tv PBS News Hour PBS October 14, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: jobs dominated the political agenda for the president and his republican rivals today. good evening. i'm jim lehrer. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, ray suarez has the latest on the candidates' appearances and their plans for fixing the nation's ailing economy. >> lehrer: then, gwen ifill examines the effort to repeal a state law limiting labor's bargaining rights. >> here in ohio the national debate over spending priorities has boiled down to a very real and very
bitter fight over jobs, public safety and the price of balancing budgets. >> woodruff: we update the flooding in thailand, as rising waters threaten the capital, bangkok. >> woodruff: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> woodruff: and jeffrey brown talks to architect moshe safdie about designing a new home for the arts in the midwest. >> here in kansas city a new performing arts center is raising hopes for local culturallites and the economy. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> computing surrounds us. sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's very surprising where you find it. soon, computing intelligence in unexpected places will change our lives in truly profound ways. technology can provide customized experiences, tailored to individual consumer
preferences, igniting a world of possibilities from the inside out. sponsoring tomorrow, starts today. chevron. we may have more in common than you think. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> 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: talk of jobs echoed back and forth today across the political divide. everyone seemed to agree on the need to do something about the struggling recovery and high unemployment, but there was little agreement on what to do.
ray suarez has our story. >> the more goods and services we sell abroad, the more jobs we create here at home. >> creating jobs in america is as simple as changing presidents. >> suarez: the president of south korea, sporting a detroit tigers cap, picked up the theme at a general motors plant outside detroit with president obama. >> ( translated ): there is one thing on the minds of both president obama and i, and that is jobs. it is about creating good, decent jobs, and it is about keeping those jobs. and this is what keeps us awake. >> suarez: the two presidents were there to showcase a newly adopted trade agreement. but mr. obama also pointed to the auto bailouts he backed for g.m. and chrysler, and the jobs they saved. >> there were a lot of politicians who said it wasn't worth the time and wasn't worth the money. in fact, there are some politicians who still say that. well, they should come and tell
that to the workers here at orion, because two years ago, it looked like this plant was going to have to shut its doors. all these jobs would have been lost, the entire community would have been devastated. ( applause ) >> suarez: meanwhile, at a pittsburgh steel mill, one of the president's republican challengers-- texas governor rick perry-- unveiled his energy and jobs proposal. it would involve opening more federal lands, such as alaska's arctic national wildlife refuge, for energy production; increasing offshore drilling in the gulf of mexico and the atlantic ocean; and stripping the environmental protection agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases. perry said the plan would create 1.2 million jobs. >> this american jobs plan is we are standing atop the next american economic boom, energy, and the quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to
deploy american ingenuity to tap american energy. but we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down. >> suarez: near memphis, tennessee, republican herman cain defended his "9-9-9" tax plan to boost the economy and create jobs. it's drawing more scrutiny and criticism as cain surges in the polls. >> politicians put together stuff they think can pass. businessmen put together plans that solve the problem. the american people, i ask you, do you want a plan that can pass or one that solves the problem? that's what this is about. >> suarez: congress is caught up in the battle over jobs, as well. senate republicans have blocked
the president's plan, but yesterday, they offered their own. it calls for blocking new regulations until the unemployment rate drops to 7.7%; and for lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. arizona senator john mccain is one of the plan's main advocates. >> president obama and my friends on the other side of the aisle believe that they can create jobs through government spending. we believe that we can create jobs through growth. >> suarez: senate democrats are expected to begin taking up individual pieces of the president's jobs bill as early as next week. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: a referendum on restricting labor's bargaining rights; the monsoon rains in thailand; shields and brooks; and a new home for the arts in kansas city. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: a federal
appeals court today upheld one key part of a hotly debated alabama immigration law and blocked another. the ruling allowed a provision that lets police detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. it set aside a section that requires public schools to check the immigration status of students. the ruling is temporary. the appeals court's final decision on the law could take months. the obama administration has dropped a major component of its health overhaul law, long-term care insurance. the department of health and human services announced today it cannot guarantee the voluntary program will pay for itself, as required. for that to happen, enough healthy adults would have to sign up to cover the benefits for those who become disabled. anti-wall street protesters in new york city claimed victory today after plans to clean up their camp site were delayed. several hundred demonstrators celebrated when the owner of the private park postponed the cleaning. activists had claimed the real goal was to evict them from a site they have been using for a month.
