tv PBS News Hour PBS October 18, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama today tapped former pentagon official jeh johnson-- a key architect of counter-terrorism policy-- to be the next secretary of homeland security. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, a closer look at a skull-- nearly two million years old-- that could up-end what we know about the evolution of the human species. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks >> the first exploration outside of africa. and that's pretty mind blowing. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze a very full week of news. 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:
>> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and friends of the newshour. >> 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: we lead off tonight
with president obama's choice to head the department of homeland security, jeh johnson. the president made the official announcement today at the white house. johnson is the pentagon's former top lawyer, who spent much of his career dealing with national security issues. both johnson and the president said that experience would serve him well. >> he's been there in the situation room at the table in moments of decision working with leaders from a host of agencies to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction. >> i love this country, i care about the safety of our people, i believe in public service and i remain loyal to you mr. president. if confirmed by the senate i promise all of my energy, focus and ability toward the task of safeguarding our nation's national and homeland security. >> woodruff: we'll have more on who johnson is and questions likely to come up during his confirmation process, a little later.
saudi arabia appeared to reject its newly acquired seat on the u.n. security council today. it accused the 15-member body of failing to resolve international conflicts like the civil war in syria. its foreign ministry issued a statement that said: but u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon said he's yet to receive official notification of saudi arabia's withdrawal. one of the gunmen in the assault on a shopping mall in kenya has been identified as a norwegian citizen originally from somalia. the somali militant group al- shabab claimed responsibility for last month's four-day siege that killed 67 people. meanwhile, newly-released security video showed four gunmen firing indiscriminately as panicked shoppers and employees tried to flee.
forensic examiners are still studying charred human remains found at the scene, hoping to identify more assailants. authorities in florida conducted a manhunt today for two convicted murderers who were released from prison with the help of forged documents. joseph jenkins and charles walker were both serving life sentences when they were mistakenly set free on separate occasions in recent weeks. florida's department of corrections is changing its early release policy to verify with judges they've signed the paperwork. commuters in san francisco scrambled to look for alternate ways to work today, after bay area rapid transit workers went on strike. there were traffic jams all over the region as many of the 400,000 commuters who regularly ride bart, resorted to cars instead. the walkout began at midnight thursday, after nearly 30 hours of negotiations. the biggest sticking point between the union and bart was
over work rule issues. >> we're very sorry. we understand that this strike, what it does to the bay area riders and we understand that it is a hardship. our union represents thousands of folks, a lot of them are riders and we know that this process is difficult. >> woodruff: it's the second strike in four months for the region's largest transit system. one day after most furloughed federal employees went back to work, the smithsonian's national zoo in washington reopened to the public. the main gates swung open at 10:00 this morning and the zoo director and staff were there to greet visitors. it had been closed for almost three weeks during the government shutdown. all 401 of the country's national parks are also now open. stocks edged higher on wall street today, boosted by several better-than-expected corporate earnings reports. the dow jones industrial average gained 28 points to close above 15,399.
the nasdaq rose 51 points to close at 3,914. for the week, the dow gained 1%. the nasdaq rose more than 3%. former speaker of the u.s. house of representatives tom foley died today of complications from a stroke. he was 84. the democrat represented washington state for 30 years in congress, more than five of them as speaker of the house. he also served as the u.s. ambassador to japan under president clinton. we'll have more on his life and work later in the program tonight. >> woodruff: also ahead on the "newshour": problems with the new online health insurance exchanges; the president's pick to head homeland security; the skull that's simplified human evolution and shields and brooks on the week's news. >> woodruff: now, as the federal
government restarts its engines and the debt ceiling battle fades away, we return to the matter that triggered republican anger at the outset: the rollout of the health insurance exchanges mandated by the affordable care act. the online launch of the federal version-- a marketplace at healthcare.gov that operates in more than 35 states-- has been beset by glitches. ray suarez has our update on the problems plaguing the site. >> suarez: under mounting criticism, the obama administration is acknowledging the difficulties a bit more explicitly this week, during an appearance in cincinnati on wednesday, health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius said: we check in with two chronicling this extensively. sarah kliff of the "washington post" and louise radnofsky of the "wall street journal."
