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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  May 6, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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every place, and every way that i can. >> in politics, it is often easy come, but not so easy go. thank you for watching "state of the union." i'm candy crowley in washington. find today's interviews, some analysis, and web exclusives at our website, fareed zakaria "gps" is next for our viewers here in the united states. this is "gps, the global public square." welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. we have a great show for you today. we will start with the economy. america's economy is looking somewhat better. europe's is looking a lot worse. request the euro bring the dollar down with it? then a defense of the 1% and comes from one of mitt romney's former partners who defends the equality. next up, the great historian robert carole on the president he has spent almost 40 years studying and writing about.
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why lyndon baines johnson could get things done in washington and the lessons for today. and is china changing from a company into a country? i'll explain. first, here's my take. whatever you thought of president obama's speech on afghanistan this week, it is now increasingly clear that the united states is winding down its massive military commitments to the two wars of the last decade. we are out of iraq and we will soon largely be out of afghanistan. osama bin laden is dead, al qaeda is a shadow of its former self. threats remain, but they are being handled using special forces and intelligence. so finally, after a decade, we seem to be right-sizing the threat from terrorist groups. or are we? while we leave the battlefields of the greater middle east, and we are firmly committed to the war on terror at home. what do i mean by that? well, look at the expansion of federal bureaucracies to tackle this war. since september 11th, 2001, the u.s. government has created or reconfigured at least 263
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organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. 33 new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet. the equivalent of 22 u.s. capitals or three pentagons. the largest bureaucracy after the pentagon and the department of veterans affairs is now the department of homeland security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people. the rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government's powers that now touch every aspect of american life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the united states. in the past, the u.s. government has built up for war and assumed emergency authority, sometimes abused that power. yet, always demobilized after the war. this is, of course, a war without end.
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so we continue to stand in absurd airport lines, turn down the visa applications of hundreds of thousands of tourists, businessmen, artists, and performers who simply want to visit america and spend money here and become ambassadors of goodwill for this country. we continue to treat even those visitors who arrive with visas as hostile aliens, checking, searching, and deporting people from airports at will. we continue to place new procedures and rules to monitor everything that comes in and out of the country, making doing business in america less attractive and more burdensome than in most western capitals. we don't look like people who have won a war. we look like scared, fearful losers. let's get started.
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i am now joined by martin wolf, the chief economics commentator of "the new york times" and rana foroohar of "time" magazine. rana, first the jobs numbers say every few months we go through reading these tea leaves. the numbers seem a little worse than people were expecting. unemployment, on the other hand, dropped, but that's because fewer people are looking for jobs. what do you make of it? >> i think this is continuing what we've seen in the last few months of this wimpy recovery. you know, we are in recovery. the unemployment figure is ticking down. we don't really feel like it. you know, income is still very flat. there's a lot of slack in the job market. i think what's interesting is where the numbers are weakest. we're seeing a lot of public job cuts still particularly at the local and federal level, and i think you may start to see some of the weakening of exports, particularly off the back of a slowdown in emerging markets. >> what do you think? >> i agree completely with that.
