tv PBS News Hour PBS January 12, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> inskeep: and i'm steve inskeep. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, what to do about russia? the president-elect's picks to head the pentagon and the c.i.a. face senators' questions over future relations with moscow. >> inskeep: also ahead, judy sits down with one of the president's closet advisors, valerie jarret, about mr. obama's life outside the oval office. >> he will speak out when he believes his voice can move the needle, make a difference and be an inspiration to those who are looking for positive change in our country. >> woodruff: and, how one sculptor is breaking down barriers with art that questions identity in a globalized, modern world. >> a lot of the figures are of a mixed race.
they are neither white nor black. i think that also i wanted to get away from the binary, the dividing of people. >> inskeep: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation.
supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at rockefellerfoundation.org >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> 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: tough talk on russia today from the trump nominees to run the pentagon and the c.i.a. at their senate confirmation hearings, both men took a harder line than the president-elect has, on dealing with the kremlin. the defense secretary-designate, retired marine general james mattis, minced no words. >> we have a long list of times that we've tried to engage positively with russia. we have a relatively short list of successes in that regard. and i think right now the most important thing is the reality of what we deal with putin. and that recognize that he is trying to break the north atlantic alliance. >> woodruff: at a separate hearing, the c.i.a. nominee, kansas congressman mike pompeo, accused the russians of "aggressive action" in meddling in the u.s. presidential election.
we'll take a much longer look at today's statements by both men, right after the news summary. in the day's other news, the first of 3,500 u.s. troops arrived in southwestern poland, in a nato buildup to deter russia. the armored brigade combat team was met with fanfare from the polish military and public. the u.s. now plans to keep troops in poland on an ongoing basis. russia charged the u.s. move threatens its own security. >> inskeep: f.b.i. director james comey will face an investigation of his investigation of hillary clinton's emails. the justice department's inspector general says he'll examine what the bureau did and what it said before the election. that includes comey's disclosure in late october that agents were reviewing emails again. nothing came of that review, but clinton says it hurt her chances. >> woodruff: the nominee for u.s. housing secretary defended his qualifications for the job today at his confirmation hearing. dr. ben carson, a former neurosurgeon, said after growing
up poor, in inner city detroit, he's committed to affordable housing for the poor. but democrat elizabeth warren pressed carson to guarantee that federal housing funds won't go to help the trump family's real estate business. >> it will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any american-- >> i understand that-- >> it's for all americans, everything we do-- >> --do i take that to mean you may manage programs that will significantly benefit the president elect? >> --you can take it to mean i will manage things to benefit the american people, that is going to be the goal. >> woodruff: also today, the president-elect tapped rudy giuliani to advise his administration on cybersecurity. the former new york city mayor is a long trump friend who campaigned for him. he currently heads a cybersecurity consulting firm. giuliani was considered for several cabinet jobs, but ultimately pulled himself out of the running.
there is also word this evening that president obama will scrap a policy allowing any cubans who get to u.s. soil to stay. the white house announcement follows months of negotiation, and it means that cubans trying to flee the communist island could be sent back. the existing policy had been in effect since 1995. >> inskeep: baltimore has committed to changing the way its police do business. the city reached agreement today with the u.s. justice department. they were responding to the case of freddie gray, who died after being taken into police custody. baltimore cops will have to work the streets differently. they have to change the way they stop suspects. and an independent monitor will check on their process. the agreement is one of the final acts for attorney general loretta lynch. >> this consent decree is going to empower the community and it will strengthen the police force in their pure crime fighting role as well as the role that engages the community. and with that we hope we will have a reduction in crime in
baltimore but more importantly an increase in the participation of community in this entire process. >> inskeep: the agreement comes after the justice department found baltimore police commonly stopped poor or black residents without good cause. >> woodruff: the environmental protection agency accused fiat chrysler today of cheating on emissions testing. it involves software that lets some ram pickups and jeep grand cherokees emit more pollution than federal law allows. just yesterday, volkswagen pleaded guilty to emissions cheating. >> inskeep: americans who really want obamacare repealed, started to get what they want this morning. the republican-led senate passed a budget rule that amounts to a first step. americans who want to know what replaces obamacare still don't know. republicans don't agree what to do with millions who gained insurance under the law. to finish the job, republicans need democrats and also president-elect trump, who's said he wants replacement "nearly simultaneously" with repeal.
