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tv   In the Arena  CNN  August 3, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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he even walks into the trial holding his hand like this, on his three fingers, which is a signature move. i was awaiting him to wag his finger or something next, because in all of his pictures mubarak does a lot of wagging. >> mahmoud salem, shahira amin, appreciate your insights. fascinating trial, we'll keep our eye on it. see you right here tomorrow night. "in the arena" starts right now. good evening. i'm tom foreman. and in washington they are foaming the runways tonight for the latest financial crisis. the issue, paying for the operation of the nation's airports. a dogfight has broken out between republicans and democrats over the seemingly simple matter of funding the federal aviation administration. what's worse, rather than settle their differences, the members of congress packed up and went on vacation. so now 4,000 faa workers are not being paid. tens of thousands of others
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involved in airport construction and maintenance are also off the job. and some $25 million are being lost every day in taxes because there is no one there to collect. that is more revenue lost in one hour than you will probably pay in your lifetime because congress members cannot reach an agreement agreement. we will tear into this developing dispute in just a moment, but here are some other stories we're watching tonight. the last pharaoh. for 30 years hosni mubarak was the lord of the nile. today he was wheeled into a cairo courtroom in a hospital bed and kept in a cage. egypt gets its show trial, but is the middle east a safer place? and the book of mormon. it's not just a broadway musical. for millions it's a road map to salvation. mitt romney follows it religiously. one ex-latter day saint says that should disqualify him from being president. then, we finally got a debt
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ceiling deal, but fareed zakaria says the price was too high. >> we highlighted to the world, to global markets, to ourselves is that washington doesn't work. >> better hold the champagne. a lot going on tonight. back to the rapidly growing crisis in funding for the faa to kick things off. it's normally a routine matter to extend this funding. this has happened many times before. but this time it has turned political. kate bolduan joins us now from capitol hill with some of the reasons why a simple extension has turned into a war. kate, what's going on? >> reporter: and it's not a simple explanation. i will tell you that, tom. but we'll try to break it down for you. it comes down to a couple of things. one of the reasons behind this battle comes down to a long-fought battle over unions. democrats generally support union efforts. republicans generally do not support union efforts. in this faa bill that's been trying to be worked out through congress, house republicans want to reverse a new -- a
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recently -- a recent change to federal rules that would make it easier for unions to organize in airlines. republicans want to reverse that, saying that it's unfair. democrats are opposing, saying that this faa funding bill is not the place to be taking up this matter. the other part of this has to do with federal subsidies for air travel to rural states. this happens for many states but they're targeting three states, which include a very important state, nevada, which is the state of the senate majority leader, harry reid. republicans want to eliminate these federal -- these air subsidies for air travel to these states, to these certain airports because they say it's wasteful spending. democrats are objecting. and republicans say they're just protecting their pet projects. so as you can see, the finger pointing is continuing. democrats are saying they should just do a clean extension until they get these issues hammered out. republicans are objecting. now, republicans say democrats in the senate should just approve what the house has sent over, which is eliminating those federal subsidies. democrats are objecting.
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and that's why we are where we are right now. >> kate, this looks so much like the debt fight we just had. >> reporter: absolutely. >> is there any sign of how this logjam might be broken? >> reporter: it's unclear right now. and at the moment, as i said, all throughout the debt debate until the final moment, it doesn't look like anyone is blinking quite yet. the house and senate, they could -- this showdown could be over pretty quickly if, and it's a big if, everyone agrees. house and senate rules allow for both chambers to pass a measure very quickly, pass legislation very quickly, and most members wouldn't even need to come back to washington to do it since most of them have already left. but that would require agreement. and clearly, that has not happened yet. >> so in effect, they'd have to phone in their votes. i wasn't even sure they could do such a thing. >> reporter: not so much phone in, but there's a thing called they go into these pro forma sessions which they're in session, they stay in session in order for the president to not really do recess appointments before we get any deeper into that, but they could go through a process of unanimous consent where they could kind of ask for unanimous consent.
