tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 6, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
mayor-elect rahm emanuel asks what's up with chicago's short school days? >> i'm confident we're going to give the kids in chicago what they've been cheated of for the last 20 years, a full day's worth of education opportunity. >> good day, i'm andrea mitchell. we begin with new threats from al qaeda, warning of retaliation for the death of osama bin laden. already u.s. intelligence says information found at bin laden's compound show that the terrorist leader was crafting plans to attack the u.s. again. possibly on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. at the same time, we are learning that the cia spent months right down the street from bin laden's compound, keeping an eye on the man they call the pacer. nbc's stephanie gosk has more now from abbottabad. >> reporter: it doesn't look like al qaeda needed those photos of bin laden as proof that he was killed by navy s.e.a.l.s. they confirmed that in a statement today. it's also a rallying cry for muslims around the world to rise up and avenge his death. they say the attacks against the
united states will continue. they also specifically call on pakistanis to rise up and avenge bin laden's death. we have seen a number of pakistanis, hundreds of them today, protesting. they are angry. they are saying the same things, that their sovereignty was violated by this raid. and also they are calling their civilian government, president zardari, a puppet of the united states. there have been some other developments here in abbottabad. the compound was sealed off. we weren't able to get very close to it, and there was a visit from both the head of the military who is arguably one of the most powerful men in this country as well as the head of intelligence. they visited. we are also told that the compound itself has been cleared and that it has been sealed off. later in the day here at our guesthouse, we got a visit from the intelligence. they told us it is now time for the foreign media to leave and stop covering this story. they said there's no real reason
to be here. but this comes as more information is coming out about how the united states identifies bin laden in the compound. both "the new york times" and "washington post" say that the cia actually had a safehouse here. and they are using a number of different methods to listen in on conversations at that compound to try to determine whether or not it was, indeed, bin laden who was there. andrea? >> stephanie gosk, thanks so much from abbottabad. joining me, senator richard lugar, the top republican on the senate foreign relations committee. senator, you've had a lot of questions for a long time about pakistan and, of course, the war in afghanistan. what is your reaction to the response today, the protests and the government officials who are reacting so defensively in pakistan? >> well, those government officials are under great pressure from several sources. clearly on the one hand, the united states is questioning why we were not informed by pakistanis, why there was not
cooperation in searching for bin laden to begin with. this search has been going on for years. pakistanis have not been at all helpful. by the same token, some pakistanis probably knew of his whereabouts. others did not. the divisions within that government and their own communication certainly are well known. i suppose there is always the fear on the part of the pakistanis that their sovereignty will not be respected or the citizens will feel that the united states does not respect it. but drone attacks and various other ways in which we have, in fact, killed a good number of al qaeda and taliban terrorists. so it's going to continue to be a very tough process of governance in pakistan, and it's one that we will not be happy with in the united states. at the end of the day, we both need to stay engaged even given the difficult relationship. >> in terms of afghanistan, secretary gates said today that
down the road this may be a game-changing event, the death of bin laden, because it could mean that there is a way to split the taliban from al qaeda in afghanistan. could that hasten our withdrawal, and should the president now be seriously considering a more rapid withdrawal pattern of redevelopment from afghanistan? >> well, i think the qualifying language of secretary gates is down the road. very shortly, as i understand, there will be this long evaluation around july 1st of how many troops we will withdraw this particular year. and there will be a lot of testimony by our military as well as civilian officials. i'm among those who, in our foreign relations committee hearings, have questions the expense of afghanistan the sheer number of troops there, the number of missions we're attempting to accomplish quite apart from the military and the fact that given the budget crisis, we are having in the front room, in the back room we
cannot simply dismiss the budget business as we think along the lines of the many years in afghanistan. i hope that there is serious consideration given to refining our mission to the metrics of success as the president and others would define success. and then to getting to an appropriate level that will measure up to that. >> you're talking about a bigger deployment -- redeployment probably than has been currently discussed from the white house. and you're talking about defining it as a military, not as success is not rebuilding afghanistan. that should not be our mission. >> that's correct. and i would reiterate that we have had not grandiose schemes, they've been very humanitarian. in the best of all worlds, the united states would like to build the cities of afghanistan. they would like to build democracy and institutions that would have full respect for men, women, children, schools, the whole lot.
the transportation system for people to get around the country. but these are our objectives that are beyond our budget and really beyond our ability to handle either militarily or through civilian persons currently. and i think we really have to now think carefully about the military objectives and whether they can be better accomplished through more covert activity, through more anti-terror activity as opposed to open confrontation of 130,000 troops we now have there. >> and certainly what we've learned from the latest information now of the intelligence that we're getting from bin laden, this tells us that he was operational. he was much more engaged. not surprisingly, we were wrong about him being in a cave, and we were wrong about him not being a key player still coming up with threats, threats against the railroad system. what does that tell you, and how should it affect our policy going forward?