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basically, i believe for years we were going to see a very weak recovery from a huge financial crisis when a large part of the world was in financial crisis. now the emerging markets are slowing as well. it's almost inevitable that we're going to see a very disappointing recovery, very disappointing recovery in the jobs market without much stronger demand growth and there's nothing -- nothing there to generate that. >> martin, the thing that people worry about is europe now because it seemed as though europe had sort of temporarily solved this crises or at least given itself breathing room. mario draghi, the head of the ecb came in, provided liquidity, provided cheap loans to banks, so there wasn't going to be a lehman-like moment where there was going to be a run on the banks. people breathed a sigh of relief. all of a sudden, people like you are worrying a lot again. why? >> i never believed the argument. essentially, he provided a lot of liquidity, and that prevented what was surely going to be an implosion of large parts of the euro zone banking system, and that stopped a disaster. that's a very good thing, but
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the underlying situation remains the same. we have governments with very serious debt problems and huge deficits which they have to finance. or in the case of italy, these huge rollover problems. who is going to finance them? basically their own banks. their banks are under enormous stress even now. we have very weak economies. we have rising unemployment. the spanish data horrendous. close to 50%, youth unemployment. that makes politics terrible everywhere. the politics gets into the markets. the debt market gets worse because people look at the political stress. this is going to go on for years. >> but is there a danger that there will be an implosion or an explosion? >> there is a danger. you can see it, in which we can get recurrent crisises that will be political crises. electrics of governments which a
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is a we don't want to do it. that will create a political crisis. that will get into the debt markets. there will be friction among countries. there will be endless summits, no doubt, and, of course, any load is possible that one of these will blow over, blow up. it will be become unmanageable, and people know that. the stresses will go on for years. when you are -- have a patient that's under tremendous stress for years, constant recurrent little attacks, one of them might be fatal. >> the new normal in europe is going to be this roller coaster of constantly feeling like you're on the edge of an economic meltdown? >> i think the politics of fragmentation are extreme. as an example, there were 8,000 police on staff in barcelona during the latest european central bank meeting. i mean, when there are as many police at a central bankers meeting as there are at a european football match, you know you have problems. >> you were always pessimistic about the british experiment with austerity. you argued that they were cutting too much, that they didn't need to, that they could borrow. now we have data that shows that britain is in a technical recession. first major economy to have a double-dip recession in 40 years. does this mean this whole
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experiment with austerity in europe was a mistake? what could countries like greece and spain and portugal and ireland do who did have bond markets telling them you have to get your budget in order? >> i think it's crucial to differentiate countries that can borrow from countries that can't. in the case of the europeans, i think the odds are worse to have greater support from the center. but you can impose so much austerity on these countries. >> which means you want germans -- >> you need some form of euro bond. basically you need common fiscal support in the monetary union. you need a federal system in a federal union, which is what they have. the problem is here we have these states essentially. they're not really countries anymore, which can't borrow themselves. the interest rates are so high that it puts them into a crisis. doesn't give them the time for their economies to adjust, which takes years. you need some form of support, and the only way to do that is at the center. because that's not being provided, they had no
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alternative but to cut, and that makes the crisis actually worse. britain is a different situation. for us, it was voluntary, and the result has been exactly what i had feared it would be, added to some really rather unfortunate shocks. but i think the british government locked itself mistakenly into a five-year program, far too rigid. you need more flexibility. >> but basically what martin is saying is whatever the mechanisms that europe needed more stimulus and less budget cutting. is that fair to say? you are saying germany should have given the stimulus? >> they couldn't finance it. >> i completely agree with that, and i agree, again, that euro bonds were need and that more of the fiscal union was needed. the time for that was several years ago. the politics of this just get more and more difficult with every passing month. i completely agree that if you are going to be together in a union, it has to be a real union, an economic union, a political union, and europe is not there yet, and that's where we have this politics of
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fragmentation. >> you wrote a color story about what you were going to see in europe was rising protests because of all these budget cuts. >> you will be seeing increasing threats, not just in france but elsewhere. i think that the world is getting bumpier all the time. i'm particularly concerned about what happens in france and germany because if those countries go into recession, if their situation gets much worse, that's really what could potentially affect the u.s. >> germany, that's -- imf growth forecast says that even over the next five years, even germany's growth is only going to be 40% of u.s. growth, and they don't predict very strong u.s. growth. the engine that was powering europe is itself slowing down, partly for demographic reasons. >> i think the main reason is it's not an engine. the problem is that germany is competitive, but the engine was always demand growth elsewhere because germany is so dependent on the growth of exports. >> germany is the china of --
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>> germany has now insisted, extraordinarily foolishly, that everybody else in europe, and remember, the rest of europe is still far and away its biggest market. its ease well over half its trade. so, it's forcing europe to cut demands. so, of course, germany, which is hugely export dependent immediately slows down itself, completely self-defeating. makes impossible adjustment in the rest of europe and slows down growth dramatically in jury manny. i think it is an extraordinarily shortsighted and foolish policy and exactly the consequences you would expect and the u.s. will i think without doubt, unless they go crazy in the end of this year, on these ludicrous fiscal cliff the u.s. has planned itself, unless something crazy happens, and i expect the u.s. to be the strongest large developed country over the next several years. >> martin wolf, rona, thank you very much. as always. when we come back, we have somebody who has written a book that defends the 1%. the case you haven't heard when
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my next guest is the author of perhaps the most hated book of the year. "unintended consequences" goes again the grain in arguing that the rise of the 1% is actually good for the 99%. the author says that contrary to what the occupy movement might say, inequality does have its benefits. ed connor is here to explain. he is a former managing director at bain capital. yes, he worked closely with mitt romney and is now one of his top donors. he joins me now. so, ed, let's start by just -- explain to me why is the rise of the 1% good for the economy?