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if no one objects, which they'd have to reach an agreement on that, then it could move forward. there are a couple other ways they could do it but that wok the quickest way for them to do p. >> oh, kate, i'm so glad you're there to figure this out because -- >> i hope i'm making any sense. >> yeah, you are. the process doesn't make much sense. kate, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, tom. >> no matter how congress decides to tackle this mess, they're going to have to do it. that according to secretary of transportation ray lahood, who lashed out at the vacationing lawmakers in a white house briefing earlier today. i spoke with secretary lahood just moments ago. >> mr. secretary, the president is demanding that congress come back and end this stalemate. did you think this would ever reach this point? >> well, the last few days that i've been talking to members of congress and leadership in congress i had a glimmer of hope that it could get resolved. but after the senate went home on their vacation yesterday, that's when i wondered if it
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could get done or not. >> when you saw the members of congress leaving town, what did you think? what did you feel? >> very disappointed. members of congress should not be on vacation when over 70,000 people are out of work, through no fault of their own, through the fact that congress can't work together through the fact that congress is not either willing or able to compromise on a bill that they were able to work out on 20 different occasions by passing a clean extension for the faa bill. i am very disappointed and i'm very upset that 70-plus thousand people are not going to get a paycheck. these are people that can little afford to go without a paycheck. these are people that have to make a car payment, a house payment. they're thinking about their kids going back to school and buying school supplies. they're thinking about a lot of things. and they're very worried. congress should not be on vacation when these people are out of work. because they can fix it. congress can fix it very simply. come back to washington, leave
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your vacation, fix it for these 70-plus thousand people, and then you can have a vacation. >> talk to me about those 70,000 people. is there any threat to safety right now because those people are not on the job? >> flying is safe, tom. flying will never be compromised. safety will never be compromised. flying is very safe. we actually have people from the faa working on their own money because they're safety inspectors, because they're dedicated to their jobs, out inspecting airports, out inspecting planes, making sure that safe -- flying is the safest it can possibly be. >> hold on, mr. secretary. you're saying that we, the most powerful government in the world, in the richest country in the world, essentially have our own workers volunteering to do work because we can't figure out how to pay them? >> that's exactly right. we have very dedicated safety people at the faa. and they're operating on their own credit cards because they believe that safety is of utmost
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importance to the flying public. now, congress needs to recognize the dedication of these people. the dedication of them doing their job. and also the plight of hard-working construction workers who need a paycheck to make their house payment, to make their car payment, to take care of their children. come back and fix it. come back from your vacation. come back, congress. take care of it. then you can go on vacation. >> is there anything that your department or the administration itself should have overall done differently or could have done differently to head this off? >> tom, we've been working 24/7 on this. i've been meeting with leadership. i've been meeting with staff. the president is engaged in this. he's been on the phone to leadership. he mentioned it at the cabinet meeting today. he's very concerned about 70-plus thousand americans without jobs. and you've heard all the speeches around here. you've played a lot of them on
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cnn, where politicians are talking about jobs, creating jobs, how do we get people back to work. not by sending people away from construction sites. not by saying to faa employees you don't count, your job's not important. congress needs to not only talk the talk, they need to walk the walk. and the way to walk the walk is to walk back to -- get back to washington off their vacations, get this taken care of. >> two questions here. one, will these people be paid eventually? i mean, if they can hang on and this can be settled, do they get paid eventually or do they actually just lose income in this? >> the faa employees will -- we're going to work very hard with congress to make sure that they are paid. and that these safety officials who are using their own credit cards are reimbursed. we also believe that on these construction sites people are losing money that obviously they're not going to be paid until they go back to work rebuilding towers or taking
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towers down or working on these important projects. >> second question, you're clearly in the backwash of this huge debt ceiling debate and all the divisive feelings and all the anger about that. how much do you fear that that makes a deal on this relatively smaller issue really difficult to come by now? >> well, i think people can really segment these kinds of issues. and the reason i say, that tom is -- >> well, washington hasn't been so good at segmenting things lately, as you might have noticed. >> the truth is that congress on 20 other occasions during very spirited debates on other issues have been able to pass extensions of the faa bill. they've been doing it now for almost five years, during times when we've had huge debates about debt and deficit and other issues. so they've done it before. they've done it 20 other times. we want them to do it now. >> last question in all of this. when you became the
