tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 30, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
comfortable. and it's somewhat liberating. >> see the entire interview tonight at 8 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a." >> coming up next, it's "washington journal." our guests include cq roll call columnist craig crawford. then more about the antigovernment protest in egypt with former homeland security secretary tom ridge. he will look at how they could complicate u.s. efforts to combat global terrorism. then john gauge discusses how much federal employees are paid and the size of federal agencies. plus your e-mails and phone calls. "washington journal" is next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
in egypt. and your phone calls. the area code -- 202 in washington, d.c. 202-737-0002 is our line for democrats. 202-737-0001 for republicans. if you are an independent, our number is 202-628-0205. the piece is called "inside the white house with," as the president begins to scrabble with the situation in egypt. the president has ben briefed. it has been going on for three straight days as the crisis gathered momentum. they are not all huddled in a big office, one of the administration's policy makers trying to calibrate the u.s. response. the story from newsweek.com. ethel joining us from new york city.
caller: yes, i have been watching the situation there in egypt. and i was very pleased that the demonstrators were not violent. and i was pleased when the president spoke about keep it nonviolent and keep it calm. but all the sudden, it turned violent. and then all the sudden all the stations, especially cnn, started telling the president to do more, and some group of people -- i think it is between israel and the united states -- are trying to drag our country
into this conflict, especially our president. they tried to get him into iran. now there will try to make him come out and take sides. he is doing exactly what he is supposed to do. host: you can join the conversation online at twitter.com/cspanwj. a number of stories from the front pages of the newspapers. president mubarak announcing a vice president shall nominate as they struggle to maintain a tenuous hold on power is today as the police withdrew from major cities and the military did nothing to hold back tens of thousands of demonstrators defying curfew.
next is bill, republican lion, a good morning. caller: i think it is sad what is going on over there. one that is ironic, like the picture that you showed with the president and cabinet members, huddled together. everybody is worried about what is going to happen in egypt. why don't we have all of these
people huddled and fix what is going on in america? those people over there, they will straighten it out. will be a matter of time. let's have of kabul and let's fix america. thank you. host -- let's have a huddle and let's fix america. host: next is joe joining us from massachusetts. welcome to the conversation. caller: yes, i think the president has come on strongly in favor of the people of egypt. to stop worrying about so much about what israel is thinking of doing. they are doing the right thing by staying out of it. i just do not believe that this is an islamic movement. it has nothing to do that. this is a people's movement. they want their freedoms, they want work, they want food, they want jobs. they are tired of being pushed
around by a dictator. i just what president obama to come out strongly for the people in egypt. host: headlines from the l.a. times -- looting grows and lawless egypt -- in lawleess egypt. they expected big demonstrations across egypt and it is time for mubarak to go.to sni patrick mch it was inspired by tunisia's overthrow of their authoritarian president. john from texas, good morning. independent line. caller: i've been watching the news every chance i get. and the amount of aid that we
give this dictatorship in egypt each year ranges from $1 billion to $3 billion a year. how long have we been paying that? we see the politicians that we put in office here, all of them, saying we have to cut the old people's social security. we will have to cut this or cut that. how come the people of this country do not see how much we are paying these other countries? because these people in egypt, they make $1 to $2 a day, if they're lucky. all i can say is, wake up america. let's see what -- where our money is going. host: we are now looking at some of the live scenes from cairo and elsewhere in egypt.
the boston sunday globe with the headline -- the egypt crisis continues to spiral. joining us from washington state. good morning. caller: thank you for c-span. we have a station up here in washington. i think that their political future is as simple as any american cholera could interpret. it is -- and the american caller could interpret. it is so simple. you know the pyramids that the all theye build, have to do is get the gold. they have gold of in the hills. they need to dig it out. host: james next in oakland, california. you are on the air. caller: i want to make a comment
and say, i do not understand why, obama should go out there and stand behind those people. i do not believe -- i do not believe we should not get in it. we should help those people. host: "the entire world is concerned about the tip. is anyone old enough can remember their pc room with israel stopped wars -- their peace agreement with israel stopped wars." calling this a keystroke revolution, with what happened with the social networks, including twitter. we are joined from indianapolis. good morning to you. please go ahead, you are on the
air. we're getting an echo. cruces, don in las new mexico. caller: someone called in this morning and asked how much is the relationship of aid to egypt? since 1979, the price for peace, we have been giving money to egypt. host: has been about $1 billion it to $3 billion for the last 30 years. that was the agreement back in 1979. you are right. caller: the two top recipients of foreign aid are egypt and israel. for every $2 that we give to israel, we give $1 to egypt. and what we have been doing for the past 30 years is for non
intervention, for the peace between egypt and israel and for non intervention in those affairs and mubarak's government, what we have been doing is paying them off. the heads of israel and the heads of the united states right now, i bet are really debating what that aid has cost us. especially since, when you look at the tear-gas canisters, when you look at all those military vehicles, what you will discover is that they came from the united states. this is truly a troubling moment in the middle east. thank you very much. host: there are two related stories online. bill kristol saying, i am in complete agreement with a working group assessment calling for the suspension of u.s. aid to egypt. you can get the story at "weekly standard".com.
senator john kerry over the weekend saying it is too early to talk about ending any u.s. aid to egypt. senator john kerry is the chair of the senate foreign relations committee. "the washington post" -- proof that bush was right. in november, 2003, george w. bush asked -- are the peoples of the emmiddle east somehow beyond the reach of liberty?
host: steven, republican line, good morning. caller: first of all, i would like to say that my first thought is rest in peace of those who are fighting and giving their lives in the name of freedom, because, even though we are over here, we are sitting on the sand. over there, they are fighting for a cause. second of all, i would like to say that those people over there have spent 30 years under despotism rule. c'mon, how long to you think that is going to last? would you think the guy is going to spend another 20 years under his role? people are getting tired of that. it is time to rise up. lives will be lost, but it is for a better cause. when the dust has settled, egypt
-- i think it will rise as a better car, as far as liberty and freedom. -- it will rise as a better power. host: from our twitter followers. "oh, jeez, bush was right? people want freedom but egypt was our friend who tortured bush ." caller: i am a recovering black republican who chose to be independent. there are elements of that party that would like to do what those people are doing over there. when we talk about the money we send them. what if the money that we borrowed from china came with any stipulations? since egypt is not being attacked by any other country, it is the best place for barack obama and the united states to
stay out of that, because when these people have democratic elections, if they elect someone we do not like it, we will ignore them like we are doing in israel, which is close to apartheid if you are palestinian. if we do not like the people that win, we do not acknowledge them. we cannot preach democracy if we will not respect democracy. we cannot put any strings. as long as china is not dictating policy, all we hear is that china is paying for tax breaks. host: you are watching alge jazeera. it is no longer available in each appeared the broadcaster has been ordered to close its cairo news hub. the news organizations had been given nearly round-the-clock coverage of the unprecedented uprising. the headline is that al jazeera
has been banned in egypt over the weekend. this is what is happening in the main square in cairo. "the washington post" with a number of photographs over the weekend. a number of references to the speech that president obama delivered in cairo in june, 2009. it included five separate points, including the fourth. richard the issue of democracy in the middle east. >> the fourth issue i will address is democracy. [applause] i know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in the rock. so let me be clear. no system of government can or should be opposed by one nation by any other.
that does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. each nation gives life to this principle in its own way. grounded in the traditions of its own people. america does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. ing i do have an unyieldlin belief that all people yearn for certain things -- the ability to speak your mind, and have a say in how your government, confidence in the will of law, and the equal administration of justice, a government that is transparent and does not steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. these are not just american
ideas. they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere. [applause] host: from june, 2009, the comments of president barack obama's speech that continues to generate interest today as the white house crafts a reaction to the situation in egypt. if you want to watch the entire speech, it is available on our web site at c-span.org. "the new york ier in times", when it comes to diplomacy in egypt, words often fail. the chaos is laying a stark fact. in the arab world, american words may not matter because american deeds, whenever the words have been consistent. ever since that march morning 31 years ago when sadat reached out to clasp hands with begin, the treaty with israel and the
with the egyptians, the people. we are looking for support. i am egyptian. everybody over there, we are disappointed about the speech and we were hoping he would make it clear -- people are looking at him, as the big brother. people of america, in egypt. [inaudible] for free election. i am 42. i was born and a little town in egypt. every single time, there has never been free elections in egypt. finally, it's time. siding with mubarak right now is
like siding with saddam hussein or hitler. host: hopefully, local control with no national tyrant's -- the old american model abandoned currently buyy us. you can join the conversation on line -- twitter.com. next is a viewer from qatar on our international line. caller: good morning. tghanhank you for having me. i hope -- [unintelligible] i think the u.s. should reconsider its policy in the middle east, and in the entire world. i do not think it is a great country. i believe america is losing its
empire world wide, whether it is in the middle east or central america or let america. why? they are not supporting what america stands for. democracy. like sadat, like mubarak, like all the leaders in the middle east and and let america. -- in latin america. our of friendship with the people of these countries, and these people will welcome that. we support the united states. they to be friends with the people, not friends with the dictatorship. we really should be their friends with the people. the people have a negative
thought with the united states, unfortunately. host: how are you watching us in qatar? on satellite or via the web? caller: the web. we have al jazeera, different media system. people in the streets -- i believe we are in the wind of change, a global change. the world is changing. host: from the "new york daily news", too little too late? the president shuffles the government, but angry protesters want him out. he appointed his first ever
vice-president, signaling an end to his plan to promote his son. a likely finish to his three decades in office. next is joan from rockville, maryland. caller: i think the united states is at fault with this current problem in the middle east, with the revolutions. one, we neglect than the muslim people with trade in preference to china. it is very hard to get anything in this country that is not chinese. i do try to buy egyptian towels. they make a fine cotton product. i think also that ben bernanke and his quantitative easing ii, dumping tons of
money into the american economy is causing inflation in the middle east, and this inflation is what is causing these riots. people cannot afford to eat. gonna come back to the united states, it is delivered. there is no check on ben bernanke. thank you. host: next is pauletto from lansing, michigan. caller: thanks to c-span and to the host. the political future with mubarak must go. this is not the ottomans. there will be subjected to further protests, murder, unrest, instability. for peace, stability and allah. thank you, c-span.