>> well, it says that our intelligence services really have their work cut out for them. in fairness, however, the facts are that we did find bin laden, that we led a successful operation through navy s.e.a.l.s without american casualties. and as a result, there is, i think, renewed confidence that some people are doing a lot of things right in our intelligence services. the point i'm making is that we are not going to be able to comprehensively handle every intelligence problem, but we must center on ones that are very important with al qaeda, the taliban. for that matter, terrorists in somalia and in yemen and elsewhere that haven't been receiving nearly the attention from the public, hopefully they haven't been receiving a lot of attention from sources. i'd just add finally that it's so important that we get
together with the pakistanis on their nuclear situation. we cannot tolerate a situation in which nuclear material or any vestige of this comes into the hands of al qaeda or taliban or al shababo any of these organizations because that really does have a different ring altogether to it. >> i just want to congratulate you, smorenator, for the 30th straight year you finished in the capital challenge run, and that is an extraordinary effort. you have stuck with it, finishing in the senate class. and you really are the class of the field. >> i'm honored you noticed. >> absolutely. thank you, senator. richard lugar. and new reports of a u.s.-backed missile strike in pakistan today, although it is not clear if the target was linked from intelligence gathered from bin laden's compound. u.s. agencies are poring over that material which may suggest that bin laden was, indeed, communicating with terror
leaders much more than anyone had suspected. now al qaeda is promising to strike back. roger cressy is an nbc terrorism analyst. we hear today al qaeda threatening retaliation, acknowledging death, and also all this information coming out of that compound. our colleague bob windrum has been reporting it as well. what are the most important things we've learned from all this? >> what is remarkable, andrea, there was operational command and control still with bin laden in this compound, maybe for up to five years. it might not have been the tactical op con that we might otherwise see, but he was still heavily engaged in the targeting, in the planning and perhaps even in the actual final phase of operational plotting. we don't know yet. more information is going to come out. >> this is such a gold mine. there was the call that pete williams was reporting on the other day, people with top security clearance who were
arabic speakers to start looking through this stuff. what are they learning, and how exciting is this from an intelligence standpoint? >> well, this is the gift that keeps on giving because we're going to be poring over this data for months on end. and we're going to be taking data we get from this raid and piecing it with other information we already have in our possession. it's going to help to further bring out the mosaic of how the al qaeda network operated. so there are really three categories that we're looking to exploit. the first is are there any current threats that bin laden's compound was working on? the second is where's the location of the high-value targets like ayman al zawahiri or rohman? and then the third piece is what is the broader network's operational posture right now? how is he communicating with the al qaeda presence in yemen or somalia? who are some of the people he's looking to recruit, and who was he talking to? the exploitation phase is going to continue not just for months but probably for years. that's really bad news for al qaeda. >> the rails, how threatened -- how vulnerable are our rail systems?
>> well, it is a soft target. there's nothing new there. we knew al qaeda was coming after our transportation. i think what is significant is that in the past al qaeda has never focused on a date. they've never been event driven. it's always been time and place of their choosing. but it should not surprise us that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was going to be atrabltrac to them as well. there's nothing we've heard so far that speaks of a specific actionable threat. what it does mean is the long-term aspiration of al qaeda to go inside the united states and attack transportation and other hubs is still there. the issue is capability. do they have it? >> and were you shocked to hear that there was a cia safe house right there in the neighborhood? >> i'm shocked that it's going on here. absolutely not. another part of the good-news story and the brilliance of how the cia did this operation. >> without the pakistanis knowing? >> well, there's cooperation. we need to keep in mind, the u.s./pakistani cooperation ebbs and flows. whether or not they knew about this safe house, i'm not sure we'll ever find the answer to that question. >> robert, thank you very much.
