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tv   Q A  CSPAN  August 10, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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shore for renewable development. i will add to that, if you could confirm that it is true that 68 million acres of undeveloped off shore oil and on shore oil leases are active. i just wanted to thank all three of you very much for your time and answers. >> madam -- >> yes. never mind. you have a second panel. we'll proceed to that. >> ok. thank you. . .
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>> alexander and phillippe costaeau look at the sustainability of the world's oceans. today on c-span, and live a joint news conference with the canadian prime minister and
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barack obama's. they are concluding their summit on the world economy, immigration, border security, and each one and one flu virus. -- and the h1n1 flu virus. >> this fall, tour the supreme court. the first sunday in october on c-span. hal is c-span funded? >> by donations. >> federal friends and grant funds. -- federal funds. >> how is c-span funded? 30 years ago america's cable companies created c-span as a public service, a private business initiative. no private mandate, no government money.
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>> this week on q&a, our guest is frank rich. >> for those who do not read your column on sundays in "the new york times" give us an overview. >> icing we live in a world of the enormous transition, not just transition from one kind of presidential administration to a very different one, but obviously one in economic transition with a lot of the unquestioned rules of our economy being up for grabs. also, in the case of america, a social transition is -- as the
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party -- country becomes more of another minority dominated party. >> how long have you been writing your column? >> that is a good question. i am guessing about 10 years. maybe even longer. i am terrible about dates. >> 1999. i guess that is about 10 years. you have been in politics for about 10 years? >> i have been in politics since early 1994. >> not many people write one column zero weeks. have you approached this? >> it is completely different from doing good twice a week
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column that is half that size, which i did the first several years that i did this. it has to sustain itself as an essay at that linked. -- at that lengeth. the single most important thing is is this -- is to sustain and meredith. i like to find a topic that lends itself to having several different plot strands that you can also tied up at the edge. >> when you start thinking about this? >> it is relentless. a friend of mine told me, it does not matter whether it is every day or every month, it is always something hanging above your head. i would say that my process is that monday i am reported a bunch of things and considering eight or nine things. i tried to whittle it down and
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research some more. wednesday i really finish up as much as possible, and right thursday and into friday. what people might not know about a week in review section is that it closes friday night at midnight. it starts printing. my deadline is really friday. it makes for a very packed week. you can turn on the diamond shift things as major news happens, whether it be something shocking as of 9/11, but i sort of have a sense of where i am going by mid-week. >> how you know if you have had a successful,? -- successful column? >> i did not know that you ever really know.
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there are certain subjects that hit the bell for people, particularly anything that is thought to be reaather partisan. i have found columns that have written years earlier come back to haunt me. i do not think you really know. it is hard to tell. you want to feel you are being bred, but you do not know what influence you are having? -- you want to feel you are being read. i prefer doing this. it is a much wider world. one of the reasons i wanted to get out of reviewing was it was very narrow. you were stuck with that done it. that column, you can do anything, including tip into culture, the mix and match things. to me and has been liberating.
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-- it has been liberating. and this is the way i feel i have been able to realize this the best >> which you get the best hate and love? -- where do you get the best hate and love? >> i was the butcher of broadway. i was loathed by the theater people. i love the theater. the theater in new york was 10 square blocks. the passions were intense and they were very readable, unlike the column. if you like the show, they love you. if you did not like the show, they hated you. i find much more interesting and
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positive reaction to the column and interesting discussions with readers in response to it then i agree with you, that show was great or awful. >> i want to pick off a paragraph from a bunch of columns that went back a lot of years. and just give you to respond on how you feel. this one is made of 2009. -- may of 2009. do you get to write the headlines? >> yes. >> if you wanted to pick the moment when the american newspaper business went on suicide watch it was almost three years .
