the plan to essentially end medicare. but with mitt romney, you have to wonder-- which page is he on today? >> suarez: this week also brought fresh signs that the 2012 republican field was beginning to come into shape. according to his aides, former minnesota governor tim pawlenty will officially enter the race next monday. and former utah governor jon huntsman, who is considering a run, made his first trip to new hampshire. huntsman, who recently stepped down as the obama administration's ambassador to
china, was asked in an interview with abc news if, looking back, he would make the same decision. >> if there is the prospect that you can get in there and bring about change in a way that helps your country through public service, i'm there. >> suarez: the field also lost two potential contenders, with former arkansas governor mike huckabee and real estate tycoon donald trump both passing on bids. and one of the few remaining undecideds-- 2008 vice presidential nominee sarah palin-- said the motivation was there for a possible run. >> that's sort of the problem . it's such a roaring fire in my belly to restore an preserve all this good about america that i struck well that every single day. >> suarez: all-in-all, a topsy- turvy week for a very unsettled republican field. >> lehrer: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times"
columnist david brooks. first, mark, what is there to say about newt gingrich for this week? >> well, jim, if you are a republican interested in elected other republicans to office, the downside of a newt gingrich national campaign has always been greater than the upside of one. because of newt's proclivity, his inclination, his irresistable tendency to always speak in sort of bombastic sewer latif, exaggerated words and exclamation points. and that's it. i mean he wantses to draw the starkest extremes he can between his position ands those on the other side. and that's what he did. he went on to a show, "meet the press requesting can. this wasn't an on the run, 250 watt interview radio station from fargo you know, just getting you between planes. you go on "meet the press"ment you sit down
beforehand, you go rehearse your answers, you anticipate what they're going to ask. you know-- and he went on there and basically just savaged what every republican in the house had voted for except four, the paul ryan plan. and then it was classic newt. he said any ad quoting what i said on "meet the press" is a falsehood. now i mean, this is a youtube world. i mean it's there for everybody to see and it's going to come back, next year, whoever the nominee is. and it probably almost certainly won't be newt gingrich. >> lehrer: do you agree? i mean is he damaged beyond repair. >> i always thought he was damaged. i thought i mentioned i wouldn't trust him to run the 7-1 -- we always have to out the newt gingrich translator for everything he says. when he says something is world historical it means it is sort of moderately important. when he say it is fundamental, it means it is tangential can. the bombastic meter has to
be racheted down six levels. this was just bombastic out of control. but there was a serious element. he is not the only one in the republican party who is worried about what paul ryan stands for. >> lehrer: yeah. >> and i happen to think-- . >> lehrer: you mean the medicare. >> the medicare thing. and he has been involved in medicare in the past when he was speaker. and i happen to think one of the important things ryan did was he said if we're going to be serious, we have to be serious about entitlements. we can't just be for expanding medicare coverage forever. but there are people in the party on talk radio and also people like gingrich who said we should never, never touches it those. so he was speaking to something serious. he did it in the most damaging way to his party line. >> lehrer: now tim pawlenty is coming. it's almost definite that he is coming in the next few days. what is your reading on him right now? >> yeah, i think-- i think there are really three plausible candidates, romney, pawlenty and daniel if he gets in and i could easily see the nomination for pawlenty because he is the one with without any strong negatives. he is fine.
he was a good governor. he speaks well. he's fine. so various people compare him to the dukakis race. he comes from a working class background which that will play well. he's a good guy. so he doesn't, so far he hasn't aroused any excitement. and so far he hasn't really defined himself as more than just a generic republican can. but that might be fun fine. that might be good enough. so he is a serious player worth paying attention to. >> lehrer: do you agree in. >> i think anybody who is a governor and re-elected as a governor, especially in a state that politics have been dominated by the other party is a plausible candidate. but jim, running for president, you're running-- it's a far higher altitude than any of these people have ever flown at before. it's a lot tougher than running for governor. the institute knee that attaches. are you 50,000 feet up in the air and everybody sees everything you do. and especially now in our youtube world. so you know, we'll find out with tim pawlenty. one wild card for him is
with mike huckabee not running, i think it encourages michelle batchman to run, the congresswoman from minnesota as well, who has a built-in constituency in iowa. for either her or sarah palin among social and cultural conservatives and religious conservatives who are very influential in the republican nominating process. and tim pawlenty has to do well. >> lehrer: in the iowa caw us -- caucuses. >> he has to do well. if one of them takes the oxygen out of the room, his campaign could suffer a real blow right at the beginning. >> lehrer: what about huntsman, any reading on him or is it too early? >> well, es-- we've talked about his core problem, that he worked for barack obama. he is the more moderate. >> lehrer: he said he's going to take that-- he doesn't see it that way. >> he doesn't, but i guarantee you a lot of republican primary voters will see it. especially when barack obama embraces him rhetorically at every opportunity. he's by far the most moderate in the party. he was-- before he took this job with obama as the china ambassador he was seen as the moderate hope in the
party. and so he, if there is a moderate wing left, and people decide michelle bachman wins iowa, everybody goes oh my gosh, let's get somebody who seems reasonable r he would have a shot. i think it's an outside shot because of the obama problem. >> lehrer: okay, speaking of -- >> you asked last week about mike huckabee. >> lehrer: yes. >> and i said i didn't know he was going to run. i should have known because mike huckabee had gained 25 pounds since 2008. and if are you going to run for national office, you get a personal trainer. and you lose that 20-- . >> lehrer: i thought you were a trained observer. >> i know it it hit me when i saw him last saturday night announce, i said mike, you have been in the refrigerator and haley barbour has not. exactly. >> newt gingrich now suing his personal trainer. >> lehrer: did you just ruined my segue. i was about to say david, speaking of president obama, what did you make of his speech and what happened today with netanyahu in the middle east?
