tv FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX October 11, 2009 9:00am-10:00am EDT
to recovery, but with a big problem. where are the jobs? we'll get answers from a panel of experts, democratic governor jennifer granholm of michigan, republican governor mitch daniels from indiana, businessman steve wynn, chairman and ceo of wynn resorts, and top economist mark zandi, who advises both political parties. then, the president wins the nobel peace prize as he considers how to fight the war in afghanistan. we'll discuss it all with our sunday group, kristol, easton, cheney and williams. and our power player of the week works to keep us safe 24/7. all right now on "fox news sunday." and hello again from fox news in washington. as our economy slowly recovers, the shortage of jobs continues. look at these numbers. unemployment is now 9.8%.
the number of job openings in august was the lowest since the labor department started tracking that figure back in 2000. and 6.3 unemployed people now compete for each available job. that's the most ever. so what can be done? for answers, we turn to two governors whose states have been hit hard by the recession, a business leader who's one of america's richest men and a top economist. governor jennifer granholm, let me start with you and your state of michigan. you have 15.2% unemployment. that's the highest in the nation. you've received $3.7 billion so far in federal stimulus funds. do you see any signs of recovery and how much has the stimulus helped you? >> well, clearly, the stimulus s helped, although, of course, unemployment is at a ridiculously high level. and in michigan it's a unique circumstance because we are in the middle of both an auto recession, and we've been sort of a one-industry state for 100 years, so we are really focused
on diversifyindiversifying. then you layer on top of that the financial recession and it's doubly hit us. we've lost about 72% of our auto jobs since the beginning of the decade, so it's really been a very, very tough time. the auto suppliers are completely incontraction in addition to the bankruptcies of our major employers. so we have a circumstance where we are really focused on diversifying, and i can tell you the stimulus has been helpful in terms of creating or retaining about 36,000 jobs, but, of course, only 40% of the stimulus has been spent yet. but in addition to that, chris, i think the most important thing for us has been the stimulus' efforts to really help us invest in diversifying our economy, so one of the greatest examples is the battery that will power the electric vehicle. michigan got more than half of all of the battery grants, 12 projects, businesses that will come to electrify the vehicle which for us is a great way for us to build on our strengths,
but move into new sectors. >> governor daniels, your state of indiana has 9.9% unemployment. you've received $2.3 billion in stimulus. same question. where is indiana in terms of recovery, and how's the stimulus made a difference? >> coming very slowly if at all, chris. the stimulus, i didn't oppose the idea of it but i don't think you can point to much effect so far. we've used it more aggressively and quickly than any state. fastest to use the highway money, fastest in clean water. here and there i suppose it's made a difference. government spending doesn't create jobs, doesn't create wealth. we have to maintain and i think improve the conditions and the environment in america in which people will invest and take risks so they can create wealth for each either. >> steve wynn, unemployment in
nevada is the second highest in the nation. your company, wynn resorts, has more than 20,000 employees. do you see any turnaround yet? >> no. in the sense that ihink that the priorities of the administration should have been more directly focused on job creation. from the day of the inauguration forward. that's the thing that changes america. people will buy cars in governor granholm's state, they'll buy homes they can afford, they'll shop and they'll have a positive attitude towards tomorrow when they've got a job. health care and all of -- and all that other stimulus should have been held back and the priority should have been job creation, and the most powerful weapon and the tool that the government has for that is its tax policy. they seem to be going in exactly the opposite direction. and if the government had used its power to restrain its tax collection, they would have
given everybody who runs small businesses, large businesses, a chance to hire more people, and that could have been done an entirely different way. with 800 or 900 billion dollars, we could have created four or five million jobs. >> mr. wynn, i'm going to pick up on that. let me bring in mark zandi, if i can. you advised jn mccain during the campaign but you helped the democratic leaders i congress with the stimulus package. i want to put up some projections by your fellow economists and get your reaction to them. they are now saying that unemployment is going to peak at around 10.5% next june. it could be 9.1% in 2011 and still over 8% in 2013, which is four years from now. is it really going to take the u.s. economy that long to bounce back? >> yes, i think so. 10.5% is a very reasonable expectation for the peak in unemployment.