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to prove a point, the parting journalists in the washington hilton ballroom could be seen fawning over government potentates, in some cases the very sources who had fed all those fictional sightings as saddam hussein as weapons of mass destruction. >> i strongly feel that the cold speech at that banquet will be seminal. there are several things about it. he did criticize the washington press, and i feel right before the reasons i said. the general reaction of the press was that he had bonds. the times did not even mention that he had spoken. "the washington post" said it
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was a lead balloon. then ended up on youtube. the country went nuts. i think people were surprised back then that anyone could get such a fast reaction from you too. a lot of people did not understand why it was funny. next year they got rich little because they were so afraid the difference in reaction in washington and the rest of the country was different. >> i have noticed that you stick a needle in the washington press corps at those meetings. >> they did stop going to or three years ago. it was a policy made by the news
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side. i cannot remember what prompted this anymore. i do not think -- my columns had nothing to do with it. i do feel it is a statement -- it is a good temperature taking moment of the disconnect. when you see the president of the united states as george bush did doing a comedy sketch about missing weapons of mass destruction when something else is going on in the rest of the world itself. those things are interesting. i think a televised them it is not the smartest thing. it also shows that washington has a fascination with liberty that is counterproductive in terms of covering the news. >> biggest of -- this is august 31, 2008. no major obama's speech, each breathlessly heights in advance
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as do-or-die and as the most important of his career, has been a disaster. most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. what is most surprising is how astonished the press is still at each grant todd day's replay of the identical outcome. -- at each ground hog's day replay of the identical outcome. if i didn't know better, i could put quotes around and say it was from rush limbaugh. >> this was going to be a guiliani verses hillary clinton election year. ipeople did not know what to mae of this all cider, first black
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presidential candidates that had a chance of winning. one of the most bizarre things was to see a largely white political press corps that just as soon eat that whites are racist and when that vote for him. when he won in iowa this, the shock was enormous. they could not believe that hillary clinton was not mopping this guy up. there was a feeling that every white person in western pennsylvania aid to black people and they will vote against him. they assumed a country that was racist when it was not in terms of obama. >> if we followed you around all week and did you invite is, we will, where do we see you and how w-- when i read your columns
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i see things that i do not see from anyone else. >> i would be on the phone corresponding with people. i am at home when i write because i cannot get anything done sitting in an office. i really need television. some of the riding i do at night. i tend to work really late on thursday night. i will be in the office in downtown. ii also spent a lot of time looking at the internet. more interestingly i am seeing phone traffic go down. e-mailed can leave a trail. i wonder about that. >> how often you find people
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trying to get your attention for something? >> a fair amount. i am fineable. -- findable. plus there is a male mechanism within the times website. people can find me pretty easily. the one place people almost never find me is by snail mail. people use to send the documents also did to me by e- mail now. >> you grew up in washington and went to harvard. mary? >> i am married. i have two sons.
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both live in brooklyn. they are both writers. >> my oldest son published a novel last year. he is an editor at "the paris review." my youngest son is a humor writer. he is a writer for "saturday night live." >> let me go to another column from july 12, 2009. the essence of palinism is the emotional, not ideological. yes, she is the religious -- she is of the religious right, even if she wins literally and figuratively at her daughter.
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the real weight she is writing is a loud, resinous surge of resentment and victimization that is larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights. how do know that? >> i know it by listening to her and other politicians who share her views. there is a point where the left and right me. i think what we're seeing is after this huge economic downturn and the sense of tremendous inequity in our country in feeling that some people did not play by the rules and got away like bandits and some people who did play by the rule scott stock -- got stuck with deep-seated 401k's.
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-- got stuck with depleted 401k's. by sometimes think there is a racial component as well. the sense of a country where whites will be the minority in things are changing very fast. some people are falling behind. there is a popular thing going on right now that i think is a multi-party. you see it everywhere. you will hear goldman sachs attack as much on the right as that on the left. there is a common denominator to all of this. >> back in june of 2007, sale the president's change what they used to be. -- failed presidents ain't what
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they used to be. >> i think this is about the time of frost nixon. >> did you really shed a tear for rob -- shed a tear for richard nixon? >> there is something about nixon. he was probably the single most hated politician growing up in washington tsk. it was something you heard about constant plea. -- it was something you heard about constantly. there was something about his ambition, which sometimes was successful that seen through history now is almost a little bit more interesting and compelling and it is a tragedy because he really threw away
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into a collage of paranoia. >> unlike president nixon, president bush is less an overreaching machiavelli then an epic blunder surrounded by a mob of bellies. -- machiavellis. >> my feeling of president bush and has not changed is that he was a guy who was not terribly ideological. he campaigned on not doing nation-building and having very modest, humbles foreign-policy in getting a few things done, most of which she did not get done like social security reform and immigration reform. -- most of which he did not get done. he bent with that wind and
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probably went through that. >> let me read on. nixon came from stock nothing, will himself, and was all too keenly aware when he was up to dirty tricks. mr. bush hasn't charmed biography, is full of himself -- mr. bush has a charmed biography, and if sulis full of himself. >> i would say that the facts is that you cannot think of more different people. nixon was one of the poorest financially, if not the poorest.