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>> sure. it's not really the central focus of the book. the book is about how to get the economy to groe faster. that growth in the long run is powered by innovation and risk taking and part of what the book argues is that the payoffs for risk taking are essential to getting more risk taking in this economy, and that that's good for the middle class and the working poor. >> so you want -- you want people to invest, take risks with their capital so that you spur innovation? >> yes. although i think the economy has changed significantly from where it was in the 1950s when capital investment to build an automotive industry and a highway system were essential to growth to one today where 13 guys and a computer can create instagram, and it's powered more by risk taking than it is by the funding of investment.
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>> let me ask you about the kind of alternate view, let's say, that somebody like robert reich would present, which is the problem with our economy has become that because of this inequality, what you have is enormous gains going to the top 1%, and that they can't consume all that much. you can't at the end of the day you can't consume, you know, $5 million a year, $20 million a year that people are making, and that the result is that the economy lacks the kind of juice it would have if you had more middle-class consumption than actually precisely what your law is celebrating, which is that the rich have all this money to spare is the problem that you have a deficit of consumption, sure, because you don't have middle class incomes and the wages rising, and these guys, therefore, can't power the economy, and they are the 99%. >> it's classic argument made by many people, to be sure. i believe that the current recession stems from a mistaken diagnosis of the financial crisis and that has led to a reduction in risk taking and consumer demand and that until we change that diagnosis and reorient the financial sector, we will have a slow recovery. >> leaving aside the economics,
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do you see how the politics of this tone of the book is going to rub people the wrong way, because it sounds like sometimes you are saying, look, just let the 1% get richer and richer. they are making investments that are good for everybody, and it's you middle-class folk who are actually not pulling your weight in the economy. >> well, the tone of the "new york times" article is going to get everybody antagonized, which i suppose is great because it will sell more books. it hardly says that the middle class is not pulling their weight. if anything, it says that the most talented people are not pulling their weight because they need to take more risk and find more innovation to accelerate the growth in the economy. >> how do you do that? >> he think one of the things you do is you don't reduce the payoffs for risk taking. how do you get people to take the risk that 99% of the time what they're trying to do is get to get pruned away, and they'll be set back as a result, and that's what we want to happen in our economy because the opportunity for innovation has changed dramatically.
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we're not exploiting the value of capitalizing and the value of cars today. we are 13 guys and a computer can create enormous value, so when it comes to what happens to the distribution of income in the economy, we need a million steve jobs. you know, getting one more of them or two more of them or three more of them in the short run causes some income inequality before we get enough of them where it changes course and goes in the other direction. i would say what's the priority? getting the economy to grow faster? getting more innovation to pump up employment and wages? or dampening down the income inequality? i take the first over the second. that would be my priority, and i think it's beneficial to the middle class and the working poor. >> you worked with mitt romney for years. do you think he agrees with what's in this book? >> i think at the highest level, he agrees with the book. he certainly celebrates entrepreneurialism, risk taking to produce innovation. the book covers a lot of ground. there's lots of counter
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intuitive, even controversial things in the book. there's nobody who agrees with everything that's in the book except perhaps me. >> what do you think of mitt romney as an executive? >> i thought he was an outstanding executive. he is everything that you would expect him to be, and it's hard to watch the cartoon portrayed on the tv. he is brilliant. he has a deep understanding of how business works. he is great at consensus building. he is decisive when he needs to be decisive. he surrounded himself with the most capable people. he encouraged those people to challenge him and to challenge each other so that there was enormous preparation when you went into the room to talk to him, and he had the highest level of integrity. he was only trying to do what was best in the long-term. was best in the long term. >> but when you watch this guy on the campaign trail, particularly in the primaries, would they make you wince? >> i think he does a great job, but let's be clear. he didn't spend his life making political speeches to the
