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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 22, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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welcome to program, we begin this evening with a political update, a look as where the race bror the presidency is with al hunt of bloomberg news. and mark halperin of time magazine. >> if the romney campaign is right, the country doesn't care about the frivolous things about his personality, then they are going to have a showdown on who can do better over the next four years. while governor romney has not been particularly specific except repudiating a lot of the president policies, the president hasn't been very specific. >> rose: what would a second obama term look like and i think they may have to switch to that to win the election if i am right some of the political class focuses on just aren't going to be disqualifying for a lot of voters who are unhappy with the economy currently. >> we continue this eveng with a conversation with ray mabus, secretary of the navy, this new
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defense strategy which the president announced in january in which he was intimately involved in crafting and had all of the joint chiefs, all the service secretaries, secretary of defense, very involved in this, is mainly a maritime strategy, it focuses on the western pacific, it focuses on the arabian gulf region, both of which are maritime entities and it places i think additional responsibility on the navy and marine corpse, but, corp, with but it is a continuation of our historic role .. we conclude with a newby ography about general eisenhower by jean smith, eisenhower in war and peace. >> he worked a seven-day week from the time he graduated from west point and he was focused, he was able, he was intelligent, he had a very good command of the language, macarthur speeches were written by eisenhower. and he had a marvelous command of the english language, and was
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very critical of staff members who weren't. and h he also knew how to get along with people. >> rose: al halperin, ray mabus and jean edward smith when we continue. s reoswa seli rose was prid by the flowing.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> we begin tonight with politics, with less than six months before election day, president obama and governor romney are active on the campaign trail. today's washington post abc news poll shows the candidates are tied on the key issue of the economy. this week, they sparred over romney's background in private equity. >> my opponent governor romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. he is not going out there touting his experience in
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massachusetts, he is saying i am a business guy and know how to fix it and this is his business. and when you are president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. >> rose: joining me now from washington, al hunt of bloomberg news with me here in new york, mark halperin of time magazine, i am pleased to have them both. i begin in washington with al hunt. so we haven't visited politics for a while. where are we in this race? >> well, we are not too far from where we were last time, whenever that was, charlie, this is a race that is close to a tossup, i would give a slight edge of the dial to barack obama, but what i find fascinating i think as the clash of fundamentals, the economic fundamentals really basically favor romney. two-thirds of people think we are heading off in the wrong track, they don't think they are doing better than they were four years ago, there is change all
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over the globe, because of the bad economy, and europe and elsewhere, the political fundamentals i think favor obama. he is a better canned candidate. he has a better message i think and a better infrastructure and that is really an interesting clash between those two fundamentals that will play out over the next five and a half months. >> but likability matter? >> it always has mattered. don't forget, though, we did elect richard nixon four times in a national ticket. so it is not all determinative but i think it matters and again you give the edge there to obama. >> rose: how do you see it? >> well, i think that as al pointed out the economic fundamentals are really against the president. the washington post poll that was mentioned shows something like i think 14 percent of the people think they are better off than they were before the president took office. that is a startling number, and it would be almost impossible for him to win reelection except the things on the other side al
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mentioned i think governor romney is surviving this bain attack he may not in the long run but i think the facts of it and the way they are burning it out, it was an issue earlier i think that a lot of the attacks they will make on governor romney will burn themselves out before the general election and i think the obama people may be over estimating the extent people are paying attention now so for the press and some people i think they are burning it out too quickly and again i think when the time comes when people start to pay attention if governor romney rises i think he has a chance to win much better than i thought before. >> rose: he has essentially survived the bitter primary process. >> he survived that process and when he came out of it, favorables, unfavorables very bad, as bad as anybody's in the process in recent history but they already have improved quite a bit and again i think when people start to pay attention, he is a very competitive guy, just like the president, he has got people around him who are experienced and not over confident, and i think if he can control his image, and fight off these attacks the way i believe he has so far, uses his vice
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presidential pick and the convention and the debates he may be able to survive and that's all he really needs to do, if they don't disqualify him the way president bush disqualified john kerry i think they will be able to win. >> rose: so what he has to do is make the focus on the president. >> make the focus on the president on one hand and he plays he needs to play decent, he needs to push back when he says your work at bain capital disqualifies you or your work as governor of massachusetts disqualifies you, i think people have underestimated him that can survive the pounding, remember, alex rodriguez lewded to the president's strengths, al, alluded to his strengths and he is not going to have more money, the president had an overwhelming advantage in money last time compared to john mccain i don't think he will have that advantage this time, if governor romney looks strong month-to-month a lot of conservative millionaires and billionaires will give to the super pacs in a way to give governor romney a huge advantage, a huge advantage in
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money in the nine to 12 stages states that will decide this and again that will help him survive as long as the republicans, the democrats don't knock him out, i think he will win. >> already two things that obama had last time, probably three things he won't have this time. he won't have an incumbent president george bush he is not going to have the money advantage as mark just noted and i think he also had a campaign organization advantage last time. he will have some of that in the states this time but i think the romney team is certainly the equal of the obama team. so that makes for, i think, it is going to be fascinating. i am not as convinced about bain capital, i think romney created unnecessary problems by this constant claim that the job creator when it was not. and i still don't think a lot of people on main street are going to identify a lot with private equity, and i think the obama people will switch fairly soon to his massachusetts record.