>> woodruff: the storms that brought a deluge to parts of california are moving on, and leaving some good news in their wake. federal officials announced today that 42% of the state has now emerged from a five-year drought, thanks to all that rain. still, some northern california communities remain paralyzed by flooding. in towns like hollister, the surge took people by surprise. >> house is ok, but all around me, my cars, we're stranded in, uness i get carried out or driven out. my yard is just an ocean, but i don't really do agriculture or nothing. until it flows out i just have a big lake in my backyard for now. >> woodruff: forecasters expect the rainfall in northern california to taper off after today. >> inskeep: amazon said it plans to hire 100,000 full-time workers over the next year and a half. the company intends to open pop- up retail stores, largely in texas and california. amazon will grow, as traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers like macy's are cutting thousands of jobs.
>> woodruff: and on wall street, a drop in bond yields sent bank stocks into a slump, and pushed down the broader market. the dow jones industrial average lost 63 points to close at 19,891. the nasdaq fell 16 points, and the s&p 500 slipped almost five. still to come on the newshour: president obama's most trusted advisor: valerie jarrett. economists grade the president's record on job growth. one artist's quest to break down stereotypes through dynamic sculptures, and much more. >> inskeep: president-elect trump has said he would like to improve relations with russia. his choice for defense secretary views russia as america's number one threat. let's listen to general james mattis at his hearing today.
>> i would consider the principle threats to start with russia, and it would certainly include any nations that are looking to intimidate nations around their periphery, regional nations nearby them, whether it be with weapons of mass destruction or i would call it unusual, unorthodox means of intimidating them. for that we turn to michael mcfaul. he served as ambassador to russia from 2012 to 2014, and is now a political science professor at stanford university, and senior fellow at the hoover institution. and evelyn farkas. she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for russia, ukraine and eurasia from 2012 to 2015. she's now a senior fellow at the atlantic council, which is a washington security think-tank. welcome to you both. evelyn, let's start with you. is mattis right, russia is the number-one threat? it's not china, it's not north carolina, it's not isis? >> nope, it's not the others.
it's interesting because he mentioned russia by name. he did not mention the others by name. the second category he gave could have included russia. >> inskeep: countries using unorthodox means, like cyber attacks, cyber operations, strategic communications, fake news, et cetera. but it also could have included and probably does include north korea as well as china and other actors. so other actors that decide to emcollate or copy russia, but russia is the biggest one because they're trying to rewrite the rules of the international order far more than china, although china is pushing the envelope, as well. >> inskeep: i want the wring ambassador mcfaul into the conversation, but first let's hear what sounds like a contrary view. we know the president-elect wants russia to be a friend. president obama has not wanted to say russia is that great of a threat. he doesn't seem all this worried. let's listen to the president in december. >> the russians can't change us
or significantly weaken us. they are a smaller country. they are a weaker country. their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. they don't innovate. but they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. >> inskeep: ambassador mcfaul, that's your former boss. is russia really that dangerous? >> i think russia is dangerous, not a superpower. i know what the president is trying to say. i worked for him for five years, not just two. he doesn't want us to overreact. he doesn't want to go back to the cold war and some superpower competition, but my own view, and i think general mattis stated something similar today, russia is a challenge for the united states. it is a threat to some of our allies. and what means they have,
they're prepared to use them. that's the big difference. take cyber capability. we have way more cyber capability than they do. we could intervene in their elections easily. we choose not to do so because we're a different country. that's what obama was trying to say. the means that mr. putin has, he's not afraid to use them. >> inskeep: i'm remembering the word "asymmetric," which we all had to learn about 9/11 when we heard about ais symmetric threats. al qaeda was not that large, not conventionally powerful, didn't control territory, but they found new ways to project power that were extraordinarily dangerous. is this an asymmetric situation with russia, where they are a relatively weak country in many way, but they have found new ways to strike out at their neighbors and the united states? >> i believe so. i think in a couple of instance, number one, i just mentioned cyber. they have kinds of capabilities, they use those capabilities in different ways, political ways than we're prepared to do so.
