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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 10, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PST

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jack lew to be his next treasury secretary replacing timothy geithner. lew is going from a wall street and capitol hill favorite geithner it a budget cruncher not known for relationships with conservative republicans. >> he is knowledgeable. he works hard. he gets the job done and done right. he is a leader in every sense of that word. is he lib sflal you bet. is he more liberal than i am? you bet. he will offer the president his advice, but i guarantee you he is also a great soldier. the president makes a decision. jack lew will march forward. >> with lew's apointment to treasury, does the president need some binders full of women? >> the president believes that diversity is important because it -- having diversity increases the excellence of the pool of advisors around you, pool of the staff that you have here, and i think that's been demonstrated by the kinds of -- you know, the degree of talent that he has
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around him now and has had around him in the first term, and i think it will be true in the second term. >> guns and videos. will vice president biden get anywhere with the nra and hollywood today? >> the point i'm trying to make to you is that we realize this requires all the stake holders to give us their best ideas with how we deal with what is at the outset a complicated problem. a complicated did, no single answer. >> this manufacture should win every single award that a movie could win. do you think it will win every single award? >> despite all the buzz, the academy disagreed, snubbing director favorites tom hooper, we know affleck, quinton tarn tino, and catherine bigelow. >> president obama is sticking with his trusted chief of staff for arguably the most important position in his second term cabinet, given the challenges ahead. what's the reaction from the
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markets from foreign capitol and from jack lew as treasury nominee. u.s. economics editor for "the economist," and senior economics reporter steve leaseman. steve, first to you. what are the markets saying? what is jack lew's reputation in wall street and what do you see coming forward with debt negotiations? >> i think this appointment is being taken advisedly in the sense that it's a kind of wait and see. you know, from my perspective, having covered more or less -- more or less degrees, seven of the past treasury secretaries, jack lew does come to the table with a bio that perhaps has less independence in it than any treasury secretary i can remember. robert rubin, hailing from goldman sachs, salary summers was a renowned economist. paul o'neil from alcoa. there's nothing on lew's resume that suggests any measure of independence. markets want a little bit of independence from their treasury secretary. that said, if jack lew's
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appointment can, in fact, result in some kind of longer term budget deal affixed to entitlements, tax reform, corporate and individual that i think markets would be happy to give up that independence. the troubling is i don't hear anybody right now saying that this appointment or this nomination is going to result in the kind of deal the markets really want. >> former omb director, very popular in the white house, and the administration. the white house argument is he ran circles around them in past negotiations. >> well, that's right. i mean, you have a guy here who is in many sense a consequence mat insider who spent almost his entire professional career in washington on the hill and in the white house. now, that's a good thing and a bad thing. it's a good thing because clearly he knows where the bodies are. he knows the budget inside and out. most important, he has a trust of the praez. that means when he does a deal, the deal will stick. he is speaking for the president. there is a negative side, which is as steve was saying, the
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markets don't know this guy. financial crisis has a habit of exploding without any warning. he may not have the shots that maybe he needs, an assistant that can provide that experience. there's a well of mistrust from republicans from the 2011 negotiations, and that might make negotiations in the next month or two a little rocky. >> now, steve leaseman, you also have no kind of experience with really tough negotiations abroad. is that a problem, because part of the role of treasury secretary, a big part of this, is also dealing with other finance ministers, with the imf, with the world bank issues, and most importantly now, with the euro zone and the crisis there. >> excellent point, andrea. that was always part of the job, but it never mattered as much as it has since the financial crisis. look, there is a club of central bankers, there's a club of finance ministers. there's sort of overlapping circles within that club. jack lew is not known to come
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part of that club. for one central banker to call another in the middle of a crisis and say, hey, we're going to do this and be able to talk on the phone and to really address global financial issues in a hurry, i'm not saying jack lew can't be part of that. i know he also has spoken with a lot of these people in the past. he has talked to business executives on a pretty regular basis. as for his priors, he is not a member of that club. >> now, if he does have the chops to come up with a budget deal and real entitlement reform, and coming from a liberal to progressive background, having worked for tip o'neill, and i was told started out in politics in new york city with the late great bell la abza. great meaning a large figure. >> if he comes from that, maybe he is the nixon who can go to china. he can go to entitlements and social security reform and then he will be heralded around the