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so he does have some vulnerabilities, but i share mark's view about those strengths that he has. >> rose: is it bain capital or is it the image he is out of touch? >> it is both. and i think he reinforces that image, i think, you know, one of our romney reporters jewel difficult days have was travelling with him last week and in florida, davis, they shut the press out of all of the events, most events romney does is fund-raising, but at one event he said he had considered moving to florida, it was such a great state, and he came back to talk to the press and the press said did you really consider moving to florida. he said yes there is a lot of attractive things about florida, the tax rate. and, you know, charlie there are a lot of reasons you may want to move to florida, the beaches, the everglades, you know, miami heat, i don't know what, but i don't think the first thing that if you are mitt romney you want to cite is the tax rate but he can't quite help himself. >> rose: i think it is possible that the romney
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campaign is right, when they say, when the country goafs on this election, they are not going to care about any of that stuff, they will care about do you want four more years of the president and the economy they have had, under barack obama, it is common to say the president, you know, wants to make this election about romney and that's true, but a at some point if the romney campaign succeeds and is right the country doesn't care about all of these little frivolous things about his personality, then the there is g to have to be a showdown who can be better over the next four years and while governor romney has not been particularly specific about repiew repudiatit of the president's policy the president hasn't been very specific. what would a second obama term look like. >> rose:. >> and they may have to switch to that to which this election, if i am right that there won't be disqualifying for a lot of people who are unhappy with the economy per se. >> rose:. >> is it part of a larger issue of too much government. >> it certainly for a lot of voters it is that, i this at this supreme court decision is
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one of the few intervening events that will be a big deal and i asked people in both campaigns about it, i think however the court decides will help governor romney, again, it is my analysis, i am not here advocating for him but i think if they strike it down they will say now the law needs to be replace who to do you want to have it replace, unconstitutional law or someone else, and if it is upheld i think he will be able to say look this law is unpopular we don't like it and the court didn't get rid of it, the only way to get rid of it is elect me. >> i it will be a galvanizing event if he ands it correctly. it is about big government and big spending, and the individual mandate which ironically governor romney used to be a fan of, until at the state level is something americans in overwhelming numbers say they don't like. >> rose: same sex marriage? >> i don't think it is going to decide the selection, the republicansôr aren't talkingt it and they don't think they can win on it, but both sides will target their supporters. >> rose: foreign policy? >> afghanistan in particular?
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>> i don't see anything right now that is a negative for the president. except if governor romney takes china back up i think that could put the president on the defense situate, other than that, i think governor romney has been critical of the president on a lot of things like afghanistan but i don't think any will cut. >> rose: do you agree with that, al? >> i do, on both counts. >> rose: young? young people? are they both committed this time and will they turn out as enthusiastically for the president as they did in 2008? >> as of may 22nd, it is not even close, they are not. there are some people who think the same sex marriage may have some effect below the radar screen with those sorts of voters, but as of now, i think that may be along with latinos the biggest turnout worry barack obama has. >> rose: the latinos is a turnout worry for him? >> yes, i think he will get 70 percent of the. >> rose: of the hispanic vote that turns out. >> romney ran a very, very anti-immigration campaign, it is going to be harder for him to pivot back, but i think the
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question will be one of turnout. >> rose: women? >> you think i am the expert on women, charlie? i think the women voters. >> rose: i don't think there are any experts on women. >> that is what my wife would say about me. look, i think that vote will go obama, but i don't think it is going to go as big as it did last time and what in determine the important margins there will not be the contraception and the abortion and all of that but it will be the economy. >> rose: well, hispanics. >> in terms of youth and hispanic, al headed towards this, it is both the percentage you get but also the contribution to both, the youth vote didn't swell by much it is just the president obama dominated it, ifs it is down and the obama gets a lower percentage or i think it hurts him, i think there are two ways to turn out low, groups of vote below their percentage, both young voters and hispanic voters fit that category they don't
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vote matching their percentage of the population. one is through enthusiasm, through the kind of campaign the president ran last time, the other is through mechanics, reaching through high tech means and regional specialty media. the president's team is very good at the second and they may be able to use some of that to make up for the lower level of enthusiasm. the governor romney i think has a plan to appeal to all three groups, but he is not executed yet and i think in the end if the president does win reelection, those three groups, you are asking about them for a reason those three groups will turn out in sufficiently large numbers that may make it impossible as a matter of demographics for governor romney to win. >> rose: independents? >> well i mean we don't know yet right now. i think governor rom my is going to do fine in rural areas, i think this notion as a mormon and as someone who was more moderate as governor of massachusetts he is not going to turn out the base of the republican party. i think he is headed in the right direction there. according to the polling. he has got to be a good suburban and ex-urban candidate, and that is where a lot of the