up next, new york congressman anthony wiener who was at ground zero with president obama thursday. and education nation. from the white house to chicago's public schools. my interview with rahm emanuel. send your thoughts to mitchell reports. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. [ sneezes ] allergies? you think i have allergies? you're sneezing. i'm allergic to you. doubtful, you love me. hey, you can't take allegra with fruit juice. what? yeah, it's on the label. really? here, there's nothing about juice on the zyrtec® label. what? labels are meant to be read. i'd be lost without you. i knew you weren't allergic to me. [ sneezes ] you know, you can't take allegra with orange juice. both: really? fyi. [ male announcer ] get zyrtec®'s proven allergy relief and love the air®.
the president's been winning bipartisan praise for the mission against bin laden. now the talk is turning to what next for pakistan and afghanistan. joining me now, new york congressman anthony wiener who was at ground zero with the president. joins us now. let's talk about that moment at ground zero. a very emotional moment. the white house tried to sort of say it lower-keyed, but it was obviously a huge impact, especially after the death of bin laden.
>> it was emotional but a different kind of emotion than we've had. we've done so many of these commemorations, press conferences, gatherings in that neighborhood, for the first time people felt comfortable smiling a little bit, feeling a little bit 6of a sense of satisfaction. i think the president hit the right note. wasn't a time for speeches. it was a time to acknowledge that while the book on september 11th will never be closed, maybe this one chapter did get closed with a little bit of finality yesterday. and i can tell you that there were legitimate smiles, particularly on the faces of some of the construction workers, firefighters and some of the relatives of those lost on september 11th. people felt comfortable saying, you know what? it feels good to have the person responsible for this finally at the bottom of the sea. >> and even if it never heals the pain, the real pain, you have people like the 10-year-old, the picture that we saw of the president with that young boy. and he actually -- he gave a mass card about his father, a
firefighter, to the president. his mother said that it meant so much to him to meet the president. but he also said to the president that perhaps what happened to bin laden was too harsh. it's very interesting to see a 10-year-old's insight into that. >> well, one of the truly amazing things about my job is i got to be there and kind of listen to the president talk to some of these family members up close. you know, the president of the united states, but when you're dealing with a 10-year-old boy, he's going to say what's on his mind. it was a moment that i think people, as i said, i heard from some firefighters who also met the president, said the president was very down to earth and kind of understood the moment. you know, when you're the president of the united states and you get to announce that finally we got bin laden, which is something to the president's credit, he said they were going to do, he said it during the campaign, he said it as president, getting a little pushback from a 10-year-old boy just goes with the job. >> you've got to love that. how do you feel when you see protests in pakistan and listen
to the head of the military service saying that this was a bad decision and shouldn't happen again? how do you feel about pakistan, about u.s. policy and about voting for money for pakistan going forward? >> well, look, there's no doubt about it that the pakistan relationship is one that everyone says we have to have, but frankly, i don't see much of the benefit from -- no country has been benefiting more from u.s. aid than pakistan only to see the street in pakistan so anti-united states. look, when you're running a government like the president is and like we're trying to do in congress, you're always walking a line. you can't let pakistani foreign policy be our foreign policy. but on the same token, you can't ignore them either. i do believe, though, it's time for us to end our entanglement in afghanistan because our real challenge is actually next door in pakistan. there's no doubt that they are an important part of the puzzle of solving that region of the world, maybe the most dangerous, but it is really hard for me to say to my constituents that we've gotten value with all of the aid that we've provided for
pakistan. >> congressman anthony wiener, thank you so much for joining us today. and up next, a great jobs report to top off the president's very good week. and house republicans retreat on medicare. politico up next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." time for the "your business entrepreneur of the week." derek lawson and partner michael horowitz launched ggb of raleigh in 2007 with their first product, the world's largest gummy bear. since then, revenue for the novelty item has surpassed $1 million a year, and they're still growing. for more, watch "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience.