host: "time" magazine has more than 50 photographs posted on its web site, scenes from an upheaval is what is called. it is available on-line at time.com. next is tony from harrisburg. good morning. caller: hello? good morning. i am a first time clalealler, bt i have been watching forever. i hope that president barack obama, and that is one thing i want to say -- everybody keeps saying, barack obama. i think that is disrespectful. he is president barack obama, he should be addressed as president barack obama appeared to egypt, this goes way, way, way back. we as muslims, we say, oppression is worse than
death. as time goes on, things began to bubble over. it is time for a new era in egypt. just like it was time for barack obama, it is a new time for egypt. host: we should offer no help to leaders of suppressing their people. we will have more on all of this later in the program with former governor tom ridge. and coming up, craig crawford, who has his political trope, part of the cq.com website. next sam, joining us from churchill, tennessee. good morning. caller: about foreign aid, right now we are talking about egypt. the people talk about how much money we give, billions of
dollars over 30 years to egypt, but we do not give them dollars. we give them the equipment. we give them goods. watching a lot of this, the protests over there. you see all of these tanks and troop carriers and those are made here. we do not give them dollars. we give them goods with the military-industrial complex, by making these things. if we do just how much these goods we give, aid costs the taxpayer, you'd be surprised. host: we are going back and forth between a live feed from al jazeera. they are providing us live pictures. as we see more from carsiro,
we will bring you that. the cover story is, can we compete again? a follow up on the president's state of the union address. one of the issues likely to come up is the issue of state bankruptcy. our guest on "newsmakers" is a north carolina republican patrick mchenry. he chairs a subcommittee related to the bailout. one of the questions -- can states declared bankruptcy. host: do you envision having a conversation about state bankruptcy? so they can go through a legal process to deal with debts? guest: i am not convinced it is the right answer. however, i do not think there has been enough research done about whether or not bankruptcy would be costly to the states, in terms of the state's -- the
states that are in fine physical shape, whether or not they will pay a lot more and lending costs because this is on the books of verse is the states that said, the bond markets are in bad physical shape whether it is illinois or california. i am not convinced it is the right approach, but it is something we are going to have to discuss and better understand. i do know, and i can say this for certain, that this congress and the majority that i have the pleasure to serve and in the u.s. house, has no appetite for a bailout of any kind for the state's. host: north carolina republican congressman patrick mchenry i "newsmakers" at 10:00 a.m. eastern. we are asking about egest political future, a weekend with a number of developments -- we are asking about egypt's
political future. the fifth day of protests and a number of cities, including alexandria and cairo. democrats line. good morning. caller: i would like to see the american government asking the egyptian government to have a watching over the next election thethe end of 200111, presidential election in egypt. i think that will fix most of the things and rights in egypt. i wish that would have been in support of a national country, like not only the united states. i would like to see more than one country who has a national watching over the election in 2011. host: we have a story from "the washington post" -- mubarak's grip has been tested.
remains to be seen whether saturday's grand gesture was the announcement of a president or presenting a military endorsement or if it was an attempt by the commanders of the military to defuse tensions and buy time for the autocratic mubarak to consolidate control and put out a plan of ca succession. we have the cairo bureau chief joining us on the phone at this time. we appreciate your time. let me begin with the weekend announcement -- the announcement of a vice president. the military is in cairo but not using any violence as of this morning. first, talk about the vice president. why was this important? that was important to set in motion the succession process, something the mubarak has been missing since he came
into office in 1981. he never did appoint a vice president and yesterday. yesterday. he has a close confidant of the president. he has been running things for 20 years. there is ben a lot of speculation as to the significance of the most. at one of those is that he could be a successor and hand over parower. one thing that is significant is that it almost completely rules presidentn of the being president. host: does this give president mubarak time? what all accounts, even the vice president does not have the support of those protesting in the streets. guest: he does not have that
endorsement. he has been viewed as a key member of the regime. yes, obviously, his appointment was not met with approval from the protesters who continue to demand a complete regime change and nothing short of it. but if mubarak is to ride out this crisis, there is a chance of a peaceful or orderly transfer of power, a few weeks or few months down the road. host: what has been your reaction to the white house? on friday, the day began with a response. as the day progressed, we heard from the press secretary and a statement from president obama early in the evening and saturday, another series of meetings. we are likely to hear more from the president tomorrow on the situation in egypt.
a close ally, but always in allied that we provided billions of dollars in aid over the last 30 years. host. guest: some of the protesters are carrying anti-american banners. it has long been seen by many egyptians as the main backer of mubarak's regime. but the fact that president obama and other members of his administration are pressing on mubarak to introduce meaningful reform and quickly is giving everybody the impression that mubarak may not enjoy the full support of the obama administration. that is something that may in bold and some of the protestors to press ahead with the demonstrations. host: in this morning's "the washington post", it may best captured the scenes in cairo as
a military tank is being surrounded by protesters in what appears to be a peaceful scene. can you touch on that? guest: a love fest has been unfolding between protesters and the army. they enjoy the respect of many egyptians, possibly because they the police forces are condemned for their brutality and alleged corruption. the army is in a delicate situation. it has yet to move against protesters and in an emphatic way to restore some of the order that the city needs. at the same time, it does not want to be seen as taking the side of the regime, something that would turn the protesters against the army. the army is walking a very delicate line here. it needs to restore law and order, at least, but at the
same time, it does not want to antagonize the protesters. it needs to be seen as not part of the regime. how could it not be if we have mubarak himself and named -- and named a vice president who was a former army general? host: we are speaking with the cairo bureau chief of the associated press. the headline from the l.a. times this morning. let me ask about the state department, which is advising americans to leave the country? we lost the connection. we appreciate his time in getting the very latest from cairo. there was a problem with the connection because of the situation, and we heard earlier this morning that al jazeera has been taken off the air. gary joins us from big bear, california. good morning. caller: good morning.
as i go out this morning to debate my hope, i am proud to live in this country where we respect democracy, freedom, and our people from reagan to bush to bush, jr., to carter, to clinton, we really have great presidents in the world. what i call to say is that i think what happened in the u.k. educationstudent funds going up, i think what is happening now in egypt, i think it is an historic time for the world. host: other headlines. the egyptian protesters during the soldiers on the tanks. we spoke to the cairo bureau
chief a moment ago. "mubarak clings to power." there are 150,000 egyptians living in the u.s. demonstrations outside the white house over the weekend. kendall on the democrats' line. welcome to the conversation. caller: i wanted to basically call and say that the people deserve to be heard, regardless communistyou are a state or a democratic state, the people should not be denied. i just feel that if they are tired with how things are going, they should be able to express their opinions and they should be able to demand reform appeared they should be able to demand a quality and someone
that will rule with a fair hand, if you will. as far as president obama, i feel that his views are right. we should not impose democracy on any country. it should be a form of will, but as far as the american standpoint, we do try to emimpose our views on other countries, which is not right. host: next week, marking the 100th birthday of president reagan. the birthday is a week from today. we will focus much of next week's "washington journal" looking back on the reagan legacy. among our guests will be a historian and author, the former director of the reagan library. brandon joins us from
washington. good morning. what's next for egypt? caller: i do not know what is going on with egypt or anything, but we send aid to new orleans. we got to -- host: next is john from louisiana, republican line. caller: i can only hope and pray that our government will be wise in making decisions in what is going on there. i think it is a terrible situation. mubarak is an authoritarian person, according to history, the people that are in the middle east, particularly under islam, are only under authoritarianism. my fear is that we will have a
situation similar -- 1978. host: with the shah. caller: i just hope we do not have a jimmy carter moment, and we see what the results were from that. it would be catastrophic if egypt was taken over by the muslim brotherhood. host: a twitter comment. "my view is the president mubarak will not leave. his education would open up the worst situation brother hood." number one is "unbroken," number towo is "decision points," "cleopatra" is fourth. our conversation with former
president bush is tonight on c- span's www.q-and-a.org program. we will also have a conversation with tom ridge, coming up later on this program. julia. good morning. caller: good morning, steve. catastrophic is and it is first and foremost, when president obama is making a speech and concern, i think he has done it in a good light. that i do not feel there are any negative overtones. first and foremost, anyone listening to any news outlet needs to realize that, in fact, president obama is the commander in chief of naval forces and we in the military, we have many concerns with the suez canal and the red sea.
there is trade. there are naval ships. we have much of national- security going on there. and we have to make a stand and assist or there are going to be other issues have been. the other thing is there are thousands of americans there, and is the united states going to help bring them back into this country? and it is aircraft, and what is going on as far as why these people are no, i guess they are blocked from all of their communications. this is very serious. i was reading an article in "the new york times" this morning about the king abdullah of saudi arabia. he says there are unnamed agitators and affection. like the cia in vietnam, that this is almost representative of
three decades ago in vietnam. this is a very big concern for everyone's safety throughout the world. host: as we look at a map of the region. here is the latest information. the u.s. embassy is telling americans to consider leaving the country as soon as possible. this is an escalation of an earlier warning which advised nine u.s. government officials not to travel to the region. the embassy will update americans about departure assistance as soon as possible. in israel, benjamin netanyahu saying that he is hoping that despite the situation in egypt, that the peace agreement between the two countries will continue. in agreement that was brokered three years ago -- 30 years ago. stocks across the middle east have been dropping. finally, there is a report that
inmates have to skate one of the prisons in cairo. -- have escaped one of the prisons in cairo. from the chicago sun-times, the headlines is that chaos is rolling in egypt. from atlanta, soldiers going easy. tom joins us from baltimore. caller: good morning. i do not know what the future for -- is, but it will cost the united states a hell of a lot of money, because israel will demand more money -- they will come up with some reason. the oil companies will raise the prices on oil, and we will pay for that. and obama does not have the courage of a [bleep]. host: in egypt, they are hardly thinking global right now.