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independents are and i think right now he has a chance to do that. he is greatly helped by something that didn't get that much attention but this group of americans elect whic which had d to get another candidate on the ballot, if that succeeded it likely would have drawn, something that would have drawn independents away from governor romney and could have cost him five points maybe no matter who the candidate was. the fact that they polled it out without getting a candidate is a huge break for him and a real blow to the president, because now the president needs to get above 50 percent to win reelection before he could have won, 47, 48 and there are some people who think governor romney's team who thinks the he may have a ceiling there because of the economy and some voters have just turned against him and won't vote for him under any circumstances. >> rose: so you are with obama's people as i am sure you are and asking them questions about this. what do you perceive to be their most urgent demand and their most important objective now? >> to disqualify governor romney as an acceptable alternative, to say you may not like the way things have gone, things are
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mixed for you but this guy is not the right person. >> rose: so his hope is to tear down the governor? >> not more than a hope i think his only chance but they have the perfect template which is bush 2004, incumbent with unpopular war and a weak economy who james carville said a year before the election if bush is re-elected it will be the singular political achievement of his lifetime, and he didn't think it would be possible to so disqualify john kerry that the country wouldn't vote for him and they were able to do that and that's exactly what the real estate's side is going to do is to make governor romney seem to enough voters and just an unacceptable choice. it is going to be close, and so everything is going to be on the margins here but they need to disqualify him so he can't win ohio and can't win florida or they will lose. >> rose: on that note we close, thank you, al, good to see you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: and mark. pleasure. thank you. back in a moment, stay with us and talk to the secretary of the navy, ray mabus. >> ray mabus is here, united
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states secretary of the navy, he has had a long and varied career as a politician, diplomat and businessman, he served as governor of mississippi from 1988 to 1992, he was also former ambassador to saudi arabia and ceo of a manufacturing company. he played the pivotal role in u.s. defense policy in the obama shifts its focus to the asia pacific region i am pleased to have him here on this program for the first time, welcome. >> thank you, charlie, i am glad to be here. >> rose: we now know that this president has announced clearly the kind of shift to asia. how does that affect the navy and its role and its significance? >> well, this new defense strategy which the president announced in january, and which he was in intimately involved in crafting, and had a all of the joint chiefs, all the service secretary, secretary of defense very involved in this, it is mainly a maritime strategy and focuses on the western pacific and focuses on the arabian gulf region, both of which are maritime, entities, and it
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places, i think, additional responsibility on the navy and the marine corps, but it is a continuation of our historic role. we have been a pacific power for decades now. we have been a persistent presence in the western pacific and this simply adds to that and focuses on it, but i do think it enhance it is navy and the marine corps's role as we move forward with the defense of this country .. >> when you look at the possibility of war, we are now extracting ourselves from afghanistan, obviously, and iraq, we have done that. can what kind of war are we looking at? >> number one, one of our big goals is to deter. or to avoid war. and by being a presence, by being strong must have to project american power, but the future of warfare is unmanned vehicles. it is cyber, it is some of the more exotic things, only a few
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years ago that we really weren't looking at much, but now you are seeing much more in those areas. an one of the things i have been focusing on is energy, and energy use for the navy. we are going to cut our use of fossil fuels in half by no later than 20-20, we are going to get at least half of our energy from nonfossil fuel sources because energy has been used and continues to be used so much as a weapon. >> rose: china will probably adopt the same policy and has the same goal, doesn't it? >> well, china, you are seeing report after report that chinese are investing in alternative energies, but other countries are too. the middle east, countries like saudi arabia, where i was the ambassador to, are investing now in alternative energies because all is, oil is such a global commodity, and the price of oil spikes on rumor, it spikes on
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speculation, now, the iranians only have to threaten to close the straits of hormuz for it to go up and in this year, 2012 the navy has more than a billion-dollar extra fuel bill just because of the price of oil went up quicker than we anticipated. and we have only got one pace to go get that and that's in training or operations. >> rose: even the ierpians say that they want to have nuclear power because they want to be able to sell their fossil fuel. >> right. >> and so i think that is -- that is the path of warfare but also the future. >> rose: but what kind of conflict are we looking at? >> i think you are look manager terms of potential conflict more maritime, more air, more cyber oriented, it is going to have more unmanned vehicles, more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance becomes increasingly important, as warfare becomes more very specific and very precise. >> rose: the chinese have said