but i think it would be measurably higher if not for the stimulus package. the stimulus, in my view, is working. it's gotten overwhelmed by the magnitude of the economic crisis that we've been in, but it has been very helpful. it helped unemployed workers, extended benefits for those workers, kept them spending. they'd been cutting back much more significantly if they'd not gotten that money. almost every state governor would say they've been helped by the stimulus quite significantly. they've been cutting even more aggressively if not for that. of the $787 billion stimulus package, $300 billion of that was tax cuts to individuals and to businesses. cash for clunkers, tax credits for home purchases, i think all these things have been very helpful. now, they've gotten overwhelmed and the problems we face are very serious and continue to be very serious, but the stimulus has been very helpful. >> i want to talk about getting overwhelmed. governor granholm, i want to put up video of the scene in detroit this last week. 35,000 people lined up for
federal stimulus money to help pay for mortgage and utility bills, but that is only enough money for 3500 people and as a result there were fights and almost a stampede and people arrested. has the obama administration misjudged the size of the problem and the best way to solve it? >> well, clearly, you have to be able to provide people the means to be able to survive during this very tough time, especially in states that are hardest hit, and michigan is clearly a state that's been hardest hit. what you saw there in that video are people who are very desperate to put food on the table, to stay in their homes, and it's one of the reasons why, chris, the stimulus, a third of it went to protecting people, whether it was foreclosure or unemployment rate. a third of it went to tax cuts and a third of it went to job creation. it was a broad-based effort. but, clearly, in some states, there needs to be additional help, and this is why i think it's so important that congress pass another extension to the
unemployment benefits for -- in fact, i hope the deal has been cut and that we see that this week, because there isn't -- there aren't jobs on the back side right now. we know that employers are acting very cautiously. we know that there isn't a huge uptick in employment. that's certainly true here when the employers, especially our auto employers, have just shut down. and so we need in states like michigan to be able to extend unemployment benefits and those other things that will help people get through this very difficult people. >> well, governor daniels, you express some skepticism about the effectiveness of government spending to solve this problem. the answer here in washington seems to be more government spending. >> oh, i'm not against it in selected ways. yes, of course we want to help people who are out of work. but, you know, before washington could spell stimulus, we had a pretty robust program almost accidentally here in indiana. we're in the middle of the biggest road building, infrastructure building project in state history. we did it without -- by the way,
without a penny of taxes or borrowing. you really couldn't spend a whole lot more than we are in that respect. we cut property taxes big time last year. the average hoosier homeowner got $500 plus more in their pocket this year. but there are just limits to what can be done other than to, as mr. wynn said, try to create more favorable conditions for natural growth in the private sector, and, you know, i'm very much concernsed, as he expressed, that meanwhile, an awful lot of energy, an awful lot of policy in washington is headed just the wrong direction. the business of this cap and trade bill would be an incredibly unfair burden to no good environmental effect i can find on the midwest, on states like governor granholm's and mine. >> i totally disagree. >> i just wish that energy was going into creating a pro growth policy so we could afford things
like that. >> let me bring in mr. zandi and mr. wynn on this. mr. zandi, as someone who helped write the first stimulus, do we need, if not another stimulus, more stimulative things? you talked about cash for clunkers. some people say we borrow money we don't have to move demand from the future to the present, but we don't actually increase demand. >> well, in answer to your first question, i do think the economy is going to need more help. i think the recovery is going to be very halting, very fragile. i think the risks are to the downside. i think we need to grd against that. so i would advocate extending some of the things in the current stimulus into 2010. governor granholm mentioned more benefits to unemployed workers. absolutely. if you have 10% plus unemployment, people are going to be out of work, they're going to need more help. more help to state government, because if they don't get more, their budget problems in fiscal year 2011 will be severe and they'll be cutting benefits and
raising taxes. the housing market could use more help through an extension of the first-time home buyer credit into next year to keep this stability in housing values permanent. yes, i think we should extend more of these things going forward. the idea behind stimulus, stimulus isn't magic. it isn't going to solve all our problems. the idea behind stimulus was to bring an end to the recession, to provide a catalyst for future growth and to let the private sector take over and it's done exactly that. the recession is over. it's no accident that the recession has ended when the stimulus is providing its maximum economic benefit. >> steve wynn? >> the economists have had their moment. really, everybody who has absolutely no experience in insuring people, creating jobs, have had their moment. >> excuse me -- >> wait, mr. zandi. let mr. wynn speak. >> the housing market will improve when people have a job so that they can buy a home that they can afford or a car that they can afford. the stimulus package, which is