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transportation secretary, did you ever dream that this would be the kind of thing you would deal with? because this is such a basic operational thing. >> well, this is a horrible situation for faa employees. it's a horrible situation for construction workers. it's a horrible situation for americans. members of congress represent americans. this is not the way to treat fellow americans. this is not the way to treat fellow citizens. this can be solved. and it needs to be solved. for our fellow americans. for our friends and neighbors who are working on construction projects. and for faa employees who work very hard and are very professional. >> transportation secretary ray lahood. thanks for being here. >> thank you, sir. no matter how you feel about this issue politically, it's important to remember all over this country all we've been talking about for so long now is jobs and the need to have jobs. and right now tens of thousands of people who by all rights should be on the job are being forced to hit the unemployment
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lines. one of them is neil bolen. he's a 24-year veteran of the faa and father of two. he joins me from atlanta. glad to have you with me tonight, neil. this stalemate's more thain week old already. some people talk about it dragging on through september. nuts and bolts here. do you have enough money to get through that time? how are you going to make ends meet? >> really my credit. just like every other engineer's going to -- >> really? >> -- and construction workers and everybody else that's expecting to be at work. we're going to be running our credit, running ourselves into debt, selling assets. unlike our congressmen and senators, who are on vacation. nice congressional junket. i'm sitting here watching the grass grow. >> do you have the feeling this is true of many of your colleagues there? do you have the feeling a lot of people have some kind of reserves to draw on, or like a lot of people in this country sort of limited savings right now? >> limited savings. i've been at the agency for 24
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years, and a nice nest egg, it's now disappearing. i was expecting to have that for retirement. it's disappointing that the congressmen are throwing me under the bus. me and all the other engineers and other faa employees and the 70,000 construction workers. i'd rather go on vacation. i called them, my congressmen and my senators, on thursday, friday, monday, and tuesday. monday and tuesday they went on vacation, the congressmen. where are you at? >> how do you feel when you're watching the debt ceiling debate go on? you know, there are little rumbles of this dispute underneath it, but it was always, you know, way back in the newspaper, sort of a buried story if at all. if you thinking that this was going to happen or did you think once they get the debt ceiling done they will know how important this is and they will tend to it? >> most of us believe that the debt ceiling, come the 2nd of
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august, these guys will be at work, they'll take vacation on the 5th, they'll argue for a couple, three days, and we'll be back at work, hopefully they'll pay us back. there's no guarantee of that. our secretary of transportation, ray lahood, is doing a great job of pushing our issue. but we're still not getting paid. and the silliness of it is the congressman and senators argued and gnashed their teeth and carried on about saving a few hundred million dollars, or hundred billion dollars, and then they lose 1.2 in the first month. >> sure. look, one of the things we've been hearing is that the secretary said that he didn't think that safety was being compromised here. and yet i can't help but wonder, if this drags on and on, it's, as they often say about airline problems, it's a series of small mistakes that add up into a big problem. and some things not being attended to by you being here and all these other people being
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here instead of on the job. >> well, there's a lot of that. a lot of the engineers' projects are falling behind. it's going to cost us a lot of money to get them restarted. there's a lot of new stuff that we're not getting built. but the safety of the existing national airspace is -- will remain. the maintenance workers are there. the air traffic controllers are working there. totally surprised that we've got safety inspectors working for free. i know they're incredibly dedicated. but i was told i can't volunteer to work. and yet we're out there saving the flying public, inspecting and being safe, while hoping that the congress will pay us back. >> tell me a little bit about your family, neil. how old are your children? that sort of thing. >> i've got a 16-year-old and a 15 -- 14-year-old. we've got football practice right now. school's coming up next week.
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>> medical expenses. all that kind of thing. >> all that's going to come up. touchdown club fees coming to us. we've got a lot of bills coming out. and unemployment doesn't cut it. >> let me ask you this, neil. aside from whatever political views you may have about this and who's to blame and who's not to blame, or anything like that, i'm just wondering, you know, as much as you have seen and i have seen for months and months and months here, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk from everybody in washington about how we need jobs, we need to protect jobs, i must say i'm flabbergasted that this kind of issue is on the table that is directly affecting jobs. how do you feel when you see this? >> i just look at politicians and think, don't you have a job? aren't you enjoying your vacation right now? while 74,000 of us are -- well, we're sitting in the heat, eating peanut butter and jelly. we're not going to the movies.
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we're not paying income taxes. we're buying 99-cent videos to keep the kids entertained. it's incredibly sad that the politicians can enjoy their vacation while 74,000 folks not at work. and i listen to cnn and listen to the leaders in congress, the senators and the congressmen that are still here, and they're like jobs, jobs, jobs. just rhetoric. >> let me ask you one last question here. if you had your best guess here, do you have any idea when this is going to be resolved? and how do you plan your life if you don't know? >> my guess on the resolution is sometime after september 7th, when they're supposed to come back from recess. which is, what, the 10th? give them three days to argue about it. and then where's my -- then i'll be able to start planning. >> well, sure. and that's going to represent to you a very significant loss of income. >> six weeks.