>> it has been a lot of tension, a big fight to have this protest and to continue it. and this morning something really interesting and surprising happened. somebody blinked. the mayor was ready to use the nypd to come in here. people were very skeptical that it was about cleaning. they thought he wanted to just clear the plaza and this morning they put out a statement and said we're position poning everything. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile in denver, riot police cleared hundreds of similar protesters from the colorado state capitol building. they arrested some two dozen people and dismantled a tent camp in a nearby park. on wall street, stocks rose on news of stronger retail sales in september. the dow jones industrial average gained 166 points to close at 11,644. the nasdaq rose 47 points to close at 2,667. for the week, the dow gained nearly 5%; the nasdaq shot up more than 7%. the federal budget deficit reached $1.3 trillion for the fiscal year that ended last month. the final numbers released today marked the third straight year
that the government has been more than a trillion dollars in the red. the record was set in 2009 when the red ink ran $1.4 trillion. italian prime minister silvio berlusconi will stay in power, for now. his center-right coalition survived a confidence vote in parliament today. the vote came amid italy's growing economic crisis. berlusconi also has been embroiled in a series of sex scandals, with repeated calls for him to resign. even with his win today, the prime minister still lacks a solid majority in parliament, and opposition members warned he'll have a tough time governing. >> we are very huge, very huge amount of problems, the economical problems, problems of financial stability, that we can't afford with a government looking for a vote every day to pass these agreements. >> sreenivasan: italy is struggling with a huge national debt burden, and the government has been forced to impose austerity measures. that's triggered a popular
outcry, with major protests planned tomorrow in rome. president obama told congress today he's deploying about 100 u.s. troops to central africa. they are to aid the hunt for leaders of the lord's resistance army, which is accused of countless murders, rapes and kidnappings over two decades. the first troops arrived in uganda on wednesday. from there, they'll go to south sudan, the central african republic, and the democratic republic of the congo. the bish top and roman catholic diocese of kansas city, missouri have been indicted for fail tour report that sab radi gann po pesed pictures of lewd pictures ofio young girls after ten years after-- the bishop says they are now cooperating fully with law enforcement those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: a major political battle is underway in ohio. it's over a new law aimed at restricting collective bargaining rights. gwen ifill reports.
>> no on two! no on two! >> ifill: there's a ground war going on in ohio, rally to rally... >> when somebody comes and tells you that the solution to the problem is to take your rights away, that's a problem-- for you, for every working person. >> ifill: ...door to door... >> how you doing, sir? my name is steve and i am a volunteer with the "we are ohio" campaign. >> ifill: ...phone bank to phone bank... >> your yes vote on issues two and three is critical to getting government spending under control, protect taxpayers, and preserve the freedom of ohioans to choose their own healthcare. >> ifill: ...and all over the airwaves... >> senate bill five makes it illegal for nurses to negotiate for safe staffing levels. we can stop senate bill five by voting no on issue two. >> ohio is hurting. families and communities are struggling. but with issue two, we can save taxpayer dollars and fix our state.
>> ifill: it's a battle, similar to ones waged earlier in wisconsin and indiana, between unionized public employees, and lawmakers and taxpayers who say those unions are bankrupting local governments. >> we're trying to encourage a no vote on issue two. >> ifill: in ohio, thanks to more than a million signatures, the dispute will be settled at the ballot box in a referendum that attempts to repeal a six- month-old law curtailing collective bargaining for 360,000 public employees. john green teaches political science at the university of akron. >> there's been a lot of attention on this issue in ohio, partly because the issue of public sector unionization is important. but also because ohio is a powerful symbol in national politics. it's a battleground state that's very important in congressional and presidential elections. but it's also a bellwether state-- it tends to predict national trends very accurately. >> ifill: the law, as passed, would restructure union negotiations, cut back on seniority privileges, and
require public employees to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits. governor john kasich, who closed an $8 billion budget gap after he was elected, says he needs this law. >> ohio has been in deep trouble. and we've got high taxes-- not just at the state level, but at the local level. and if you don't control your costs, you're going to keep raising taxes, you're going to kill jobs. it's a tough issue. it's tough for everybody. look, i come from a union family. my father carried mail on his back. and sometimes it's hard for people, with all the noise and all the ads, to understand exactly what's at stake here. but it's not about going after a union, and it's not about trying to punish somebody. it's really about controlling costs and creating jobs. >> ifill: a lot has changed in ohio since president obama carried the state in 2008.