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and now for some good news. employers added 244,000 jobs in april. that is the strongest private sector growth in five years. though the jobless rate did tick upward to 9%, retailers, factories, financial companies, even the construction sector all adding jobs. politico's assistant managing editor jean cummings joins us. jean, this is certainly good news. the dow is up more than 150 points in early trading. the bond market indicating that they are now all concluding that the economy is not going to go into a double dip. >> it is. and when you add in the numbers some of the retailers, their
numbers that were released earlier this week, walmart and many large retailers, target, were above expectations, an indication that consumers are really getting back into the game, all of these things together, i think, are creating a sense of confidence that, you know, we're not growing very fast, but we are steadily moving in the right direction. >> and just summing up this week in congress, what we've seen this week is that the house republicans have really retreated. you and i were at a bloomberg meeting with paul ryan, and he was indicating we're not going to go for the grand slam right now, and now we know why. dave kemp and the ways and means folks around going to go along with that big medicare push. it's too controversial, too edgy and the folks back home don't like it. >> absolutely. when the republicans first came back into town, they tried to dismiss what they had heard at the town hall meetings as just
g ginned up liberal activists. we're seeing they're real constituents, and nears real concern about what might happen with medicare, and it is, in fact, the political third rail that we all thought it was. >> okay, jeanne cummings, thank you very much. have a great weekend. and up next, no way out? an exit strategy perhaps from afghanistan. plus, pakistan covers its tracks. we'll talk to a former pakistani police superintendent. and mississippi rising. extreme measures under way to help stop catastrophic floods. this is "andrea mitchell reports." down the hill? man: all right. we were actually thinking, maybe... we're going to hike up here, so we'll catch up with you guys. [ indistinct talking and laughter ]
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dressmaker," and wes moore, author of "the other wes moore," and a retired army captain who served in afghanistan, both with deep roots to afghanistan. first to you, gail. we talked to dick lugar earlier today. and the whole question of rebuilding afghanistan, the civilian drive, the state department initiatives, is that really unrealistic now, and should we be rethinking the american goals, and how do you define success? >> well, i think that's the question. it's been really interesting in talking to people about the osama bin laden news is that it's been a rorschach test, so everybody who opposed the war already sees it as the absolute reason to declare victory and go ho home. and those who were in favor of the war and the way it's going are saying it's more signs that it's working and we should stay the course. >> you've lived in afghanistan. you know people in afghanistan. what is the reaction there to bin laden's death? is it, as bob gates said, potentially going to divide al qaeda from the taliban and help us to succeed our goal, to
achieve our goals there? >> i think, you know, what everybody's trying to figure out is exactly what it means before the relationship between the taliban and al qaeda because a lot of people say they already had a schism between the two, and this would just take it one step further. and for regular folks on the ground, there is a real concern that this is going to basically hasten and make even faster the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. and they wonder what that means in terms of life on the ground because there are a lot of people including a lot of women who had used the space to try to build schools, build businesses, all of that stuff, and they wonder whether that is going to end when the international community leaves. >> well, stand by for just a second, gayle, because i want to ask wes about the troop numbers. let's go to the p, wes. how many troops right now, and what would you project when the president talks about withdrawals if they really are going to be substantial withdrawals? >> absolutely. and right here you see the map of afghanistan. and currently we have approximately 100,000 troops who
are still currently trained who are operating in afghanistan within the field. but there's also two really important numbers that have to be thought about when we're talking about afghanistan with the administration and also congress, is thinking about the first number, is the fact that we have 1,219 killed. 19 k.i.a. and that doesn't include the tens of thousands who have been injured throughout the afghanistan conflict. and there's another number that i think weighs heavily on the mind of the administration and also congress, and that's $445 billion that has been spent thus far on afghanistan. that doesn't include the over $100 billion that will be spent this year on afghanistan. so i think all these numbers are factoring into a larger narrative and really setting the table for what the president's going to decide to do in july. >> wes, what is the military perspective now in terms of afghanistan? is this a situation where the military is also looking for some new direction? >> well, i think one thing we'll see, and it's interesting to see the takeaways that people are grabbing from the death of osama bin laden. one thing i think is important to remember with that is as many