with respect to their military, of course, they don't have the military means at all compared to the united states of america. but they were prepared to use their military to annex territory on their maybe and then intervene in eastern ukraine. we're not prepared to do that. then number three, i think something that's really understudied and misunderstood is their use of information. they are very bold in the world of information, propagating their ideas, using companies like r.t. and sputnik to do that, and they don't play by the same rules. what we call news, fact versus fiction, they're a lot more loose in terms of those definitions. that has a greater effect therefore because they play by different rules. >> inskeep: evelyn farkus, russia has been emboldened by a weak response from the united
states. in ukraine and other places the united states has not step forward. is there some justice in that view? >> i regretfully say there is some justice in the view because the only thing the kremlin, this cadre of people supporting vladimir putin and vladimir putin himself understand is strength, is resolve, and they will not stop until they are given the sense that the costs will be too high and they will have gone too far. the other part of this is that putin himself is a with it -- bit of a risk taker, so incirlik secretary of stating ukraine in east in particular, crimea was risky, the east was risky and he didn't pull it off completely. and then syria was very risky. boat these operations, as mike pointed out, were using their military, but they actually didn't use their whole military either. they were pretty much economies of force. but i think, yes, of course we need to be stronger. we need to deter the russians and show resolve, which is why cooperating with them on the other hand can be more difficult. >> inskeep: let's talk express
setly about russian president vladimir putin and president-elect trump. president-elect trump talked about putin at his news conference yesterday. let's listen to a little bit of that. >> if putin likes donald trump, i consider that an asset, not a liability. because we have a horrible relationship with russia. russia can help us fight isis, which by the way is number one tricky. >> inskeep: i want the add one other thing, ambassador mcfaul, because donald trump sent out a tweet the other day. he said, "having a good relationship with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. only stupid people or fools would think it was bad." you think it was directed at you? what's wrong with having a good relationship with russia? >> well, first, two things, i want to be clear that when you mention the republican critique of president obama, that is not president-elect trump's critique, right? so you have a real clash within the republican party and i think within the trump administration about how to develop policy toward russia. but here's what i would say to
that tweet: it should never be the goal of u.s. foreign policy toward any country to have a "good relation." then what? what do we get out of that? we have approval matings amongst russians. how does that advance american national security interests? i think you have to flip it around. he has to define what he seeks to achieve with russia and then use diplomacy and sometimes coercion to achieve those ends. right now aside from this fight with isis, which i would just underscore, you know, the obama administration has been trying to fight isis with russia for several years now, there's no disagreement there, they just have not been useful because the russians don't want the fight isis in syria. they want the leave that to us. aside from, that i don't know what are the objectives that mr. trump seeks in having a good relationship with mr. putin. >> inskeep: that leads to one more point, negin farsad. today senator john mccain said
russia is not going to be our friend. russia wants and needs to be our enemy, and they're not going to cooperate even on isis. so what can the united states achieve then? >> we can try to get them to cooperate on isis, but as mike pointed out, we spent months of the administration trying to get them to cooperate on terrorism, actually starting with the sochi olympics where it was on their territory. you would have thought they would have wanted to cooperate. and i think you pointed to a very important point, the russian domestic situation. in 018 vladimir putin will be up for reelection, and he has shifted his whole political strategy inside of russia from one where he promised the russians pretty much a chick anyone every pot, a better economic way of life. he's now nationalist. and what he does is he tells the russian people, okay, you may have a little less chicken in your pot, but i'm making russia great again. look what we're doing all other the world. everyone is paying attention to us. russia is a great power on par with the united states and others. and he... and the
anti-americanism is ramp nt in russia right now. he can tone it back. he's going to have to tone it back if he wants a good relationship with donald trump, but he's going to have to probably shift back the that again because the russian people are not going to be interested in having a guy give them a raw economic deal for another term. >> woodruff: ambassador mcfaul, is there one thing you can name that the yielings could deal with russia on? >> of course we can deal with them on counter-terrorism. we have and i think we are right now. that's easy. i think in other economic and trade issues, under the right conditions, and again, i think i want the really emphasize this point. vladimir putin knows exactly what he wants from this relationship. in return for good relations he wants lifting of sanction, ratification, approval of his wars in ukraine and syria, and his dream of dreams, an acknowledgment of his sphere of influence in ukraine and the former soviet union. that to me is a bad deal. once you understand that we're not going to take that deal,
then we can move on to these other things, but first and foremost he wants to test that proposition, and he's waiting to see what president donald trump will do when given that deal on offer. >> inskeep: michael mcfaul, former ambassador the russia. evelyn farkas, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: moving away from russia, mr. trump's picks to lead the c.i.a. and department of defense shed light on where the new administration stands on a number of other fronts. margaret warner has the story. >> i for one, could not be happier. >> warner: retired general mattis was clearly in friendly territory before the senate armed services committee.