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to the world and to their own people our primary responsibility is prosperity the so we can take care of the issues at home and bringing more people into the middle class and changing the nature of our economy so it is driven by domestic demand and yes they are increasing mare military budget. to what end? >> we have made our policy toward the chinese and toward the chinese military and the chinese navy very clear, we would like more transparency. just answer that question. but we would also like more cooperation. we would like to work with them. we are both pacific nations, we both have many of the same interests, economics being one of the chief ones, 90 participant of the world's trade moves by water. 95 percent of the world's telecommunications goes under the oceans. there are lots of areas that we need to work together, we would like to cooperate together, and that has been our strategy the whole way is to have more of this conversation, have more of the working together, so that
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small issues don't get escalated so that there is not a miscalculation that gets escalated into something that neither one of us wants. >> rose: what is the level of cooperation? >> well, i think you are seeing that it is improving. you are seeing chinese leaders come to meet with the president. you are seeing the chinese defense minister came here in may. >> rose: secretary gates went over there? >> secretary gates went over there, secretary panetta i think is planning to go there. our military at pretty high levels are meeting and -- but also some more working level at our mid level range of just working out how we do things, because there are things like counter piracy that they are off the horn of africa with us, things like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief we can work together, things like search and rescue, things like freedom of navigation and freedom of the assess, but as we do that, and as we focus more of our energy on the western
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pacific, we want to make sure that we understand their intent, we want to make sure that we deconflict what we are doing with them, that we will be far better off, both countries, if we work together than if there is a chance of a misunderstanding or some sort of instant escalation to something that gets out of control. >> rose: i know some have expressed at this table that, you know, as the recognition that america has been and will continue to be an asian power and have relationships with powerful countries, whether it is india or vietnam, whoever it may be, south korea, i can't at the same time, the chinese sometimes think that the purpose is to contain them. >> well, we have also been equally clear about that. that we don't have a containment strategy that what we are doing is not aimed at any one country, what we are doing is aimed at ourself interests. we have been there, as you pointed out for a long time. we are going to stay there.
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but, you know, the united states navy, unique in history of the world since we have been the preeminent naval power since world war ii, we have kept the sea lanes open for everybody. it has not been for one country or one group of ships. we have kept the stay lanes open for even and you can make a pretty good argument the world's economies have risen because of what the united states navy has managed to do over the past decades. >> rose: some argue that it is going to be in the future more prominent role for the navy seals, there is going to be more prominent role for the cia, in a kind of military way. >> well, the defense strategy says we will focus on the western pacific and focus on the arabian gulf. we also will not ignore the longstanding partnerships that we have, the engagement that we have with the rest of the world. and i think that is going to put additional responsibilities on the may i have, on some of our
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special forces, because that is their original purpose was when the special forces were first stood up, vietnam, language skills, cultural skills to go in and train with and operate with a range of different people. the new defense strategy says that we need lightfoot print, low cost, innovative ways of doing that. that is pretty much the definition of the navy and marine corps and our special forces. >> when you look at how many troops we have around the world, and you look at the toll we have taken from iraq to afghanistan, is the military over stretched? >> we have asked .. a lot of our military over the last ten years. we have had two ground wars, as you pointed out, and the operational tempo for the navy and for the air force has been very high as well. but we have also got the most
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resilient force we have ever had. we have got the highest educated, best trained, best skilled force we have ever had as a military. and one of the things we are trying to pay attention to is this stresses on the force and making sure da. >> rose: many are serving three and four terms. >> they are doing multiple tours. our ships are deployed over and over again. i was in the navy 40 years ago and they are deploying much more often and for longer periods of time than we did. but i think that if you look how resilient our military is and look at how we are rebalancing to do things and again it is a maritime centric thing, the u.s. navy can go in and do some of these things without taking up a square inch of anybody else's soil. we don't infringe on anybody's sovereignty. we come from the sea, we bring marines with us, so we are -- we have everything we need right there, and we can work with