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>> i think a lot of families in this country would have a hard time making it. >> six weeks zero money income. the pittance that unemployment provides. i've got a friend who's trying to close a house. and they're at the unemployment office with our faa colleagues. she can't close her house on the 19th because she really can't go to the bank and say yeah, i've got a job. >> that's going to be a ripple effect through the whole economy. neil bolen, thanks so much for joining us. best of luck to you and your family. we may check in as this thing goes on. we'll see what happens. what about those congressmen and women who did not vote to fund the faa? one of them joins us in the studio. and he voted against the whole debt deal too. some questions and hopefully some answers when we come back. stay with us. ♪ know who makes the day sunny? my mom and sunny d! i love the taste. mom loves the vitamin c. and now it has 40% fewer calories than most regular soda brands. sunnyd! ♪ make today a sunny day!
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that's amazing. that's amazing. tempur-pedic, the most highly recommended bed in america. call the number on we're continuing with our lead story. congress takes off for summer vacation, leaving our aviation system stuck on the runway. this beltway brouhaha is costing 75,000 workers their paychecks and leaving $200 million in airline ticket fees uncollected each week. joining me now is a member of congress to help us understand how we got into this situation. congressman connie mack. welcome. how did we get in this situation? you're one of the guys. >> well, you know, first of all, the guest you had on just
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before, neil i think his name was. >> sure. >> you know, that is such a horrible story. and i think secretary lahood did a great job earlier on your program talking about how the congress needs to come back and fix this. and i agree with that. here's the problem. so we passed a bill in the house, a reauthorization bill. it went to the senate. the one person that has the power to bring it up for a vote chose not to. and that is senator reid. so i would say, and maybe the secretary didn't want to say it, but senator reid should call the senate back in, take up the bill, and pass it. and let's move on. if there are some changes they want to make to it, then they can offer those changes. but the senate has been missing on a lot of these big issues. and so i think secretary lahood was right that the house passed the bill, it is in the senate, and the senate chose not to bring it up for a vote.
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>> you know what that sounds like, though, to a guy like neil and frankly to a guy like me who covers this? it's the republicans in the house, it's the democrats in the senate. it sounds like exactly what we had on the debt deal. yet another partisan fight while people are losing their jobs. this is the thing that america hates congress for. >> and i completely get it. and i'm frustrated. and they have a right to be angry. but there's one person who can solve this problem, and that's harry reid. >> and harry reid would say you guys could have solved the problem on your side too by being careful about not putting riders onto this that was going to start a firestorm. they talk about a clean bill, why not just keep the financing the way it is and move forward, specifically because our economy is in trouble? >> well, i would say this. then the senate could have passed their own bill. but they chose not to. this senate, the senate has been -- they haven't been acting. it's almost like they're paralyzed and if they act they're going to -- they feel like they're going to get blamed
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for something if they don't act. so they're doing nothing. meanwhile, the house continues to do its job. we continue to pass appropriations bills. we continue to negotiate and pass bills in the debt ceiling issue that we just had. the faa, we passed that bill and sent it to the senate. it's time that the senate get to work, and the american people, just like you said, they're tired of this. they're tired of this back and forth. but at the same time this is our process. >> i understand this is our process. but you know, the complaint that so many people have right now is that the process itself is broken, that it is so hyperpartisan that -- you know. and i know. there are plenty of people on the hill who are reasonable people. but they walk beneath that dome and it's as if they've lost their minds and suddenly they can't carry on a reasonable conversation. it seems to me that it would not be crazy for people from your side, from the republican side, from the democratic side to be able to get together and say this faa thing is actually pretty important. none of us need 70,000 people lining up for unemployment. let's reach a deal now.
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what is so poisonous about that? why isn't that happening? >> you know, i can't answer that. but i'll tell you one thing. i know the chairman of the transportation committee. he's from florida. congressman micah. and he is a guy that looks for compromise. he's a guy that looks for a way to get things done. i know that he has been trying to work on these things. we passed a bill. the senate -- harry reid has the opportunity to bring that bill. he could do it tomorrow. and pass that bill. and this problem could be solved. now, if there are some other changes they want to, do we can have that discussion. but right now for people not to get paid because the senate chose not to pass this bill is outrageous, and secretary lahood has a right to be angry. neil has a right to be angry. and the american people have a right to be angry. >> at the same time you're going after an airport in harry reid's own state with some of the language in this thing. you can understand why he wouldn't respond to that. a republican senator, senator kay bailey hutchison said it's not honorable for the house to add extraneous amendments to the
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spending bill. do you think -- look, whether you can say it on this or not, i don't know. do you think the hardball tactics on both sides in d.c. have gone too far? >> i think that there are passionate people on both sides and when you have passionate people on both sides they're going to fight for their position. the problem is -- >> but there are passionate people in this country about some kind of agreement too. there are actually more people passionate about an agreement who are really angry at the left and the right. what do you say to those people? >> well, let me finish. so there are people who are very passionate on both sides. but somebody like the chairman of the transportation committee, congressman micah, he's someone that looks to find ways to come to a compromise. and what it tells me is that the senate hasn't been able to even try to work with the chairman of the house committee on this issue. it's not like congressman micah would just not listen to the other side. he would look for a way to come up with that compromise.