>> yeah, i thought the speech, parts that concerned the arab spring were very good, very strong, put us on the right side. i was less impressed with the parts concerning israel and for this reason. it is obviously true in the abstract that the final settlement will have to involve the '67 borders with land swaps. so to that degree, what the president said was blindingly obvious. but we're not talking about the situation in the abstract. we're talking about it in a concrete historical circumstance. and in that circumstance israel has just withdrawn from gaza, took away set e em-- settlements and it didn't lead to peace. it lead to more violence and threats. the same thing happened in lebanon. so the people in israel are nervous about giving away land right now until they're sure they have a partner. meanwhile on the palestinian side you have this hamas-pa alliance which is a problem to say the least. so to me this a very unlikely moment for there to be a middle east peace. and for the president to pick this fight in this particular circumstance seems to me not a worthy thing to do.
>> lehrer: you don't agree with jane harman and steve hadley that something could come from this because -- >> i'm an outlier on this. i have been covering-- i go there every year. and every year they've got another plan on the table. the alone plan, the mitchell plan, the quartet plan, the oslo process. and to my mind, and again i'm an outlier on this, i think the idea we're going to draw magic maps, magic lines on a map and solve this thing is not real. i don't think it's about territory. i think they have competing narratives, competing moral systems, competing historical hurts. and unless you deal with those underlying cultural and social problems, i don't think some magic line on a map is going to do it. >> lehrer: well, you are personal, i will be personal. i have personally negotiated peace about 40 times. i don't know what are you talking about. what was your reading. >> as someone who has been critical of the president, i thought it was-- i thought it was the right speech to make. >> lehrer: said the right thing? >> i agree with jane harman. i thought that in the cusp or perhaps even in the middle of what the 2012
campaign is going to be, it was a bold statement to make. and a realistic statement. the reality is that israel is in danger of being isolated. and the united states-- with alone with t and i think it is a dangerous time for israel internationally. i think the president is going to europe. he had to have -- he was really forced to make a statement by prime minister netanyahu coming here. and with his invitation from speaker bayne tore speak to the congress. that was going to dominate the discussion. that we're going to have elections in egypt. and we want to preserve and strengthen the peace relations between israel and egypt. and with jordan. and i just think it was, that we have to move forward on this. we have to change. and i think that's really important. and i think it was an important message for him to deliver. >> i was in europe yesterday
when the speech was made and the reaction in europe was, finally an american president spanking israel. finally an american president saying israel is the problem, is the obstacle to peace. and when the israelis feel that from the european community, when they feel that from the arab world that interpretation, believe me it's not an inducement to peacement but reminding people how weak they are and how history is running against them is not an inducement to a country to take risks. and so i just don't think the circumstances are particularly right until we have a palestinian authority which is going to acknowledge the jewish state of israel, until there is some sense of security on the israeli side. i understand why, if you want to sort of-- obama did sort of spank a lot of the arab leaders. and i understand why for the sake of balance you want to, you know, make them-- . >> lehrer: particularly a saad-- assad. >> i just don't think it's the right moment for peace. >> lehrer: finally quick:quickly, president obama went to thank the cia today. what is your reading, did the cia come out of its
difficult now. is it doing better in terms of image and deservedly sho? >> yes. moral at the ci harx-- cia has been low, really, since the '70s. and they've been criticized a lot, whether it's a questionable interrogation or whatever else. they seem to take a lot of hits. i give leon panetha a lot of credit for raising-- panetta for raising the moral. saying are you the professionals, i want to work with you, i depend on you. this is a great success. celebrating success of any agency, it's good for any agency. it's good for the country. and it's sort of, it is the cia emerging from the shadows. it's becoming a more active player especially as we draw down from iraq and start to draw down from afghanistan the role of the cia is going to be even more. >> i will make a general point. republicans can and democrats when you ask the political appointees what the quality of the professional staff in your agency, whether the republicans or democrats, they almost invariably say,
surprisingly high considering the salaries and everything they get which are not so high. but the people in government are surprisingly good at it and the cia has its problems. i still have my problems with the way they do analysis. but for a president to go to an agency and celebrate the career of people who are not making a lot of money, probably always worth doing whatever the agency. >> lehrer: thank you. >> woodruff: finally, another in our occasional series about poets and poetry. tonight, jeffrey brown talks with a writer newshour viewers will remember from many appearances on the program-- former poet laureate of the united states robert pinsky. >> "now near the end of the middle stretch of road what have i learned? some earthly wiles. an art. that often, i cannot tell good fortune from bad, that once had seemed so easy to tell apart." >> brown: robert pinsky, a
jersey boy turned 70, reciting from his poem, "jersey rain". since his stint as poet laureate of the u.s. in the late '90s, pinsky has been that rare thing in american culture-- a public poet, who could appear on "the simpsons" and "the colbert report". and, of course, for several years, he regularly brought poetry to the newshour. wherein by the flood, they flagged, the brise unif you recalled, here the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world. >> brown: now, he's put out a new "selected poems" volume that presents his work from the 1970s to today.