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people without setting up bases, without taking up any of their -- any of their territory. >> rose: david stang had a piece in "the new york times" over the weekend you may have seen, and he went bip the scenes with respect to, because of a new book he has written and having to do with the withdrawal of forces, drawdown of forces in afghanistan. and he suggested or said that the administration was very close on that, and that they did not consult with the military because they feared a leak. this is in setting policy. >> everything that i have seen in my job has been that this administration has been the most collaborative, the most open with the military that i can imagine. as i said in terms of the policy that we came up with for the new defense strategy, it was a very open process, and there were no leaks that came out of that. it was a policy that was developed with the president of the united states often sitting in the room, for meetings which
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i have never been in the pentagon before but evidently that is unprecedented, every single member of the joint chiefs, every single service secretary, secretary of defense, nothing happened without it being agreed to by everybody, particularly those wearing the uniform. >> rose:. >> rose: secretary gates and he said to me that the difference in president bush and president obama was the president bush would seek out the advice and was very curious about how the people at the top thought, but the president obama would go to everybody in the room, would reach back to the person who was in the third row, you know and say what do you think to make sure that he got a very strong feedback from everybody in the room. >> you know, he asked and he asked very specific and very pointed questions. he is not a passive observer in this. he wants to know what the ramifications of a policy will be, he wants to know what the effect on the military will be. he and michelle obama worry more about our troops and our forces
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and the stress that they have been placed under and their families. than anything else and he would always probe about okay if we do this, what is the effect going to be on our national interests what is the effect going to be on the force? what is the effect going to be on ho how we operate? and until he got an answer that staffed him, he kept probing and i think that is pretty good way to do it. >> speaking of saudi arabia, our relationship seems to be in pretty good shape now, although the saudis were concerned at some point in the beginning of the arab spring. >> i think that we have a good working relationship with the saudis in terms of we share common concernsable in terms of terror and in terms of the counterinsurgency kind of thing, in terms of radicals making statements about what they would
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like to do, in terms of the presence of al qaeda and its affiliates around saudi arabia and yes member, yemen and somalia and so i think that having those mutual concerns and i think there has been a very good sharing of intelligence and sharing of information, between -- >> rose: well clearly there seemed to be that because they got some of the credit for the most recent avoiding the potential attack from yemen. >> when i went there which has been a decade and a half ago now there was that willingness to share, i think it has only increased as the risk has increased as for -- >> rose: and became more aware of the threat of terrorism to them as well as others? >> well, our government is not the target, even though our citizens may be the target. but the saudi government has been the target of some of these
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terror attacks, some of these terror organizations, i mean al qaeda, osama bin laden, a saudi by birth and upbringing, and one of his vowed aims was to change the government of saudi arabia. >> rose: because he was upset at that government because they allowed the united states to come in after the invasion by iraq of kuwait? >> right. it was tonight make it more open, more free, more -- it was to push it the other way, make it more islamic and make it more closed, make it more oppressive. >> rose: where do you think the threat of terrorism is today. >> i think terrorism has gone global. and that you see these nodes popping up in yemen and somalia and in mali, around the globe as the globe has shrunk and has networking has become more prevalence and more making collaboration and information sharing easier and so you are
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seeing it in the pacific, you are seeing it around the horn of africa, you are seeing it across africa, you see some -- all over the globe. i don't think there is -- there is no nexus now like there was in afghanistan right before 9/11. it has splintered and in some ways metathesized around the world, and it is one of the reasons that we have to be around the world, and have to be partnering with nations all around the world and making sure that we do have this flow of information and this flow of operations and readiness with them. >> rose: as we draw down from afghanistan, do you worry that al qaeda could come back and have a relationship there. >> rose: secure a base there? >> well i think we are on a very good track in afghanistan. i have made eight trips to afghanistan, to visit the marines, we have got -- we had at the height 20,000 marines in combat, we also had 12,000
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sailors either on the ground or at sea supporting that fight, and the security situation, in southern afghanistan, helmuth river valley which is where the marines are, are centered i think has improved significantly, and also believe that as we transition to a role of being trainers and moving the responsibility to the afghans that those forces are being trained well and that they are beginning to respond to defend their own country so i don't think afghanistan is going to become a haven for al qaeda in the future. i think that we are on the, about the only track that offers a chance of success in terms of having it be a stable country which is not a haven for any
