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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 25, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. fighting intensified in libya today. militias loyal to moammar qadaffi opened fire on rebels in tripoli and he called on his supporters to prepare to defend libya. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we get reports from libya's capital where thousands demanded qaddafi's ouster and from benghazi where the revolt began. >> lehrer: and hari sreenivasan talks to activists in libya and
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here in the u.s. who are in touch with the protesters. >> woodruff: then, we examine the state of the states with two governors-- indiana republican mitch daniels and montana democrat brian schweitzer. >> lehrer: and mark shields and david brooks offer their weekly analysis. that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's going to work an a big scale. only, i think it's going to be affordable. >> so, where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work. >> we've got to get on this now. >> right now. ♪ ♪
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>> lehrer: it was a day of confrontation and more killing in tripoli, libya. pro-government militias opened fire as protesters poured out of friday prayers. witnesses reported at least four people were killed. by evening, moammar qaddafi was seen again on state tv, urging followers to defend the nation. we begin with a report from john ray of "independent television news," in tunisia. >> reporter: after days of protests and bloody reprisals, colonel qaddafi conjured up crowds of supporters in the center of his capitol. "the time is coming when i will arm you all," he told them. "libya will become a red flame." all this just a few miles from the suburbs where opponents crying "god is great" set out to
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bring down the leader who symbolizes to so many the very devil himself. there followed the lethal and familiar response. but this was just one of several demonstrations getting ever closer to the heart of the regime. whether he is kidding or really is this confident, the wink from qaddafi's son speaks of a ruling family now certain there can be no escape. >> plan "a" is to live and die in libya. plan "b" is to live and die in libya. plan "c" is to live and die in libya. >> reporter: the past 24 hours have seen rebellions that encircle the capitol. in misrata, they hung a noose around a poster of qaddafi and trampled his image underfoot. to the south, in gharyan, they chanted libya's free and qaddafi's out though nighttime saw his forces counterattack.
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the same story at tajura to the east, more gunfire and clashes that have claimed an unknown number of lives. among them, scores dead in az zawiyah where they tended their injured in a mosque that withstood an onslaught by qaddafi's troops. at the border, thousands of foreign workers queue to leave the green flag of qaddafi far behind. but we met one libyan heading the other way, desperate to get home. >> ( translated ): they are killing the women and the children even in their houses. >> reporter: edres bufayed was in prison, then banished by qaddafi. now he's certain the dictator has just days left. >> maximum, next friday, everything will finish, i think. he is now very weak. in very difficult situation. >> reporter: they are preparing here for casualties and a humanitarian crisis, even though the fighting is still many miles over the border.
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they are ready for qaddafi's fall and the chaos that might ensue. close by a fleet of ambulances is parked up, and emergency medical supplies have been stockpiled. >> lehrer: later, one of qaddafi's sons said there could be a negotiated cease-fire in two western towns by tomorrow. he claimed government troops are holding back from attacking rebels there. >> woodruff: several hundred americans and other foreigners finally reached malta today. their ferry had been stuck in tripoli for three days because of choppy seas. and a chartered plane with u.s. diplomats and relatives left tripoli as well. with that, the american embassy suspended operations. to the east, hundreds of chinese workers and others boarded greek ocean liners in benghazi. bad weather delayed their sailing, but they were expected in crete tomorrow. there were also new departures from libya's diplomatic corps as the country's u.n. delegation in geneva defected.
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>> ( translated ): i confirm to you that we, at the libyan mission, have strongly decided to be representatives of the libyan people and its free will. we shall not represent anyone else. we shall be the voice of this great and heroic people at this council and all international assemblies. >> lehrer: libya's delegation to the arab league also renounced qaddafi today. and opposition forces in benghazi celebrated that city's liberation. we have a report from benghazi, but out of safety concerns, we are not identifying the correspondent or news organization. >> reporter: the first friday prayers in what they're calling the capitol of liberated eastern libya. the sheik says we're not against colonel qaddafi's tribe but his regime. they pray in front of the courthouse, the center of the revolution in benghzai.
