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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 7, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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ownership of two pieces of property in new jersey. whereas corrected financial disclosure statements filed by representative rangel on august 12th, 2009, now reveal his net worth to be nearly twice as much as had been previously revealed. whereas "the new york times" newspaper reported on august 26th, 2009, that the united states representative charles b. rangel whose personal finances and fund raising are subject to two house ethics investigations failed to report at least $500,000 in assets on his 2007 congressional disclosure form, according to an amended report he filed this month. among the dozens of newly disclosed holdings revealed in the amended forms are a checking account at the federal credit union with a balance of $250,000
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and $500,000, three vacant lots in new jersey valued at a total of $1,000 to $15,000. and stock in pepsi-co worth between $15,000 and $50,000. where as "roll call" newspaper reported on august 25th, 2009, that representative rangel's corrected filings also revealed at least $250,000 in a fund called mlalanzan global investors consults diversified port 3. where as the aforementioned "role call" story reported that rangel also originally misreported his investments in 2007. that they netted him between $6,511 and $17,950 in dividends
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capital gains and real incomes. in his revised filing it jumped to between 29, $220 an$29, $2200 whereas the most recent revelations by representative rangel have resulted in heightened national news media coverage of alleged impropriety and potential criminal conduct by one of the most senior members of the house. whereas an editorial in the "washington times" noted charlie rangel is a lucky guy. the democratic congressman from harlem, new york, just discovered that his net worth is twice what he thought. that's a pretty good day at the office for a public servant. mr. rangel also realized that he made tens of thousands of dollars more than he reported in many different years over the past decade. this is the most recent string
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in a series of financial bonanzas for mr. rangel who last year admitted he had forgotten about $75,000 in rental income on his caribbean resort. whereas the same editorial also noted the congressman has failed to pay property taxes on two lots in new jersey, according to "the new york post." that's not all. in order to avoid taxes and get lower mortgage rates, mr. rangel simultaneously claimed three primary residences. whereas an editorial in the september 17th, 2009, edition of the "new haven register" stated the ethics and tax complaints keep piles up against representative -- u.s. representative charles b. rangel who as chairman of the house ways and means committee controls writing the nation's tax laws. the new york democrat may write those laws, but he apparently feels no obligations to obey them. the investigation appears to
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have a long way to go. the man who is in charge of writing the nation's tax laws doesn't pay his federal income or local property taxes. mr. speaker, the house is not in order. >> the gentleman is correct. gentleman from texas. >> he has such a poor grasp with his own finances that he neglects to list half his assets on a disclosure form intended to keep members of congress accountable and honest. we can already hear the defense of the next tax deadbeat called into court. if charlie rangel doesn't have to pay his taxes, why should i? whereas an article in the "washington post" on september 15th, 2009, stated rangel is now the chairman of the house ways and means committee and a man of immense importance in washington. nevertheless, he has been busy
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of late revising and amending the record, backing and filling using buckets of whiteout as he discovers or remembers property he has owned in new york, new jersey, florida, the dominican republic and god only knows where else. rangel recently even discovered bank accounts that no one in the world, apparently including him, knew he had. one with a congressional federal credit union. another with merrill lynch. each valued at between $250,000 and $500,000. he somehow neglected to mention these accounts on his congressional disclosure forms, which means if you can believe it, that he signed the forms and he did not notice that maybe $1 million was missing. somebody ought to check the lighting in his office. mr. speaker, the house is not in order.