sarah, let me start with you. much-publicized problems of the rollout. if you go today what is waiting for you there? >> that's a good question and it actually varies by person right now. i myself was able to log into the federal web site for the first time on wednesday and i hear from some readers who actually enrolled in insurance, some of them have gotten help from the federal government paying for their premiums. others are stuck at error messages. others can't get through the application process. that's why you see the administration at this point acknowledging the fact it's been a rocky rollout is that we're 18 days into the open enroll. process and it runs the gamut what experience people are having. >> suarez: you did in the the state of virginia? >> yes. >> suarez: did it take multiple tries? >> it did. i cannot tell you how many tries it took because it was so many. i was able to get in on wednesday so that's over two weeks into the launch. once i was able to use the web site it was a smooth experience, a few wait screens here and there but i still hear from readers and people i have been
interviewing who can't get that far which suggests that the problems are still far from fixed. >> pelley: louise, has there been a tape everything off of traffic and has that allowed the government to catch its breath, pay catchone its technical grim lynn? >> it sounds like there's been a tapering off of traffic from people turning up at the site at all but also the federal government put a fix on the web site allowing people to browse anonymously so that reduced the people who were then having to set up accounts in order to window shop and reduce the flow of people who already had coverage and were curious about what premium looked like so it seems like the number of people successfully creating accounts has gone up to one in four. we're seeing there are problems following from that. >> suarez: when you say "successfully creating accounts," that's a precondition for shopping and buying, right? you first have to identify yourself and set yourself up as a user on the site? >> it's no longer a precondition for browsing but for shopping
seriously it is. you have to tell the site who you are and have it verify you're telling the truth. we've had -- i've heard from readers who are struggling at the identity verification stage with some corresponding identity issues of their own. "i am who i say i am! i've been the same person for 45 years, why don't you believe me?" >> suarez: sarah, it's a six-month window for signing soup there's a long time before this is over but if you want to be covered on january 1, the first day this new insurance takes effect by when should these problems be cleared up in order to have a trouble-free experience, be all signed up and certify sod when january 1 comes you're covered? >> so the very last day you can sign up and be covered by january 1 is december 15. that gives the insurance companies about two weeks to process the paperwork. when i talked to advocates, right now they're not worried. they point out what you pointed out, that this is a long enroll. period. they'll say it's a marathon, not
a sprint. but they say if by the end of this month, especially by thanksgiving these problems aren't fixed that's a really big problem because you need to give people some time to weigh these decisions. we're talking about a biggable if decision of purchasing an insurance policy so really if these aren't fixed by early november, mid-november, then i think that's a really significant problem for the administration. >> suarez: louise, with that in mind have a lot of resources been thrown at getting this fixed? >> we think so. the administration said it has a plan. it hasn't been very forthcoming about what the details of that plan are. and it's working around the clock to get it fixed but its time line is "as soon as possible." which is not necessarily the timeline advocates would like. they'd like reassurances it will be done now. we're also hearing from members of congress, democrats across the board saying they want it done on a timeline that is now. >> suarez: a wait screen is one thing. it's maddening but it's a wait screen. there are reports now-- and help me out with this-- that people who are submitting their information online are finding
out that the data that's been recorded is incorrect. that the site is actually not taking up the data they entered properly. >> we've reported this morning that insurers are finding the trickle of people making it to the final stage and enrolling in an insurance plan are turning up, for example, in triplicate or we had an insurer who found one person who turned up with three spouses. they were actually dependents. and right now while very few people are coming through the hurdles because they're getting stopped in some cases at earlier stages or they're genuinely weighing the decision and it's slowing them down, they can handle this, the insurers. they're able to manually go through the forms and check for errors but that's because they're getting 50, 0 enrollees. the fear is when the initial barriers come down, more people start coming through, the volume at that point if there are still glitches in the way information is conveyed to insurers could become a problem and that could impact back end deadlines like december 15. >> suarez: is it a different story, a better story, perhaps, in those states that are running their own exchanges rather than
having the federal government do it? >> it runs the gamut a little bit. there are a few states that have been standouts. kentucky, for example, is one that has enrolled thousands -- tens of thousands of people already. washington state has seen a lot of success with their marketplaces. then you look at a state like hawaii that really wanted this to work, they only got their web site up this past tuesday, two weeks after it was supposed to be up. oregon announced today they haven't been able to enroll anyone into private health insurance plans and hawaii and otherror are states that really wanted this to work. they decided to take on the efforts of setting up these marketplaces so you do really see a big span among the state-based exchanges of how well this is going for them right now. >> suarez: is there a targeted number, a whisper number, you might say, that the federal government wanted to it? that the obama administration wanted to hit by this first month of the rollout? and is there a shot at actually reaching that level? >> well, the congressional budget office projected that seven million people would come