>> allies and partners make vast territorial claims with no basis in law, carve out spheres of influence. >> i would say what we've got to do is maintain a very strong military so our diplomats are always engaging from a position of strength and we deal with a rising power. >> on syria and efforts to retake the islamic state stronghold there. >> do you believe we have a strategy that will allow us to regain control of raqqa? >> i believe we do, sir, however, i believe that strategy needs to be reviewed and perhaps energized on a more aggressive time line. >> warner: and on a long-contentious topic, mattis opposition post-retirement to letting women serve in combat roles as they do today. >> do you plan to oppose women serving in these combat roles? >> i have no plan to oppose
women in any aspect of our military. >> warner: the panel's top democrat, rhode island's jack reed, noted mattis has publicly supported sticking with the iran nuclear deal that president-elect donald trump has derided. >> we have to stay the course. is that still your view? >> i think it is an imperfect arms control agreement. it's in the a friendship treaty. but when america gives the word, we have to live up >> warner: the iran deal came up, too, with pompeo- intelligence committee democrat martin heinrich. >> i know the day before you were nominated to be the director you said that you look forward quote to rolling back the iran deal. >> it was my view that the j.c.p.o.a. was a mistake for american national security, i believed that. now if i'm confirmed, i will continue to do that in my role as director of the c.i.a., i will endeavor to provide straight information about the progress j.c.p.o.a. has made toward reducing the threat of
>> warner: california democrat dianne feinstein raised the issue of brutal interrogations by the c.i.a., outlawed by congress after the agency's use >> if you were ordered by the president to restart the c.i.a.'s use of enhanced interrogation techniques that fall outside of the army field manual would you comply? >> senator absolutely not. moreover i can't imagine that i would be asked that by the president elect or then >> warner: the intelligence committee will vote on whether to recommend his nomination to the full senate. as for mattis, the senate voted overwhelmingly to grant him a waiver to serve as defense secretary-- just three years after his retirement from the military. the law says a military officer must usually wait seven years. now, the house must approve before mattis could be confirmed for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: we continue our look at the obama years.
today the president had a surprise, parting gift for joe biden. he presented the vice president with the highest award a civilian can get: the presidential medal of freedom. >> behind the scenes joe's candid council has made me a better president and a better commander in chief. from the situation room to our weekly lunches to our huddles after, when everybody else is cleared out of the room, he has been unafraid to give it to me straight, even if we disagree, in fact especially when we disagree. and all of this makes him, i believe, the finest vice president we have ever seen. and i also think he has been a lion of american history. >> woodruff: another person who has been by the president's side for the entire ride is his senior adviser valerie jarrett. we sat down at the white house earlier today, and i began by asking what it will feel like to walk away after eight years.
>> oh my gosh, well there's an enormous amount of emotion. first of all, it's been the privilege of a lifetime to be able to serve our country from the white house, to serve this president, who i've now known for 26 years. and- it's hard to leave. but it's fine. >> woodruff: and you're turning the white house over to someone who has said he wants to undo, dismants -- dismantle most of what happened during the obama administration. just last night the united states senate took another step toward repeal of obamacare, the affordable care act, there was a budget vote which will lead to other steps, which will lead the repeal. just yesterday the president-elect called obamacare a complete and total disaster. >> i would look at the affordable care act through the lens of the many, many people across our country who i have had the privilege of meeting, many of who would not be here without the affordable care act. i think it's easy to say repeal and replace, but we've been
encouraging the republicans to put if place a plan for affordable care to, come up with their best ideas, and they have had, what, 50, 60 votes to repeal, and not a single replacement plan. >> woodruff: they say that's what they're going to do. they're going to get rid of what's there now and replace it with something much better? >> what's the something much better? that's the question the president has been asking for eight years right now. so if there is a something better, let's hear it. what's the secret, as he said last week when we had an event focusing just on the affordable care act. show us the plan. you've had eight years to come up with a replacement. where is it? >> woodruff: is there any other piece of the obama legacy, where it's immigration, whether it's the competitive orders the president implemented, any other issue or step taken that you think stands a good chance of surviving under the trump administration? >> well, you mentioned immigration.