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world. sfoo it's important to note that notwithstanding all the tough rhetoric between the white house and congressional republicans, the white house has yet to take off the table some of those important entitlement reforms than republicans that everybody says are necessary to a grand bargain. jack lew hasn't taken those off the table either. that means that while he drives a hard bargain, once there's a bargain, he is in an excellent position to sell that to the democratic base. >> you know, i just want to say, i agree with greg to an extent, but i also think the white house may have left something on the table here. i mean, this was a chance for the president to shore up -- call it his right flank, his relationships with business and the markets. i don't think he did that here. again, going back to what i said earlier. not that it can't be done during his tenure if the treasury but for example clinton appointing lloyd benson, shoring up the right flank, the president missed an opportunity here, and that may cost him in his efforts to advance policy. >> thanks so much. steve leaseman, who has been
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there seven treasury secretaries. that's several more than i have, steve. >> the president's choice of jack lew is already stirring some conversation because he has completed the top four cabinet posts with another white man. that has put the white house on the defensive. >> if janet napolitano is the secretary of homeland security, the cabinet level position, the u.n. ambassador, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations is susan rice. you know, again, i could go through the list. this president has appointed -- has made two appointments to the supreme court both of them women. i think that his commitment to -- >> do you think it's an unfair charge? >> i think that the record speaks for itself. >> the record does speak for itself, doesn't it? joining me now for our daily fix, chris alissa, msnbc contributor managing editor of post, msnbc's white house correspondent kristen welker and washington post opinion columnist ruth marcus. ruth, i got to start with you because of the headline writers
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on your column -- >> thank you very much. copy desk. >> the headline was? >> binders full of women. >> beaninders full of women. what is going on here? that is the question that a lot of people are asking. >> it doesn't look so attractive. no disrespect to the looks of it. men involved. i am not a fan of bean counting and counting up numbers of women and numbers of minorities, but it is striking and it is disconcerting and it is disappointing to see in the big four jobs no female. now, you might say, okay, the white guys need a chance to be secretary of state. they haven't -- there hasn't been a white guy secretary of state since warren christopher 17 years ago, but it does send a signal no matter who else you have elsewhere in your cabinet when the -- when among the big boy jobs there are no girls, that's a message. >> that's certainly always been the case on the national security team as well.
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chris, what about hilda solis departing? we understand she has some political prospects herself back in her native california. you are losing a cabinet secretary who is not only, you know, female, but hispanic. >> yeah. when it happened yesterday afternoon, andrea, i haut to myself, gee, this is the department of bad timing for president obama because ruth hits it exactly right, which is, yes, janet napolitano is at hhs -- excuse me -- at department homeland security. yes, cathleen is at health and human services. susan rice, lisa jackson, though she's leaving, you know, but it's these big -- it's the big four cabinet jobs that we always think of. the very most prominent ones that have the most sort of sway, the biggest portfolio. all cabinet jobs are not created equal. they just aren't. i think that's why they're taking the criticism. would i say, though, look, i
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think president obama in some way invited this upon himself when he said after being elected in 2008 he wanted to have a cabinet that looked like america. that statement makes this criticism, i think, somewhat justified. he himself said that this was going to be a priority. not just in a first term presumably, but also in a cirqued term. that's why you're hearing maybe more of it than you might if he had never said something like that. >> kristin welker if jack lew gets confirmed as treasury saenkt, the chief of staff will be, fill in the blank. is it dennis mcdonough or ron klain. what white man is tliblg take the chief of staff job? >> well, it depends who you ask, andrea. depending on who you ask some folks think that it is dennis mcdonough, the former deputy national security advisor. some say it's ron klain, who is, of course, the former chief of staff for joe biden. the bottom line is, my sources
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are telling me, that the final decision has not been made yet, but we do believe that it's been whittled down between these two men. to your point about diversity, i've been talking to white house officials about these cabinet position that is remain open, the position of hilda solis. does the president feel an urgency to create more diversity in the wake of all of this criticism that he has been getting? no direct answer has been given, but i can tell you that this is certainly something that they are very aware of. they feel as though the criticism is unfair for all of the reasons that you just went through. this is something that they're going to be paying close attention to, and as you point out, the timing of hilda solis announcing that she's leaving certainly wasn't ideal. andrea. >> let's just say they had choices. they had michelle florenoy, perfectly positioned for defense. there are prominent women who have been, you know, doing very, very important jobs in this administration before, during, and since.
