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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  October 23, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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captioned by the national captioning institute >> hello there, i am llewellyn king, host of "white house chronicle." forgive me for taking a nap but i was trying to emulate a pilot on a commercial airline. i used to be a private pilot and i know a bit about this. there are some of the instruments in the cockpit that
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the pilots had nothing to do. they are the systems manager. when you have one computer managing another computer, that people just sit there. the british have done a lot of work on how to make life more interesting for pilots. when they are busy they work very hard in the cockpit. it is also a problem in nuclear power plants where nothing happens day after day. people tend to fall asleep. it is a problem. we have over engineered safety into the cockpits so we might have made them unsafe. there are gadgets for everything, altitude warnings, and aircraft can actually land themselves. the pilots only have to sit there and a monitor the systems. on this program we monitor the
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white house. i have assembled some of the best minds in washington to discuss what is happening in the white house and in the world. we will be right back. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. and now the program host, columnist llewellyn king, and co-host, linda gasparello. >> hello again. thank you for coming along. linda gasparello of this program, one of the more interesting minds in washington. welcome back to your usual spot. joe mathieu, the host on sirius xm radio, and times he has me on as a guest.
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the audio can be heard on sirius xm radio on channels 110 and 130 at 8:30 a.m. saturday morning. >> make it 9:30 a.m. >> i got that close enough. i am very glad to welcome to the microphone, jon-christopher bua of sky news, the british broadcast owned by the people who owned fox. very well-respected around the world. i am also delighted to have camille elhassani of al jazeera, senior producer at the white house. tell us about the -- tell us about yourself. >> [unintelligible]
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they're doing brilliantly. >> is that because of you? >> i think you're doing a brilliant job yourself but we are delighted to be here. it is seen all over the world in 136 countries. we present 24 hour news and have a wonderful group of people. our political editor was here for the first 100 days of the obama administration. >> he is a delightful guy and as well as jeremy thompson who is a premier anchor. >> tell me about al jazeera english, which i now see on the new news broadcast on public pbs stations. >> we have recently gotten on mhz television. we are available in washington and many cities across the country and in more than 100
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million households. >> the dreadful thing we told was dead [unintelligible] -- the dreadful thing we were told [unintelligible] propaganda [unintelligible] ] >> we are providing a valuable public service to people who want more international news, who want to hear news from places they don't get it on american television. >> how large is the presence in washington? >> we have about 100 people. we broadcast 3 1/2 hours and one news hour. -- we broadcast 3 half hours. >> do you translate material that came in in arabic? >> 99.9% generated in english, but our colleagues provide some exclusive stories to us. we did some investigations as
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well. >> linda, we are waiting for the shoe to fall. we are waiting to see what this will be and waiting to see what the cab and trade reduction bill will be. what is the feeling like? >> in the white house, i think for a long time they were on a cloud nine. there was so much goodwill. the president came in with so much approval from everyone, and now he is really off cl oud nine and realizes there are these amounts of problems in front of him. he is now taking a shovel to the mountain and starting to work hard to get through the things that he cares about. these have their problems. there are problems in congress
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with the health care bill, but we seem to be seeing a little bit of sunshine. we may get a public auction, which is something he has not said is necessary. -- we may get a public option. we may see him move soon on whether to send more troops to afghanistan, which is a decision he needs to make soon. >> he is doing a lot of traveling. >> he has to campaign for those who are running in the off-year elections, and he is digging into those campaigns. whether he can salvage them or not, i don't know. in virginia, creigh deeds is running behind. he did not listen to the advice the white house gave him. i think jon corzine who is running for reelection in new
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jersey is faced with the fact that it is a three-party race. it is difficult to run when you have an independent siphoning off votes. >> he does not seem to be weighed down with fears. >> i think that is just his nature. >> he does not have been worried face of jimmy carter. >> i think his optimism belies the fact that he has a lot of worry. >> weeks ago you were discussing on your show -- people like him and were amused him -- they were amused by hand and there was no fear, which may be a necessary part of the presidency to keep congress in line. do you think that has changed? i read a lot about the [unintelligible] >> i don't think that has
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changed. you argued effectively that that was a problem. i don't think the white house thinks it is, but when you are trying to convince members of your party to get on board with cap and trade, that presents itself as a great challenge. the way you opened this conversation, asking where we are with all of this, the people who are writing the bills could not answer that question, especially when it comes to health care reform. there has been talk that the president will come up strongly on a public option. we don't know where the president stands on any of that. >> when i was talking wasshoes falling -- falling -- -- talking about shoes falling, i was mentioning afghanistan.
