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tv   Mc Laughlin Group  PBS  January 13, 2013 3:30pm-4:00pm PST

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american petroleum institute. as a congressional staffer in the 1980s he helped negotiate the deal between president reagan and tip o'neill to save social security. under president clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row. so for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it. three times. >> the white house chief of staff, jack lew, was nominated by the president this week to replace outgoing treasury secretary timothy geithner. lew is a democratic veteran of washington, 30 years of service. currently he is president obama's chief of staff. earlier lew served as his
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budget director, and in that job he raised republican hackles. in fact, jeff sessions of alabama, the ranking republican on the senate budget committee, has already said he will try to block mr. lew's confirmation, notably over a statement lew made two years ago. lew was then omb, office of management and budget director. "our budget will get us over the next several years to the point where we can look the american people in the money th speaking to this, senator sessions had this to say. "to look the american people in the eye and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during ng my entire t in washington, unquote. >> question is jacob lew a shoe-
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in for treasury secretary or does president obama have a fight on his hand? >> i don't know if you would call him a shoe-in. he is going to be touched up a bit by the republicans but he is going to be confirmed. does obama have a fight object his hands? you bet, but the fight is going to be over chuck hagel for secretary of defense. that is going to be a proxy battle between what you might call the know 0-conservatives, the bush ii folks, mccain, lieberman, lindsey graham, and the others and what hagel stands for, john, is non- interventionist foreign policy. we don't go to war unless vital interests are at stake. we put our own country first. i think this is going to be the battle royal in the coming months. >> eleanor. >> nobody is a shoe-in with the republican party that fails to defeat president obama for reelection but still seems determined to make him a failed
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president but jacob lew is as close to a shoe-in as there can be. the only complaint you hear is that he hasn't spent enough time on wall street, and for a lot of democrats that's actually a positive attribute. so he will be confirmed. and i believe senator hagel will also be confirmed, although that's a bigger fight, and his remarks about israel that somehow he isn't tough enough on israel, his objection to sanctions was that they were unilateral. he now supports the current sanctions. he is certainly not antiisrael. those arguments will be put aside. he is there to cut the budget, and he's the man for the moment. he has the appetite to do that. >> so this prospective appointment is bypassing wall street. is that good play by obama? >> well, in the first four years of the -- of his administration, the first term, his great job was to keep the financial sector from collapsing. so he had someone intimately familiar in tim geithner with
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wall street. in the second four years his great job is balancing fiscal issues, and he has in jack lew somebody who, as eleanor said, knows the budget up and down, tremendous respect, a great negotiator. keep in mind, jack lew is something that people don't understand. he is a liberal fiscal hawk. he's a liberal deficit hawk. he's got very strong views on the safety net and funding of government but he really does believe in doing what can be done to reduce deficits ?ee.'s coming at that time beginning of president obama's second term. second terms are rough. they eventually lead into lake duckery. people jump ship who are working for him. sew needs a strong group to handle the deficiencies that are inherent in a second term. you understand me? >> i understand. i think that's right. >> now, is lew the guy that can do this for him? can he protect him and keep him
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alive in the sense of politically alive, of course, and keep him vibrant as president? >> look, up to a degree, he can do that. but ultimately still most of the major policy is at the desk of the president. when he said that he was the man who was responsible for three surpluses under bill clinton, let me tell you, bill clinton had three different programs to reduce the budget deficit and bring about that. so it was a presidential decision. it's not the decision of the budget director. having said that he is widely recognized as being outstanding budget director. he is not widely recognized for understanding the world of finance or knowing the people in the world of finance but let's hope we don't have another financial crisis, although with the kind of deficits we are running, we are vulnerable to a financial crisis. >> but he appears to be a person you can rely on. >> yes, without question. he knows the budget, as people say, inside and out. he's a very solid guy. his word is taken at its face value, and he knows how to deal on 1.
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new york university, executive vice president and coo. that means pryears, 2010 to 20 126789 he's been chief of staff for this year. i guess last year and this year, and that's about it. >> we have our own wikipedia here on the set. >> we all want to be introduced to this guy.