people think that what's going to happen now that osama bin laden is dead, that we can begin a pullout and a larger redeployment of troops. actually, i think the larger conclusion will be the absolute opposite. because i think there's two things to remember about afghanistan. one is history and the other is geography. when you're talking about the history of afghanistan, in 1992, once the international community left afghanistan, it only took six months for the president to essentially fall out of power which left a massive vacuum that was filled by the taliban. we saw just a decade later what that vacuum ends up looking like. the other is region. afghanistan is rounded by a lot of other countries that have a lot of not only strategic interest but also have a lot of hostilities towards u.s. policy, countries to include iran, the challenges that we have with pakistan. actually, the decision come july about troop withdrawal potentially could be very different from those who simply means that this could now escalate the withdrawal process of u.s. troops. >> it becomes all too easy just
to look for the door because we really want an exit from there, but at the same time, you've got to think about all those other countries. gayle, what about the people of afghanistan? you've spent so much time in particular with the women. and there was a new save the children report which showed that of all the countries in the world, afghanistan is the worst to be a mother. >> yes. and, you know, 1 in 11 women in afghanistan die in childbirth. and i think that history point wes was just making is so important because from 1992 to 1996, there was a civil war that really ate kabul alive. almost 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed. and that is what men and women think about when they think about troop withdrawal and this whole discussion is will civil war descend upon afghanistan once more? and will all four of the factions who still have not made peace decide that this is open season, then, to go back in and finish the fight from 1996 right before the taliban stepped in? and the administration, a lot of
people are saying that the vice president biden side is quite energized right now in terms of the discussion about a lighter footprint. and when you talk to women on the ground, they say, you know, what happens if the space that we have been using to build midwivery programs, to improve maternal schools, all of that goes away because women are seen so many times as collateral damage rather than contributors. and so much of what women are doing right now is really contributing to making afghanistan more secure. and they wonder if that all goes away. >> but at the same time, wes, with the president going to ft. campbell, kentucky, this afternoon, this is a real morale boost for the military, is it not? >> it's a significant morale boost for the military. this is someone who the military and intelligence forces have been looking for for over a decade. and so i think it's important to not only celebrate that, but then also take into account what this moment means for us. it's really a chance for also to have a real evaluation about where we are and where we're going. and one thing i think we'll see is while the death of osama bin
laden is a great victory for the u.s. in terms of this global war on terrorism, the aftermath, the other people that can now potentially follow now that we have increased intelligence, increased information that we can go after some of these second and third-level al qaeda operatives is really where that treasure trove is really going to come from and really where i think we're going to see significant growth and improvements within this global war on terror. >> wes moore and gayle lemmon, thank you so much. and next to bin laden. pakistan's government could be the biggest loser this week. on the defensive, losing support in congress. a former pakistani police officer, current columbia university professor, also a fellow at the asia society and joins us now. what about pakistan's reaction and the divide perhaps between the military and the police? is it the military that we really should not be trusting here? are there elements in the police who could be allies of the united states in trying to deal with this terror threat?
>> i think given the united states interest in the region, interest in peace between india and pakistan on one level, interest in state building in afghanistan at the other level. the united states should be talking to and should be really concerned about democracy in the country. and that means supporting democratic leaders. that means continuing with the development aid. historically we have been, from the united states, supportive of the military, selling f-16s, maybe nuclear submarines. this is the first time in the last two years that we have focused on building schools, hospitals for this $1.5 billion yearly aid. i think this is going to empower those people who are fighting the extremists, who we really need to be strong in that country. >> one of the things that is being raised in the aftermath of this raid, though, is what did pakistan know, and when did they know it? let me share with you a little bit of the reporting from my colleague, richard engel, who
reported earlier this week. >> reporter: i've spent a lot of time in pakistan. i rented a house in pakistan. and when you rented a house in pakistan, the police know a great deal about the tenants. and i didn't rent a house next to any large military complex. it seems very unlikely that osama bin laden would have been able to or any of his cohorts to rent a large facility with high walls that close to a military compound without at least some of the guards on the compound wanting to know who was inside this complex. >> i was told that you actually lived in abbottabad in the 1980s. this is an embarrassment. this compound was right there. >> absolutely a huge embarrassment. i think a huge humiliation also. and just to add to that police question that you asked, i'm a former police officer also, served in an area close to abbottabad. i agree with that larger point that for criminal justice system, for counterterrorism, it is the civilian law enforcement