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>> with john kerry being in afghanistan taking the momentum ofrom the administration, richard holbrooke was here in washington while they're getting a runoff election. we don't know when the white house will make this decision. everyone thinks he has to do it now, that it is so polarizing in the white house that this administration has no good options. they put a strategy at there now, in a couple of weeks there may be more problems in afghanistan. then do they have a credible partner to deal with? >> you worked in the white house under clinton. how different is this white house? >> this president is a lot more on time. >> his pressman is not.
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>> i wrote a blog this week called "putting afghanistan. back together afghanistan" all of obama's horses and men, can they put afghanistan back together? >> how different is this? >> i am going to the answer by saying mr. gibbs, who we all work with, has tried to walk a tightrope. it is difficult to come up with a strategy and to talk about the fraud in the elections when you don't know exactly where they are going. we don't know who our partner really is. >> what about john kerry? he has come back from oblivion. >> i think having worked on his campaign, which was poorly run,
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he is finding himself. he is the senate foreign relations chair. the treaties he has made to mr. karzai probably prompted him to getff the dime and realize he has to do this runoff. >> it seems like there are echoes of our early days in vietnam when we had an unsatisfactory south korean government. >> that comes up a lot, but we have to remember that there is no draft right now. i cannot imagine there being one. it is a small number of troops relative to those we had in vietnam. >> we are talking about almost one-third, if we take the high option.
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>> we don't know how many trips the president will send in, if any more. -- how many more troops the president will send. they are close to having a formulated a strategy. it now appears the president may want to wait until this runoff election. they are at the mercy of the weather. this has to happen before the winter. also the mercy of corruption. the same corruption could happen again. peter talked about this one month ago. he was fired, of which is i will use that as one of my worst stories. >> i would like to remind listeners on sirius xm radio that your listing to "white house chronicle" from washington where i am joined by linda gasparello, joe mathieu, the host of [unintelligible]
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jon-christopher bua and camille elhassani of al jazeera english. we are so glad to be with so many regular listeners. weike it very much. i would also like to tell everybody we are about to go up on a voice of america and will be seen around the world. linda, if you had -- what would you tell the president to do about afghanistan? >> -- your the only person who has actually been there. she was there before all this trouble. >> it was absolutely a much happier time than is now. -- a happier time than is now. the idea that we are going to
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send -- some help get a government after this runoff is very tenuous. we may not get a government. for the president to wait until we get a legitimate government may be waiting too late, because we have troops right now who are sitting ducks. the taliban is a well-trained force, and we have already seen massacres. the more he waits, the weaker he looks in the eyes of the afghanis. the more you will have these incidents of massacres of u.s. troops. it is an awful position to be in , but i don't want to say that the former vice-president dick cheney was right in saying [unintelligible] it is good to be delivered -- good to be delivered, but my worry is for those who are in
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there right now. the taliban will not wait. that is the danger. >> i think the afghan people have almost already given up. >> that may be true. >> they did not vote in large numbers, it will be cold, they have to do it again. they will not vote again. and to end? they have been aring this rhetoric -- and to what end? they have been hearing this rhetoric about corruption for years. after decades of war, and how much more are they willing to wait? >> i want to raise another issue anotherjoe -- another issue which joe introduced. one of the things about vietnam was we had a lot of middle-class people fighting and coming back
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and writing in newspapers, and articulate outside of the darrent commentary. we don't have that now because we had a volunteer army. -- outside of the voluntary community. they are less likely to express their opinions. one of the unexpected consequences of vietnam we were locking up a lot of draft evaders, our prison system got a lot of attention and improved. now is rather disastrous, one of the worst in the events countries. that is something. -- one of the worst in the advanced countries. we see them on the subway in washington, they are of a different world from us. that is frightening for them because we don't know what hardship they are going through. i was talking to a woman whose son is a marine and was just a
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ploy to afghanistan for 13 months. -- he was just deployed to afghanistan. >> 47,000 troops that general mcchrystal is talking about -- you mentioned where with the balance be? without a draft we don't have that. these are people who have gone back their five and six times. whether we know them or not, we know -- we see them on television. the morale in the armed forces cannot be brilliant at the moment. this is something else the president has to contend with. november 3 is election day. november 4 starts the midterm election cycle. that is where the rubber meets the road. >> republicans will not be pushing for [unintelligible] >> they want more troops. republicans say obama is weak because he is not following the leadership of the general.
