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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 22, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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>> brown: joining me now is mervat hatem, an egyptian-born captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: egypt's military government pledged today to speed up the transition to civilian rule, as more than 100,000 protestors filled tahrir square. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the violent confrontations and the upcoming elections. >> woodruff: then, ray suarez talks with economists martin feldstein and paul krugman about the super committee's failure to reach a deficit deal. >> brown: hari sreenivasan reports on fledgling businesses being groomed for success. >> back in the '90s, a typical startup had to go out and raise millions of dollars. it's now possible to raise
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$100,000 or $200,000, and if you're willing to eat ramen, that's enough money to make real progress. >> woodruff: we examine where the republican presidential hopefuls stand on foreign policy issues ahead of tonight's debate. >> brown: and margaret warner looks at a "frontline"/pro publica investigation of the american who helped plot the terror attacks in mumbai three years ago. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies make huge profits. >> last year, chevron made a lot of money. >> where does it go? >> every penny and more went into bringing energy to the world. >> the economy is tough right now, everywhere. >> we pumped $21 billion into local economies, into small businesses, communities, equipment, materials. >> that money could make a big difference to a lot of people.
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intel. sponsors of tomorrow. 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. >> brown: throngs of egyptians swarmed central cairo again today, and the country's military rulers appeared to give ground on political reforms. at the same time, violent clashes with security forces continued. at least 29 people have been killed since saturday. we begin with a report from jonathan rugman of independent television news in cairo.
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>> reporter: through the day and into the night the crowds here have been growing. tahrir square is once again a seethes mass of people. egyptians have received one remarkable revolution this year, now they're going for the double. and tonight it seemed to be working. in a nationwide address, egypt's commander-in-chief appeared on television and promised a presidential election by next june. >> ( translated ): the armed forces represented in the supreme council do not aspire to ruling and put the interest of the country above everything, so the council is ready to surrender responsibility immediately in return for its original task of safeguarding the country and we are fully prepared to hold a referendum on transferring power immediately to a civilian authority if the people demand it. >> reporter: in the square, protesters listened intently on their radios. but afterwards, this group was still calling for the field marshal's resignation. it's too early to say whether egypt's latest crisis is now
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over. these battles have been ranging not for hours but days, protesters throwing stones outside egypt's interior ministry and then fleeing. and the heart of the biggest city in the arab world has been plunged into chaos. here on the streets of cairo it's as if the mubarak revolution had never happened and the anger at egypt's unfinished revolution seems to be growing. the tear gas is far more toxic than the stuff that police used during february's revolution. "made in america" it says here. but if there's one lesson from the arab spring it's this violence breeds more violence. this boy is just 16 and about to throw a molotov congress till at place. "we want a civilian government" he said simply. "we want the military to leave." in cairo, students have been on the front line of the violence. some of them clearly spoiling
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for a fight. but demonstrations like these are now spreading across egypt. first they forced president mubarak out and now they have the 76-year-old field marshal who replaced him in their sights. >> reporter: people have been ferried from the front lines on the backs of motorbikes. it's a human currier service, over an hour arriving at this make sheft hospital. and the more casualties, the more seem determined to take place place. "none of this will stop until the military gives us a specific departure date" says this man in charge. "the military keeps leaving things unclear." in a nearby mosque we found the
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injured flowing in so fast that the doctors and nurses could barely cope and asked us to leave. trauma, breathing problems, broken bones, children who'd been caught up in angry stampedes either towards or away from the police. tonight egypt's general have set a departure date. now these protesters must decide when to set theirs. >> b >> brown: joining me now is mervat hatem, an egyptian-born political science professor at howard university who studies the politics and history of the middle east. welcome to you. >> thank you. >> brown: how much is clear about what the military rules have agreed to? >> there are four things they've agreed to and it came at the end of a ten-minute field marshal's speech. first, he's going to accept the resignation of the cabinet and it's going to be a caretaker government. secondly, the parliamentary elections are to take place on time. in other words, they're not going to change.
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>> pelley: as of monday. >> as of monday, which sounds very unrealistic but more importantly it means that the protesters are going to have to go home before monday. i think this is a complicated issue because that means they want the protesters to go home. if they want the elections to take place and obviously protesters want to see movement before they go home. in fact, many actors say the mistake they made in february was to go home and not to see the changes through. now, the third thing that the military promised is that they're going to pass forward the presidential elections to june of next year, 2012. the original calendar that they came up with had the presidential elections taking place in january 2013. and then they said that they were willing to transfer power, in other words, go back to the
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barracks if they are able to gauge public sentiment. >> pelley: right, he offered a public referendum. now, what do you make of that have? >> i think it's not... i mean, a public referendum means again the protesters to go home and then it's not going to take place overnight and therefore it gives them certainly more time. so in other words the public demand is that they leave immediately but he's trying to go around that by saying let's have a referendum to gauge what the public wants. >> brown: when we say the public and public demand, try to fill that picture because the largest political force, the muslim brotherhood, apparently decided not to join the protests today. although also it was report misdemeanor of their members went. >> the young members of.... >> couric:.