anti-thetical and counterintuitive to washington is to restrain, restrain government power. the most powerful tool isax policy. had the president stood up the day after he got inaugurated and said we're going to pass a bill that says if you can prove to the irs that you've increased your permanent employees, with health insurance, we will subsidize 30 or 40 thousand dollars of that in the form of a tax credit. there would have been jobs created in this economy within 60 days in every corner of the economy, not just in civil construction. no, no, no, not at all. there would have been jobs created everywhere. because businesses, as you pointed out, have cut back out of fear. they're suffering from lack of consumer confidence. the day that that unemployment figure goes from 9.6 and climbing to 8.9 is the day that
consumer confidence will return, and this country will be on its way out of the recession. >> let me bring the governors into this at this point, because one of the things that mark zandi mentioned, governor daniels, is the idea of more aid to states, and that is gaining a lot of currency here in washington because, obviously, the states which have to balance their budgets next year, if they don't have that money, are going to have to lay off people. but the question is, why should a state like yours, of indiana, which has been very responsible and, in fact, has a billion dollar surplus, why should taxpayers in your state through their federal taxes bail out other states like, for instance, california, that have been less responsible? >> what a great question! i completely agree with you. we've been practicing economy -- we had to out here. our state, as it happens, was broke four or five years ago. we dug out, paid all our bills, and put some money in the bank. for the moment, we have a triple a credit rating and we're
solvent. if this economy doesn't recover sometime over the next year or so, even our savings account will eventually be depleted. and in that context, really, it would be incredibly inequitable to arrange -- if the next bailout is to bailout california or other states who spent themsees into trouble even before the recession got here, i think almost anybody would find that unfair. we sure would. >> governor granholm, how do you respond to that? >> well, i mean, we've been a donor state, michigan has, for as long as anybody can remember. we've been giving money, our taxpayer dollars, our tax dollars at the pump, to other states to pave roads in alaska and elsewhere. we would like to see some of that back as well. but the bottom line is this stimulus itself can be -- there can be a second look at thi but not as broadly, perhaps, as the first time around. i mean, in other words, it would be good to see another targeted tax policy which i think
everyone, it sounds like, in this panel would agree would be helpful. if you can target tax incentives to job creation and job growth, that might be one way to look at it but i do think that you cannot turn your back on the fact that you have to play defense and offense simultaneously. in other words, you have to protect people during this very difficult time while the employers get back on their feet and there's one other thing i would say, is that in this nation we have really abandoned manufacturing in large measure other than recent actions to try to shore up the auto industry. well, if we can make sure that in this stimulus that those manufacturers who in large measure, i can tell you in michigan anyway, the auto manufacturers and the suppliers have been turned away by banks, people who have worked for 30 years, have been good employers, have always made payroll and now find it very difficult to have access to capital because the industry itself has been semi-redlined. if there could be additional access to capital for
manufacturers, if that tarp money could be put into banks and encourage those manufacturers to have access to it so that they can make payroll and diversify, i think that would be another good form of stimulus that's targeted to job creation and saving jobs. >> governor daniels, i want to step back here for a mite. you earned the nickname the blade during your time as budget director for bush 43 in 2000-2001. we just racked up a $1.4 trillion deficit this year. 9.9% of gdp in our effort to bail out the economy. what about these deficits and what risk do they run to the economy? >> first of all, chris, i don't think i earned that nickname. i wish we'd been more successful than we were in persuading congress to limit spending then. but, you know, the deficits we ared about then are so minuscule compared to what we're doing now. now, the fundamental reality
ich again is going unattended right now is that the biggest threat to the long-term future of this nation isn't even these breathtaking deficits that we're now facing. it's the entitlement overhang that sits out beyond that. and this i wish desperately was a bigger priority of this administration. in the meantime, to -- to build deficits that are three and four x anything we've ever seen before is only to make a very serious long-term situation worse. how long the chinese and others are going to loan us money so that we can spend beyond our means is not clear to me. >> steve wynn, where do you draw the line between the proper role of government in all of this and the proper role of the private sector? >> government has never increased the standard of living of one single human being in civilization's history. for some reason, that simple truth has evaded everybody. the only thing that creates an