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he had a terrible young adult place. he overcame that to become president of the united states and come back from various defeats. to throw it all away is a very gripping story. bush is a product of privilege. he did have good connections. he came from one of the most famous, well-connected american families. i think that reflected itself in the presidency. if there was not a lot of self examination. whereas nixon just listen to the tapes. there could not be more different personalities. i find nixon's personality more interesting than i do the bush personality. >> when i talk with you like this i see a different frank
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rich then when i read to. -- than when i read you. do you get angry? >> i really do not get angry actually. i am not invested that way in politics. i do like to write stuff, sentences that have punch and say what i mean clearly and directly. when i first started as a columnist, bill safire retired and gave me a bunch of wonderful advice, and one thing was never begin a paragraph with on the other hand. [laughter] i love writing so i like it to be declared in strong. -- and strong.
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>> says he should not do what professor irwin corey when he would start however. he is like 95. some of the audience has never heard of him, but he was a wonderful comedian. he would always start out with however. >> i have seen other demonstrating him saying second lead. -- saying secondly. >> this is after 9/11. compared to what we're talking about today. the collateral damage to the economy can't wait, too. dick armey promises that houses
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stimulus bill will create 170,000 jobs next year alone. total unemployment is at 7.7 million. the house package also wants $5.7 billion in tax rebates to 13 fortune 500 companies while congress earmarks at most 3 billion. what is the rush? as tom delay said on fox, the american people need to learn that these terrorists are going after specific people, people that are symbols. somebody in sugar land, texas, should not worry about anthrax. >> saii think what was botherine then and what was a real problem is that after 9/11 no one wanted to instill the idea of sacrifice. somehow the idea was everything
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would be ok. we would not have to spend money on buyouts terrorism. -- we would not have to spend money on bioterrorism. i am still not at all convinced that anyone in washington, including the president, wants to stand up to the public and say, if we want to reform health care and fight a war in afghanistan, someone is clinton have to sacrifice. -- someonme is going to ahve to sacrifice. there were presidents who said the american people have to step up to the plate at some point. you cannot have something for nothing. at is a -- at a certain point, washington never wants to go there.
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so we cannot have guns and butter all the time. we cannot have them now and 2009. saying this to the american public by politicians is difficult. >> the iraq war, just a sentence. >> we made a mess. and now thanks to a lot of brave and persisted troops, we have cleaned up the mess. history will judge whether this is a diversion of any value. >> a sentence about today and afghanistan. >> i think it is an unholy mess. icing the obama administration will have to decide what its goals are in the next few
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months under very difficult circumstances. it is a mess. they do not have a leader that has our confidence or the people's confidence they do not have any kind of troops to speak of that we can train in any fashion. >> what will you do at thif it e president announces more troops that he is when to send over their? to go around the time obama was inaugurated, i heard him say that the main mission there has to be that there are people there who can attack us again. -- that there aren't people there who can attack us again. he is going to have to answer
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difficult questions whether additional trips can do anything or not. he is going to be at iraq and a hard place and have to explain to us -- he is going to have to be a at a rock and a hard place. >> do you know specifically people that read your column every sunday that are in government and in the media world? when you sit there and write you know that they're going to -- i am talking about people in high places? >> i do but i cannot say that i think about it. i always thought about the reader, not the person of the subject of the peace.
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>> have closed you did to people? >> not very. -- how close do you get to people? i never felt it was my job to be friends or be an insider. when i was a theater critic, i did not go to open night parties and did not travel in the party. my own feeling has not changed. i feel you could be more objective if you are not caught up in it. i grew up in washington. my stepfather was what we would now call achy street lawyer. -- a fixed streeeet lawyer.
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he was a journalist. i thought as a kid, and it is a whole kind of culture that does not interest me. i feel as a journalist that it is too easy to be persuaded. >> let's say rahm emanuel is watching this and he picks up the phone and says that the president will like you have to come -- would like to have you come in and talk to him. would you do this? >> of course, but i would not give him my advice. i do not think that is my role, but i would welcome any opportunity to talk with the president of the united states or rahm emanuel and anyone in the administration who has something they want to tell me. that is great. of course you do that, but what i do not want to do is become part of the party circuit or too
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much off the record, behind the scenes stuff. >> i know you are friend of marine doubt. -- marine dow. the chordate among the colonists to make sure you do not write about the same thing? >> no, we never have. we never even teller editors o what we're writing about in advance. -- we never even tell our editors. we do not know what each other is writing about until we see the paper. >> let me goes back to four days
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after 9/11. >> i do not remember what it was. >> it was a tuesday, which is when i have to start pulling the trigger. what ever i was thinking of, obviously was shaken. and >> this week's nightmare is now clear has awakened us from a frivolous if not affected that -- decadent decade-long dream, even as it comes as into an uncertain future we had never bargained for. the dream assemble that we could have it all without paying any price, and that national suffering of almost any kind could be domesticated into an experience of virtual terror.