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>> brown: what's going on? >> you have to remember the muslim brotherhood are the ones who started the demonstrations on friday but they went home at the end of the day and young people who basically camped in the square were then attacked by the police and it's at that point that many young protesters filled the square to try and defend them. clearly there is a split at this point between the organized political groups who basically want the elections to take place on the specific date and the protesters in the square, not just tahrir square. there's obviously... there have been large protests in alexandria, in aswan, the southern part of the country. so it's spreading. now, the people in the square, who are they? they're clearly not representatives of these political groups, whether they are the muslim brotherhood or the other liberal groups.
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they are largely young and they are not particularly affiliated with existing political parties and they have a different take on what it is that they would like to to see. they would like an immediate transfer of power from the military, from the supreme council of the armed forces to a civilian government, a national unity government and... they call it a national salvation government. >> pelley: does it look as though the military rulers are tryng to divide the rulers with today's asgleplt >> they are. they basically want the protesters to go home and once the protesters go home then the kind of pressure that has almost always during the last nine months have forced the military to make concessions will be gone and therefore they can begin to maneuver or sort of find their way around the representatives of the political opposition, whether they are the muslim brotherhood or the other liberal
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parties. >> pelley: and where are the liberal parties in this... the secular more mohammed elbaradei and others? what stance are they taking? >> at this point they have a list of demands. actually the representatives of 25 parties-- mostly the liberal and secular parties have met yesterday and have a list of demands and the list of demands include stopping the violence against them and their demonstrators immediately. releasing all the people who were arrested by military courts from... during the last nine months and the figures are astounding. from 12,000-- this is the low figure-- to 20,000 people have been tried in military courts and have been put in prison. they also want also want a new... basically civilian council unity... a unity government but interestingly enough they want to stick to the dates of the upcoming election. >> let me ask you briefly because watching that report it
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sure didn't look like the people in the square were ready to accept what they heard on television tonight from the field marshal. do you expect more demonstrations? >> i think... yes, i do. because at least as far as the young people are concerned and one group that has been very active since april 6 movement and some of their representatives were here in washington and one of the things they kept repeating is that the mistake they made in february was leaving the square and going home before seeing through the kinds of changes. and so it's not likely that the young people in these different squares all over the country are going to make that same mistake again. >> brown: mervat hatem, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour, krugman and feldstein on the failure of the supercommittee; startups aiming for success; g.o.p. candidates on foreign policy; and the man behind the mumbai attacks. but first, the other news of the day.
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here's kwame holman. >> holman: turkey put new pressure on syrian president bashar al assad to step down today. in a speech, prime minister recep tayyip erdogan-- for the first time-- called on assad to resign, saying, "for the sake of peace for the people, the country, and the region, finally step down." the statement came a day after gunmen believed to be syrian soldiers had fired on buses carrying turkish citizens. meanwhile, syrian government forces kept up raids across the country today. activists reported 21 civilians were killed, including four children. taliban leaders in pakistan have declared a nationwide cease-fire to open peace talks with the pakistani government. a senior commander of the militant group announced that today, and said the truce took effect a month ago. pakistan's interior minister denied that the government already has held formal talks with the taliban. two nato service members have been killed in southern afghanistan. the coalition reported they died monday in separate attacks.
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so far this year, 534 foreign troops have died in afghanistan. at least 397 were americans. new government data today showed u.s. economic growth in the third quarter was slower than first estimated. the revised rate was 2%, down from the initial reading of 2.5%. that news-- and continued concerns about europe's debt crisis-- kept wall street down. the dow jones industrial average lost 53 points to close at 11,493. the nasdaq fell not quite two points to close at 2521. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> suarez: we get reaction now >> suarez: the failure of the deficit supercommittee echoed on the campaign trail today.
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president obama pressed republicans to support extending payroll tax cuts for another year, something that might have been in a deficit deal. >> i know republicans like to talk about we're the party of tax cuts. the question they veal to answer when they get back from thanksgiving is this: are they really willing to break their oath to never raise taxes and raise taxs on the middle-class just to play politics? i sure hope not. >> reporter: republicans in congress have objected to the cost of the payroll tax cut extension-- $150 250 billion. the cut expires at the end of the year. and republican presidential hopeful michele bachmann said today the president never tried to get a deal on that issue or anything else in the deficit talks. >> i would have been involved, unlike president obama. he's been able on the process. so if anyone bent over back towards try to get an agreement it was the republicans on the supercommittee. the democrats just sat back with their arms folded and said "we're doing nothing."