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so what it tells me is, and if you look at the last year or so, the senate has not been willing to take up legislation and act. they've been sitting on their hands. and now we're seeing people suffer for it. >> let me ask you about this. congress overall. the senate and the house. terrible, terrible, terrible approval ratings in this country. the people think very badly of congress overall. do you think well of congress? >> no, i think it's -- if feels -- it is dysfunctional right now. >> what can you do to fix your part of it and make it better? because unless you guys start doing it one at a time, it's not going to get fixed. >> here's what i will do. i will continue to stand up and fight for the things that i believe in. now, that doesn't mean that i'm not willing to listen to someone who has a different opinion than mine. i will listen. but until they can prove the case, i believe in certain things. i believe we should tax less. i believe we should regulate less. i think we could solve this debt and deficit problem by freezing spending, cutting 1% a year for
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six years, capping spending at 18% of gdp. we'll balance -- >> what do you call -- >> the penny plan. >> we can read about it online. >> absolutely. we can balance our budget in eight years. republicans, democrats, independents all like it, understand it, can -- and can get their arms around it. we can solve these problems. but we have to come together to do it. >> all right. representative connie mack, i appreciate you being here. next time when you come back, i'm going to ask you what have you done since the last time to make it better? >> all right. >> we appreciate it very much. still ahead, congress is completely and utterly broken. you hear that? that wasn't some radical on the left or the right saying that. that was the wisdom of cnn's fareed zakaria. he says that's the message coming out of all this. he'll tell us more about it when we come back.
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the very kind of discussion we had just here minutes ago and the long and some might say bloody debate over raising the debt ceiling left more than just bruised egos on capitol hill.
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it also bruised and battered the american image and the american economy. especially in the eyes of the world. a short while ago i talked to cnn's fareed zakaria about all of this. he has a great cover story in the latest issue of "time" magazine on this very subject and some very strong views. take a listen. >> economically, what message have we sent to the world? >> see, what we took was something that was taken for granted, that was that the united states would pay its bills. the credibility of the united states. and we've added a layer of uncertainty to it. so every time there is a crisis, every time there is a debt ceiling issue, every time something like this happens, there's now a thought in people's minds around the world, will the united states actually pay its bills? will it fulfill its promises? will it have another one of these dramas? >> why does that matter so much to all these countries around the world? >> because the u.s. treasuries remain the kind of gold standard of the financial system.
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so you see even right now there's trouble in europe and what you see happen is what people call a flight to safety, which means people move into treasuries, buy u.s. treasuries. and the result of that is we get to borrow money very cheaply. just to put this in perspective, if we couldn't borrow money as cheaply as we do, and we can borrow more cheaply than anyone in the world, if interest rates for our debt was 1% higher, that would be $1.3 trillion added to the deficit over ten years. in other words, the entire debt deal would be negated by just a 1% rise in interest rates. >> so we benefit tremendously by keeping our house clean and tidy, and right now the message we have to people is there's a kitchen on fire, we have a mess, and we don't know how to handle it. >> and because they look at this, they think to themselves this is going to keep happening. you know. that's what i worry about. we've seen people that every time we face one of these challenges it's going to be late-night threats of vetoes, extremism, filibusters, guillotines. it's not going to be a normal --
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i mean, if you look at how the europeans, who we much deride, have handled their problems, they have methodically, systematically tried to deal with them. there are structures in place. i mean, ironically, we're looking more and more like the basket case banana republic, and they look like despite the fact that they have a very difficult, much more difficult challenging problem, much more difficult challenging structures, they're actually getting their act together. >> because in the end the deal we came up with here dealt with the immediate crisis but did virtually nothing for the big problem. >> oh, no. it's a punt. i mean, it's one more occasion where congress has basically punted, kicked the can down the road, use what metaphor you want. it cuts $21 billion out of the 2012 budget. which is the only budget over which this congress actually has any authority. all the rest can be changed by future congresses. what it does is then it says the super commission is going to figure out how to implement the real cuts and the real tax
