tv PBS News Hour PBS October 10, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: house republicans made an offer today to push back the debt-limit deadline, without ending the government shutdown. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is off. also ahead this thursday, a closer look at the winner of this year's nobel prize for literature. alice munro-- the master of the contemporary short story. and in bosnia, disputes over a census in a society still scarred from a brutal ethnic war decades ago. >> losing numbers is perceived as a threat and a possibility for being dominated by other ethnic groups. >> woodruff: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> 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: our lead story tonight, for the first time since much of the federal government closed ten days ago, there was talk of a way out. house republican leaders floated a proposal to stave off national default. democrats pressed for a way to reopen the government as well. we begin with a report from "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman. >> reporter: after a closed-door meeting, house speaker john boehner had a new offer: republicans will okay a temporary increase in the debt ceiling if the president agrees to negotiate spending cuts, as a way to end the shutdown. >> it's time for leadership. it's time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin. i would hope that the president would look at this as an
opportunity and a good faith effort on our part to move half- way, half-way to what he's demanded, in order to have these conversations begin. >> reporter: boehner did not mention earlier demands to de- fund or delay the health care law as the price of passing a continuing resolution to fund the government. but, idaho congressman raul labrador-- a tea party republican-- suggested that issue is far from dead. >> we are actually giving him part of what he wants, which is a clean debt ceiling. we'll give him a clean debt ceiling for six weeks so he can negotiate on the issues of the debt. but when it comes to the continuing resolution, when it comes to dealing with obamacare, we're going to continue to hold our ground. >> reporter: up to now, the president has insisted he will negotiate only after house republicans reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling. today, spokesman jay carney called the boehner offer an encouraging sign. >> if clean debt limit bill is passed he would likely sign it. again, we would have to see it. we're speaking of a bill that at this point does not exist. and it's not at all clear based
on what the speaker said that that's what we're going to see. >> reporter: the public exchange came ahead of a private meeting between the president and a group of house republicans at the white house this afternoon. he met earlier with senate democrats, and majority leader harry reid came out saying there will be no negotiations until the shutdown ends. as for the republicans' latest proposal... >> let's wait see what the house does. when they send us something, we'll look at it as clearly and as quickly as we can. i hope the republicans decide what they want, and we'll be happy to work with them in any way. i repeat for the fourth time right here. open the government, let us pay our bills, we'll negotiate with you about anything. >> reporter: senate republican leader mitch mcconnell and his members will talk with the president tomorrow. >> that's a good start, but only if it means he's decided to drop
his refusal to negotiate on solutions. but if this is a meeting where he simply reiterates that he won't negotiate, this meeting will not be productive. >> reporter: the on-and-off talk of flexibility on both sides on raising the debt ceiling came amid fresh warnings from administration officials and financial leaders that action is imperative. they argued the country cannot run the risk of national default, one week from today. at a senate hearing, treasury secretary jack lew rejected suggestions the government could pay some bills, but not others. >> how can the united states choose whether to send social security checks to seniors or pay benefits to veterans? how can the united states choose whether to provide children with food assistance or meet our obligations to medicare providers? the united states should not be put in a position of making such perilous choices for our economy and our citizens. there is no way of knowing the >> reporter: members of the financial community sounded similar alarms at another hearing. former oklahoma governor frank keating is head of the american bankers association. >> if our nation defaults on its the harm is to likely to be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.
even the slightest uptick in treasury interest rates would cascade throughout the economy, it would raise the cost of taxpayers to service our country's debt and would raise the borrowing cost for business. >> reporter: underscoring those meanwhile, much of the government remained shuttered for a tenth day. but the interior department did announce it's allowing states to reopen national parks using their own money. >> woodruff: we get the latest now, from margaret talev, white house correspondent for bloomberg news. margaret, good to have you back on the plapl. where does everything stand right now? >> wow. the republican leadership just left the white house, didn't stop at the microphones and kept on going. all of us are trying to get even the most preliminary indications of how that meet egg went. but the white house is hoping to do to is sort of delineate can we agree to set aside the whole negotiation shutdown issue and just clear this debt limit thing before we move on. unclear the that the republicans -- senate democrats made very