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>> suarez: that same division was on display last night as lawmakers on both sides spoke out after the supercommittee conceded it could not reach agreement. >> republicans believe that spending being much higher than it has historically been that we need to restrain the spending. n a way that's pro-growth for tax reform in particular and democrats believe we ought to keep the increased spend big higher taxes. that's a fundamental difference. >> it's clear to me that the problem is a huge ideological divide in our nation. a value system divide. and people need to resolve that over these next months so that a small group of people-- extreme in their view-- cannot hold america hostage any longer. >> suarez: when lawmakers frurn a thanksgiving break, they have to confront the payroll tax cut extension, an extension of long-term jobless benefits and automatic spending cuts of more than a trillion dollars starting in 2013.
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we get. >> suarez: we get reaction now from two economic thinkers who have been players in the wider political debate as well. paul krugman is a nobel-prize winning economist at princeton university and a columnist for the "new york times." and martin feldstein is an economist at harvard university whose work is influential among republican policymakers. he served as the chair of the council of economic advisers during the reagan administration. professor krugman, what was your reaction when you heard the deadline was going to come and go with no agreement and committee members were going to join their colleagues on recess? >> well, i was relieved. there was never any real prospect of anything good coming of this. all we were going to get at best or maybe at worst was going to be some agreement that would include a lot of premature spending cuts. a lot of spending cuts that would take place while the economy was still depressed. some basically getting democrats on board with cuts to medicare and social security and
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republicans possibly agreeing to a few tax hikes which they would renege on as soon as they got a chance. so this was a bad idea from the start. we don't have a fundamental agreement about anything. about the shape of future deficit reduction? this was nothing that could be settled by a small group of people pretending that they could bridge a partisan divide that grew too wide. this is something that needs to go to the voters and not be done in a committee. >> suarez: professor feldstein, same question. >> well, i thought all along that this was not going to lead to an actual agreement because i think both the republicans and the democrats have the election... next year's election very much in mind. and they want to deliver clear messages to their potential voters. so the republicans are saying "we're against tax increases." the democrats are saying "we're against entitlement cuts." now in reality behind closed doors-- and i've spoken with a
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number of members of the committee-- they were prepared to make some compromises on this. but not enough to overcome this really political electoral barrier to reaching an agreement. >> can i just break in? >> i'm optimistic once we get past the election what they learn in the discussions will pay off. >> suarez: go ahead, paul krugman. >> there's a false symmetry here. democrats on the committee and more generally have been offering quite a lot in the way of entitlement cuts. some people-- including myself-- were alarmed at how willing they were able to offer. there's substantial medicare cuts in the health reform that was passed last year. there were substantial further cuts in social security and medicare that are on the table from democrats. the real stumbling block here is that with tax rates for the wealthy pretty close to their 80-year low point. republicans have been unwilling to accept the possibility of any significant increase in those
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taxes. and so it's really one sided. the democrats were willing to go a long way. so much so that a lot of the progressive base was pretty upset at the prospect. republicans were not willing to give an inch on taxes on the wealthy. and so no agreement was possible. >> suarez: martin feldstein, go ahead. >> that wasn't true. what the republicans were prepared to do was put caps, put limits on the deductions which is basically something that only affects the higher income individuals. but put caps on this that as a way of raising revenue some of which would be given back in lower tax rates so they could say this is a pro-growth tax reform but it would be one that would have raised significant revenue, a few hundred billion dollars, over the next ten years. but that wasn't deemed by the democrats to be enough and so, as i said, we're back to extreme
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positions until after the election. >> suarez: throng you both, i'm wondering if for all the other issues that were involved and all the various things that got called during the process, whether this was really a 12-person debate about the future and past effects of the bush-era tax cuts. paul krugman? >> well, a lot of what we have is colored by those tax cuts. they set up a situation in which we have a much larger budget shortfall than we would have had without those tax cuts. one reason to celebrate the demise of the supercommittee is that the sure fire way of making a really significant dent in the budget deficit is to do nothing. to just let those bush tax cuts expire. so the supercommittee was to a large extent an attempt by the republicans, if you like, to find a way to extend those bush tax cuts while looking responsible fiscally. and the fact they've lost that shield-- the fact that it's going to be well, okay, we have a simple way to reduce the deficit, let those tax cuts
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expire-- the fact that that's where we seem to have arrived sat a good thing. it brings us closer to fiscal responsibility in the long run. >> suarez: professor feldstein do you agree if nothing was done and tax cuts are allowed to expire that would improve the fiscal forecast? >> well, of course it would improve the fiscal forecast but it would be an economic disaster. i mean, with the economy still weak and likely to be if anything weaker in 2012, the idea suddenly having a big jump in the taxes for everyone seems to me to be a big mistake. so i can't believe that congress when it gets together after the election is going to allow that to happen. >> suarez: so having just said that, how do you service those various ambitions that have been laid out, getting the tax code reform, taming federal spending, getting the debt down. can this all go on even after this setback?
