tv PBS News Hour PBS November 9, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. president obama said today his administration has improved relations with the muslim world. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight: the comments came as mr. obama visited indonesia. margaret warner chronicles the president's stop in the world's most populous muslim nation. >> lehrer: then, some perspective on george w. bush's and other presidential memoirs
from historians julian zelizer and michael beschloss. >> ifill: from flood-ravaged pakistan, special correspondent saima mohsin follows a team from doctors without borders still working to save lives. >> we have mostly skin diseases. we have upper respiratory tract infek shuns and we have about 6 to 8 malaria cases. >> lehrer: we look at the power shift in state capitals after the midterm elections with reporters from minnesota, ohio, wisconsin and maine. >> ifill: plus, ray suarez has the story of neighbors and classmates who remember barack obama's childhood days in indonesia. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: president obama spent this day in the capital of indonesia, looking to build up ties with that heavily muslim nation. margaret warner narrates our report. >> warner: after two previous postponements, mr. obama finally arrived in jakarta today for a
visit scheduled to last less than 24 hours. but it was cut even shorter by an approaching cloud of volcanic ash from mount merapi-- an ash that can destroy jet engines. still, it was a sumptuous welcome. the president and first lady were greeted at the state palace by indonesian president susilo bambang yudhoyono and a full military honor guard. and at a news conference later, mr. obama spoke fondly of his four years in indonesia as a young boy in the late 1960s. he noted how much the country has changed since then. >> people were on bechaks, which for those of you who aren't familiar, is sort of a bicycle- rickshaw thing. and if they weren't on bechaks, they were on bemos-- sort of like little taxis, but you stood in the back and it was very crowded.
and, you know, now, as president i can't even see any traffic because they block off all the streets. but my understanding is jakarta traffic is pretty tough. >> warner: indonesia is a huge, sprawling country, the world's fourth most populous. nearly 240 million people live on its more than 17,000 islands, which stretch from the indian ocean to the pacific ocean. the majority muslim nation has suffered its share of terror attacks-- spectacular ones like the bali nightclub bombing, and others. but the president said there is much more to talk about with indonesia and its citizens. >> what we're trying to do is to make sure that we are building bridges and expanding our interactions with muslim countries so that they're not solely focused on security issues. because you come to a place like
indonesia, which is the largest muslim population in the world, but people here have a lot of other interests other than security. >> warner: among those interests, says karen brooks, an international business consultant specializing in asia, are economic and trade prospects indonesia offers the u.s. >> on the economic front, indonesia is a huge market... potential market for the united states. we are currently the fourth largest trading partner with indonesia, behind japan, china and singapore. we can and should be doing better. unlike most of its neighbors, which are export driven, indonesia's growth is largely consumption led. 60% of the indonesian economy is based on domestic demand. >> warner: so if president obama wanted to make this trip about job promotion, export promotion, indonesia is a good candidate? >> indonesia is definitely a good candidate for increasing u.s. exports to the asia pacific. again, by virtue of the fact
that indonesia's growth, which has averaged over 5% over the course of the past decade and including 4.5% growth even at the height of the global financial crisis. >> warner: mr. obama today also spoke of wanting closer relations with the recently democratized indonesia on regional issues and the security front. but the u.s. has to walk a delicate line when it comes to cooperating with the indonesian military, which supported a dictatorship until just 12 years ago and is still accused of human rights violations. >> there is no question that the united states has to strike a balance between needed engagement with the indonesian security forces for issues of terrorism, and for again issues of shared geo-strategic aims in the region and beyond, while at the same time encouraging reform of the indonesian armed forces at home. >> warner: this evening, at a dinner with his hosts, mr. obama sought to describe the overall u.s./indonesia
relationship by invoking an old proverb. >> our two nations are fortunate that we are forging a partnership for the 21st century. and as we go forward, i'm reminded of a proverb-- "bagai aur dengan tebing"-- "like bamboo and the river bank, we rely on each other." >> warner: tomorrow, the president is scheduled to deliver a major speech in jakarta focusing on indonesia's democratic progress and what that means for the muslim world. >> ifill: we'll come back to indonesia at the end of the program with a story about president obama's childhood neighborhood in jakarta. between now and then: president bush's memoir; pakistan's continuing health crisis; and the second wave: state capitols shift from blue to red. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. may be