in 2010, republicans swept every single statewide race. but more now disapprove than approve of the governor they elected last year. so this is a test, and both sides are spending tens of millions of dollars to ace it. the debate touches all kinds of nerves. union workers say the law will increase school class sizes and compromise public safety. annamae and john heiman spend their free time working to repeal the law. she's a teacher, he's a fireman. >> it's very far reaching, and people need to know that-- that we're not just talking about my pay. we're talking about the children in my classroom, we're talking about the people he rescues out on the freeway. >> if staffing levels decrease and i'm running into a burning building, who is going to save me? i'm there to provide and protect
the public, and then when it's my turn, what happens? "well, we laid that guy off. we couldn't afford to pay him so we forced him to take a day off." >> ifill: but the argument is flipped on its head by small businessmen like steve kryder, who was selling apple butter from his farm at a local festival outside toledo this weekend. >> which side are you going to come down on? >> i'll vote for issue 2. >> ifill: why? >> because i believe the employer-- us, the taxpayer-- should have the ultimate control of what gets done. and that's really the only way to bring this back to this situation. you look at places like detroit which have been governed by union control. and it's done them no good. >> ifill: toledo mayor, and former firefighter, michael bell also says it's a matter of control. he argues local governments need
the flexibility to balance their budgets. >> what we're doing here is we are in the process of making hard decisions. but for me, it's a better idea in order to keep people working, especially government workers working. if i don't have flexibility, then i'm going to have to lay a bunch of people off. >> ifill: in many ways, the ohio dustup takes washington's debate over jobs, spending and the role of government, and plays it out in real time. democrat nina turner is a state senator from cleveland. >> the citizens of my district, when they dial 9-1-1, they want to know that help is on the way, that the firefighters, police officers, ems workers, that they are on the way. the fact that they have passed this bill and rammed it down the throats of our public sector workers in this way puts everybody in peril. what we do in november in ohio
is really going to send the battle cry across the nation that all eyes are on ohio and it's up to us. we can't go back. we won't go back. >> ifill: each side is counting on the referendum to provide a launching pad for the 2012 campaign. sam bain is co-chairman of ohio's college republicans. he says his goal is to limit president obama to one term. >> people want something different. people want real hope, real change. not what they were falsely promised three years ago in 2008. they want something real, something substantive and something they can stand on. >> ifill: democrats hope next month's balloting will remind their voters what's at stake. >> the democratic base is very motivated now, knowing what happened in 2010, that democrats lost every single statewide office. and you know, elections have consequences.
so hopefully, not just democrats will awaken, but all people of good conscience will awaken that it is consequential that the type of people you put in office, their public policies, has an indelible mark. >> ifill: john green says the wild card, of course, will be the economy. >> and one of the things that ties together 2008, 2010, 2011 and perhaps 2012 is the poor state of the economy. one of the reasons barack obama was able to do well in this state is that it was perceived that the previous administration had not done a good job with the economy. one of the reasons john kasich was elected was the perception that the economy was not going well. and the economy is not getting a lot better, so this is potentially a problem for both sides. >> ifill: it will be an expensive fight with both sides to get voters to the polls in an off year.
but in a swing state that could go either way next year, that's just a down payment. >> woodruff: next tonight, southeast asia under water. monsoon season combined with typhoon season has wrought disaster throughout asia-- from korea and japan south through the philippines, vietnam, cambodia, and now the latest target, thailand. >> right now, the situation is getting very bad. it's getting worse and worse every day. >> woodruff: swollen rivers have devastated thailand's central plains. it's the worst flooding there in a half century. >> ( translated ): i'm very scared. it's never been like this. everything is gone. >> woodruff: 30 of the country's 77 provinces are flooded, affecting nearly nine million people. rice crops have been ruined and
industrial production has been halted in many regions. toyota and honda factories-- underwater. about 7% of their global production is based in thailand. and now, the waters are surging toward the coast with the low- lying riverside capital, bangkok, and its nearly ten million inhabitants directly in the path. they live along the chao phraya river that surges through the city. north of there, in ayutthaya, the ancient siamese capital, heavy rain has sent both man and beast in search of higher, or at least dryer, ground. a herd of elephants, wards of a conservation group, were nearly stranded today. adult elephants eat 400 pounds of food per day, and their handlers were having trouble getting provisions and clean water to the animals. >> ( translated ): this is our fourth evacuation.
hopefully, we don't have to move. however, what we need the most is food. >> woodruff: in the sam thok district on bangkok's outskirts, a local shopkeeper stacked sandbags, but the water still found its way in. >> ( translated ): i'm very stressed out. if i can't sell anything, i won't sell anything, i'll close. >> woodruff: prime minister yingluck shinawatra, in office only two months, insisted bangkok will be spared, defended by a system of flood walls, dams and levees. but conflicting reports said water had breached key points, and with unusually high tides and yet more monsoon rain forecast, the city faced a desperate weekend. for more on all of this, we turn to kamal kishore, a united nations official involved in crisis prevention and recovery. he has had a career in disaster preparedness in asia. and catharine dalpino, a professor of international relations at simmons college.
