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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  February 3, 2013 12:30pm-1:00pm PST

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>> if you would like me to plain -- >> actually, i would like an answer, yes or no. >> i think it is far more complicated than that. as i have said, my answer is, i will defer that judgment to history. >> chuck hagel and the battle for the pentagon. >> the good news is, for the verse time in many years, republicans and democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. >> the immigration problem. has somebody been reading exit polls? >> too many children areying too many children. >> also, the fight over gonds. >> law-abiding gun owners will not accept the blame for acts of violence or deranged criminals.
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>> the word on hillary in 2016. will she or won't she? >> i have no plans to run. >> thursday was not a good day for chuck hagel, president obama's tourist to be his next defense secretary. his old friend and fellow vietnam veteran john mccain jump all over hagel for opposing the surge in iraq. >> were you correct or incorrect when you said the search would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? correct or incorrect? yes or no? are you going tonswer the queson, nator hage the question is, were you right or wrong? i would like to answer whether
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you were right or wrong. and you are fe to elaborate. >> i am not going to give you a yes or no answer -- >> let the record show that you refuse to answer the question. >> he finally gave the answer he wanted to give. >> i saw the suffering and consequences of a war. i did second think the srch. would this bwortthe crife? we lost almost 1200 dead americans during that period was it required, necessary? >> how much of that exchange was political, how much was personal, and how much was related to our defense policy, mark? >> 92, 11, 13. [laughter] a lot of it was personal. one could not watch those hearings without feeling that there were a lot of personal grudges, even vendett, being settled.
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>> entered john cornyn of texas says it cannot support the nominee for defense secretary, says we need to be tougher on israel and more lenient on iran. is that a care characterization of chuck hagel? >> what is important about the hearing yesterday, the news, is not the content of what he has said. that has already been hashed out. not even his veracity, since he changed his mind on about half a dozen issues overnight. but on his comtenc the reason democrats were shocked by his performance was because he displayed amazing closeness on a variety of issues. the clip you should have shown, which would have highlighted, an example of what happened in the hearings, the one where he showed he did not even understand the idea of containment against iran, which is the major issue of our time. i will talk about that
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afterwards. his problem was, he was stumbling, bumbling, andooke coletely out of his death. that is what people have not seen before. >> it was obvious, anybody who spends any time with chuck hagel knows, even his great admirers know that he is not a verbally- nimble person. that is a nice way to put it. that does not mean that he cannot be a good defense secretary. what was fascinating to me was, here were all of his former colleagues on his side of the aisle who were p happy to swift vote john kerry and then vote for him -- i think there were only three dissenting votes. and here they have some vague that they agree with far more than men do with senator kerrey on foreign policy, and they just trashed him. >> does he have the know-how to manage a barrel at the pentagon?
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>> he was unsteady with his answers, grasp of the facts. later in the afternoon, the third round of hearings, after he was more sure-footed, does he have the capacity to do it? i think so. if you listen to his exchanges with senator king from maine, managing the defense department, it was a much more competent answer. >> what about this jewish lobby phrase? he apologized for using that phrase, but listen to this exchange. >> name one person who is intimidated by the israeli lobby in the u.s. senate. >>he use of intimition -- i should have used influence. >> he could not name one person publicly. this is gamesmanship of the first order.
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you have conversations with plenty of members of congress and they feel one way about some of the issues in the middle east, that they simply cannot move an inch on issues involving israel. >> is he in command of the issues? >> i dnot think anybody would have come off well. i think it was a halting performance by chuck hagel, and chuck hagel underline what nina said earlier, not a burbling- nimble person. not a guy that is known for sound bites, not somebody that you would go to for a quotation on deadlines. he would give the thought of context or any answer he would give -- >> god forbid. [laughter] >> more than anything else, i could not get over the badger and quality. yes or no. yes or no, senator.
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john mccain was looking for vindication for the surge. chuck hagel was not going to give it to him. >> john mccain is not the issue, it is chuck hagel. his problem is not some tax, it is knowledge, elementary knowledge. he spoke about the government of iran as illegitimate the elected government. we know that the rolutn of 2009 was part byhe ft tha it was a rigged election, an illegitimate economy. the clip i wanted you to show was the one in which he said, he was asked about the policy of containment. it was not a bad during issue. he says, yes, i support the administration's policy of containment. he then gets a note that says, i have been told that i made a mistake. of course i am not in support of that. a policy of this administration on containment is that it does t have a policy of containment.
