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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  March 28, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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these are cucumbers. zucchinis. ones you're stepping on are watermelons. that one's almost ready. >> reporter: despite a minor complication with his surgery, which has since healed, eric is pleased with his results. >> it's kind of weird. at times, i feel like i have to talk to it or something because it's there. like, hey. >> reporter: eric's life is calmer now than ever before. a feeling that comes with knowing who he is. and having a body that is finally aligned with his mind. what he wants now is to find someone to share his life with. that's his version of happily ever after. >> i don't know. having a job i love and a person i love, i guess. be in love. >> oh, my gosh. look at the -- look at the flowers.
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somebody sent flowers. >> as for marcy bowers, her practice has a waiting list of a about a year for >> thanks for everything, from sexual reassignment surgery. the bottom of my heart. oh, that's really nice. >> reporter: dr. bowers insists he's not correcting a cruel mistake on the part of nature. she calls being transgender a gift. and says she feels blessed that helping people achieve their desired gender, has become her life's work. >> i think this is a very personal issue for me. it adds a lot of potential to improve the planet. you know? nothing short of that. i mean, i really -- that may sound grandiose. but i think it's really true that there are -- this is like the last frontier of the human mind.
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this sunday, the president makes history with health care reform, but the fight is far from over. >> i think the slogan will be repeal and replace. repeal and replace. >> actually going to run on a platform of repeal in november. we've been hearing that. and my attitude is, go forth. >> will reform work and what are the economic consequences? what does it mean for the rest of the president's agenda? jobs, climate change and immigration. a debate this morning between senator chuck schumer, democrat
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from new york, and senator lindsey graham, republican from south carolina. then the political fallout, rage against washington. have opponents gone too far? will voter anger sweep democrats from power in november as republicans hope a repeal health care message returns the gop to power in congress. insights and analysis from our roundtable, presidential historian doris kearns goodwin, "newsweek" editor jon meacham, republican strategist mike murphy and democratic strategist bob shrum. finally in our "meet the press" minute, we look back at another major piece of health care legislation that had congressional republicans talking about repeal. first, the vote may be over, but the debate over health care reform and its effects continues. with us this morning, senators chuck schumer and lindsey graham.
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they've escaped the pressure cooker of washington and gone home where no doubt your constituents will have a lot to say about the legacy of health care reform. welcome to both of you. >> good morning. >> thank you. >> let me ask you about this legacy question. senator schumer, is it going to be that millions of additional americans are covered with health insurance? or is it going to be headlines like we saw this week that at&t and other companies will take a billion dollar charge because of lost deductions as a result of this law and ultimately it may provide fewer benefits to their employees? >> well, i think as people learn about the bill and now that the bill is enacted, it's going to become more and more popular. here is why. two things happened. first, the lies that have been spread, they vanish because you see what's in the bill. we have death panels in the summer. people will see there are no death panels. illegal immigrants will get health care. it's clear that's not true. the other thing, you'll lose your insurance if you have it now and you're happy with it. i had a firefighter come to me
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at the rockville center st. patrick's day parade, he was upset and said i'm going to lose my health benefits. i said, where do you work? he said i'm a new york city firefighter. this bill will not touch his benefits. as we go through he'll learn that and feel better about the bill. then at the same time, the positives will start weighing in. senior citizens will get much better opportunities to buy prescription drugs which we know they care about. small businesses will get tax breaks so they'll be either able to cover their employees -- many small business people want to but can't afford it -- or keep the coverage if they have it already. people will be less likely to have their insurance policies canceled when they get sick. that's a big thing to people. then there's a hidden one, one final one. if you're up to 26 years old, you can stay on your parents' health coverage. my daughter is graduating from law school.