clear they have no intent of negotiating before the shutdown is resolved beyond the debt ceiling increase. the president has left a little more wiggle room in the way that he and his staff talk about it saying that they agree in principle that's not the right way to do things, that it's not right to hold americans ransom but not as clear a line as harry reid. >> woodruff: do we know what has caused the republicans to change their position and say they are willing to go along with the short-term extension of the debt ceiling increase in. >> there is tremendous pressure on republicans from the business community and concern about how the markets are going to react tomorrow and monday. there is also a sort of sense strategically that amid lagging poll numbers and sort of broader play for these concessions on health care and spending that they're hoping far perhaps they're showing some good faith on at least extension of -- a short-term extension of the debt ceiling is the right way for them to move. at least is the position of sort
of a core of the republicans in congress. by no means is there you 'nam anymorety on this, there is some disagreement about whether this is the right way to pursue it. >> woodruff: so is there a sense that the republicans -- the republicans have been saying they need a fig leaf, they need something from the administration. is there a sense of what that can be? >> what they're -- the white house has envisioned has been is that they're not going negotiate on anything big that they care about. again, they have left a little wiggle room about whether they would negotiate on motherhood and apple pie and things that wouldn't cost them anything in terms of the president's core policy initiatives. so there is even within this we're not going to negotiate language some room for negotiation. >> woodruff: and the health care reform? that the republicans had been insisting had to be defunded? what happened top that demand? >> well, that would not be part of a clean six-week debt ceiling extension as we understand it. although, again, as the white house spokesman carney noted
earlier today, until they actually see the language, they are loathe to assume they understand what it was. speaker boehner did suggest that they want to do that six-week extension as part of reopening the negotiations and the white house's response was "we don't want to negotiate until the shutdown is over." so a big part of what happened in this meeting today is the discussion about whether what sort of -- what are the rules of the game between now and october 17 when everything turns into a pumpkin and if there's not resolution. >> margaret talev, bloomberg news, thank you very much. we'll continue to watch it. and i know you will. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: we'll have more on the shutdown story after the news summary. in other news, wall street soared on hopes that the washington impasse is heading toward resolution. the dow jones industrial average gained 323 points to close at 15,126. the nasdaq rose nearly 83 points to close above 3,760. the 2013 nobel prize for literature was awarded today to canadian alice munro. the nobel committee described
her as a "master of the contemporary short story". munro began publishing her work in the 1960s. since then, her books have sold more than one million copies in the u.s. alone. more on alice munro, at the end of the program. confusion reigned in libya today, as the prime minister was first abducted, and then freed hours later. it came just days after u.s. commandos captured a top al-qaeda figure in tripoli. we have a report narrated by lindsey hilsum of "independent television news." >> reporter: kidnapped or arrested? at 2:00 a.m. the libyan prime minister was seized by armed men. he was sleeping in room 1213 of the corinthia hotel, supposedly tripoli's safest temporary home to oil executives and diplomats. >> ( translated ): there were a lot of vehicles, about 150, marked with the logo of the libyan revolutionary operations room. they had no heavy armour, just personal weapons.
>> reporter: on state t.v., they were trying to sound resolute. "no force can topple the elected government," said the head of the congress, but the incident shows how little control the authorities have over their chaotic country. scores of often feuding militia, successors to the revolutionaries who overthrew colonel qaddafi two years ago, rule the streets. the group that seized the prime minister was supposed to protect the capital. at first it seemed they were angry that the prime minister had allowed this man, anas al libi, an alleged terrorist, to be snatched off the streets of tripoli by the americans last saturday. but a few hours later, the prime minister was free, if minus his glasses, mobbed by journalists and others, released after negotiations with another militia and trying to play the whole thing down.
>> ( translated ): i would like to reassure foreigners here in libya that what has occurred was solely a result of complications within libyan politics and foreigners are not targets. >> reporter: how long ago this feels. the day in august 2011, qaddafi fell and tripoli erupted in joy. overthrowing a dictator has proved much easier than rebuilding the state. today's chaos may be qaddafi's legacy but no one in libya seems to know how to overcome it. >> woodruff: former pakistani president pervez musharraf was re-arrested today, after being released on bail yesterday. this time, musharraf was taken into custody on accusations involving a deadly raid on a militant mosque in 2007. he's faced a host of criminal charges since returning from exile in march. in egypt, the military-backed government criticized the u.s. decision to slash millions of dollars in aid.
a spokesman for the foreign ministry insisted, "egypt will not surrender to american pressure." meanwhile, secretary of state john kerry said the u.s. might restore some aid, if egypt makes progress in restoring democracy. he spoke in malaysia. >> i think the interim government understands very well our commitment to the success of this government which we want to see achieved. and by no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government meet those goals. >> woodruff: the u.s. has been providing egypt with about one and a half billion dollars a year in aid. former detroit mayor kwame kilpatrick was sentenced today to 28 years in prison. he'd been convicted in march of federal charges including racketeering, bribery, mail fraud and tax counts.