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>> gentleman from texas. >> whereas the same article in the w"washington post" stated there's something wrong with charlie rangel. either he did not notice he was worth about twice as much as he said he was, which is downright worse in a congressional leader, or he thinks he's above the law, which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader. whereas it has been more than one year since the editorial "new york times" on september 15th, 2008, stated, mounting em em barmt for taxpayers in congress makes it -- step aside from the chair of the ways and means committee. whereas at various times during the past 12 months representative rangel and speaker pelosi have made public statements asserting that the ongoing investigation of representative rangel by the committee on standards of official conduct would soon be
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concluded. >> republican john carter on the house floor reading his resolution against charlie rangel. we are told that majority leader steny hoier will immediately get up and table that resolution. there will be no action against charlie rangel, who has been accused of ethical transgressions and tax problems and has revised his earnings and tax reports. and he is, of course, the powerful chairman of the house ways and means committee. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," today on this eighth anniversary of the war in afghanistan, the president calls the third of five strategy sessions with his national security team. today's focus, the related terror threat in pakistan. this after yesterday's consultation with a bipartisan congressional group led to a brickly moment between the president and his former rival, john mccain. john mccain told the president, quote, time is not on our side. this should not be a leisurely process, according to those present. the president then snapped back,
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saying, quote, john, i can assure you this won't be leisurely. but the president has signaled he will not dramatically reduce the number of troops in afghanistan. will he end up choosing a middle course? coming up, the chair of the house armed services committee. senator joe lieberman of the senate armed services committee. richard haass and retired u.s. army general barry mckathry. at this hour the senate finance committee is also waiting for the congressional budget office to deliver the final cost of the health care reform package. this as a new poll shows that the public is, indeed, divided, split, over the approval of president obama's handling of health care. senator tom harkin joins us from the senate. a busy day up there today, senator. thanks for taking the time to join us. first of all, this associated
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press poll, support for health care and the health care reform poll -- health care reform plan indicating that there is support for health care out there. where are you -- where are you looking right now as you wait for the congressional budget office, which is going to report today on how it is going to score the senate finance plan? >> well, andrea, as you know right now, our committee is working with the finance committee to meld the two bills together. that process is ongoing right now under the leadership of senator reid, our majority leader. we will continue that. and hopefully we're going to have a bill to take to the senate floor next week. depending on when we get the cbo scores. the congressional budget office. but we could be on the floor as early as sometime next week. but certainly no later than the week after next. >> as we were reporting all day, a poll shows republicans evenly divided, 40%, 40%. you don't have any reference
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point there as to what the public wants. the public is confused senator. i think you could fairly divide it that way. they don't know what they're about to see. all this talk about the cbo and scoring is mystifying to most people. how important is it to you and your colleagues to see and follow the guidelines of the cbo? if they say it is budget neutral, is that good enough? >> well, it depends. a lot of it always depends on how the cbo looks at things and what they take into account on their scoring, as they say. this is all kind of inside ball game, andrea, as you know. i just want to reassure the american people that we are going to have a good health care reform bill. and it's going to be on the president's desk before christmas. and he's going to sign it before christmas. it's going to do some really good things. it's going to make sure that your insurance policies can't deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. that they can't cut you off if you get ill or if you have a serious illness. it's going to allow your kids to
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remain on your family plan until they're age 26. it also means you can get your annual screenings and physicals and mammogram screenings and colon os copies and vaccinations free. no kcopays or deductibles. >> will you support a bill that doesn't have a public option. >> i can assure you the bill that gets to the president's desk, andrea, will have a public option. >> you mean with some kind of trigger, some kind of phase? >> we don't know. i think we have a very good one in our bill. it was supported broadly. even the blue dog democrats in the house adopted our public option measure. so i think it has a lot of appeal. whether or not we have a trigger, all that stuff, i don't know yet. but it will be a good strong public option. >> senator baucus has said that they don't have the votes in committee for a public option. and his bill and your bill, the one that you took over the
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committee from senator dodd, who has been leading it in the absence, of course, of senator kennedy. so you're new to the leadership on this as the chairman. senator dodd's bill as it evolved does have a public option. they're going to be merged. senator reid is going to choose the people to sit at the table. the early warning signs are that you're not going to be at the table. why is that? >> well, because i have designated senator dodd to be the lead person on health care reform. he started it. and i felt it was important to keep him on. senator dodd. as our lead person on health care reform. that's not unusual. as i said before, years ago with the americans with disabilities act, senator kennedy let me take charge of that and run it and be the fore manager for it. so it's not unusual. i just wanted to make sure that we had the continuity and the leadership of senator dodd to see this through. but i can assure you, i'm very much involved in it.