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there are choices for the frontline jobs. on the national security team, what you have is tom donnellan remaining as national security advisor. dennis mcdonough may be moving up as chief of staff, but we haven't seen others being brought in, and they probably did think that susan rice, the initial frontrunner for secretary of state, was going to solve that problem by being secretary of state. which didn't turn out that way. >> two quick points? >> yes. >> number one, as we look ahead to the -- whatever white guy becomes chief of staff, i think it's actually kind of interesting that there are two women who are deputy chiefs of staff and no one has talked about them as possibilities talt at all. that's kind of interesting. what does that say? in addition to that, if the white house -- they may think that this criticism is unfair. certainly they anticipated it. why not find a better package to blunt some of the criticism, time the solis departure a
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different way, package the more of them together so you can at least have some female faces? wouldn't solve my beef, but would make at least it look a little more appropriate. >> we'll have more on this later with you as well. ruth, thank you very much. next up, she's making history in the senate and her home state, new hampshire. the senator coming here and live coverage ahead of the jack lew announcement. you're watching andrea mitchell reports. only on msnbc. (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy. why take exercise so seriously,when it can be fun? push-ups or sprints? what's wrong with fetch? or chase? let's do this larry! ooh, i got it, i got it! (narrator) the calorie-smart nutrition in beneful healthy weight... includes grains and real chicken, because a healthy dog is a playful dog. beneful healthy weight. find us on facebook to help put more play in your day.
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>> new hampshire is the first state ever to be entirely led by women. joining me now is new hampshire senator jeanne shaheen. thank you very much.
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love the manchester background. thanks for being with us. first of all, what is the significance, do you think, of the fact that the president's top four cabinet picks now today, jack lew as well, are all white men, and there is a notable lack of diversity among the top cabinet members? do you think this is a problem? >>. >> it's disappointing. i would hope the president would follow new hampshire's lead. he still has an opportunity. he has some openings. he has places where he could appoint women, and i hope he'll take a look and do that. >> i know having covered bill clinton back in 1992 during the transition when he rejected women's groups and said that he doesn't believe in quotas and the bean counters who were criticizing him for not having enough women in the cabinet at that point. he eventually did, of course.
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>> what is the common ground that changes the conversation when women are at the table? >> well, we have different life experiences. they're not better or worse than men's, but they're different. we're often the people who make sure that our kids go to school, that take care of our aging parents, that make sure our families get the health care and other nurturing needs that they have, and it's important to have our voice at the table because we have a different perspective. we need a government that looks like america. so we can address the concerns that we hear from across the spectrum. >> what do you think of the nominees so far in terms of your own role as a vote -- confirming vote or a vote to deny the confirmation of john kerry, you know, chuck hagel, john brennan,
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jack lew? >> well, fortunately, i'm going to be in a position where i'm on the armed services committee, and the foreign relations committee, so i'll get a chance to question both senators kerry and hagel, and i look forward to hearing them answer some of the tough questions that have been raised. that's what the confirmation process is about. >> do you have concerns about chuck hagel from what you know so far? >> you know, i think senator hagel deserves all of our admiration for his service in vietnam, for his service to the country as a senator from nebraska, and he would be the only enlisted man who has ever served in the military to become secretary of defense if he gets confirmed, but i do have some serious questions for him about how he would implement the amendment that i just put into the defense authorization bill to make sure that women in the military who are victims of rape
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or incest are able to access reproductive health services and get the same coverage that other women throughout the federal system get for abortions. i want to hear how he plans to implement that. i want to hear what he has to say about israel and some of the statements that have been made about his past positions on israel. now, i think he has had a very strong record in support of israel, but i think those are questions that i want to hear him answer. >> and i know hillary clinton has just come back from this health scare. she says she's feeling better than ever. what are her future prospects? i know you have been a long-time close friend and supporter. what about hillary clinton in 2016 if she chooses? >> i think hillary can do whatever she decides she wants to do. like so many of her friends and admirers, i hope she'll get a chance to get some rest, to take