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we told her the day after she graduate, she's on her own. she has a job in september. she was fretting, what does she do for the four months? does she buy health insurance for $1,200 a month. she called me after the bill passed and said, dad, i'm covered. there will be millions of calls like that. i predict by november those who voted for health care will find it an asset. those who voted against it will find it a liability. >> senator graham, the same legacy question for you. here is the backdrop in terms of what people actually think about this. after all has been said and done, a 13-month battle over this where, as the president said, everybody had therapies on this. every opinion was aired. this is the polling from "the washington post" out this morning. 50% still oppose health care reform. what's the legacy? >> well, i think it's going to be on the medicare front that we'll take $570 billion out of medicare which is already $34 trillion underfunded and give it to somebody else. so the legacy for medicare is going to be devastating. if you're a senior citizen in
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south carolina and new york, you'll lose your medicare advantage. the legacy on taxes is going to be enormous, from 2014 to 2023, a trillion dollars in additional taxes. the legacy for student loans is going to be terrible because in this bill the federal government takes over the student loan program. if you think fannie mae and freddie mac did a good job with housing, wait till the government runs student loans, $9 billion taken out of students loan program to pay for health care. the process that led to this bill was sleazy. it was the worst of washington. it was not transparent. the substance of this bill is massive in terms of taxes and compromising medicare, and there's a bunch of tricks and gimmicks in the bill. you heard at&t is going to come and bite the american people. we'll have a spirited civil contest on the size and shape of government. health care will be center stage. >> senator graham, despite what
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you say, is a campaign of repeal -- you're a pragmatic legislator -- is that realistic? >> only if you replace it. it is realistic to let the american people know the class act which is a new entitlement where the government offers long-term health insurance to the population, collects $78 billion in premiums to use for this bill. when you need your class act coverage, there's no money there. it is good to repeal the cuts in medicare and to repeal the massive tax increases and replace it with opportunities to buy insurance in the private sector without cutting medicare and raising taxes and using ponzi schemes like the class act. yes, there's a way to do that. 16 million people are dumped into medicaid. my state is going to get killed by having to serve more medicaid people. it's going to hurt state budgets. finally, this fight won't wind up being just in washington. it's going to spread to every state house in the nation. we're going to have referendums
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in this bill so every state house in the nation. can the states afford what washington did to them? >> it is a big point. let me break this down now that we've established some of the terrain into some of the specific costs and benefits. let's try to narrow this in our answers to these particular topics. here is the price of the bill, senator schumer, $938 billion over the course of ten years. the big question that a lot of people have to ask is whether this really comes in with the price tag that the government says it will. there are some nonpartisan deficit watch dog groups who have questions about this, including the concord coalition who issued a statement. i'll put it on the screen. even if everything goes according to plan, the deficit reduction will be quite modest compared to the trillions of dollars the current projections indicate the country will add to
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its debt in the coming decade. more over, they will have to do so with much of the potential savings, having already been claimed for the expanded coverage in the new legislation. this is not the end of the cost control fight. it is a very tentative beginning. bottom line, senator schumer, you're covering 30 million additional people. how do you do that without busting the budget in a final analysis? >> well, you know, the cbo is very conservative. they don't give benefit to things that will happen. for instance, if you paid for preventing diabetes today and you don't have to do a major operation on someone because they're in the final stages of diabetes ten years from now, cbo doesn't give you that benefit. i think, if anything, they underestimate the savings. they say $130 billion in savings the first ten years. then when the bill really kicks in, a trillion. look, david, everyone knows our health care system is very wasteful. it delivers good health care for most people, but one-third of all dollars don't go to health care.
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it's the most inefficient system we have. and with doing nothing, the price keeps going up, 10%, 12% a year. without this bill medicare would have gone broke in seven years. now people say it's 12 more -- it has 12 more years of life. so i think you're going to find this is the first attempt in the history of health care to get at the waste, the fraud, the abuse, the duplication. everyone has experienced it. you're on a gurney. everyone says, oh, there's dr. wilson. he waves. you look at the bill and they charged $4,000 for him and you don't know what they did. that kind of stuff has to go and we're attempting to do it. >> this has to do with -- it's easy to say ten years down the road we'll have deficit reduction. the future is future congress, not until 2018 when congress will raise taxes on these gold plated plans. to raise some of the money for this. do you think congress will have courage down the line it didn't have this year? >> you bet. that's why it's been crafted the
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way it is. to be realistic. some of the cost-cutting will go into effect right away. everyone knows, the waste, fraud, abuse, duplication in the system. the answer on the other side is do nothing, repeal it. we have to get handle on costs. for me at least, the number one rationale for this bill, i think it's important to cover people, but the most important thing to do is to get a handle on the costs that are out of control that are killing business, killing individuals and killing our federal deficit. does this do everything in that regard? no. is it the first major step to do it in a very large way? you bet. in the second ten years when it really bites -- you can't do all this overnight, they predict a trillion dollars of savings, the biggest savings we've ever seen in any federal program. >> okay. let me ask you, senator graham i think has difficulty hearing us. >> i disagree with chuck in case you can't hear me. >> senator, what is your response?