increased standard of living is giving someone a job, the demand for their labor, whether it's you and i, chris, or anybody else. the people have been paying the price for this juggernaut of federal spending are the working class and middle class of america and soaring rhetoric and great speeches with or without a teleprompter aren't going to change the truth and the truth is the biggest enemy, the biggest obstacle working middle class america has is government spending. >> wait, steve, let me bring in governor granholm. it looks like she wants to come out of her seat at this. >> well, i mean it's so simplistic to say that, with all due respect. to say that government has never created a job or increased the standard of living, i mean, there are a lot of people who are grateful that in this country we have a minimum wage. there are a lot of people who are grateful that they have access to medicare and medicaid, and i hope that we get access further to additional health
care for those who are right now uninsured. there is a balance here. to say that government is all evil, this is a democracy. it's the greatest country in the world. we happen to have less government than many other countries do. i'm telling you, to say there is no role for government, it's just -- it's just -- >> chris, can i make a point? >> i didn't say that. i didn't say that at all. >> mr. zandi, i promise i'll get you in. go ahead, mr. wynn. >> i didn't say that at all. i'm saying that the source of government revenue, the source of well-being in this country is employment. that allows companies to pay taxes, employees to pay taxes. that's the source here. and it's gotten out of focus. >> i agree. i agree with you. >> that's my point, governor. i'm not making any other point. and believe me, ma'am, i've got 20,000 employees. i've had as many as 150,000 families that i've been self-insuring. there's nothing simplistic about my approach to this problem. >> all right. let me bring in mark zandi, if i can. and i want to throw something
else into the hopper as i ask you about this, mr. zandi. the other policies president obama is pursuing at this point, a major health care reform which will include added taxes, a cap and trade policy, big government programs, big government spending and some more taxes, as part of that, how does that affect the decisions that private businessmen like steve wynn have to make? >> yeah, good point. let me -- just one other thing about government and the role of government. i agree with mr. wynn that in most times, noal times, government should stay out of the way, that the private sector should be allowed to do what it does because it's historically done a very good job at that. at times of crises, and i believe this last year and a half describes a crisis, we need to come together collectively. you think back to where we were 9, 12 months ago. major financial institutions were evaporating, the stock market was plunging, housing
values were falling. sdaes financial system is not normal, but we've made a lot of progress largely because government has stepped into the breach left by panicked private sector. >> mr. wynn, with 20,000 employees, as you look at cap and trade and health care reform and these huge deficits, how does that factor into your balance sheet and the investments you make and let me add into that the falling dollar. you're a big investor in building casinos and resorts in china. how does all that factor into your business decisions? >> well, health care, something i know about, is a complicated technical issue for which practically everybody in this administration has absolutely zero experience. it was not a priority. job creation was the priority from the day that this president was inaugurated. it has been eclipsed by a
technical confusing conversation in which hardly anybody has read the small print on a thing called health care. that's a proper subject along with infrastructure for a healthy economy. but infrastructure and health care are things that come later. right now our concentration should be on job creation. >> but you're not answering my question, mr. wynn. >> i'm sorry. >> as a businessman, how do you -- how do these things factor in to you making a decision as to whether to invest more or invest less, whether to go into china or not to go in? >> i'm grateful that i'm in china generating foreign currency. i'm the only one in nevada so far. i hired 5,000 people so far. my return on investment is not exactly handsome. i've never laid off anybody in 40 years. but if this president and this administration and nancy pelosi get their way, i and all other employees -- employers like myself will be hit with my employees with a barrage of taxes that will result in more
layoffs, that will not be helpful, and will be counterproductive to the very goal that we should have as a nation. >> let's -- governor daniels -- i'm going to give you a chance in a moment, governor granholm. governor daniels, let's talk a bit of politics here. if the economists are right and mark zandi says they a, and if unemployment is up over 10% well into next year and over 9% into the following year, are republicans in a very favorable political climate in november of 2010 and are democrats in real trouble? >> honestly don't know, chris, and it's just such a relatively unimportant question to me right now when we've got people hurting as they are, businesses struggling as they are. i do think that the american system has a propensity to seek and equilibrium. we've been pronouncing last rites over one party and the other for some time. you'll see balance come back just because, god bless them,
the american people don't trust politicians and they want them to watch each other. whether it will be a major recovery, political recovery or not, i don't know. let's just hope -- really, i really hope i'm wrong and i hope the recovery will be a lot stronger than anything i can see in the borders of our state or when i look nationally today. >> governor granholm, and you can weigh in with steve wynn if you'd like to, but the last time unemployment was over 10% during a congressional election was back in 1982 with ronald reagan, the republicans lost 26 seats in the house. why shouldn't, if it continues, and that's what the economists say is going to happen, why shouldn't th hold the democrats, who control the white house, the house and the senate, responsible? >> well, i do think it's way early and i completely agree with governor daniels. we're all trying to make sure that people can put food on the table, that they can stay in their homes and that they have the means of getting through this recession. that's what everybody's focused on right now. but there is -- i just want to jump back very quickly on the
