tv Fareed Zakaria GPS CNN May 27, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PDT
that is the plan that has been agreed to. and it is a plan that is working. >> thanks for watching "state of the union." find today's interviews, some analysis, and web exclusives at cnn.com/sotu. and on this memorial day weekend, take time to say thanks to america's troops, vets, and the loved ones so many have left behind. fareed zakaria "gps" starts right now. this is "gps, the global public square." welcome to all of of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. this week, we'll tackle america's struggles both economic and political and how they affect the world. we'll start with simpson and boles. that's alan simpson and erskine
bowles. they did figure it out. the recommendations, however, were never implemented. can they be revived? later in the show, the presidential race. how much will same-sex marriage, private equity, and contraception have to do who is elected in november, or is it all about the economy? i've got a great panel. the "wall street journal's" peggy noonan, ross of the "new york times", and more. also, moving a capital to increase your political capital. should russia build a new kremlin 4,000 miles to the east? i'll explain. first, here's my take. there's much speculation these days about the power struggles in china in the wake of the ouster of the powerful party boss. china's political system will surely be tested, but in the short run, its leaders may have dodged a bullet. li was a charismatic leader who used populism, money, and power to build a political base. had he not been brought down by a series of mistakes,
revelations and bad luck for him, he might well have altered the nature of the technocratic system that now runs china. in the short run, china might well survive its political crisis, but it faces a more immediate challenge, an economic crisis. i have been visiting china regularly for 20 years, and every year, i heard from experts that china's economy was set to crash, felled by huge imbalances and policy errors. people would point to nonperforming loans, bad banks, inefficient state-owned enterprises and real estate bubbles, but somehow, none of these problems proved enough to derail china's growth, which has been an astonishing 9.5% a year for the last three decades. but morgan stanley's emerging market fund says there's a different and more persuasive indication in his new book break-out nations. china is going to slow down not because of its failures, but because of its successes. china is on the verge of a natural slowdown that will change the global balance of power from finance to politics and take the wind out of many economies that are riding in its draft, he writes.
china's growth looks remarkable, even unprecedented. it really isn't that unprecedented. japan, south korea, and taiwan all grew close to 9% a year for about two decades or more. and then, they started to slow down. as japan's economy crash and slowed, never to boom again, the more realistic scenario is japan in the 1970s when the original asian tiger slowed from about 9% growth to about 6% growth. korea and taiwan followed a similar pattern. what was the cause for these slowdowns? in a word, success. in all these cases, the economy had reached a middle income range and it becomes much more difficult to grow at a breakneck pace when you have a large economy and a middle class society. the surest path to sustained high growth has been to start very poor. once you reach middle income
levels, even well-run economies with strong fundmentals slow down. the writer points out china slowing down should not have a huge internal economic effect, but he predicts much struggle for countries that have been buoyed up by a booming china. from brazil to australia, as chinese demand for raw materials drops. he even predicts a decline in oil prices, which coming on top of the shale boom, should worry oil-producing you states everywhere. as for china, he is right to say that 6% growth should not worry the chinese. these will be enviable rates for anyone else. china's regime legitimatizes itself almost solely by delivering high-octane growth. if that fades, china's economic problems might well translate into political ones. let's get started.