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it easy for a little while. i certainly appreciate and respect the tremendous job she's done as secretary of state. the miles that she's travel anded what she's given to the country and so i hope that she's going to have a chance to decide to do what she would like to do and if she decides to run for president, she will be a terrific candidate, and i think she will gain lots of support, and i certainly hope that i'm going to see in my lifetime a woman president. >> do you think she has some tough answers -- tough questions to answer before your committee on benghazi before she leaves office? >> well, i think many of those questions have -- we've heard from the report that was done. we had extensive hearings and an opportunity to question the authors of that report. admiral mullen was one of those. so i think she will confirm many of the things that were in the report, and i'm sure respond to
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what the state department and what she has done in response to the recommendations in that report on the benghazi attack. >> senator shaheen, thank you very much. thanks for joining us from new hampshire. minutes from now president obama is going to be nominating jack lew to replace tim geithner as his new treasury swuf state. stay with us for live coverage from the white house. next, the gunfight continues. joe biden sits down with the nra. stay with us. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness? by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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this is going to move very quickly. the vice president saying earlier today that is he going to give his recommendations to president obama by tuesday so, he wants to be able to argue that he has listened to everyone, and they're really doing that. three meetings at the white house today, including one with the nra and five other shooting support groups. earlier today the vice president met with ducks unlimited and some other sort of water fowl outdoor sports groups, and later today the attorney general is meeting with retailers, including cabella's, wal-mart, and some others. they're all trying to get their ideas. we're told that in this most sensitive meeting, this one at 1:45 that includes the national rifle association, vice president biden is really going to push them to participate to say we need to try and find some area for common ground, for compromise. we're not going to et let you just come in here and give us your points. from the nra's side, we're told
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that they're going to have a friendly face, but a tough message. they're sending not their top lobbyists, not their executive director, but someone who actually knows vice president biden, who worked with him when he was in the senate in the 1990s on some of the clinton gun legislation. and he biden are friends from the delaware beat. someone that has a xhfrlt level, but is he going to say we're lisping to our members out in the country. they don't want us to go soft or don't want us to support some kind of unreasonable legislation, and to back that up we found out that nra membership in the last two weeks has gone up 100,000 from 4.1 million to 4.2 million, and, andrea, to how they're seeing this debate ahead theshgs told me that they hope that before this debate is over, their membership will go up to five million. >> mike allen, great reporting
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on that. thanks for previewing it. and joining me now at the table washington post columnist ruth marcus, again, usa today's susan page, and elizabeth of the "new york times". welcome all. well, we've been talking a lot about the white male cabinet choices. just to show you that there's nothing new and it's deja vu all over again as we see tshg the east room waiting for the president to come in and nominate jack lew, let's have a flashback as y yogi berra would say, it's deja vu all over again. >> today clinton rejected complaints from women's groups that he hasn't delivered. >> the people that are doing this talking are by and large talking about quotas. i don't believe in quotas, and they're checking on numbers. what i try to do is take each one of these positions and do my very best to come up with the person that was well qualified. >> he was visibly angry that critics are ignoring some cabinet appointes that are not female. >> those bean counters who are
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doing that, if i had appointed white men to those positions. you know that's true. >> are you in the room, i was in the room back in little rock in those days, leading up to the christmas eve final nominations, which completed, well, with zoe behr, the attorney general. >> he was she was followed by kimball wood followed by at this point he was skrounking and beating the bushes for women because they needed to -- >> he kept ranting. i looked at any story from the event the other day, and it quoted aides as saying he kept going after he got off the stage. >> elizabeth, what about, you know, hagel at the pentagon, jack lew now at treasury? these are the big jobs, and it's sort of striking. you don't have women at the white house staff at the most