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sort of terror, no father where it comes from. >> rose: where were you on the night of the mission to capture or kill osama bin laden. >> i was in washington. >> that's all you could tell. one thing, i do want to stress, it is navy seals that were a soft force, every single service, the army, the air force, the marines, were all a part -- >> >> navy steels are as highly trained, as good as any force on earth, and the thing to me which is astounding is that, so as to all of our forces they got the publicity you can see how good
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every say lohr and coast guard around the world, same level of dedication, same level of skill, doing things that are a long way from home. the navy and marine corps is called america's away team because if we do the job like the seals did that job we are usually a long way from home and unlike the seals that night, we usually don't get much attention for doing the job of protecting america. the military dictates policy and there is less of a role for diplomacy. i don't think that is true, i think. >> the late richard holbrook used to raise that point, i think the person you interviewed, bob gates, a week ago, made it a point of saying the military should not drive diplomacy and that there were tasks that the state department that diplomats were far more
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suited than the military for, secretary panetta makes the same point over and over again that there are some things in terms of economic development, there are some things in terms of helping, you know, transition security that the state department and our diplomats ought to take the lead. our military -- >> rose: has been involved in a bit of nation building. >> absolutely. but what is important, i think, is that we not act -- we not be alone in that, that we are in partnership with state, that we are not completely out front, that the military's aim and the military's mission is military. and that can be expanded to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief to doing some of the other things that we do, but
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that we ought to use, i believe secretary clinton's term a soft power that we ought to use economics, we ought to use dip city, we ought to use communications. that we ought to use all the power at our disposal, not simply the military. >> smart power because they used the word soft but as you know, there is also this, the military today, as it faces, as it faces the future, may not have sufficient budget to do that. >> well, we are clearly in an austere budget time, but the 487 billion that has been mandated to be cut from defense over the next ten years, it is hard, but it is very doable, and one thing, i want to stress, that is not an actual cut, that is -- that is a reduction in the amount of growth that half of a
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trillion-dollar reduction over the next ten years, the military has to be a part of solving this thing. i will give you a navy example. even in this -- in this austere budget environment, when we are growing our fleet to make sure that we meet the responsibilities that we have from 9/11 until the day i took office, eight years later, in 2009, the american navy declined from 316 ships to 282 ships. we lost almost 49,000 sailors in that same time, so during one of the great military buildups in american history, the navy got significantly smaller. when i got there, nearly all of our ship building programs were in trouble, three ships had been built -- >> rose: because of financial issues? >> financial issues, primarily. only three ships had been built
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in 2008, today we have got 39 under contract. we are going to grow the fleet before the end of this decade to 300 ships, which is about the must be that we need to do all of our responsibilities and these are going to be new ships, very competent, very capable ships to do all of the missions we are called on. >> how many ships did we have at the end of the reagan administration. >> at the end of the reagan administration there was a move to build up the navy into the, well, it was aimed to be 600 ship navy and never quite got there but i will put our 300 ship navy up against that. >> rose: because? >> because of the increased capabilities of those ships, because -- >> rose: because of technology? because of some many other things? >> because of technology, because of -- because the build whereupon then was against a soviet threat that stressed sub marine warfare, that was agast a large combatant enemy fleet.
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it just simply isn't one of those out there today, and the ships we are building can do a variety of missions, can -- they are not single mission ships, they can do almost anything that -- they can do anything they are called upon to do. they are incredibly flexible, they can do everything from air operations over afghanistan to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to partnership building using the same people, the same platforms, the same, the same training. and i have even heard w we have the smallest fleet since i took over in 1917 which is true but comparing. >> rose: 17? >> yes when comparing those numbers, i it is sort of like comparing the telegraph to the smart phone. >> rose: yes. >> we may have fewer today but we have vastly more capable and we have the correct number. and as i said, we are growing the fleet. it was in decline, it was
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definitely the numbers were going down, the number of sailors were going down, and the maintenance and things like that was going down. but we have arrested that and we have turned it around. >> rose: what is the most surprising thing about the job? for you? >> i think the most surprising thing about the job and it is a good surprise, is just how good the sailors and marines are. when i was in 40 years ago, i have made this statement before, we rarely left port when we didn't leave a couple of folks behind in jail, and that just doesn't happen today. and, you know, our warships cost billions of dollars, a lot of them, we have a far smaller crew on these ships i had 1,000 people on my ship, today a ship that can do way more than my ship, has fewer than 300, so we are entrusting these incredibly complex, incredibly expensive platforms, incredibly complex and expensive weapon systems to