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coffins are brought through the crowd. people who have died of the wounds they sustained last week when government forces shot demonstrators. he was imprisoned at 16 and held for 7 years. last week a sniper shot him as he joined the protests. >> ( translated ): i call on anyone from benghzai who is healthy and able to carry arms to go and liberate tripoli. because we are nothing without tripoli. >> reporter: the picture is his brother hanged by the regime, while he was permanently injured in prison. >> ( translated ): my father was a pioneer of education in benghzai. and the reward he got was for one son to be hanged and the other crippled. >> reporter: the man many credit with starting the uprising in benghzai by calling a protest for legal rights stands on the courthouse roof and can't quite
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believe his eyes. did you think it would be like this? >> no, sure no. but things go well as we want. >> reporter: the lawyers, engineers, doctors and other intellectuals who led the revolt are now trying to organize a new council to pay salaries and establish law and order. they are still reeling from the speed of events. >> ( translated ): at the first, it was protest. and after that when we heard some people killed we tried to stay and not go and then all of a sudden it's a revolution. >> reporter: elsewhere in the courthouse, 20 men accused of being african mercenaries hired by the colonel to kill protesters. some deny it and say they are libyans. others say they are from ghana and they're innocent.
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the revolutionaries haven't lost their sense of humor. the grafitti reads, "qaddafi you are the weakest link." it all comes down to him. he and his sons say they will live and die in libya. in benghazi, they say they won't rest until he is gone. >> lehrer: in washington, white house spokesman jay carney said qaddafi has lost any claim to legitimacy. he said the u.s. is going ahead with unspecified sanctions. and, he defended the pace of the president's response. >> there has never been a time when this much has been done this quickly. the united states has acted in concert with its international partners in great deliberation and haste. >> lehrer: the u.n. security council met this afternoon, to consider possible sanctions against the qaddafi regime. secretary general ban ki-moon urged concrete action and he said any delay will mean more loss of life. and nato's decision-making
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council held an emergency session, but announced it would not intervene in libya. and to hari sreenivasan. he has been talking by phone to several people in libya. >> in tripoli we spoke with a woman who wanted only oh be identified by her first name. rama lives in the neighborhood and watched qaddafi's speech and wondered if his supporters in the square had been paid to be there. >> we had eye witnesss that saw him in the green square, the suv was an open back, filled with fresh cash just out of the bank. and they were asking people, hey, can you bring me 30, how much do you want, 12 grand, and they just give them cash straight. >> reporter: she says qaddafi used the cash to fill green square with supporters and that the smiles and support are easy to buy from a population that needs so much. >> these people are hungry for
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money. i mean, if you take a bunch of libyans and take them to qaddafi and he asks them what do you guys want, a lot of them would say we need cars, we need housing, we need to live life, basically. and if you bribe them with cash they are very, you know, close minded that they don't know what other stuff would be -- for them. >> reporter: a man we spoke to who only goes only by his screen name, libya united, says the propaganda machine has been running for several days. >> we're getting messages that we, that anyone who tried to cross the lines will be punished, these four red lines are... (i audible) don't cross these four lines so you don't get punched and stuff like that. the last messages were just
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from saudi arabia, that says... the leader of the country. >> reporter: in the eastern part of libya in benghazi rereached a 42-year-old man just after friday prayers, he said thousands took to the streets and were united in their defiance of qaddafi. >> i swear to allah we are going to condemn all his... and send tom the high court. this is from me and the whole libya, we need help, we need help from america. we need help from europe. because the people, we don't have planes to buy, we don't have guns to buy. >> sreenivasan: now to what libyan-americans are hearing from their contacts, friends and families across libya as qaddafi struggles to hold on to power in tripoli. we have two long-time critics of the qaddafi regime. mohamed eljahmi who works as a
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software engineer. and naeem gheriany, a nuclear scientist. thank you for joining us. so mohammed, let start with you, mr. eljahmi. is this parallel, does this sync up with what you're hearing from your family members, that this propaganda machine is trying to present this image that qaddafi is still in power? >> yes. mr. qaddafi throughout his rule has been consistent in building his rule on three components. fear, deceit, and impoverishing the libyan people, meaning tying their individual, their basic needs to fulfilling their basic needs through absolute loyalty to him. >> reporter: mr. gearian e, is this what you're hearing on the ground? >> what we're hearing is that there was more killing today in tripoli.