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he still can't hear us. let me move on to another issue and we'll get senator graham back in a minute. senator schumer, you wrote a book back in 2007, "positively american, winning back the middle-class majority one family at a time." the chief of staff, rahm emanuel has said this will be a middle class health care bill. if you look at our polling, middle income americans who were asked about this health care bill are roundly opposed to it. 58% say this is not a good idea. how does this deliver then for the middle class? >> it really does deliver for the middle class. as i said, there are lots of misinformation. that firefighter in rockville center, and you can repeat that with tens of millions of families, are worried. people ask themselves particularly at a time of recession, how is it going to affect me? they've been told by special interests that are against the bill that they will lose their coverage.
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people who have coverage now, whether through an employer or medicare will keep it and it will get better actually because the waste and the duplication will be cut back greatly. they'll keep it longer, they'll keep it better, they'll pay less. this is a bill aimed at the middle class. my point being, if you look at a snapshot poll today, some of them show -- there was one that was 49-40 in favor of health care. this one is against it. i would predict to you, and i feel very, very strongly about this and firmly about this, that as people learn what's actually in the bill, that six months from now by election time, there will be a plus. the parade of horribles, particularly the worries the average middle class person has that this will affect them negatively will have vanished and they'll see it will affect them positively. >> let me get senator graham back in here. the question is whether this is really going to come in at cost.
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>> well, no, it's a giant ponzi scheme. let's look at the claim that it saves $138 billion in terms of reducing the deficit. if you assume paying a doctor is part of health care, there's nothing in this bill for the doctor fix. next week or two weeks from now, we will try to forgive cuts to doctors. over the next ten years, doctors are supposed to be cut by $21 billion. can you hear me? >> hear you fine. >> hello. >> continue. we've lost senator graham again. >> hey, i like the show this week. >> yeah, right, right. these things happen from time to time. he's still making a point about the cost issue not coming in, that ultimately future congresses, like with the doctor fix, are going to keep restoring payments to doctors when -- in order to meet the budget of this plan. you're going to have to do that
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overtime. >> let me say this. there are many doctors who most do a very good job. there are a number, maybe 10%, who spend all their time maximizing income. right now as we speak, there's some salesman talking to a doctor and saying, hey, if you buy this machine for a million dollars, my company will finance it. we'll then show you how to fill it up a hundred percent of the time with patients and you'll make $200,000 more a year. even though there's another machine a couple miles away and the machine is not needed, right now there's no check on that kind of waste. our bill does it. doctors who go overboard and provide tons of quantity and no quality will be disciplined here. again, cbo is bipartisan. everyone goes by its estimates and it's known to be conservative. it's driven us nuts because we think there are many more savings in the bill they didn't score. even taking them at their face, $138 billion these ten years, that's a lot of savings.
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>> let me get senator graham in here. if you can hear us now, i promise schumer is not playing with the cables here. but you have the floor here. you know what some of the discussion has been. what is your view? >> i do. there's a reason no republican voted for this thing. it's not that we don't care about people and we don't want to lower costs. this lost its focus. it was a noble effort started by the president, then it got to be i got to pass a bill because my presidency is at stake. this idea reduces the deficit is a flat-out lie. you don't include the money we're going to spend to fix the doctor problem, which is $200 billion. they took it out of the health care bill and put it in the jobs bill to make it look like it cuts the deficit. if you add the money we're all going to spend to help doctors not get cuts, that wipes out the deficit. you spend medicare money twice. you take $570 billion out of medicare to pay for the health care bill.