she served in the state department during the clinton administration. we thank you batt for being with us. let me start with you kamal kishor, we see the death toll is almost 300 since the end of july. no question this is much more serious, i think, than people realize. >> yeah, there is no doubt about that. the rainfall, indeed, has been exceptional. if you look at north thailand, northeastern thailand, central thailand, we have received up to 50% more than they expect every, in july and august, in september. all of this has been aided by tropical storms in the end of july, end of september. so rainfall has really persisted in these areas. some parts, especially northern thailand receive up to twice in a day, some areas, received rainfall
that they expect, twice as much in a whole month. so exceptionally high rainfall conditions in the month of july, august and september. however, one has to say that these kinds of exceptional rainfall events are to be expected every few decades. these are not the only things. these are not the only phenomenon that are contributing to flooding. flooding is caused by a host of other factors. >> woodruff: that's what i wanted to, if i could just say, that is what i wanted to ask you about. it's bad but they are accustomed to having these monsoons and typhoons. what's different about this year? >> i think one, of course, the rainfall is exceptionally high. the other thing is that, you know, a lot of patter pattern-- development patterns pursued over decades are now precipitating into this disaster. if you look at areas around bangkok, there used to be a
lot of marshland catchments that would hold water in excess, rainfall conditions. and then drain gradua gradual-- gradually. all of those marsh land, as the land crisis grew and the economic value of that land gotten hansed, have been built upon. so you don't have that facility. likewise, with the natural drainage pattern. natural as well as man-made drainage patterns, the system of canals, it has been-- over the last several decades and now when the exceptional rainfall occurs, the effect is exacerbated many times. >> woodruff: -- >> then of course there's-- . >> woodruff: i'm going to interrupt one second and bring catharine dahl pino in. so just how much of this is man-made and how much of it is mother nature overwhelming what people can deal with? >> well, for the past several years there have
been changes on the river, some starting in china with dams that they built through laos and on down. and thailand has become very recently sensitive to this. understanding that beyond their own national borders there are things that are happening. the simpson center here in washington has done some wonderful work on that. and recently thailand asked laos to suspend work on a dam that was being built by thai companies because it feared the im vool-- environmental impact. so there some awareness that there are things happening in terms of changing infrastructure. >> woodruff: so you are talking about a region wide set of issues rather than something within each country. >> well, also in thailand the past couple of decades there was severe logging. and in 1988 there were historic floods in southern thailand. and because of that they now have a logging ban in the country. but they do log now in the other country, cambodian, myanmar, and laos as well. >> woodruff: how would you
answer that question, of how much of this is nature overwhelming what people are accustomed to and how much is man-made? >> i think it's about 50/50. i would say that there is little we can do about rainfall but we really have to look at-- look at how we develop our cities, how our regional planning takes place. we have to assess tease risks over the long term, to the just year-to-year but over decades, sometimes even more than that. so these risks are well-known and there are methods to assess these risks an take these into account while we build roads that block drainage patterns. while we turn marsh lands into developed areas for industrial states. so it's really both. and really it has, there is value in taking a regional approach to it as well. you know, it's not just-- river basins are not just confined to i cos.