kilpatrick served as mayor from 2002 until he resigned in 2008. the cleveland, ohio man who held three women captive for years, may not have committed suicide after all. ariel castro was found dead in his prison cell last month, with a sheet around his neck. state investigators reported today that he may have been choking himself as part of a sex act. they also found that two prison guards repeatedly failed to check on castro. pioneering astronaut scott carpenter-- the second american to orbit the earth-- died today. he'd had a stroke, and passed away in a denver hospice. carpenter was one of the original mercury seven. john glenn is now the last surviving member of the group. scott carpenter was 88 years old. still ahead on the "newshour": what's driving the republican agenda; problems with the new online health care exchanges; a census in bosnia; revealing scars from the country's painful
past; the fallout from the president skipping a key asia summit and a nobel prize for alice munro. >> woodruff: we return now to our lead story. with the government shutdown in its tenth day and stark political lines drawn, we explore some of the underlying forces at work. for that perspective, i spoke a short time ago with a former member of congress and a longtime observer of capitol hill. norman ornstein of the american enterprise institute is the co-author of a book titled "it's worse than it looks: how the american constitutional system collided with the new politics of extremism." and former congressman tom davis is a republican from virginia who now is director of federal government affairs for deloitte & touche. gentlemen, welcome back to the
newshour to both of you. >> so tom davis, the ice has apparently cracked, at least for some republicans, they're offering a short-term deal on the debt limit. where is this headed, do you think? >> i think we're headed for a short-term deal. i think at the end of the day it's going to -- we'll get a c.r. as well. >> woodruff: continuing resolution. >> i think so. it just makes sense. but you have to start somewhere to end up somewhere. everybody is scared to death at the debt ceiling. nobody wants to be held accountable for what happens after that, what happens to the country and i think americanism has briefly taken over partisanship on that particular issue. the c.r. is a little more -- to some members who --. >> woodruff: again, the spending. >> yes, continuing the spending issues, a lot of members in the republican conference don't feel that as much in their districts but remember this: you've got 25 30 members that this is hurting them. they're in marginal seat, they have a lot of federal employees and they're tired of going along with this. >> woodruff: 25 or 30
republicans? >> right, in swing seats. >> woodruff: norm, could this be the beginning of a resolution or what do you think? >> the problem with the deal is we get more brinksmanship in six weeks or so. the initial deal that was proposed by paul ryan and then speaker boehner was to take a six-week extension in the debt limit now take away all the flexibility from the treasury during that period of time and in effect saying we're going to go right up to the cliff, you better make some changes before then. it's more "do this or else." and it's -- if we do get a resolution that reopens the government, it eases the pressure a little built. the problem is you've got to find a deal where at least each side can say "we've held firm on what matters" and we're not there yet. the speaker hasn't been clear what he wants or what they'll do and if you put all of the big spending issues on the table along with revenues we're not gonna resolve that in six weeks. >> woodruff: let's broaden this out. tom davis, what are the
pressures on the speaker right now and is there anything he could or should have done differently to head this off? >> the main pressure is he's got 80% of his caucus is absolutely safe republican districts. you go home and talk to nobody but republicans and the republican base and they are telling their members "stand tough, don't compromise, we want to get rid of obamacare, don't give into the president." for them it's a win-lose proposition. for this to work it has to be a win-win proposition. the president opened the door when he said he would negotiate over the sequestering but those discussions can be broadened to include other things so at least they're talking. >> woodruff: help us understand, though, norm, if the speaker couldn't have done anything different, was this just an inevitable moment we were coming to? >> it was an inevitable moment. and the sad thing to begin with is that we actually had a deal on the table that the speaker had agreed to to keep the government running for another year and it was one where the democrats had given in on all the spending numbers republicans wanted and keeping the sequester for the year. then the speaker came under
pressure in ted cruz and a group of others to instead say no, we want to end obamacare. that took us down a different path. if the speaker had held firm on that, we might be in a different place. having said that, once you have pressure once again to use the debt limit as a hostage, finding a way out of that that doesn't have most of your members upset is a really tough sell and one of the things that nobody wants to go over the cliff. one of the things that's got me concerned is there are plenty of numbers and others outside saying "no big deal, go ahead and default." and that's dangerous. >> woodruff: how much influence does the tea party have going forward in your party? in the republican party. >> well, the party was a skeleton after the bush years. we'd gone through the problems with the war which was unpopular you had an economic meltdown, you had katrina and they just rushed in and filled that void at this point and they added energy to the party and then basically in many areas took
over the nomination process and elected their people and they have been given political muscle through some of these outside political action organizations that have added money to the grass-roots. >> woodruff: so you're saying they're here to stay? >> i think's a danger for republicans here that if they spurn the tea party you can get a spinoff. you're seeing this in some streets where libertarians are running and taking 6%, 8%, 10% of the votes from republicans. it cost us a senate seat in montana and arizona last time. so republicans have to be very, very careful this w this. i'd add one other thing. from a republican perspective you only have two pressure points where you can change the trajectory of spending and this is your annual appropriations and the debt ceiling. so it's not the best choices but they're the only pressure points you have. otherwise you're talking to a wall. >> woodruff: pressure points when there's a democratic president. >> when you're surrounded by a senate and president of the other party. >> woodruff: so, norm, are we looking at just a steady -- just one showdown, maybe even
shutdown of the government after another going forward? >> i hope not because of course the great irony here is if you care about spending shutting down the government is extraordinarily costly. it's costing us billions a week to do this, not to mention the human cost. and the threat of default itself is already causing interest rates to inch up which is going to be costly to the government, people getting mortgages and until the state of the economy. but, you know, tom is right that those are the pressure points. the difficulty we have is the current republican party is using the debt limit in a way that it hasn't been used before: as a real throat go into default. as a method of extortion. that's something that can't go on and we have to change the method of negotiating. what i had hoped they would do is create a permanent solution like the one mitch mcconnell used to get us out of the last deadline in 2007, basically what the president pretty much raised the debt ceiling and had only one-third of the members of one house required to do that and then moved to a different plane.