open to keeping american troops in iraq past the end of 2011, the current deadline for withdrawal. defense secretary robert gates suggested today the timetable could slide, but he went on to say: "the initiative clearly needs to come from the iraqis." gates also urged iraq's political factions to end eight months of deadlock and form a new government. in afghanistan, nato reported two more service members have been killed. one died in a bombing today in the south. the other was killed monday in the east. a new survey finds a strong majority of afghans favor peace talks with the taliban. the poll was conducted by the asia foundation and funded in part by the u.s. government. more than 80% backed negotiations with the taliban, but more than half also said they have no sympathy for the insurgents. current and former employees at the c.i.a. will not face criminal charges for destroying videotapes of water-boarding. the justice department announced the decision today. the c.i.a. has acknowledged having 92 videos that showed two al qaeda operatives-- abu zubaydah and abd al-nashiri--
being water-boarded. the videos were destroyed five years ago. a probe continues into whether the simulated drownings itself was outside the law. farooque ahmed, a virginia man, pleaded not guilty today to an alleged plot to bomb subway stations around washington, d.c. ahmed was arrested last month in an f.b.i sting. authorities say ahmed thought he was conspiring with al qaeda militants, but was in fact dealing with undercover agents. he allegedly provided them with scouting reports and videos of subway stations. the u.s. attorney's office found several speeches and cds from anti-american islamic cleric anwar aw-laki during a search of ahmed's home. on wall street, stocks fell for a second day. the dow jones industrial average lost 60 points to close at 11,346. the nasdaq fell 17 points to close below 2,563. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: today marks the official release of "decision points," former president george w. bush's memoir about his major
decisions as president and in his personal life. since leaving the white house nearly two years ago, mr. bush has largely kept out of the public eye. but, with the release of his memoir, the former president has re-emerged on the national stage just as republicans stage a resurgence in the congress. the media blitz to promote the book kicked off last night in an interview with matt lauer of nbc news. the interview, like the book, focused on key decisions mr. bush made as president and in his personal life. among them, a defining moment of his presidency-- his remarks at ground zero in new york city, in the days just after the september 11 attack. >> i mean, it was like you're walking into hell. and i got down to the bottom of the... into the area there. and there was a palpable sense of revenge and anger.
and, you know, i'm trying to be the comforter, and these guys are looking at me like, "are you going to go get these guys or not?" >> they're calling you "george..." >> that's right. it was just fine. i mean... >> yeah, not "mr. president"-- "george." >> it was "george." "get 'em, george," you know. i believe in justice, not revenge. and i was overwhelmed by the... you know, the palpable anger and emotion. >> george, we can't hear you. >> i can hear you. ( cheers and applause ) i can hear you. the rest of the world hears you. and the people... ( cheers and applause ) and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. ( cheers and applause ) >> lehrer: in the pursuit of al- qaeda, mr. bush authorized water-boarding captured suspects like khalid sheik mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11.
he told lauer that it saved lives. >> they say, "he's got information." i said, "find out what he knows." and so i said to our team, "are the techniques legal?" and a legal team says, "yes, they are." and i said, "use them." >> lehrer: the former president also stood by his decision to invade iraq, even though the u.s. failed to find weapons of mass destruction. it had been the main rationale he cited for going to war. >> your words-- "no one was more sickened or angry than i was when we didn't find weapons of mass destruction." you still have a sickening feeling... >> i do. >> ...when you think about it. >> i do. >> was there ever any consideration of apologizing to the american people? >> i mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was the wrong decision, and i don't believe it was the wrong decision. >> lehrer: but he did admit fault for this announcement aboard the aircraft carrier u.s.s. "abraham lincoln" in may of 2003. >> major combat operations in
iraq have ended. and i also went on to say, "there's more difficult work ahead." the problem is... >> but you stood under that banner, and it sent a very strong message. >> no question. >> "mission accomplished." >> no question it was a mistake. >> yes, one of those times where your words were used against you over and over again. >> and that happens when you're president. >> lehrer: mr. bush also acknowledged the storm of criticism he faced after hurricane katrina. it included his decision to fly over new orleans in air force one without landing. >> huge mistake. >> and it made you look so out of touch. >> detached and uncaring, no question about it. >> whose fault was it? >> it's always my fault. >> lehrer: the memoir also includes the disclosure that mr. bush briefly considered replacing vice president cheney before his re-election bid in 2004. the book publicity campaign is now in full swing, including a taped appearance on "oprah" this afternoon, and a series of print, radio and television
interviews in the coming days. and to julian zellizer, editor of the book the presidency of george w. bush, a first historical assessment and a professor of history and public affairs at princeton, university and a newshour regular presidential historian michael beschloss. julian zellizer, to begin, are there some important things about george w. bush that were not known until this book was published? >> well, we learned a little. we hear about some of the regrets that he had about his presidency. how he handled the aftermath of hurricane katrina, some discussion of the wmds that were not found in iraq and some acknowledgment by the president that this was, you know, unfortunate and saddened him. but in general, this is the same president bush who we heard when he left office. he defends much of his record, and he's pretty resolute about the decisions that he made. >> lehrer: what about the consideration that he gave to