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we knew that that's coming, that was coming. there has been a buildup of this matter over the past four or five days, both from the demonstrators as well as the qaddafi people and his security apparatus or whatever remains of that. we are kind of surprised that it took so long, because qaddafi definitely would have wanted to crush the protesters as soon as possible that have been in the streets of tripoli for the past several days. we think that he didn't do that, not out of niceity, but just because he could have not arranged for his own security and that's an indication that he doesn't really have much control. in fact, yesterday he appeared or he called rather over the phone to state tv and did not
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even have a picture of him. >> reporter: mr. eljahmi, what about the speech today what do you make of it? >> this is the basically more desperation, playing to the, trying to show that he has control in terms of imploring his people to retaliate. and it is all desperation. i really think when you look at where his control is, it is his... and some other parts in the south. but you know, for the better of libyan society and the libyan state is that mr. qaddafi needs to go. the longer he stays around, the more the threat of a civil
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war. and destabilization of libya. >> reporter: mr. gheriany, in egypt it was mubarak out, democracy in. what you hearing from libya? >> it very consistent the message that we're hearing from libya. that enough qaddafi, that's enough. qaddafi has been around for 41 years, this is his 42nd year, that's since the time of nixon, it's eight american administrations. and over those four decades he destroyed the country in every aspect he can think of. so people are fed up. those who are revolting against him now were all born during his rule. they knew nothing but qaddafi. they reject him and they're very determined, there's no going back. >> reporter: is the emphasis on a democracy there? >> there's a lot of thirst for
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democracy, in libya and the whole region of course, yes. there were no other slogans that people were chanting other than we want freedom to live like human beings, we had enough of this tyranny and we are not going to take it any more. the people are willing to die facing machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, mercenarys and all kinds of caughts on them. and they are facing that with very much determination. >> reporter: mr. eljahmi what about the movement, is there an organizational structure that's forming? we saw a little bit in one of those stories, but are there people starting to organize to say we're ready to lead in the absence of qaddafi? >> well, it started in the
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eastern part, yes. the tribes try to play a positive role. when the tribes, the elders talk, the younger ones listen. and the former justice minister who quit was put in charge. in benghazi they formed a committee made out of the attorney who is the one who started the protest, or his arrest by libyan, by qaddafi security triggered the protest. and they informed some committee to do the work and for the city of benghazi. libya, the positive thing right now is there's emphasis on unity, for example the flag of the independent flag which
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was, with the constitution monarchy being raised in tripoli and benghazi to every city they're talking about national unity. and if it continues it seems like, well, the enemy really here is mr. qaddafi himself, because he consistently for nearly 42 years has prevented libyans from, you know, meeting their aspirations. in addition, in his policies, the new youth of libya right now, they're looking for a mix of spirituality of the east with materialism of the west. they want to earn things the
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right way, unlike what mr. qaddafi did. he corrupted libyan society by creating a situation where the only way to be involved is to be involved in state security and harm your citizens and terrorize the population. >> reporter: we'll have to leave it there. mohammed eljahmi thank you so much and naeen gheriany, thank you for your time. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": governors daniels and schweitzer on state budget woes. plus, mark shields and david brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: pro-human rights protests flared in many places in the middle east today and violence erupted in some. thousands of iraqis demanding better government services marched in several cities, and clashed with security forces. at least 12 demonstrators were killed, most of them in mosul, where guards opened fire. in egypt, cairo's tahrir square was filled with crowds pressing the country's new military
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rulers to make democratic reforms. the protesters also demanded the prime minister resign. >> ( translated ): our main demand is for ahmed shafiq's government to step down. we made mubarak step down and we must make shafiq also step down. shafiq has been appointed by mubarak. he is one of his regime, and we want him to go even if he is leading a government of angels. our second request is the immediate release of all political prisoners who are still in prisons. >> holman: one of the largest demonstrations yet played out in bahrain's capital. many thousands of people gathered in manama waving flags and demanding the government make political concessions. the huge protest blocked miles of roads and highways. and in yemen, government supporters and opponents held rival rallies in the capital, sanaa. and troops opened fire on crowds in aden, wounding 19. in pakistan, an american working for the c.i.a. returned to court in lahore in handcuffs. raymond davis is accused of