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do you want to say anything about lew before we go on to hagel? >> go to hagel. >> i'm very glad to welcome you back. this is your washington monthly. i must commend you on this terrific magazine devoted to a large extent on what sprang from the career of abraham lincoln, raised history in obama's second term. good luck with the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. >> thank you. >> i commend you. for those hands out there see this. okay. hag gel over hagel. >> he would be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as secretary of defense. one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first vietnam veteran to lead the department. >> president obama announced this week his choice for secretary of defense. former two-term senator from nebraska, chuck hagel. get this.
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unlike president obama, the democrat, hagel is a republican. hagel voted for the war in iraq in 2003. senator hagel became a vocal critic of the war's management. also, israel backers are incensed by senator hagel's words really israel. hagel said, "the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. not an israeli senator." republican senator lindsey graham is no fan of chuck hagel. >> chuck hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most an tag aning to antagonistic. he has said not only must we negotiate with hamas this is an
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in your face nomination to all of us who are supportive of israel. >> anti-hagel television ads are now airing. >> while president obama says all options are on the table for prevent ago nuclear iran, hagel says military action is not a viable, feasible responsible option. president obama, secretary of defense chuck hagel is not a responsible option. >> question. would president obama have nominated hagel if president obama truly believed that hagel was anti-israel? pat. >> no, he would not. and hagel is not anti-israel. what he is, he puts his own country first, and he's tired of these resolutions the israeli lobby brings up and tells him to sign on. this is a gay, john, who has fought for his country and bled for his country and puts his own country first. he does believe in this. like nixon, like ike, like reagan, like bush i, he believes in talking to our
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adversaries and enemies. that includes cuba, iran, hezbollah, and i don't know how you prevent a war unless you talk to both sides. >> that's what candidate obama said in 2008. these two men are very much in sync. i'm not the first to say this, this is really a band of brothers. the president, vice president biden, john kerry secretary of state is and chuck hagel, if they're all confirmed, they all served together on the senate foreign relations committee. so they really know each other, and they are in sync in a way that i don't think we've seen a team like this before. this isn't a team of rivals. >> beginning to sound like good ol' boys. by the way, where are the women in this administration forth coming? >> hillary is gone. >> there's valerie, john. leave it alone.
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>> solis is leaving. >> can i finish? >> yeah. >> hillary is gone. all the other jobs were occupied by white man. i don't think this president feels the compulsion to look like a benatante. if the republicans want to argue that the president's cabinet isn't diverse enough, have at it. >> did you see the group with obama with the sleeves rolled up? they were all boys. out of 14 or 15 people gathered around. not one woman. >> i think valerie jarratt's leg was in there. >> she was not. >> she actually functions as chief of staff. if anybody questions where the center of power is in the white house, a lot of it is around valerie jarratt. >> so you think the gripes by feminist groups -- >> i understand the disappointment but they're not going to be disappointed in the end. >> thoughts on this, mort?