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>> let me switch you to afghanistan. because big decisions are being made. the president told john mccain and the other leaders yesterday that he can assure them it's not going to be done at a leisurely pace. there seemed to be a little bit of tension there between the president, who is the commander in chief, and the critics coming from the republicans. if he doesn't go completely with the recommendation on the upside of what -- the maximum number of troops up to 40,000 more troops that general mcchrystal has recommended, is he vulnerable to criticism from the republicans who seem to be kind of preparing to jump all over him? >> well, he's always vulnerable to criticism from the republicans. that's just a given, i think, under the present circumstances. >> would you support as many as 40,000 more troops? >> well, i want to get all the information. we don't have all that yet. i know that president obama is approaching this deliberately. he's getting all the advice and information that he can possibly
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get. that's as it should be. and when he gets all of that information, he'll make a decision. i'll wait to see what that decision is before i decide whether or not i can support it or not. again, i don't have all that information either. and we need to have that before those of us in the senate can make any kind of rational judgment on this. >> just very briefly, do you and some of your other more liberal colleagues have concerns that the decision might engage us too much in afghanistan? would you like to see more of a go slow approach or less of a deployment? >> well, i think, first of all, we've got to keep in mind that the big element here is not so much afghanistan. it's pakistan. and what happens to the pakistani government, what happens to their control over the nuclear weapons that they have if, god forbid, the taliban were able to take over the pakistani government from a base, say, in afghanistan.
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so, to me, this really is sort of the controlling factor in all of this is what happens to pakistan. >> that's exactly what the president's national security adviser is going to be discussing today. thank you very much. it's always good to see you, senator. thanks for being with us. >> thanks, andrea. how much of a fight in afghanistan should be focused on the war against al qaeda and on pakistan? up next, richard haass, president of the council and ike skelten joining us. why is lubriderm® daily moisture
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today on this eighth anniversary of the war in afghanistan, one democrat is calling on the white house to heed general stanley mcchrystal's call to send up to
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an additional 40,000 troops to afghanistan. ike skelton is chairman of the house armed services committee. thanks so much. tell me why you think that the general should get his wishes and we should agree to this big deployment. >> just face it. this is matter of national security. the al qaeda terrorists have been at us five times beginning 9/11, 2001. we did the right thing by going in there and dismantling the al qaeda terrorists and those that harbored them, the taliban government. of course, we got rid of that government. there we are. the war was on. but the problem that we had was going into iraq and afghanistan became the forgotten war. and consequently, we have an awful lot more to do now that we
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have a new commander there and a new strategy which began a new war, actually, back in march. >> there's a new commander. some would argue there isn't a new strategy. even after announcing the march strategy, the president is rethinking it. clearly the situation on the ground, they're telling us, has changed. we've had not only more casualties, of course great tragedy for american families, but a terrible election result. >> yes. >> not a viable government. >> well, that, of course, is the elephant in the tent. the fact that the election was flawed. and we know that. and the only way to do that has two answers. number one, to work closer with the local governments and the leaders. and number two is to have the karzai government call in the tribal leaders and have a conference, which is part of
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their culture. to set their own standards on how to get rid of corruption in the government, how they are to deliver services better to the people, and then hold them to that standard. that, i think, is the major way we have put pressure on the karzai government to do what is right. >> congressman, are you satisfied that the president is making the right decision and making it in the right way? do you have any concerns after the meeting yesterday that the president is not going to support the commanders and, in fact, will not commit enough troops? >> no. i learned one thing yesterday. the president is a good listener. he heard from 10 of the 30, and i was one of them that discussed the issue. i said, number one, we have a strategy which he outlined back in march. and frankly we are following that strategy. number two, he appointed a new commander. one who is fully familiar with
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insurgency and in warfare of this sort. number three he asked the commander to come forward with an assessment. as you know, that has made it into the news and into the press. now he is waiting to hear what other people say. and then he will make a decision. i'm urging -- i'm urging that he make a decision to follow the recommendations of the commander who is on the ground. you have never seen a war or conflict in history where a leader has held back forces in any conflict and still won the war. >> if he does not, will you support him? will you trust his judgment? or will you end up fighting with john mccain and others and will end up criticizing him. >> he's the commander in chief. and the burden is on his shoulders. in harry truman's words, the buck stops with him. i trust that he will make a
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strong, positive decision. he appointed the man that he has confidence in. general stanley mcchrystal. and i hope that he will take his thoughts and his recommendations. because this is a matter of national security. you don't want to give those people a safe haven in afghanistan again. because they'll come right back and strike us again. just as sure as god made little green apples. >> chairman ike skelton, who is arguing for general mcchrystal's option for up to as many as 40,000 more troops. thank you very much. thanks for being with us. today on the eighth anniversary, as we said, of the u.s. led afghan invasion, a new quinnipiac university poll shows that 49% of the americans do not believe that the united states will be successful in eliminating the terrorist threat in afghanistan. joining us now, richard haass, president of the council on foreign relations and the author of "the war of necessity, war of choice." which was clearly something the