the former republican senator, alan simpson, and the former clinton white house chief of staff, erskine bowles, may forever be remembered for their great idea that was never put into practice. in 2010, president obama challenged the bipartisan duo to chair a commission to develop policies to bring america back to fiscal sustainability. they did. nobody ever did anything about it. this week, the dangerous carping over the debt limit began anew. who better to talk about all this than alan simpson and erskine bowles. they are joining me from north carolina. thank you for joining us, folks. >> it's a pleasure. >> great to be here. >> senator simpson, you have seen what's been going on these last few months. the house actually voted on the
simpson-bowles proposal and it went down decisively. and paul ryan, the leader of the house on fiscal issues, i suppose, said that simpson-bowles was the wrong way to go because there weren't enough spending cuts, and there were too many tax increases. what was your reaction? that's your party. >> well, i think my party and i have different views of a lot of things. i guess i'm known as a rino now, which means a republican in name only, because i guess of social views, perhaps, or commonsense would be another one, which seems to escape members of our party. abortion is a horrible thing, but for heaven sakes, it's deeply intimate and personal decision and men legislators shouldn't even try to vote on it. gay-lesbian issues. we're all human beings. we're all god's children. what is this? for heaven sakes, you have grover norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying
if you raise taxes one penny, he will defeat you. he can't murder you. he can't burn your house. the only thing he can do to you as an elected official is defeat you for re-election. and if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation where you're in extremity, you shouldn't even be in congress. >> talk about ryan particularly because what i'm struck by is the simpson-bowles plan calls for an awful lot of spending cuts, and, yet, those weren't enough. >> erskine can tell you, you can't cut spending your way out of this hole. you can't grow your way out of this hole, and you can't tax your way out of this hole. this is madness. if you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something, but if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise and you learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself. show me a guy who won't compromise, and i'll show you a guy with rock for brains.
>> erskine, you're hopeful. you think that some of these -- the idea is gaining traction and there's a kind of inevitability. if you are going to do this, there has to be some approach that's pretty close to what you're describing. >> fareed, i believe the markets will force us to. i have spent my life in the markets, as you know, and look at what's happening at the end of the year. we have about $7 trillion worth of economic events that are happening. we have expiration of the bush tax cuts. we have a patch that's been placed on the alternative minimum tax that will affect so many middle class taxpayers. we have a payroll tax deduction that's expiring. we have these senseless, mindless across-the-board cuts that come from the sequester that comes as a result of the failed super committee. you know, all of those are hitting at once, and the
economic affect of those just next year are about 2% of gdp. if we have a negative affect of 2% of gdp, we'll be right back in recession. you better believe that the people of america will be calling on these members of congress to do something. we think something will happen in the lame-duck session. we believe it will probably be a two-step process where we are setting up a framework with a timeframe in order to get something done. >> boy. that's pretty optimistic. >> yeah. >> don't forget, it doesn't have to be exactly what the simpson-bowles plan has, but it's got to be a balanced plan. you've got to have some small amount of revenue that comes from reforming the tax code and there's broad agreement that the tax code needs to be reformed. i believe that you will find if, in fact, we can get the right kind of momentum going, i think you'll find strong support. we've been working with 47 members of the senate, an equal number of republicans and democrats, the same kind of group in the house of representatives, and i believe these -- this group will come
together during the lame-duck to put forward a plan like this. now, i don't think the plan itself will be implemented during the lame-duck, but i think there will be an agreement that we have to do some kind of balanced plan. if we don't, then i think you will see the markets really take a really adverse look at the country. i think you'll see us lose another downgrade in our credit, and i think you'll see interest rates pop up, and before long, you'll see the availability of credit lessen. i think we could have a real problem if we don't do something and do something relatively quick. >> and you know who will get hurt the worst in that process when interest rates go up and inflation kicks in? the little guy. the one that everybody on their hind legs talks about. we're doing this for the little guy, the most vulnerable, the unfortunate. well, merry christmas. those guys are going to get eaten when interest rates go up and inflation kicks in. >> gentlemen, stay with us. when we come back, we're going to ask senator simpson and
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and we are back with erskine bowles and alan simpson, the authors of the simpson-bowles plan. a rare opportunity to have a conversation. senator simpson, i want to ask both of you, but i want to ask you what you think of president obama's embrace of your plan, or lack thereof. and i'm going to start by asking you -- just bare with me, because i talked to him in january, mostly will foreign policy, but i did ask him about simpson-bowles, and he probably got -- this got him more agitated than at any point in our conversation. and this is what he said. he said, "i've got to tell you, most of the people who say if you ask them what's in simpson-bowles, they couldn't tell you. first of all, i did embrace simpson-bowles. i'm the one who created the commission. if i hadn't pushed it, it wouldn't have happened because the congressional sponsors, including a whole bunch of republicans, walked away. the basic premise of simpson-bowles was we have to