they are regional. so really there has to be a regional approach as well. but let me comment at this point and say this one thing. that one has to recognize how well the thai department are doing on saving lives. it's a similar flood had occurred five or six or seven years ago, the loss of life would be much higher, so they have done a very good job of saving lives but they need to begin to work towards saving livelihoods over the longer run. >> woodruff: let me ask about that catherine-- catharine dahl pino, we read that the government has made huge investments in flood systems but there has been a lot of political upheaval to this division in this country the last few years. brand-new government, how are they doing? >> well, this is really a test for the new prime minister, the kind of test that the bush administration had with hurricane katrina, that the japanese government had with the tsunami and the earthquake. and every government on this planet, with the possible exception of one or two, now operates underperformance legitimacy. how well do they do in these
kinds of natural disasters. certainly in the past five years thailand has been very divided politically. it's interesting in the past couple of days to see the bipartisan spirit or the multipartisan spirit. yesterday former prime minister made a call upon the prime minister. he was her rival and the one that she turned out in the election. and that was a very important symbol. >> woodruff: what about the political upheaval, unsettled political situation over the last years, has that contributed to thailand's ability to prepare for something like this? >> i'm not sure that that's really the case. that i think that they've had warning of this for about four months. certainly it started during the elections and as your piece said, he has only been in power for a couple of months. it's interesting in bangkok that there is a political divide, not necessarily sharply. the governor of bangkok is a
democrat so bipartisan sort of effort to save bangkok. >> woodruff: internally. let me come back to you, kamal kishore, what provisions need to be made in the coming days to determine whether this gets much worse or whether they get it under control? >> well, i think first the whole climate weather forecasting system needs to be integrated into decision-making. second thing is, obviously for the coming days and weeks, the emphasis has to be on life, lifesaving activities, not so much on preventing damages. it's too late for that kind of work. but it is time to really-- lessons for the future, not just in thailand but other countries that are exposed to these kinds of xtreme events every few decades. all the progress that was made-- not all, a lot of the progress that was made in developing economic activities, without taking
into account, has been wiped out just in a few weeks. so i mean, is this really worth it? we really need to make sure going forward that all the new development that occurs in risk-prone areas take that into account and mitigate those risks. >> woodruff: kamal kishore, catharine dahl pino, we thank you both. >> thank you. >> lehrer: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times" columnist david brooks. >> lehrer: mark, what do you make of the energy jobs program that rick perry announced today. >> if herman cain is 9, 9, 9, rick perry is drill, drill, drill. i think he was faithful to his own record and his own experience. but i think he also views it based upon his debate performance as sort of the panacea for the nation's economic ills. >> lehrer: do you see it that way? do you see anything in there
that made you kind of sit up and say hey, wait, a minute, he may be on to something? >> i didn't. but i have to in all fairness say i did not scrutinize it i just read the wire stories on it. i did not sit down in depth and think about it. >> lehrer: what did you think about it, david. did you sit down, unlike mark. >> i actually went down. -- you know, energy has become like a lot of issues sort of a microcosm of polarization. on one side president obama has tried very hard with this green tech which has had some success in building our renewals. it has been a complete failure in greeting jobs it is not only solyndra, it is program after program, they are withdrawing the loans, they have had training programs leading to no jobs. so thats hand by a big disappointment. the republicans on the other side, at least rick perry is back sort of in drill, drill, drill territory. so we've got two very partial answers. and yet in the meantime, it's very clear over the
long term we're going to have alternative sources of energy. over the short term we're going to have the fossil fuels, oil, natural gas, coal. and we've got all these new technologies, you go to western pennsylvania, all around the country they have discovered these reserves based on the franking technologies yet nobody has kind of put that together. and perry had an opportunity. i think he was just too shall let's drill offshore. which is part of the immediate short-term answer. but again, it's not the comprehensive energy strategy we've been searching for since the nixon administration. >> lehrer: meanwhile on jobs, the president put forward, of course, his jobs program and the senate said no thank you. is that an important development? that was expected, was it not? >> it was expected. but i think the important development this week was seeing the help can its felt compelled to offer their own jobs plan. they had been criticized since they took over the house that they have never come up with a jobs plan. and we saw both in "the washington post" abc poll as well as the nbc "the wall street journal" poll this
week that the president had widened considerably his margin over the republicans in congress, who is better at providing jobs, who is better on the economy, expanded to 15 points in the abc poll and the 2 to 1 margin in "the wall street journal" poll when voters were told what the president's plan was. so republicans felt they had to come up with something. the republicans in the senate came up with sort of a grab bag. but john boehner, really, the speaker took on the tea party to some degree by basically embracing a huge public works infrastructure proposal which, you know, i think maybe might have some traction if he, in fact, really gets behind it. >> lehrer: how do you see it? >> way, there has been a lot of republican support for that over the years. to me it is pretense. the president's bill which may pass in parts, payroll tax-- . >> lehrer: they're going to divide it up. >> and some of it may pass, a payroll-- temporary payroll tax.
not too many employers will hire a permanent position for a temporary tax break. the infrastructure is very good and the way obama structured it good, but that is a long-term deal. it to the really a short term thing. on the republican side, tax cuts and deregulation may be a good requested but neither of they are short term job creators. we are in a situation where short term promises should be looked at with a great deal of skepticism. national journal just had a poll that came out today asking americans how they feel about the economy. and a core theme was, they're really suspicious of debt. primarily their own personal debt. they're trying to get out from under this. when the consumers are like that, you just can't expect a surge of economic activity in the short run. and businesses are completely hunkered down because of europe. so i would be suspicious of short-term fixs. i'm looking for politicians who can say okay, we've got this winter of recuperation but we're going to fix the long-term thing so we can have a recovery when the time comes. and we're not seeing that. >> lehrer: may look for a long time for that one?