we will have more on all of this throughout the program, more of your calls and comments. we will look ahead to politicstial c with craig crawford. we will talk about cutbacks and freezes for federal employees. some of our topics ahead on "washington journal". first, all look at some of the other issues dominating the sunday programs -- and egypt, first and foremost occurred. . >> beginning at noon, topics and the president's state of the union and the situation in egypt. hillary clinton makes appearances on all five shows. they begin at noon with nbc's "meet the press". david gregory talks with secretary clinton and a former u.s. ambassador to israel and mitch mcconnell. at 1:00 p.m., here at abc's this
week. reporting from cairo, they talk with secretary clinton and the egyptian ambassador. also, the former national security adviser and the carter administration. fox news sunday airs at 2:00 p.m., chris wallace after speaking with the secretary clinton talks with house speaker john boehner. at 3:00 p.m., it is cnn's state of the union. they talk with secretary clinton, john negroponte, and edward walker, the former u.s. ambassador to egypt. and former senator alan simpson, the co-chairman of the white house commission on fiscal responsibility and reform. at 4:00 p.m., it is face the nation from cbs. the speaker is secretary clinton and white house chief of staff bill daley and his first televised interview. these are the talk shows brought to you by that -- as a public service by the networks and c- span. the reairs begin at noon eastern
with "meet the press", fox news sunday at 2:00 p.m., state of the union at 3:00 p.m., and face the nation from cbs at 4:00 p.m. eastern. listen to them all on c-span radio, 90.1 fm. channel 132. or listen online at c- spanradio.org. >> tonight, we will talk with former president bush about his life and his new book. here is a portion. >> a lot of the actions that. truman took made my life easier as president, and many of the decisions i made it through executive order, the most controversial decisions i made, such as listening to the phone calls of people who might do us harm or enhanced interrogation techniques became the law of the land. after the 2004 elections, and
after 2006, i went to congress and said, we need to ratify through legislative action that which i had done within the constitution by executive order. and so, the congress, in spite of the fact we had been -- passed lawa that enables the president to have certain to. dole's people said -- certain tools. in some cases, it might be too hard politically for president to put out an executive order that authorizes enhanced interrogation techniques, but if there were the law of the land it might be easier for the person to use that technique. >> see the entire interview tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a". "washington journal" continues. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: we want to welcome back
craig crawford. guest: this is my c-span tie. i first war this on c-span in 1989. it is the only place i wear this tide. a little frayed. host: let's begin with the news of the morning. you posted on our blog that democracy in egypt is often messy. guest: anywhere. when protesters in the street are trying to bring democracy to their country. this is a great story for americans, always, when we see this, because it reminds us of our own history of revolting against oppressive regimes. host: what is going to happen? guest: i will be glued to the tv today watching secretary of state hillary clinton, because i am expecting some signal shifts
from the administration led by her that they are moving away from the position they have been in earlier in the week, that they wanted mubarak to stay anre d reform and keep this ability that he brings -- the stability he brings. they are going from whether he would go to fall sam. i think she will signal that today. host: our words do not match our actions. president bush talking about democracy in the middle east, president obama in his speech discussing democracy, and yet mubarak has been a close american ally and we have been reluctant to go after him. guest: the complication here is that egypt has been very important for israeli stability, going back to the camp david accords. i was a student intern in the white house during president
carter prosy camp david accords. it is the only agreement in the middle east that has held for so long. and that complicates our relationship with egypt because it is so integral to our relationship with israel, in protecting israel. the other danger is that this leads to a similar revolt or change in jordan, on the other side of israel, then israel is completely surrounded by enemies, if that is how it goes. host: let's turn to the state of the union. theof the what-if's, irony of president obama deliver in his state of the union and what it would then like of hillary clinton had delivered that address. the differences? guest: listening to the state of the union speech, for a moment i thought i was listening to ronald reagan. it was pro-business and spending cuts -- what obama is doing is
now talking right and governing left, i believe. and i heat -- he is going to continue that. i do not know if that is going to build a coalition for him, impress the center, the independents, or aggravate everybody. y point there was he wahas turned out to be no more liberal than hillary clinton was or would be. and i think hillary clinton might have been a little better at getting some of the things she wanted to the senate, but we will never know that. host: the "national journal" -- looking ahead to the 2012 aelections. 20 democratic seats up for election, 10 republican seats, and a number of names that will
probably retire. dianne feinstein of california, wisconsin, nebraska, and possibly jim webb of virginia. these are all democrats. guest: mitch mcconnell is running the senate now, even though he is the minority, and probably will position the senate and the agenda and the legislation and the rhetoric and all of the debate to make it seem to tea party conservatives and others that republicans are delivering or trying to, and all they need is a few more senators. i think this will create a lot of momentum. the problem with president obama is his support is very personal. what we have seen in his presidency is an inability to transfer his possible -- popularity with certain voters out to other democrats and get other democrats elected. if that pattern continues, we'll look at a republican senate after 2012, even if obama is
reelected. host: mitch mccotter all charting a new course in the senate. bipartisanship is just about everyone's favorite tune these days, but for senator mitch mcconnell, who has some of the best tactical instincts, the choices ahead are paivotal. guest: biden is in charge of mconnell. they are both tough negotiator. s. i think that tax cut is a real sign of what is to come, where the white house capitulated to extending the bush era tax cuts. that is something mcconnell is good at negotiating. he basically got all he wanted. i think what we will see going ahead is similar deals like that, where the white house, president obama is so concerned
about appealing to independence and appearing to be in the center, that doing deals with mcconnell is the way to do it. biden is heavily engaged in doing that. host: senator jon kyl may retire. and "the new york times" looking at the tea party and potential challenges. richard lugar, who already announced he is seeking another term -- olympia snowe, who has the support of the governor. and the question whether or unhatched will face a challenge -- orrin hatch will face a challenge in utah. guest: that also gives back to if mitch mcconnell can give the appearance to those tea party
types that the republicans heard them and are delivering them -- like tax cuts. i think we will see spending cuts, maybe even tough immigration control, things like that that might diminish the market among tea party conservatives to challenge the official party. they would have won two or three more seats had they not lost that argument in nominating candidates last time. host: we are talking with crank calaig crawford. the author of how many books? guest: three. the paperback of my book "the politics of life," is coming out. it is a repackaging of one of the three -- so it is 3.5. host: any lingering doubts
appropriation-- of reagan. no american brand is more associated with reagan then that general electric, and it was that chief executive that popped up as the president's new wing man as the white house laid out its new jobs initiative on january 21. it is a celebration of the nation's can do, capitalist capability. the president even offered a remix of the old g.e. jingle, "we bring good things to live" -- now "we do big things." guest: that speech reminded me of reagan. the other factor is the new chief of staff bill daley is
very pro-business. he led the he directed that so i think you will see a more pro-business -- a lot of the relations that had gotten a bit frayed between the obama white house and business leaders will be repaired. many liberals who thought they were getting something different in obama might not be so happy about that. host: the white house did not capitulate. they sold our kids down the river with reference to the huge federal deficit. guest: yes, i think that is another area where we will see o'connell and of bidbiden and oa do something about this. obama has imposed the spending freeze on the federal spending. that is a start but i think he will have to show that he is doing something about the deficit. he can't do it the way bill clinton did and raise taxes.
how you lower the deficit, cut taxes, increase military spending? i will be interested to see how they will figure out that patrick. host: the fund numbers are on your screen. -- the phone numbers are on your screen. you can also send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. we will get to your calls in a moment. keith olberman is off the air on ms nbc. you appeared on this program and then stopped. ♪ guest: it was not personal. i became concerned about the partisan nature of msnbc and primetime. i work for a non-partisan media outlet, the dc roll call and i
felt i could not maintain the two. my home is in print on the cq, a religiously non partisan organization and i was being that on a network that wa decided to become partisan and that was not a good fit. host: did it surprise you that keith olberman and msnbc parted ways? guest: not too much because i know there was pressure within the organization. nbc news tries to maintain journalistic standards as an objective. running this network led by keith in a partisan direction was a contradiction. one of the big changes in the hierarchy over there is that nbc news will have more authority over msnbc with the new comcast
ownership. that was probably going to mean that he would get more authority showontrol some of keith's and that would compromise his independence. he has a great future. he will probably get a hollywood deal for and "inside edition"- type show. host: what is the difference betwee fox and msnbc? guest: not much. msnbc became the thoughts of the left. it is run by a supposedly objective news organization at nbc. that really compromised the nbc image and credibility to be involved in that. cnn, god love them, they are trying to keep it between the ditches but the trouble is that
seems to not be so good in the ratings. cnn has an international reach. host: you mentioned secretary of state hillary clinton who is making the rounds on all five news programs today to talk about the situation in egypt but later today she is flying to haiti. there seems to be a vacuum as to who will be the successor to the prime minister. guest: there was talk earlier in the administration that she was not involved or in the loop. we can see that she is very much in the loop and has become they go to person as the secretary of state should be in international affairs. i think today will be very
interesting to see how she handles this. the danger of doing all those shows is that as a lot of opportunities to make a mistake. host: all her appearances are 5- guest: 7 minutes: that would be wise. host: you are part of our huge video library. caller: thank-you for having your guest. he has always been with one of my favorites. i used to be with msnbc before he went off the air. my question for craig is -- does the sense that hillary clinton or president obama will have more influence on asking mubarak or should obama asked mubarak to step down? guest: thank you for your comments.