>> woodruff: tom davis, he's saying they're using it differentedly time and in a dangerous way. how do you see it? do you see this continuing? >> it's the only leverage point you have, raising the debt ceiling. and the public doesn't understand if you're raising the debt ceiling make sure we don't have to go through this again. can we find some offsets? it is a chance to have some conversation and change the trajectory on spending but norm is right. you get too close to the edge on this thing, it has affects on markets, the economy, the average person and on the federal budget so in a way if it's handled wrongly-- as i think we've come close to doing this time-- it hurt what is you're trying to fix. >> woodruff: grim message. tom davis, norman ornstein, we thank you both. >> thank you, judy. >> thanks. >> woodruff: we check back in on the troubled launch of the new online health care marketplaces known as exchanges. is been more than a week since
they first opened. millions of people have tried to navigate the federal exchange at healthcare.gov, but found major problems registering and enrolling. it is the marketplace for 36 states that have not set up their own unique website. tonight, ray suarez looks at what's known about those problems. >> suarez: millions of people for that, craig timberg is the "washington post's" national technology reporter. he's been following the story and trying to explain what's behind the complications so far. craig, welcome back. if you sign on to your computer today and go to the exchange web site what are you likely to find today? >> well, it's certainly faster than it was this time last week. there are elements that work and we get the sense that some people are signing up successfully, we just don't know how many because the government hasn't told us yet. >> suarez: is part of the problem that you have to do the whole registration protocol just to shop around? just to take an exploratory look at what's waiting for you?
>> it's clearly one of the problems that bottlenecks were built into the system. when you go shopping on a web site and buy dog food, you don't have to wait for your credit doord go through, it will say "thanks for your order." if there's a credit card problem it will i tell you later. this web site isn't built that way, if you're stuck you're stuck. >> suarez: earlier on the obama administration said the slow times and the waits at the portals were evidence that a lot of people were trying to sign on and take a look. people who were detractors of the law say it just wasn't ready to be unveiled. do we have any sense of whether or not whether it is here is volume slowing things down? >> i think both of those comments are basically true, righting? it's clear that there's significant flaws in the way the system was built to handle the amount of traffic that it's gotten. that's evident. so, yeah, if not that many people were interested in it it probably would have worked fine. so, yeah, getting very high volume bus they probably could have built it better, too.
>> suarez: some of the problems stem from the complexity of the transactions that we're asking the system to make. you're coordinating different parts of government, putting in place tax credits and recording your social security number or are they more basic-- people just not being able to when they punch their information in get properly served and get properly registerd? >> it's really a combination of these things. because the system seems to be struggling to resolve some of these issues, to communicate across networks, that's why people are having these problems. and a lot of the backups seem to be at the authentication moment where you put in your name and address and the system is trying to figure out who you are and issue you an i.d.. there's been a stickiness about that. it's been hard to untangle and some of that may well have to do with the calculating the machinery has to do. >> suarez: so when you propose to fix it-- once you're the government and you say "yes, we must make this better"-- is that tougher to do while still
keeping the exchanges open? you're trying to, in effect, repair a car while it's driving down the highway aren't you? >> certainly. there's no question that would have been easier to fix a month ago than it is now. even basic things like putting more server capacity on it so you can handle the crush of traffic, it's easier to do when people aren't using it at the same time or at least trying to use it. >> suarez: is some of this taking care of itself? because there is six months of opening to take a look and buy your insurance, is the traffic smoothing out, putting less capacity on the system? was it, in part, the rush to the opening door that happened on or around october 1? >> certainly that's part of it. i mean, there's an actual narrative to the releases of new technology. they're almost always at least a little bit buggy and if lots of people use it they expose the problems and they get gradually ironed out. now, it's unusual to have a system fail as badly as this system is failing in its first few days, but these things do tend to get worked out with time
even when it's google or apple. >> suarez: is there any indication how long it's going to take to fix this so that any customer coming to the exchange window will be able to have a trouble-freer rohr-free experience? >> that crystal ball fails me a little bit here, i'm afraid. but i can tell you that tech people i have been speaking to on this story are fairly optimistic that these are solveable problems if you throw roe sources at it. that you can smooth it out. >> suarez: what about other states running their own exchanges. in the case of the federal government, we're talking about more than 30 different states that they're coordinating the exchanges for. but other places like california new york, and others are doing it themselves. has the buyer experience been better in those places? >> it really depends where you are. in some states it's gone pretty smoothly. other states that have problems that closely resemble what the federal government is having and so it's a complex piece of programming that they've tried to put together and the states