>> no-- . >> lehrer: short term because politics is short term right now. >> i agree. but i think the campaign of 2012 really does make a serious debate necessary. i mean one of the things that, just like drill, drill, drill, one of the other mantras has become regulation did -- regulationing regulation is a killer. bureau of labor statistics keps a record of what employers say. they layoff but don't hire. two tents of 1 percent of the recent advance is regulation. i think it's going to drive us, i hope it will drive us to some sort of a certificate quus discussion because lord knows we need it going in there. >> lehrer: let's go to the presidential race. and the republican side. perry, the debate, for instance, the debate this week, what did you think overall and how did you think perry did? >> stunning leigh bad. he knew this was make-or-break to some degree. and he just had nothing. he kept referring to his jobs, his energy bill which
he wasn't going to announce because he was going to announce it later. so he sort of faded into the distance. it was i think a lack of preparing, lack of skill and i think a lot of people are getting close to dismissive of him. i'm not quite clear there because he does have a ton of money. he does have a very good ad company. they put out very good ads. and the thing that is striking about the polling right now is not only the rise of herman cain but the ceiling on mitt romney. and the guy has had a phenomenal month. >> lehrer: romney has. >> romney, all these great debate performances. everyone is jumping on ship except for the voters. but maybe they will get to him after they have had their fun. it is astonishingly how little he has risen and there still is this hunger for something else. romney specifically. do you think hes had a cap on him? >> he should. you have to say he has a cap. you look's "the wall street journal" poll, at 23%, he bumped up to 30% in july,
back down to 23% in august and now he's at 23. this is after four, what one could only say were polished, professional performances. everybody. >> lehrer: the consensu consensus-- consensus was he won every one of those debates. >> absolutely, great campaign a lot of money. improved candidacy. it isn't that they are against him, because 80% of republican voters say that they will vote for him against barack obama and it will probably go high ir. but what it comes down to is he doesn't excite them. and it's almost like a play. and they come out before the curtain goes up and they say the part of the dependable leading man, will be played tonight by mitt romney. the part of the less dependable, and less reliable secondman will be played by donald trump, mitchell bachmann, rick perry and now herman cain and possibly coming up, ron paul, newt gingrich, rick santorum and who knows, maybe even jon huntsesman at some point.
but i mean it's almost like there is a second row that perry filled in august, and now, today it's herman cain. >> lehrer: how do you read the cain thing? is that real? >> yeah. >> lehrer: they are saying he is the front-runner. >> i would be dubious of that. people are not going to like the 9, 9, 9 plan when they get to it. but if you are a middle income earner, the 9, 9, 9 plan raises your taxes 32%. that's just not going to fly. but that's not what they are reacting to. as we've spoken about, he's a nice guy. he's a smart guy. he is a very dramatic guy. he's happy. and he's not a normal politician. and you know, i tend to think it has more to do with the season, mark has talked about this in the past. in primary season you go for the fun. and then you go for the guy you like. i think we are in the fun season and he is certainly a fungi to watch. >> lehrer: how do you see it. >> it was interesting. they found he was leading in "the wall street journal" nbc poll, peter hartny,
conducting the poll want back and interviewed the people, and asked them why they were for herman cain and surprisingly the reasons were all well informed. they knew exactly who he was. >> lehrer: did they know about 9, 9, 9. >> 9, 9, 9 was sort of the hall mark but what they liked about him was that he had no political experience. that he had never held public office. that he did not talk like a politician. and that just tells you something about the anti-political fervour that grips republican primary voters right now, and probably the electorate at large. >> lehrer: do you agree with david's reading on rick perry that it may, a lot of people are dismissing him but he thinks its's early to do that. >> i think it's early to dismiss him. but what struck me is the brimming self-confidence, the swaler that he brought into the race when he came in in august. you know, he was ready to take on this whole world. and it was walking into the town and he was the new sheriff. and boy, he was a tentative