behind the scenes, we are being told and i don't know if this is spin but the obama folks are telling us that behind-the- scenes, president obama has been tough on mubarak for two years. weak -- they wanted him to get ahead of these protests -- protests all along. they were not able to get him to do that. now they are realizing this will not happen and they will have to give up. what was the turning point is when he imposed a curfew and called on the military to enforce it. the military did not as an essentially enforce it. i think that is making the administration realize they have to give up on him. i don't know how publicly they will do that. they want to be involved in who replaces him. they will not fully get on the
side of the protesters, i think, but behind the scenes, they are doing more than we are seeing publicly host: from foreign policy to domestic issues and the media. one of our twitter followers says -- guest: they do that with other groups, too. i don't have a big problem with that. i have seen these partner deals which don't affect the journalism of the organization doing it, i don't think. host: new orleans, democrats line, good morning. go ahead. caller: hello? host: go ahead, please. caller: i was wondering why they
did not bring john kerry on this? . there is a negotiation going on between egypt and the united states. i think that john kerry should be on top of that. guest: that is a good point. i think he is probably involved behind the scenes and has a long time history. host: he was on cnn friday. guest: i think he is part of the establishment. the trouble with these folks who have been in disk game a long time is that the united states got very comfortable with how things work. mubarak was in charge and he was getting along with israel. he was keeping the moslem radicals at bay. this is the problem we have dictatorships for
security. compromises our values and this is where episodes like this, we come face to face with the contradiction in our own policies of supporting, in exchange for stability, people who are actually at odds with our own democratic values. host: from our twitter page -- guest: i think that was the worst case, a horrifying scenario for the united states because those are our tanks. we have given them at least 1000 tanks and some of those were hours. we saw a tear-gas canisters used that were made by the
united states. the scenario of american military equipment being used, i have a feeling that our pentagon has probably the closest relations with egypt's military leader is as any in the world. i have a feeling that there were some discussions going on between our military and there's. host: napa, california, good morning. caller: are you able to hear me? guest: yes, i hear you. caller: i have a brief comment about egypt. i really, really wish we could bring egypt back peaceably. i felt egypt was the holy land and i know in 1972, church and state or separated. my, my, my, that opened the door
for a lot of horrible things. the people nominated president obama and it really offends me when i hear people trashing obama. my goodness sake, i don't know what is going on. guest: president obama, i agree with you on that. on this question of theocracy, the fear is that we are comparing it to much to iran. what is different with egypt is that in the protests in iran, probably have the country still supported the theatrical -- the theocracy that control the nation. you don't have that in egypt. there is less support for
either any kind of combining religion and government and theocracy. how i hope that not as to naiver i think that is the big difference. host: orange, texas, caller: good morning good morning. i have a comment and a question. host: certainly. caller: our reputation in the middle east, it seems like we are one-sided and our support. considering that, with all these things going on in the middle east in jordan and egypt, it is an election and all the islamic fundamentalists, which they should be in power, what would be our situation in the middle
east if that should happen? thank you. guest: we would see a lot like what we see in our relations with iran. they would be developing nuclear weapons and so on. it would be especially tough for israel. jordan and egypt are buffers, friendly buffers between israel and much more's style hour of nations. -- much more hostile arab nations. israel would be in a real tight spot. i don't see that happening. i think there is a difference in egypt but less so in jordan. i don't think the egyptian people are doing this to create an iran-style theocracy. i don't believe that. host: a political"story from "the new york political --
times" --- the hot line has been around 20 years. guest: i went electronic back in 1997. i have seen it grow. on the media coverage side, we are seeing obvious changes. on the campaigning side, i think that is where we have seen the most significant changes where we have shifted from using it to appeal to your supporters to campaigns using the internet to ersuadable people.e peop
they are using the internet to actually do the campaign. host: a couple of numbers -- guest: those numbers are bigger than many of the cable television news shows. i have a theory that the internet will do to cable news, not cspan, what it did to newspapers. it will render them almost irrelevant host: memphis, tennessee, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. it seems the conversation has moved on this insight started trying to call. it is an honor to get to speak to you, craig. guest: thank you.
caller: i want to take issue with something that was said earlier, comparing fox to msnbc. juan williams right and the other liens --one leans right and the other liens left. msnbc does not use chainsaws and bunnies to get their point across. beck orwatch pla glen rush limbaugh and i see more of them than i want to say. thank you and have a good day. guest: i appreciate your comments. host: biloxi, mississippi, republican line. caller: good morning. host: is haley barbour going to run for president? is your governor going to run for president?
caller: he met. don't see it, but he may. everybody should get on the love train in egypt. that is an old song but one of the comments that is derogative which i don't mean but the federal reserve, the jewish people have a jubilee. they have a 50 year jubilee. one of the jewish people that run the federal reserve give us a 50-year jubilate on debt? that is a lot of money and i don't see it being paid off. maybe they could do that for us. host: did you want to address that point? guest: not really. host: what about raising the debt ceiling? it is at $14.30 trillion.
a vote could come by late march or early april and tea party members say they wantont vote to raise the debt ceiling. what will happen? guest: this will be a real test for john boehner and mitch mcconnell. there are many tea party conservatives in the house who are not about to vote to raise the debt ceiling grid it would be a complete contradiction. what that means is that one of these government shutdown confrontations, which many of those folks would like to have, is the lesson of when that happened between bill clinton and republicans on capitol hill. it backfired and the country thought it was irresponsible. they let the government shut
down because you would not pass the spending bill. i think there will have to beat a compromise. -- be a compromise. there will have to be some government control and a demonstration that they have a plan. host: this past friday, the president traveled to capitol hill. families usa gathered and the president spoke to the organization about his health care bill. he said that he will work with members of congress to change parts of health care but will not repeal health care. here is more from president obama. >> i am willing to work with anyone, republican or democrat, to make care better or to make their health care more affordable.
i have even suggested that we begin by correcting the legitimate concern, a flaw in the legislation that placed on necessary bookkeeping pressures on small businesses. i am open to patients' safety innovations and medical malpractice reforms. here is what i am not open to and i said this on tuesday -- i am not willing justre-fight the battles of the last two years. i'm not open to efforts that will take this loss of our without considering the lives and livelihood that hang in the balance. families usa, we are moving forward. host: that was the president last friday. how is he positioning this health care debate with the overarching debate he has on the deficit? guest: he gave some ground at the beginning suggesting some things he would concede. this is an effort to demonstrate to the country that he is willing to get along with
republicans. if they don't get along with him down the road, he can say it is not his fault. he has opened the door to peace exchanges in the health care bill. he mentioned regulations and other things. fear't think there is any anywhere that they can repeal the anti law. i don't think that can happen. he is opening the door to some concessions on that that kind of surprised me in a way. host: my johann --mike johann says he has the votes necessary to get it through the senate. guest: the president will sign it. host: harrisburg, pa., good morning. caller: thank you for taking my
call. mr. crawford, you should be more liberal as far as not taking sides and speaking a balance of truth as far as the networks. cspan is more international. comcast is more liberal. i think fox is just outrageous. i want to make a comment about president barack obama. as it stands with regards to republicans or democrats or liberal, i don't think there is anybody who can stand up that is qualified to be president, to be elected president as this man. i think president barack obama
is a reformer and i think he can reform not only domestically in the united states, but i think he can do it to the whole world. that is why you see these uprisings in egypt and other places. they are happening because what we don't realize is president obama has an affect on the entire world. guest: he gave that speech in cairo earlier in his administration calling for democracy in the middle east. that was a period when supposedly we heard he was putting a lot of pressure on mubarak behind the scenes. i think that is where his heart is internationally. obama from strides many people and confuses -- obama frustrates many people because he is not
schizophrenic politically, but his heart is on the left. he is a pragmatist. he is a very pragmatic man. he knows he has to stick in the center. these days, he is talking more and governing class. less. he is learning to finesse. bill clinton was better at it but that is a learning process. host: we are moving back and forth from media to domestic and foreign politics. this is a comment from joe braden. guest: i don't know that's the reason that that is a fact. we have spent billions in military supplies and goods
especially to support this regime because of serve our interests. this is a problem we get into. i personally believe, although in the short term, it may lead to chaos and problems in our on security to some extent, that in the long run, we are always better off supporting genuine efforts to overturn dictators even those who are our friends. we should not do things to support them long beyond when they should be there. host: our next corp. -- our next caller is from valdosta, georgia, good morning. caller: i agree with the one lady that called in about msnbc and fox. i, too, would rather not hear all those people on msnbc. if i wanted to hear that, i
would watch box. i also agree that msnbc, you can check, it is facts that they are using. fox is a whole different story. they make up their own facts. i am really concerned about this thing in egypt. president obama and the republicans will twist this somehow and blame the whole thing on president obama when this was long before he was ever in office. they always have a way of doing battle guestg that. guest: he might turn out to get credit. this could turn out well. that is what republicans fear most. i have been interested how conservatives have been fairly quiet about this. isn't that what the iraq invasion was all about?
eventually, the rationale for that invasion was to establish democracy in the middle east. here it is happening. i was surprised that she did not see conservatives coming out and saying this is to his credit. obama will get credit if it turns out well. host: this photograph is worth repeating. you can see the tank we talked about as egyptian protesters surround the tank in what appears to be a peaceful scene. guest: that victory my yeltsin and the soviet revolution when it was the same situation where the army was joining forces with the protesters. you had that the y actor yeltsin on the tank. host: waterbury, conn., good
morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. the united states has become a plutocracy as the citigroup memo points out. we need to change our own democracy that has been stifled by big business and health-care industries that pay big money for campaigns and lobbyists to pretty much enhance their own way. my question is, how can we as americans, as we see in egypt, thank god there are people rising up and using their influence on government. guest: it is an inspirational story for many americans. it takes is back to our own roots. that is where the administration will have to be careful.
they have been trying to split the difference. vice president joe biden three days ago said that mubarak was not a dictator and secretary clinton said the government was stable. that was three days ago and i think that has changed. i am expecting a signal a shift from secretary of state clinton in all her a bit -- appearances that they are giving up on mubarak. i think we will get signals in that regard. host: this was the scene from egyptian television yesterday as president move the dark -- as president mubarak recommended his first vice-president. some say it is not enough to reshuffle the cabinet guest: that is what you call a signal a shift. host: columbus ohio, good morning. caller: i would like to share my
opinion as a 25-year-old and my view on what america could possibly do to help with the situation in egypt. i would like to say that there are psychological needs with the riots and looting and they are not being fulfilled. we can offer them assistance if we just show compassion. if we can fulfill the psychological needs, bonn -- they might be able to resolve the situation. host: and food. they have 17% inflation in food and we are sending $1 billion in military equipment. subsistence to the average people would be more helpful. host: winston, georgia, good morning. caller: arnold -- like the last
person said, we need to give assistance and food. i get nervous when i call but we are not talking about lebanon and tunisia. i think our government is looking at this summit because americans are not as patient. i think of all we are making judgments on we don't have full understanding. they don't have full understanding. they need us and we need our government. we cannot blindly go in and do anything as a government. me as a person, i have admiration for the egyptian people. i heard for them. --i hurt for them. if you're a drug offender, you don't receive food stamps. we can do these checks and cut them.