take a balanced approach in which we have spending cuts and we have revenue increases. and although i did not agree with every particular thing that was in it, what i did do is take the framework and present a balanced plan of entitlement changes, discretionary cuts. when ready to make a deal, i presented this plan three times to congress. the core of simpson-bowles, the idea of a balanced deficit reduction plan, i have consistently argued for, presented to the american people, presented to congress." is that fair? >> well, he does get a little testy. you know, we all get a little testy. but the president -- i wouldn't have done this if i didn't regard him as our president. i accept that. he is my president too. and it's ugly stuff out there. there's a lot of hatred in the world. hatred towards politicians, hatred towards the president, hatred towards democrats, hatred towards republicans. i can tell you this, if he had embraced our plan, he would have been ripped shreds. erskine can tell you a little
bit more. he visited with him personally alone for an hour and a half. he would have been ripped by the democrats, say, why you rotten -- you're digging into the precious, precious medicare. and the republicans would have rejected if he had embraced it, the republicans en masse in the house would have rejected it. either way he was going to get hammered, so he is playing the waiting game. >> erskine, a lot of economic experts say, look, the right solution for the united states right now is obvious, which is you need some stimulus now, particularly given the very low interest rates, the very high levels of unemployment in the construction sector, the government should spend some money repairing and rebuilding the infrastructure, but that would only be viable and particularly something the markets would celebrate, if it was tied to a long-term deficit reduction plan, like simpson-bowles. do you buy that basic idea that if your plan were adopted as a
ten-year plan, it actually gives the u.s. government some leeway to make some necessary investments now. >> yes. i truly believe that the only thing standing between the u.s. and sustainable growth is having a sensible, responsible long-term fiscal plan. i believe if the world believed that we were going to put our fiscal house in order, that you would see substantial economic growth in the future. but, again, i go back to what's happening at the end of this year. we have $7 trillion worth of economic events that are going to hit the fan in december, and if we don't set up to them and if we don't stand up for them and we don't do the right thing, if congress doesn't act, it doesn't put this partisanship aside and make some compromise, then you'll have a negative impact on gdp next year of at least 2%. that doesn't make any sense. >> alan, what do you make of mitt romney? romney's first ads are out, and
when he says on day one, what is he going to do, and he says he is going to approve the keystone pipeline. fine. then he says and then we're going to have tax cuts. this is, of course, the kind of republican strategy for a while. do you think, given what you're describing, i can't imagine you think day one what a republican president should do is propose tax cuts. >> well, i wouldn't have voted for them if i had been in congress. how could you vote for a tax cut when you were doing two wars on the cheap? you had two wars you were fighting. you had things that the government -- all the income from the government was only taking care of medicaid and social security. you do a tax cut. every time there was a surplus, and the last time was when this fine gentleman was doing it in 1996, you can't -- you can't get there. but you don't have to do a tax cut. get that out of your gourd. you go into the tax expenditures and you start knocking that stuff off. that's where you get your revenue.
>> fareed, we have the most inefficient, ineffective globally anti-competitive tax code that man could dream up. and what we need to do is broaden the base, simplify the code, use -- you get rid of this spending in the tax code and use about 90% of the money to reduce income tax rates for everybody, and use about 10% of the money to reduce this deficit. you know, if you think about the debt today and the interest on the debt, it's kind of -- you know, put it in relationship to something else, we spend about $230 billion, $240 billion a year for interest on the date to date, even at these current low rates. fareed, that is more than we're spending today at the department of commerce, energy, education, homeland security, interior, justice, and state combined. and if we don't do anything, if we just, you know, put our heads in the sand and hope things will
get better, we'll be spending over $1 trillion on interest by the year 2020. that's $1 trillion we can't spend in this country on education or infrastructure or high value-added research, and worst of all, it's $1 trillion we will be spending principally in asia to educate their kids and to build their infrastructure and to do high value added research over there so that the next new thing is created there and the jobs of the future are there, not here. that's crazy. >> all right. final question. erskine, there are rumors in washington that president obama has asked you whether you would be interested in being the secretary of treasury. do you have a comment? >> he hasn't asked me to be secretary of treasury, for sure. >> if he were to ask you, would you accept? >> no. i'm living in north carolina. that's where i want to live. i'm the happiest in my whole life, fareed. >> gentlemen, pleasure.