obviously the president who entered our country through no fault of their own, who grew up as american citizens and who these things have a right to stay here and we would hope that they would allow that to move forward. i think campaigns are one thing. let's just see what happens after the president-elect takes office and realities of this begins to sink in around the country. >> woodruff: president obama does not view the election result as a personal repudiation, but how is it not when he campaigned around the down trig saying, this is about what i've done, this is about my work? >> well, he wasn't on the ballot. we learned that his popularity, which is at a high, was not transferable. obviously that's disappointing to him. he and first lady worked really hard to help secretary clinton win, and they were not successful in that event. but i don't think that really reflects the repudiation. there is so much about what's happened over the last eight years that i think has the
support of the american people. i think it will be harder than it looks to reverse that progress. >> woodruff: the president has said he believes race relations in america are better than when he took office. there's clearly some debate about that. some don't agree. how do you see that? >> i think what the president said is race relations are better when you look at the arc of our history, that we have constantly been making movements. we have seen since he was elected is thanks to the video camera, a lot more evidence of tensions that still exist. those tensions were there before we had a video camera. we just didn't see them on the social media the way we are today. but it takes time to change our culture, and it's a work in progress. and simply by electing an african american president doesn't suddenly make our election post-racial. >> woodruff: in his
post-presidency speech, was he referring to donald trump? >> i think he's saying in order to make our country as strong as it has to be, the founding fathers understood democracy means we all have to participate it in. the principles of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, they're not self-executing. they require each of us to get engaged. and what he was really concerned about is to ensure that the american people appreciate their power to influence the democracy. >> woodruff: the president is leaving office with a high approval rating, over 50%. he's getting credit from many quarters. but there is also criticism out there, including from democrats, that he didn't do enough to reach out to members of congress to get his agenda accomplished, that he should have done more, gone the extra mile. is that fair? >> judy, i have been here since day one, january 20, 2009, i watched how hard the president has worked. i've watched how every single day he comes to the office focused on one thing, and that's
what's in the best interest of the american people. he rolled up his sleeves. he's worked as hard as i've ever seen a president work, and that includes his outreach the members of congress. should we have done more? of course you always wish you could do more. your work is never finished. but i think he's proud of his record. >> woodruff: you have been at moments critical of republicans for not attending state dinners, for not participating in some of the events that they were invited to. by this white house. they're not engaging more in the other direction. right now democrats are on the outs. should they engage? >> well, i think they almost i think part of what they've learned certainly is, this is a republican having engaged, even though we're very proud of the progress we've made. what i observed and my criticism is really much deeper than whether or not to attend a state dinner, although i couldn't imagine why anyone wouldn't want
to comment on this in our country when we are inviting foreign dignitaries here, but the real point is they put their short-term political interests ahead of what was best for our country. >> woodruff: vice president biden said the other day, we were not clear enough in this election that we understood the pressure working people, working americans were under, and we had concrete solutions to that. we never got that across to them. >> we had a hard time getting that message out. it's troubling, judy, because there was a disconnect between the policies that the president has embraced since he was first campaigning back in 2007 and 2008, and the feeling that many people have that those policies were not meant for them, but they certainly were. the president has always believed in growing the middle class, providing room for everybody, and so it's certainly what the president believes, and i think what the vice president said and what the president believes is that the democratic party has to do a better job of
reaching out. >> woodruff: donald trump has tweeted a few times in december about the economy. at one point he wrote, "the world was gloomy before i won. there was no hope. now the market is up nearly 10%. christmas spending is over $1 thril. in another tweet he took credit for rising consumer confidence. >> i think if you look at what has happened over the last eight years, in large part due to the grit and determination of the american people, we have rebuilt our economy and it is... we're real proud that we're turning over to him in the shape it's? >> woodruff: what particular reaction to what he said? >> what incoming president who is enjoying a good economy wouldn't want to figure out how to take credit for it? i think that's par for the course. >> woodruff: as new information is coming out about russian interference new york retrospect, should president obama have called out the russians earlier? he had information earlier this was going on?
>> the one thing i can say about the president is he is thoughtful. he's deliberate. he takes in all the information he has and then he makes the best judgment he can. and he's very comfortable with the decision he made. >> woodruff: has his thinking changed about what he's going to do after being president, after being in office, given the result? does he feel more of a responsibility now to go out and defend his legacy? >> i think he will speak out when he thinks his voice can move the needle, make a difference, and be an inspiration to those who are looking for positive change in our country. >> woodruff: what about valerie jarrett? i saw you quoted as saying you were going to be moving between your hometown of chicago, washington, where your daughter is, and system other places. what about you? >> lots of sleep.o and then after i've had some rest, i'll make some decisions. >> woodruff: do you think you'll continue to work with president obama? >> i will help president obama, mrs. obama for the rest of my life in any way that i can. >> woodruff: run for public
office? >> you know, you're not first person who has asked me that question. i toyed with it, as you would probably remember when the president was elected and there was a vacancy in his seat, and he appealed to me and said, i know what it's like in the senate. i know what i want to do here in the white house. i think you'll be happier here and boy was he right. so we'll see. >> woodruff: but you're in the ruling it out? >> i'm not ruling out anything right now, because i know after eight years here, you are not in a position to make any really important long decisions that affect your life. i know i need some rest. i need to gain some perspective. i still want to continue to work on issues that i care a great deal about, and to be as helpful as i can. so whether that leads me to elected office or whether it leads me to help a not-for-profit that's trying to do something important, we'll see. >> woodruff: valerie jarrett urge thank you so much.