in over the open enroll. season overall. there's an internal memo that i think has been floating around reporting by the associated press that had a first month target that i think was 50,000. so they were always planning-- and they told us this-- for october to be slower than november to be slower than december. that people would be motivated by deadlines and they expected that some people might miss the initial deadline but sign up early in the new year and not be subject to the mandate. it's not clear of course whether they're hitting that target because we haven't seen those numbers. >> suarez: will they be slowed up, those numbers, by the government shutdown? >> there's not a reason why they should be. the administration said they want to release them in november because they want to make sure they're accurate. one of the reasons is they want to match the different data entry source, the paper forms, the call center forms and web sites. they want to make sure there aren't duplicates and what we're hearing from insurers are there are duplicates. >> suarez: now that the struggles are over, is it likely this is going to get-- its troubles and successes-- more
amention the coming iowa caucus? >> i think so in a way it was a good time for the administration to launch a web site that didn't launch very well on october 1. there was all this focus on the federal government shutting down and that's been the big story all of our colleagues have been covering. health care.gov has been a top news item but it's been pushed out of first place by the shutdown. now that the government has been reopened the focus will move back to the web site which makes it even more imperative. and even a higher agenda item for the white house to get it fixed and running accurately now that people are starting to come to it even in higher numbers. >> suarez: sara kliff of the "washington post," louise radnofsky of the "wall street journal," thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next a close look at the man tapped to keep the american homeland safe, borders secured and the country prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies jeh johnson. president obama walked out into
the rose garden to announce the nomination. >> jeh understands that this country is worth protecting not because of what we build or what we own, but because of who we are, and that's what sets us apart. we have to stay ready when disaster strikes and help americans recover in the aftermath. we've got to fix our broken immigration system in a way that strengthens our borders, modernizes legal immigration and makes sure everybody is playing by the same rules. >> woodruff: an attorney in government and private practice, jeh johnson said he could not refuse this opportunity to serve once again. >> i am a new yorker and i was present in manhattan on 9-11, which happens to be my birthday. when that bright and beautiful day-- a day something like this- - was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history, i wandered the streets of new york that day and wondered, and asked what can i do. since then i've tried to devote
myself to answering that question. >> woodruff: johnson served as general counsel of the air force during the clinton years. then in private life, he became a prominent democratic fundraiser, up through the obama campaign, before returning to the defense department as its top lawyer during the president's first term. as general counsel, he helped shape many of the administration's counter- terrorism strategies, most notably, its controversial use of drone strikes in countries like pakistan, yemen and somalia. he also co-authored the pentagon's report on gays serving openly in the military, that ushered in the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 2010. shortly before leaving government in december 2012, johnson spoke of the need to fight terrorism without being on a perpetual wartime footing. >> i do believe that on the
present course, there will come a tipping point-- a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the united states. >> woodruff: if confirmed by the senate, johnson will succeed she stepped down in september to lead the university of california system. like his predecessors, johnson will have his work cut out for him, taking the helm of a sprawling department, home to 22 agencies and still grappling with growing pains more than a decade after it was created. to tell us more about jeh johnson and the challenges that face the next head of the department of homeland security, i'm joined by daniel klaidman, a correspondent for "the daily beast."
and charlie savage, reporter for the "new york times." welcome to you both. dan klaidman, i want to talk to you first. it took a while for the administration to make this choice. why did they go with him? >> it did take them a while to go with jeh johnson, but my understanding is the president actually began to focus on him very early on back in august, actually, and the administration was quite discreet about it. we didn't learn about it until just yesterday, really. i think they went with jeh johnson for a couple of reasons. i think the president's top priority was finding someone who had really strong national security and counterterrorism credentials. any president stays up at night worrying about the reality that there are people out there who are trying to attack america and kill innocent civilians here. and so in jeh johnson i think he found someone who he believed shared his basic views about
approaching -- how to approach national security and counterterrorism. that is to say to aggressively defend the country now do it within a framework of law. and i think he found that comforting. and also particularly in a second term. i think presidents often like to choose people who they have worked with, no well. jeh johnson was a -- you know, someone who was well known inside the white house, attended many meetings with the president and so the president had the beneficiary of his judgment and advice and i think he found that comforting. >> woodruff: charlie savage, let me turn to you. on johnson's experience with counterterrorism, with national security, what kinds of decisions was he involved with at the pentagon and how did he handle them and why did that make him attractive at the white house? >> well, i think that one way to understand jeh johnson's tenure as the top lawyer in the pentagon in the first term of