>> i would just say we -- all we do, erskine and i, is math. we don't do power points or charts. we do math, but we don't do b.s. or mush, so join us. >> maybe what we should try and do is for the first time in the history of the republic, have co-secretaries of the treasury, one republican and one democrat. >> boy, if we could get our hands on that scratch. >> i don't want a job. thank you. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> pleasure. up next, what in the world? a bold proposal from russia. why president putin should move the capital city 4,000 miles east. when you have diabetes...
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now for our what in the world segment. a bold proposal caught my eye this week. one of moscow's top academics says russia should build a new capital city. this city would be far, far away from moscow. 4,000 miles to be exact. in vladivostok. why? the person who proposed the idea, of moscow's higher school of economics, wrote in a
state-run newspaper that a capital in the far east would make russia part of what he calls the rising world, closer to dynamic asian economies and further away from an aging europe. the idea of moving capitals is not without precedent. british india moved its capital from the coastal city of calcutta to the more centrally located capital in delhi, and it created the city of new delhi. in the 1920s, turkish nationalists moved their capital from istanbul to ankora, kickstarting rapid growth and more recently brazil moved its capital from rio de janeiro to brazila in the center of the country and kazakhstan moved its seat of government from almade to be closer to russia. it's unlikely president putin will want to follow suit. but he would do well to think about the underlying thrust behind the argument. moscow needs urgent reform. russia is not really a booming emerging market economy.
it is an oil-rich clautorcracy, where mostly everything else in the country. military is in a shambles. putin often cites figures to show that he has preceded over a boom. the average russian's income has risen more than seven-fold in the last decade from $2,000 to $14,000 a year. yet, that statistic tells an incomplete story. russia's growth has been uneven. moscow has 78 billionaires, more than any other city in the world. those billionaires, along with others in the rest of the country, account for 20% of russia's gdp, far higher than any country. that doesn't leave much of russia's economy for businesses and the other 141 million people in the country. the second problem is that moscow's fate has for years been linked to crude oil prices. look at this chart with a very clear correlation. it shows how russian stocks have risen and fallen in step with oil prices. according to reuters, russia now needs crude to trade at $117 a
barrel simply to balance its budget. that number used to be $50 as recently as 2008 and $27 at the start of putin's first presidency. talk about a bloated state. in part, moscow's escalating expenses are a result of putin largesse, a policy designed to keep his electorate happy and keep him in power. rising crude oil prices have allowed putin to maintain that system of bribery, but with global growth now slowing, he can no longer count on the same set of conditions for the rest of his presidency. instead, he will need to reform the economy. private companies need the freedom and the confidence to actually develop. russia has only one main bank, for example. it's people need a financial system that they can trust. russia ranks 143rd in the world on transparency internationals corruption index. to his credit, putin acknowledges these problems.
shortly after his re-election, he spoke of improving russia's rank in the world bank's ease of doing business list, from 120th in the world to a place in the top 20. he has also targeting raising investment from 20% of gdp to 27, but if it sounds somewhat familiar, that's because he said similar ones during his first presidency and didn't meet them. this time he has not only the economy to fix, but he is also faced with an opposition movement with growing courage. the kremlin this week welcome aid new cabinet, but it's mostly full of the same old faces. if president putin keeps the same old policies, his problems may only just be starting. >> this is a classic right path/wrong path election. you are going to look at the reality of america today, and you're going to say we're more or less on the right path, i'm going with obama. i think we're on the wrong path. i may go for this guy, but i got to check him out.