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murdering two pakistanis. he says it was self-defense, but he refused to sign a document outlining the charges. instead, he claimed diplomatic immunity. u.s. officials have demanded his release. the pakistani government has left it to the courts to decide. a saudi arabian college student charged with a bomb plot in texas has made his first court appearance. authorities say khalid aldawsari had a string of targets, including this dallas home belonging to former president george w. bush, as well as dams and nuclear plants. he arrived at federal court in lubbock today in shackles, flanked by u.s. marshals. then, he appeared before a judge to hear charges he bought chemicals with intentions of building a bomb. ireland's ruling party braced for a landslide loss today. voters went to the polls, amid soaring unemployment, and anger over the economic collapse that forced ireland to accept an international bailout. election results won't be finalized until sunday. wall street closed out the week
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with a rebound, as oil prices stabilized. the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 62 points to finish at 12,130. the nasdaq rose 43 points to close at 2,781. for the week, both the dow and the nasdaq lost about 2%. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: in statehouses across the country, governors and legislators are struggling to balance their budgets in a tough economic climate. those budget woes played out this week in wisconsin. the deadlock continued there as one legislative chamber moved ahead with the governor's proposal to curb labor's power. >> shame! shame! >> woodruff: democratic legislators jeered at their republican colleagues after the wisconsin state assembly voted to pass an anti-union bill in the early hours of the morning. the measure, which saw three straight days of debate, would strip most public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. but it still has to go through
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the state senate. and a quick vote is unlikely there-- 14 democrats skipped town last week, freezing action in the upper chamber. it's not known when they'll return from their suspected hideout in illinois. republican governor scott walker continued to prod his opposition. >> we'd certainly welcome them home. there are plenty of other things we can work on to bridge the gap that is there now. they were elected to do this job. >> woodruff: democratic lawmakers from indiana have also fled to illinois-- camping out at this hotel to dodge votes on their state's pending legislation on labor and education reforms. >> i think they thought we were going to bend, break, and come back. >> woodruff: earlier this week, republican governor mitch daniels withdrew his support for a bill that would have severely weakened private sector unions. even so, the democratic side of the state legislature, still remained empty.
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after daniels received criticism from some republicans for caving, he amped up his rhetoric. >> you don't walk off the job, take your public paycheck with you and attempt to bring the whole process to a screeching halt. >> woodruff: in washington today, president obama sat down with a number of democratic governors, who later commented on the government versus union battles across the nation. >> whatever wisconsin or these other states can do to get back into the game of creating jobs instead of fighting or belittling their public employees i think is a good step. >> woodruff: the governors will remain in washington through the weekend. and joining us now to discuss the current disputes over public employees and fiscal challenges sweeping the states, republican governor mitch daniels of indiana and democratic governor brian schweitzer of montana. gentlemen, thank you both for being with us. and i just want to point out the sling, governor daniels,
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is not because he's been in a tussle with democrats, you had shoulder surgery recently. >> it's a sympathy ploy, i thought you might take it easy on me. >> woodruff: governor, let me begin with you on this showdown in wisconsin and your state of indiana. you've been very critical of public workers, you use the term privileged elite. you've said that while others jobs and salaries in the private sector have gone down, they've seen their jobs and salaries go up. are you talking about just in indiana or around the country or what? >> it a national phenomenon. i'm not being critical as much as just stating the facts, that i think it's important to notice that these folks demonstrating in madison are not the dispossessed of society. the average government worker of america earns a lot more than the average private sector person who pays his or her salary, with much more generous benefits on top of that. almost total job security in
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many, many cases. so i think the idea of bringing some balance back to the system is not a bad one. and probably a necessary one. our state has to be solvent. and brian does a great job in mon tan a. but there are a lot of states that are flat broke and this has to be part of the solution. >> woodruff: are they one of the main causes of the frisk al isis facing the state? >> yes, without question, particularly those states that have huge pension problems, this is all pretty well documented. you know, judy, by far the most powerful special interest in america are the government unions, their pac's are the largest the money they do disease nate is the most. they enormously effective. >> woodruff: how do you see the public workers in your state and other states? >> two and a half years ago before the great recession took hold we were concerned in montana that we might have a downturn so, i went to the public unions and said look we're in this together, we can't accomplish the things we want to do in montana if e we