when we talked recently in washington, he said that, in looking back at his writing, he saw constant reflections of his youth. >> i grew up in a small town, where my father was a local athlete and had a little shop. his father had a bar in the town. long branch, new jersey. i can see the past, the community, jews and other ethnic groups, a kind of american lower middle class community life. i can see all those things, though sometimes they are reflected in mythology or politics or some other thing. >> brown: thinking about the beginning, you had to, in a sense, invent yourself as a poet, right? >> i did not have a glorious academic record. in the eighth grade, i was in the "bad" class. i was suspended from school a few times. i was saved by objective tests and by music.
that was my identity in school. i don't think the word "art" as something included poetry, music, dance-- it was not part of my milieu. but i was thinking about it without knowing that. my admiration for sid caesar, for certain movies, for certain music. >> brown: pinsky's first love was jazz. he played and still plays the saxophone. and in a nice touch, decades later, he now regularly performs his poetry with jazz musicians. ♪ ♪ >> a sentence is like a melody. lines are like a rhythm section. it is the same relationship to something that is changing and surprising, and something else that is there.
and the pleasure of working with other musicians was very important to me in my teen years. and i thought it was over, and now i have it back again. >> brown: it looks like fun? >> it is embarrassingly much fun. it is... figuratively speaking, barbecue sauce is just dripping off my chin. >> brown: pinsky's poems-- you can sense it in titles like "an explanation of america" and "gulf music"-- are often examinations through verse of american life and culture. >> i pick up bits of things, and except for the sounds of words in english, what i feel i know enough about to write about is culture. "culture" is almost too fancy a word. it is what americans see, listen to, eat, make jokes about, are afraid of, build, live in.
i read the newspaper quite carefully, and my favorite part is the obituaries. i read the comics. i read the sports pages. i read entertainment. i certainly read the political pages. for me, it is more like the pallet of information, and when you need to know about the economics of nascar, or when you're going to need to know about the childhood of newt gingrich, or going to know about the founding of the new school, or some such thing, a slightly distorted, probably misapprehended chunk of it will be floating around in there somewhere. >> brown: the other thing about your career is you inject yourself into the culture more
than most poets. is this because you're a restless guy, or is there some commitment to bringing poetry into the world? >> i don't feel committed to bring poetry into the world. poetry for me is so large and fundamental. it is in every culture. i won't pretend that i go on colbert or "the simpsons" or the stuff i have done with you as a missionary. in fact, i'm turned off by that... >> brown: you don't like-- the "ambassador of poetry." >> i'll smile politely when people say he is an ambassador for poetry or advocate. i don't think it needs an advocate. it is too fundamental and large for that. and if i find myself moderating... pretending a quiz master moderating a debate between stephen colbert and sean penn... >> brown: which you did? >> ...which i did. i just think...
>> brown: which most poets probably can't say. >> i just think "this is cool!" >> brown: and the extracurricular creative projects continue. for example, pinsky recently wrote the libretto for an opera by composer todd machover... ♪ one enduring legacy from his time as poet laureate is the "favorite poem project," in which average americans talked about and recited the work that most moved them. >> the whole point of those is that i didn't tell anyone to read poetry. it doesn't market poetry. i asked people to write about why they like a poem. >> brown: what do you think that tapped into? >> the human need to feel what it is like to have a work of art come right out of you.
i think people like that a lot. it is a particular pleasure, the same one as i recite to you. it is a risk, and the same form of risk if you tell someone a joke. if i start "the love of the lips so sweet i could not bear", it is like saying, "the pope and a zebra and an optometrist go into a bar..." ( laughter ) it is a human impulse to amuse, or to say "look, this is beautiful." >> brown: all right, "selected poems" by robert pinsky. it's great to talk with you. >> great to talk with you, jeff. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: president obama and israeli prime minister netanyahu met at the white house, but disagreed on the way to peace in the middle east. and the former head of the international monetary fund, dominique strauss-kahn, was released on bail in new york city. he's facing sexual assault
charges. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: you can watch robert pinksy read more of his work on our poetry series page. shields and brooks talk politics and sports on "the doubleheader" on the "rundown" blog. plus, read margaret warner's post from bahrain about her interview with assistant secretary of state jeffrey feltman. he responds to the charge that the u.s. has a double standard about the arab revolts. find all of her reports on our "world" page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll update the flooding along the mississippi river. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable.
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