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at whi poi democratic senator levin had to rescue him and said, in fact, the administration has a policy of containment, and it is to oppose it. he was clueless. >> colby? >> he was in the position where he had to dodge a little bit. let's go back to the exchange with senator mccain on the surge. the issue was never the surge when you talk about iraq. the issue, as senator nelson from florida said, going into iraq because we thought there were weapons of mass destruction. we end up with 4000 americans dead, $1.90 trillion from the war, and you tell me the issue is the surge? the issue was going into that country in the first place. >> how did he vote going to iraq? he voted yes.
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>> so did nelson because they thought their weapons of mass destruction. that is what the bush administrationaid. y areortraying him as an anti-war hero -- >> chuck hagel had the decency and integrity, having voted to go to war, to come out against the war and apologize for the decision he made, something that has not been done by the hawks that took us to that war, told us there were weapons of mass destruction, and that they knew where they were. >> here is chuck hagel's history of the courageous speaker to power of the iraq war. when public opiniois iavor ofoingo war, he votes yes. when the war goes south, public opinion is against it, he comes out against it. and then he had this one opportunity to redeem the war, which is headed south, and the surge, which everyone and acknowledges it was a success.
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he voted against it because public opinion was against it at the time. speak to me about courage on this war. >> we have been fighting about the surge forever, and is not worth fighting again. what i think is really wrong, you said this was not about john mccain or lindsey graham -- that is wrong. in a congressional hearing, it is about everybody. everyone knows it is a drama. in this drama, chuck hagel was halting and the republican were bullies. nobody came out looking good. >> he is going to be secretary of defense, he has to negotiate with the russians, the ania, anyou say he n believe in a congressional hearing? >> leon panetta, in his first public appearance, after leaving the cia, made a bunch of blunders of this kind.
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>> here is what is ahead for the next defense secretary, a huge cuts in the budget, sequestration, afghanistan, the bombings in syria, egypt in chaos, al qaeda all over the place, china with the military migh north kor talking about anotr test, targeting the united states. why didn't they get into that stuff? >> it was up to the members to do it but they did not get into it. it was not the objective. the objective from one side was to make sure the president's nominee gets through. the other side was to do everything they could to damage him. it was not a good display of congressional oversight. >> this is a guy who said -- he voted against designang the voluonarguar inran a terror organization. badgering to ask the guy to explain that? he had no answer.
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>> when i heard him talk about it, speaking to the senator from virginia, jim webb, he took that argument and persuaded him. >> the same that dick lugar did, and john kerry, joe biden to last a blunt about this. barack obama had taken that position the reality was, it was another backdoor attempt, and jim webb put it on the record. another backdoor attempt of the administration of george bush and on rumsfeld and dick cheney to say now we have a reason to go to war. that is the first time we have ever singled out any entity and any other country as a terrorist organization and said, okay, we have to single them out. >> thi of e sete voted
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for that position. >> let me ask you, marc. is the irg a terrorist organization or not? >> i do not know. >> let him finish the answer. >> i do know this. i know when it was politically and realistically. was it an attempt to give more strength to an administration that had taken us into a war that was a disaster, which has been a disaster, and which has left the united states even more isolated and strengthen iran? because of the invasion and occupation of iraq, iran is a more dominant, influential, and stronger flow in the world. >> immigration reform. republicans get the message. >> a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then go to the back of the line behind all those who are trying to come here legally.
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>> we have fundamental questions of lawfulness. do we have a system that will stop the continued flow of people into the country? >> 11 million undocumented immigrants. what do you do about them? some people would go to the election results. the president won 71% of the hispanic vote. is immigration reform possible? >> absolutely, because of the election results. there are a lot of republicans who are now open to this, obviously. we had that gang of 8 who were on board of thisdea of galization and enforcent. there are significant problems with that proposal. i am not sure that it will pass, because of those problems i mentioned, but when you hear the president speak about the back of the line, that is quite deceptive. if you apply to get into the united states from hong kong or
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brazil, the illegal immigrants in the u.s. may have to go into the back of the line, but you are waiting in the u.s., you are living and working in the u.s., you have everything you what hang arrived. you do not have to live in fear. the other guys are waiting in brazil and hong kong. hear, you are already in the united states. >> that is the whole point, to get rid of the shadow economy, the shadow existence, getting these folks on the path to citizenship. and if you know anybody who has been there, here illegally, even when they get a green card, their entire existence is vote to getting citizenship. green card is not their only desire. >> what about senator sessions' point about the flow of on lawful people into this country? >> the way we always have, and
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we have got much better. if you look at the numbers of people caught up the border now, some of the patrician in illegal immigration is due to the economy -- attrition in illegal immigration is due to the economy. you have to look at the resources he put innd successes. at some point, it is a case of diminishing returns. you cannot make it like east berlin on the border. it is too big of a border and we cannot do that, but you can be very tough about it. >> mark? >> all you need to stem the flow of immigration is an economy like we had for the first 10 years of the 21st century. the idea of coming into america d share in prosperity was quicy dashed. mitt romney ran an entire campaign for the nomination
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based upon his opposition to illegal immigration, tarnishing his opponents. john mccain, rick perry, accusing them of wanting to give amnesty to aliens. newt gingrich, tarnishing mike huckabee. it was always the $100,000 gift for these people to go to school. the republicans understand this now. john mccn was blunt about it. his own state is going flu in a hurry unless republicans make a dramatic -- blue in a hurry on the republicans make a dramatic difference. 1993, the country was 3.5% hispanic. in 2011, 17%. 2050, it will be 29%. whites will have gone from 85% of the national population, down to 48%.