figure in hanover, new hampshire. and david's right. he is not-- he's teetering right now with a narrative sets in. is he another sara palin, i can see russia from my front door. when he says that, you know, the american resolution, of course, in the 16th century, i mean two more of those and he he's going to slip into that point where letterman and leno, just becomes a punch line. >> i actually think he was heard, one of the people who introduced him, endorsed him, a pastor, attacked mitt romney for being a mormon, being a member of a cult. i heard strong counterreaction from evangelicals, from conservatives, it is not what we do. and perry has not denounced this guy. and that's speaks very ill of him there were comments about his wife saying she heard the burning bush, that he should run. he didn't see the burning bush. there is a lot of weirdness going on. >> lehrer: she also talked about how abused he's been by, just by entering the race and how the politicians,
his fellow, even his own party, she said, have hurt him terribly. >> if he is going to jog around with firearms, he shouldn't whine about being criticize. he's supposed to be a tough guy. >> lehrer: but also wouldn't you think, wouldn't you all agree that one thing it does prove, beyond anything else, just as a matter of process, these primary debates do matter. >> the primary debates do matter and the preparation for them does. i mean it's obvious to us that rick perry made the decision late. he was not thinking in february or march to get into this race. and boy, failure to do that, and acquaint yourself with the issues, the nomenclature, to develop a comfort level for the issues, that's what-- people said oh, he wasn't participating. there was a tentativeness, he didn't want to make a business take. that is what is out there. i mean they're talking back and forth and sort of this nomenclature goes back and forth, green jobs and whatever, david knows it all,
and the other, mitt romney has mastered it. he knows all the nuances and the subphrases and everything else. and i just think there is a reluctance on his part. and his sv confidence, i think has shaken. >> and for all people, criticize the system and how we lech a president, i don't know how many decades ago, four decades something, selling the president was written, that you are just a box of soap. but ads are important, money is important, if you can't debate, go to new hampshire and iowa and meet people, you won't thrive. you have to have a threshold before the soap selling can kick in. and so far he hasn't hit that threshold. >> lehrer: okay, we'll leave it there. thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a shining new showcase for the arts in the midwest, and an architect having an impact around the world. jeffrey brown has the story. ♪ ♪ >> brown: it was a gala weekend
in kansas city recently, with opera in one grand new hall... ♪ ♪ ...and in another, some hometown jazz... ♪ ♪ ...all to celebrate the brand new $326 million kaufman center for the performing arts, and its architect, moshe safdie. safdie gave us a tour of the new home of the kansas city symphony, ballet, and lyric opera-- two state-of-the-art spaces united by a multi-tiered lobby with sweeping views of the city. on the north facade, waves of stainless steel that form a gigantic shell. on the south, 40,000 square feet of glass anchored to the ground with 27 high tension cables.
>> it's almost like a musical instrument. a giant person could come and play the strings, play the building like a harp. >> brown: safdie, who's designed numerous cultural institutions all over the world, says, for him, the function of a building always determines the form that he creates. >> performing arts buildings are complex. the acoustics, the sight lines and all that have to just be perfect. so you begin with just making these things sublime as musical instruments. and if you fail there, you've failed it all. but it's got to go beyond that. because it's got to be about the ritual of partaking in the performing arts. it's just got to uplift people's spirits so that it becomes a place for the community. >> brown: uplift people's spirits, is that the essential task? >> absolutely. i think there's architecture that uplifts you, that makes you feel optimistic, that makes you feel celebratory. and that's what the performing arts are all about. >> brown: but how does a city build something like this in hard economic times?
kansas city's done it the old- fashioned way, through private philanthropy. the idea for the center began 16 years ago with muriel kaufman, wife of ewing kaufman, founder of a large pharmaceuticals company. when muriel died, daughter julia made it her mission to raise the rest of the funds and hold down costs. >> i did cut all the fru-fru in the bathrooms and the back of the house. >> brown: no fru-fru. >> right down to white tile bathrooms everywhere because that was most cost effective. but i really think it was a good thing to cut at the frills, and we left the money in the acoustics and the works-- that's what i really felt was the most important. you know, while my mother taught me the arts, ewing kaufman taught me the bottom line. >> brown: your father taught... >> he's watching over me, and i better be sure about that bottom line. >> brown: kaufman brought in architect moshe safdie to design a space that could bring together the city's downtown area and an emerging warehouse district of small galleries and shops.