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then you're using that same 570 to say it lowers the growth of medicare over time. it's a giant ponzi scheme. you create a new entitlement called the class act where you sell long-term health insurance to the public. you take the premiums and you don't keep them in the system, you pay for this health care bill. where does the money come from when they need the health care? it's a house of cards. it is a ponzi scheme of the first order. it's going to blow up the deficit. it's going to affect every business, every family in this country. it was done by one-party rule, and it was a shame we had to go down this road. and there will be a contested in this country. president obama ran as a centrist. he's governed from the left ditch in a right-of-center nation. it's just not health care. it's taken over general motors. it's the stimulus bill that is completely out of control and now taking over student loans. i look forward to a contest in november about whether this health care bill is a real fix
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or a phony political document trying to grow the government? i think that's what it is. >> senator graham, let me stay with you on the tone of the debate and look forward about the rest of the president's agenda. speaker nancy pelosi spoke this week after we had seen instances of violence or attacks on offices of members of congress. nasty phone messages and all the rest. this is what she said on thursday. >> i believe that words have power. they weigh a ton. they are received differently by people depending on their, shall we say, emotional state. we have to take responsibility for words that are said that we do not reject. >> when you hear from conservatives whether they be popular politicians outside of office, party officials, members of congress describe health care reform as socialism, an attack on freedom, ushering totalitarianism, does that
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contribute to an atmosphere where opponents can go too far? >> in my view, i think attacking this bill in terms of expanding government beyond anybody's imagination, where 80% of the country at the end of the day will be covered by a health care bill that is not paid for, that can never be paid for, is a legitimate debate. when you use the "n" word and question somebody patriotism, you're off base. president obama is a fine man, a good father, a good role model. he's an american liberal. the reason i don't say he's a socialist, because most people associate that with being un-american. he is an american just as much as anybody else. the idea that he's very liberal i think is very clear to the american people. he ran as a centrist, he's governing from the left ditch. that's his big problem. we don't need to call each other names. chuck schumer and i come from very different backgrounds. we're going to work together to do hard things. let's focus on the role of
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government in our lives and what's honest and what's not and part the rhetoric. >> senator schumer, have opponents gone too far? >> well, obviously there are some people way off the deep end. you don't condemn a whole group or a whole movement for the outliers. you ask the people who are responsible, left, right, center, democrat and republican, to condemn the bad words, condemn the violence. i've heard even the head of some of the tea party people condemn the violence. i agree with lindsey. i'm raring to go for a debate on the merits. i think we win that debate. we don't need the distractions. >> let's talk about the rest of the agenda, immigration reform, where you two have come together to seek out a path on immigration reform. there's real questions about whether there has been a poisoning of the well here, senator graham. your friend senator mccain said there will be no more cooperation with democrats in the white house this year. this is what the daily news wrote. senator lindsey graham, the
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south carolina republican made a what do you say? >> i'm just being honest. i'm more with chuck schuemr to come up with legislation to control china's manipulation of currency. i will keep working with chuck on immigration. but here's the effect. immigration is tough. you don't need to ask anybody else other than me to tell you that. it is a tough, heavy lift. the president promised to pass an immigration reform bill in the first year. they've done almost nothing in the white house on immigration. we've been absorbed by health care. people are risk averse. if a moderate democrat got a
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phone call from the president he wants you to come to the white house and help him with immigration now, most of them would jump out the window. that's just the truth. i will continue to work with chuck. immigration is a heavy lift. we haven't done the things necessary to bring the body together. 16 democrats voted against immigration reform. this idea that i would be the 60th vote couldn't be further from the truth. tough sledding lies ahead because of the acrimony on health. on financial regulations we'll get a bill. i hope it's a good bill, not just a liberal view with a few republicans. i look forward to working with chuck. >> senator schumer, is immigration reform dead? >> i don't think so. look at how desperately we need it. 15,000 people cross our border illegally every day. most of them take jobs from americans. at the same time there are certain people we need in this economy to help us grow. we can't get them. engineers, doctors, farm workers. the system is broken. it lets the wrong people in,
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excludes the wrong people. so we need to fix it. lindsey and i have worked for a year. we put out a framework that goes by what we think most americans believe. most americans are anti-illegal immigration and pro legal immigration. we're real close. we need a second republican to come on the bill. lindsey to his credit, he's had a lot of courage to step forward and i salute him, has always said we need that. i would plead, if we can get the second republican, we have business and labor ready to sign on, all the religious community, not just the liberals but evangelicals. we even have lou dobbs and bill o'reilly saying positive things about our proposal. i would urge we try to get this done because it's so important for america. >> quickly, senator. >> if i could say something. i urge the president to write a bill and see if he can get another republican, see if he can convince the 16 democrats who noted no last time, let him do heavy lifting on immigration.
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write a bill and send it to me. i'll be glad to look at it. >> i'm going to make that the last word. >> the president supported our framework. he'll be right up front helping us. we just need to move forward. >> are you concerned about the recess appointments from president obama? >> yeah. it's going to make problems worse. >> how so? >> well, becker is a guy who wants card check by regulation. at the end of the day, they're really pushing forward here rather than trying to bring this together, financial regulation has some bipartisan hope. i hope we'll seize the moment there and try to get bipartisan financial regulation bill. >> senator schumer. >> i'll say this about recess appointment. they're holding up 77 people. the head of the tsa, we need that. some people in the defense department, in the treasury department. 77 people. and so we have no choice but to do recess appointments. if we spend a week on each of these people they're holding up and many of them get note voted on 99-0, we do nothing else.