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increases. and once again congress is assuming that six months from now some body of congress will have the courage that they right now lack. >> treasury secretary tim geithner wrote in the "washington post," "beneath all the bluster, the prospects for compromise on broader and deeper reforms are better than they have been in years." based on what we saw this week. do you buy that? >> i'm not sure how he can say that. look, he's paid to say it. but what's happened? the democrats have decided that they now need to mirror the stubbornness and extremism of the tea party because they look at it and -- >> because it worked. >> it worked. the republicans say our strategy worked, we're going to double down on it. so what are each side locking into? the dwmz are saying no cuts to entitlements. the republicans are saying no taxes. that's great except we all know the only long-term solution to our debt problem is cuts nen
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titlements and new taxes. >> what do you think we're going to see as we move into the relative of this year and the presidential election year in terms of dealing with these kind of issues? >> if i had to bet i would guess that the congressional supercommission will deadlock, it will not be able to propose a solution, and the guillotine will fall. now, that's a big if, that congress has to stay true to its word. because what congress does it can undo. it can always say just kidding, folks, there's going to be no guillotine. but i suspect that what we will end up with is a guillotine and, you know, you will see defense spending drop and non-entitlement spending drop. it is not the ideal way to make these cuts, particularly not on the domestic side. because it's all going to be, you know, programs like education that get cut rather than dealing with the entitlement problem. but that's, you know, who said we had ideal public policy. >> and for all the americans out there who watched this whole debate and the whole time kept saying, yeah, but what about the economy and what about jobs once we get past the question of the deficit and the debt, what does
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all this mean to them when we get to christmas if we can't have some kind of agreement out of this committee? >> mohammed al-arian the head of the world's largest bond firm, pimco, just wrote in the "financial times" today that he would grade the debt deal either an incomplete or an f, depending on how he's feeling. the reason is it either does nothing about the job deal or does worse than nothing. because there's nothing in here that's pro growth, there's nothing that's actually going to get the economy moving again and create jobs. president obama recognizes that. he says he's going to propose some policies. but absent money how do you propose anything? because the sophisticated policy we should have is that we cut back in some areas but invest in other areas so that we can get growth moving. but that seems beyond the ken of american public policy now. we have to use very crude, blunt instruments, and the idea of this kind of scalpel that can cut the right areas but invest in others, seems like we're
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going to have to leave that to the chinese. >> all right. fareed zakaria, thanks so much for being here. >> pleasure, tom. up next we will turn a little bit from our problems to someone else's. how the mighty have fallen, from the strong man of egypt to a prisoner in a strongbox. look at that. hosni mubarak on trial for his life. when we return. i love that my daughter's part fish.
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an amazing scene in cairo today. only a few months ago hosni mubarak was a feared despot. take a look. today the ailing 83-year-old was wheeled into a courtroom on a hospital bed, and from behind a cage mubarak had to respond to the charges against him of corruption and complicity in the killing of revolutionary protesters. he pled not guilty, and he's due back in court in a few weeks. joining me now from cairo is someone who's witnessed this whole drama play out firsthand. egyptian journalist ethar e ethar el kotatny. welcome back to the show. i'm so glad you can be here.
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tell me about the feelings you had today when you saw the former president wheeled in. this is the first time really since he was pushed out of power in february. >> it was very shocking. to see, you know, this was someone at the height of his power. we used to laugh how the president never had white hair. he always dyed his hair. and now we can see him with white hair. he looks so weak. you know, dressed in white. to think, you know, he went from being in a palace to being in a cage. to watch -- you know, it's still sinking in for a lot of people. to think that i was on this show a couple months ago watching his last -- his last speech. and commenting on it. and i think for a lot of egyptians, a religious country, very emotional country, it brought to light -- this is a quote, it was a verse, very big on the social sphere today. a quote from the koran, a verse from the koran and it goes, "oh, god, you give serenity to whom you will and you take serenity away from who you will.