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presidential race has been dominated by issues, same-sex marriage, private equity. will they decide the race in november, or will it all be the me? i'm joined by a distinguished panel, bill keller is the former executive editor of the "new york times". he now writes a column for it. peggy moonan is a columnist for the "wall street journal." from reuters and formerly of the financial times we have christa freeland, and writes for the "new york times." ross has a new book out "bad religion, how we became a nation of heretics." welcome. so one of the things i've been impressed by or have noticed is that the obama campaign, no matter what the discourse, continues to feel that the private equity -- attack on private equity, is the correct way to go and it's going to work. christa, you had a theory why. >> well, i think part of what we're seeing in this campaign is the arrival of big data to politics and of microtargeting, so we're all accustomed to in the retail sector that the big retail ad doesn't happen and people target particular
constituencies. that's what both parties are doing, and with the private equity story, we are tempted to see it as this grand narrative about capitalism and financial vultures and so on. i think it could be about the rust belt states where obama feels he has a very strong story to tell. he bailed out the carmakers, and this is a way to really drive it home and win that particular region. >> and that the private equity story for them is a story of letting these companies fail and cutting jobs? >> and of people losing their jobs. >> i'm not sure that the microtargeting thing has established success as a political tool. i agree that everybody is trying that. it's interesting that obama has not -- presidents don't do what private equity firms do. pick winners and losers. what romney is arguing is his greatest qualification to be president is in a field that presidents don't do, except when they do. >> in certain cases. >> and the most notable case is the rescue of the auto industry,
which where obama was a wonderful equity -- private equity capitalist, and romney was opposed to it. >> except one who had the unlimited resources of the u.s. state. i mean, if mitt romney were here, he would say that's not fair, right? >> the other thing is that the auto bailout remains largely unpopular outside of the state of michigan. i mean, i think this is the danger for the obama campaign is that in the pursuit of microtargeting, they're possibly ignoring the fact that it is still a national election and, yes, if it comes down to a sort of 50.2 to -- some perfect microtargeting in ohio could win them the election, but the broader narrative is they're establishing it isn't clear exactly where it goes. if they're defending the auto bailout, well, it's still unpopular nationally. gm stock has performed rather like facebook stock. >> what you are saying is that the microtargeting -- you can
target michigan, but the ad is going to be seen all over the country once it becomes controversial. >> talk of every sunday show and so on. >> it will. >> i think what we're talking about is actually part of a larger story, and that is that both major parties in a key election year fairly well into that year have not really picked their essential themes yet. so they're picking up these little things. maybe it's bain capital now. well, that didn't work. okay. we'll do something else. that didn't work. we'll do something else. obama, i don't think, has picked his main theme. i don't think romney has yet. that's yet to bubble up. >> i wonder with the part of private equity, i understand the microtargeting issue, but is part of it an attempt to very early really demolish romney's claim to competence and fame by forcing romney to have to explain what he thought was going to be a natural event, which is i'm a great capitalist, i'm a great economic manager, and now instead he is having to explain how being a private equity guy actually does qualify
you? >> private equity issue is not a niche issue at all. it's a surrogate issue, i guess. it's a surrogate for the larger economic theme. do you -- are you a job creator or a job destroyer? that's what bain -- that's what the ad campaign, disingenuous as it is. >> this is a classic right path, wrong path election. you are going to look at the reality of america today and say we're more or less on the right path, i'm going with obama. i think we're on the wrong path, i may go for this guy, but i got to check him out. since the obama administration -- obama campaign knows right now in may america is checking out mitt romney, they will do anything they can to go at mitt romney. it is bain capital right now. oh, his business acumen is not
so wonderful. it had a deleterious affect on workers. it will change. it will be something else. what's interesting to me is that they're doing that in may, and i can't figure out if they lost control and went a little early. maybe they ought to be making the bain argument in september or october, or if they think no we're in a new media thing where you set up a predicate and the predicate lasts for six or nine months. >> i think that's what they think. i think they -- to the extent they see this as a tough election when they aren't feeling over confident, they see it as a replay of 2004, and they see themselves trying to preemptively delegitimize romney on what was presumably his greatest strength in the same way that the george w. bush campaign went after kerry specifically on issues of foreign policy, his military service, and so on that kerry had cast as his own greatest strength, and they're doing it earlier. precisely because i think they think we're in a new environment. i think the downside for them
here is that i don't think it's enough, assuming that the economy continues to just sort of sputter along, right? you don't have sustained growth between now and november. i don't think it's enough for them to win the election by making people a little anxious about romney's, you know, managerial competence. they need to make americans fear romney, and i don't think -- >> or dismantle romney. >> we have to take a break. we've talked about money, and we will talk about sex, i promise you, when we come back. pulling us together for different reasons. music. games. photos. shows. we share stories, laugh... and truly engage. it brings us closer and that is my happy place. ♪ [ male announcer ] the best family moments happen in an instant. capture them with internet explorer and a powerful dell pc.