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>> interting numbers. >> yes, but we will be kind. [laughter] >> say that in spanish. [laughter] >> my brothers and i will be kind. the reality is, we are not going to send 11 people -- 11 million people back from where they came. and that is the way it should be. the problem will come from those who do not feel there is eugh forcent theooks, and these individuals will probably -- they are picking up the .rgument that is not the major issue, defense. >> san diego put up a triple- strand fence that has decreased
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entrance by 90%. it works, we ought to try it. the fact nobody was to is an indication of a lack of seriousness. >> if we cannot solve immigration, how about guns? >> we must do something. it will be hard but the time is now. you must act. >> when it comes to background checks, let's be honest, they will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. my wife would not be sitti in this sea-- s would not have been sitting here today -- if we had stronger background checks. >> you get the drift of the hearing. on the day of the inauguration, i spoke to an australian gentlemen who said he loves america, but he said he did not understand our attitude on guns. his control of this issue a pipe
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dream, is this finally possible? >> something is stirring out there against the nra. you see a genuine outpouring of something to be done on this issue. i do not think we will see a ban on assault weapons. we might see something done on background checks, particularly with the sale of weapons on a private basis. clearly, there would have to be a movement. i do not think we end gun violence with legislation, but we take a big step towards changing their thinking about guns. >> doesn't win lapierre have a poin though? ckgrnd checks will not prevent a criminal from getting a gun. >> we have laws against murder. people are going to kill others anyway. wayne lapierre and the nra used
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to support universal background check 10 years ago or so. >> what happened? >> i do not really understand it. they have become more unreasonable, i would say. i do not think we are going to get much of anything now, but this is not going away. >> mean that is right. it is fasciting to watch the dynamic of the nra, at this point. david cain, he is sort of the good cop, the president's of the organization. longtime conservative leader. he is a longtime nra board member. he has actually come out for universal background check. lapierre is the more strident, bombastic, take no prisoners. this is a losing fight for the nra. if we punish people for making
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false statements on mortgage applications, some bank will be hurt. when it comes down to a gun, this is more serious. >> charles? >> i think the background check will pass. 90% approval in public opinion polls. maybe the size of the magazine clip. a limit of 10. on the assault weapons ban, ich a recapitulation to what we tried in 1994, is not likely to pass, but in the end, it would not make a difference. the problem is this. they grandfathered in the weapon that people already have. 300 million in circulation in the u.s. today. if you do not collect them, which no one is planning on doing, it would take 100 years to work out the inventory. i understand everybody wants to
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show some appearance of emoti, but it will not have an effect. >> a word on the secretary of state. >> i have enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused. i am very fortunate. looking for to this next chapter in my life. >> hillary clinton, outgoing secretary of state. but chapter would that be? >> i think it is the resurrection. this is someone who left the presidential campaign bruising and to see her potentially eight years later as the overwhelming front runner for the democratic nomination, is a remarkable comeback. >> john kerry approve for secretary of state. what are his greatest challenges? >> remaining consistent with the administration's policy. that he does not go out on his own to make his own policy. i do not see him performing the
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way hillary clinton performed. she was part of a team. he has wanted this job for so long. i think he will be a problem. >> i wonder if they are worried about hillary clinton. you see how great her presence has been, what a successful secretary of state she has been. any time some conservatives can, they want to take a knife to her throat, and she always turned back on them. she has emerged into an incredible force. i do not know what she does. i hope that it continues for her and us. >> her chapter is titled iowa and new hampshire. >> he was a member, a character, a good man, a quintessential new yorker, a great american story, and we will miss him. >> combative, 21 times and 26
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years he was before the voters to ask how he was doing. he was made to be mayor of new york he ran for governor in the state and lost to gov. cuomo. he proved -- >> he was a jewish laguardia. >> america has its characters of different regions and at the cities, and in that sense, he was a quintessential american. >> colorful. him ones interviewing one time and stop the interview and said, this is good stuff. i would like a copy of this. [laughter] ed koch, dead at the age of 88. that is the last word.
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banks. see you next week.
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