>> inskeep: we're going to dig a little deeper into the economic legacy of barack obama. he came into office at a desperate moment, after the financial crisis hit and a major recession was underway. he's gotten some of the credit for a long and sustained recovery. but there are just as many questions about whether he took the right steps and helped the right people during a long era when many saw stagnation. economics correspondent paul solman has the story, part of his weekly series on thursdays, "making sense." >> it is good to be back in chicago. (applause.) >> reporter: president obama in 2010, at ford's chicago assembly plant. >> the year before i took office, this industry lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. sales plunged 40%-- 40%.
two of the big three automakers -- gm and chrysler-- were on the brink of liquidation. i'm convinced we're going to rebuild not only the auto industry but the economy better and stronger than before. and at its heart is going to be three powerful words: made in america. made in america. (applause.) >> reporter: and indeed, say local union officials, nine years after the crash of '08... >> we have more people working in our facility than we ever have now. and we've also been working 24/7 on three production shifts. >> there wouldn't be an auto industry that looks like what we have today, had it not been for the bailout. >> reporter: ever since obama, then, the u.s. auto industry has been going gangbusters. the stock market too. >> you'll see a lot of houses will be boarded up. >> reporter: but when it comes to victims of the housing collapse, says foreclosure activist andy williams junior... >> look at our conditions in our neighborhood.
it's still terrible, it still needs to be revitalized. >> reporter: so what is the economic legacy of barack obama? robust recovery... or too little, too late? in the shadow of chicago's trump tower, at the annual convening of the economics profession, we assembled a panel to assess the record. cecilia rouse served on the president's council of economic advisors from 2009-2011. >> i think that what president obama did was he rescued an economy that was in free fall. and i think he saved us from a great depression. obviously, we would love for economic growth to have been more robust in the years since. but, i think it has been a success! >> reporter: alan krueger also served on the council. >> we've had 75 straight months of job growth, over 15 million jobs have been added. 22 million more people have health insurance coverage than they did before. that's in spite of the fact that many of the tools that president obama requested to help strengthen the recovery, like
investing more in infrastructure, or raising the minimum wage, congress refused to act on. >> reporter: but from the left, darrick hamilton, president of the mostly african american national economic association, begged to differ. >> i'd say it was a missed opportunity. he certainly faced a catastrophe when he came into office, but nothing fundamentally changed the trajectory towards inequality. if we characterize an economy as being in a catastrophe at unemployment rates greater than eight percent, the black unemployment rate is still above eight percent. so, frankly black americans are still in a great depression or great recession, at the very least. >> reporter: glenn hubbard, who ran president george w. bush's economic council, differed from the right. >> i think there were two very big missed opportunities. the first was a failure by the obama administration to focus on economic growth. but there's a second missed opportunity that's really bipartisan and i think republicans share blame in as well, which is the failure to
support work. we need to support work by low- skilled people. and that's not a free lunch. that is a dramatic expansion in the earned income tax credit, particularly for childless workers who would typically be younger men and women entering the labor force. >> reporter: let's take these alleged missed opportunities in turn, starting with continuing inequality, especially for african americans. >> in fact, president obama has put in more policies to try to pull that back, through increased improvements in the e.i.t.c., through the affordable care act. >> reporter: that's the earned income tax credit. >> tax credit, exactly. so that we actually saw more progress on reducing inequality than had been made in, since i think the johnson administration. >> last year we saw the strongest median income growth since the bureau of labor statistics has been collecting data. we saw the biggest drop in poverty since they started collecting, since the 1960s. >> yes, the african american unemployment rate is unacceptably high. we came down from a high of 16.8%, it's down to 7.9%.