we are back with bill keller, peggy noonan, christa freeland and ross. peggy, what do you think of gay marriage, the issue, all the issues with women's health some is that going to be a big part of this election? it seems to have -- i think no one would have predicted that would have taken up the space it has already. gay marriage might have been somewhat unpredictable, but what's going on? >> i think the selection is mostly about the economy. i think at the end of the day, people are going to look, as i said, are we going in the right direction, more or less? do we have a path going so that if we keep on it and keep investing time in it, i think we'll wind up in a good place or not? i mean, i actually think it's that simple.
i think all of the other issues will bubble up and come down and we'll see how it breaks, but it's an economic election. >> i think that's mostly right, but, you know, if it's a close election and it gets decided at the margins, the margin is that 15% or so of the voters who self-identify as moderate independents, and there's been, you know, decades of polling of those people. some of it pretty refined. it tends to show that they are moved by social issues, that they want a kind of humanitarian character in their president. >> that's to obama's advantage. >> i think -- there are aspects that could be to his disadvantage, the one that's most widely talked about is that black americans tend to be more negative about gay marriage, although even that is shifting in the latest polls. i think -- i don't think it's going to be a decisive issue. i think on balance, though, it helps him more than it hurts him.
>> i agree with bill, and i think that it sort of creates a what's the matter with kansas dilemma for those kind of maybe affluent moderates who are disillusioned by obama, feel he didn't run the economy well, were tilting towards romney, but actually don't like the whole social-conservative agenda, and this gives them a reason to support obama. i think it also really helps obama in terms of the money. i think the loss of wall street support is potentially really a big issue for obama, and i'm going to borrow chuck todd's line that in this election gay money is replacing wall street money for the democrats. i think that could be significant. >> mark -- a great d.c. journalist who is actually leaving d.c. journalism. he wrote a farewell piece where he said the three legs of the school for democratic fundraising right now are the jews, the gays, and the tech industry, and that is sort of like what todd said. no, that's -- i think the white house would probably agree with the point.
they would say this is probably going to be an economy focused election, but if it's too much focused on the economy, then we'll probably lose, so there isn't necessarily a down side for them as they see it in refocussing on social issues and trying to create this dilemma for affluent suburbanites where you should vote your values even if you don't like our economic management. >> peggy, is there -- in your opinion, is there any advantage to romney in picking a catholic vice president because to the extent that the social issues have some resonance for on the right, there is a kind of, you know -- there is a certain -- the catholics are in some -- to some degree in opposition to some of these things and might find solace in the catholic -- >> the catholic church. this is all complicated, and i'm not sure all of these social issues are to obama's favor by any means. there's also another thing i
think going on in america where people have their daily lives, they have their own thoughts, their cultural beliefs, et cetera. that's all baked into the cake. but i think when they watch these new issues come up and bubble up, part of them thinks how interesting, a part of them thinks that's what they're using to distract us this week. you know what i mean? they're very sophisticated. as to a catholic for vice president, i don't know. i think -- i guess that would be mr. christie, and i think if he were picked, it wouldn't be because he were catholic, but he would add a dynamism and a real verve to the ticket, so i think maybe -- >> there's geographical implications. >> potentially with affluent suburbanites in northern virginia and the potential to
hurt him with working class catholics in ohio, so i don't know if there's a vice presidential pick that fits that mold exactly, but i think overall in terms of the map, you are seeing the white house sort probably includes fewer white working class voters, which leaves the romney campaign with an opportunity to potentially gain ground in midwestern states. >> who would you pick, if you were running -- if you were running romney's vice presidential search? >> oh, i'd go with peggy and tend to pick christie. you know, christie keeps protesting that he won't do it, and people say because he doesn't seem to be a healthy, you know, chiseled specimen of american manhood, he's not cosmetically right. you know, he's the one guy out there that you would like to go have a beer with and maybe a second beer. he's good value, he's politically very, very adept. >> the case for christie that a friend suggested to me is that christie would be a terrible vice president, as he himself has suggested. right, just a terrible number