health care piece and on cap and trade, too, which is something that governor daniels raised. i think that especially in these times, but really on the long-term basis, for the econo to rebound, we have to look at what our competitor countries are doing. just as an example, in michigan, you spend as a consumer $1200 to $1600 on every vehicle if it's a domestically made american vehicle for health care. that's not what is being spent by other -- for conmers of other products that are not -- that are from other countries because other countries provide some assistance. there's a partnership there. the full burden of health care is not on the backs of the private sector. so in this country, we have an opportunity to have a shared responsibility so that our businesses can be, in fact, more competitive. more cars were built in ontario than in michigan two years ago and last year because they weren't going to canada because of taxes or regulation, but they
were going there because healt care got a greater assist than it does in the united states. that's an important public-private partnership to make us more competitive. on cap and trade, i believe we have the means to go to greenbelt. to make the products that are associated with reducing global warming and increasing energy efficiency. so i don't think we should be afraid of this at all. we know that the globe is going to need those solutions. the technology and the expertise, the universities and the manufacturing capacity are here in the midwest, so let's embrace that and be the place where those products are made. >> we've got less than a minute left. steve wynn, since i think she was responding to some of your comments, you get the last word. >> punishing attitude, take it to the government, we know what's best, i don't think they do. i think these are complicated subjects. job creation, the chance to
build more cars, comes from people having a job. focus on that simple truth. simple truths hold institutions together. we've lost our focus, and that's my opinion. >> well, thank you all so much. governors granholm and daniels, steve wynn and mark zandi, thank you all for coming in today. and let's do this again. please come back. >> all right. >> sure. >> thanks, chris. >> up next, president obama wins an award for peace while deciding how to fight war. our sunday panel weighs in on both when we come right back. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change. what if that energy, came from an energy company. every day, chevron invests $62 million in people. in ideas. seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world,
>> i will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. >> he's not only the first post-racial president, he's also the nation's first post-accomplishment president. he has risen above incompetence. he's now judged on wishful thinking. >> well, that was just two of the reactions from the president and onof his toughest critics about the surprise winner of this year's nobel peace prize. it's time now for our sunday panel. bill kristol of "the weekly standard," nina easton of "fortune" magazine, liz cheney, former state department official, daughter of the former vice president and first-time panelist, and juan williams from national public radio. liz, i have been waiting all weekend to ask you, what do you think of president obama winning the nobel peace prize? >> well, chris, i think the president himself understands he didn't earn this prize and therefore the notion that this white house has said he would go to oslo to accept the prize
would add to the farce. but i do think that he could send a real signal here. i think what he ought to do, frankly, is send the mother of a fallen american soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the u.s. military. frankly, to send the message to remind the nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night because the u.s. armed forces, because the u.s. military is the greatest peacekeeping force in the world today. so he ought to take an opportunity to send that kind of message. >> do you agree with the widespread analysis that the nobel committee was sending a repudiation of the bush/cheney policies? >> well, i think what the committee believes is that th'd like to different in a world in which america is not dominant and i think if you look at the language of the citation, you can see that they talk about, you know, president obama ruling in a way that makes sense to the majority of the people of the world. you know, americans don't elect a president to do that. we elect a president to defend our national interests. and so i think that they may believe that president obama also doesn't agree with american dominance and they may have been
trying to affirm that belief with the prize. i think, unfortunately, they may be right and i think it's a concern. >> juan, let's talk about the citation. we're going to talk about afghanistan in the next segment, but this does give an insight into how the world views obama's foreign policy and how obama views his own foreign policy. i want to put up on the screen the award citation from the nobel committee. it said obama has, as president, created a new climate in international politics. multi-lateral diplomacy has regained a central position with emphasis on the role that the united nations and other international institutions can play. and they went on, as liz said, to say something about once again the united states, the leader of the world, is pushing the values of the majority of the world's people. what does that say about how the nobel committee views obama's foreign policy and what does it say about obama's foreign policy? >> first and foremost, i think it's a repudiation of the