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>> sure it can. but i think it's not going to go on until after the election because, as i said, the candidates in both parties... not the presidential candidates, congressional candidates, want to go home with very clear, simple messages to the voters. but i think once we get past next november then the kind of learning that went on in this committee and more generally in the congress will lead to some changes in social security, the president has spoken in favor of doing it, republicans are talking about it as as well. so i think that will happen. i think medicare is had harder. but there are bipartisan plans out there. they're complicated but i think they can reach a compromise. so i believe we can... and tax reform also of the sort that broadens tax bases as bowles-simpson suggested, broadens tax bases and lowers tax rates will appeal to both parties. >> suarez: you heard martin
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feldstein talk about how the election is looming. if the united states ends up with an evenly divided legislature after the next election similar to what we have now, can those things go forward? >> we need a resolution of this grand political debate. and let's remember, on medicare we have a plan that calls for a significant slowdown in the rate of growth of medicare expenditures called the obama health care reform and republicans attacked it for creating death panels. so until we get to an environment where that kind of demonizing of real attempts on the part of democrats to reduce future deficits is over then we're not going to get bipartisan agreement. we might get something where one party steamrollers over the other and maybe that's how it has to be resolved. >> suarez: paul krugman, martin feldstein. gentlemen, thank you both. >> brown: now, from a big battle and gridlock in the public
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sector, to programs that cultivate success on a small scale in the private sector. the kauffman foundation, which studies entrepreneurship, recently found that startups create about three million new jobs a year. hari sreenivasan looks at schools that nurture promising companies, and bring them to market faster. his report is a co-production with kqed san francisco. ♪ home of the... >> reporter: this is a demo day. think of it as a debutante ball for startup companies where founders meet their funders. on the left side of your screen is san francisco. on the right side, new york city. on the same day on both coasts a handful of entrepreneurs were trying to impress deep-pocketed investors in the audience and sell them on the idea that they were the next big thing. >> at order in, we are bringing about the most fundamental change to the restaurant industry since franchising in the 1950s.
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we want to enable anyone anywhere to sell online on any platform with ease and simplicity and elegance. >> reporter: if this were a typical group of startup it is odds against their survival would be very long. most startups fail and most investors are left holding the bag. however, these companies are v already been marked for success because they've survived a kind of startup school known as a start-up accelerator. >> that's all you need? >> yeah. >> reporter: accelerators are usually started by investors who want to mentor and profit from the next wave of internet companies. they're called accelerators in part because they try to shorten from one year three months the time it takes a new business to learn its fundamentals. this ten-week-long program in san francisco is called angel pad. it was started by a group of ex-google employees. when i walk through, i met a range of startups, including a site that helps friend lends money to one another.
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>> researchers mates that loans between people who know each other in the united states is about $75 million. we want a very sizable chunk of the market. >> reporter: another startup that helps you cut in line at restaurants. evan maddow co-founded tap viva. what am i looking senate >> we facilitate mobile ordering and advanced point of sale for food trucks. so you have your smart phone in your pocket, your iphone, android device, you order ahead, skip the line, you don't to wait in line. the order shows up on an ipad in the restaurant in the kitchen in the back and your food is prepared and you don't to wait. >> reporter: these 15 companies were whittled down from 2,000 applications for angel pad's approval which makes getting into an ivy league school look easy. it also brings with it a certain cashet. founder and managering partner of angel pad. >> we look for three things. we look for an amazing team, people in have a deep understanding of the problem that they're trying to solve.