the obama administration is that in many debates he was seeking on behalf of his client to preserve greater latitude and flexibility and options. and so when some voices in the administration were arguing for -- as a legal matter, not a policy matter less ability to carry out drone strikes against lower-level militants in places like somalia, jeh johnson was the voice saying "no, al-shabaab is a full affiliate of al qaeda, it's a cobelligerent in the war on terror and if we are at war with them. if the policymakers choose, they can target lower-level militants in places like somalia." on the other hand, in the debate over what to do in the war in libya, as the 60-day mark neared and there had been in congressional authorization for it, jeh johnson was a voice of restreupbt in that case. he was arguing that the administration needed to ramp down its military engagement because of the war powers resolution and the restrictions on presidential power that it
imposed against other voices in the administration who in that case were arguing for greater flexibility. so he's been engaged in some of the thornier legal dilemmas that this administration has encountered. he was a major player in reforming military commissions in 2009 and then restarting them a couple years later as well as the "don't ask, don't tell" law you mentioned. >> woodruff: so dan klaidman, let's turn this to the department of homeland security. huge agency. 240,000 employees, 22 different agencies under the department umbrella. what is it that he -- that a leader of that agency needs to be able to do? >> well that is really one of the most difficult management challenges in the entire federal government partly because what you eluded to before, all of these agencies that have different missions and different cultural heritages and they've
only been working together for a relatively short period of time. so what the head of the agency -- department of homeland security has to do is to find a way to unify all of these disparate components and agencies and get everybody moving in the same direction. that that is an enormously difficult task. think of the fact that you have the border patrol, you've got guys on horses in california, you have customs people in belling on the, california. all over the country. and none of these people really have strong connections to the leadership? washington. they may have resolved this, but there are logistical problems in a place like day which he is wherd.h.s. where there isn'ta co communicating with people is difficult so all of these things the head of d.h.s. is going to have to do. >> woodruff: it is a sense that johnson brings the
background to run -- he clearly ran a lot of lawyers at the pentagon. what about his experience running something as big as d.h.s.? >> unlike his likely predecessor if he gets confirmed, janet napolitano, who had been the governor of a border state, unlike ray kelly, the new york police commissioner who was mentioned as a potential pick for this slot, jay johnson has not run a very, very large organization from the executive board room level. he's been the lawyer for people who have done that. and so this will -- he's a policy thinker, he's a very deliberative person, he's given speeches that i think the president admires about the future of the war on terror but i would also suspect that he will need a deputy who has more sort of day to day make the trains run on time experience for this to be a productive successful management experience for him. >> woodruff: dan klaidman what is it that -- i think judy. >> woodruff: go ahead. >> i was going to say i think the question for jeh johnson --
because no one really expects the head of a department to run the department in a really granular sense. they have to have vision, they have to have leadership abilities. the question for jeh johnson is going to be does he have the judgment to pick the right people, to put a team around him that can do this? does he have the confidence to keep the people who are already there who are good? one example would be the head of fema, craig fuel gate who by all accounts have done a miraculous job transforming fema. so he would look to -- i would think to keep someone like him. full gate. and does he have the ability to delegate? ultimately those are the kinds of leadership questions that people are going to want to know and hear about from jeh johnson. >> woodruff: very quick answer from you, charlie savage. is he expected to get a rough ride from republicans during confirmation? >> we did see a few republican voices saying "hey, this guy is a democratic fund-raiser, he's a
-- this is not the person you put in charge of d.h.s., this is the person that you give a plum ambassadorship to." and i think that criticism will be attempted against him. the problem is, he's had such a substantive career in addition to being a major democratic fund-raiser that it's going to be hard to portray him as someone who's simply someone who did some favors to obama back in the day. >> suarez: charlie savage, dan klaidman, we thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now to an important finding of ancient fossils that could rewrite the latest thinking about human evolution and is the subject of scientific debate. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: the 1.8 million year- old skull is the most complete ever found of a human ancestor from what's known as the human genus homo. it was unearthed in 2005 below a
medieval village in the former soviet republic of georgia. now, after eight years of research, the scientists who found it say it may show that human evolution followed a more straight-forward line than has been thought and that fossils currently identified as different species, may actually be variations within a single species. >> this new discovery shows that many features which we previously thought as variability and diversity could be lumped in one group. and the dmanisi skull is best preserved find that we ever had in the world. so it helps us to see from different angles human evolution and history of our genus homo. >> brown: other scientists were more cautious in making that leap, though, even as they acknowledged that the new findings, published in the journal "science", were spectacular, indeed.
one of those scientists joins me now. donald johanson is professor of human evolution and social change and founding director of the institute of human origins at arizona state university. in 1974, during an anthropological dig in ethiopia, he discovered the 3.2 million year-old hominid skeleton popularly known as lucy. welcome to you. part of what makes this so exciting and usual is just having a complete skull from that period, right? >> well, i think it's mind-boggling. the preservation of this specimen from georgia is extraordinary. it looks like something that you would find in a dissection room. it's so complete. it's got president lower jaw, the entire face, the complete brain case. it's a view into the past into what our earliest ancestors and our own genus homo looked like that none of us anticipated. >> brown: then there's the grouping of these remains at the site. explain why this is important.