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are not able to pay for it. so i got them to agree, we negotiated knowing, -- no increase in salaries for the next two years, no increase in benefits, no increase in insurance benefits. they agreed. here was the deal, i praised them for doing the work that matters in mon tan, a i praised them for going first. i cut my own salary by $11,000 and then we started cutting the rest of government. i'm concerned that a chief executive like a governor or c.e.o. of a corporation, if you demagogue the people that work for you, if you say you're overpaid and under worked,, i don't think there is a c.e.o. in america that would first, start their first day on the... >> woodruff: governor daniels is going to demagogue these people? >> no. i'm saying that when we negotiate with public unions we negotiate very tough. then when we walk out of that room we say thank you for continuing to do this work.
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in montana, over half of our public employees make less than $40,000 a year. >> woodruff: that doesn't sound like the same picture we just heard governor daniels paint, he said they are paid very well and do quite well. >> well, in montana over half of our state employees make less than $40,000. they teach our children, they take care of our disabled peel and keep our streets and highways safe, that's what they do. >> if i may, i was talking about a national phenomenon and commenting on the wisconsin issue that you mentioned. indiana has been a very very different place. now i have to make it plain, six years ago when i was elected i struck down collective bargaining and we have saved bushels of money doing this. but part of my motive was really not financial, it was to try to make government work better, include youing paying the best workers a lot more. the old industrial system we found on arrival, the biggest best performer in a group was treated no differently than
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the worst, very unfair. and we delivered very big raises to those who really have performed well. >> woodruff: but to get to the core of one of your arguments is that public workers don't need the kind of union protection that private sector workers may need. why is that? what's different about them? >> because in this case, in the private sector negotiation, somebody is playing with their own money. in a government negotiation nobody is. in fact, the government representatives is playing with your money and our children's money and that's why they give away too much of it so don't take it from me. some of the heros we rightfully celebrate of lanes routes in american, samuel governorers, fdr, said that government has no -- unions have no business in government. >> woodruff: how do you see that? >> i think if you eliminate the ability to collectively bargain public employees, then
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they are effectively negotiating one person at a time and that's why we created collective bargaining in this country. it is true that some states don't have collective bargaining for their public employees and some do. it's working very well in montana. and part of the reason it works in mon tan is is it a shared responsibility. when we get into tough times, i ask them to share the responsibility. and in montana' case it's worked, rear oning balanced budget, we have $328 million in the bank today. partly because our state employees are doing more with less. >> woodruff: quickly to governor daniels point that they don't need this union protection. >> nobody needs union protection. every individual worker can go to their boss and negotiate any kind of deal they want. that's what collective bargaining is all about, so that a group of people collectively have some clout. otherwise one by one you could send people down the road. if they say i'm looking for a little more benefit, they say you can hit the road, jack. >> woodruff: governor daniels,
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let's talk about your budget, you said yourself a minute ago you've cut the debt in the state of indiana 40% from what it was when you came in. you've cut employees, you've put a cap on the local property taxes in indiana. at the same time you did raise the state sales tax and there was a hike in the cigarette tax. is that example, does that suggest that when you do these other things somehow still there has to be some kind of tax increase as part of the package? >> no. the sales tax increase was offset about two to one by the property tax decrease. it was the biggest tax cut in the history of the state of indiana. let me just say that there's another aspect of this that i think is been obscured by the financial crisis in a lot of states. actually my main purpose in moving away from collective bargaining was to have the flexibility to make government work better. you couldn't move a xerox machine from one room to the next under the agreement that was in place when we got there
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without the union's permission. you couldn't reorganize departments, couldn't outsource any services, you couldn't move to merit pay for the best workers that i mentioned earlier, nothing. and we've made thousands of reforms that have led to a much better, i can prove it to you, service delivery by indiana state government. if you are owed a tax refund it comes back twice as fast. if you go to a license branch you're out in nine minutes. it was as much about trying to serve the public ber as trying to save money. >> woodruff: would things move more efficiently in montana if you did the kind of thing that governor daniels did? >> we're actually able to do all those things that mitch just described within our collective bargaining. we've made our government more efficient as people retired, we didn't replace them. we found ways of decreasing the delivery of government, we decreased the number of cars and cell phones that people have. we've decreased the amount of out of state travel.