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we're looking for technical people in can build and solve that problem by using technology and the third someone to look for founders and teams that show leadership, that can build interesting companies. >> reporter: angel pad staff members advise startups on everything from products and design to customers and fund-raising. >> if one of our lawyers comes in to explain how the fund prog says works or what are the legal documents look like you can do that once instead of 15 times individually. >> reporter: in exchange, the angel pad accelerator gets stock in each of the 15 companies. >> hottest young entrepreneurs, best new ideas. >> reporter: accelerators have become so commonplace there was even a reality t.v. show on bloomberg television. >> there's a limit to how big it can be. >> reporter: it highlighted the trials and tribulations of a batch of startups going through three months of the tech stars accelerator program in new york. >> this is tech stars. >> reporter: tech stars has been around for six years. the program sift us there 3,000
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applications to launch 50 companies a year in boston, seattle, new york, and boulder, colorado. david cohen is a founder and says the key to getting accepted is not just having great idea. >> someone might come in with the greatest idea in the world. that's the last thing we look at it. it doesn't matter that much to us. we know about half of the companies that go through tech stars are going to pivot. they're going clang businesses. that's incredibly common not just in this context but in startups in general. so really you're looking for people that have the right skills and the right passion, the motivation to do a great job that that are going to be respectful of the data and are going to make the changes they have to make to be successful. >> reporter: accelerators are springing up all over the world. top tear programs like feed cam in europe launched dozens of companies. this summer, one launched 63 startups in one day. even hollywood is seeing stars. actor ashton kutcher was in the
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audience looking to invest. recently leonardo dicaprio and his supermodel ex-girlfriend have made investments in tech startups. to some, when investing in startups becomes fashionable it might mean there's a bubble. >> i do worry there is sort of a an overcrowding effect. >> reporter: raid rauch is the san francisco editor for ex-economy. a network of sites that cover innovation and entrepreneurship. he's covered startups for 15 years and says the internet startup frenzy is back because the cost of technology keeps dropping. >> back in the '90s, a typical startup had to go out and raise millions of dollars. $5, $10, $15 or $20 so they could buy the servers they would need to host their applications so that people could come and find their services on the web. it's now possible to raise $100,000 or $200,000. and if you're willing to eat ramen, as they say, for a couple years, that's enough money to
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make real progress. >> reporter: in a shared house in california filled with founders working on startups of their own is black box ventures. their project, called the startup genome, aims to turn the prediction of startup success from toort science. >> startups are failing primarily because of self-destruction rather than competition and we think that's a big insight. >> reporter: they already know a few things that are bound to lead to failure. a part time founder, a solo founder, not having the right team mix, not listening to customers, and the biggest reason for 70% of all failures is what they call premature scaling. >> a company increases their risk profile by effectively executing the unnecessary. which means that they do things which they have not validated before with the customers. >> reporter: black box's founder has gained these insights by gathering day from more than 15 startups around the world. the company also realize it is
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world is catching up when it comes to startup culture. this entrepreneur turned academic researches american competitiveness. >> what's happening now that other countries like india and china are learning our secrets. kids in beijing and bangalore have friends in silicon valley and north carolina on facebook and twitter. they interact, exchange ideas. they think like each other. >> reporter: he says accelerator programs are important because they decrease the cost of starting and failing at a business. >> in america, failure is considered to be okay. in silicon valley, the more you fail, the more experienced you're considered to be so failure is a badge of honor. people abroad think that's strange. >> reporter: it's still too early to tell which, if any, of these companies will be the next
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facebook or google but as these investors put their money behind these entrepreneurs and their ideas, one thing is certain: they'll be hiring. >> suarez: if >> brown: if you're curious about what it takes to get into one of the accelerator programs, or just want to know more about startups, we've posted six videos online to help. >> woodruff: next, to campaign politics, and what role foreign policy and national security will play in the republican nominating fight. one thing the republican candidates do agree on was clear at the last foreign policy debate on november 12 in south carolina. >> we're here to talk to the american people about why every one of us is better than barack obama. >> woodruff: the eight contenders vying to become the next commander-in-chief say the current one has been a failure when it comes to foreign policy. but with some major successes
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this year-- including the covert mission that killed terrorist leader osama bin laden-- administration support of arab spring uprising that brought down the regime in egypt and toppled and killed libya's moammar qaddafi and the announcement of a drawdown of all u.s. troops from iraq by the end of this year, the american people give president obama some of his highest marks in foreign affairs. a recent poll showed 63% of those asked approved of mr. obama's handling of terrorism. another 52% were in favor of his iraq war policy that hasn't stopped the republican candidates from attacking the president on the issue and showing their own divisions in the process. the front-runner, former massachusetts governor mitt romney outlined his position in a speech at the sit dell in
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september. >> america has the strongest economy and military in the world. >> reporter: followed by former utah governor jon huntsman days later. >> the world is a better place when america leads. >> reporter: but the debates have shown a range of opinions on u.s. action in afghanistan. former pennsylvania senator rick santorum. >> victory against the taliban in afghanistan is that taliban is a neutered force. they are no longer a security threat to the afghan people or to our country. >> reporter: to the plan to pull all u.s. troops from iraq, criticized by most candidates. huntsman and texas congressman ron paul support the complete iraq withdrawal and a withdrawal from afghanistan. on preventing iran's nuclear ambitions... >> congressman paul, let me follow up with you for 30 seconds. it is worth going to war to prevent a nuclear weapon in iran? >> no, it isn't worthwhile.