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you honor whom you will and you honor whom you will." which i guess would be similar in the bible to the lord taketh -- the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. >> when you see him that way, though, when people see him that way, maybe it's a strange question, but do people feel sorry for him now? >> definitely. there was a huge emotional outpouring for a lot of people, and i think particularly for the older generation. you know, i was watching with my parents. it's different for my generation. you know, 20-somethings who haven't witnessed -- you know, who weren't there for the period where he was seen as a true president who did do good things for the country. the symbolism of, you know, having his sons shielding him from cameras. they were actually outside the courtroom, there were pro-mubarak supporters, there were clashes. not as violent as we'd seen before but there were still rock throwing. so actually, you had public sympathy move a lot toward the ex-president. you can hear the people talking in the streets, you know, very humiliating for him to -- you saw them all in the cage, and then when the judge would be like are you here, and they
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would lift their haunnds up lik school children and say yes, present. the president only said maybe like eight words, which was "i deny the charges." but i think for a lot of people we were actually expecting them to be "my citizens," to actually talk to people because there's still that -- this was the president. you know. it's just unbelievable to think that we've reached -- that we've reached this point, that we managed to do this, you know, that it's because of the protesters, because of the egyptians versus zasaddam, for example, sa zddam hussein, thatt was the people who brought about this judgment. >> from a distance this trial looks like a done deal, you go through the trial, in the end he's found guilty and then whatever happens. do you think it is just a sort of public display at this point and everybody knows what the verdict will be or do you think this public sentiment somehow may shape that? >> definitely the trial can go down in a lot of different ways. it's not as -- up until the
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trial like you had a huge -- i personally didn't think they would even appear, that it would actually happen. today wasn't actually the trial. it was just the procedural. but the idea that you had a lot of developments during the actual -- so you had, for example, fareed dadib, who's mubarak's lawyer, say that actually the country was run -- starting january 28th the military's been in control. so this is shifting kind of -- or accusing somehow that actually mubarak and his sons aren't to blame because january 28th the military, quote unquote, took over. >> i want to cut in on you because i want to get in one more question before we get away. obviously, there are a lot of questions about what life has been like under military rule. we'll follow up on that in the future. but in the meantime, what do you think happens if he's found guilty? >> i think this will appease -- today actually appeased a lot of people. you know, kind of if you think like a bubble of tension, especially considering the military forcefully evicted all the tahrir, i was there two days
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ago, evicted everyone by force, so there was this again outpouring of tension and aggression toward the military. so this kind of appeased a lot of people. so i think we'll have to see. there's a lot of different agendas. you have the saudi arabian. there's a whole lot of different things to consider. so this could end up in a whole lot of different ways. it looks like he might be found guilty but it all depends on the pulse on the street and how people look at the military. we have egyptian tv today, you know, spinning it as look how transparent the military is, you know, we're actually -- so it will depend on how the people react. >> and we'll keep track of that trial. i really appreciate it. ethar el katatney for joining us. we'll be checking in in the coming days. coming up right here, mormons are in these days, on broadway, on tv, and on the campaign trail. but who are they and what do they really believe? we'll peel back the roof of the tabernacle for some rather controversial views. stay with us. [ male announcer ] members of the american postal workers union
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it is the mormon church. and they've launched a pr campaign to eliminate anti-mormon mentality with two mormon candidates tossing their hats into the gop ring this round, the church wants to make sure religion won't be an issue. but one former mormon says voter beware, no mormon should ever be elected president. yes, that's what she says. she's trisha ericsson. and she's written the book "can mitt romney serve two masters." she joins me now along with the co-editor of the cnn.com belief blog, always a great read, eric maripoti. thanks for being here, eric, and to you, trisha, too. let's start it off and let it
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fly here. what problem do you have with mitt romney being a candidate? >> well, let's just go to the bottom line. i don't think that anyone in their right mind would vote for any person that believed that he was truly going to become a god and be given his own planet when he goes to the next life, of which he will call his wife ann into and that they will have relations and have spirit children and populate their planet as god and his wife does in mormondom. and then those babies will pop back down into our babies' bodies for their own eternal progression to godhood as well. i mean, just on that one fact i think that it's just a very alarming -- and i would not want a president, my president, to believe he was going to become a literal god. >> all right, trisha. you were the mormon bishop's daughter. you were raised in the church. you left the church voluntarily. so you know a lot about what goes on in the church. but eric, i'm going to be willing to bet you're going to say she's got something wrong
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here. >> there are some real discrepancies here when it comes to how much a candidate's personal faith interacts with their policies. tom, here in washington harry reid, senator harry reid is a mormon. so is senator orrin hatch. those are two guys who are on opposite ends of the political spectrum whose faith doesn't really play into their policies on a micro level. which is i think the big distinction here. perhaps on a macro level their overall morals may come from some of the church, but on a micro level this notion that somehow mormons have a bat phone to utah and get called by church leaders, it's a little thin to me. and i think we hear that argument a lot and there's frankly just no evidence to support that. >> eric, i want to go back to tricia with this. tricia, there are like a dozen members or more of congress now who are mormon. mitt romney was a governor. we look at mr. huntsman. harry reid. do you see anything in their ruling of the government, in