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they are discrediting him for that. obama and his able cast of characters are all coming out with different points of view. gibbs says there was a meeting today and obama has to take all that information and as jfk did, say this is what we need to do. >> let's change the subject. obama is engaged in the battle of words with fox news. what do you think of that? >> i don't think it is a surprise that he is not popular on fox news. this has done wonders for fox's ratings, which are up 35% since the election. that is remarkable for any cable news operation. should the white house be acknowledging this to the extent it is?
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they are referring to fox as the opposition. robert gibbs is talking about it almost every day. he has rahm emanuel and david axelrod -- biggest winners in the white house fighting with fox news. you start asking yourself, it is the white house making itself look petty? we know this is helping fox's ratings. >> if you are going to do it, don't attack the soldiers, attack the general. people don't identify with him. >> you don't pump up don't pumpglenn beck. they're telling other cable companies not to acknowledge them. that is something new we have seen.
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>> i remember when kennedy banned one newspaper from the white house. it did wendell -- it did wonders for this. >> lbj was on the warpath against the ". your "" -- "the new york times." >> periodically the government would go against the newspapers. [unintelligible] the newspaper never looked back. there is one way to succeed in this business, to have the head of state attack you. [laughter] >> it is a slippery slope. this president says nbc is out.
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the fact is recently when the executive pay czar had an availability, they decided not to let fox attend the availability. the networks and others said no, if they cannot go then we will not. i think it is great that the other networksaid no, because we know what can happen. >> talk to me about -- you worked for -- you worked for abc news. talk to me about the culture in the newsroom. are you aware of the attitude of the political organization? >> you are aware. it is different between american networks and international organizations. we come very low on the pecking order when it comes to the white house. they have voters that they have
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to appeal to. the international audience only when they have a foreign policy directive they want to get out. the political attitude from abc where we would have the white house christmas special with barbara walters, and we were into getting them on air and getting our ratings up, because it was about ratings. at llewellyn king, -- at al jazeera it is about talking about peace process. as the fox story has grown and with dick cheney's comments as well, and the white house against conservatives element in society, i was reminded during the campaign when president obama during the primaries with hillary clinton and comments she made -- then senator obama said
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this is what i think of my critics. he just brushed them off his shoulder. this white house has taken a different strategy, which looks like the bush administration's strategy. >> i want to answer my own question. i have worked for a very liberal newspapers, conservatives, independents. never did i hear anybody say this is the policy of the paper, but it was known. you were aware of it, that this -- you knew what the mission of the paper was, but it was never directed for you to do anything about it. if you're ambitious you did something about it. that is how you have these different cultures and similar
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journalists. >> where does that come from? the ownership or the news room? >> there are culturists and initially it comes from the ownership. in fox, it comes from the ownership. indeed "to post" -- in the " washington post" it is harder to tell. they endorsed nixon. now it has a fairly conservative editorial page. we have come to the time for our high points and low points. >> i have a high point. that is that polar bears have been given an early christmas present by the obama administration. they have been given 200,000 miles of critical habitat in alaska. >> who writes that thank-you note?
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>> it very disconcerting moment this week at the national press cl as a group of activists held a news conference under the guise of being the u.s. chamber of commerce. they book the room come up with the logo up and brought in reporters, issued false information picked up by two major networks, including cnbc. broadcasters -- it all had to be retracted when they realized it was a hoax. this was less than a week of the balloon boy taking over the airwaves. >> there is a story about the warning on october 27. they warned that derivatives needed to be regulated. greenspan, arthur levitt, and convinced congress to strip her of her power and she resigned. she warned us back then and now
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she has a brilliant piece. >> wonderful journalism. >> my high point is the supreme court agreed to hear the court of guantanamo detainees ordered released by a judge, but the obama administration fought against it, saying even though they are not enemy combatants, it is not up to judges. they want to seek more human rights. >> my own low point is my own birthday. no, not that i am getting old, and against the local politicians sending me congratulatory letters that they have derived from a computer that knows more about me than i want them to know. the car dealer has -- i have gotten used to the car dealer but not a state senator and saying this is a seminal birthday.
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that is our program for today. keep watching and we will see you next week at the same time and same station. >> "white house chronicle is" produced with collaboration producedwhut, or university television. -- produced with collaboration with whut. this has been a weekly analysis of news with insight and a sense of humor featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests.
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