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senior levels. there are deputy chiefs of staff who are not even being mentioned as skrd to replace jack lew. >> it's the -- it's the optics. it doesn't help young women coming up to see these pictures. i think that the white house is always mentioning her az apossibility, and i think that was more just to let people know that they were considering a woman. i think that hagel was the choice the president all along, and that often happens. now, people -- the president and the people are saying, well, there's always women in the second tier jobs, but you don't see those women on tv. you see the secretaries and so, again, it's a problem with optics. >> susan page, you are such ab period of time as the bureau chief of usa today. mountain out of a mole hill, or as jean says, women have different experiences. we're 50% of the population, and being at the table makes a big difference. >> well, to be clear president
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obama has a pretty good record of appointing women even to the top jobs. rutgers keeps score on all this stuff. >> 43%. >> the only president who has done better in terms of these top jobs is president clinton in his second term where he had 41% of these cabinet level appointments. that said, the bar is higher at this point. it's years later. women have really emerged as a bigger -- who elected barack obama? men -- a majority of men voted for the republican nominee, mitt romney. it was women what were the target of the obama campaign, and i think women have some expectations to be represented. it's been a long time. it's been at least six years since there's been no woman in those top four jobs, those big four cabinet jobs that are first in line for succession to the presidency, and that are seen as the most powerful policymakers in the president's administration. >> going forward, what about the chuck hagel nomination? you cover the pentagon, elizabeth. ruth, we have all been watching
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this. the white house does feel confident that they have the votes. this is before the hearings, and you never know what will happen at the hearings. >> this is another baseball quote, but it's never over until it's over, and you have seen in -- you and i have both seen, all of us, enough nominations to know that things can change in an instant with dredged up quote or a bad performance at courtesy calls, bad performance with susan rice, bad performance at hearings, and i think that the sort of tradition of senatorial courtesy remains to be seen how far that will extend to chuck hagel among his former republican colleague. >> that evaporated in 1989 with the armed services chair that was not confirmed to be defense secretary. >> that said, i think it's going to be very hard for a lot of members of the senate to vote against a vietnam war veteran and someone who is an enlisted soldier first time ever in the history of the pentagon that an enlisted man would run the
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pentagon and given his experiences in vietnam, and i think we know that hagel reached out yesterday to senator mccain. they had a conversation on the phone, and you talk to people on both mccain's staff and with hagel and at the white house, and they don't think this is a done deal, but mccain would necessarily vote against his old friend, chuck hagel. sdoo fellow vietnam. >> right. >> combat veteran. susan paige, we are also seeing the discussion perculating about john brennan. what is clear is there was such a personal connection. barack obama was so happy to be nominating john brennan tore sar. veteran cia. at the same time, with the coincidence of zero dark 30 and all of the talk about the post-9/11 celebration gargs -- enhanced interrogation techniques, that was on john brennan's watch, but what the president is saying is that john brennan is going to be in charge
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of the newark technical tour to refine drone attacks and continuing this undeclared war and also interrogation techniques to create a legal framework going forward. >> i saw that the president's remarks when he named brennan were interesting because he went exactly at this point. he said he had been an advocate for obeying the law, for being a nation of laws when it comes to these kind of attacks, and i think that john brennan has done a lot since this issue pretty much cost him head of the cia the last time around to try to make it clear that he recognizes the law and recognizes the limits, but this will be a debate because we have become, as elizabeth knows better than most of us, a nation that really depends on these drone attacks to carry the -- to mean that we don't have to put soldiers on the ground, and there is a big debate about the appropriate use of that. >> can you bring the power back to the pentagon?