two sort of, you know, in the julia louis dreyfuss on hbo kind of role. but what you want from your vice president during the three-month run-up to the election, you want somebody who will attack the other guy in the ways you yourself can't. and that is where christie does have an advantage over a more, you know, choice like that. >> boy, is that true. i've seen christie campaign in iowa for a while with romney. and romney would speak and the crowd would love it. and then christie would speak either just before or just after him and the crowd would go wild. and christie has fun on the campaign trail. he loves it. he likes politics. and he'll say things like, i'll open a can of jersey on your butt. you know, he would have fun. >> all right. thank you all. bill keller, peggy noonan, chrystia freeland, thank you for joining us. we will be back. i have a great story for you. this picture looks like it's from the future.
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you know, those farmers, those foragers, those fishermen.... for me, it's really about building this extraordinary community. american express is passionate about the same thing. they're one of those partners that i would really rely on whether it's finding new customers, or, a new location for my next restaurant. when we all come together, my restaurants, my partners, and the community amazing things happen. to me, that's the membership effect.
and launch! >> spacex, a private american company, launched a rocket this week, headed to the international space station. there are only four groups able to spend spacecraft to the station. that brings me to our question of the week, from the gps challenge. which of these is not able to send a spacecraft to the international space station? is it, a, the your european space agency, b, china's national space administration, c, japan's space agency, or d, the russian federal space agency. stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
go to cnn.com/fareed for more of this gps challenge, lots of insight and analysis, and follow us on twitter and facebook. now, the olympics are coming up, and if you want to win a gold medal, perhaps you ought to download the gps podcast. we were typicaled to read this week that our podcast is what often encourages canadian simon whitfield, a gold medallist in triathlon to get out the door for a training run. maybe it will encourage you too. go to itunes.com/fareed. you can get an audio podcast or video podcast. this week's book of the week is "china airborne" by the great journalist, james fallows. fallows moved to china for much of the past five years to write this inside look at china's airline industry. but it's much more than that. it's part travel log and a part detailed description of china's economic liftoff. and as always with fallows, it's a good read. now for the last look. i want you to take a long look
at this photograph. it is quite extraordinary. what you are looking at is air force veteran brian callfarnlg embracing his wife. you'll note he has no legs and no right arm thanks to a mortar attack in iraq on september 11th, yes, 2004. he's thought to be one of the most grievously wounded airman ever to survive. he's now a thriving architecture student, but it is a vivid reminder as the united states marks memorial day this weekend, we must remember the war dead, but we ought not forget the war wounded. the correct answer to our gps challenge question is "b," china is not able to send a spacecraft to the international space station, but it has plans to put a man on the moon and has begun its own space station hoping to fill the vacuum left by the end of nasa's space shuttle program. 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 look at our top stories. syrians are taking to the streets in several cities to protest a civilian massacre. gruesome video has surfaced online showing some of the 34 children killed on friday. a u.n. official says a total of 85 people died in that attack. the syrian government blames al qaeda terrorists. the u.n. security council is meeting on the crisis in the next hour. in japan, two americans are being questioned in the strangulation death of an irish exchange student. the woman's body was found in the tokyo hotel room of one of the american men. japanese media is reporting the woman and a friend met the student after a nicki minaj concert in tokyo. a