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so we've made these efficiencys within collective bargaining and we've also had the opportunity to find a way of rewarding those that do the best job. so i don't think it's necessarily just collective bargaining. it might have been the deals that have been made by previous governors before mitch got there. >> brian is one of the best governors in america and he has had a terrific record. i think he probably would have under any arrangement. i will say that the unions, the government unions are very much part and parcel of his party. and there's destined to be i think a more cordial relationship when they are negotiating with brian than perhaps with a governor like scott walker. but i do want to testify, i've studied what he does and he is a terrific governor and will be regardless of the arrangement. >> i'm going to give him five bucks for that. i'd hold hands with him but he doesn't have two right now. >> woodruff: governor schweitzer, you're going to be meeting with president obama while, you met with him today,
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you're going to meet with him again. do you look to washington in some way to help your state's fiscal problem? >> if a state looks to washington d.c. for your help, you're in big trouble, you'll be disappointed every time. this is a city that oftentimes confuses motion with action. there's a whole lot of talking about things here in washington d.c., but not much action. >> woodruff: do you look for washington to stay away from montana? >> it's usually better when they're not helping you. >> woodruff: and if there's a... does that affect the state of montana? >> about 20% of the land there is owned by the federal government, we have a major air force base, we've got thousands of federal employees, could we go without the federal government running, it would be tough, but we'd get. >> woodruff: what about the state of indiana if there's a government shutdown? >> that would be a bad thing for us all, very disruptive and i hope they can avoid it. i agree that --
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it's one of the few states that didn't increase taxes. and we're prepared to do that moving forward. i want washington to spend a lot less money. and we were treated as a net plus if they would do that even if some of it was in money they've been transfering to states. >> woodruff: if i ask you what president obama to say what would it be? >> give us some plans for creating higher paying jobs. montana is an energy state, we can produce the energy we need for this country whether it be coal or gas. so we can develop domestic energy delivered to markets with pipelines and break our addiction to those dictators in the middle east. if we can get that done we can change change this country for a generation to come. >> woodruff: governor daniels, i can't leave without asking you a question we're getting a lot. specifically our us in hour
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analysts will be here with jim lehrer in a minute, he urges your run for president, he said you're the strongest candidate for the republicans, he said, quote, you couldn't match president obama in grace and elegance, his words, but you could on substance. i assume -- what do you think of what he had to say? >> i think that david brooks is right most of the time, but even his good judgment desserts him now and then and maybe this is one of those occasions. there's... >> woodruff: what more do you need to make a decision? >> it's a long subject, but there are a lot of concerns that are very personal, and family oriented. and i really do want to see our party step up to its responsibilities, on the biggest questions of the day. i think the biggest question
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is the debt that threats ends to ruin the position of this nation in the world. and i'd like to help do that, rather than throw yourself off that cliff. >> i think... >> woodruff: all right. governor schweitzer and governor daniels, thank you. >> lehrer: i promise you this was not a setup, as we go now to the analysis of shields and brooks. david, what did you think of the governor's answer? >> well, he hasn't decided, clearly. he described throwing himself off a cliff. not only cutting dealt but also improving the services, being very detailed oriented and it would be a wonderful
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campaign with him and president obama because both of them know the subject matter very well, they have philosophical differences, it would be a superb campaign if they ran it. >> an opinion about governor daniels? >> i've gon november daniels for 30 years and i liked him for 30 years. and i'm not in the business of urging people to run for president. i try and cover them fairly if they do. >> lehrer: so what do you make of what he said about, do you think he's going to run? you're a pundit, come on. >> i think from private conversations with him i think it's very personal decision and he's a long way from heading in that direction. >> lehrer: let's move from the personal to the issue of public employees. did you pick up any new insights or see any light in the conversation between governor switser and governor daniels? >> well, i did. in the sense, i've heard governor daniels before and his positions have been well covered. governor schweitzer not so. and i thought he made a very