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>> that is what is being said. yes, that looks like what brennan wants to do, but that said, i don't see how you have pentagon drone attacks in places that we're not officially at war with, like yemen and somalia. that's the question i have. you can't -- the one way the cia does it is because it's covert. there's a -- we have drone attacks in afghanistan. that's it for the pentagon. yes, there is a great desire with john brennan to demilitaryize the cia. >> now, speaking of afghanistan in town today. hamid karzai at the pentagon today and on the hill and later will be at the state department for dinner with hillary clinton. he was with leon panetta today. this comes shortly after he sat down with our own atia and just ehave is rated u.s. policy. >> he has a problem with this new team, though. you remember a couple of years
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ago three senators went and met with him, and there was -- for dinner. karzai in kabul. there was -- they raised the issue of corruption in his government, and it became a big incident. joe biden, hagel, and john kerry? zeefs later sent as a private envoy to smooth things over with karzai. >> true, but this is -- karzai must look at the leadership of the second obama administration and see a message coming for him then. what the troop levels will be after 2014 and will there even be u.s. troops there? >> ruth marcus, the white house is telling me that it was not a slip of the tongue. it was a very specific statement by ben rhodes in his briefings, pre-briefi pre-briefing, before the karzai visit, the zero option of troops 2014 is an option. it's all on the table. >> that the zero option is something that should scare not just president karzai, but from my point of view it should scare
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us because it basically says we give up, we quit, the progress that we made is untenable, and we might as well not even try to keep it because from the military officials that i have spoken to they don't need tens of thousands of soldiers, but they need a force, maybe -- several thousand to 10,000 to maintain the progress that has been made, and if you give that up, you are giving up a lot of things, including just to bring this whole issue together, including a lot of the progress that's been made for afghan women as the taliban returns. i find that a very scary report. >> the other people scared are the pakistanis. >> right. >> looking at what's happening says kroog the border, if we are completely pulling out. what does it say about the surge and the american lives that were lost with that escalation? >> if you look at the pentagon's own most recent report on what's been the last six months in afghanistan, you will -- of the
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most recent -- the most repeat report from the pentagon on previous six months in afghanist afghanistan, you will see that the levels of violence that have returned to -- are now greater than presurge levels. this obviously brings us to the conclusion that the surge has made no difference. now, the military will disagree with that, and i would say the surge has made a difference in parts of afghanistan, in southern afghanistan, and helmand province especially where 20,000 marines were there. they're leaving soon. it did make a difference to some degree in kandahar, so i think the zero option is partly strategic. it was partly to negotiate with karzai to let him know this is real. we could pull out completely. it was in some ways perhaps a strategy to make sure that there will be immunity for u.s. soldiers in afghanistan after 2014. as we all know, that's what broke down the negotiations in iraq. i think the numbers i'm hearing 2,500, 5,000, i think 10,000 is
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a very high number right now. >> let's also talk about the inauguration because you clearly have president obama feeling that he has a mandate. he has political capital. he is doing what he wants with these cabinet choices. he is also planning a second term inaugural. now the latest wrinkle was the pastor backing out because of his anti-gay comments a decade or so ago. >> and what a contrast. this preparation, but what a contrast to four years ago. it really says a lot about the kind of wearyness the country has about the long economic downturn, and i think also a feeling that the hopes that a lot of americans had that we were going to have a new kind of politics, that president obama was going to be able to break through some of the partisan divide that seems to paralyze us, that that's pretty much given up. i mean, even from president obama's own rhetoric now, the stance he took on the fiscal cliff, the language he is using now about the budget battles
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ahead is much more combative and much more kind of standard issue washington politics than we heard four years ago. >> we've also been told aretha franklin was there the first time. yoya ma and now it's beyonce, kelly clarkson, and james taylor. >> i love -- i would like to say i'm very excited about the prospect of seeing james taylor, but this thing over the pastor and the anti-gay comments, excuse me. does anybody know how to play this game? we need to -- >> how about vetting the people you have? >> vetting. google. they have this thing. it works really well. >> eric schmidt and pyongyang. there's google everywhere. >> how the sort of basics of this cannot be done. it really goes to what we were talking about earlier with at least if you are going have all the white guys figure out how to package and message it better, and i just find it -- i'm glad they dumped him. it seemed like a ridiculous fight to continue, but i don't understand how you could have a
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self-inflicted wound like this. >> also a reminder that second terms are hard. you know? second terms. things get done in second terms. president reagan got stepped on in his second term. so did president clinton. we've seen stumbles, whether it's hugh hubris or people are exhausted or whatever the reason. this is a story we've seen before. >> as we've been expecting, the president has come in followed by tim geithner and jack lew as he approaches the podium. he is going to nominate jack lew to be the treasury. >> four years ago i announced tim geithner. we were barely two months into the financial crisis. the stock market had cratered. the housing market had cratered as well. bank after bank was on the verge of collapse, and worst of all, more than 800,000 americans would lose their jobs in just that month.