bush/cheney policy in its response to any perceived threat, that it should be perceived as working in a collaborative fashion to try to staunch the likes of iran or afghanistan when there are threats to be perceived and to be handled. so, i mean, clearly, president obama has not earned this award yet. so in some sense it's early. it's premature. and you wonder about people who actually are facing bullets and strife, people in china or people in latin america, political opposition leaders in africa. so i think that what they're doing here is saying we feel that there is such a dearth of willingness to take diplatic action, to speak about climate change, stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and president obama speaks their language and they are so appreciative of that. >> bill. >> it's hard for me to be
objective about this because i'm so disappointed personally. i was up early friday morning. i thought the phone might ring, you know. pundits for peace. i deserve it pretty much. president obama and i have done about the same amount to bring about world peace, i think. he's given some good speeches. i've written a few columns. of course, what can i say? this is a prize that this committee gave, this nobel peace prize committee. it's not clear to me it speaks for the world. they gave it to kofi annan right after september 11, 2001. there have been scandals and they gave it to them because they wanted to send a signal we're not giving it to the firefighters and the people who rescued people on 9/11. we're not giving it to anyone working for peace in afghanistan, a mission to remove
a horrible taliban government sheltering al qaeda. they've given the prize to president obama. i think he should have refused it. but the best thing would be to give a pro-american speech on december 10. >> do you think the committee is right about obama, that he shares their view that america is another country and that it's an end to sort of the idea of american exceptionalism, that american values have a special place and a special rolen the world? >> friends of obama said himself in europe this year when asked about american exceptionalism, i believe in american exceptionalism, the british believe in british exceptionalism, the greeks believe in greek exceptionalism. i don't think president obama is so foolish as not to realize that american -- he said this a couple of times -- that american military power and might is the single most important contributor to peace and to freedom in the world.
and he hinted at ts in a statement on friday. he made a reference to our brave soldiers who were fighting. so i don't think he shares it entirely. i hope he does not entirely share the view of the nobel peace prize committee. >> nina? >> of course, barack obama came into office january 20 and the nominations were due by february 1. that was the -- he had done even less back then. as parents, we were at one point to praise our kids just for effort. the research came back. it takes away any self-motivation. i think politically, i don't know what's going to happen on the international stage, but i think politically at home it hurts him because it feeds into the storyline that he's a show horse and not a workhorse. it's a storyline that was building when he signed the stimulus bill created by congress. it's a storyline that continues with the health ca battle where he hasn't weighed in with the leadership both sides thinks he should weigh in and i think it exposed him to ridicule.
it's hard to find anyone in this country from the right or left concerned about him accepting this prize with afghanistan on his plate. it's hard to find anyone supporting this. >> liz, obviously, the most important factor of this is it's a nice award and the money isn't bad. is it going to translate into specific action of the international community? are we going to get more support from our allies, russia, maybe china, on iran sanctions, to get more help from nato in fighting the war in afghanistan? does this get translated into specific help from the international community? >> no, i don't think there's any evidence of that. i think actually we've not now nine months of watching this president try to conduct a foreign policy that's based on incentives and appeasement. it's based on this notion that we're going to have an outstretched hand no matter if the people in iran are shooting people on the street. he's got nothing to show for this big shift in u.s. foreign policy.
but i think that if it continues, it will, in fact, make us weaker. and you've seen no evidence the chinese continue to supply major portion of iranian gas needs, for example, no evidence whatsoever that they're willing to stop that in an effort to -- >> juan, 30 seconds. >> when you see gordon brown, when you see international leaders standing next to president obama and saying now is the time that we have to join together to take action against iran, i think you're starting to see some evidence of his diplomatic efforts beginning to pay off. when bill says this is an insult to america, i'm just shocked. i don't get it. our president just won the nobel peace prize. i don't think that he has earned it at this juncture, but they just honored the united states and our stature as the lone superpower in the world and our ability to bring peace. and that acknowledgement is nothing that's intended to insult america or our military. >> all right. we have to step aside for a moment. when we come back, we'll continue the conversation. we'll also discuss the president's impending decision on afghanistan.