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>> reporter: but others support a more muscular approach. >> after all of the work we've done there's nothing else we can do besides take military action then of course you take military action. it's unacceptable for iran to have a nuclear weapon. >> i agree entirely with governor romney. if in the end despite all of those things the dictatorship persists you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its kasty to have a nuclear weapon. >> woodruff: and on interrogating terror suspects. >> firn president i would be willing to use waterboarding. i think it was very effective. (cheers and applause) it gained information for our country. >> woodruff: still, some have made missteps along the way. in a september debate, texas governor rick perry when asked what he would do if he got a 3:00 a.m. call saying the taliban had gotten nuclear weapons from pakistan. >> well, obviously, before you get to that point off build a relationship in that region. that's one of the things that this administration has not done. >> reporter: and herman cain was stumped when asked about
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president obama's handling of the conflict in libya. >> okay, libya. >> first of all i don't think you can take... a. >> woodruff: huntsman, a former u.s. ambassador to china, is the only contender with foreign policy experience. >> we can't just sit back and let china run all over us. people say well, you'll start a trade war. there's one going on right now, folks. >> well, the reality is a little different, as it usually is when you're on the ground. i tried figure out for 30 years in my career. >> reporter: the candidates will have another chance to discuss china and a host of other foreign policy issues for the second time tonight at a debate hosted by cnn in washington. joining us now to dig deeper into the foreign policy viewpoints of the republican presidential field are richard norton smith, scholar in residence at george washington university, and michael gerson, a columnist for the "washington post," who also served as chief
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speechwriter to former president george w. bush. gentlemen, good to have you both back with us. michael gerson, let me start with you. we know they are all critical of president obama, but is there an underlying philosophy for all of these republican candidates? >> well, it's interesting. on economic issues they generally agree on tax policy, on size of government issues, but there's a division, a philosophic division among republicans on that stage tonight for some like ron paul and jon huntsman they want to be more inward looking focused on the american economy, less engaged in the world. then there are people like gingrich and romney who are more hawkish internationalists. self-consciously adopt the reagan mantle so i guess the thing that won't be very interesting is that the two front-runners share a lot of ground as we saw on iran and other things but there are serious philosophic divisions in this group. >> warner: richard norton smith,
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apologies, i said you're at george washington, you're of course at george mason university. >> both great institutions. >> woodruff: both great institutions but how consistent is the view... are the views of these candidates with what we saw in former president bush and president reagan. >> well, that's fascinating because on the one hand we have... one thing they have in common is trying to establish themselves as credible alternatives to barack obama. the front-runners are being perceived as somehow being tougher than the president. remember, this is an issue that has bended work in favor of republicans and the numbers you saw... you had 63% saying they approved of the president's handling of foreign policy. that's atypical. so they're operating in that context. there's something else. they're also reacting, too. that is the last republican president and his foreign policies, particularly the idea
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of preemptive military action in the middle east. so the ron paul's of the world and to a lesser degree jon huntsmans, that i tier grandchildren of the old isolationists, the libertarian wing of the party but also the party uncomfortable with where george bush led them. >> woodruff: is that the main fault liven among the republicans? >> i think so. if you look at afghanistan where there's a real difference of upon among the candidates, there's a skepticism in some of the candidates of nation building. that's the fault line and it does relate to these issues. perry in the last election said we're going to win and santorum in that category. that's the context is really afghanistan. >> warner: and you see a difference then on torture and waterboarding. we heard michele bachmann and a couple other candidates more aggressive and then... >> well, this is an issue where
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i don't think the criticism rings true. i mean, barack obama may have criticized waterboarding but he uses drones to kill terrorists with a great deal of regularity. he has a very robust approach to the war on terror and that's a general genuine problem for the republican field. they can have disagreements with conduct in afghanistan and iraq and other things but it's hard on the war on terror which was really the defining issue of the last ten years. obama has been very much on the right. >> pelley: and richard, as we've been suggesting here, among the two, at least at this point front-runners, romney and gingrich, they are on the more interventionist side of the... >> that's true. it's interesting. girl, who has drawn a number of lines in the sand including... i think it's to demonstrate that there are convictions that are absolutely unchangeable. now say that if i'm elected president iran will not have a
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nuclear, if barack obama remains president it will. that's a defining moment and it goes this notion of demonstrating his bona fides and at the same time addressing the larger dharn a lot of people have about someone who has taken multiple positions. >> woodruff: michael gerson, how much do we know about how much republican primary voters pay attention to foreign policy, national security? >> i think it's fair. the conventional wisdom in this case is pretty true. we face an economic crisis. i think the focus of the primaries has been very much... you know, if people like perry and cain have had their moments in the sun, if the argument was about foreign policy, they would not. this was a very different kind of debate. now that said you have to say europe is going to affect what our economy does to the