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fewer people, and we have to train them better, they have to be more skilled, they have to be better educated. i am working on some of the same things i was working on as governor of mississippi, just making sure that we get the right education, and we get the right training, and we have, i will give you two quick stories. one is when i got briefed on the u.s.s. ronald reagan, about the tsunami relief effort for japan, i was released by an ensign and a petty officer third class, these -- these people were impossibly young but they were the ones run running that operation in terms of making sure the right things got on the right aircraft and the right order to go to the right places. the marines have a concept they call the strategic corporal that every corporal needs to know what is what its units jobs is and in the biggest picture what his unit is doing and you go to afghanistan and you sit down with some of these 19, 20,
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21-year-old marines, and every one of them, can give you a pretty good 11 in terms of what his job is, what his unit's job is and how it fits into the overall strategy in afghanistan. >> rose: the next question obviously which i am fascinating by, is the whole notion of what keeps you up at night and what do you worry about the most as you know secretary panetta said the next pearl harbor will probably be in cyberspace. >> well, cyber is, as i said earlier, it is one of the things that i think is going to be the future, if you look at what happened when russia and, invaded the two georgian provinces the first thing they did is a cyber attack. to take down the command and control, take down the communications of the georgians, and that is becoming ubiquitous, we have all become dependent on networks, we have all become dependent on communications on, and on vast amounts of data
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moving back and forth and i think that we are making some huge strides in cyber, i think we still have a ways to -- a ways to go, but we are on, i think, a pathway to get us to where we need to be in terms of cyber, it is so complex, and there are issues outside of just the mechanical issues. one is a cyber attack, is it an act of war and when can you respond to a cyber attack with a more conventional response? those sort of things are debates we are having now and we need to have so that if something like that happens, we are on solid grounding as we respond. >> rose: it is great to have you on the ram. >> charlie, it is great to see you. >> rose: secretary of navy, back in a moment, stay with us. >> rose: jean edward smith is here an award winning author and written books about john
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marshall, column this george will sister called him the foremost biographer of formidable figures in american history his latest book is called eisenhower, in war and peace and traces ike eisenhower's life from his home in abilene, kansas to his leadership in world war ii and unless the white house i am pleased to have him here at this table to talk about this noteworthy american welcome. >> thank you very much. >> so why eisenhower for you? >> i have been wanting to write about eisenhower for many, many years, but i got, i did john marshall, and then grant, and fdr, and putting eisenhower aside until i had time for it, so i felt i wanted to do roosevelt first. >> rose: because? >> the pivotal -- >> yes, and i grew up in washington, d.c., when roosevelt was president. i was born the year he was elected president, and he always
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has been a hero, eisenhower was a hero too, but i thought that i would do roosevelt first. >> rose: what was the relationship between fdr and ike? >> it was -- it was not close. but they didn't really know each other until the war, but fdr formed a very high opinion of eisenhower in north africa, and actually, eisenhower was roosevelt's first choice to command the invasion of europe, d-day, the cross channel attack. >> rose: right. >> we often hear that it was george marshall and that fdr didn't want to let marshall out of washington and that was a spin that was -- >> rose: that was the conventional wisdom i understood. >> that was a spin put on it later. marshall fighting for american interests on the combined chiefs had gone head to head with the british so frequently that the british chiefs and churchill were leary of having marshall
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manned the cross channel attack, fdr saw ike in north africa and saw him get along with the british and french and he liked ike, he and ike liked each other and very similar personalities, they spent two days together just the two of them, and they could talk back and forth. >> but marshall was the one who talked mostly to fdr and marshall -- >> oh, absolutely, absolutely. >> >> rose: a partner in war. >> indeed, and marshall was essential in washington, that part of the story is correct. >> rose: did eisenhower know mc5r sure. >> eisenhower worked at the closest -- intimacy with macarthur for eight years, for in washington and in manila and it began with ike was a major in the war department staff in 1931, macarthur was chief of staff, and eisenhower became this military secretary in washington, and then when eisenhower -- when macarthur retired as chief of staff and
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went to manila in 1935 to head the pill european army eisenhower went with him, it began really with absolute hero worship, on eisenhower's part, hero worship of macarthur and by the end of the eight years, there was mutual hostility between the two. >> who was the most brilliant man? >> that is very difficult to say, they were -- they were able in different ways if we go back to the mexican war like winfield scott and general taylor, stack i are taylor, winfield scott, old feathers, grant wore all the uniforms the law would allow, patrician background where eisenhower on the other hand is like zachary taylor, who was perfectly happy to go around in denham trousers and mingle with the troops. eisenhower was perfect for commanding a volunteer army. he was not part of the army hierarchy, the army aristocracy as macarthur was.