i think all of this ties together and they are looking at it closely because we are not patient people. we are americans. guest: ending on egypt, i am hopeful about this. i watched it all day on cable yesterday. it is the sort of change that might lead to long-term change in other countries and the entire region. you can see a day say 30 years from now where democracy has spread through the middle east and saudi arabia might be the last to fall. they are friendly to the u.s. and we are treating economically and their economies are better. there is a chance that george bush will look better. for having started this with the invasion of iraq that our
intervention in the region militarily. i think that may be a long ways of body might be vindicated in the end. host: you worked in the jimmy carter white house said he was responsible for the camp david peace accord. prime minister netanyahu said he hopes the 30-year agreement remains in place regardless of who the president of egypt is. guest: they need that. israel needs that. they have from the buffers in jordan and egypt. if that were to change, the situation could get very dangerous. and not just for israel but for our own interests. host: craig crawford is a columnist who can be read online. it is always a pleasure. next on, come with a new type. ie. guest: this is the only place i
wear it. host: coming up a conversation with tom ridge to take your phone calls. later, public employees as the white house looks to reorganize the government. what does it mean for federal workers? we will hear from you but first, i look at some of the week's yvette's by some of the leading editorial cartoonist around the country. ♪ ♪
if i had to do them over again, i would have done them again ban on former president george w. bush talks about his best selling memoir,"decision point." tonight at 8:00 on cspan's "q &a." "washington journal continues. host: we want to welcome tom ridge. welcome back to cspan. let me begin with some of the news this past week. your successor and homeland security announced changes to a system you put in place. let me show with the original system look like this was the color coded terrorist system. it has remained high for the last seven years brett was your reaction to these changes? guest: it is long overdue. is the third iteration of how the country and the president and the department communicate potential terrorist threats to
the country. whether you have two levels which i believe they have which is 5 and the russians have three, informed the public about the nature of the threat and tell them what they are supposed to do. in years ahead, there may be further refinement. we have to look at how we can more effectively communicate to the general public about the nature of the threat. you also have to tell folks what you'd want them to do about it. if this advances those interests as a country, i am comfortable and pleased. i remember going out with john ashcroft and our warnings did not work. we came up with a different system. we came up with the five levels. secretary has refunded. whether you have two or five, critical information as to be shared and you have to tell people what to do about it. because of the trust we have
in americans to share in our collective security, today i would like to announce the end of the old system of color-coded alerts. in their place, we will implement a new system that is built on a clear and simple premise. when a threat develops that could impact you, the public, we will tell you. we will provide whatever information we can so you how to protect yourself, your families, and your communities. under the new two-tiered system, dhs will coordinate with other federal counties to issue formal detail alerts regarding information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. these killers will include a clear statement that an imminent threat or elevated threat is present.
the alerts will also provide a concise -- a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities can take. the new system reflects the reality that we must always be on alert and be ready. when we have information about a specific, credible threat, we will issue a formal alert providing as much information as we can. host: online security -- homeland security had janet napolitano and the former head with us now. guest: there is no pride of authorship. the challenge is costly to refine a system so that government has credibility and
there is sufficient transparency so the government's call for action is believed and people act upon it. the continuing challenge for secretary napolitano and previous and future secretaries is they should give purse -- specific information. they can only act on the information they receive from the fbi and cia and intelligence agencies and everyone else. the secretary has to have the information so she will share it with the rest of the country. the refinement is long overdue and i am comfortable with it. host: your department was formed because of what happened on 9/11. there's an article about getting a osama bin laden. his influence over al-qaeda remains enormous. his ability to stay alive and free is a great morale booster 2
al qaeda and its allies and allows the elusive leader to keep setting the agenda for the global jihadist movement. guest: that is well-stated. the name has not risen into many public discussions within this administration. there is not too much personal comment about been locked and bin-laden. he has enormous impact on al qaeda but the inspirational impact he has on sister organizations. a global jihad is something other organizations have embraced. he still plays a very significant role symbolically and inspirational late. host: why have we not been able to capture him? guest: i wish i could give you an answer that was positive but
i think the challenges are enormous. to a certain extent, some of those in the tribal lands along the pakistani border, if he is still there, he is viewed almost as a hero. he survived and he participated in the effort by the mujahedin to get the soviet union out of afghanistan and now he has avoided capture by the united states of america and its allies. you can well understand what an incredible folk hero he is to some minorities to buy into his quest for global jihad. host: tonight at 8:00, our conversation with former president george w. bush. we conducted at the campus of smu university. his book is number two on the new york times best-seller list. he says that shortly after 9/11, he appointed tom ridge to be --
to oversee our homeland security efforts. he brought valuable management experience. by 2002, it had become clear that the task was too large to be coordinated out of a small white house office. initially, president bush did not want a homeland security department. guest: you are right the are of 9/11 is etched in everyone's mind permanently. shortly thereafter, we had the anthrax attacks. no one is quite sure if they were a continuation of a terrorist effort on the part of osama bin laden or separate from that. there is no mechanism within government to deal with any kind of security at our borders. the president appropriately, at least initially -- i was in the
cameroon when he's told senators that he is not sure what we will do. he said he appointed governor ridge as the head of a homeland security and we will make a determination thereafter. for years and years, congressional studies and administration studies have suggested that we build a border-centric agency. as the world becomes smaller, people before 9/11 asked if we should have by way of monitoring goods and services across the border. the imperative after 9/11 was to be more aggressive in monitoring both people and goods. it sets up an incredible balance from 9/11. how do you balance security and prosperity? the border agency was set up to try to do both. host: there's a photograph from portland, oregon.
ever since the u.s. reinforce its defenses, al qaeda has been unable to launch a similar terrorist spectacular like 9/11. the top planners in al qaeda began looking for other ways to strike america. it has been a long time since i had inside information. the terrorists would still look to a major event, orchestrating a major attack on the united states. it is clear since 9/11 that other organizations either directly in response to directions from al qaeda or took it upon themselves have gone to the smaller events around the world when we -- and we have seen some futile attempts in
this world with regard to the airline. i think al-qaeda still exists and is planning a major attack on the united states. because of their success and the fact that osama bin laden has not been captured, his strategic value being out there talking about a global jihad is something that organizations -- other organizations needed. we are in this for a long time. many to read -- many generations will deal with this threat. host: what worries you the most as an american citizen and former cabinet member? guest: i guess that question a great deal. probably iran and nuclear capability. you get a country like iran that seems, in spite of our discussions, in conversations and meetings year after year
around their nuclear capabilities. given mahmoud ahmadinejad's mine mindset, it is diabolical in nature. i worry about them becoming nuclear-arms. with impunity toward the united states and united nations and the rest of the world. a nuclear-arms iran poses the greatest threat to the western world. host: we will get your phone calls in a moment. send us an e-mail or go on twitter. you serve 6.5 years as the pennsylvania governor. the present governor is facing a deficit of three-$5 billion. 48 of the 50 states are facing budget deficits of this year. guest: one of the challenges of
leadership is to take on the really tough issues. and try to solve them. i told tom corbett and people on both sides of the aisles facing these challenges that it is easy to cut ribbons and we enjoy those moments. it is a real challenge for leadership. you have to feel good about the opportunity that the citizens elected you to solve these problems be bold and take the initiative. you have the bully pulpit. explain it challenges you face, explain what you will do to meet the challenges, and by and large, americans understand the mistake perspective, the national debate about the deficit, the benefit of that debate goes to republican and democratic governors making tough choices. i think the american public understands this. over the years, republicans and
democrats have automatically raised the annual budget up to 7%. we have compound interest and compound principle. budgets naturally growing, that era has ended. host: governor christie says he wants to cut corporate taxes and governor cuomo in new york says he will not increase taxes. governor corporate says he will not raise taxes but governor clinton in illinois is raising taxes to try to overlook -- president -- gotquinn in illinois is raising taxes guest: . we will see what works. i cut taxes for many years. you have to relieve the regulatory burden. if you overreach, it is
effectively a tax. there's a cost in doing business so you have to be careful how you raise taxes. the best antidote to these challenges now, they will have to make tough decisions and some programs should be cut and others should be co main goal. i think you have to keep downward pressure on spending. you have to have more technology. i am not giving recommendations to tom corbett but you may not be seeing more public servants hired as they get the deficit under control host: we heard from the president this past week. what is the state of the union as we speak? guest: from my perspective, as the to go, i thought it was powerful. let's make no mistake about it,
this man delivers an extraordinarily impressive speech. he is light on details. if you are serious about the budget, you have to lay the foundation and talk to america about sacrifices that we will have to make as a country until we get our fiscal house in order. on the international relations side, i was disappointed when sudan and tunisia get more air time than iran and other challenges. i think they missed an opportunity to make a stronger statements about america's role in the broader world community in some of these crisis areas. host: market is joining us from england, good afternoon very caller: good afternoon. i am an american but i live in england. if we are wary of islamic jihad and other movements, why over
the years have we flooded iran, kuwait, iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, saudi arabia, and with our arms? guest: thank you for your question. the u.k., the united states, western democracies have always had a challenge on their foreign policy, trying to balance their interest with a value system that we hold dear. it is a very complicated balance that you have to deal with. it is in our interest to advance human rights because that is who we are in part of our value system. it is our interest to ensure that there are stable
governments in an unstable world. the criticism that you point out suggests that you can have one or the other. i think you need to balance the value system you have is a democracy and western values system with the interests you have that our geopolitical, economic, and military. sometimes there appears to be an imbalance. we take a look at our policy in the middle east of the last couple of years and we have provided arms in that area and we probably have not pushed as hard as we could have on the human rights agenda. you cannot anticipate flipping the switch overnight. we needed a more the subject -- aggressive approach toward incremental change. we would not have seen the crisis in egypt today. host: secretary of state hillary clinton says shoveling the
egyptian government is not enough. what egypt has free elections and they elect someone that the u.s. does not approve of? guest: we have heard that question asked many times. we saw what happened to in lebanon. we promoted democracy there and it looks like the president is supported by hezbollah and he has prevailed. we saw what happened in the palestinian community with hamas. in the long run, a freedom agenda promoting that cause among peoples everywhere is in the long-term best interest of the united states. guest: you serve with newt gingrich became -- before he became speaker the house and you work with john boehner who is the secret -- speaker of the house. what to these two men bring to that job-host:?