in some cases have had similar problems. >> suarez: is anybody-- either the states running their own or the obama administration-- saying how many americans have actually taken advantage of this system? >> some states have been reporting numbers. the federal government has not yet. we're supposed to get some sort of number in november which if you look at your calendar is a little ways away. >> suarez: and then we'll have a better idea of just how well we're handling the crush at the front door? >> i think it will be hard to tell how we were handling it in early to mid-october but i think we will have a better sense then if the problems have been ironed out substantially enough that the system basically works. >> suarez: craig timberg of the "washington post," thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: we turn now to bosnia and herzegovina, where a nationwide survey is forcing the country to revisit its difficult history. special correspondent kira kay
reports. >> reporter: on the eve of bosnia's nationwide census, the municipal hall of the town of srebrenica was humming with census takers collecting their materials. rada jeremic is supervising. >> ( translated ): from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night, they will all deploy to the houses they've been assigned. the main form includes questions like place and date of birth, profession, education. this census is historic and we are taking this assignment very seriously. >> reporter: 20-year-old law student ismeta begic was eager to learn more about her country. >> ( translated ): through the census, we will answer our pressing questions. bosnia lost a lot of people. now we will be able to see how many of us there are, how many are missing, how many families have gained new members. >> reporter: the last official count in bosnia was in 1991, when 4.4 million people lived here. 44% of them were muslim bosniaks, 31% orthodox serbs and
17% catholic croats. but then brutal ethnic war broke out between them. that conflict killed 100,000 people, drove two million from their homes, and taught the world the term ethnic cleansing. today mass graves are still being discovered. a 1995 peace deal carved autonomous ethnic entities out of this once intermingled region. political analyst srecko latal says the census provides an opportunity for bosnia to accept its starkly divided reality and finally move on. >> however, i'm concerned that it may be used and misused by various political players to seal, cement the ethnic cleansing or even deepen the ethnic divisions within the country. >> reporter: a new census was required by the european union before bosnia could qualify to join its ranks. the process was delayed a year because of technical concerns and political wrangling over the
scope of the questions. the final survey includes 77 items, but all focus is on the three that ask citizens their ethnicity, religion and language. >> international officials from the very beginning made it very clear that this is least important question for them. however, for this country, this was the number one if not the only question, and losing numbers is perceived as a threat and a possibility for being dominated by other ethnic groups. >> reporter: as part of the 1995 peace agreement, key government positions and civil service jobs were apportioned between ethnic groups based on the 1991 census. and so now, leaders of all three of the country's majority ethnic groups are campaigning to ensure people declare who they are, loud and clear. the race for numbers can be heard in church, where catholic priests motivate their largely
croat flock. >> ( translated ): the results could determine the future, not just for society in bosnia and herzegovina but also for the croats and the catholic church. >> reporter: the same rallying call can be heard during friday prayers at mosques across the country, from sarajevo to srebrenica. >> ( translated ): we are bosniaks; we speak the bosnian language; our religion is islam. there's no dilemma about that. >> reporter: srebrenica imam damir pestalic says its vital for bosniak muslims here to declare their identity, given the reality that today, the town sits within serb territory and has become serb majority. >> ( translated ): in normal countries a census is a technical thing but to talk about it in srebrenica is very painful. srebrenica went through a genocide. more than 8,000 people were killed, some 20,000 were expelled. today we have only 4,000 to
5,000 bosniaks who have returned to srebrenica. if people don't manage to get properly counted, the numbers, god forbid, could be politically misused later. >> ( translated ): i said ismeta, should you do this? maybe you will uncover something that will hurt you. but i'm just that type of person. i want to know everything about what's going on with my srebrenica. >> reporter: census taker ismeta begic's personal story illustrates these sensitivities. she was only two years old in 1995, when she, her mother and siblings were expelled from srebrenica by serb troops. ismeta's father tried to flee by foot but was caught and massacred along with 8,000 other mostly men and boys. ismeta and her family returned in 2002 to stake a claim to this town for bosniak muslims who, so have so far been unable or unwilling to move back. >> new census will bring realistic situation on the ground. but that realistic situation was