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president read. a book that the president and a lot of the rest of us read and took to heart. thanks so much. richard, good to see you. you've warned previously that afghanistan could become president obama's war of choice. where do you stand as he makes these big decisions? what option should he choose? >> i don't favor either what general mcchrystal is offering. i don't believe the generals or others who say increasing u.s. forces by 40,000 have made the case that by doing more, the results will in any way be commensurate with the investment. i also don'tdemonstrated the cey of afghanistan to the global terrorism. i don't think they've made the case what happens in afghanistan is central to the future of pakistan. on the other hand, i wouldn't suggest we simply walk away or abandon afghanistan to its fate. so i believe despite the critics, there is an area in the middle where the administration should come out.
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it will take elements of what general mcchrystal wants. but it will put much less emphasis on increasing u.s. combat forces, much greater emphasis on training. much greater emphasis on building up not simply the central government of afghanistan, but building up various war lords. trying to persuade some of the taliban to give up the fight. i think you'll see a more nuance strategy rather than one that so emphasizes building up u.s. combat forces. >> and, of course, they're meeting today on pakistan. there are big challenges there and some conflict. difficulty in working with the regime, the foreign minister was here yesterday meeting with everyone, meeting with john kerry, with dick lugar. they're arguing their recent aid bill is not a threat to pakistan. where do you think the president should come down in terms of dividing his focus between pakistan and afghanistan. >> well, pakistan's far more
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important. it's pakistan that now is the host to al qaeda. it's pakistan where most of the taliban are. it's pakistan that has dozens of nuclear weapons. pakistan has five times the population. it's intimately involved with the future of india. for a host of reasons, pakistan's a lot more important. the problem is we have much less influence over pakistan than we have over afghanistan. all things being equal, i would put the emphasis on pakistan rather than afghanistan. >> let me turn your attention to iran. we were in geneva last week at the negotiations. now today president ahmadinejad from iran is calling it a positive result, the meetings in geneva, the negotiations. the next step will be the experts in vienna october 17th and 18th. another meeting on october 24th or 25th with the iranians. the critics are saying that iran is going to slow walk this and not show us everything and that they are only going to turn over their declared low grade enriched uranium and they could
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have a dozen other sites with more enriched uranium that they're not showing anyone. how do we test whether or not we're getting access, whether the international inspectors are really getting in to see what they see, and whether we're not being gamed by iran? >> the short answer is, you can't. we can't test whether the iranians make good on what they talked about the other day. whether they're willing to open up this new nuclear plant to inspection, whether they're willing to share the bulk of their enriched uranium out of the country. we don't have any guarantees or assurances about what they're going to continue to do at the known sites. more important, as you suggest, for all we know there's a half dozen other places where they're carrying out various kinds of work. u.n. inspectors can only go inspect places they know about. if there are secret facilities that the iranians are able to keep secret, we're going to have to live with that reality. >> there's a new pew research center poll today, richard, that says that 61% of americans are open to using military force to
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stop iran from going nuclear. maybe that's because they watched ahmadinejad at the u.n. anyone watching him would say this man with a bomb in his hand? you don't want this guy having any kind of control over nuclear weapons. but more seriously, that's a surprising result. >> now that the question's asked that way. if you ask people are you willing to use force to stop iran from going nuclear, the answer would probably be yes and ought to be. there's two problems, though. one is it's not clear, andrea, that using military force will actually stop him from going nuclear. >> right fl you can't destroy what kwlou can't find or you don't know about. so there's, you know, more than anything else, i think there's that. second of all, i don't think the americans answering that poll necessarily were aware of the various ways that iran could retaliate. do they necessarily want to have oil at $200 a barrel? that could mean millions more of americans out of work. when you use military force, as you know better than anybody, that's simply one move on the
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chess board. the iranians would then retaliate. americans weren't asked to essentially evaluate the entire scenario. >> and robert gates has said pretty definitively that according to the defense secretary, that there's no way of knowing whether it would work and, in fact, may only slow them down for perhaps a year. >> perhaps that. also it could stop the political evolution in iran. we want to see change come politically to that country. u.s. use of military force could interrupt that. >> good point. richard haass, as always, it's great to see you. president of the council on foreign relations and author of "war of necessity, war of choice." thanks so much. up next, with democrats and republicans divided over the way forward in afghanistan and pakistan, can the president make the case that a middle ground, a middle course is the right one? senator joe lieberman joining us next. hes of oats? the sparkly flakes. the honey-baked bunches! the magic's in the mix. my favorite part? eating it. honey bunches of oats.