dropping dick cheney from the ticket in 2004? >> yeah, of all the facts this is one we didn't know about, that there was some discussion and consideration of replacing vice president cheney with senator bill frist to be the vice presidential candidate. part of the reason he wanted to do it was to demonstrate to the public that he was, in fact, in charge of the white house and that vice president cheney didn't run the show behind the scenes. so this is a revelation. again it's not uncommon for people to talk about changes in the tickets behind the scenes, but it still is some news. >> lehrer: there were a lot of things, quote, believed about george w. bush-- that he was not as sharp as presidents ought to be, that he really wasn't in charge at the white house. based on your own research and now overlaying what george w. bush himself has said, where do... how do those myths stand
up? >> i don't agree with that. i think the more we learn from journalists and from historians about what went on in the white house and from what we're learning about people who left the administration, most don't agree with that assessment. whether you disagree or agree with his policies, this is someone who is intelligent and who is capable and who could be politically skillful at various times. i imagine there will be a bit of a revision like you had with ronald reagan who originally was thought to be not very intelligent, more an actor than a policy-maker. but the more we learned we learned there was someone pretty cunning in the white house. >> lehrer: as a george w. bush expert, what is your reading of what his motivation was for writing this book and the way he wrote it? >> well, i do think, like many presidents, he wants to get a first cut of the history. he knows the historians are coming. he knows that the historians are going to start investigating what went on. i think this is his effort to
offer a defense and an explanation of what he did during his administration. even on controversial issues like iraq where he acknowledges his regrets he still stands by the decision. so this is his kind of last argument before the historians start the debate. >> lehrer: speaking of the historians, michael. how does the bush book fit into the normal mold of presidential memoirs? >> well, i should begin by saying i haven't read it yet. usually they're pretty awful. he has a pretty low bar to jump over. case in point lyndon johnson. johnson in private was fascinating, candid. he begins his book, for instance, by saying "my last meeting with john kennedy was in the hotel the night before john kennedy was assassinated." in houston. the early version he says i was talking to kennedy. i kept on noticing that kennedy was wearing his boxer shores and his shirt. i noticed that that was true. that was so different from in texas because in texas you're
supposed to put on your trousers first to cover up the boxer shorts. not momentous but johnson sounds like a human being. that book did not. very defensive almost robotic it suggested that kennedy would have done everything that johnson did in vietnam and suggested almost everything he did in vietnam was perfect. didn't help him. the other end of the scale was grant. >> lehrer: that's considered one of the best. >> one of the worst presidents but a great writer of memoirs finished four days before he died. it's about his war years not about his presidency. he wrote it himself, sounds like it. he talks about a great record as general during the civil war and also people began to say there's something to grant that is a lot more intelligent. there's an inner life there we didn't know about. >> lehrer: the other president who gets good credit or high grades for his memoir is harry truman. do you buy that? >> i don't. i know some people think that that was written by committee. i think the reason i don't like it that much is because
if truman actually wrote a book you know the way that truman talk and told you stories and fascinating insights about all the people like stalin and others he dealt with, this book was written almost by committee not quite as bad as johnson's but it shows the same problem which is the presidents are very tempted when they're writing these things to write essentially a defensive brief for their place in history and maybe it helps. i don't think it very often does but it certainly does make a very good book. >> lehrer: the bush... you heard what professor zellizer just said. what his reading is as to why he wrote the book. those are the same reasons for any president to do it, right? >> they all do. you're almost shocked if a president does not do this but the interesting thing is he took after his father. his father when he was no longer president did not write a presidential memoir. he wrote a book about foreign policy at the end of the cold war that he was involved in. and so george w. bush rather than writing about every single thing he did over eight
years, he chose the terrain. this is decision points in a way that plays to a president's favor because he can talk about the things he wants to. >> lehrer: professor zellizer, matt lauer in that interview with nbc, president bush said whether or not he was going to be seen as successful by historians. he will be dead by the time that judgment comes. is that the way these things should be seen, that the first take from the president whether it's president bush or any other president is just the beginning of this long process that is going to take before the final version or the final history is written and verdict the... is given? >> i would disagree only that there really is never a final verdict. the historians have already started to write about him. what will happen is there will be multiple interpretations, there will be cycles of when people are negative or about his policies when they see