not natural migration, it was migration due to war. >> reporter: camil durakovic was born in srebrenica, but fled to the united states during the war. he has returned and last year was elected mayor. today he keeps an uneasy peace with his serb-politician counterparts. because of its history, srebrenica observes a mandated balance of half bosniak-half serb leadership. but durakovic worries there will be pressure to change, once new numbers are formalized. >> if somebody says that aggression, genocide and ethnic cleansing is a legal way of changing demographic picture, then i am afraid, where do i live. so, we need information but is somebody thinks that new information will be accepted as newly established legal numbers then we are in trouble. >> ( translated ): the digits and numbers will never be put aside, especially because they're pulling toward their side and we're pulling toward
our side. that's clear. we have to work together, we have to sit at the same table. but it will always be i'm this and you're that. >> reporter: ismeta's census colleague, rada jeremic, who is ethnically serb and whose family was also displaced, says working on the census is offering a first, small opening. >> i've met at least 15 people who are bosniaks. and i can say they are great people, just like ours. i look at them based on who they are, not on the basis of some stories or myths. >> reporter: in the midst of the census numbers race, there is a small but vocal fourth constituency, lead by activist darko brkan. brkan and his team are taking to bosnia's streets, calling for people to defy the three main identity choices and instead answer other, undeclared, even nonsense, anything but ethnicity. >> orangina before everything, citizen before everything. so different ways of showing protest against the current constitutional model of three ethnicities and then everybody
else. >> reporter: brkan hopes as many as 20% of bosnian citizens will join his protest. but he admits he's facing an uphill battle. >> if you want to rise above ethnicity in bosnia then usually you'd get into a discourse that is actually like proclaiming you to be either a traitor or a or somebody who is breaking up the country. on the other side, people are starting to understand what we are fighting against here and actually there has been a lot of more eager support to us. >> reporter: alma hamza is joining the movement. >> hard core. yeah, i want to be hard core. it's the type of music that i really like. what am i going to do with ethnicity at the end of the day? nothing. i need a job. >> reporter: on october 1, 19,000 census takers indeed fanned out across the country. but allegations of fraud and mishandling of forms quickly emerged. for now, the count goes on and initial answers to questions,
about bosnia's painful past and uncertain future, are expected in january. >> woodruff: kira kay's story is part of our partnership with the bureau for international reporting and their series, "fault lines of faith". >> woodruff: now back to the government shutdown, its effect on the country's global interests and the cost of not being at the table. under sunny skies in bali, indonesia, this week, leaders of asian and pacific nations held high-level talks and signed trade deals. while in washington, the weather matched the dismal political atmosphere, and president obama stayed home. >> in the short term, i would characterize it as missed opportunities. >> woodruff: in a news conference tuesday, he voiced frustration at canceling his trip to deal with the government shutdown and a looming national
default. >> i had to miss critical meetings in asia to promote american jobs and businesses. and although as long as we get this fixed that's not long-term damage, whenever we do these things, it hurts our credibility around the world. >> woodruff: other leaders in bali were supportive, including russian president vladmir putin. >> ( translated ): we see what is happening in u.s. domestic politics and this is not an easy situation. i think the fact that the u.s. president did not come here is quite justified. i think that if i was in his situation, i would not come either. >> woodruff: mr. obama had hoped to use bali to advance his pivot to asia, placing new emphasis on the region. instead, his absence left chinese president xi jinping with a clear field to try to shore up alliances and strike agreements with neighbors.
>> ( translated ): a family of harmony prospers. as a member of the asia pacific family, china is ready to live in amity with other family members and help each other out. we hope all members of the asia >> woodruff: at tuesday's news conference, the president acknowledged it's advantage- china, at least in the short term. >> i'm sure the chinese don't mind that i'm not there right now, in the sense that, you know, there are areas where we have differences and they can present their point of view and not get as much of push-back as if i were there. although secretary of state kerry is there, and i'm sure he's doing a great job. >> woodruff: kerry also stood in for the president at a separate conference in brunei, but he canceled a visit to the philippines, as a tropical storm approached. for more on all of this we turn to two men with extensive foreign policy experience. kurt campbell was assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs during the first obama administration. he now has his own consulting firm.