that should have been more strengthened. for the last ten years we were focused on everything else for security counterterrorism, not looking at police. but this is a huge humiliation. we should see some heads roll. i will first say the police chief of the area, the person who was just mentioning this, was absolutely right. the local law enforcement should be questioned first. then the civilian intelligence. then the military intelligence. and i think there's no one even in the government structure in pakistan who is challenging that or who will be able to challenge this or create any obstacles because the embarrassment is so huge. >> well, do you see -- do you have any indication that they would interrogate their own police officials rather than blaming the united states for this? >> no, i think it means they'd be living in a fool's paradise. they're trying to shift the blame. i mean, on the pakistani media, i saw everyone talking about 20, 30 mainstream independent
channels, they were talking about the sovereignty issue, the legality of the action. but they should also see that for the last ten years, pakistan was saying, we are the ones who are going to help the united states fight this war. and pakistan paid heavily for this. that's also another side of this. the number of terrorist attacks in pakistan were huge. and osama bin laden, after all, was a person who was the most-wanted man. he had conducted successful terrorist attacks against u.s. elsewhere. there's some probability that he was able to pull this off on his own also. he, after all, had a network. but by and large, i think there must have been some junior level officials in police, in intelligence, maybe others who shared with him ideology, money also a factor, was involved. so overall, there's something seriously wrong. >> a lot of serious questions. professor abbas, thank you very much. now, today's jobs report shows that the economy is a lot
stronger than we thought, but that doesn't mean that we are educating our children for the jobs that are out there. the nation's third largest school system is one of the most challenged. so we chose chicago to launch education nation on the road this week. i hosted a panel in chicago last night with teachers, students, top business leaders, city officials discussing how to stop kids from dropping out and how to prepare them better for the 21st century work force. i asked mayor-elect rahm emanuel who also spoke there about his top priorities. >> first of all, we have the shortest school day of any major city in the country. there are other schools here in chicago, charters. i just did a town hall with seventh and eighth graders. one child happened to be at a charter school. i said what time's your day over? she said 5:00. another child, 4:00. but at the basic neighborhood element, it ended at 2:30. 1:45, actually. >> reporter: 1:45? >> yeah. there's no guarantee the
person's longer day is learning more, but you have three more hours in the classroom. pretty good guarantee. now, if you have involved parents, dedicated teachers and committed principals and a full school day, you're going to get the type of education you need. right now a kid in houston starts at the same time a child starts in chicago and kindergarten. they go all the way to high school together. houston and chicago. the child in houston spends three more years of instructional time in a classroom than the child in chicago. >> reporter: because of the length of the school day. i mean, this is so basic. >> it is basic. we've gotten a bill passed in the senate. the house will act soon. and i'm confident we are going to give the kids in chicago what they've been cheated of for the last 0 years, a full day's worth of educational opportunity. >> reporter: and our focus here is not just education but the gap, the incredible gap between the jobs that are even available and the education that kids have. they don't have the skills for even those jobs that are available. >> that's true. one of the things we're also going to do, it's obvious we
need to also start raising expectations. so one of the things i'm going to start doing is in the sixth grade, you will begin to write what colleges you want to go to. you have to pick four. then we'll help you. and then seventh grade, you'll update it. eighth grade, you'll update. and in eighth grade this the schools, we'll have pennants of the college schools that kids that went to your school got accepted to. so there's a culturalization that will occur about and expectations that will be set, that your time here is set with an objective and a goal. not at graduating but going to college. >> and he gets sworn in and becomes the mayor of chicago next week. you can find the full program on educationnation.com. up next, mississippi rising. stay with us. [ male announcer ] myron needed an mba to turn his technology into a business.
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coming up on "news nation," i get to talk to the mother of the american hiker who was freed from an iranian prison. her daughter, sara, says she will not return to tehran for trial with her fiance and their friend because she is too traumatized. plus, an arab waiter is now accusing new york city's waldorf astoria hotel of forcing him to go by a different name at work to prevent them from being scared by his real name mohammed. he joins me live. "news nation" is just 15 minutes away. memphis police are urging residents to evacuate before their homes become flooded. the mississippi river is expected to crest at a record 48 feet next week. officials say about 1,000 homes in memphis are in the danger zone. the rising waters are already threatening the world-famous beale street.