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positive case for public employees collective bargaining. the reality is this. my good friends, unions are great in the private sector, because you have these powerful greedy bosses, so, they didn't say that was 35% of the work force. to somehow collective bargaining should not stepped to people who are nurses or psychiatric social workers or janitors or teachers who work in the public, i happen to believe that all workers are entitled to collective bargaining. for a just wage, to healthy working conditions, so a place that preserves their moral integrity in the workplace, to insurance and pension. and the only way you get that,
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we don't have employers who spontaneously are generous. we haven't had them historicly. the only reason we have a five-day work week, the only reason we have an 8-hour work day, the only reason we have a minimum wage law and child labor laws, and pension fund is because of labor unions' clout and skill. there was so, i happen to believe fervently that unions are flawed institutions with imperfect people running them, not unlike businesses, not unlike public television, not unlike government. but i do believe they are absolutely necessary to the well-being of our society. >> lehrer: what are your basic believes? >> unions have a right to organize, specifically public unions they have a right to organize. if there's a governor schweitzer who is going to say no we can't afford that, then that's fine, it's not a problem.
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or if it in indiana where we have a governor who is concentrating on the budget. but the fact is in most states in this country, say 30 states and ruin usly in 10 or 11 arrangements have been made which are unsustainable. where politicians year after year said we can't afford your salary increase, but kont worry you're going to get a great pension. and if you do that decade after decade then finally the bill comes due. and part of the problem is we have weak political leaders who wouldn't say no when they had to say no and who threw the problems on us. but part of the problem was structural. when a private sector union negotiates they know their company will go out of business if they ask too much. when a private sector negotiates, a private sector union the management has an incentive to say no. here the management has much less incentive. they have a chance to help select the people they're negotiating with through their campaign donations. so when it's slightly off
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balance then you get what you've got in 30 or 40 states, fiscally unsustainable situations. so i'm not totally in agreement with what scott walker is trying to do, which i think is way too polarizing, but i do think the balance has to shift a little. >> lehrer: to both of you, regardless of your position, do you think this is a water shed moment on this issue, that, because of the debt, particularly at the state level, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about, nobody would be. >> this is a water shed issue in our social contract and what we expect from government and what we can forward and for the next 20 it can't afford it and we have to change that. one of my problems with scott walker is this is going to take decades to unwind. if you start with a hyper confrontational posture, then you're not going to get democrats helping you on day 47 when you're going to need their help to take other budget measures. so i would much rather see a much more collaborative process, where the unions didn't concede a few things, they can concede a few more,
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like the automatic withdrawal of the union funds, which the government now does. but don't force it into an all or nothing matter of honor. >> there are nine states where there's no collective bargaining at all, none. they have a higher indebtedness than the states who have collective bargaining. so it isn't the unions who -- scott walker got elected, he's an anti-union guy. mitch daniels just told us about his own record of abolishing collective bargaining in indiana, he got reelected. so it's not simply a one-way route to achieving it. and i think the question, is it a water shed moment, it is a water shed moment, there's no question bit. organized labor and the g. i. bill were the book ends of the middle class prosperity. america exploded economically. the only reason that pie was divided was because americans
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and veterans return hg a chance to educate themselves like no generation had before and to participate in security of the american dream. and the only reason wages rose is because one-third of the work force was organized and they secured those higher wages and the ripple effect across our economy is no accident, jim. since 1979 since when unions have been in full retreat in this country, from 1979 to 2009, the median income dropped by 2%. >> you've got schools where you get rid of all the good young teachers because of the rules, you've got california prison workers who were retiring at age 55 with $130,000 a year. i'm not against unions, but when things get out of whack and you have these sorts of us sustainable costs, you have to adjust it. and i'm not saying you have to bust it.