and douglas paal served in the reagan and bush administrations at the state department and on the national security council staff. he's now at the carnegie endowment for international peace. gentlemen, welcome to the newshour. it's good to have you. kurt campbell, to you first. how big a setback is it that the president couldn't make these asian meetings? >> it's a bit of a setback, actually. and i think there's some damage. i think good news is that the administration has acknowledged it, hasn't pretended like it doesn't exist and the key is not so much now, because i think, as you heard from some of the asian leaders, they understand why the president couldn't make it, but the question is what will we do subsequently? we l we reschedule the trips? will we put in place an ambitious agenda? things that we want to accomplish subsequently. and more importantly will this continue to happen? remember, these kinds of cancellations and domestic
problems have plagued us now for several years and it does raise some questions about whether countries can fundamentally count on us when the going gets tough. >> suarez: douglas paal, how do you see it? how much of a setback? >> well, symbolically the chinese have prosper it had president said it well in the take you had from his press conference. the symbolic importance of the united states president not being seen by the populations who support the leaderships who cooperate with us and who are looking for the u.s. to be there as a counterweight to china, there's some erosion of support there and the president can make up for it when he gets back out there in time and works on the kinds of ideas that kurt is suggesting. >> woodruff: what are the signs of damage? what do you see that's -- what's already happened? or what hasn't happened that could have? >> it's a very subtle game in asia. it's a long-term game as doug suggests. look, all the countries in asia want the united states there. we've never been more popular,
we've never been more welcome at every table i think we are in a subtle competition with china. we're both working with them in some circumstances and other areas we're competing for influence. countries want to see they can rely on us they're being reminded on a regular basis that china says we're going to be your neighbor for a thousand years, can you really count on the united states in certain circumstances? so when it comes to that critical trade deal and hard determinations about whether you want to work with the united states in the security realm, countries have to think twice. now i agree that we can recover from this but we have to recognize that these have an enduring dwhalt tend to eat am e at some of our credibility. >> woodruff: doug paal, how does the administration recovery? what are some steps they can take right now? >> well, reschedule some of the
meetings. we also have to put a program with cooperative activity, most importantly push the term-specific partnership, which is a very substantial trade agreement for this. waiting for president to the arrive before each of the leaders put the sensitive issues and they're prepared to compromise on on the table together with us and our sensitive issues. that's a big thing that still waits to be done. the. >> woodruff: so in other words some steps had been taken in the so-called asia pivot that the president was talking about but you're saying the time is now to make these next moves? is that it? >> yeah, i agree with that. but it's going to take not just one administration but several to be able to underscore that we recognize as a nation that the history of the 21st century is going to be written in asia and the pacific region and we have two almost gravitational pulls that make this difficult. one is really tough enduring problems in the middle east and south asia that require american
leadership and we just can't walk away from those. we have to gradually shift some of our focus. but at the same time that that's taking place, we've got a gravitational pull at home with more and more people saying let's focus more of our attention and domestic pursuits and our own political domestic dysfunction takes us away from these really stressing challenges in asia. >> woodruff: doug paal, how do our other international partners or adversaries, how do they see what's going on in the u.s.? do they understand? >> they understand very well at the elite level. the popular level not quite so much. people kind of wonder why we're seeing so much of the chinese and the americans not there and i think that erodes the confidence of leaders to stick with what they know which is well the united states has got good economic fundamentals, demographics, science, we're going to be around for a long time and we have the will to be there. they've had a little bit of the setback with the obama administration.
there's a perception widely held in east asia that the team is not as committed to the rebalance to asia as was the case before and these things with syria and israel and everywhere else has compounded it and the president's own policy on how to deal with the syrian chemical weapons when he was talking tough, preparing to attack and then threw it to congress to decide really sent a worry through the region and now they see congress again dragging this back into the president's office and they wonder how enduring are sfwhep >> can i just -- i agree doug. the other thing is that among asian elites it's no secret that traditionally they favor republicans they do because thinkable they're stable on national security and pro-trade so they have looked historically to what you might call eisenhower republicans as sort of the model of what they see. when they look at the mow test i can american political context they don't worry about our
politics and they're worried about it. in addition these trips raise hopes. just to give you an example the last visit of a president to malaysia, one of our top ten trading partner, was in 1967, water buffalos wandering the streets, dirt streets, when lyndon johnson was there there with his ten-gallon hat. >> but when you have this kind of disagreement, even dysfunction going on in washington can an administration, can this administration change the perception? can it get other countries, other leaders to be able to count on u.s. leadership? >> we've done it before. remember in 1997 we had an inability of the president to travel to one of these meetings, we had two in the clinton administration and partly elections restet tone for relations with these countries. as i say, our fundamentals are pretty good. our problem is really the governmental sectors, congress and the administration want to
get themselves on the same message whereas the private sector's doing well, the population is growing, the energy props are being resolved. >> there's a lot to think about here. is the problems as we've been discussing about government shutdown not just domestically affect the whole world. kurt campbell, douglas paal, thank you both. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: finally tonight, we discuss the work of the newest nobel laureate, canadian author alice munro. widely admired as a master of the short story, munro has published 14 collections, often drawing inspiration from her home in rural ontario. at the age of 82, munro announced earlier this year she was retiring. but she's also suggested she would put down her pen before and then continued to publish. that was the case back in 2006. and in fact that summer as she accepted the macdowell medal that celebrate the creative arts from our own robin macneil, she
talked of why she changed her mind about retiring. >> i'm never quite satisfied and i'm somehow always retreating a little bit. because i think i can do more next time and the thing about stocking rising, i say it with perfect honesty, i believe in it! i believe that there's such a thing as a normal life. (laughter) and that i am going to find it someday. (laughter) so i got busy this summer reading books for the giller prize which is very important literary prize in canada and i even brought a book with me and i read it while i was here, this morning after breakfast i went upstairs to read some more of
this book and such the affect of this place that i lay in bed reading and i got an idea. (laughter) >> woodruff: fortunately, the ideas kept coming. jeffrey brown looks at the totality of her career. >> brown: for that, i am joined by deborah treisman, fiction editor
a the "new yorker" magazine. she's worked closely with alice munro for the past 12 years. welcome to you, for those not familiar with the work of monroe, what characterizes it? what makes it nobel worthy? >> >> well, it's just the depth of its insight on human relationships. on how we interact with each other. how we fall in love. how we betray each other. all sort of carried to us in this exquisite perfect prose. it's not showy, it's not glossing over anything, it's
just -- it goes straight to the point and it goes straight to the heart of what we do everyday of our lives. >> brown: the nobel committee cited what all lovers of literature know, that she is the master of contemporary short stories. now the short story is not always honored. it's often admired but not honored and she's
helped change that, right? >> she certainly has. i mean, she's probably one of two or three people who've really dedicated their writing lives to the short story and the only one to really attain the mastery that she has. you know, the this award is not at all misguided. it was really typed. -- time. she's been writing so solidly and steadily for so long and every book gets better. you know, we heard the clip about her giving up writing and to me that's the biggest tragedy here. >> you mean she said she really will this time. do you believe her this time?