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and the bottom was not yet in sight. so i couldn't blame tim when he tried to tell me wasn't the right guy for the job. i knew that tim's extensive experience with economic policy made him imminently qualified, and i also knew he could hit the ground running. as chairman of the new york federal reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks imersed in the complexities of the crisis and had been working closely with his republican predecessor at treasury to save our financial system. i asked tim to help put it back together. thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing again for the past three years. our businesses have created nearly six million new jobs. the money that we spent to save the financial system has largely
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been paid back. we put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again. an auto industry was saved. we made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again. we've taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for air and open new markets to sell american goods overseas. and we've begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts and reforms to a tax code that at the time that we both came in was too skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle class americans. so when the history books are written, tim geithner is going to go down as one of our finest secretaries of the treasury. [ applause ]
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>> don't embarrass him. on a personal note, tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable advisor throughout these last four years. there's an unofficial saying over at treasury. no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners. that would be a good saying for all of washington. no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners. few embody that ideal better than tim geithner. that's why when tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago, i had to personally get on my knees with carol to help
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convince him to stay on a little bit longer. i could not be more grateful for carol to allow him to make the sacrifices that so many of our cabinet members ask of their families in serving the country. now, the fact is while a lot of work remains, especially to rebuild a strong middle class and offer working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class, our economy is better positioned for tomorrow than most of those other countries hit by the financial crisis. the tough decisions tim made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that, so i understand that tim is ready for a break. obviously we're sad to see him go. i cannot think of a better person to continue tim's work at treasury than jack lew. now, this is bittersweet not only because tim is leaving, but
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also because jack has been my chief of staff for the last year. he was my budget director before that. i trust his jomt judgment. i value his friendship. i know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left. i don't want to see him go because it's working out really well for me to have him in the white house. my loss will be the nation's gain. jack has the distinction of having worked and succeeded in some of the toughest jobs in washington and the private sector. as a congressional staffer in the 1908s he helped negotiate the deal between president reagan and tip o'neil to save social security. under president clinton he prided over three budget surpluses in a row. so for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it.
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three times. he helped oversee one of the our finest universities and one of our largest investment banks. in my administration he has managed operations for the state department and the budget for the entire executive branch. over the past year i have sought jack's advice on virtually every decision that i have made from economic policy to foreign policy. now, one reason jack has been so effective in this town is because he is a low key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras. over the years he has built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with both members of the parties and forge principled compromises, and maybe most importantly is the son of a polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, jack knows that every number on a page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation. our values. the values that say everybody gets a fair shot at opportunity,
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and says that we expect all of us to fulfill our individual obligations as citizens in return. jack has my complete trust. i know i'm not alobby in that. in the words of one former senator, having lew on your team is the equivalent as a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at almost any position and knowing he will do well. i could not agree more. so i hope the senate will confirm him as quickly as possible. i want to personally thank both of these men and their families, especially carol and ruth, for their extraordinary service to our country and with that i would like to invite them to say a few words, starting with tim. >> mr. president, it's been a privilege to serve you. i'm honored and grateful that you asked me to do this really. i am -- i'm very proud of what my colleagues in treasury and your economic team was able to help you accomplish these first
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four years. when you stepped into this building as president, you were confronted with a world in crisis, the worst crisis in generations. you made the necessary, the hard, the politically perilous choices that save the american people, saved american industry, saved the global economy from a failing financial system, and your successful response to the crisis, of course, did not solve all the nation's challenges. it could not have done so. the actions you took along with a forceful and creative federal reserve have made the country stronger and put us in a much better position to face the many challenges still ahead of us. i have the greatest respect for jack lew. i know he is main of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and experience.