more accomplishments than we noticed at the time. you know, a president like ronald reagan has gone through many ups and downs in terms of how we view his character, his skills, and the record and legacy of his policies. so it's an unending debate that is about to start. i don't think there will be any point in time where anyone issues a verdict. i think that's a healthy way to treat a presidency. >> lehrer: that's true of all presidents, right, michael? >> it sure is. i agree with julian about reagan. reagan is a perfect example of an absolutely dreadful book. it was so bad that the publisher actually considered rejecting the manuscript and asking for their money back. reagan essentially presided over a process that had this book writtenalmost out of things that he had said before. there was actually a huge debate during the writing of the book whether he would be required to mention the actual name of his first wife jane wyman. finally they made a compromise. i think she was mentioned at least once. >> lehrer: is there another example of a really bad,
really bad presidential memoir? >> how long have we got, jim? dwight eisenhower. once again almost wrote as good a book asy lis he's grant about his war years, wrote it himself, wrote it in six years. huge best seller. you hear eisenhower's voice through the whole thing. his presidential memoirs were done by committee. just essentially defending almost everything he ever did. john kennedy when he was president read the memoirs. he said ike doesn't seem to have ever done anything wrong during his whole presidency. when i write my memoirs i'm going to do it very differently. of course he didn't get to. >> lehrer: michael and professor zellizer, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, a day in the life of an international medical team working in one of most remote flood zones in southern pakistan.
special correspondent saima mohsin traveled with a team from medecins sans frontieres, m.s.f., also known as doctors without borders. a warning: some of the images in this story are quite disturbing. >> reporter: we joined the m.s.f. team for their latest project on the border of sindh and balochistan. they've just discovered 2,500 families, cut off and left to fend for themselves since the floods first hit. >> there were two persons coming. they went by car when it was possible, but this road was flooded, so they went through the water. then, they had to take a boat as well, and they went by horseback, too. they reached the canal. they could continue by rickshaw, i think. by the time we came, it was accessible by car, and for us,
it's important because we have all the medicines, we have one truck with all the supplies, so it's necessary to have a road for access. >> reporter: silvie bachman is a 30-year-old nurse from switzerland who's been working with m.s.f. for the past two years and came to pakistan as part of the flood response team. the road is narrow, bumpy and precarious. much of it is washed away with only enough room for one car. but this is a two-way route. it takes us five hours to get to imam buksh jamali. it's uncomfortable and tiring, but the hard work is yet to begin. stealing the shade of a tree, the team gets to work immediately. there are two doctors, three nurses, two dispensers, and four health educators overseen by silvie. >> over there is the triage, and we have one person checking the patients. all the patients wait there.
if there is a child with high fever, for example, and we use thing to measure the nutrition-- if its severe malnutrition, we can see it quickly. they can come first. otherwise, all the patients from there-- adults and children can come to the doctors. we go to this table. the doctors take the history, write down the medication they need, and then, if its necessary, they go to the nurse. the nurse can do dressings or a malaria check. then afterwards, they go to the dispensary where they get the medication. he'll give them the right medication-- it's written on the card-- and he explains how to take the medication.
thousands of people are living in shacks made from sticks and blankets. >> reporter: they'd been here for eight weeks, surviving on what little they'd managed to salvage, and a few bags of food they'd managed to catch from the military's initial aid drops. cuts and wounds are finally being treated months after they first appeared. children are tested for any serious conditions. malaria is an increasing concern. >> we've mostly skin diseases and respiratory infections, and there's an increase in malaria cases. 6% to 8% mixed malaria. >> reporter: how worried are you about that? >> it's quite a big number, actually. it's mostly because people living here in the tents don't have any protection from the mosquitoes. we've been distributing mosquito nets and people have started to use them. but we're still teaching them how to use the mosquito nets in a proper way. >> reporter: we met zareena. her daughter is three years old,
lethargic, and doesn't eat. they've been here for two months without any help. >> ( translated ): whatever we had is gone. all we could save is our children. nothing else. i've lost my parents, brother. i have no idea where they are. >> reporter: and you stayed here, but no one came to help? >> ( translated ): yes, we've had no help, and no idea if my family are dead or alive. >> reporter: the local doctor is recommending zareena's daughter has an immediate blood transfusion, but m.s.f. wants further investigation before making such an important decision. >> ( translated ): i'm worried about my child. if they are ill, i am ill, and if they are nothing, i am nothing.