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today president obama meets for the third time with his
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national security team to talk about pakistan as well as the course of war. joining us from capitol hill, senator joe lieberman. the president is said to be thinking about a middle ground and saying that he will not withdraw troops completely from afghanistan. are you satisfied after the meetings yesterday that a middle ground will work in afghanistan? >> i am not. and obviously the person thresi going through a process. it's quite clear the president is not going to order a withdrawal from afghanistan. and it seems as if he's not going to accept the arguments for a counterterrorism strategy, which is basically reduce our forces, try to come in from the outside with unmanned aerial
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vehicles and occasional hits on terrorists there. so i think we're basically going to remain within the same so-called counterinsurgency strategy. and i think the criminal question then becomes, is it going to be real counterinsurgency or is it going to be counterinsurgency-like? and i think if you've adopted a strategy which is the one the president adopted in march with general mcchrystal in charge, mcchrystal's now asking for some additional number of troops, we ought to -- the president ought to give him those troops to raise the probability that we will succeed at the strategy that i believe the president will stick to. >> senator, what some are arguing and certainly what the president's considering is the argument that the situation on the ground has changed since march. that even the 40,000 troops will not necessarily lead to success. and that, in fact, a middle course might be smarter given
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what's happening with the election in afghanistan and the lack of a central government with any credibility. >> you know, the middle course will be what the president once rightly criticized as muddling through. he once said we can't just muzzmu muddle through in afghanistan. and i think that's the case with the middle course. also i'd say that none of us know exactly what general mcchrystal has asked for. it's being held confidential. but most people think he's asking for 30,000 to 40,000 more american troops as the lowest risk, highest probability of success strategy. i don't think anybody feels that he's going to come back and ask for more troops next year. with the additional 30,000 or 40,000 there's great support here on capitol hill in both parties to increase the size of the afghan army considerably. take it from a goal of 120-some
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odd thousand by next year up to 260,000. so i think the additional 40 will make the difference. remember, in iraq, the surge was actually only about 30,000 additional troops. but it tipped the entire equation. gave the iraqis the courage to fight al qaeda just as our commitment here will give the afghans additional courage in fighting the taliban, who they hate. >> but the argument against that would be that iraq had a military. they were literate. it's a country that is much easier to train. that it'll be much harder to train afghan troops who are less loyal to any central regime, more loyal to their tribe. let me read to you what one of your colleagues had to say in a statement today.
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does he have a point? >> no. with all respect to my friend, russ feingold. the question here is not when it will end. the question -- because that's how do we get out. the question is, how do we succeed in empowering the afghans to get rid of the taliban and make sure that this country doesn't fall apart again? because when it falls apart, it becomes a sanctuary for terrorists to build bases and strike at us. incidentally, if afghanistan falls into chaos again, it will do nothing but encourage instability and the rise of terrorist bases in neighboring nuclear pakistan.