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george bush did more recess appointments at this point than president has done. reagan has done them. clinton has done them. if they let us vote on these people, we wouldn't have to do the recess appointments. >> i'll leave it there. all of this to be continued. thank you both very much. coming up next. now that health care reform is law, what does it mean for the remainder of the obama presidency? the mid determine elections, insights from mike murphy, bob shrum and door rinse kearns goodwin and jon meacham, only on "meet the press." strategist bo, [ female announcer ]t bo, sometimes you need tomorrow
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headache reform the political fallout, after this brief commercial break.
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lexus hybrids have traveled 5.5 billion miles. and that's quite a head start. you're watching breaking news haight right here on msnbc. on the left side of your screen, bag ram airfield where the president of the united states barack obama is expected to speak to some of the american troop whose pulled out their cameras to take some shots of him. this was a surprise visit by the president arriving at roughly 11:00 eastern time, which is shortly after 7:30 p.m. in afghanistan. a significant and historic trip for the president. he is there to meet with hammond c hamid karzai. he, of course, is visiting a country that he has helped
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escalate the american involvement in the war right there. he inherited this war and has now added to the troop numbers that country. presently close to 80,000 american troops with as many as 100,000 american troops expect to be serving on the ground in afghanistan in the next several months. as we wait it hear from the president only a short time from now, i want to give you a better update of how we got to this place. joining us from afghanistan is john yang on the ground in kabul. this trip happened in the darkness of night with no warning. >> no warning at all, peter. the president left washington late last night eastern time. he arrived here as you say just after dark. it was about 7:30 local time. he's only been on the ground now about five hours or so. of course, it was a 13-hour flight from washington. i did one of these with president bush going into iraq, done under complete secrecy, the
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press arrives at andrew, all your electronics are taken away from you, your blackberry, your computer, you're taken into the hangar, loaded onto air force one. air force one takes off with all the shades drawn, the lights off, completely dark takeoff in secret. then flown, you fly across, halfway around the world. he went immediately to the presidential palace here in kabul. where he met with president hamid karzai. in their remarks after their meeting, they met for about 45 minute, praised the progress that he said americans have seen in afghanistan. and he invited karzai to visit him in washington in may but at the same time, he pressed him, pressed him for issues that have been sources of frustration in the white house. they want to see more activity on cracking down on corruption in the afghan government. they want to see more efforts toward good governance here in afghanistan.
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a merit based promotion system. not so much cronyism in the view of the american officials. they also want to see a bigger crackdown on the part of the afghan government on the poppy crop, on the poppy growing, on heroin. and the president said that they'll praise president karzai for the progress he's seen. karzai in return thanked the united states for their support and hopes to see the support continue on into the future. the in the past, he said he expects and hopes the united states will be here supporting them, helping them with security, helping them with economics for many years to come. now, he is, the president, at b bagram air base. he will speak with service men and state department employees who have gone there to hear their president speak to them.
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as you say, this is a war he inherited from president obama but this is now a war that he has made his own with the escalation of troops by the summer there will had now be about 100,000 u.s. troops on the ground here, peter. >> jorngs it's important that you note that it was just this last week that the dense secretary robert gates acknowledged that 10,000, one-third of the troops barack obama will be searcheding to afghanistan as part of this surge have already arrive midthat country as part of today's meetings. and that hamid karzai, the president of afghanistans was given just one hour warning the president would be arriving before these meetings. as you noted, also equally important, the president is he he wanted president karzai, as we try to get that shot back up for you. cabinet ministers to be with him in the room when it occurred. significant visit t is president obama's second trip to a war zone as commander in chief.
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last one, similar trip that hay made to iraq. but this is his first trip as commander in chief to afghanistan. my colleague jim maceda is keeping a close eye on the scheduled and what exactly has occurred so far in this trip. jirths i think one thing that's important to note is there was a military honor guard that greeted the president and hamid karzai, really asserting the fact that he believes we still stand with president karzai who only a few months ago was re-elected despite the concerns of fraund a total vote count of just 49% in support of him. >> that's right, peter. i think what you're seeing now is a meeting of two commanders in chief. i think that president obama has had to accept for many reasons that he has it it do business with president karzai at a time, it cannot more crucial militarily. and timing of this visit could not be more significant. you're entering now into probably the halfway point in the surge.