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their leadership that somehow shows some nefarious means at work? >> well, their religion is based on a government of its own. the mormon religion teaches that they will be the government on earth, a one world government, the kingdom of god government, when jesus comes back to earth in the millennium. they've been trying for a very long time to put people in very responsible positions in the government to get them ready to rule the earth when jesus comes, and they believe that when jesus comes back that the garden of eden is in jackson county, missouri. >> but tricia, let me interrupt you. every religion out there likes for its members to rise in society, do important things, do good work. what's wrong with that? i mean, again, i'm asking, do you see anything in what they're doing that's bad? >> yes. if your goal as a church is to rule a one-world government and
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the kingdom of god will be ruled by the mormon church and we will all be subjected to it and their beliefs, yes, there's something really wrong with that. fundamentally wrong with that. >> eric, this sounds an awful lot like the same things that were heard about john kennedy in the 1960s, when people were saying -- >> no, it's not kennedy catholic -- >> hold on. let eric answer this. i'll come back to you. >> it is not. >> yeah, tom, we're seeing in polling numbers some real similarities between what john f. kennedy faced in the '60s, where people just said frankly, i won't vote for a catholic. and we're seeing similar polling numbers with the american people here in the united states. now saying the same things about a mormon. in around that 20%, 25% range. who just said flat out i won't vote for a mormon. and i think, tom, that comes from a general misunderstanding about the tenets of the church and frankly people just aren't very religiously literate when it comes to the teachings of the mormon church. >> quinnipiac had it at 36% of voters feel somewhat or entirely uncomfortable voting for a mormon.
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tricia, let me come back to you with this. you have also said some things about the faith where you said you that knew it was a complete lie after you left the church it took years to clear the fog from your brains of indoctrination and deception. you clearly have big issues with this faith yourself. why should that affect anybody else's view of these candidates? because again, i'm asking you, give me one instance of where you've seen a mormon leader do anything, any actual policy that reflects some nefarious agenda. >> well, harry reid has a multitude of them. >> give me one. >> anyway, as president -- well, let me tell you something. mitt romney has sworn in the secret mormon temple ceremonies that i have personally been through -- and this is not so much a personal thing. i'm just telling the american public the truth. they need the truth before they go to the voting booth. mitt romney has sworn in secret temple ceremonies the law of consecration. i'm going to read it to you. to concentrate yourselves, your time, your talents and everything with which the lord has blessed you or with which he
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may bless you to the church of jesus christ of latter day saints for the building up of the kingdom of god on earth and for the establishment of zion. mitt must do exactly what the prophet says. his very eternal exaltation as a god and existence depends on it. so it's not a kennedy catholic moment. the pope of the church, catholic church does not believe that he's going to become a literal god and be given his own kingdom. >> well, eric, i'm going to leave the last word to you on this whole thing. tricia, you still didn't give me one specific policy matter in which it made any difference -- >> i just told you that -- i just told you that the mormon -- >> no, you're -- >> wants to set up a government -- >> but i'm asking you for a policy. >> they want to rule from missouri. that's their policy. the mormon church's policy. >> eric, do you buy any of this? >> i find it difficult to believe -- >> it's the truth. >> -- and one thing the church has come out, all their leaders to say hands off of politics. >> it's in their history. >> tricia erickson, thanks for
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being here. eric marrapodi, nice to have you here. we'll see you all down the campaign trail, i'm sure. still ahead, a deadly heat wave in the south, tropical storm in the caribbean, and long hot summer is taking its toll. when we come back. [ man ] they said i couldn't win a fight. but i did. they said i couldn't fight above my weight class. but i did. they said i couldn't get elected to congress. but i did. now i'm trying to make it in music. ♪ sometimes when we touch ha ha! millions of hits!
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well, we can't let you go tonight without talking about the weather of all things. specifically the deadly heat wave that has been just burning up a huge swath of the country
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in the midwest and the south. and it just keeps on going. dallas, look at this, has been at 100 degrees or more for 33 straight days. and there's no relief in the forecast. in the last few days a high school football coach and two players there have died from heat during summer practices. might be time to call off football practice, it looks like, for the time being. at least 22 other people have died as well. and the west texas town of robert lee is just about out of water. bone dry. it's had, count them, three inches of rain in the last year. the reservoir is almost empty. they're rationing what little water they have left and trying to get water trucked in. but neighboring towns are so dry nobody has any to send. and that's not all. in the caribbean the weather news is tropical storm emily, now packing 50-mile-per-hour winds, and it's anticipated to become a hurricane after brushing puerto rico, bringing heavy surf and flooding is now heading for the dominican republic and haiti. it's expected to bring torrential flooding. and that's something haiti certainly doesn't needil
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