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candidates in the course of the campaign dealing with this. iran is a big issue, that's going to be... i think in the presidential campaign and presidents are always surprised by history. you may run on domestic policy but you're tested by the world and it's an important qualification. and i think republicans make a judgment on gravitas and that's part of the judgment. >> i was going to say the histor squall parallels that come to mind is 1992. we had george h.w. bush that was widely if not universally regarded as someone very skilled in foreign policy. >> woodruff: running for reelection. >> following a successful for what the gulf and a masterful diplomatic performance in putting together the coalition against saddam hussein. and it actually came to be a detriment. it came to symbolize someone out of touch with the domestic concerns of a nation going through real economic hardships. >> woodruff: i'm asking about how much it matters to both of
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you because a couple of them have had difficulty with questions on foreign policy. how strong are they in their knowledge base. >> i think this is a genuine problem for herman cain who was on the top of the world a few weeks ago. he's made serious gaffes, particularly on libya. i thought it was interesting. he made the claim "i don't need to know about foreign policy because i'll pick the right people." and the person who criticized this last week was former secretary of state condoleezza rice who simply said "well, you don't have to be an expert on these issues but you have to be intellectually curious, you have to learn the issues in the this campaign process." so i think it's hurting cain. tonight he has to seem like he has some mystery of these issues in order to i think remain a viable candidate. >> woodruff: is it believe that... yes the president is
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doing all right now. but a year from now is this president going to... is foreign policy going to mat err great deal in the election? >> in all likelihood... and, again, if you are think there are parallels of '92, demonstrated success, acknowledged success in, foreign policy and a buck and a half will get you a cup of coffee. it won't get you the electoral college. the 800-pound gloorl is yes it's important to have the debates and test the candidates for their knowledge but it's highly unlikely americans will make their vote on foreign policy. >> woodruff: but michael gerson you said these issues do matter. what happens to the euro zone. >> they do and they matter to some subgroups. so republican have generally been hostile to foreign assistance, for example, which is not inconsistent with their ten-year history. a lot of religious voters are
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concerned about that, national security voters are concerned about the issues so i think even if it's not an overall issue i think there are subgroups in the lech authority pay attention to these issues closely. >> we're trying to pay attention wherever we can and we thank you both for being here. michael gerson, richard norton smith, thank you. >> thanks. >> brown: finally tonight, the man whose blueprint guided the 2008 terror attacks in mumbai, india, that killed 166 people, a pakistani-american who took the name "david coleman headley." he was both a paid informer for the u.s. drug enforcement administration and a member of the pakistani terrorist group lashkar-e-tayyiba. "frontline" and the news service pro publica have investigated how american law enforcement and intelligence agencies missed several opportunities to thwart headley's plot, including a tip that came from one of headley's several pakistani wives, after the two fought.
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we art with an excerpt. the reporter is sebastian rotella. >> her anger lead to what happened next. she goes toz the u.s. embassy in islamabad and warns them about her husband's extremist activities just as the mumbai plot is gathering momentum, the reconnaissance and the preparation. >> that's right. they must have had a disagreement, she has a short fuse, she goes and mentioned that he was trained by to be, he's a... lashkar-e-tayyiba and he's a terrorist and nothing happens. >> reporter: perhaps most surprising, she revealed to u.s. embassy officials that she and headley had spent their honeymoon at the taj hotel the year before. in combination with her other charges, that could have led investigators directly to headley's work for lashkar.
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alarming and detailed am sagss were piling up. >> his wife says he's involved in something. you look at him for a week or month and you can't find anything interesting. there's 72 other active investigations going on in your office. i think people are too quick in all these cases when they look at the individual case and say "hey, you should have known when in fact, you're not looking at an individual case. you're looking at 6,000 saying "i can't afford to prioritize this guy when i've got 72 other knowns that are really taking our resources and that merit further information." >> reporter: but the u.s. did collect enough intelligence to send a series of warnings in 2008 to india about a potential attack in mumbai. including on the taj hotel. >> we got warning that there was likely to be an attack on mumbai. the taj hotel was very specific but it's like any other thing. you put an alert, people will wait for 15 days of alert 30, days of alert, nothing happens. >> reporter: this man led the
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department overseeing india's security agencies. he believes that david headley must have been a source of that information. but the u.s. never let on. >> if the americans had told us once look, we've got this guy coming in, we have a suspicion about this guy we'll bring them to your notice. that was not done. >> reporter: given you were getting these warnings, why do you think americans didn't tell you about the potential danger? >> i can only say that it is because the information that david headley was perhaps providing to the americans too useful enough that they were willing to overlook and keep this under wraps because he was useful to them. >> woodruff: headley is now in an undisclosed federal prison, awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to several charges. margaret warner takes the story from there. >> warner: and sebastian joins us now.