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the surge operations have begun, we know that m rachlt ja was relatively successful in helmand. but it is going to pale, compared to the battles that will be seen and fought by u.s. coalition and afghan forces are over the next couple of months. there's a building up period taking place n right now in kandahar province, then eventually kandahar city. we'll see probably 15,000 to 20,000 combat force, be they stryker brigades or be they other 102st infantry division for instance is coming in. 102st airborne. thousands of afghan army and hopefully police coming together at around probably june fighting battles with a well entrenched taliban in and around the heartland, the very birthplace of the taliban.
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we're told june and july, hopefully wrapped up by august. so that the timing is critical. by august, the administration, the u.s. administration wants to see what they call a government, an afghan government in a box, brought in and taking oemp. that's not going to happen if these issues of corruption, of poppy culture, of all of these issues that have prevented the afghan government from making any kind of headway, even outside of kabul, much less in the south. if those issues are not resolved. the u.s. military likes to call it simply cutting the weeds, if they go in and clear these areas and it's going to be a huge clearing operation, only to see them not held so that building can take place later, not held by police, afghan police. so that seems to be, i would think if you were a fly on the wall of the 35-minute meeting between obama and karzai that would have been a lot of the discussion.
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laying it out very clearly. yes, we're going to fight. yes, there will be casualty, but at the end of the day, if the afghan government and police are not in this, then it will lose. we'll lose together. >> jim, we know we'll be hearing from the president now, just two minutes from right now, you're looking at larv shot. their sis bagram air field in kab kabul, afghanistan. we'll be hearing from the president of the united states. if you're just tuning in right now, made a surprise appearance today. flying overnight, landing in kabul, visiting for a half an hour to an hour with the president of that country, hamid karzai. it's important to notice the significance of the stakes it is american men and women serving in that country. roughly 945 american troops have died in afghanistan and pakistan since this war began. some of the latest figures just being released over the last several days indicating that the death toll already this year has nearly double d that just one year ago at this time. 77 american men and women killed
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already in 2010 compared to just 41 deaths at this time in 2009. the number of wounded has nearly tripled. jim, as you just noted a second ago, obviously with the american intention to go into kandahar, the spiritual birthplace, the home of the taliban if you will, they have indicated that there are concerns for more casualties, it was the words offed a mir mike mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, just last month in the briefing as i looked down in my note note where he said we must steel ourselves no matter how successful we are on any given day for harder days yet to come. leading us into why he will be visiting with these troops today. he wanted to come in there to thank them as commander in chief to show them this country's commander in chief is proud of what they have done so far. we'll be hearing from the president just a moment from now. as you can series, the american
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troops are now gathered there. it ises bizarrely 8 1/2 hours ahead of new york time in kabul right now. which if it's about 2:30 right here makes it roughly 11:00 p.m. there. the president is expected to arrive back in the u.s. monday. which will have a new headline on newspapers, the major overall of health care has been put on the back burners. he's focusing on the next thing on his slate, that appears to be what's going on in afghanistan. waez speak to you right now. jim, i may interrupt, you got back only a short time ago from marja, if you can speak to us about the american spirits of soldiers you visited, as they begin the drawdown in 2011, they still have a lot of work ahead of them. >> absolutely. the troops, i was with marines in fact, came out just before the marja operation, but i was there for a number of operations in helmand and i'm hearing a lot
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of cheering now coming from these troops so i may want to voluntarily break off. but you tell me when, peter. >> sure, we'll do that when we see the president, we'll cut right to him. >> these troops know better than anyone what the challenges are. they feel like they are making progress. however, they are not unrealistic. they know they don't own the night. that's what they like to call it, owning the night . by that they mean, during the day, out on patrol, they're in command. they have displaced the taliban. they've neutralized the taliban in many of these yeah, the heavily pop late areas of helmand province, that's, of course, the whole goal of the mccrystal-obama plan, to let some of these less populated areas go and focus on the cities and the big town. but at night, they don't
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control. the taliban melted away many of them, come out at night, write letters of intimidation. stooms they go into homes, capture people, behead people. it doesn't take a lot of beheadings to scare a whole village. there are more and more reports now, even in marja of the taliban making inroads again. so it is, for without the ana without the army and the anp, the afghan national police, to hold these areas, to patrol at night, to keep the taliban at bay. american soldiers and marines in helmand and american soldiers, many of whom you're seeing right now at bagram waiting for the president are going to be frustrated. they're going to be making gains, three or four feet at a time. three or four houses at a time. when we see kandahar break out this summer, you're going to be seeing a very different kind of warfare, much more intense, much more urban, not like marja and