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people. he spent a lot of time around a table like this with five or ten decision makers trying to get to the truth of a matter and make a very complex and difficult decision. he is not as practiced in that area as he could be if he had been a politician his whole life. >> so if he is as brilliant and has so much integrity, explain to me how he could at that republican debate when told if you could close the deficit and you would get $10 of spending cuts for $1 of tax increases, would you take it? and he said no. i mean, you know the math. surely the mitt romney you are describing understands that you can't close this deficit without more revenues. >> i say two things. the first is i don't speak for mitt romney. i speak for myself. i put forward my argument. the person who has to answer that question is obviously mitt romney. are there tough tradeoffs to be made? of course, there's tough tradeoffs to be made. does he understand that? i'm sure he understands it. my view would be we would be lucky to get him to be making those tough tradeoffs because he would make them with more
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integrity and more drive for the truth than almost anybody i have ever worked with. >> ed, pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. up next, what in the world? china scandals and how the past is changing the present in beijing, when we come back. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 ttd# 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about the typical financial consultation ttd# 1-800-345-2550 when companies try to sell you something off their menu ttd# 1-800-345-2550 instead of trying to understand what you really need. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 ttd# 1-800-345-2550 at charles schwab, we provide ttd# 1-800-345-2550 a full range of financial products, ttd# 1-800-345-2550 even if they're not ours. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 and we listen before making our recommendations, ttd# 1-800-345-2550 so we can offer practical ideas that make sense for you. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 ttd# 1-800-345-2550 so talk to chuck, and see how we can help you, not sell you. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 to get people to try on these new depend silhouette briefs, and today we are rocking the red carpet. look it's lisa rinna! lisa hiii,i know you don't need one but will you try on
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the furor over the blind chinese activist chen guangcheng has captured the world's attention. the event in much greater significance is the powerful party boss. the rise and fall is part of a much larger and potentially disruptive trend in china, the return of politics to the china communist party. we don't think of the chinese communist party as a political organization these days. it's dominated by technocrats obsessed with economic and engineering challenges. these men, and they are almost
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all men, are comfortable talking about detailed economic and technical data, laying out master plans for development, but they're not politicians adept at handling large crowds or palace intrigue. this apolitical system is a recent phenomenon, and the outcome of a conscious decision by the founder of modern china, deng xiaoping. mao preceded over a period of hyperpolitics. political purges, the great leap forward, the cultural revolution all designed to divide and destroy his opponents and consolidate his power. it was against in backdrop that the next great leader of china took power in the late 1970s. deng was determined to end the
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high drama of chinese political life and focus on economic development. he turned the party into a professional organization that was run by technocrats. by 1985, the country's top leadership, its central committee, was dominated by younger, college-educated graduates and the polit bureau's standing committee, the country's ruling elite, were all engineers. the communist party of china, a party whose history is tied up with peasants, workers, and soldiers, is now the most elite political organization in the world. its system of promotion favors engineers, economists, management experts over anyone with grassroots political skills. for two decades, china has been run like a company, not a country. but china is, in fact, a country with a long history of politics, and eventually politics had to re-emerge. china has reached a level of growth and development where the big questions it faces are
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not technical engineering ones, but deep political and philosophical ones. bo xilai represent this emerging reality in two ways. in a system of colorless man, he was conniving, charismatic, and comfortable in front of crowds, eager to push himself forward and rubbed against the grain of consensus decision making. he also represented the new left, an idealogical movement that emphasized social and cultural solidarity, the power of the state, and other left-wing populist issues. whether he truly believed in these issues is irrelevant. like all good political entrepreneurs, he saw a market for these ideas and he filled it. bo's ouster is the most significant purge in the higher ranks of the party since tiennamen square, and the party will hope, as after those events, the party can return to its technocratic path. but china has changed too much.