>> reporter: the people here belong to both the sindhi and baloch provinces, and speak at least five different languages. which can be difficult when trying to understand complicated medical conditions. >> i need a translator all the time, because i don't speak any sindhi or urdu. there are misunderstandings, even if they speak english. it's difficult to communicate properly. with the patients... >> reporter: working in conjunction with local medical staff is the backbone of m.s.f.'s work; communications is just one of the reasons. >> we want to train them so they know how m.s.f. is working how we do it in europe, so they can learn it. and when we leave, they can continue with the same work.
we want to give them the knowledge to do it in a proper way. >> i learnt many things from m.s.f. we started work in sukkur for feeding and opened a feeding center. i learnt how to feed a baby and how to educate mothers about feeding and about hygienic conditions of babies. >> reporter: the team has only a few hours to get the much needed treatment to the flood victims. they have to pack up and get back to base before nightfall because of highway robberies. m.s.f. has set up a nutritional programme to tackle the devastating malnutrition in the area. >> we have teams that are screening within the camps, and when they find severely or moderately malnourished children and there are no medical problems, we are able to provide right away a regimen of therapeutic food. it's called plumpy nut,
basically. its a ready to use food. there's no water that is necessary. the child can just open up the envelope and eat it. its kind of like a peanut butter paste. it's high in vitamins and has all the necessary nutrients for the child to grow rather quickly and gain the weight that's necessary. when the children do have severe medical complications, they are referred here to our intensive feeding center, where we treat the child for medical complications and malnourishment. >> reporter: too weak to cry, babies are only spoon-fed drops of water here. >> the problem with this one is that it has more than a month profuse diarrhea. what we're doing is trying to get the gi tract working again.
because in other hospitals, there are good hospitals, but when they see a child like this, it immediately gets a drip. it gets a little better, but as soon as the kid goes home it drops, because they never train the gi tract to start working again. >> reporter: by gi tract, you mean intestines and the digestive system? >> yes. mostly kids who come from other hospitals have seen every antibiotic in the book already, so its not a question of giving them more antibiotics. much more of observing. but it's out of the danger zone now. lets go and see this baby. this is one of our problem child. can i see the baby, mama?
this little one is doing quite well right now. she's four and a half months. she;s had a failure to thrive. since shes born. typical of many of the babies we see. >> reporter: she's tiny. >> yes, she is 2.2 kg. when she came here she was 2.0, so its already a success. typical of many of the kids we get. it gets worse because of the flood situation. the ones which we see first are the ones who have some co- morbidity. this one needs a lot of patience and a lot of feeding. >> reporter: how does she compare with the size of an average baby in terms of the limbs and...?
>> well, the average weight of a baby born in the united states is much more than the weight this child is now. as you can see, the little arms. but the face is the most impressive-- the sunken eyes, the big eyes, the grandfather face. >> reporter: water levels remain high in many remote areas of pakistan, in particular in sindh and with it are thousands of people cut off for weeks on end. waiting for help. >> ifill: at the same time that the republicans were claiming a majority of seats in the u.s. house last week they were also scoring impressive victories in state legislatures across the nation. more than 675 legislative
seats and at least 19 legislative chambers went from blue to red. and many of those newly elected republicans ran on a promise to cut spending and slash state budgets. joining us tonight to gauge the impact of this new political landscape our reporters recovering the dramatic shift in four key states. from minnesota mary lahammer political reporter for twin cities public television. karen kasler bureau chief. from maine jennifer rook public affairs host for that state's public broadcasting network. reporting in wisconsin craig gilbert of the milwaukee journal sentinel who joins me here in washington. i'll start with you and also with the reporter from maine because those are the two states that went completely from democratic to republican in that election. what happened. >> democrats held all the political cards in wisconsin. they came out having lost most of them. i think we saw the same wave in wisconsin we saw in other
place. it was compounded by the facts that democrats held political power across the board. they were more exposeded than democrats were in some other states. you had a democratic office leaving office with very low approval ratings. they've been in power at the state level and in washington. spending is an issue that resonates in wisconsin. >> ifill: jennifer rooks we think of maine as being the home of the two moderate republican senators. indeed the entire state has gone red and more conservative than even those two senators. >> that's true. most of the candidates that did run for the legislature were running on a more conservative platform than maine is used to. this is really historic. the last time the maine house of representatives was republican, controlled by the republicans, was 1974. and the last time the executive branch and the legislative branch were republican was 1966. you know, generations of mainers have grown up not