>> reporter: at the site which is just about 20 kilometers north of armenia in georgia there is a single geological layer, almost a snapshot in geological time, of a collection of bones including five skulls, the most recent one announced, of course, is skull 5. but also limb bones of the arms and legs and associated animal bones. and we know the t geological studies that this stratum samples a very, very thin period of time, maybe just over a few years. it was about 1.8 million years ago when probably saber tooth cats killed and fed upon these early humans and dragged these skeletons into the cave where they were preserved and didn't see light until 1.8 million years later. brown spwroup that grisly past gives us interesting clues to what might have happened, though. so so t to try to explain this n layman terms why this interesting to evolution, the
thinking has been there were various species that some died out, some kept going through to our own that this at least raises the possibility that they were all part of one species? >> well, i think it's a little bit premature to include all of the specimens of our human genus homo that have been found in africa, that have been found in asia and now in armenia together in a single species. i think that the level of variation that we look at, the differences in the shape of the skull, and the face and the teeth and the jaws and so on exceeds the definition of a single species and in afternoon a it appears we have several species. it's not unusual for mammalian groups. all mammals undergo a certain degree of diversification. darwin knew that when he drew a family tree. it had many branches on it. this is one of those branches but i think what we see in the rare united nations in the african fossils is the presence of several different species. >> brown: what is in the the
researchers at this site, what that r they saying they see that suggests a little more lynn ya to them? >> well, they see a clear connection-- as we all do-- between the sharyn alfonsi sills themselves and the shape of the face and teeth and jaws with the fossils in africa that reach back over two million years. so i think they see a lineage of homo coming out of africa but i think there were other experiments in africa that did not give rise to anything. that actually were extinct side branches. so what they see really is a direct connection between their fossils and a form or species in eastern africa known as homo ergaster, which means "the workman." and that was a species that goes back over two million years and probably was the pro generaltor for that lineage to that led out of africa and the is being picked up now in places like this site.
>> brown: and this site, is it strange that a discovery -- this discovery was made in what's now georgia on the eurasian continent rather than in afterafrica? what does it tell us about early ancestors and does it change anything in our thinking about origins in africa? >> well, i think almost every time we hear about a new discovery of a human ancestor it points to africa. but here is a totally unanticipated place between the caspian sea and the black swrae hardly anybody ever thought of looking except these georgian scientists who are working there. and came up -- have come up with discoveries that really revolutionize our ideas of when and why our ancestors left africa. we used to think that we only got out of africa maybe 500,000, maybe a million years ago. these are 1.8 million years old. we used to think that we didn't get out of africa until we had controlled fire, that we had sophisticated technology, there's no evidence for fire at
this site. they had very rudimentary simple flake stone tools. this was man the explorer. this was part of what it means to be human, i think, that we are inquisitive, searching animals and we are interested in knowing what's beyond the next mountain. what's around the next sand dune or whatever. and this is the first exploration of our genus outside of africa and that's pretty mind blowing. >> brown: just briefly, can you tell us what this creature, whatever it was, this skull, what would it have looked like and what would it have done? >> well, i think that that's part of the importance of having a series of five skulls. we know, for example, that there was differences -- it was a significant difference in size. males were much larger, more heavily built with thick brow ridges across the tops of their orbits. very heavy muscle insertions probably around five and a half, maybe six feet in stature.