guest: new gingrich has big ideas. on my way to become governor of pennsylvania, he had the contract for america and he was so good at getting it done, we probably did not market it as well and there are complications associated with his leadership and he moved on. they both have operated from a conservative base. their styles are significantly different. for quite some time, speaker gingrich had a bigger style and john boehner is a more thoughtful man but he is tough as nails. i think you'll see an honest effort on his part to reach out to the other side of the aisle. in the long run, you will not see him compromise his basic principles.
to his credit, when he was minority leader, he was able to hold a caucus together. he is a very effective leader. host: newt gingrich is likely the possible gop presidential candidate. guest: we have a varied dpbench. -- we have d veryeep bench. having new gingrich talking about his ideas, i think you give someone newt and mitt and some others, america will be listening closely. we know what the problem as but we are more interested in specific solutions. you will see a very spirited and am -- an animated primary
season within the republican party. it is pretty exciting. host: do you have any personal preference to guest:? i am looking for the candidate to support. host: will go to alexandria, va. at next. are you with a caller: stack us? caller: i want to say how much i admire your record of service to the country. i worked in cairo in 1977 and 1978 went on war as a doctor turned to the west and asked the russians to leave -- a an whenwar sadat as the russians to leave. wasident hmubarak sitting next to him an whenwar sadat was assassinated.
i think it is personal. the person who was brought to trial and finally exile for the assassination was the number two man in al-qaeda and he was the leader of the moslem brotherhood in egypt. if we look at it from that perspective, i observed that when i was there, the recruitment and power building that the moslem brotherhood used and they are using the unrest in thune asia to seize control of egypt. guest: i appreciate that powerful historical reminder as to when mubarak sa anddat and the impact of that owls are zawahiri had on that.
the islamic brotherhood is lurking behind if not quietly participating. if the islamic brotherhood is quietly participating, in my judgment, you will probably find in time that iran has placed its dissidents and has offered various support to continue to promote the unrest. one of the challenges that the country has is because more barrick has had tight control for 30 years, -- because mubarak has had tight control for 30 years, even if the government announced that the next election will be internationally supervised and open and free, even under those circumstances, there is no pathway to begin building a more stable democratic government. at this point in time, there is
a call in the middle east for a tear down the wall moment. mahmoud ahmadinejad stole the election and remarks are more aggressive with what is going on now. i hope the administration comes up more forcefully in demanding that either mubarak or the vice presidency is that elections are done openly. . .
it is the natural yearning of people to be free, to choose their own government. it is great to have stability, but i think the 21st century, people do yearn for freedom. there is a freedom president reagan started talking about and certainly president bush promoted, and certainly now it is coming clear in tunisia,
yemen, egypt, jordan. it is about time we realize this. hofe this is -- host: this is what the town square looks like. there have been more than 70 deaths as a result of the uprising over the last five or six days. you can see the pictures and see the crowds right there. guest: what's remarkable to me so far is the fact that they have the tanks in the streets. they have demonstrated now they have a military capability. but so far -- well, there have been 70 people killed. that shows you how turbulent and how challenging it is for the demonstrators, but they have not seen a bold and assertive military take action. what happened in tunisia is a good reminder.
if the military chooses to stand up or ultimately sides with the demonstrators, mubarak is gone. it happened in tunisia. whether it can happen here remains to be seen. but one of the reasons the demonstrators were successful is that military even under orders, presumably, did not act. you know mubarak said the police haven't done enough, even though they killed 70 people which in your mind and my mind is way overdone. the military is there. it will be interesting to see what happens in the next several days. host: next our line for republicans. good morning, bob. caller: i think we should have a noninterventionalist policy, as ron paul promotes. rudy guilliani met with a group in paris that was advocating for the removal of m.e.k. from the
terrorist watch list, and it is a federal crime for someone to act in that way. i wonder why the double standard, why mr. rich gets away with doing this and we are putting people in cages for the rest of their life for doing a similar thing. guest: i appreciate your reference to the effort that some of us have undertaken to support the people's muge deane -- mujadin of iran. it was declared a terrorist organization under the clinton administration. it was the misguided but hopeful intent that the rein -- iranian government might be more conciliatory in its discussions with us. these individuals are now in a camp. they surrend -- surrendered their weapons. they were being protected by the american military, and that
protection has been terned over to the forces in iraq. we should also know that the e.u., with the several well respected jurists looked at this case and said they do not deserve to be considered a terrorist organization. the united kingdom did the same thing. there was a court here in the united states that suggested that they do not belong -- they should not be treated as a foreign terrorist organization. right now that designation is before secretary clinton. it is eye roon ironic, this is a group of men and women that have fought for democracy in iran for many years. when i visited paris i spent time with older iranian women who showed me pictures of husbands, sons, and daughters who had been in prison and tortured and murdered. there have been hundreds of
examples in that regime, and we look carefully at our public advocacy for the delisting of m.e.k. we are quite comfortable we are within the limits of the law, and we will continue toed -- continue to aggressively pursue the delisting. these men and women want to voice their opposition to mahmoud ahmadinejad, and for some reason we think keeping them listed as a foreign terrorist organization improves our position to negotiate with iran. they look with impugnity at the united nations in the u.s. when it comes to the negotiations on their nuclear arming. at least we could support people who want to take the support of democracy to the streets. host: tom ridge, the former
homeland security director. an e-mail, "should we stop dictators even if they support us? is it time for the u.s. to have a principled foreign policy?" guest: it would be easy if it was an either/or. one of the challenges for all administrations is balancing, as i mentioned before what are the legitimate interests of america -- and by the way, sometimes our interests are also global interests. one of the reasons we have been so engaged in the middle east for so long is because of the world's universal tendency -- dependency on oil. that universal addiction means somehow that oil greases literally the international economy.
you would have a huge international economic disruption around the world. it would be easy if it was an either/or proposition, but it is a constant balancing act between the interests we have as a country and as a world leader as well as the values we want to promote. i think our global engagement in the future needs tosh not just mill -- needs to be not just military, but diplomatic, foreign aid, and development assistance. host: from boston, good morning. democrat's line. caller: in 2004 the political purposes that helped bush with re-election, tom ridge raised the terror alert. my question is actually, why should we believe anything this guy has to say at all?
guest: well, you are entitled in this country to believe what you want to believe and say what you want to say. i recall the incident quite well, sir. you may not believe this, but i recall it so vividly i can close my eyes and actually remember going to the podium and talking about a hard drive that our forces had discovered in pakistan which showed surveillance tapes of five institutions in northern new jersey and in new york and in washington. and i erred, and the mistake was mine, and i am fully accountable for it, while i was making the presentation in talking to the general public about it, i also laweded the president's leadership in the war on terror at the time. and that created an onus pushback from the media and the democratic party, because up until that time you don't pull politics into how you are trying to fight the global gee haud --
jihad and al-qaeda. so i misspoke. it took from what i was trying to explain. i was lauding the special forces of the men and women that secured the tape. it was a political comment. i should not have made the comment. i erred, not the president. >> when you announced the color-coded system which we had as part of the post 9/11 period. then homeland security secretary tom ridge. >> the homeland security is designed to communicate terrorist threfts to the public in a timely manner. it is a national frame work. it is flexible enough to apply to threats made against a city, a state, a sector, or an industry. it provides a common category so
officials from government can communicate easily with one another and to the public. it provides factors which help measure the threat. most importantly, it empowers government and citizens to take actions to address the threat. for every level of threat, there will be a level of preparedness. it is a system that is equal to the threat. >> in 2002, governor ridge, and now we have what is an imminent threat or elevated threat, a similar system to two different warning levels. gelft: one of the biggest -- guest: one of the biggest challenges, in this age of global jihad, if you believe as i do that we'll be at this for
generations, if you believe as i do that america will continue to be a target if not the major target, how do you communicate to the public and how transparent can you be? once you have communicated the threat to the public, they want to know, all right, now that you have told me this, what do you want me to do about it? so again, whether you have five or two or three, it is not as important as those two elements. specific information about the nature of the threat, and specific directions as to how you deal with it. and i think the big challenge with secretary napalatano, as it has been the entire 10 years, is she can react and only make the announcement once she has been find by the alphabet agencies who are involved in intelligence and counter-intelligence. so if someone doesn't hit the button so that future secretaries get the information worthy of public dissemination,
then any system is in peril without adequate and timely information. guest: a question from california, "i was wondering if mr. ridge thinks that consolidating fema into homeland security was a mistake. fena seemed to work well before hurricane katrina." guest: i think fema is appropriately positioned within the department of security. it is an all-hazard agency. so whether it is a terrorist attack or mother nature or god forebid some horrible -- god forbid some horrible accident that occurs, i think it is fine.
katrina was more a series of decisions. i think the decisions with katrina had more to do with failed leadership than it did with the quality of fema and helping people recover. host: on the line from palm springs. caller: good morning, and thank you to c-span. i can tell you straight off i appreciate what you did for the country along with the president during those dark days. you stood very strong, i believe, with the department. i have two questions for you. the first question would be, what is your honest concern about our nearest terrorist threft to our homeland which would be mexican cartels down in mexico? i know it borders a few states.