knowing a republican-controlled government. one of the biggest issues here in maine like the rest of the country was jobs but also the republican party here in maine really targeted a tax reform, a piece of legislation that was passed last year that shifted or aimed to shift property tax to sales tax for many services. the republicans led a citizens effort to overturn that. and then a lot of the candidates who ran for the state legislature targeted democratic representative who had supported that tax reform measure. >> ifill: mary lahammer in minnesota, it's been 38 years since the g.o.p. held the state senate there. what happened there? >> huge seismic shift here in minnesota. our house and senate went from democratic control to republican control. and an interesting note, gwen, they don't know lawmakers do not know what governor they're going to work with because once again it looks like we're headed for a recount. minnesota was the land of the longest, largest and most expensive recount in history
when u.s. senator al franken took eight months to be seated. now that was a race of about, you know, hundreds of votes. they're looking at thousands of votes now separating former u.s. senator mark dayton the democrat and tom emmer the republican. they are separated by about 8,000 votes right now. still some unknowns here in minnesota. >> ifill: let me ask you about those unknowns because you don't know who the governor is doesn't that affect the kinds of issues this new republican legislature would be able to address right away? >> absolutely. although with dayton's lead it is difficult for tom emmer to catch up on that. it looks like there will be a democrat in the governor's office and republicans in the legislature. and minnesotans are quite used to divided government. we just came out of many many years of divided government. you'll remember we even had an independent-party governor, that former pro wrestler jesse ventura. >> ifill: yes, we remember well. karen kasler in ohio, $8.4 billion budget shortfall that's the kind of things that drives elections.
is that what drove yours? >> absolutely. the economy, the state of the unemployment numbers here in ohio. while they've been falling for the last six months them didn't fall fast enough for a lot of people. of course this budget deficit. the estimates are between $4 to $8 billion. nobody seems to know exactly how big that shortfall is. unlike minnesota, we know exactly what happened on on election night because the margins were pretty big and pretty substantial for republicans except in the governor's race it was only a two-point margin between the incumbent democrat ted strickland and the challenger the republican challenger who won john kasick. like maine we have a dramatic shift in terms behalf the party has done. the house and the governor's office were both controlled by democrats going into this election. the senate has been long controlled by republicans in ohio. now everything is red. the entire state is red including the u.s. senator we sent to join our democratic u.s. senator who is already there, sherrod brown. >> ifill: who are the voters who drove this shift in
wisconsin. >> a different electorate than two or four years ago, older and more conservative. but i think more than anything else it was independent voters which obviously shifted hard to the republican party. and also wisconsin is one of those states where, for example, white blue-collar voters are a majority of the electorate. they have to be part of the coalition for democrats to win. they weren't part of the democratic coalition in this election. democrats lost those voters. as a result they lost across the board on tuesday. >> ifill: tell me more about how different this was than 2008 or even 2006. >> 2006 was a mini-wave for the democrats. 2008 barack obama won the state by 14 points. here you have really the republican party's best election since 1938 in wisconsin, the most pick-ups they've ever had. so i think, you know, it's like we saw in a lot of places. you had a big shift on... among voters in the middle on jobs and spending. and it was not only a different electorate but democrats who have small
margins to begin with a lot of people overestimate how democratic wisconsin is. it's a swing state. and as a result a 5-point swing has huge political consequences in a state like that. >> ifill: jennifer look rooks let's talk about the independent voters in maine. you have a non-affiliated line that most people are members of rather than either party. >> that's right. maine for a long time has had more unenrolled voters or independent voters than in either political party. 37% of the voters in maine are unenrolled. so earlier today i spoke with the chairman of the republican party in maine. i said do you attribute your success to the swing voters. he said, no, we went to the democrats. we had a mission to show the people of maine that the republican party is the party of the working class. we didn't care if they were an independent or a crepe republican or a democrat. we were targeting thes people in rural areas that make
$30,000 to $40,000 a year and are angry. >> ifill: when your legislators take their seats and when the governor gets sworn in, what are the big issues that will be driving what happens next? is it the budget? infrastructure projects? what difference are we going to see because of these new folks in these jobs? >> it's absolutely the budget. our incoming governor john kasick has said he will not raise taxes. they have this $4 to $8 billion budget hole. something has got to be done. he's not going to seek federal stimulus dollars or any sort of help like that. he's kind of come out and gone straight at lobbyists and what he calls special interests by saying i'm driving this bus. you either get on this bus or you're going to get run over by this bus. he is promising that there is not going to be business as usual as he calls it. but it's going to be a very difficult, very unpopular budget crisis and budget situation here in ohio. it is expected to go on for quite a long time but republicans do control all this now which is the way it was up until 2006 and 2008 in
