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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  February 4, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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>> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> thank you for this great victory. >> this week on "inside washington," mitt romney it scores an impressive win in
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florida and walked directly into a sound bite hell. >> i am not concerned about the very poor. have a safety net. >> governor romney, got and get them. >> we will be the nominee in august. >> the politics of breast cancer. >> the scurrilous accusations are profoundly hurtful. >> why in the world to you go to the people you are fighting with and tell them the day you are pulling out your troops? it makes absolutely no sense. captioned by the national captioning institute >> after taking a shellacking from newt gingrich in south carolina, mitt romney is on a
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roll again with a big win in florida. romney won a women voters, moderate voters, catholic voters, hispanic voters, sthe voters who were looking for somebody to beat barack obama in november. then he talked to cnn's soledad o'brien. >> i am in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor. they have a safety net. i'm not concerned about the very rich. they are doing just fine. i am concerned about the 95% of americans that are struggling. >> romney goes on in that interview to define the safety net for the poor, which includes food stamps, housing vouchers, but the damage was done. the line about the poor was all over the 24-hour news cycle. the democrats are stockpiling all of them for campaign ads. mark, is there a cure for political foot-in-mouth disease? >> it is a problem for gov.
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romney because it plays into the perception of him already as a detached, rich man perhaps not familiar with the struggles of people at a lower end. 20 million americans are living in households at 1/2 of the poverty level. talk about the safety net. i don't know anybody who wants to live on the safety net. >> realistic, charles, or can romney shrugged it off -- will this state, charles, or can romney shrug it off? >> as mark said, it is the accumulation. this feeds into other examples, when he said "i will bet you $10,000," and he has had a few of these were he played the out- of-touch it patrician. it happened to george bush, a
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senior in his reelection campaign at the checkout counter. it was a trivial event but it added to this image. this is a guy who is a businessman for whom politics is a second language, and he does not speak it well. >> evan? >> as somebody who blurts stuff out, i am sympathetic when people say stupid things. he does it often enough. do you want to have a beer with a guy is an important test in politics. he has got to find a way to humanize himself. >> nina? >> i think everybody is right here. it does feed into the stereotype. at the same time, you have to say that the romney of this campaign is so magnificently disciplined that the un disciplined moments that blow
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everything he has worked on for a year at least are kind of -- i am caught between admiration and fascination with the un disciplined moments. >> he is bringing a businessman's analysis to this soledad o'brien interview, don't you think? >> he is trying to identify with the middle-class. it has become the cabinet constituency in both parties. for theot what you do least, it is what you do for the middle class. democrats are just as guilty of this. the antidote to this problem that governor romney did have was his endorsement yesterday by a billionaire. [laughter] he is a multi millionaire who got endorsed by a billionaire -- fire people "to
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>> if there's somebody who epitomizes sympathy and compassion, it is and donald trump. >> donald trump solidifies the billionaire vote for romney. >> another problem is that he is laid out to his ideology. if you are conservative, you don't want to play on the it field of liberals, class distinctions. the conservative view of economics, the moral defense of the free market, is that it helps everybody. ultimately, if you have economic expansion, it will increase creation of jobs and allow people to rise. conservatives believe that if you take away the fetters, it will help everybody, including the poor. he accepted the premise of liberals that i what you do with the very poor is stick them in a safety net and leave them
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there. he is not fluent yet in the ideology of conservatism. >> mark mckinnon, a former bush and mccain adviser, says that romney is reinforcing the image of the republican party as out of touch, and that is why he is having such problems with independent voters. how does he get past that? >> it is a mistake to underestimate mitt romney, because he is maladroit, but there is an inner toughness to them. his family history has been constant persecution. his family has always been ground down, run out of town, and each time they come back and rebuild their fortune. he sees the bad things, he accepts bad things, but he's pretty tough. he may be -- >> you just have to look at the way he came back from south carolina. it does remind me in a way of clinton. you cannot just knock this guy out. he has an inner toughness.
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>> he can take a punch. >> he certainly showed that in florida out of south carolina, but it is all moot if it is going to be 8.9% unemployment at the end of this year. if that is the case, forget the gaffes of mitt romney. >> another problem he has is that he has defined our reason for him to be president is a biography -- i am a businessman, i know how to create jobs, hire me. he does not have a policy set yet. i mean, he has them, but he does not speak about them. he has a real plan about tax reform, the entitlement reform, which he spoke about once and never again. >> tell me how you are going to fix it. newt gingrich vows to hang in there. >> i really believe that we should care about the very
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poor, unlike governor romney. [laughter] but i believe we should care differently than barack obama. both governor romney and barack obama seem to believe that a safety net is all the poor need. i don't believe that. what the poor need is a traveling so they can spring up. -- a trampoline so they can spring up. [applause] >> will the south became rich's lifeline, charles? lifeline,grich's charles? >> lifeline? his island. he doesn't have anywhere else to go. here is a guy who just lost by 15 points. he gets up at there, and his speeches about the fight executive orders he is going to
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issue in the first hour after his inauguration. it was kind of a charmingly delusional. you sort of have to admire a guy who is so dogged and sure of himself. he ain't gonna leave. this is ahab on the loose and he is after the great white, going after mitt after a personal level. >> i am not sure that is true. if you watch gingrich over time, he gets shellacked by this huge money negative infusion, like in iowa, 5-1 ads, if you add the super pac and the romney money, and romney and his allies in florida, and he runs only one ad that is positive, romney -- he is enraged by this. he is beside himself with fury. and then reality sinks in.