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over decades spent at the center of american economic policy. he is committed to defending the safety net for the elderly and the poor. he understands what it takes to create the conditions for stronger economic growth and broader economic opportunity. he understands that to govern responsibly is to govern with a recognition that we have limited fiscal resources. like jack, have i spent my professional life in this world of public policy and public service, and as all of you know, our families carry a large share of the burdens we assume in public life. i feel incredibly fortunate that my wife, carol, and my family have been willing to allow me to do this. i thank them for their support and their patience and i understand their occasional impatience. [ laughter ] >> i want to express my admiration and my appreciation for the women and the men of the
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treasury department. those who came to serve you these years of crisis you, these years of crisis and the civil servants of the treasure with whom i first started working in 1988. they are exceptionally talented and honorable public servants. i'm very proud of what they have helped you accomplish and i am confident that my successor will find them the extraordinary asset they are to the nation and i also hope that americans will look at the challenges we face today and decide as many of you in this room have that in spite of the divisive state of our political system today, that serving your country is compelling and rewarding work. that was my experience. and i am grateful and will always be grateful to you for having given me the opportunity
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to serve you as the secretary of the treasury. [ applause ] >> mr. president, it's been my honor to serve as your chief of staff and before that omb in the state department. it's been a privilege to come to work every day as part of a team dedicated to building a sound economy and a safer world. tim sh you have been a friend and a colleague for many years. actually, decades. and the american people are better off for your outstanding service. and you know, i thought i knew you pretty well but it was only yesterday i discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship.
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tim, i join the president and everyone here wishing you and your family and carol well. as a kid growing up in queens, i had a dream of making a difference in the world and nurtured in the home where the gifts of freedom and american opportunity cherished and never taken for granted and the responsibility to engage in issues of public concern were part of daily life. i'll always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in values that remain central to my professional and personal life. i grew up in the office of speaker o'neill whose compass was clear and demanded advice how best to reach the designation. he cared only about whether you did the hard work to inform the decisions of the day and took a big chance giving responsibility to that young man and for that i'm always thankful. serving first under president clinton and more recently in this administration, i worked
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with one of the finest teams in the government. execute a responsible fiscal policy and advancing policies of economic growth. i'm delighted to see so many friends of omb here today. at the state department, i work closely with the great secretary of state and my friend hillary clinton to advance the nation's national security agenda and including the international economic policies. and as chief of staff, i have had the pleasure of working with a tremendously talented white house team which manages policy, politics, communications and complex operations every day with grace, skill and loyalty. if confirmed, i look forward to joining the treasury department. it's a team that i have collaborated with closely over many years and come to respect greatly. finally, thank you to ruth, danny and the kids for your endless tolerance with the demands of a schedule that tests all family patience. and thank you, mr. president, for your trust, your confidence
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and friendship. serving in your administration has allowed me to live out those values my parents instilled in me. and i look forward to continuing with the challenges ahead. thank you. [ applause ] >> well, these are two outstanding public servants. i think the only point that i want to make -- leave you with is the fact that i had never noticed jack's signature and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, i considered rescinding my offer to appoint him. jack assures me that he is going
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to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency. should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury. so thank you very much, everybody. >> and with that reference to jack lew's illegible signature which will be on the currency, chris cillizza rejoining us an the panel. the president giving penmanship lessons to the new treasury secretary nominee. >> i was betting to make the jack lew reference in the introductory remarks. i find it fascinating. both tim geithner and jack lew speaking, tim geithner never i think his default position is his face it looks he never looks happy to be there. he may have been but he didn't look that way. jack lew i think got a very nice
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description from the president, low-key, someone that gets things done and what we hear about him. >> well, thanks to you, chris, our great thanks to ruth marcus and susan paige and elizabeth bue-miller. it was fun today. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tamron hall is here with a look at the next hour. >> we are following several big stories. coming up, the minister set to deliver the benediction at the president's inauguration withdraws after comments in the '90s of gay rights and referred to as the homosexual lifestyle. the inaugural committee said it was unaware of the minister's past. right now, vice president biden is meeting with the nra. the vice president says tuesday is the day, we can mark our calendars, he'll deliver the task force recommendations to the president. what might we see? charlie rangel has harsh
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words for the president over the lack of diversity in the president's inner circle. we'll play his comments and the panel will discuss. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. [ sigh of relief ] living with moderate to semeans living with it could also mean living with joint damage. help relieve the pain and stop the damage with humira, adalimumab. for many adults with moderate to severe ra, humira is clinically proven to help relieve pain and stop joint damage. so you can treat more than just the pain. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer, have happened. blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions,
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