>> i think i do. she's been convincing. >> i brought in a copy of one book of hers i have that because it has such a wonderful title i wanted to ask you about themes but it's the one called hateship friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage. now, that's a lot. that's a playful title but it's some of the themes she writes about. >> those are all things that come up in her stories. other things come up, too. parenthood and death and aging, the loss of a child there are many life events that recur in her stories. i don't think that she would ever agree to the idea that she is trying to portray a particular theme. i think she's working with characters and i think she's working with characters thrown together and how they interact and my guess is that when she starts to write a story, when
she gets an idea she's not saying "i'm going to write a story about courtship or marriage" she's saying "i'm going write a story about this person. we'll see what this person does." >> brown: i wanted to ask you about the person because it's interesting to see her in that clip speaking of mcdowell. i know because i've asked to interview her for this program and been turned down before. i know she doesn't like to talk about herself in that public way. what is she like in your interaction? >> she is a very private person. our interaction has always been just wonderful and i think that's because wherever we interact we're deep in the middle of a story and we're thinking about the story and how to make it better and what goes where and which word is going to have the right affect and that is what she loves to do and that's what she spent her life doing. >> suarez: what strikes you about her work as an editor? >> as an editor what strikes me
is the precision of it. it often happens while i'm working on one of her stories that i think something -- i come across a line or a paragraph that seems sort of unnecessary to me or extraneous. i'll put a little "x" through it and i move on and i get about 20 pages later and i say "oh, my goodness, that paragraph was absolutely needed." there's this wonderful craft she has. she's so -- everything feels very natural and everything -- the movement of her stories feels natural. but, in fact, it's very cleverly handled. she's got it mapped out in her mind. >> brown: just about 30 seconds here. is there a book or a story you want to recommend to people? >> there was a story from 1999 which we're actually preprinting in the "new yorker" next week called "bear came over the mountain" which is a story about
a cup where will the -- where the wife develops alzehimer's disease and it turns into a love story of sorts. a very twisted and complicated sorts but it's a fascinating story. >> brown: i know that one well and sitcomly kated but very interesting. debra triesman of the "new yorker" on alice munro. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: again, the other major developments of the day: house republicans made an offer to push back the debt-limit deadline without ending the government shutdown. wall street surged on hopes that the washington stalemate will end soon. the dow industrials gained more than 320 points and the prime online, we asked our student reporting labs to help us prepare for a big interview tomorrow. we're talking to malala yousufzai, the young woman who's taken the world by storm by
standing up for education. our student reporters have sent in their questions for the 16- year-old, and they recorded personal messages for her, all of which you can watch on our homepage. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. for all of us here at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> my customers can shop around; see who does good work and compare costs. it can also work that way with healthcare. with united healthcare, i get information on quality ratings of doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me and my guys make informed decisions. i don't like guesses with my business and definitely not with our health. that's health in numbers. united healthcare.
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this is nightly business report with tyler mathisen and susie gharib brought to you in part by. >> thestreet.com, interactive financial multi media tools for an ever changing financial world. our dividend stock advisor guides and helps generate income during a period of low interest rates. we are thestreet.com. what we want to do is offer the president today the ability to move, a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, an agreement to go to conference on a budget. >> a stunning rally on wall street , the dow posted its second best day this year on hopes the deal in washington is near. but reportedly, president obama says not just yet. and a question for investors is how fragile is this market and how much safe should you put in today's new hire. >> how safe is safe? the debate is puttinga
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