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he pulled himself together to talk about what he wants to do again. at some point, i suspect reality will sink in, and it may be in april or something like that. predicting newt gingrich is dangerous. he had's problem is that a mixed message in florida. i can take on -- i am the only guy tough enough, smart enough, quick enough to take on barack obama. in the meantime, i am going to wind about mitt romney, who is obviously not qualified to be president but is running this mean-spirited campaign against me. you cannot be the tough guy who is going to take on obama and at the same time complained to the jury about the treatment you are getting. in a strange way he is a gift for romney. in his fury and his vendetta, he makes romney look like the
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soul of moderation, like a grown-up, like the middle of the road. >> labor department says unemployment dropped to 8.3%, lowest in three years. that looks good for obama. on the other hand, i pick up "the washington post" on friday and i see "israel -- iran must be stopped soon." >> gingrich is going to be forgotten side show next fall. the two big things are unemployment. if it goes higher, it could be the end for obama. but the real wild card is whether israel bonds iran, and how the iranians respond and how the united states respond to that. if there is a giant economic crisis because the iranians are close -- iranians close the strait of hormuz, all this other stuff will be child's play compared to that.
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>> making any bets, charles? >> i think it is is pretty certain that the israelis are going to attack or you would not have had this leaked this week, the secretary of defense through david ignatius of "the post" that there is a higher likelihood israel is going to attack, and that he specifies when, in three months, april, may, or june. you don't say that unless there is indication from is reallys -- the israelis that they are going to do this even if they are getting a signal from the united states not to do it. >> is there a political calculation relevant to the presidential election in november? >> no, the cat the lesions were, as ignatius reported panetta said, israel things that iran is going to enter the zone of
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immunity. is not being able to make a bomb -- that is later down the road. when iran has enough uranium in completely untouchable sites, like the mountain we cannot touch it, at that point iran has the wherewithal, the facilities, the material that they can build a bomb unmolested at they can never be attacked again. israel thinks it is approaching the point of immunity, then it will attack. >> i do not know why secretary panetta revealed this. i'm just trying to understand -- >> he is trying to stop them. >> it is that urgent. >> and that is -- >> absolutely. we have that these economic sanctions that, amazingly, seem to be working, and there seems to be a fair amount of unity in
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squeezing the iranians. justice they are working, this would blow sky high. >> evan, i read piece in "the new york times magazine" on sunday by an israeli journalist, who talked to an outgoing head of mossad who thinks this is not a good idea. why are the intelligence people opposing this? >> because they are not sure they can find the stuff and they are trying to destroy. the deeper question here -- logically and rationally, if israel attacks iraq, iran will take it and they will not close the strait of hormuz, because closing the strait of hormuz will bring in the united states and be the beginning of the end of iran. but that is assuming that the iranians will be of logically and rationally. anybody who is bent in
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intelligence or has read a history book knows that your opponents often behave irrationally. israel strikes iran, iran launched missiles into israel -- not great, but ok. the reason the united states opposes this is they fear the fallout. or pass away of unintended consequences -- war has a way of unintended consequences, all wars. they just testified last week that iran is thinking of operating inside the united states. >> the iranian oil is already being cut off. europeans are not importing it. the saudis are determined to see the iranian nuclear program wiped out. they are very upset about this. the saudi pledge is to replace any iranian oil.