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you're talking about the decadent dream. you are talking about the fall of the stock market. the rise in unemployment and the evaporation of the surplus. >> it is up -- isn't it amazing/ =? -- isn't it amazing? there was a whole day trading crees and going out and gambling in the market. then that collapse followed by 9/11. it was the day that changed everything. it is the day that did not
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changed that much because there was another bubble in people's homes. a lot of the same forces were at work. it is an interesting phenomenon that i keep thinking about. it happened in the 1920's. if you read about the land boom it is shockingly nearing what went on in these past decades. >> this is from july, 2003. it is interesting as i read this paragraph to think about where the people are today based on where they were six years ago. then again, maybe the only real hope for liberals is just a cyclical change in the political environment. as the press keeps asking what president bush knew about his own state of the union speech
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and when he knew it, his approval rating has started shrinking to its pre-9/11 level. the unemployment record on the administration's watch keeps heading into herbert hoover territory. just to stop there, mr. riley has been on the bestseller's list a couple times since then. bill o'reilly might have to face down competition from a liberal talk-show host. the andrew cuomo factor.
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on the front page was a story of andrew cuomo reading with -- meeting with the now governor. and keith doberman and bill o'reilly have been fighting with each other. that fight is off. >> that is the most fascinating story i have read. that is a very interesting tale about getting back to the populace point. at what point do bosses step in and and the right. it is very -- it is a very interesting story. a riley continues to be a huge star -- o'reilly continues to be a huge star.
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it has only helped him. he has competitors like inbev who are coming out. -- like lin beck. -- glen beck. what a crazy raise it was. clearly he wanted to do this. he is the first saturday night live alumnus to be in the senate. he is playing a good soldier in the junior member of the senate. >> bill riley's show is rated as almost as tight as any cable show. >> i think he has a very committed and loyal audience.
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>> y? >> i think he gives voice to people as anchors about things and use about things. -- i think he gives voice to people who are angry about things. it is impressive that anyone can have longevity. the left has not been so capable at finding a mass communicators who deliver like these guys do. >> when you are really sharp about someone to get work feedback -- do you get more feedback? >> sometimes i think you can
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write in the end of proving way about people and get an enormous response. i think if you have no opinion, then you will get no response. i do not even think that way. i think about what is the story and how my going to tell the? and make the story as sharp as i can. >> i am going to go back to july 31, 1994. one of the people we're going to mention is deceased. henry gonzales, the texas democrat who runs the hearings with an iron gavel, has the facial creases, liver spots, and
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sly down-home courtliness to be the next sam ervin, but all resemblances end of their paren are. there is a strict five-minute limit on each questionnaire and ruling anything that might resemble a subsequent inquiry out of order. >> do we remember anything about those hearings? >> the next person i'm going to mention is in the obama administration. representative jim leach of iowa, the insufferably pious republican avenging angel of whitewater, almost makes mr. gonzales seem ingenious. forever advertising his
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iridescent with a gratuitous attitude. his early disclaimer of any desire to suggest or imply criminal conduct was the republicans' funniest display of hypocrisy. he now runs the national endowment for humanity. >> here is the thing about reached. -- about leach. i found he did more in sorrow than an ain angry. he voted for a least one article of impeachment. he has earned a reputation as being an unusual member of congress in terms of the republican party and a more
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moderate member. i have to save the national endowment for humanities is a very worthy agency but it is about at -- academia to a certain point. but >> insufferably pious purita. are you still doing work for hbo? >> i am. i am a consultant s, which means i have a voice at the table talking about a lot of programming as a new regime took it over and had to retool and the cover was bare. the one thing i am not really involved with is documentaries.
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>> the reason i bring up that part is because back in 1994 you wrote white marion barry? - why marion barry? >> of the very voters, only one attack the media for caricaturing the candidates. my father. he was enraged. mr. barry is more often referred to as a criminal then all winner -- and oliver north. an-- than oliver north. your father is still alive? >> my father is still alive.
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he lives in washington, d.c. and he is a very interesting story. he did have a family business. it was looted the night of the riots after martin luther king was assassinated. she was -- he wanted to rebuild. it was a heroic thing. it led him to be involved with marion barry. they tried to state the willard hotel. -- they tried to save the willard hotel.