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rural areas, there will be many more casualties. if the american are operation does not feel like it has the support of the afghans to hold, it's going to be a mess. peter? >> jim, thanks to you. stay with us for a second. as you see on the left side of your screen, it's a live picture, roaming that room of the american men and women, waiting to see the president of the united states, barack obama. it appears that -- as we listen for a second, we'll be hearing for the president in just a short time right now. while we wait for the president though, i want to get to mike viqueira at the white house right now. important to note the politics involved here. just two months ago, the president's approval rating on how he was handlings war overseas in afghanistan. 49%. it has gone up to about 57%. more americans support the way barack obama is handling the war than they do the way that the health care overall haul was handled. can you give us a sense of the
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timing and significance there for this visit. >> it's very significant in terms of timing from a military standpoint as jim maceda was describing and from a political standpoint here in the united states. it was all through the course of last fall here in the white house and in washington when the president held that series of meetings down in the basement of the west wing in the situation room, dick cheney, for one, the former vice president called it dither, week after week, trying to talk about the correct structure, the forced posture to take in afghanistan, the right strategy to take in afghanistan, how much to try to bring the taliban into the table or to deal with those hments of the taliban not necessarily associated with al qaeda who do not have world domination or terrorism more precisely on their mind but instead stead of just simply trying to do what the best for themselves domestically in afghanistan. there was a great deal of criticism, touched on by john yang earlier about the level of corruption within the karzai government and very ambiguous
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results from the first round of voting that many international observers can consider to be fraudulent when hamid karzai was elected to a second term of president, but with conditions very clearly laid out by president obama and the administration, conditions being followed up on again by white house officials by the president in terms of the issues of local governance, in terms of the credibility within both afghanistan among the afghan people and internationally in the karzai government. let's go ahead and now. >> the president of the united states has just been introduced, we'll watch him enter through the curtains there at bagram air field to the cheers of the american troops. as you can see, the flashing cameras and phones, trying to get a picture of this, not just historic for america as a country but also for these individuals for whom this with a may be the first opportunity they have to see the president up close and personal. here comes the president of the united states.
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♪ >> how's it going, bagram?
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well, you know, it turns out that the american people, they let me use this plane called air force one and so i thought i would come over and say hello. a couple of people i want to thank in addition to sergeant major eric johnson for the outstanding introduction and his had great service. i want to thank major general mike scaparetti, thank you for your great work as commanding general. i want to thank ms. dawn liberi, who is the senior civilian representative of regional commandees for her outstanding work and brigadier general steve quoss, commander 455th air
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expeditionary wing, thank you all for your outstanding service. give them a big round of applause. thank you for the unbelievable welcome. i know -- say no worries. it is great to be here at bagram and it's great to see all the services. we've got air force, we've got army. we've got navy. we've got some marines in the house. and we've got a lot of civilians here, too, who are making an outstanding contribution to this effort. i'm honored to be joined by america's outstanding civilian military leadership team here in
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afghanistan, ambassador carl icahn berry who is doing outstanding work and commander of our 43 nation coalition, general stan mcchrystal. the two of them together have paired up to do an extraordinarily difficult task but they are doing it extraordinarily well and we are proud of them, please give your outstanding team a big round of applause. they've got my full confidence and my full support. we're also joined by troops from some of our coalition partners. because this is not simply an american mission or even just a nato mission. al qaeda and their extremist aerls a threat to the people of afghanistan and the threat to the people of america but they're also a threat to people all around the world and that's why we're so proud to have our coalition partners here with us. thank you very much for the
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great work that you do, we salute you and honor you for all the sacrifices you make and you are a true friend of the united states of america. thank you very much. we also salute the members of the afghan national army who are fighting alongside all of you. their risking their lives to protect their country and as i told president karzai today, the united states is a partner but our intent is to make sure that the afghans have the capacity to provide for their own security. that is core to our mission and we are proud of the work they are doing and the continuing increased capacity that we're seeing out of afghan national security forces. so thank you very much for the great work you're doing to take responsibility for security here in or own country. and to the afghan people, i want to say that i'm honored to be a guest in your country. now the afghans have suffered