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the subject is hagel. >> i feel i'd much rather talk about women, but if you insist, i'll talk about hagel. look, i think he's a very well respected senator. the point about it is, i think implicit in what was just referred to, obama is very comfortable with him. the major appointments are people he's very comfortable with and knows well personally, and i think that's the kind of person he wants to surround himself for his second term. >> now, you know netanyahu. this is not privileged information, but what conclusions would you draw from a hagel nomination? netanyahu might conclude the u.s. is not serious about keeping open the option of a pre-emptive strike. do you hear me on that? >> i think netanyahu knows exactly what his problems are in that part of the world, and he will do his best to deal with them without going to war. doesn't mean he has an easy hand to play but he also is going to have to deal with this administration which probably is not the most friendly administration to the israelis
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that he's had to deal with, but that's his challenge. he's got to find a way to deal with both the critical threats that israel is facing, and an administration that doesn't really believe there should be force used in this whole process. >> exit question. >> i don't know that anyone thinks force should be used. it's a last resort. >> there are people in this city that do think force should be used. >> paul, do you have thoughts on this? >> this is a great debate to have. chuck hagel, putting him out there forces washington to grapple with budget cuts on defense and how to do them right so that we cut but don't run, and he's the perfect foil for that. he will be, i think, elected, appointed. >> he will put the debate right on -- i think a good debate is should we really go to war with iran, and under what circumstances. we really ought to have it all out before that decision is made, and i think the hagel nomination is the place to do it. >> is there any doubt in your mind that we have practically
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sworn as a nation to be an ally with israel, as israel is with us? >> the american people, the whole country believes that israel is a friend and ally of the united states. i was with nixon. he rescued israel even though they weren't a formal ally. people believe that but they disagree on the agenda of netanyahu. >> sought doesn't mean we are unaqifly allied with or support the programs of netanyahu. >> that's been true of every israeli prime minister. not every policy of every prime minister was supported by the united states. that's where the prime minister of israel better make sure that he knows where the united states is coming from, and i suspect that this president is not going to abandon israel. >> we've got to get -- >> clarify what i said. the president and the obama administration does not want to use forcing a gains iran. but that option is e two.
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gun control. national and state. >> there is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the american people, there's nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little six-year-old kids riddled -- not shot with a stray bullet, riddled, riddled, with bullet holes in their classroom. and the public demands we speak to the. >> this week in the wake of the shooting in newtown, connecticut, that left 20 elementary school children and six adults massacred, vice president joe biden and president obama's request, led a task force to address the broad, sensitive, and inflammatory issue of gun control. gun groups like the national rifle association, presented views to the biden task force which has addressed specific
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proposals. notably, reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and close loopholes. require standardized universal criminal background checks and mental health background checks at gun shows and through private dealers. support for what the obama- biden team is doing at the federal level was echoed by governor cuomo in new york, on and for the state level. >> set an example for the rest of the nation. let them look at new york and say, this is what you can do! pass reasonable gun control in the state of new york! and i say to you, forget the extremists. it's simple. no one hunts with an assault rifle. no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer! end the madness now! >> the point of governor
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cuomo's plan, single standards for background checks, notably to bar convicted felons. ban large capacity ammunition clips. ten rounds or more. regardless of manufacture date. strengthen penalties for illegal gun carriers or for those who carry guns on school property or those engaged in violent activity. confiscate guns from owners deemed dangerous by mental health professionaline fit tons firearm. do you think governor cuomo -- i say this respectfully -- waking up in the middle of the night hearing "hail to the chief"? do you think this is an indication of what his plans are four years from now to run for president? >> i can't imagine a new york governor thinking some day he might be president. it's beyond my imagination, john, but i'll make the adjustment if i have to answer your question.
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yes, he does. >> what did you think of what he said? >> listen, he's going to get this through. he is going to get a big change in gun control through new york state. he's got the capability to do it, he knows how to handle his legislative body. i think he is going to get it through. and it will set an example for the rest of the country which in my view is long overdue. >> do you think this is going to become normative, this approach of governor cuomo, where he's insisting on gun control? will it be normative for the other 49 states? >> it's happening in colorado, in illinois where they're tightening up. >> why do you say just democratic states? >> well, i don't know that there's too many republican states that are going the same -- >> yeah, but a lot has transpired. >> i know a lot has transpired. it will not get through. >> even today? >> it won't get through to the congress of the united states, in my view. dianne feinstein is going to grandfather in all of these assault weapons already in