ohio. this is not completely unknown here. it's just going to be a big change at least if you listen to what john kasick is saying about how government is going to operate here. >> ifill: mary lahammer in minnesota, where is that debate going? >> the issue is jobs, jobs, jobs. it's all about the economy. and we are staring down a $6 billion record budget deficit. now, if our democrat mark dayton in this state ends up prevailing in the race for governor he ran on income tax increases but now he's up against likely a completely republican legislature that says no tax increases so we're going to have a huge showdown on taxes here. >> ifill: in wisconsin as in ohio there's a light rail line which is a big issue, a big infrastructure project that the federal government was going to send money into the state. is that going to happen? >> high speed rail. the state is in line to get $800 million. the doyle administration i mean governor doyle was for it. the obama white house is pushing it. the new governor ran against it. now that project has come to a screeching halt in a matter of days. >> ifill: we watched carefully
with all of these states, state legislatures are the ones generally who have to draw the district lines to decide who gets elected next time. is that what everybody is turning their attention to now already? >> it's a time that couldn't be worse for democrats because this wave election comes at the start of the redistricting process. you know, you're going to see in a state like wisconsin where republicans now hold all the cards they're going to be able to draw the lines. maybe they'll lock in some of the gains they made for the rest of the decade. >> ifill: jennifer rooks, are you beginning to hear that same sort of thing in maine? >> it's a little different here in maine because in maine's constitution there's a bit of a delay. we won't redistrict in the next two years. we'll redistrict in 2013. of course the republicans plan to hold on no the legislature in two years. they'll be having the same conversation that the rest of the country is, if they're able to do so. >> ifill: if it's not redistricting what's the next big clinch point that will be as a result of this handover
of power in maine? >> well,, you know, it's like many of the other states. we're facing a $1 billion deficit. it probably doesn't sound like a very big number compared to the other states appearing tonight. but for maine with a population of 1.2 million that is a serious number. and many people believe because the legislature and the governor over the past two years have already cut a lot from the budget that we're going to see entire programs going, not just, you know, trimming at the edges of programs. we're going to see a seismic shift in the way maine government works. >> ifill: you'll be cut to go the bone. mary lahammer let's go back to the redistricting question in minnesota. is this line drawing going to be a big part of the politics for the next couple of years? >> yeah, republican took over at an opportune time. you mentioned it's been since 1972 that republicans have taken control. they are eager to have a chance to draw those lines although historically in minnesota usually a panel of
judges ends up drawing the lines here. >> ifill: how about in ohio, karen? >> redistricting will be on the front burner here as soon as the budget is dealt with. the republicans control all the cards here which is not an unusual situation. they did back in 2000. they have talked about bipartisanship, but it seems kind of unlikely. let me add one thing too about the passenger rail plan. our governor-elect has said he's going to send back or he doesn't... that the train plan is dead. he don't want to do passenger rail in ohio. we're in the same situation as wisconsin is with regard to passenger rail not really being on track. >> ifill: i want to ask you briefly the question we were asking all election night which is what is it that was driving voters? was it actual anger or was it just change for the sake of change? >> i think it was frustration with the economy. i think to some degree there was a referendum on president obama and on democratic policies but more than anything else he was the economy. with democrats in power, that was the outlet that voters had. to express their frustration
with the status quo. >> ifill: that's in wisconsin. what about' in maine, jennifer rook? >> i would agree with that. i think people were angry and i think that the anti-incumbent wave was very strong. one thing i should mention in our governor's race we did have a strong independent candidate who actually finished ahead of the democratic candidate. many people believe that he took votes away from the democratic candidate. also, our two democratic congress people, did win. so although this is a huge victory for maine republicans the legislature, unlike some of the other states we're talking about, democrats did hold on to some power in the state. >> ifill: mary lahammer, what were voters being moved by in your state? >> voters in my state delivered a split decision in minnesota. looks like all the constitutional offices went for democrats. then the legislature went all republican. we're not exactly sure what to make of it besides, you know, they kind of threw all the bums out in the legislature and cleaned house, but
returned a lot of incumbents in statewide office. >> ifill: if they're throwing all the bums it in all these four states we're talking about, are the bums out there waiting to come back? >> i'm not sure. certainly in ohio the economy and jobs were definitely the issue. the state went completely republican. in fact, republicans had five seats that they targeted in congress in ohio. they got all those. this is especially important as ohio goes into redistricting. we're more likely to lose as many as two seats in congress. in ohio the issue is jobs and the economy. it was a definite message sent to republicans that that was the party that was the one to be elected. the democrats were indeed thrown out. >> ifill: from ohio, minnesota, maine and wisconsin, thank you all very much. >> lehrer: finally tonight, a personal take on indonesia, where president obama lived as a boy in the late 1960s.