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and we just saw on this zazi case, the domestic terrorist case, where did he go from new york and denver to be trained by al qaeda? he went to pakistan. if we lose afghanistan, the opportunities from people to go from here and a lot of other places around the world to get trained and planter ris atta te attacks on us will be much greater. it's not a question of when. it's how do we succeed there. how we succeed is to give general mcchrystal the troops he wants to enact the strategy president obama enacted in march of this year. he did the right thing then. >> thanks, senator. >> thanks, andrea. can nation building work in afghanistan? that's the question next. hhh.
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this afternoon the president will be meeting for a third session with his national security team on afghanistan. but today they are expected to focus on pakistan. joining us now, msnbc military analyst and retired u.s. army general barry mccaffrey. general, how should they balance their approach? should the emphasis be placed on pakistan versus afghanistan? >> this is such a dilemma, it's hard to know where to start. without question, pakistan is the issue. nuclear weapons, giant country, india/pakistan relations. that has u.s. national vital
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interest at stake. afghanistan, a sanctuary for al qae qaeda, the taliban, we want to deal with. that's a decades long, nation building how do you achieve security in the pashtun belt, it's going to be a long time to achieve our purpose. >> i think it may have been a revelation to a lot of our viewers when they saw the video of the place where we lost the eight troops in that outpost. that ravine between those mountains, what were we doing there in the first place? >> you know, i'm always reluctant to second guess an infantry battalion commander on the ground. i'm sure the battalion commander is in his third or fourth combat tour. apparently it was an interdiction spot. they were trying to control movement of munitions coming out of pakistan down that river/road. i'm sure there was some
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argument. but that's the danger in afghanistan. it's a giant nation. 32 million people. these people are massing in 200 man and 300 man units and concentrating on small u.s. units. we don't have many forces there as backup. tough situation. >> completely exposed, it seems to me, as someone without the military experience, obviously. in pakistan, if the focus should be on pakistan, that's the threat, it makes absolute sense to me as someone who's followed foreign policy. how do you do it delicately? because you've got the sensibilities of the leadership there. not always in alliance with ours. intelligence sharing to a point. concerns about telling them too much because we don't really trust the leadership of their own intelligence unit. you know, how do we focus on pakistan and get the balance right? >> you know, actually, we've got pretty good contact with their intelligence service, the isi
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and with the armed forces. they're actually cooperating in a very apparent way. and they're trying to best they can, i think, to regain control of their own frontiers. they have never controlled the tribal areas. southwest areas. as they're trying to get in there, i think the president's new announced nonmilitary aid is going to be helpful. we've got to stay with them and be publicly respectful of their sovereignty. >> while we do a lot of other things very privately. >> yeah. >> barry mccaffrey, thank you very much. general, great to see you. up next, nbc's own richard engel. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. another family used to live here before they filed for bankruptcy. 62% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. this man is living his dream while this family lives a nightmare. if the insurance companies win,
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you lose. we need good health care we can afford with the choice of a public health insurance option. arggh! 1, 2, 3. child: my dad smiles a lot. [ chuckling ] we think alike. even when he thought he might lose his job. now let me get back to work. all right, i'll catch you later. he says he doesn't think about it much... but i don't believe him. i think he does it for us. sometimes doing the right thing is just making people happy.
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the president is in the east room. he is introducing people in the audience. we will get right to him when he begins his speech. but first, nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engle is live in new york. richard, thanks for taking the time to join us.