>> he's known for tying blighted areas together with others. he built something for the community that seems to draw you in, and that's what we needed in this location in our town. >> brown: in fact, the city needs and wants a great deal from this project-- an economic and energy boost for its downtown. jane chu is the kaufman center's c.e.o. >> there's something about a building like this that spurs on other people to want to keep a high level of activity going in their areas. it's like if you swept your own porch in your neighborhood, and other houses looked over and said, "he's sweeping his porch, i'd better sweep mine." >> brown: if kansas city is looking to raise its profile in the nation's cultural life, moshe safdie seems out to cement his internationally. the kaufman center is just one of four major safdie buildings opening this fall. there's the u.s. peace institute
in washington, d.c.; alice walton of the walmart family's crystal bridges art museum in arkansas; and a cultural heritage center in punjab, india. all the projects, safdie says, reflect the unique environment in which they were created. >> i think you need to, as an architect, understand the essence of a place and create a building that feels like it resonates with the culture of the place. so my buildings in india or in kansas city or in arkansas or singapore, they come out different because the places are so different. >> brown: safdie himself is a product of many cultures. he was born in haifa, and emigrated to montreal as a young man, where he studied architecture. he now calls boston his home. he burst to fame in his 20s with a design featured at the 1967 world expo for high-density apartment living called "habitat". 40 years later, after designing numerous museums, libraries, and
airports, he's starting to focus again on urban living. last year, he built a huge multi-use complex in downtown singapore with a large park and gardens on top. and he's currently working on three mega-apartment buildings in asia. >> these cities of 20 million and 30 million people with densities of thousands of families per acre, they require new inventions to humanize the mega-scale, to find a way in which, though we live densely and on top of each other, we still want nature, and we still want sunlight and we still want the garden. we still want all the qualities that make a place humane. and that's our responsibility. >> brown: safdie says architects have an additional responsibility, as well. >> there is a profound ethic to architecture which is different from the other arts. a painter, a sculptor, a writer-
- they can express freely, they don't affect society as a whole. we build buildings that have a purpose, that stay here for hundreds of years... or decades. >> brown: of course, we're in a time where a lot of buildings have a kind of outlandish "look at me" sculptural quality. >> to me, there is an ethic. it's not a wonderful freedom. there are constraints about architecture. so we have a responsibility to make buildings that have a timeless quality about them. >> brown: critics have sometimes complained that safdie's work too often isn't imaginative enough. a "washington post" writer called the new u.s. peace institute building, "smart, clean and bland." safdie, with commissions galore, says he cares more what people in the neighborhood think. >> the ultimate test is, do they get their photographs here and what do the taxi drivers say? you'll always find out about
what the public feels about a building from taxi drivers. >> brown: you have to deal with clients and art critics and all kinds of people. but it's the taxi drivers who tell you? >> absolutely. ♪ ♪ >> brown: the question now for kansas city-- will audiences love the new building, and in tough economic times, keep coming after the celebration ends. ♪ ♪ ( applause ) >> woodruff: pbs begins its own celebration of the arts this evening with the premiere of the "pbs arts fall festival." it airs at 9:00 pm on friday nights for the next nine weeks, beginning tonight with gilbert and sullivan's "hms pinafore" from the guthrie theater in minneapolis. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: the president and his republican rivals called for action on creating jobs, but there was
little agreement on what to do. a federal appeals court agreed to let alabama police detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant; and workers in bangkok, thailand, stacked sandbags as the city faced a potential flood disaster this weekend. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: there's more of jeff's interview with architect safdie. that's on "art beat." check in later tonight for the "double header" with shields and brooks. in the wake of sectarian clashes in egypt, we look at how christians have fared there, and in syria and iraq. that's on our "world" page. and on this week's edition of "need to know", correspondent jeff greenfield puts two very different groups of protestors in a uniquely american context. here's a preview. >> the belief that there are powerful forces working against the public interest is captured in two scenes from today's political landscape. scenes that might seem to have little in common. first on the right, a tea party rally denouncing the
federal government in washington as out to create a specialist state. >> communism does not work. socialism does not work. and the debt of america will be socialized medicine. >> second, on the left, the recent protests on wall street, alleging that the big banks are victimizing the middle class. >> we're america, 99% of the people should not be suffering when 1% are living high on the hock. >> what yew nights these two very different groups? one common belief, a belief that has surfaced throughout american history. >> the brief that there are powerful forces at work, undermining our core values, traditions, aspirations. this belief has found favor left and right at times and it could determine not just the next election, but the future course of our country. >> we all have suspicions about these large forces, removed from us, people making decisions on our behalf and forcing upon us their values, their ideas, their concepts.
>> larry sabato head of the university of virginia's center for politics says such sentiment is a quintessentially american notion. >> the heart of the american character is individualism. we don't like being institutions, whether it's big business or big government or some other big group. >> sreenivasan: you'll find a link to that "need to know" story and much more on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> lehrer: and again to our 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 ten more.
can raise unlimited funds for candidates. 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: >> well, the best companies are driven by new ideas. >> our future depends on new ideas. we spend billions on advanced technologies. >> it's all about investing in the future. >> we can find new energy-- more, cleaner, safer and smarter. >> collaborating with the best in the field. >> chevron works with the smartest people at leading universities and tech companies. >> and yet, it's really basic. >> it's paying off every day.
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