do we need to do more? absolutely! but there has been progress, and i think it's important to recognize that. >> reporter: no? that's not true? >> if we consider the types of jobs and the fact that it is still 7.9%, and then if we invoke the paramount indicator of economic security, wealth, then we know there's virtually no progress that's been made under the barack obama administration. >> reporter: so i'm looking at the numbers here, since 2007, november of 2007, jobs added by race or ethnicity, hispanic, five million, almost; black, two point something million. asians, same. white, down by a million jobs, just about. so, wouldn't you, if you were a rural white american think this administration simply didn't do anything for me? >> that's a delusion, the notion that white americans are suffering, well they're facing greater competition than they have, perhaps in the past. it still doesn't fundamentally change the structure of where we
>> reporter: but, hasn't white america under the obama administration, been left behind? or, certainly, feel that it's been left behind? >> look, we lost over eight million jobs in 2008 and 2009. that was a very big hole to dig our way out of. the trend would've been much worse if we'd not, had not started on the recovery, in fact, the president proposed in the american jobs act additional infrastructure spending, support for state and local governments, which congress only enacted a small part of. >> reporter: still, said the critics from the left and right... >> a long-term infrastructure program would have made a great deal of sense, and frankly, still does today. but that's not what the obama administration proposed. i think we need to have a more holistic structural agenda for lower income americans, rather than just treating it as a problem of recession and recovery. the advice would be to focus on skill development and on support for work. >> and, glenn, glenn actually
proposed something! he said had, had the original jobs bill around infrastructure had been targeted to be more permanent, that that could've fundamentally changed the structure of the economy! >> i want to just jump in on the skills development because there were increases in the pell grant to make them more available to more students. there were investments in student loans. >> and record high school graduation! >> and record high school graduation rates last year. so, so the, the administration was focused on skills development. i think we would have liked to have done more, but again we were working with a congress that wasn't so cooperative. >> i think the obama administration did make several efforts in skill development. i just don't think there was enough of a structural focus. we just had a presidential election that shook the country, because i think the view that many economic elites had on both sides of the aisle was not that connected with the skills and employment prospects of many americans. so i think while the administration made some progress, it clearly wasn't enough. >> wasn't the president who was on the ballot.
and, the democratic candidate did receive three million more votes. so, i think it's difficult to interpret the election as a reflection of the president's economic agenda and his economic results. >> reporter: no? >> i disagree with that. the republicans control the congress and the white house. and i don't think history will be that kind to the latter part of the administration's legacy. >> i mean, i would agree with glenn, i can't believe i keep saying that i would agree with glenn in that obama's economic legacy was on the table in this election. trump put it on the table, front and center, along with a lot of other things, and i think obama actually campaigned to defend his economic legacy. we needed bolder, stronger, more fundamental, not tinkering ideas to, to really structurally change the us economy. >> absolutely, the bolder the better! but, you know, the president is not king, and he can't just wave a magic wand and do all that he wants to do. >> reporter: like help many of the people who lost their homes in the financial crisis. >> i think it was backwards. i think the money should have been given to the people to
revitalize the community and not help the ones who were part of the problem and not the solution. >> reporter: again, both the left and right had a similar prescription. >> a mass refinancing of home mortgages. >> as opposed to thinking about banks. >> reporter: so i put the final question to one of the president's former chief economic advisors. >> which is, wasn't it unfair that the banking system got rescued-- >> reporter: yeah. >> auto sector got rescued, and a lot of the rest of the us economy was left to fend for its own. absolutely. it was fundamentally unfair. it was necessary, however, because the consequences would've been much worse for the u.s. economy if the financial sector was allowed to implode. but certainly there's much more to be done. >> reporter: and it will be up to a new administration to do it. reporting from chicago, this is economics correspondent paul solman. >> woodruff: now, a profile of
an artist of three continents who explores history and identity in today's global culture. jeffrey brown has our story. >> brown: on a recent morning in washington, d.c., this wind sculpture was lifted in and installed outside the smithsonian national museum of african art. it's the latest in a series of public art works on display around the world by the artist yinka shonibare. >> it's a free-standing sculpture, but it's a very dynamic sculpture, and it's very colorful. also, it's deceptive, because from a distance it feels like it's actually soft material. full of contradiction: the stuff >> brown: playful, deceptive, full of contradiction: the stuff of shonibare's works, most of all the sculptures for which he's best known-- colonial-style figures, some headless, some with globes for heads, in brightly colored african-style costumes.