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>> your dad is 88? >> he turned 88 in april. >> here is the first sentence of a column on march 5. as a media celebrity, the internet is now seriously overexposed. where a person, we might be as sick of it as we were a glanc oe ito. >> in retrospect, i did not really understand it at the beginning. anthe internet now has become te tail that is wagging the dog of all endeavors. >> you did say this, the happy surprise about the internet is the unpredictable domestic political implications. >> a stopped clock is right
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twice a day. the internet, it is interesting when you look back during the second half of the clinton years. the internet became a mass communication media used by the large part by the public with the clinton scandals. that is how things like the drug report -- drudge report entered people's lives. then we did not understand it completely in terms of the political implications. >> he really had a professional medium for breaking news the internet is. this repackages prince and television media. -- this repackages print and
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television media penda. s nbc may have as little bearing on the cyber future as howdy doody did on mtv. >> i was talking about msnbc as a web site. there i was sort of right. because of that was exactly true then. it was parallel television pensi. this unchanged at a bigger war speed because of the way electronics work today as
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opposed to tv in the analog world. >> i found a " in harvard magazine. -- found a quote in harvard magazine. you were at the harvard crimson. were you the editor? >> i was the editor of the editorial page. evan thomas, mike grimsley, they were with me. many people. it was an interesting crowd. jim glassman, the conservative columnist. >> who was in the bush administration? >> right. to go right before george w. bush runs for president, he buys a ranch, one that is really not
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a ranch to establish the image that he is a red state kicker rather than the scion of one of the most aristocratic family spir andlies. -- aristocratic families. mr. obama, any cultural manipulation cluck? >> i do not think he has reinvented who he is to the extent that keri tried to and bush did, but this is a master of the media that we have now. mccain, one of the spreadsheet -- refreshing things about the game is that he was impervious
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to packaging. they tried to get him to do separate teams caught -- they tried to get in to do set routines. there are some people who cannot be slick. i simply add my europe. they are too old or stubborn. i think that is refreshing. >> have you ever met president obama or senator mccain? >> i have met them both. i met them both basically as a journalist. i was in a group of columnists that obama talk to just before he was inaugurated. and i talk to mccain when he did not get the endorsement during the democratic -- i talked to
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obama when he did not get the endorsement during the democratic campaign. i talk to the king during a republican convention in new york. -- i talked to mccain during a republican convention in new york. i think it was in 1994. he was delightful. what a really remember is that his mother and his mother's sister were both there. these women were still running around in their 90's and sunday. -- and funny. i found that interesting. >> this is from december 2, 2007. the headline on it is "howho is
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afraid of barack obama?" the biggest fell way ms. so far that the clinton campaign is a textbook perfect and tightly disciplined was surely buried for good by the president's seemingly panic-driven blunder last week. >> this was a steady stream of mind. -- theme of mine. >> we kept been told -- what the bell when mr. gore gas often was the policy.
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>> it is amazing. in one of the debates he said we might have to go into pakistan that was considered a big cat, when actually it was his policy. it may still be to some extent. the other half of that is that the clinton machine was unbeatable and was taken as a given. to cook this was april 12, 2009. what, if anything, have we learned from this decade's man- made economic disaster? certain american values crumbled and vanished. rather than investing -- term in new products, innovations, technologies or services that might grow and then that america and the world, became the holy grail in the upper exons of society.
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those institutions are not merely the met -- the beneficiaries of the taxpayers' bailout since the crash. you can see -- i sense that you like barack obama and you are on that side of the political trend. but you have been taking regular shots at timothy geithner and larry summers. >> i am very disturbed about the culture that i described their that got us into this mess. there's no evidence to suggest that it is ending. we have a speech rating being done by goldman sachs and others that have nothing to do with value. it has to do with getting rich quick, not building the country.
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it is an open question about the obama administration. >> we are recording this on monday. predict to us what you will be writing about when the sunday paper comes out. >> brian lamb, the life and the legend. i am looking at a lot of things. i am looking at the state of the health-care debate as it goes out into the country, whether obama is executing correctly on getting it done or not. i am looking at some of the economic issues we just talked about, among others. something could fall at of the sky between now and when i write. -- fall out of the sky between now and when i write.
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xday >> frank rich, thank you very much for joining us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> for a dvd copy of this program called the number on your screen. for a three transcripts or to give us your comments visit us at >> next week on today, we will talk with ellis cose. he produced a radio documentary
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series. that is next sunday on c-span. her to go this is c-span region -- >> this is c-span. later, a live press conference with president obama and the canadian prime minister stephen harper. >> this morning on washington journal, a discussion about the trade summit with patrick o'brien of the u.s. chamber of commerce. also, a look at business week's cover story on health insurers. then a discussion on u.s. policy towards


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