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for decades. decades of war, but we are here to help afghans forge a hard-won peace while realizing the extraordinary potential of the afghan people. afghanistan's sons and daughter, from the soldiers and police to the farmers and young students. we want to build a lasting partnership founded upon mutual interest and mutual respect. i'm looking forward to returning to afghanistan many times in the years to come. now, i know from most of you, you didn't get a lot of notice i was coming, but i want you to understand there's no visit that i considered more important than this visit i'm making right now. because i have no greater honor than serving as your commander in chief. and it is a privilege to look out and see the extraordinary efforts of america's sons and daughters here in afghanistan. so my main job here today is to
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say thank you on behalf of the entire american people. you are part of the finest military in the history of the world. and we are proud of you. and so i want you to know that everybody back home is proud of you. everybody back home is grateful and everybody understands the sacrifices that you have made and your families have made to keep america safe and to keep america secure in this vital mission. and i know it's not easy. you're far away from home. you miss your kids. you miss your spouses, your family, your friends, some of
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you this is your second or third or your fourth are tour of duty. i'll tell you right now, the same thing that i said at west point last december. if i thought for a minute that america's vital interests were not served, were not at attack here in afghanistan, i would order all of you home right away. so i want you to know, i want every american serving in afghanistan military and civilian to know whether you're working the flight line here at bagram or patrolling a village down in helmand. whether you're standing watch at a forward operating base or training our afghan partners or working with the afghan government, your services are absolutely necessary. absolutely essential to america's safety and security. those folks back home are relying on you. we can't forget why we're here. we did not choose this war.
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this was not an act of america wanting to expand its influence. of us wanting to meddle in somebody else's business. we were are attacked viciously on 9/11. thousands of our fellow countrymen and women were killed. and this is the region where the perpetrators of that crime, al qaeda, still base their leadership. plots against our homeland, plots against our allies, plots against the afghan and pakistani people are taking place as we speak right here. and if this region slides backwards, if the talking retake impunity. then more american lives will be at stake. the afghan people will lose their chance at progress and prosperity. and the world will be significantly less secure.
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and as long as i'm your commander in chief, i am not going to let that happen. that's why you are here. i've made a promise to all of you who serve. i will never send you into harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary. i anguish in thinking about the sacrifices that so many of you make. that's why i promise i will never send you out unless it is necessary but that's only part a of the promise because the other part of the promise is that when it is absolutely necessary you will be backed up by a clear mission and the right strategy and you will have the support to finish the job, to get the job done. and i am confident all of you are going to get the job done right here in afghanistan. i am confident of that.
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that's why i order more troops and civilians. here into afghanistan shortly after taking office. that's why we took a hard look and forged a new strategy and committed more resources in december. that's why we pushed our friends and allies and partners to pony up more resources themselves. more commitments of aid and additional forces and franers. our broad mission is clear. we are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al qaeda at its extremist allies. that is our mission. to accomplish that goal, our objectives here in afghanistan are also clear. we're going deny al qaeda safe haven. we're going reverse the taliban's momentum. we're going to strengthen the capacity of afghan security
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forces and the afghan government so they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the afghan people. our strategy includes a military effort that takes the fight to the taliban while creating the conditions for greater security in a transition to the afghans, but also a civilian effort that improves the daily lives of the afghan people. and combats corruption. and a partnership with pakistan and its people because we can't approve extremists and advance security and opportunity unless we succeed on both sides of the border, most of you understand that. many of the troops that i ordered to afghanistan have begun to arrive. and more are on the way. we'll continue to work with congress to make sure that you've got the equipment that you need, particularly as we complete our drawdown in iraq, we're providing more helicopters, we're providing more intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities,
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more special operations force, more armored vehicles that can save lives. and here in afghanistan, you've gone on the offensive and american people back home are noticing. we've seen a huge increase in support in state-side because people understand the kinds of sacrifices that you guys are making and clarity of mission that you're bringing to bear. and together with our coalition and afghan partner, our troops have pushed the taliban out of their stronghold in marja, we changed the way we operate and interact with the afghan people. we see new partnerships to help them build their own future and increase their security. across the border, pakistan is mounting major offensives. we've seen violent extremist s