females someone shorter, much more lightly built, creatures that still had relatively small brains but much bigger than the ape man fossils that we study in africa, we call the tongue twister australopithecus. but this was an adivanment in evolutionary change, this was a time where we were undergoing a major transition from these ape like creatures to human like creatures and the few features we see like an increase in brain saoeupblg are very significant because it means that these are creatures that were much more intelligent. that had a degree of inquisitiveness and ability that we have not anticipated. >> brown: okay a very exciting discovery. donald johanson at arizona state university. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, we remember former speaker of the house tom foley, who died today. his long political career
stretched across another period of bitter congressional battles over budget priorities. that meant he was a frequent guest on the "newshour," explaining what was going on. we took advantage of our archives to put together this timely look at a different era in washington. kwame holman reports. >> ...so help me god. >> reporter: tom foley was elected speaker in 1989, after texas democrat jim wright resigned amid an ethics scandal. five years later, the tidal wave of the newt gingrich-inspired republican revolution swept the washington state congressman and his democrats out of power. foley served 30 years in the house, including more than five as speaker, and never spent a single day in the minority. >> you have bestowed upon me a great honor and a responsibility. i will devote every ability i have to justify and maintain your confidence and the integrity of this house of representatives, and protect the
rights and welfare of all members so that we can fulfill our high responsibility in representing the people of this nation. >> reporter: later in that day in june 1989, foley spoke with jim lehrer about his new role. >> do you have one thing in mind that you could tell me now that you're going to change as speaker, the way the house of representatives operates? >> it's not one thing or one day. these tendencies towards recrimination and rancor developed over many months; some would say over many years. i think what's essential to turn this back toward a mood of conciliation and mutual respect is the fairness that i intend to demonstrate if i have any capacity to do this, i intend to exercise it, to convince all of the members of the house that i am going to be impartial, that i'm going to conduct the speakership with absolute
fairness toward both parties, that i'm going to make the procedures of the house clearly fair for every member, i'm going to protect the rights of all the members. >> reporter: foley would become a staunch ally of president bill clinton after his election in 1992. as speaker, foley helped shepherd key clinton initiatives through congress, including his 1993 economic plan. but that highly-contentious vote ultimately would cost many democratic lawmakers their jobs in the 1994 midterms. foley himself became the highest-profile casualty of a 54-seat democratic loss and the first speaker since the civil war to lose his gavel at the ballot box. a month after his defeat, foley appeared on the "newshour," telling margaret warner about his hopes for the direction of the house and the politics of the country moving forward. >> there has been a tendency of some republicans to try to use denigration of the institution of the house of representatives as a means of achieving power. and i think that frankly, with the press coverage and with other things, the house has, as
an institution, has been subjected to excessive criticism, not that it should be not criticized, it should be, particularly when there are legitimate problems in the operation of the house that ought to be subject to public scrutiny and criticism, but i think as a political device, a kind of bringing the house in disrepute in order to effect a change in the majority, there's been a policy on some quarters of doing that. beyond that, individual democrat as well as republican members have sometimes used their own attack on the house as a kind of foil against their own better service. i hope that comes to an end. >> reporter: foley went on to say: >> this is the people's body, the house of representatives, and i think the overwhelming number of members who serve here, democrats and republicans, try very hard under a very serious opportunity and honor to represent the people that send them there, and i think the institution may i hope improve in public confidence in the future. >> so that's an irony. you're saying with the republicans taking over, you think some of this tearing down will stop, actually. >> if you're in command of the ship, at least for a time, you have to declare it fit and seaworthy and so on. i think that will happen. >> reporter: ten years later, foley appeared on the "newshour" with the man who'd led the republican charge in 1994, his successor, newt gingrich. they discussed an issue still
very much part of debate in the house, including in the recent budget debate, a speaker's decision to bring up legislation that lacks the support of a majority of the party in power. >> you don't want to routinely be bringing bills to the floor that a majority of your own party is opposed to. the speaker is the speaker of the whole house; he's also the leader of his party in the house of representatives. i think you don't want to bring bills to the floor that a majority of your party is opposed to routinely but sometimes when a great issue is at stake, i think you need to do that. >> reporter: and that is what current speaker john boehner did this week, as the house approved a plan to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit with most of his republicans voting no. >> woodruff: speaker john boehner remembered the democrat as a "forthright and warmhearted" public servant and said foley had a "solid sense of fairness, which remains a model for any speaker or representative." president obama today called foley a "legend" of the congress with an ability to "find common ground with members of both
parties." we remember him and look back at this week now with shields and brooks. that is, syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. mark, you knew tom foley well. what legacy -- it was a very different time in washington. >> it was. it's only 20 years ago, judy, but he brought to it -- to his whole public career a meticulous sense of fairness and a genuine respect for the opinions of others. tom foley i heard him say time and again "you are the speaker of the house." he was a great historian, scholar. he said "there are only two offices defined in the constitution, the president of the united states and the speaker of the house." and he said "you're not speaker of a party." and he wasn't. he was always -- he would -- bob michael, the republican leader, was a good friend. he gould to bob michael's office for meetings. which is in the protocol of washington not done. you come to the president or you come to the speaker.
and he was just a -- he believed in the institution. in terms of substance there were three individuals who were responsible for food stamps in the nutrition plan in this country that according to to the census bureau lifted four million americans above poverty level last year and they were bob dole, republican from kansas, george mcgovern, democrat from south dakota and tom foley who was the house -- chairman of the house agriculture committee. those were the, i guess, to the critic it is unholy trinity but they were the three people who made a difference. he was really an exceptional american and exceptional public servant. >> woodruff: and that was a bipartisan group. david, his death comes two days after the end of this -- i don't know what we want to call it, armageddon. the week that -- three weeks that swallowed washington. what are we left with after all this? >> well, we're left with people unlike tom foley. he was an institutionist.