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welcome. quite a fine piece of work. remind us how crucial david headley was to the planning of these mumbai attacks. >> he's absolutely crucial because he does the key reconstance for a period of 20 months, mapping out the blueprints of the killing zone meticulously, in-depth undercover reconnaissance which he's able to do effectively because he's not just a terrorist but a spy. he's being directed by the i.s.i.-- parkinson's intelligence service, there's strong evidence of the that, in addition to lashkar-e-tayyiba. he's essentially a joint operation. so he's working for both. >> warner: and he was, as your title says, the perfect terrorist. by accident of birth he was the perfect man for the job. >> i think that's right. he's grown up with a foot in both of these worlds in the u.s. and in pakistan. he was able to sort of change shapes and change identities and function in both worlds with remarkable effectiveness. >> warner: and he even had one of your interviewers mentioned this, one blue eye and one brown eye. >> it's sort of the classic
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physical symbol of that duality, yes. >> so after you spent nearly two years on this project what did your reporting lead you to nerpl n terms of what his motive sfwhuz what drove him? was it religious zeal? >> those two things play a reel but it's a cocktail of motivation. a hunger for adrenaline is one of the things people said. the religion was important and the pakistani nationalism was important but this was somebody who was very western in his outlook. who enjoyed the high life so he wasn't a dour jihadi. the one thing that seems to be driving him subpoena this adrenaline rush. >> warner: now the piece quite painfully points out at least three missed opportunities for someone close to him or his mother reported the pakistani
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training committees to the federal authorities or to the f.b.i. what was your conclusion after this as to why those weren't followed up on? >> it's one of the most disturbing and puzzling aspects of the case. there's about half a dozen warnings, ones we knew about and we discovered a couple others where he's coming to the attention of the authority bus for some reason he's slip through the cracks, there's two polgts, two scenarios. one is that it's harder than it seems in hindsight to detect a terrorist in the making and that the system didn't work the way it should have, that people didn't have the benefit of the previous warnings and they were investigating the next one. >> warner: even though this was post-9/11. >> and that was exactly what we were supposed to be doing is working on those systems. the other is this question of because he has been and informant and there are sources who believe he continued to do some work for some time after he was officially deactivated by the d.e.a. in late 2001, early 2002, there's a sense his activities or his past as an
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informant played a role in being detected as less than a threat. that's a difficult area. you have in india who go to the extreme of believing he was a double agent all along. people in the u.s. insisting that's nonsense and then there's some evidence that suggest there is may have been something in between. but we try to be very careful and balanced because it's a mystery still. >> pelley: briefly and i don't know if you got into this but is the system working better now? >> certainly you would think it's working better than the early warnings after 9/11. but there's still some concern because these warnings were recent and you have to wonder, one would hope so. >> warner: thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: "frontline" airs tonight on most pbs stations. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day. egypt's military pledged to speed up the transition to civilian rule, as more than 100,000 protesters filled tahrir square. the prime minister of turkey called for syrian president
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bashar al assad to step down. and president obama urged congress to extend a payroll tax cut extension past the end of the year. online, we have a follow-up to a story we did last summer about american teens making a difference in the lives of girls around the world. kwame holman explains. kwame. >> holman: find out about the reunion of an illinois teen, adopted as a baby, and her vietnamese twin sister. that's on our global health page. we invite you to tweet your thanksgiving travel tales on our t.s.a. time project. tell us how long you are waiting at the airport in this busy travel week. and are economic reporters crying wolf in their coverage of the supercommittee's collapse, and what it may mean for the government's ability to borrow? find paul solman's take on our making sense page. all that and more is on our web site, >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll talk with republican presidential candidate, minnesota representative michele bachmann. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown.
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we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> intelligent computing technology is making its way into everything from cars to retail signs to hospitals; creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of investing for the future, we're helping to bring these new capabilities to market. we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to help create the technologies that we hope will be the heart of tomorrow's innovations. i believe that by investing today in technological advances here at intel, we can make a better tomorrow. >> and by bnsf railway.
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