it doesn't bother many people in this nation, but i can tell you, that it is big trouble down there. and napalatano hasn't addressed it much as far as security on the cartel. i ask you that question because i have been dying to know the answer. guest: and what is the second question? caller: wishing michael a big hello, his dad. guest: it is not quite as bad as colombia in the days of narco insurgencey, but i think it is bad. i think calderon has tried to stop the escalating violence in the region. this is something that will require the continued and enhanced collaboration between
their national military and our customs and border protection. you know, we have president bush started and i believe in successive administrations there have been more and more agents put down there. at the end of the day, this is a challenge within the mexican government. we have committed as a country hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, in trading and in equipment to help them deal with it. to date, it has been difficult to conclude that we have seen modest gains, but it is something we will be at for quite some time. to your point, it may seem regional in impact, but it is more national in scope. we need to help the regional government deal with it. we are trying to, but there are signs of progress to date. caller: mr. ridge, i am wondering why it is that when
osama bin laden was credited with killing about 3,000 americans we went in there and suddenly we stopped looking for him all together and subsequently the president said that he no longer even thinks about osama bin laden. but when we went to iraq, we turned over every rock we could possibly find to get saddam hussein, and subsequently he was caught, put on trial, and executed, and now the killer of 3,000 americans is still on the loose. guest: i want to make one slight correction. while we did subsequent to our initial incursion into afghanistan withdraw troops and put them into reposition them in iraq, i will tell you there are a lot of men and special forces and others in the military that
would probably reject the notion that they didn't spend years tireless 24/seven with efforts to find osama bin laden. they may have reduced it in scale, but it was very intense and continues to be very intense. i think that's something that has been lost in the public discussion about afghanistan. host: we pointed out peter bergen saying, "the trail has gone cold. this influence remains real." guest: no question. i have not been to that region of the world but i have talked to enough soldiers that have been there. it is a tribal, very difficult terrain. as i said before, almost a cult figure -- not almost. a cult figure. a lot participating in the effect of this massive soviet
army from afghanistan. now after 10 years, in spite of the best efforts of the united states and some of oufer allies -- some of our allies to locate them, we can't find them, and it is not that we haven't tried. i am confident we will find them. time will tell if we are. host: republican line. go ahead. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. mr. ridge, i first want to say to you, thank you very much for the job you did here in pennsylvania as our governor. you have integrity, and we were proud of the job you did. that's why we elected tom corbitt, because we feel he is the aim way you were.
after you left office, we were hoping you would run for president. please give that a thought. we would appreciate it. guest: you are very kind. i hope you know, i was governor for six years, nine months, and five days, and i loved every minute of it. it is the greatest public service honor i have ever had, and i thank you for your comments. host: if you look at the republican primary, would it be difficult for someone who has moderate views to get support in the primary? guest: i think it would be. it is clearly a challenge for some of us who have. i would like to think we are more caring in our approach on some of the social issues. we are more toll rent in our approach with those that disagree with us within the party. i have spent -- talking about abortions and gay rights, i
spent a lifetime in the republican politics, and when i advocate for governors or politicians or others, probably 90% of them have disagreed with me on that subject, but that has never impaired our ability to work together, and it never frustrated my desire and willingness to help them, because i do believe in a bigger tent. but i believe at least for the time being those that have that view and frankly those who are toll rent to those with views, i don't think there is a strong enough quarrel for those who share those views. i think it is a challenge for the party. host: taking a look at pennsylvania, if i might. guest: i served with chuck shumer on the banking -- schumer on the banking economy for years, and now our senior
senator, bob casey with strong pro-life credentials who in spite of being in the mainstream of democrat party was smart enough to understand that was the only way he could defeat the incumbent rick santorum. it is one of the qualities that he needed, and he did so. i think it is a challenge, and i think it is a challenge and somewhat regrettable that those of us who spend a great deal of time supporting republicans who have a different point of view, that for one of us to go the other way particularly in a national election is not found too frequently or with enough people in the party, with enough partisans. host: complon we go to huntington, west virginia. good morning. guest: good morning. you talk about american values. i would like for you this
morning to denounce the treatment of anyone with waterboarding or torture. guest: i don't need to wait for a c-span broadcast. i have said it many times. waterboarding was, is, and always will be torture. host: our program tonight is "decision points" with president bush. during the interview he was asked whether he will wade back into the political field, and here is a portion of that interview. >> you are through with politics? >> yeah. >> define that. >> i don't want to campaign for candidates. i don't want to be viewed as a per pep twal money raiser, i don't want to be on these talk shows second guessing. i think it is bad for the country, frankly, to have a former president criticize his successor. it is tough enough to be
president without a former president undermining the current president. plus, i don't want to do that. in spite of the fact i am now on tv, i don't want to be tv. >> it's about over. >> it is. but i tell people that one of the interesting -- sacrifice. i don't think you sacrifice to run for president, but to the extent you do, you lose your anonimity. i like the idea of regaining that to a certain extent. it is somewhat liberating frankly. >> the two of you first met back in the mid 1980's? guest: a couple times we tried to figure out when that first day actually occurred. i think when he was running for vice president and obviously became friends as governors, and the rest is recorded history.
i listen to my friend and the fact that he's not going to second guess an incumbent president, it speaks to his strength of character and the kind of person that he is. similar in respect to his faurgetter. i also can't help but think during the eight years of his presidency he took a beating, and he took a pounding, and i think there is a natural inclination in this country to be critical of the president, constantly commenging the president. but i think given the decemberble -- the descble level that was raised, between the kind of communication, there was hardly a day where there wasn't significant communication between one day or the other, and i don't recall the president ever talking about a network that had treated him unfavorably, talking about members of the house or the senate who were not being kind
or overly aggressive in his -- in their comments. that's just not his nature. strong character. host: you came to washington when ronald reagan was in the white house, a member of the house of representatives. the cover story, "happy birthday mr. president." next year will kick off a celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. guest: i remember the criticisms he got in not being engaged intellectually in the issues of the day. but i sat down once to have a discussion with him about the mx missile. that was an important and controversial subject, and trust me, he done his homework as well, so even some of the technical questions i asked him
he had -- he was really engaged. the other moment was at the white house over christmas one time and i said something to the effect that, mr. president, you are doing this like 20 nights in a road. due grow weary at times? he said, well, truth be told i just as soon be upstairs with my slippers with nancy. it was those personal qualities and his humanness came out in many, many different ways. >> thanks for joining us again. host: we will see the effect of the debt and deficit in this country, according to tom ridge, but first focusing on the crisis in egypt. >> you can hear replays
beginning at noon eastern on c-span radio. topics include the situation in egypt, the president's state of the union address, and the u.s. economy. on nbc's meet the press beginning at noon host david gregory, following liz interview with secretary clinton, talked with the former u.s. ambassador to israel, and nor senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. "this week" reairs. airing today from cairo. also the former national security advisor in the carter administration. fox news sunday reairs at 2:00 p.m. eastern. chris wallace interviewed secretary christian and house speaker john boehner. at 3:00 p.m. here the state of the uneyodge -- union. former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. also, edward walker former u.s. ambassador to egypt. also in the program, former
senator al ynian simpson, co-chair to the white house on fiscal responsibility and reform. finally at 4:00 eastern hear face the nation replayed. host bob shefer and also william daly in his first televised interview. these shows brought to you as a public service by the network and c-span. those reairs begin at noon with "meet the press," 1:00, "this week." you can hear them all on c-span radio at 90.1 f.m. in the washington, d.c. area and on xm satellite radio. downloadable as an iphone app, or listen at c-spanradio.org. >> this year we will tour the
home of writer, statesman, and ex-slave frederick doug lasss. >> experience american history tv on c-span all weekend every weekend. see the complete schedule on line at c-span.org/history. >> this weekend on book tv, on the attacks on the trade center, peter bergen looks at "the longest war." also this weekend, william harton on the continuing growth
of the military complex. find the complete schedule at c-span booktv.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: this past week the president talking about the deficit and also looking at the size of the federal government and the workforce among federal employees. when you hear the president talk about reorganizing the government, what does that mean for civilian employees? >> for o.s this is not a -- for these organizations it is not a federal term. i think it is important for federal employees as the actual functions that the government performs. and if they can be done more efficiently, we are all for it. i hope the president, changing
poxes at the top is not that important. getting down to the mechanics of government, i think, is important. i didn't like the president's remark about salmon. i thought that was a gratuitous slam at federal employees. we don't really set up the way government runs. this is done by congress and the executive branch. and i really don't think his analogy was actually true. but there have been many good examples of reorganization. i would like to go into one with the d.a. if i could. host: certainly. guest: back in the 1970's and 1980's the v.a. had not such a good reputation. they did an internal reorganization, which i think was quite remarkable. they put more accountability on their regions, they modernized,
they really strengthened their service. now the v.a. by a recent harvard study as well as a "time" magazine" is way above private hospitals when it comes to quality, when it comes to the economy of providing that service, when it comes to providing wellness to our veterans. even though the number of veterans it serves has gone up, there are 10,000 less employees in the v.a., and that's the type of reorganization that is done within the agencies rather than on top of the agencies. that i think bears fruit. >> we'll get your phone calls. we do have one line set aside. if you are a federal civilian employee, 202-628-0184. the republican study commission has come up with one plan that over the next 10 years would
save $2.5 trillion. among the items freeze nondiscrentionri defense spending. second of all, rescind remaining stimulus funds. privatize fannie mae and fred fred and eliminate federal automatic pay increase. reduce the federal work force by 16% and cut or eliminate more than 100 federal programs. guest: that's slash and burn. i do wish the president would really lay out what our economic situation is and how we got there. it wasn't discretionary spending that got us into this mess. president bush, with the faction cuts, and then the two wars, and the financial market, you know, president bush's plan and then president obama's stimulus is what has led us to this federal
deficit. it is not the employee salary. it is not the work of the agencies that constantly goes through this tightening effect. for people to say we are going to make up this deficit by slashing the 201, 2012 budget deficits, it is not serious. host:: it is 30% higher than a private sector employee, both salaries and benefits. and the second is irrespective of the economy, federal employees are less likely to be fired. guest: certainly in the heritage and "u.s.a. today" study they
are comparing the federal salary to the private sector. that is wrong. we have 10 million or so people on minimum wage. when you consider the function of what a federal employee does, say they are an electric tradition and -- electrician working on a guided missile system, when you find someone in the private system working on a comprareable -- comparable job, the federal employee is always under-paid. when you compare the actual function to what they are doing in the private sector, the federal employee is always under-paid. this has been proven out through the bureau of labor statistics, which are some of the researchers who figure this out and do it on a continual basis. so i think the heritage
foundation and "u.s.a. today" are trying to skew the situation to prove what they want to prove. they are against government employees. they are against some federal programs. but i do think that with federal employees, even though we don't blow our own horn, at some place in this debate, you know, the facts have to come out. i saw a study about comparing federal employees to the private sector. i am hoping that the administration, our boss, will go a long way to getting the facts on the table so that the public can really make an intelligent decision. host:: our guest is john gauge. a graduate of wheeling jesuit university.