he was like scoop jackson who was a sent tryst democrat. he believed the institution would transcend generations and he was the temporary steward of that. that isn't in evidence these days and i think we're left with the pointless armageddon, if you want to put it that way, is a republican party wondering and the democrats looking at the republican party and wondering. democrats are feeling pretty good. republicans are not feeling good. and the question is, is the republican party going to change? will what i would call the reality caucus take back control of the party? and i am more optimistic than most that the people who do believe in the basic functions of legislation-- including mitch mcconnell-- are finally fed up. and they've always been fed up privately, but whether they actually is the courage of their convictions has been in doubt until now. i think they're beginning to get that courage and i think outside
the donor class, all those people are deciding we need institutions to match the tea party institutions. so i think you're seeing some kernels of change. >> woodruff: do you want the safe optimism about what david is calling the reality caucus? >> i'm not sure, judy. i think all the energy, all the passion, all the intense city with the tea party and conservative army within the republican party. yes, republicans agree the party has to change but a solid majority of them believes they have to be more conservative. that's the change they should do. if you're a tea party member, you know the party's lost five of the last six popular elections, popular vote national elections and you sit there and you say, well, we nominated john mccain in 2008, he was a bipartisan guy, he was a reformer, a maverick, he lost. we lost mitt romney in 2012, he was a blue state governor and he lost. we won once in the past four elections, that was in 2010, we
went 63 seats because we stood unabashedly and unambiguously conservative. and my goodness, that's why -- and i just think that's a strong -- david's right, there is a -- among the leadership, the establishment of the party, the donors, we've got to do something about this but i just think the energy and intensity and passion, the people who are going to you have to envelopes, make calls, go door to door, drive people polls are with the conservatives at this point. >> woodruff: what do you think happens to those folks who tried so hard to defund obamacare, defund health care law who really wanted more out of this confrontation than they got. what happens to them? >> well, they'll have to figure it out. they're putting on a brave face today but they were so legislatively incompetent. competence does matter. they started a fight they couldn't win, there was no possibility of winning and they marched the party into disaster. so can they be unaware of that? the rest of the party isn't unaware of that. if they hadn't done this, we spent the last week talking
about how badly the obamacare web site is rolling out. sarah kliff made that point in the program. there was a colossal blunder. if i were president obama what i would do right now to test this proposition, i would go full bore on immigration. if the -- i'll keep calling them the reality caucus. if they can retake control then they will pass something like the senate passed and president obama will have a big substantive victory. if the energy is on the tea party side and they can't pass anything they'll have further marginalized themselves and the president will have a great political victory. so this is the opportunity to test the proposition whether the republican party can change or not. immigration is the issue. >> woodruff: this is one of the issues he mentioned, besides the budget and the farm bill. >> that's right. i think, judy, looking at the democrats right now you had two of the most authoritative observers of congressional elections-- stu rothenberg who appeared on this broadcast this week with susan page and you--
charlie cook of the cook report moved 14 seats toward the democrats that week. but in the democrats direction. if you're sitting there as a day. you're saying you want more than this. going into 2014, david and i question whether they could win the majority. there is an outside chance, maybe a growing outside chance the democrats could. >> woodruff: try to show them up? >> pelley: try to encourage -- we didn't have a peace treaty. we had a cease-fire. in the political wars. it's only for 0 days. i think probably that if anything strengthens the other side. don't forget, mitch mcconnel mcconnelled that cochran in mississippi, lamar alexander, they all have primary challenges. >> pelley: these are republicans. >> republican senators running for reelection. so, you know, i think that there's a chance that quite to
the contrary we may see the democrats encouraging the tea party group to engage. >> if i were a democrat i would have a tk-pb -- an evil impulse to spend the next two years destroying the republican party. >> aren't you glad you're not a democrat? >> i remain pure for that reason. so pick an issue in which the tea party tears apart the republican party and they'll nominate ted cruz or rand paul and they'll carrie three counties in mississippi. >> you heard tom foalfully the interview with jim lehrer saying "how often can a speaker bring something to the floor where his own part gee opposed to it." john boehner sendin send standit the press sis, only one-third of his entire caucus supported the resolution and the compromise crafted by the senate. i don't know on -- i don't think on immigration you've got even
close to one-third, do you? of the republican party? >> not right now. it would take some change. on the budget if we've got a couple more -- not to far we'll be in another budget fight there's a good chance they will have a deal. i think republicans won't make the same mistake again. they'll invent new ones. the deal will look like where they have entitlement reform, medicare and what they call buy back the stp +*eser which is to increase domestic spending which is what democrats want to do and also corporate tax loophole closing. >> woodruff: you think the republicans are going to increase to revenue -- agree to revenue increases? >> they won't do this again so soon. i can't believe they won't have a confrontation. >> woodruff: you're making a face? >> i would be, frankly, surprised. i don't see that kind of willingness. i'm happy the raeg order is established, we are having a conference of the house and senate.