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the question is if they close the strait of hormuz, which, as evan indicated, is suicidal. the other question is if the they attack the united states base in bahrain, which is also so set up, because he would bring the americans and europe into the war. the iranian response would be to attack israel and nobody else. >> we also have to note that even if they succeeds, the estimates of the slowing down the iranians are between one and, at long as, three years. it has to be part of the calculus. that is one of the reasons the united states at the moment things it is not worth it and israel appears to think it is. >> i understand that. i'm just fascinated with the administration is an independent actor here, whether the united
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states is capable or willing to say to israel no or not. i think, very frankly, we are in a political year when governor romney and certainly speaker gingrich has been, if anything, 110% in favor of an aggressive israeli policy and critical of the administration. that is going to be a political factor at home. >> but romney and gingrich are not in office. the israelis are as aware as anyone on the panel about all the risks and problems. israel could suffer thousands of casualties if lebanon and hezbollah attack as a result. they know know how -- how short-term debt and it could be. the reason they are thinking about this is the weeks before
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the 1967 war, israel was abandoned by the whole world. israel had to do a preemptive attack. it feels as isolated today as it did again, and will take the same risks. >> the politics of birth control and breast cancer. >> this is about the basic rights of conscience and religious liberty. >> i think this mandate violates our constitution. >> that is house speaker boehner and the archbishop of washington. new obama administration policy requires all employers, including catholic employers, to pay for regardless of the catholic church teaching on this issue. -- to pay for contraceptives regardless of the catholic church teaching on this issue. during the health-care law, the catholic health association supported the president. critics say they are being hung out to dry. your take, mark. >> they are being hung out to dry. this is a dissing, in common
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parlance, of catholics. i have not noticed thousands of people lined up to provide services for the homeless and hungry and left behind. that is what catholic churches and schools have done v. they are not in it for the bucks. iit is -- it is at mandate by their religion. i do not understand barack obama on this, and catholics have voted on the winning side of every presidential election -- >> is it relevant or irrelevant that the vast majority of catholics practice contraception in violation of this teaching? >> it is irrelevant because you are closing down catholic institutions. >> this has been the law since 2000. there is an eeoc ruling. 28 states have laws like this.
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there are very good arguments being made by the catholic church, but if you take it out of the area of contraception and say supposing you had a preschool that wouldn't demonization because it's religion didn't allow it, at so it wouldn't insure for immunization, because we're not talking about paying, we're talking about insurance that people can avail themselves of. the board of health would be in their bank rate is a tricky question and good arguments are being made for both sides. >> immunization is about public safety, birth control is not. it is a huge difference. what this is doing -- as mark indicated, the catholic church is not just a church. it does social outreach and good works. liberals say that in the church you can appoint anybody want and we will leave you alone, but when you step into society, you have to be under our heel and you have to provide a morning-
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after pill, which for catholic in the hierarchy of the church is an abomination, otherwise you are cut off. that is liberal secular arrogance. >> the susan g. komen foundation, a leading breast cancer research group, says it is cutting funding for planned parenthood because planned parenthood is the subject of an investigation by congress. planned parenthood says that the foundation has caved to political bullying. >> there is a huge e-mail and internet storm which is -- >> the mayor of new york has donated $250,000. >> social networking will have the effect of driving back the komen >> foundation. >> if you live in the medical world, which i do a little bit because i married to a doctor, the komen foundation is much more controversial for the
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position that has taken than most people realize. this will throw a light on that and eight will be a real problem for the foundation. >> we have a doctor on the panel. >> look, i am sympathetic to both sides. if you have a rule or regulation that he cannot donate to an institution in litigation, perhaps. i am not sure if that is an excuse or reason. on this one, but i will say this -- the komen foundation has been so pervasively successful in reaching into every athletic event, every community. every time you turn around, traffic is interrupted by another walk by them. they are a phenomenal, colossal institution. i would not want to take them on. >> the end of the american combat role in afghanistan a year or more early? >> remember why we went into afghanistan. we went in there because of
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osama bin laden. >> wesley clark, who says it is time to transition away from the it mission in afghanistan and focus on beating the caliban. general petraeus, head of the cia, says that the comment that leon panetta made has been over and allies. are we getting out early or not? >> i think we're getting out early, and obama seems determined to do a. there was a report of the captured todd heap and -- the captured taliban. the taliban thinks we are winning. >> it gave mitt romney a big club this week. >> we are not going to leave with a "mission accomplished" banner. if we leave in 2013, who is brother, sister, wife is going to be the last to die in this
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withdrawal? i don't see the policy objective right now. >> we will never know if we poured the resources of iraq into afghanistan we could have "won" and left, but we are learning the lesson that every other great power has learned since the early days. >> thousands of young americans there right now. >> "washington post" editorial on that ended on that sentiment. if we are going to withdraw in a year, why are we having our soldiers die now? clearly, withdrawing next year, and even speaking of that releasing the worst of the worst taliban in guantanamo as a sweetener, we are obviously a abandoning afghanistan. if we are -- you asked the john kerry question from the vietnam war, who will be the last american to die for a mistake? if this is a mistake, as obama appears to have concluded, he should begin a withdrawal now
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and have the courage to make that case to the american people. >> if it was a mistake, why did he agree to the surge? >> i think he changed his mind. >> they are building up the afghan security forces. it is not crazy. it is not like there is no reason for american soldiers to be there. >> but the original idea is that it would take at least until 2014. what was it that accelerated timetable, that we're doing so well that we can leave? electioneering. >> can we be candid? afghanistan is a corrupt, non- functioning government. karzai is the mayor of kabul, that is at. that is what we are leaving. >> you get the last word. see you next week.
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