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the war you have covered so inten civil, winning an emmy award a week or so ago for tip of the spear. >> i think i was at the ceremony when you picked one up as well, andrea. >> political coverage, not exactly the same as going into the war zone. let's talk about what your documentary now, you have put all of your reporting into this documentary that is going to be at 8:00 sunday night on msnbc. what have you learned, let's put it out there to help the decision makers come to grips with this today and tomorrow and the next day? >> i think the nation building exercise and the winning of hearts and minds is probably not something that the u.s. army and the u.s. marines are qualified to do in afghanistan right now. the people of afghanistan don't really want american protection. in iraq, the people were asking for american protection, that's
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why the surge worked, they were you can hungering for it the country was in the middle of a civil war. in afghanistan, the people don't like the taliban but they are not looking to americans to be their saviors and i think that is the biggest problem that you face right there, especially when you have an illegitimate government that is riddled with corruption and you have soldiers who are there, in uniform, not speaking the language, carrying weapons it is very hard to make friends. >> just the -- a bit of -- a longer conversation, to be continued, richard. we are interrupted by the commander in chief himself but we will all be watching your new documentary, "tip of the spear" and coincides with the eighth anniversary of the launch of the war in afghanistan, which we mark today, amidst a growing policy debate over all of this richard engel, thank you so much for new york this will premiere on msnbc sunday, october 11th, at 8:00. i'm andrea mitchell washington. contessa brewer will be picking up our coverage from here after,
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of course, our coverage of the president's remarks in the east room. >> millions of lives and improved countless more. so, this nation owes all of you an enormous debt of gratitude, far greater than any medal can bestow. and we recognize your contributions, but realso celebrate the incredible contributions of the scientific endeavor itself. we see the promise, not just for our economy, but for our health and well being. and the human capacity for creativity and ingenuity and we are reminded of the power of free and open inquiry, which is not only at the heart of all of your work but at the heart of this experiment we call america. 'cause throughout our history, amid tumults and war and against tough odds, this nation has always looked toward the future and then led the way.
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it was during the darkest days of the civil war that president lincoln established the land grant colleges and the national academy of science. it was during world war ii that president roosevelt requested that his science adviser and future recipient of the medal of science outline a set of policies to maintain our scientific and technological leadership in the 20th centuries and in the years that followed itself yet launch of sputnik, the first satellite to orbit the earth that the united states would create d a a are rpa, nasa and an act that will improve education from grade school to graduate school. the national medal was established two years after that launch as a sign to the world and to ourselves of how highly we valued the work of the nation's scientists.
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today we face more challenges than generations past. a system of energy that powers our economy but also endangers our planet. threats to our security that seek to exploit the very interconnectedness and openness that is so essential to our prosperity and challenge in a global marketplace which link the trader on wall street to the homeowner on main street and the office worker in america to the factory worker in china. we all share an opportunity but we also all share in crisis. such a difficult moment there are those who say we can't afford to invest in science that it is a luxury at a moment defined by necessities. i could not disagree more. science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health and our way of life than it has ever been.
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and the winners we are recognizing only underscore that point with achievements in physics, medicine, computer science, cognitive science, energy technology and biotechnology. we need to ensure that we are encouraging the next generation of discoveries and the next generation of discoverers that is why my administration has set this goal, by investing in education, funding basic and applied research and spurring private innovation, we will devote 3% of our gross domestic product to research and development. [ applause ] as part of this effort, we are putting in place poll says that will move us from the middle to the top of the pack in math and science education over the next decade. we are challenging states to
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dramatically improve achievement by raising standards, by improving the use of technology and by making possible for professionals, like our honorees to bring a lifetime of experiment and enthusiasm into the classroom. now, we have also launched a race to the top fund to encourage states to compete for the most innovative programs for math and science, part of a broader effort to foster new ways of engaging young people in these field he is. >> president obama right now in the east room here. he is awarding the national medal of science and technology and innovation to the recipient there is in the east room of the white house, but again, on this eighth anniversary of the war in afghanistan, pushing ahead to a big meeting coming up at 3:30 with his national security team, and that is the big story. good day to you, i'm contessa brewer, glad to have you along. president will be meeting with his war council to discuss the next step to take in the war in afghanistan which began eight years ago today. his top commander wants more
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troops on the ground and according to a new quinnipiac poll, 65% of americans say eliminating terrorism is worth american troop lives. nbc's mike viqueira joins me from the white house. what are you looking at in terms of actually getting a strategy, a plan forward accomplished? >> well, the mantra we are hearing is a couple of weeks when they will have a new strategy, set to announce contessa. today's meeting will focus, however, on neighboring pakistan. you remember that earlier this year, there was a great deal of con officer nation, the upper echelons of the american government, about the importance of the pakistani army as they moved into these areas, these tribal areas that were controlled by many of the rogue or insurgent elements that found refuge there from afghanistan were also working against the pakistani government. now, a different story. administration officials touting time after time in recent interviews the progress the pakistani army is making and mention this in the context over