i think that's progress but i'm not as -- this courtship i don't think is going to preproduce this beautiful child. >> i am reminded again of the fact that i'm the one who predicted there wouldn't be a shutdown because republicans wouldn't be that stupid! >> woodruff: we have spared reminding either one of you what you predicted. how does speaker boehner come out of this? >> if his job to keep the republican party in high national poll ratings, not so well. if his job was to stay speaker and minimize the damage i think he did pretty well. he'll probably, i think -- we've differed over there, there's no alternative. i think he did what he had to do for the tea party people and showed he could fight with them at the end of the day he minimized what would have been a complete disaster. >> the republican brand is discredited, the party is at its lowest point. he's seen as the leader by republicans. the republican party sees its two national leaders right now-- according to the most recent pew
poll-- john boehner and ted cruz. those are the two leading figures. if that's the case it's not a very good shepherd at this point. >> woodruff: affordable health care, you touched on this a minute ago, david. to the extent this is one of the president's major initiatives of his administration, a lot of problems so far, what are we to make of the fact that we're a month in and they're still having the problems. >> they got good people to run the web site and a backup team called the red team to test it. and they still messed it up. what does that tell us? it tells us government is not a business. businesses have long traditions and a set of incentive structures to do things like web pages. the stock exchanges have very sophisticated exchange which is they can do because they have the institutions. i don't think got is fantastic about this. i suspect at the end of the day they may fix this but we should be suspicious of the idea of a big national exchange. if they can't do think why
should we think they have national exchanges and we should be suspicious they're going to do other parts of the exchange down the road. >> it's been blimp upon glitch upon problem upon problem. nothing but headaches. in the final analysis, americans will be practical and that is does it works? but the early returns are not encouraging by any means and not confidence building but we'll find out a year from now whether, in fact, the program has worked, whether what was promised has been delivered but when you have states like hawaii and otherror which -- were most friendlfriendly to this initiate still unable to provide the kind of basic service and basic applications we're looking for. it's pretty discouraging. >> woodruff: so if you're president obama you're hoping something gets fixed? >> you're really angry if you're president obama. you feel you should have been told about this. you should have had some
rational expectations about how complicated this would be and you're beating people up to fix it. >> we won't beater they are one of you up. we're just glad to have you with us. david brooks, mark shields, thank you both. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: president obama nominated jeh johnson, the pentagon's former top lawyer, to be the secretary of homeland security. saudi arabia appeared to reject its new seat on the u.n. security council. and former speaker of the u.s. house of representatives, tom foley, died at the age of 84. on the "newshour" online right now, watch jeffrey brown's conversation with novelist jonathan leetham, who also reads an excerpt of his new book, "dissident gardens." it's on our art beat page. and get suggestions for raising financially-literate, spending- savvy kids on making sense. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org.
and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen is preparing for "washington week" which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> ifill: chaos, calamity, and dysfunction were the watch words in washington this week. we'll examine how we got to this point and who's paying the economic and political price tonight on "washington week." judy? >> woodruff: tomorrow's edition of "pbs newshour weekend" looks at chile's effort to change its culture and become a country of entrepreneurs. it all started with a devastating earthquake there in 2010. >> at the time of the earthquake, nicholas shea was a graduate student at stanford university. shea wanted to help his country rebuild, but how could this budding entrepreneur help the recovery effort? inspiration came to him when he saw how foreign students attending stanford were forced to leave the united states after graduation because of difficulties getting a visa. >> literally there were hundreds
and thousands of to be entrepreneurs that were not being and are not being welcomed in the u.s. and i remember thinking how much if i were president or if i had -- if i was in a position of power, how much would i pay each one of these individuals to come and spend some time in chile? >> woodruff: "pbs newshour" weekend with hari sreenivasan airs saturday and sunday on most pbs stations. and we'll be back, right here, on monday, when same-sex weddings will be celebrated in new jersey for the first time and we'll update where gay marriage stands in the states. that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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