weight. >> president obama and senator john mccain debating the question of the moment here in washington. what's the best way forward in afghanistan? and we're back now with the panel. bill, the white house says the president has made no decision yet, but there seem to be -- officials seem to be outlining what seems to be the general shape of what they're looking at. and that is that it's enough to weaken the taliban in afghanistan, but not to eliminate it. and that won't require a major increase in u.s. troops. first, do you think that's where they're headed and do you think that will work? >> i mean, it sounds as if that's where some of them want to be headed. i actually would be amazed if the president signs off on that. as commander in chief, he's going to tell u.s. forces we're weakening your enemy a little less than we could, but go ahead and fight against an enemy
that's stronger because i'm reluctant to send more troops. he's taken withdrawing troops off the table. there's a respectable argument for that. he's not doing that. he's taking pure counterterrorism off the table. we're not going to go offshore and use droens. we're fighting counterinsurgency. the general says we can do this. we'll make the most progress, have the fewest casualties to the u.s. if we adequately resource this counterinsurgency. i don't see what's the point of saying we'll do it in a half-hearted way. i think he may surprise us and go with general mcchrystal's recommendation. >> bill, it's not just 40,000 or -- >> wait, it now turns out this week that the top request that was made was 60,000. >> correct.
>> 40,000 turns out to be the preferred middle option. >> correct. there are several options on the board coming from general mcchrystal. but the way it's being presented here is you have to give general mcchrystal all he asks for. president obama gave him 21,000 already this year, so the question is where are we going and what we see if you look at the projections is as we increase troop levels, we have more and more casualties, not that suddenly additional force means we are additionally in command. what we've seen in the past week is intense fighting in pakistan. we see as the pakistani government tries to do more to restrain al qaeda, which is the real problem. we don't want the taliban to be a host for al qaeda. if, in fact, the real fact is in pakistan, why don't we just make sure that, for example, the pakistanis are stable enough to keep the taliban at bay and then go after al qaeda? >> let me pick up on that with you, liz. there's an anecdote in the
latest "newsweek"-week with joe biden on the cover where he makes the point to the president, pakistan is where al qaeda leaders are and the country with nuclear weapons and the argument seems to be you can beat al qaeda, the real threat to the u.s., without winning in afghanistan. >> i think that's just clearly wrong. and i think you've got a situation now somehow where the president made a decision in march about strategy, that he was going to go with counterinsurgency and you've got vice president biden being portrayed as an expert on counterinsurgency. -- counterterrorism. general mcchrystal is the expert on counterterrorism. he knows that can't work alone in pakistan. pakistan, we have to shore up the elements inside pakistan who want to go after the taliban. there are elements particularly in the pakistani intelligence services who want to ally themselves with the taliban. if we make a decision as a nation and, frankly, the dithering that we've seen now the last couple of months,e make a decision we're going to
pull out to any extent at all, we make a decision that we're not going to be aggressively doing what it takes to win, that will send a very clear message to elements side pakistan that, you know, making a deal with the taliban is a better bet for them. it will weaken those people like the chief of staff of the army who want to go after the taliban. so these two things are clearly linked. we cannot win in pakistan if we do not win in a counterinsurgency fashion in afghanistan. >> nina? >> i think what we're seeing -- juan talked about harsh fighting. i think we're seeing harsh fighting inside this white house. what you're seeing is on one side defense secretary gates, hillary clinton and the president who says we have to destroy the taliban. in august he said we have to destroy the taliban or al qaeda will use this as a safe haven for attacks against americans. he said that august 17th. you have political advisers inside the white house looking at 2010. it's a midterm election in which the democrats are concerned anyway. you've got an unpopular war. you've got troop increases if he
goes with troop increases, it will happen mostly in the summer moving into that election and i think -- and you have a president who wants to -- says he wants to win this war, but doesn't seem to want to sell it. you've got to go out -- whatever he does, if he does increase troops, he's got to go out and make that pitch and throw his heart into it and sell it. and you just don't see that coming from him. >> i mean, i know there are political pressures, but i would like to think that this president -- i do think that this president is trying to make the right decision. there is no guarantee if you give mcchrystal the 60,000 troops -- i mean, that it's going to work. particularly given the nature of the government that is in control in afghanistan now. >> but what is better about giving him -- quote, giving him. why do we use that formulation? the president is sending as many troops as he thinks -- he should send as many troops as he thinks will accomplish the mission, unless he wants to abandon the mission. he doesn't want to abandon the mission. what grown-up argument is there that sending 15,000 troops when