susana is joining us on the phone. good morning. caller: hello. it is nice to be on c-span. i work for the social security administration local 3369. i am realizing how they have cut a lot of people from social security, and they have done a big hire, but a lot have retired, and social security has failed, in my view, to assist the new hires from learning. therefore i feel that the quality of the work is really diminishing, and i think that is going to affect a lot of people. guest: thank you for your
support. first of all, on the quality of work, in a recession the workload of social security always goes up. i understand that there are -- that the increase of people filing for disability is going up 500,000 a year, which puts a tremendous strain on our social security offices. one thing i want to say about quality, i mean social security has made its reputation by getting the right check at the right time. and there have been some moves within the social security management to alter that. in other words, when the beneficiary comes in to seek social security benefits, either retirement, it is often these really qualified public servants who are in social security offices all over the country to give that person the benefit of the doubt. to make sure he gets every benefit under the law. and there has been a management
initiative to try to change that. in other words, that the beneficiary has to right the question to get the right answer. and i think our people, the workers at social security are really rejecting that type much thing -- of thing. it is a cost-cutting measure, but i don't think it is part of the ethic of social security to look at claims that way. thanks for question. host: allen is next. caller: i appreciate yailt your comment about the -- i appreciate your comment about the under-paid government worker . infrastructure for essential living is like power, electric. i would like to distinguish that between the other part of our government, which is giving out checks to people through disability and this parasitic
load which is absolutely terrible. when you talk about curting the federal government, i would like to distinguish between those two factors. guest: i am glad you brought up government services are really infrastructure. the president the other night was talking about investments in infrastructure, and many of the programs that federal employees do are infrastructure. so when the president says invest in infrastructure and then freeze and cut federal programs, i scratch my head a little bit about that. federal employees don't make the rules for eligibility. they simply try to administer in a polite, intelligent, and efficient way these programs. so people have different views on social security, for instance.
i happen to think it is one of the greatest programs in our government. the fact is, it also also has a disability program. you ask why is the government paying people who are disabled? and the question has always been, then what if you don't? when you go deeper into these programs, they call them p en-- them entitlement programs, i think there is a tremendous need there, and it is up to every city to address problems with the disabled people or just the chronically poor. there is simply not a solution of doing nothing. >> chris jones on our twitter page has this comment -- criticism of government employees' salaries is a key element in the government war on the middle class. >> i do think that.
i mean, when you criticize a v.a. nursing assistant who is making $28,000 a year or even our border patrol that come in, these are people making under $40,000 a year, and to say that they are over-paid and that you are going to crack this deficit by lowering their salaries is -- it is not a serious solution to the deficit. i think it is more that there are some people who are not just for less government. they seem to be for no government. and to say that federal employees have caused this deficit or lowering their salaries is a cure is disingenuous. host:: federal employees do have the case, which is not always true in the private sector.
guest: you look at the reductions in force that are routine in the -- in d.o.d. and in the federal government. i don't know what really to say about that. we have a program, like the v.a. or social security, and to have experienced people working in that program, i think that is a plus for the country. and to say that they don't have job insecurity like some others, i don't understand the idea of this race to the bottom. if i can, this canabalism that's going on, well, a federal employee might make more than me, so cut his salary, or there are people out there who have health care or people who have -- on the job, or have a retirement benefit on the job and i don't, so cut those. i think workers across the
country have to really get away from that type of thinking. cutting other people's wages is not the solution in this country. our wages have stagnated for 10 years. it is the first time i think in history that american wages have stagnated. even though the stock market and the top 1% are making out very well. so i hope that workers don't turn on one another. we have to raise all wages in this country. we have to have better jobs. that's the problem we're in. it is a revenue, it is a jobs problem. and cutting jobs, and attacking the jobs that we have is not a solution. caller: good morning, i'm an employee of the national social security administration, local 316, cleveland, ohio.
i wish people would bear in mind that federal employees are consumers. they cut our salaries, we don't consume as much. we don't buy a new car, then the effect that can have on the economy as well. guest: thank you for your service as a t.s.o. that is a tough job. all it gets is criticism. i think help is on the way for our t.s.o. officers. you are right, cutting 340,000 federal jobs, what will that do for unploim and demand in this country? we pay taxes. federal employees pay taxes, they are consumers like everyone else, and to think that we can put 340,000 people on the street and that will somehow help the economy, i don't get that type of thinking.
host: we received this question, "how many parts of the government are in a.f.g., border, fema? what is the largest group? guest: we have about 50 agencies in homeland security. border patrol, fema. pretty soon we'll have t.s.a. we also are probably -- probably our largest group we represent are the department of defense. the group with the most members is certainly our v.a. we have social security, department of labor, energy, education, e.p.a. so we are pretty prevalent across the board in the government. host: what is a tougher job, being a nurse at the v.a. or being a bank c.e.o. guest: i can tell you what's
better paid, sasha, and i think you know that. much of this deficit problem we're in was caused by, you know, speculation in the banking industry who were bailed out and now we see that bonuses, again, are up over $1 million for some of these bankers, and yet the shift has been ok the banks caused it, but now we're going to solve it by taking it out of the hide of federal workers. it is not right. also, it is not a solution to the problem. host: jerome joining us on the democrat's line. thank you for calling. caller: i would like to say thank you for c-span, and i would also like to make a suggestion on a debt-solving. i think if there was an effort
to create an account that would be a charitable account from any citizen through a postal money order, and it would be directly applied to the national debt, i think it would help. the american people have always been generous, and if it was set up with the postal money order system, it would also help the postal service. guest: one thing i have been saying when we talk about this deficit, is we shouldn't be -- i think americans are ready to share sacrifice. but they are not willing to gratuitously share the pain when it is not really pointed at a cure. i think that's what's happening with federal employees.
your suggestion, bob, everybody doing something to, you know, pay for the wars, get us out of this slump, is a good idea. trying to target a segment of the working glass is not a good idea. host: another question from our twitter followers. why is a.f.g. needed? is the federal government an unfair employer that abuses or mistreats its employees? guest: well the first government should be a model employer. unions and the federal government are a little different than the unions in the private sector. we can't strike, we can't take aany type of work stoppage or work actions, and also, you don't have to be a union member. yet the union has to nonmembers as well as members in the federal government. and i think we do a lot of good
business to assure that promotion is fair, to assure that people have some due process, that the civil service remains fair and nonpartisan. i think we provide a voice of work that is very valuable in having an efficient federal government in hughes operations are fair. our diversity in the federal government, i think, in the unions has something to say about the success of that is outstanding. i believe, of course it's a bias opinion, that the unions do a very nice job in the federal sector, and i think that many employees appreciate it. host: daielle is next joining us from brooklyn, new york, and she
is a federal worker. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a comment maybe. it is regarding what they call the no fear act. i understand by some training and conferences i've attended that the actual numbers of the no-fear act is not really reflected on the agencies web site. i believe the no-fear act is when people are being discriminated against within the federal government. and the numbers are not reflecting what is actually going on. and i just wanted to know what john cage's opinion is on if the government did what president obama wants which is the union and the management to get together and talk, that we could actually lower the actual amount of the discrimination and those issues that are going on, and then perhaps they would be more effective in the quality of work . caller: i think you are right.
president clinton had a pretty good set-up where the unions and employees would get together with management and really look at 34 some of these systemic problems in the government. president bush didn't like that idea, and sort of wiped it out in most agencies. the v.a. kept it up, though, by the way. now president obama has reinstituted it with his labor management forums. i think a lot of the discrimination in the federal government is because we really have to take another look at the way jobs have been set up. many of our jobs are stand-alone jobs. these jobs really had to be looked at in a modern way and put into career ladders so that employees really through -- they are not in a job that they may consider dead end and that they can really see a line fa that if
they work hard, they can move up and even contribute more to public service. so i think that there is still more work to do on that. some agencies have stepped up very well, although they lag behind. host: an e-mail that says, "i don't know why federal employees do not believe they should bear some of the burden of cuts and try to help just as state and local employees have had to do. i voted for president obama and thought federal furloughs should have been a high priority and was disappointed they were not. your reaction please." guest: i think what's happening to federal employees is terrible. the states would have been in worse shape than they are without the stimulus package.
states with balanced budgets that have to try to cure a fairly powerful resession and a drop in revenue in one year, and it is just these catastrophic cuts and state employees are bearing the brunt of it, i really think that's terrible. again i go back to this thing for federal employees to take furloughs or cuts is some kind of symbolic gesture. this is not going to help the state employees. i would just like you to keep that in mind. i think all of labor is very concerned about what's lapping to very valuable employees in our state and local governments. he says, "i am an american. i don't think the american people want to shut the v.a. down." guest: i don't think they do
either, but especially with the reputation now and with the quality improvements on the v. a. host: is that even a possibility? guest: there are talks about doing a voucher program so that our veterans coming back from the war will be given a piece of paper and go find your health care. i don't think that's right at all. the v.a. has such a -- such an ethic of caring for the veterans. our nurses and our doctors and our people care for the v.a. like it is their own family. i don't think you relevant -- really get that anywhere else. i think the v.a. really shows how government can continually improve on the inside of an agency and make its services better and better and more economical. the v.a. is the only health interests -- institution that has all its medical records
computerized. it is something the private sector is only now trying to get into. so these innovations that come through government have been really outstanding and novel in the health care industry. host: a call from florida. caller: you are not going to like what i have to say. we need to bring all federal, state, and municipal employees up into the 21st century and not left in the 19th century. who can work at a job for so few years, 20, 25 years, 30 years, and then get a pension? i know people that worked 50 years at a house. they retired 10 men with 50 years of employment and they got nothing. you keep making the statement,
your statement was the electric tradition in the private sector and your electric tradition working in the government did not make sense. host: thank you. we'll get a response. guest: if you are a firefighter, say, in the federal government and a firefighter anywhere, should firefighters, you get to be 55 years old as a firefighter, that's a tough job, and when you work it for 25 years, i think you should be getting a pension. but the question is not, you know, federal employees have a decent pension, it is why the rest of the -- it is why don't the rest of the workers in this country have a pension? it has been a run-on pensions for maybe the last 25 years, this 401-k movement, of employees just putting their money into a 401-k, and we can see about the consistency and stability of that with the stock market these past few years