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and politics in china in the future could xenophobic, nationalist, populist. they will be messy and unpredictable like politics everywhere. for more on this, see my essay in the latest issue of "time" magazine. up next, american history. how lyndon johnson wielded power and what we can learn from that today. i felt lost. unitedhealthcare offered us a specially trained rn who helped us weigh and understand all our options. for me cancer was as scary as a fastball is to some of these kids. but my coach had hit that pitch before. turning data into useful answers. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. [ young man ] whoo-hoo! ♪ so soon you'll take me
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i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. president lyndon b. johnson. 35 years. that's how long two-time pulitzer prize winning author robert carol has spent researching, thinking about, and writing about the life of president lyndon baines johnson. the result of that extraordinary toil, other than two pulitzer prizes, 3,388 pages so far. he has just published the "passage of power," the fourth volume of his l.b.j. biography, and the 76-year-old is far from done. he says he will move to vietnam to write the next volume on the warriors. before he does that, he joins me today. >> great to be back. >> so in the last volume, you had gotten to the point where
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lyndon johnson, through this extraordinary skill he had at running the senate, had passed the most -- the most important civil rights legislation since reconstruction, perhaps one of the most important pieces of legislation in american history. >> yes. >> then he begins his years as vice president, which is a huge letdown for a man who had really run washington. >> yes. he is humiliated by the kennedys. they look down on him, and they're afraid of him. they're afraid to let him on the leash. they keep him on a very short leash. he is, as you say, probably the greatest legislator in american history in the 20th century. they don't ask him for any advice on legislation. when he is invited to parties, like at bobby kennedy's hickory hill house, he is put at hill house, he is put at what ethel kennedy calls the losers table, and he know it's the losers table. they have a nickname for him in
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the kennedy white house, rufus cornhole or uncle rufus. he is humiliated and cut out of power completely for almost three years. >> and he and bobby kennedy particularly really hate each other. describe the first time they -- the meeting you describe. >> well, you say why did -- as a historian, you hate to use words as strong as hate, but it's not too strong to describe the feeling between lyndon johnson and bobby kennedy, and there were other reasons for it, but part of it was just chemistry. >> and then bobby kennedy becomes the second most powerful man in america, and is treating lyndon johnson, the vice president, as a nothing. >> as a nothing. johnson literally has to ask kennedy's permission every time he wants to use a plane for a trip. every word and every speech that he gives has to be cleared by the white house. really by robert kennedy. he is humiliate -- one of his secretaries said the kennedys, they made you feel that they were in and you weren't.
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so in many ways, johnson is just -- these are the terrible years of his life, you know? someone said it was like a great bull being put out to pasture late in his career. >> was part of it class, that the kennedys were seen as this upper class, harvard educated and johnson was not? >> well, in johnson's mind. you know, there's a reality to it also. jack kennedy went to harvard. a lot of the kennedy people went to harvard. london johnson went to southwest texas state teachers college. he describes that as the poor boys school. "i went to the poor boys school." you went to the southwest teachers college because you couldn't afford to go to the university of texas. and he knew that. all his life, he knew he had been cheated out of an education, and he was -- he was ashamed of it. >> when you get to the assassination, take us through. what was it like for johnson?
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we understand so much about it, but give us the perspective from the guy who suddenly realizes with all the tragedy, that he has just gone from being a nobody to being the most powerful man in the world? >> well, i'll start in the very moment. he is riding in the third car behind president kennedy. there is the crack of a gunshot. most of the people think it's a backfire from a motorcycle or a firecracker going on, but the secret service agent who is sitting in the front seat of johnson's car, a man named rufus youngblood, knows in the instant that it's a hunting rifle. he whirls around and grabs johnson's right shoulder. johnson is hitting on the right side of the back seat. he throws johnson on the floor, leaps over the front seat, sprawl on top of johnson, and johnson -- and lays there, shielding johnson's body with his own while the cars speed off to the hospital.
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johnson was later say to say he will never forget his knees many my back and his elbows in my back. he says to johnson as they put in to park at hospital, when we stop, get out of this car. we're not stopping for anybody. don't look around. we're going to get you to a secure place. they yank johnson out of the car. he doesn't even have time to see what is in jack kennedy's car, which is actually the president's body still lying there on jackie's lap. four agents run him through the corridors looking for a secure place. johnson, you know, fareed, doesn't know. he stands there for 40 minutes. no one gives him word. he tries to find out what president kennedy's condition is, and they just say the doctors are working on him. after 40 minutes, kenny o'donnell, who is a kennedy aide who loved jack kennedy, comes through the door, and lady bird johnson was to recall in her diary that seeing the stricken face of kenny o'donnell who loved him, we knew.