general mcchrystal thinks 40,000 is what you need to resource the counterinsurgency? maybe we shouldn't send too many bullets or too many vehicles. it's very expensive. the notion is ridiculous. short-term, if you engage the enemy, you may have more casualties. would you prefer to have 110,000 or 70,000? we are stretched too thin if you read the accounts of the recent battles. if we're going to fight, let's fight the war. >> so you explain to them, bill kristol, you explain to their parents why are they there? they should be there because they are fighting for a stable government that's going to be able to withstand the insurgents coming from the taliban and al qaeda? if we don't have a clear sense of that mission -- >> then we should get out. >> don't you think we have -- >> go ahead. >> we're not committed to doing what it takes to win. >> you said weaken. i don't see -- why is anybody thinking that we want to weaken american forces? we are american forces and i
don't think the president has done anything but committed. >> well, panel, thank you. i'm glad we settled this. now, this is a perfect plug. don't forget to check out the latest edition of panel plus where our panel will continue this argument on foxnewssunday.com shortly after the show ends. up next, our power player of the week. this country definitely needs to focus on other ways to get energy. we should be looking closer to home. there are places off the continental shelf. natural gas can be a part of the solution. i think we need to work on wind resources. they ought to be carefully mapping every conceivable alternative. there is an endless opportunity right here.
>> we always see her in the worst of times after a terrible accident. but it's what she does off-camera that makes her job so important. here's our power player of the week. >> most of us were at he when we got the call about the -- about the midair collision over the hudson. >> deborah hersman is chairman ofhe national transportation safety board, and she's talking
about the 24/7 nature of her job. in august, a helicopter and single-engine plane collided in new york. within hours, she and her team were on the scene and in charge. >> the accident occurred in very complex airspace. >> with a staff of just 400, the ntsb investigates every civil aviation accident and any significant rail, or pipeline mishap. their job, to find out what happened and recommend changes so it doesn't happen again. >> we say this is what we see and it's not sugar-coated and we're not trying to kind of please anyone except for the public that we serve. >> it starts in the communications center where staff often gets first word of an accident from the media. >> these guys put out calls and pages to all of the team members and start putting into place all of our launch activity. >> 15 to 20 people deploy to a crash site. eventually they study every part they recover and do simulations
to try to re-create the accident. >> i love reading nancy drew novels when i was a kid and i think for many of us, getting to do a job where we get to solve puzzles and find out what happened, and it is very csi-like. >> amid the detective work, hersman never loses sight of the human cost. >> every accident that you go to, you remember, and there's always a little piece of that. it's hard to let go, and, you know, you remember the families. >> and that is what drives the ntsb. while it has no enforcement powers, the agency will take on big companies and even public officials, demanding change. >> we've issued about 13,000 recommendations and over 80% of those have been adopted or closed out in a favorable way. >> but the ntsb doesn't always get its way. it publishes a most wanted list of proposed safety improvements. at the top now, setting stricter work hours to prevent fatigue and banning operators from using
cell phones and texting. deborah hersman has been interested in transportation most of her life. >> my father was in the air force, and i so lowed in -- soloed in a piper cub before i got my driver's license z. are you a nervous traveler? >> when you're listening to the briefing, you need to look at where the emergency exits are and count how many rows are between you and the emergency exit so if you get into a dark situation or it's not well lit, you know where you want to go. >> you literally do this every time you get on a plane. >> i absolutely do it every time i get on a plane. >> hersman says plane crash investigations on average take about a year, but after that collision over the hudson, the ntsb made recommendations in two weeks on how to better manage the heavy air traffic around new york city. up next, we hear from you.
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>> time now for some comments you posted on our blog wallace watch. alan and jean hodge wrote about future involvement in afghanistan. how is that democrats must ram through health care reform without debate and have no problem agonizing over whether or not to fight the afghan war while our own troops die for lack of support? charles sent us this about a u.n. agency announcing plans to check out that iran nuclear plant later this month. that's just like telling a robbery suspect that you'll be inspecting his place in three weeks. just what do you think he'll do? he'll get rid of all the evidence. please keep your comments