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they were both brilliant but in parallel ways. >> rose: my impression of eisenhower is that, you know, he ultimately was viewed as someone whose whose abilities had to do with understanding personality relationships but beneath the surface of like david eisenhower was ambition, was talent, and was a real sense of how he could achieve all of his ambition. >> well, yes, eisenhower, eisenhower worked a seven-day week from the time he graduated from west point. and he was focused, he was able, he was intel intelligent and had a very good command of the language. macarthur's speeches were written by eisenhower. and he had a marvelous command of the english language. and was very critical of staff members who weren't. and h he also knew how to get along with people, he knew how to get along with macarthur which was not easy. he knew how to get along with
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general marshall. and later, of course, with de gaulle and churchill. what were his shaping influences growing up in abilene? >> he his parents were extremely religious, his parents, ida and david were extremely religious fundamentalists and he had five brothers, and they read the bible in the morning, they read the bible in the evening. this was a very religious household, and so religion played a big part in his life growing up, but the curious thing is none of the six brothers took that forward after they matured. they left it totally, and eisenhower's -- after eisenhower proud from west point, he took pride in the fact that he never went to church again. >> rose: pride in that fact? >> he took pride in that. mca sure once chided him for not going to church on sunday and eisenhower said, look when i was a cadet at west point i had to go every sunday i am not going back. and he didn't.
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he was the only person elected president of the united states who was not a member of a church when he was elected. and yet -- yet he recognized the political value of religion, it is under ike we added under god to the pledge of allegiance, he began each cab net meeting with a prayer. title prayer, and silent prayer and he used, he understood how to evoke religion but he eventually did join the church after he became president. >> rose: how did he become the supreme commander? >> well, in europe. >> rose: yes. >> .. marshall was slated for for the job but the brin british british were very reluctant so when ike, fdr was on his way to the conference he stopped off in north africa to take's ike measure, ike was commanding the army in north africa and sicily and spent two days ago together and eisenhower did his betts to charm fdr, but fdr sized
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eisenhower up and decided that eisnehower would be the commander. after the terry francona rain conference and pressed eisenhower to name a commander for the cross channel attack, and roosevelt -- >> rose: stalin was anxious to see a second front. >> exactly, exactly and roosevelt put him off for a little bit and immediately afterwards, fdr spoke with marshall and asked marshall what his preference was, and general marshall true to form said it is not my choice. it is whatever you decide. i mean, i think that was typical of marshall, dedicated to the, to doing his duty. and fdr simply said then it will be eisenhower. in other words, fdr gave marshall the choice but when marshall refused to express an opinion, then roosevelt chose. >> rose: if marshall said he wanted it. >> he would have got get it. >> rose: did he want it. >> yes, he did, his wife already
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started moving the furniture out of quarters, to their home in lease berg, his desk had been crated for shipping, he assumed her going to get it -- >> rose: could he do it as well as anybody or did he make mistakes? >> he obviously was successful. yes, he made mistakes, but i think the french historians said he was the right man in the right place at the right time. >> rose: so eisenhower comes back the war a national hero, a huge hero. >> yes. >> rose: and goes to columbia university as president. >> yes, he was. >> rose: was that a good time for him? >> it was a good time for him, and he -- his role as president of columbia has often been underrated. nicholas murray butler had been president for 44 years, he, columbia was in dreadful financial shape. they had run budget deficits for the last four years, eisenhower balanced the budget, organized the first major fund drive at columbia, and was very much involved in it up until november 1948. and in november of 1948, that
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first tuesday after the first monday, tom dewey lost the election to truman. >> rose: right. >> at that point, the 1952 republican nomination became open. at that point, eisenhower lost interest. >> in being president of column yancht he runs for president and is elected and sort of the establishment that had been supporting of the republican party, been supporting dewey supported him. >> yes. >> ran assort of a true republican. >> yes. >> rose: won the nomination. and was re-elected. what about his years after the presidency? >> his years after the presidency were very quiet. he went to gettysburg and retired at the farm in gettysburg and had an office in gettysburg college and wrote two volumes of history of his presidency. and he was -- he was 70 years old. >> rose: say again. >> a lot of people would come to visit him? >> yes a lot of people would
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come to visit him but he had a very full life and he was tired at the time. >> rose: eisenhower died what year? >> 1969. april of 1969. he was 79 years old. >> rose: and how did he view his life? >> i think he viewed it as being a total success. >> rose: everything he wanted -- >> yes. everything he had wanted to he had he had achieved. >> rose: the book is called eisenhower in war and in peace. jean edward smith, thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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