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a moment later, another kennedy aide comes into the room and says to johnson, "mr. president." it's the first time anyone has ever called him mr. president. so you say for 40 minutes the man who actually probably is already president of the united states is standing there. the thing about him, he stands almost motionless, standing against this wall. lady bird is sitting beside him. no one knows what he is thinking. but when he is addressed as mr. president, he starts immediately giving decisive orders. >> and he orchestrates the famous photograph that we have all seen, because he wants jackie kennedy to be on that plane flying back to washington. he wants the world to see that this was a peaceful transfer of power, but with the consent and in a sense, the buy-in of the kennedys. >> he takes steps to do that. you also have to say, however, with lyndon johnson, nothing is
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simple. you have to say there is another motive that he says is the motive, i'm not leaving her. they tell him -- the secret service says we're getting ow the plane and we're taking off immediately for washington, because the white house we can make secure. johnson says, no, you're not. i'm not leaving mrs. kennedy here. and they say to him, well, she won't leave without the body -- her husband's body. he says then we'll wait on the plane for her and the coffin to come aboard. it's also true that he wants jackie kennedy beside him when he is taking the oath to show, just as you say, the continuity. and she realizes this too. you know, when ken o'donnell says lyndon johnson wants you beside him, she says something -- her exact quote is in the book. for history's sake, that's what i should do. >> when we come back, we will ask robert carol what johnson was like as president, how he was able to pass more significant legislation in his first few years in office than perhaps any president had been
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able to in history and whether one can wield that kind of power in washington today. when we come back. with b vitamins, the first and only one to help support a healthy metabolism. three smart ways to sweeten. same great taste. splenda® essentials™. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered,
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we are back with robert caro, the author of the monumental biography of lyndon johnson, talking to him about how to wield power in washington today. so johnson becomes president, and you point out that he picks a small bill he wants to pass because he wants a clear victory. explain that. >> well, you know, congress has stopped presidents. after the supreme court fight of 1937, franklin roosevelt is never able to get a major piece of domestic social welfare legislation through congress. neither is truman. congress has stopped presidents. johnson picks. hes what the kennedys haven't even let him know what's going on in the legislative process
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about kennedy's civil rights bill. he has to say to ted sorenson, i don't know what's in the bill. i have to read it in the "new york times." he says what's on the agenda? and the republican conservatives have introduced the bill that would limit the president's authority on a minor thing, a weak deal with russia. johnson doesn't see it as minor because lyndon johnson is a legislative genius. he wants to teach congress a lesson that there's a new man in charge now. he says, "i want to murder this bill." although he gets the majority, he stays up most of one night making telephone calls cajoling, threatening, bullying, getting more votes until he does win by an overwhelming margin. the headlines say johnson defeats congress, and johnson says in his memoir -- and this is a correct statement in my opinion -- at that moment, the power in washington began flowing from congress back to the white house. >> how would you contrast the leadership styles of kennedy and johnson?
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>> well, you know, john fitzgerald kennedy had a greatness about him. i mean, he pulled this country through the cuban missile crisis, and we know now, and you know very well how close we actually came to nuclear confrontation with russia, the nuclear -- something beyond confrontation. he inspired the country. he was in the peace corps. he made people -- he just -- he brought out the best. what he didn't have a good record in was passing legislation. lyndon johnson was clumsy. he was awkward. he was a terrible speaker. but what he could do -- you know, he says it's time to write it in the books of law. i mean, that's part of the job of a president too, to write it in the books of law. no one was ever better than johnson at doing that. >> now, contrast the style of lyndon johnson with this enormous legislative accomplishment with the style of
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barack obama as you have seen him. >> well, i know i'm supposed to say that there's this great contrast and obama hasn't done enough, but i don't happen -- i feel obama was faced with some real problems that we hardly remember anymore. the extent of the financial crisis. i happen to think he has made great strides. you know, people find a lot wrong with health care legislation, fareed, as do i. the bill that's passed. i keep remembering something that lyndon johnson said. once we pass it, it's -- we can always go back and amend it. and i feel it's an accomplishment to get a health care bill. >> what about the issue about his style, which is that he delegated too much of the stimulus or even health care to congress that do you think he should have been more active? or, i mean, the alternative views, look, the republicans are very strong.