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it has to be adjusted. >> lehrer: do you think, there's a lot of talk now that the senate democrats and the house republicans are going to make a deal for this continuing resolution by friday, do you think that's going to happen and void a shutdown at least? >> i think both sides want to avoid a shutdown. i think that john boehner understands both his temperament, he's a legislator who wants to get things done, he saw what happened to newt gingrich in 1995 when he became the -- >> lehrer: do you smell a deal here? >> i do, at least a two-week deal. but he wants to negotiate, he still has a caucus, the republicans had a rule that they didn't bring anything to the floor that didn't get a majority of the majority, that was the rule all the way through the hastert years when he was speaker of the house.
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that's where john boehner is going to say the problem is, being sure that he can secure that. i don't think there's anybody on his side right now in a leadership position who says let's close down the government and we'll pin it on barack obama, and i think they've made the effort to reach out the olive branch. >> i agree with mark. i spoke to him before the program and he said they feel, that there are good vibrations in the senate. that the senate is moving also in the direction of some deficit reduction. and so at least for this, the next few weeks -- >> lehrer: they would agree to a $4 billion cut for two weeks. >> a lot of the cuts being proposed in the initial thing are some of the things the democrats want any way, so it's an easier deal now. the bigger problem is the next
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deal. i would say they are less certain about where their own members are. but i strongly get the sense that the leadership and even some of the freshmen, as long as they're moving in the right direction they'll consider it a job well done. >> lehrer: new subject. the president has caught some heat because he's been accused of reacting slowly to what's going on the libya. does he deserve criticism? >> i think they've been slow on it too, i don't think there's any profit in being nuanced about. this and people are beginning to talk about sanctions now, we're embracing that and some people are talking about no-fly zones. i don't think anybody wants to send troops there. when you have an atrocity of this nature, it's going to ratchet up demands for a pure simple position. >> i think the president has been pummeled, quite honestly,
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and i think as history does prove and tend to prove that he did act and he did not stop, that i think it will be on his hands. but i think he was held hostage by the fact that the americans couldn't get out thereof. >> lehrer: the american embassy -- >> i think that was it there. was a question whether they be would held hostage and worse things would happen to them. but that is the judgment,. >> lehrer: the other decision he made that has drawn a lot of attention was the new position of the obama administration on defense of marriage. on the defense of marriage act. what do you think of that? >> his position is evolving, it's interesting to hear a president of the united states have an evolving position. especially on an issue that's been central to the debate of his own candidacy. it appears that he's moving in that direction.
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but as i understand it as a nonlawyer, is that they will enforce the law but not defend the law. and it's suggested that at the next republican president takes that attitude towards obama's health care that they will enforce it but not defend it, that might not be a position that a lot of democrats like. >> i heard the same thing and on the substance i agree with it. but i do worry about a president not defending a law that's on the books. presidents come in every four or eight years and they inherit laws, it's a nation of laws and not people. so i think the precedent should always be defend the law and then try to change it. maybe we're moving a little too slowly for the country. >> lehrer: david, mark, thank you. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day:
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gunmen loyal to libyan leader moammar qaddafi opened fire on crowds of protesters in tripoli, killing at least four. the u.s. embassy in tripoli suspended operations, after hundreds of americans managed to get out of libya by sea and air and several hundred thousand protesters besieged governments in yemen, bahrain, iraq and egypt. >> lehrer: and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame? >> holman: there's more from shields and brooks on the rundown. on our "making sense" page, paul solman looks at times in history when economic troubles sparked uprisings. and jeffrey brown previews sunday's academy awards with new york times critic a.o. scott on "art beat." also there, you can learn about the short films nominated for oscars. all that and more is on our web site, >> lehrer: and again to our
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honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are 11 more.
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>> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on monday, we'll look at congress grappling with the prospects of a looming government shutdown. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them.
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and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. 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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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