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people's hands. one million, john, are on back order. sales of these bushmaster things, these armalite rifles, have doubled in the last month. this whole campaign that turned around and focused on it has boosted gun sales. >> let eleanor in. >> that's such a facetious argument what. you're saying, they're all out there so therefore we can't stop going forward. >> the reality is you are not going to get gun confiscation, so they can only do something going forward, but aside from just banning the sale of assault weapons, you can, as you pointed out in the setup, ban the sale of these large magazines. if you are a sportsman, you do not need 10 shots to kill a deer. you're a lousy shot. so this sun necessary, and most sportsmen and members of the nra -- >> another point, criminologists will point out it is new guns that criminals
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like. they don't like guns stored in people's houses. most guns that wind up in gun crimes are new guns. anything you start now is going to have a positive effect. >> the payback -- >> let pat in. >> half the people who own these armalite rifles are cops and veterans. also you get kids watching these videos, and all of these movies, they see these guns roman romantacized. when has barack obama says, i don't want any guy in my cabinet who doesn't -- >> this point is well taken. portrait aggression plays a real role in the psyche of younger people, and older people, too. >> it doesn't justify it. >> we should watch our motion pictures and our television and other entertainment operations, the video games. >> all the more reason why we should control the distribution of guns, the sale of guns
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issue three. assad's call to arms. >> syria's president, bashar al- assad issued a call for a quote unquote total national mobilization. to defeat syrian nationals rebelling against him. the conflict is nearly two years old. it is estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people. assad's speech hammered home how far out of reach a political answer is to the civil war now raging. the u.n., by the way, is describing the hostility as a civil war. assad was addressing an audience of loyalists in the opera house in central e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e importance of total mobilization. "syria will only exit this calamity by converting this energy into a total national mobilization to save the country from the clutches of a
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crisis that has no precedent in this region." the address marked president assad's first address to the nation in more than six months. he denies there was a popular uprising against his family's rule. now in he called the conflict and insurgency a handful of syrians and many foreigners, terrorists holding the views of al qaeda. they call themselves jihaddists and we are fighting them, unquote. assad also called for a national dialogue that would include, quote, all elements of syrian society, unquote. rebels have taken over significant territory but to date have not been able to break assad's regime's grip on most of the main cities. >> i think we -- >> question. the u.n. says that the current conflict in syria is the u.n. f
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intervention? a civil war. >> john, here's the point. the united states is going to the security council, and we've been blocked by the russians and the chinese. we have no authorization there. we have no nato authorization as of now. frankly the americans and the israelies and the others are getting cold feet on the idea of assad going down because the people who are really rising in this revolution are jihaddists who are coming in from all over the world now, into syria, and also syria, the government there, has done a better job than people expected. people thought it was going to be gone, and they've done a better job of holding the cities and are maintaining it. >> what do you think of that, mort? >> i don't think anybody really has a clear idea of what's going on, on the ground. i was with one of the journalists who just came back from syria. he says that country is in turmoil. the existing government has a certain amount of control over arms and military force in that part of the world, but it's eroding at a very rapid rate,
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and there's going to be chaos. it seems to me what we have to do is to find a way to deal with the chaos and to find someone we can support who will succeed assad. >> you know the chemical weapon worries. it was connected to assad. the bigger chemical weapon worries is that if the rebels take over that government, they will have the possible usage of chemical weapons if an uprising rises against them. you follow me? is that a more likely scenario, scenario two? what am i trying to say? is it more justification for worry, number two, as opposed to number one? >> the issue is, if we're going to stand by and do nothing, okay, the chances are that a rebel group will take over, and who knows what they will do. >> who wants them to have -- >> we don't want them to have chemical weapons. we don't want assad to have chemical wessments and the whole world has warned assad against the use of chemical
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weapons. if he does use it he will be over. >> but is there now a lessening of the worry that assad will use the chemical weapons? >> i think we never know what assad will do to. answer your question, does the civil war justify it, if we want to justify it, out of time. sorry. bye-bye.
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right now for the next four years, we're talking about a balanced budget, we're talking about living within our means. this is -- this is new. this is a breakthrough. >> governor jerry brown in the spotlight this week unveiling a new state budget projecting a surplus for the first time in five years. he's also making a dramatic call for federal officials to end their oversight of the california state prison system. the obama administration is pushing for a national gun control legislation. meanwhile, a wave of new regulations has already made its way to the california legislature. including assembly member nancy skinner's bullet bill targeting ammunition sales. and a massive oil tanker sideswipes the bay bridge, alarming environmentalists and prompting a federal investigation into what caused the crash. coming up next.


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