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the important thing was to get something done. would johnson have taken a more activist role? >> i can -- you can answer that definitely. johnson would have been on the phone every minute with the leaders of congress. to watch him work on people, you know, everybody says johnson was always talking. not so. always talking. not so. you listen to him on with -- when he wants somebody -- when he wants something from somebody, he -- he will let the senator talk and he will let the senator talk, and all you hear from johnson sometimes is uh-huh, uh-huh. until he hears what he wants to hear. what's the lever he can push with this guy? what does he want? you know? then johnson starts speaking. you know, in this book kennedy has a tax cut bill. it's snarled in the finance committee. someone calls him at, like, 12:00. exactly. they said, they just have broken for lunch and we're three votes short, we're not going to get
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the bill through. johnson says who are they? the guy names the three senators. johnson says to his secretary, get them on the phone for me one after the other. one is abe ribicott. he says, you know, abe, i put you on whatever committee i put you on. he says, i want you to help me. he says, well, i have already persuaded my constituents. i'll lose face. lyndon johnson says to him, you save my face today, i'll save your face tomorrow. and ribikoff knows that johnson is a bad man to cross, but a good man to have on your side. one of the other senators wants something, has to do with a mineral bill, johnson says he'll give it to him. in 14 minutes if i have that right, the exact time is in my book, he has turned these three senators around. if you want to know a contrast in style, i mean, lyndon johnson was a contrast with everyone else. he was the greatest legislator certainly since roosevelt and
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perhaps even including roosevelt. he was a legislative genius. it seems impossible to pass a voting rights act in 1965. he does it vote by vote. it's almost -- you know, if you care about my books. my books are really about political power. if you care about political power, you say there never was a man with a talent -- a talent that is beyond a talent, a gift that's beyond a gift. there never was anyone who could do this like johnson. robert caro, fascinating as always. up next, why a nation is taking out its anger on a dummy? i'll explain. my nutritional standards are high. i'm not juice or fancy water, i'm different. i've got nine grams of protein. twist my lid. that's three times more than me! twenty-one vitamins and minerals and zero fat! hmmm. you'll bring a lot to the party. [ all ] yay! [ female announcer ] new ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. twenty-one vitamins and minerals.
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this week president obama became the first president to ever deliver a televised address to the american people from a war zone. that brings me to the question of the week, which american president delivered the first ever televised address from the white house? was it president, a, roosevelt, b, truman, c, eisenhower, or, d, kennedy? stay tuned, and we'll tell you the correct answer. go to for more of the gps challenge and lots of insight and analysis on our website. also, you can follow us on
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twitter and facebook. and, remember, if you miss a show, go to itunes. you can get the audio podcast for free, and you can now buy the video version. go directly there by typing into your browser. this week's book of the week, of course, is by my earlier guest robert caro. it is his latest, the fourth volume of his biography of lyndon banes johnson. this one is called "a passage of power." the details especially surrounding the death of president kennedy are breathtaking, but the bulk of the book is about how lyndon johnson wielded power from the white house. it is told in riveting detail and makes for a fantastic read. now, for the last look. in today's globalized world, we sometimes forget how intense the hostility between nations can be, especially when one of them is a paranoid dictatorship. watch this. from north korean state television.
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an angry mob in pyongyang. what are they angry about? the crimes of this poor effigy which happens to be that of south korea's president, lee myung-bak, but, no, death by hanging isn't even enough for the dummy. so they have set attack dogs on it. not enough? try a big bad military tank. didn't do the job? don't worry. this isn't a human. it's just plastic. now they throw rocks at the dismembered head. finally, job done. one hopes. it is a mysterious country, north korea. we rarely get pictures from there, but i guess this is how they want the world to see them. the correct answer to our gps challenge question was, b, on october 5th, 1947, president harry s. truman went on television to tell the american people that they should eat less. really. now, you might say that that's a message we could hear even
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today, but it actually wasn't for health reasons that truman was saying that, but, rather, for humanitarian reasons. the people of western europe were starving and truman announced that america would send grain surpluses overseas. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. hello, everyone. i'm fredricka whitfield with a check of our top stories. the lawyer representing 9/11 mastermind khalid sheikh mohammed says the system is rigged to keep him from defending his client. at saturday's hearing, mohammed and four others refused to cooperate or speak with the courtroom protocol. a military prosecutor says the tribunal is fair and impartial. two major elections in europe today, voting in france's presidential election wraps up in a few minutes. president nicolas sarkozy is fighting challenger francois hollan