>> my work is really breaking down stereotypes, saying "you know what? what you see is not necessarily what you get." you might actually want to take time to find out more about something before you then start to make assumptions about it. >> brown: shonibare himself is a mix of identities. born in london in 1962, he moved to his family's homeland in nigeria at three years old, and then returned to london to study fine art. at 19 he contracted a viral infection in his spine that left him partially paralyzed. he also began to see his way forward as an artist, through an unintentionally provocative question from a teacher that informed his work. >> one of my teachers said, "why aren't you making authentic african art?" i felt that actually, what's authentic african art? what's authentic identity in a global, modern world?
those questions have been with me since. i've explored those questions in many ways. >> brown: for example, those so- called african fabrics he uses? shonibare actually found them in the brixton area of london, but they were originally batik patterns from indonesia brought by the dutch to west africa. >> the fabric is really an expression of a kind of hybrid identity. i'm suggesting that it's african. and it's also dutch. it's also indonesian. that's okay. >> brown: why are so many of them headless? or have globes as heads? >> first of all, i wanted to produce figures that didn't belong to one particular race. >> brown: you wanted to take race out of it. >> yes, i wanted to take race out of the picture. a lot of the figures are of a mixed race. they are neither white nor black.
i think that also i wanted to get away from the binary, the dividing of people. i felt that we're all one humanity, so i wanted to find a way to represent one humanity, and to also take the race equation out of it. >> brown: but while ideas run throughout his work, there's also that playfulness, and a concern for beauty and color. >> i think it's very important for the audience to be able to actually engage with the work. i don't want people to run away from my work. i want people to be attracted to the work. i want to draw them in. i think color is one way of doing that. then you can, if you wish to say something, people might be more sympathetic or be willing to engage and listen to you. >> brown: a recent sculptural installation, titled "the british library"-- 6,000 books with the names of immigrants
who've contributed to british society-- is a more direct kind of commentary on contemporary issues. >> i don't necessarily think that artists can single-handedly change the world. i think that if you really wanted to do that, i think you should go into politics. the work can be funny, it can be ironic, it can be engaging, it can be dark, it can be entertaining, it can provoke, but it should never be an instruction. >> brown: can we just ask you finally a personal question about your disability. it obviously changed your life. did it change your art? >> it took me a long time to try to recover and get back to my profession. i've devised ways of working. i have a studio with a lot of assistants, and i design a lot
of things, and i also paint. but i developed a way of working that i'm used to. >> brown: you don't see an impact on the content, or the work itself? >> i don't see an impact on the content or the work itself, but perhaps my level of empathy has actually increased as a result of what i've experienced personally. >> brown: yinka shonibare's latest wind sculpture is his seventh on display. he's now creating a new series that will begin in the spring of 2017 at the entrance of central park in new york city. from the smithsonian national museum of african art in washington, d.c., i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> inskeep: finally, another installment in our brief but spectacular series where we ask interesting people to describe
their passions. tonight, we hear from pianist jeanne stark. her career spans seven decades, from sold-out performances at carnegie hall to lincoln center and throughout the u.s. and europe. stark turns 91 this month and shares with us now her passion for music. >> i am born in belgium and what do you want to know about this? >> well, when did music enter your life? >> music entered my life before i knew it, my father, he walked around with me and, sang and then i stopped crying, and i smiled. he made up his mind, this is a musician. the queen elizabeth in belgium she was very fond of music, she decided that i should have a special scholarship because she felt that there was a lot of potential there.
i made my debut in carnegie recital hall in the year 1959. my teacher was edwin berry. she never charged me for anything so i remember i asked i said thank you to take care of me. i've got this big concert because of you. and she said you proved me right. ♪ ♪ i'd been so lucky, where all these great artists, girt leigh who was a friend of bartok, and i got them all, to learn from people like that it takes you years to understand what they were saying but once you get it you get something very precious. it's not interpret, its understand how music is made. how its put together, >> has your understanding of certain pieces evolved over the years? >> yes enormously. i'll tell you one example.
i played mozart's sonatas beethoven sonatas and i was never happy with my adagios, i did it with a metronome, i tried everything and i came to the states, and by accident my friend took me to hear ray charles, and i thought now i know an adagio. classical music has not been really promoted these days, when i was young it was very, it was a golden time. they were fantastic players, rachmaninoff, prokovsky. my goodness the inspiration was unbelievable. when i was little i was in theory class two three times. you learn to sing so that's a great thing. if you learn to sing you start to hear i am 90 years old, i don't know
why i am here, i should be dead because most people are. my mind is as you can see very sharp and i don't understand i love the day. i love the day. i love music. i adore music. i love to play music, i love to play music, i love to hear great music well played as well. my name is jeanne stark and this is my brief but spectacular take on my life in music. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> inskeep: you can find more videos from our brief but spectacular series online at pbs.org/newshour/brief. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, the artist shepard fairey designed the iconic obama "hope" poster in 2008.
in an interview, he discusses his new campaign of posters showcasing the beauty of diversity and inclusion in america. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> inskeep: tune in later tonight on charlie rose: secretary of defense ash carter. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm steve inskeep. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the