and activists in syria claim that security forces have killed at least 16 protesters today. as demonstrations against that country's president assad continue. today's protests which organizers call the day of defiance are the latest of an uprising that began in mid-march. already this crisis has cost the lives of more than 565 civilians and 100 soldiers. those are estimates, though. we don't have reporters on the ground there. is bin laden's death offering president obama a real victory and a chance to reboot especially on foreign policy and the war on terror? that is the subject of the cover story in "the national journal." you see the iconic photo, "vt day." a play on vj day. ron brownstein, where do you think the big changes are going to be on foreign policy, on terror with this kind of boost, because for ought the nit-picking of how it went down and how it was described by the white house in contrast to the pentagon, this was a huge success for american forces. >> and a moment that offers kind
of an bookend and opportunity to turn the page in a variety of areas. the first opportunity i think people inside the administration see is in dealing with pakistan. certainly pakistan's ability to kind of maintain the double game that has been playing has been compromised. i mean, the two alternatives are pleading collusion or incompetence. not a great series of choices when you're under pressure from congress on the $3 billion in aid that they receive every year. so this, i think, does give the president a moment where he has more leverage to basically put to them the same question that george w. bush did in 2001. again, are you with us? are you against us? and increase the pressure on them to move more decisively against the terrorist networks that they have harbored as a portion of their national security policy. >> does it make it harder for the president to push back against those calling for a more rapid exit from afghanistan? or does he have the street cred really with the military to now be able to say, you know, i'm -- we need to pull out for a lot of reasons? >> the first question really is
whether this offers new opportunities in afghanistan, in the administration there is a belief that there's always a portion of the taliban insurgency that is open to reintegration with the government that has been willing to break more decisively from al qaeda. and this does provide an opportunity if those elements are strong enough and willing enough to take advantage of it to do that. i mean, it does provide a chance to advance negotiations in afghanistan itself because that big hurdle in the middle of the road, the links between the taliban and al qaeda, have at least a greater possibility of being removed. now, whether that opportunity will play out is something else. but at home it does, i think, have the effect you suggest. because i think this will increase the sense among americans that we've done what we said. >> he is at least going to be negotiating some strength relatively now that he has the advantage to do something that others have tried and failed to do. >> the idea that reconciliation with the arab world was incompatible with prosecution against terrorism i think has now to be shown what it always
was, kind of a fallacy. he was able to get bin laden. and i think it also does provide him an opportunity to reboot the june 2009 effort and outreach symbolized buy the speech in cairo. it is time for you to see your future more and integrating with the world. >> ron brownstein, "national journal." thank you very much. and who had the worst week in washington? that's next right here. and the run for the roses. tomorrow the kentucky derby here on nbc. this year's odds-on favorite is dialed in. find out if he lives up to the hype. tomorrow 4:00 p.m. eastern, your local nbc station. ♪
>> there was a lot to choose from this week. lots going on. >> osama bin laden. he had a pretty bad week. >> a lot of people said why not osama bin laden, he's dead. yes, that is true but we tried to do a little more nuance. who i went with was donald trump. this is someone whose been in the news. he was in a split screen on every cable television network. he was in new hampshire. barack obama was in the white house press room. barack obama releasing his long form birth certificate, donald trump declaring victory. the white house correspondent's dinner, i sat near donald trump, did not laugh. >> now in retrospect we see the president's take on trump. what was the president thinking? he had already given the kill order or the go order. let's watch a bit of president obama's riff on donald trump. >> you, mr. trump, recognize that the real problem was a lack of leadership, and so ultimately
you didn't blame little john or meatloaf h you fir meatloaf, you fired gary busey. and these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. >> i mean -- >> talk about a poker face. >> and in retrospect these are the kinds of decision that is would keep me up at night when the president of the united states was considering what the commando team in action were going through. >> and the irony of the fact that 24 hours late er the covere of barack obama, at least the run up to him announcing the death of osama bin laden broke into what show on network television? "celebrity apprentice." this is not someone who can stand up to a withering skrcruty of his finances, personal life. >> and 56 million people watched
the president sunday night. that's a super sized audience. >> stunning. >> and thank you. >> thank you. >> speaking of stunning, good to see you in person. >> that does it for us. for a very busy week. we're to follow the show online and on twitter. thomas roberts is in for tamron hall. >> great to see you. coming up in the next hour, in 20 minutes president obama expected to arrive in ft. campbell, kentucky, where he will meet with some of the special forces involved in the killing of osama bin laden. then address a crowd of 2,000 service members. plus, we are following breaking flooding news out of tennessee. the coast guard now closing a section of the mississippi and residents are being told to evacuate as fast as they can. "news nation" is minutes away. [ manager ] you know...
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the new intelligence that officials issue warnings and increasing security about the nation's railways. rising floodwaters prompting officers to go door to door in tennessee ordering people to leave their homes as fast as they can. plus this -- >> how many more gay people does god have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not god actually wants them around? >> it's a great question. a minnesota politician's religious argument to allow gays to marry. that's heating up the internet. hi, everybody. great to have you with us. i'm thomas roberts. the "news nation" following new reports from overseas today. al qaeda leaders have confirmed the death of osama bin laden, but warn of retaliation in reonse to this u.s. attack. there are reports that al qaeda operatives will release a final audio tape from their deceased leader. early information gained from that