a production team from the international news web site global post visited mr. obama's old neighborhood. ray suarez narrates our story. >> suarez: in the indonesian capital, jakarta, the boyhood home of president obama still remains, as do the memories. former neighbor agus salam remembers the energetic, chubby kid he called barry four decades ago. >> ( translated ): when i see his face on the television or in the newspaper, i see the same face and the same smile of that little boy. the little kid that would play around my mother's restaurant. >> suarez: agus now runs his mother's roadside stall with his wife, selling the same recipe of vegetables and peanut sauce barack obama loved as a boy. ten years older than obama, agus said he could see glimpses of the boy's potential as he carried the future president on his back through the neighborhood. >> ( translated ): when i look at barry's face, he was so cute. he was chubby, chubby and short. so, it was funny to see him, it made us laugh.
we always wanted to carry him or touch his head. but if i touched his hair, he's often get mad. but we liked it because his hair was curly. indeed, he had a pretty strong character. >> suarez: 90% of indonesia's 240 million people are muslims, making this the largest islamic country on earth. the white house announced the president will visit the istiqlal mosque, one of the largest in southeast asia, continuing efforts to build bridges with the muslim world. in a traditional, conservative, and largely homogeneous society, young barry's friends recall they didn't totally understood why a young american had a kenyan father, how a black boy had a white mother, and an indonesian stepfather. ali, another former neighbor, said president obama was often teased. >> ( translated ): sometimes, we teased him. when he would come with his
caretaker, i'd say, "hey, what are you doing there?" and he would run inside. >> suarez: though not a muslim, young barack obama was immersed in an islamic culture, in his neighborhood, at the public school he attended. besuki elementary school is in the upscale neighborhood of menteng in central jakarta, one of the city's most affluent areas. here, young barack was taught about the religion of most of his friends, his father, and his indonesian stepfather. besuki is non-denominational. as in all indonesian public schools, religion is part of daily instruction. classmates remember barack obama in religion class, and being taught to pray, but their memories have little to do with faith. sonni gondokusumo is an old classmate of president obama. >> ( translated ): i remember back then, when he tried to put on his sarong, it would always fall off. the sarong is worn when praying, so... he was fat, yeah?
we were together praying in the room, and the funny thing i remember about obama is that he could not wear the sarong. when he tried to put it on, it would always fall off. it was so funny. >> suarez: several of obama's classmates get together to discuss their old friend. they share photos and stories about the kid who, to their surprise, became one of the world's most powerful men. they remember an open-minded boy who, as the biggest kid in class, protected smaller students. it's a trait they say they see in him as president. >> ( translated ): he liked to protect me, because i was small, just like in the picture, and he was big. when, for instance, my classmates would tease me, he was the one that would always defend me. he liked to protect people, so maybe, since i was always being teased, that is why he liked to play with me. ♪ >> suarez: so as president obama
makes his homecoming, his old friends will be watching and listening. they say they're proud of barry. they also say his time growing up in jakarta makes him a stronger president. >> lehrer: again, the other major developments of the day: defense secretary gates said the u.s. may be open to keeping american troops in iraq past the end of 2011 if the iraqis want; and the justice department announced c.i.a. employees will not be prosecuted for destroying videotapes of two al qaeda suspects being water-boarded. and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: we have more about how indonesians reacted to president obama's visit from wil carless of global post in jakarta, and you can sign up for a daily e-mail dispatch from david chalian and the newshour political team. that's on our politics page.
plus, how much of a role did health care reform play in the recent midterm election? according to a new poll, the economy and other factors largely trumped debate over the new health care law. more on that on the rundown news blog. all that and more is on our web site, www.newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at the ethical rules of the road for political journalism. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: