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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  March 12, 2012 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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talks about a static unemployment rate and then fred hochberg talks about the outreach efforts to american business of rison recent criticism. later, missy ryan looks of the cost of operating the u.s. embassy in baghdad. "washington journal"is next. host: good morning and welcome to "washington journal" on this monday, march 12, 2012. president obama talks about energy this morning from the white house, and he'll meet with local elected leaders from around the country during a meeting of the national week of cities. the white house is also preparing for a week by british prime minister david cameron and his wife. the official visit includes a state dinner on wednesday night. one of the many items on their agenda, afghanistan, and both
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countries' roles there. afghanistan is front and center in the news this morning in the aftermath of yesterday's shootings by a member of the u.s. military of civilians. we'd like to hear what you think about this incident and how it may have impacted u.s.-afghanistan relations. does it change your opinion about the u.s. role there? does it give you concerns about how american troops will now be treated? what do you think? democrats, call us at 202-737-001. republicans, 202-737-0002. independent callers, 202-628-0205. if you're outside the united states, 202-628-0184. email us, journal@c-span.org. send in your tweets, @cspanwj, and we can share it with our audience. or find us on facebook and join the conversation there. look for c-span. let's take a look at some of the news this morning. here's the "new york times,"
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g.i. kills afghan villagers, children among 16 dead. officials say the suspect is an army sergeant. anti-american retaliation is feared.
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host: the "new york times" goes on to do some analysis of this story. host: in conversations on sunday, both in washington and kabul, some american military and civilian officials acknowledge that the events would golden the hardliners within the taliban who oppose negotiations with the force that is leaving the country anyway. host: we have joining us this morning, heidi vote. she's joining us from kabul, associated press reporter. thank you so much for talking with us. caller: hi. how's it going? host: please tell us about your reporting on this. what's happening right now in
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cab you will? what's the mood like? caller: well, today kabul, it seems like there's a certain tension. people are beginning to see outrage bubbling up about this incident. there hasn't as yet been any major protests as there were after the recent quran burnings, but it's unclear if that's because information hasn't come out or if this, while it's a tragic incident, is not the same sort of desecration of quran. host: and this is heidi vogt, associated press, afghanistan correspondent, joining us from afghanistan, so thanks for dealing with our slightly tenuous phone connection. but heidi, tell us about your reporting on this. who seems to be in control right now of the message and of sharing what's happening? caller: most of the information at this point is coming from the afghans, from the villagers in the area where this incident happened, and from officials
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who visited them. the u.s. forces have not had complete access to that area and, of course, they're careful about the information they put. but we have eyewitness accounts of people talking about this man coming into their homes in the middle of the night and starting shooting people and then shooting the bodies. host: what steps are the american forces taking over there, both to protect the u.s. forces, but also to try to have some diplomacy? caller: well, the u.s. forces have a normal move they would make after anything that might put them at risk, and everyone on u.s. and the nato side has continued to say, look, we stepped in, we still expect for an afghan partnership. that's the big document that
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they'll need to govern u.s. forces going past 2014. and apologies go beyond all of that. the question is if it's going to be enough. host: our guest, heidi vogt, is reporting from afghanistan. she reported in the associated press. i'm looking at the boston article, that the subject from base lewis-mcchord in washington state was assigned a special operations unit engaged in a village stability operation. what are you hearing about the suspect in this? caller: yeah, he is a conventional army soldier, a staff sergeant, working with the special forces troops isn't that very small base out in a very rural area. we don't know much about exactly what he was doing. that could mean a lot of contact with the community and also a lot lower security posture.
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it explains how he was able to just leave base, which is not at all a common thing. host: afghan presidenty had this to say -- can you comment on that for us? caller: yeah, karzai is understandably very angry about this. he has royaled against international forces allowing civilian deaths to take place. now, that is in military operations. then imagine the impact this has when there's just a rogue soldier running about. and this is typical rhetoric for him. he is trying to make sure that he's throwing his citizenry, he's as angry as he should be about this. host: one last thing. we're seeing the proshte press, the taliban is vowing revenge. what could this mean?
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caller: yeah, the taliban has said that they will initiate revenge attacks about this, and also, it goes back to what you were saying at the beginning about this type of incident is exactly what the taliban needs to strengthen their own insurgency because they were really able to latch on to the burning of quran by u.s. forces and say you should be just completely insulted that the americans are here and how they're doing it again. it certainly gives them a podium to talk from. host: heedee vogt joining us from afghanistan, the afghan correspondent for the associated press. thanks so much for taking the time. what do you think about this, the attack, the killing of afghan civilians and what it means for u.s.-afghanistan relations? let's hear from sammy. he's a democratic caller in annapolis, maryland. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: good. please go ahead.
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caller: i think that it's time for us to get out of afghanistan. i think this is just never going to stop. we're just going to get in worse trouble the longer that we're there. like ron paul said, i believe we need to stop policing the world, and we should come home and worry about our people back at home that are homeless and that are needing jobs and stuff like that. host: and what do you think should be the process of that, just leave right away? do you think it should be a gradual drawdown? caller: i think they should just start packing and getting out, you know -- there's no need for us to be there any longer. just send home the troops, i don't know how many is there right now, but send them a few thousand here and there and get them all back home. host: on twitter, it's obvious that going forward it will be a difficult task for the u.s. presence in afghanistan. well, one of our callers, sammy, mentioned the idea of getting out of afghanistan.
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let's hear what presidential candidate newt gingrich had to say. this is yesterday on "face the nation." >> i think we need to reconsider the whole region. we need to understand that our being in the middle of countries like afghanistan is probably counterproductive. we're not prepared to be ruthless enough to force them to change, and yet we're clearly an alien presence. that was the real meaning of the creaks to the quran burning. i mean, the fact is those qurans have been, in fact, defaced by muslims who were prisoners. they had been abused by muslims, not by americans, and yet the instantaneous anti-foreigner sentiment is so deep that i think we need to recognize that we're walking on egg shells in places like afghanistan. and after $20 billion in the last decade, it's pretty hard to argue that the pakistanis are seriously our allies when they hide bin laden for seven years. host: presidential candidate newt gingrich speaking on "face the nice" -- "face the nation"
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yesterday. arthur, what do you think? caller: yes, good morning, thank you so much for c-span. i'm just going to make a conversation as opposed to i think i'm right or wrong, like so much lishe like so much between americans on the subject, but obviously it's not good. so, it seems everything is so upside down that it's almost with sarcasm you have to deal with these questions. and all this time that morally the thing, as a woman, we have the fact that -- but nothing's going to change when we leave. so i really don't know, like, what's the point? if the taliban is mad at us, it will be like they're not mad at us. who cares if they're the enemy? host: let's look at the comments the president made on this. he said the incident is tragic and shocking and does not represent the exceptional
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character of our military and the respect the united states has for the people of afghanistan. chantilly, virginia, john is a republican caller. good morning, john. caller: good morning, c-span. thank you for taking my call. caller: i just to want say that this is a really sad story, but the reality is all the soldiers, i really believe that this soldier was sick and he was a time bomb that could happen. and what bothers me the most is, how did this soldier get out with his weapon loaded in the middle of the night and just go to the houses? why do they not stop this guy? i mean, it tells me something, that the soldiers themselves, they're not controlling their bases. because if anyone can get in and out with a weapon loaded like that, then there's something wrong with that picture. but i tell you this, this is happening. these soldiers are very, very emotional. it could happen any minute.
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they've been doing this for years. they haven't seen their families. but i really feel sorry about those families with children, because at the same time, this could happen -- if this could happen in our school in the united states, it could happen anywhere. host: there's some question about the individual who's alleged to have committed the killings and how many times he had been sent overseas to serve as a u.s. soldier to iraq. now to afghanistan, jodie writes on twitter, could the fact the soldier was at war for many tours being the number one answer? pstd affects them after one tour. diana is a democrat in massachusetts. good morning. caller: good morning. i have to say, you know, i kind of agree with the last caller. i was absolutely sick when i heard that story this morning. it was the first thing i heard when i woke up. you know, not only is this a shock to the people of afghanistan, but i think that our relationship with this
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country is now just unrepairable. i mean, just completely unrepairable. it is definitely time to leave. and also, i wanted to mention that this is going to be a bigger issue when these veterans come home, because they're going to be suffering, many of them, from this delayed stress syndrome, and they will be ill prepared to face just regular life here at home. are we prepared, you know, as a society to treat them, or are they just going to completely overwhelm the system, you know, with these soldiers who have obviously emotional issues to deal with? so, i think we really have two issues on the table here, what happened in afghanistan and the repercussions of that, and what's going to happen when these soldiers come home? host: the "financial times" says this, u.s. officials rush to pledge that the gunman would face justice, hoping to diminish the risk of a new outbreak of afghan anger. and you can see here in this image in the "financial times," an afghan man mourns for relatives after one of the worst atrocities committed by western forces since the fall
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of the taliban. the leader of democrats in the u.s. senate, harry reid, weighed in on afghanistan and the timetable there on cnn's "state of the union" yesterday. let's take a listen. >> of course, our hearts go out to these innocent people. one of our soldiers went into a couple of homes and just killed people at random, very, very sad, especially following that incident dealing with the quran. it's just not a good situation. our troops are under such tremendous pressure in afghanistan. it's a war like no other war we've been involved in. but no one can condone or make any suggestion that what he did was right because it's absolutely wrong. i think that we're on the right track to get out of afghanistan just as soon as we can. there's a way we have stabilized some of the provinces there. there's conversations going on with karzai now. we've turned over the big prison to them in the next six months. we'll turn that over to them.
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so i think our time table is pretty good for moving out, as the president said, and i think it's the right thing to do. host: senate majority leader harry reid on cnn yesterday. president obama called afghanistan president happened karzai, the white house released a photo of that phone conversation taking place. and again, we mentioned that president karzai called the attack an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians that cannot be forgiven. sean is in oklahoma on our independent line. hi, sean. caller: thank you for your time. good morning, brothers and sisters around the world. i think i have a solution to some of these wars, especially the ones of choice. i am a father of four, and i don't say this lightly. i think it's time to reinstate the draft and take some of the pressure off of the families of the small amount of people that
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are serving in our armed forces , and i think that people will think twice when the wrong senator's son or daughter is killed in war and it's very serious. and i think that i pray for all those who have been hurt and all the innocents, and i am sorry to the afghan people. i apologize personally. and there's nothing i can say toe heal your pain, but you have my prayers. thank you for listening to me. host: what do you think we should do to get the message you just shared to the afghan people? caller: oh, lord. i think that the -- this story does not need to be just pushed aside for basketball or, you know, game shows. i think there needs to be some
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concerted effort on the serious topic, and consider the poor families, the family of this soldier. there needs to be some relief for the families and continued tours. it does not seem to be the answer. in fact, it seems to be the opposite. and i think if we're americans, we all need to share in the glory and in the pain. host: comment on twitter, it just proves we outlived our stay. there's a conversation going on on facebook. linda says, this is a very bad for the mission and force protection, it's a horrible incident. i wonder if the soldier was having posttraumatic stress syndrome. frank asks, there's a mission? questioning the very purpose of being in afghanistan. and there's no mission, of course, there never was. afghanistan war is only to further the agenda of the military industrial complex. vote ron paul and bring them
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home. arlington, virginia, john, republican. good morning. caller: i want to make a number of points. general point, you're dealing with a situation where people are tired of this war, yet some of these same guys want to go attack the iranians. i really don't think we need another war of that nature. it's not going to be an easy job. if you think afghanistan was fun, you ain't seen nothing yet until we get into it with the iranians. specifically on afghanistan, i don't think this is going to have the ramifications that the burning of the quran did. some of this stuff has happened in the past. it's want going to be good, but it's not going to be as bad as the business about the quran. secondly, i think we made a strategic mistake once we got rid of bin laden, not not saying, ok, we achieved our goals, and we are now in the process of transitioning out. they never quite made that connection, which i think would
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have helped us in a withdrawal strategy over the period they want to withdraw. but the other point is we're losing our credibility when we have people get up there and say, well, we'll bring justice to this guy. they saw that the 17 people that were killed by the blackwater guys in baghdad were not -- justice wasn't done there. nobody was really given any kind of serious penalty for that. and i just think that there's enough people around that understand that nothing's really going to happen in this case, and that's where we face the problem. so, this is still doable, but it's going to be tough. host: let's hear from bernard, democratic caller in chicago, illinois. good morning, bernard. caller: good morning. i want to say, i think this is all a planned strategy from the election of 2000 that the supreme court handed us, and
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it's going on with libya, syria. i want to ask you to put on the headlines, how many people in this country have died from afghanistan heroin and how many worldwide? i think these 19 are just a drop in the bucket. i would bet thousands in this country, if you call up the local police stations and check it out. host: what does that mean to you? what does that say about what the u.s. presence should be in afghanistan? caller: i just feel it's part of the plan. everything is going along. i mean, i just think that the silliness -- now, afghanistan, they can't stop the heroin, because that's the money that they're gaining. that's keeping their economy going. host: on twitter, everything is doing remote armchair psychological diagnosis of ptsd. for all we know, this guy may have been 100% sane. "the washington post" has a new
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poll, with abc news, looking at americans' views of the war in afghanistan. here's the latest. is the afghanistan war worth the expense and lives cost? 60% of those polled said no. should america pull out of afghanistan? 54% said yes. six in 10 democrats and independents say it's time. four in 10 republicans agree. behind the numbers, here's a graphic of the afghanistan war. is it worth fighting by a party? this is not worth fighting. rather, the blue is worth fighting. you can see this is democrats. over here we have republicans and independents, and how the mood and feeling has changed over time and fluctuated from 2009 up to the present in all three of those. the piece says big majority of the democrats and independents continue to call the war not worth its cost. for the first time in polls
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stretching back five years, republicans are evenly divided on whether the war has justified its price. also for the first time, more republicans strongly see the war as not worth fighting as see it strongly justifying its cost. san diego, california, james on our independent line. what do you think? caller: hi. thanks for taking my call. i just really want to say first of all that we need to get ron paul in office. otherwise we're going to continue going down these roads. it's a complete and utter mess. host: what did you think about what newt gingrich had to say? he came out yesterday and said it's time to leave afghanistan. caller: yeah, agree with him. but he's just going to continue wars in other places. he wants to go to war with iran. we're definitely going to continue down these roads, like i said, no matter who else we have in office. we need to worry about getting our troops home, and we need to worry about securing our borders, and we also need to definitely wore about the national defense authorization
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act. so, we have some big issues here we have to worry about. host: the poll looks at how americans think afghanistan feels about the u.s. presence there. how do the afghans feel? just 30% of americans sense that most afghans endorse what the u.s. is trying to do. 2/3 of those who see al begans as behind the initiative there want troops to stay in the country al the afghan army has been trained as a capable fighting force. it's a mirror image along those who oppose the poll. you can see support for the troops by perceived afghan support of the u.s. role. most afghans support, and if americans believe that afghans are supportive, they want to stay there. it's flipped over if americans believe that afghans oppose the u.s. presence. a republican in kentucky, good morning. caller: good morning.
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i'd like to make a statement. the guy who called two or three calls before me, that wanted to apologize for the afghan people. i feel sympathy for the soldier and the family that did this, and unlike him, i think we should bring the draft back so our kids wouldn't have to spend so many times in a place like that. it just is destroying some of their minds. host: what do you think having a draft would do? one of our tweeters wrote in and said, why? why would you do that? explain that more. caller: well, it would have more people, in a case like this, we wouldn't have to use it in a case like this, so all the kids -- i've got grand kids that i know would have to face it too, but it would -- it would have spend so many times. i talked to a soldier at the
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v.a. hospital, he is going back for his fourth time, and i think that's just too much pressure on one person. host: he writes in and says this is a clear example of the effect of long deployment. we also need to remember soldiers are still human. i think the effect of this on relations in the end will be to further relate u.s. occupation to afghanistan to every occupation in their history. they are just waiting for us to give us and leave them alone. that's an email. we also have another email that says we need to get out now. let's be concerned with saving our troops. the after gans don't want us there. we need to take our boys and money and come home. no more aid for these people. california, democratic caller. what city are you calling from? caller: yes, good morning. i'm not far from sacramento. host: ok. what do you think this morning?
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caller: well, i agree with most of the callers. you know, right now this is coming to be a losing point, and i really believe -- it's unheard of of a sergeant's conduct, in the sense that i have a family of different ranks that were military, with my father, and then, you know, they need to investigate, because i'm hoping that politics is not involved in this. you know, meaning there's someone out there just retaliating or whatever, i really do pray for the families that are innocent, and die pray for the military guys out there . they're going through it, and so i know how hard it is. like i said, my brother's retired also, my father. and i've never heard of any of this kind of -- he worked overseas before for the government over in italy and germany. i've heard of retaliation toward americans, but i've not heard of this.
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so i'm just hoping that they get out of there. it's just a losing point, again, as i mentioned, get out of afghanistan. the money, we need that here, and let's get through our elections. i pray for our president. i love him to death and his family. i just pray for all of those haters out there for our president, because it's going to be a day where we'll see the side of everything. host: donald, independent caller, oregon. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: good, thanks. what do you think? caller: i think this just shows -- i agree with what everybody has been saying, that four tours of duty for one person is way too much. but afghans don't seem to want us there. the americans don't know who they can trust anymore. the guards and security forces, they're starting to turn on the americans, and i think this just shows a total absolute
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complete frustration, and he basically wanted to come home, and hopefully they will get him and the rest of the troops out of the country. host: what do you think about the argument that says we went in and we have to stay until the job is done? caller: well, that is a good argument. however, if you look at the history of afghanistan, we could be there 100 years and i don't think the job would ever be done. host: let's listen to what senator john mccain had to say on sunday on fox news sunday about the killings by the u.s. soldier and where we're at with afghanistan. >> i understand the frustration and the anger and sorrow. i also understand, and we should not forget that the attacks on the united states of america at 9/11 originated in afghanistan. and if afghanistan dissolved
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into a situation where the taliban were able to take over or a chaotic situation, it could easily return to an al qaeda base for attacks on the united states of america. that is still our goal, as it was the day that we went in. host: senator john mccain speaking yesterday on fox news sunday. defense secretary leon panetta had this statement on the civilian deaths in afghanistan -- host: "the seattle times" has more information about the suspect in the killings in afghanistan over the weekend. a u.s. official says the american suspected of killing 16 villagers sunday is a soldier from washington state, assigned to a remote special operations site. officials believe he acted alone. they say he left his base in
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southern afghanistan and opened fire on sleeping families in two villages. host: kentucky, john, republican. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: good, thank you. caller: i'm just calling to say that i don't agree with them charging this soldier. he's over there to do his job to fight a war. they didn't say sorry to us when they bombed on 9/11. they didn't give us no money. and i think it's all one big conspiracy, myself, the government and everything. i think it's time to get out of afghanistan.
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bring them home. let them fight themselves, drop the oil prices here in this country, bring the jobs back. it's getting old. he's not going to do nothing. it's going to be a crook just like the rest of them, i'm sorry. host: "the washington post," there's this image of a mourner crying over the bodies of some of the victims loaded into the back of a truck in this area of kandahar province where the attacks took place. one of our follow others twitter, gary, says it's so sad what this soldier did. it's time to end this and bring them all home. sadly, so many have died or been injured for so little. democratic caller in indianapolis. good morning, donna. hi, donna. go ahead. caller: hi. how are you? i have a comment. that soldier, we really don't know exactly what he has gone
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through. he could have had a flashback and put him in a situation to where he just didn't know what to do. four tours, that's too much. that's too much. and i think they need more than a year home on stateside to get them out of that war mentality t. takes a lot. but now i'm worried about my son, because he's going to be deploying pretty soon. host: has he been deployed before, donna? caller: yes, he has. he's been to iraq. and he also went to haiti. when he came back home, he was a totally different person, and i've seen the nightmare, i've seen the sweats, i've seen him set up in bed basically half asleep, and a lot of people, they don't understand that it's so hard on the parent. it's really hard on the parent because we don't know. so, my prayers go out to that soldier and his family. because like i said, we as civilians don't understand.
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host: have you talked to your son about this yet? caller: i haven't talked to him this morning. military people, they don't watch the news. and anything that happens on the other side, and this is one of their fellow soldiers, they'll hear that news, but as far as them sitting up and watching television and watching the you go am stuff, they just relive it all over again. i can tell, if my son is in a different situation, he'll have a trigger. i know not to say anything to him. i just don't know what state of mind he's in. but he can easily snap out of it. but you have to have a strong family background to help your son or your daughter coming back from war. because it is a job. host: looking at the news analysis the "new york times" did, it said so many americans, even one-time supporters of the afghan mission in both parties, these episodes and the inevitable reaction they prompt only underscore the need to
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hurry to the exit. there's a comment here from seth g. jones, a senior political scientist at the rand corporation. he said it takes months and months to build the trust of the local populations, and then something like this happens and it's gone, literally overnight. missouri, independent caller, good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to put forward a little bit different perspective on this. i'm hearing a lot of sympathy for the soldiers who did this, and i have no sympathy at all for anyone who murdered innocent civilians. the perspective i wanted to give is a little bit of perspective of some of the afghan people. we have this myth that the afghan people are all fundamentalists who, you know, are out protesting the quran burning. now, most of the afghan people weren't in that protests. most of the afghan people hate
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the taliban, and the taliban wouldn't have come to town if it weren't for the things that the u.s. and soviet union did. afghanistan was a liberal secular democracy in the 1970's, and until the soviets started to get involved, then the taliban came out of those afghan refugee camps in pakistan. they took over the country. to get real news on what's going on there, i really suggest people follow the revolutionary association of the women of afghanistan. some of the things that we've been doing here are not conducive of creating a democracy. we didn't insist on a separation of religion and state in the constitution, which would have been the number one thing we should have been there and in iraq, and we put in a corrupt, very corrupt
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man, happened karzai, to lead the country. he does not have the support of most of the afghan people. we've been negotiating with known terrorists and even with the taliban, and we shouldn't be negotiating with these people. host: gin your perspective, what would you do from here on out? what's the next step? caller: well, i do think we need to pull out of there, but my reasons have more to do with the fact that i don't think we're trying to fix the situation. i don't think that's why we're there, unfortunately. if i thought we were there, i would keep the troops there to stabilize things. i do think that when we pull out, things are going to get worse for the afghan people than they already are now. it's partially the united states' fault they're that bad. i'm not quite sure what the institution is, and i don't think that i'm the expert on it, but i tend to -- i listen to what the afghan people say. i listen to what the afghan people i know in the united states say.
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they talked to their families back home, and then i listen to what experts on the region say who have some opinions with each other on what happened. i'm not sure what the solution is, but it's terrible for the afghan people, especially the women and the liberals and the secularrists who are really the ones who have been suffering and are going to suffer whether we stay or we pull out, and it may get worse for them if we pull out, unfortunately. host: he mentioned the quran burnings and the controversy that caused. presidential candidate newt gingrich addressed that issue on "face the nation" yesterday and said he sees a big difference between this incident over the weekend and the quran burning. >> well, this is a totally different situation. with the burning of the quran, they were killing young americans. no american president should apologize to people who are in the process of killing young americans. this is a different situation. we obviously want to offer our condolences to the families.
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i think we want to offer compensation. we want to recognize this is a terrible event. and as i said, we are in the business worldwide of protecting the innocents. our enemies, the terrorists, are in the business word wide of killing the innocent. we need to make very clear that moral distinction, and then we have to live up to that distinction. host: newt gingrich yesterday. the commander of the international security assistant force had this statement -- host: let's look at a few other stories in the news this morning. we have another tuesday round of election contests in the republican primary season. here's "usa today's" reporting. republican hopefuls make the round in mississippi and alabama. candidates work to secure the southern bloc. mitt romney professed his love
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for cheesy grits. newt and tv ads for rick santorum flooded living rooms from birmingham to biloxi. the three top republican presidential candidates stormed through alabama and mismiss the past four days. for decades, they were mostly after thoughts for dates, and candidates rarely made personal appearances. hopefuls are making the rounds. another story here, the g.o.p. is drug olding to find a fenn i am in voice. martha moore reports for "usa today" --
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host: representative blackburn was on some talk shows yesterday speaking about the republican agenda and the election. here's a story in the national journal looking at the veep sweepstakes, veep-stakes, who could be a contender. bob mcdonald, who national journal says is getting some attention. we also see florida senator marco rubio, new jersey governor chris christie some, predictable names we've heard before. but it also goes on to mention washington state represent active kathy mcmorris rogers. they said originally they left her off our first list, but got a call from allies of hers asking to reconsider. so she is on the list now as a possible vice-presidential pick. but let's look at president
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obama's popularity, and we'll be talking more about that, how it's linked to the economy later on this morning. but the "new york times" has a piece about labor leaders planning door-to-door efforts for the president as the afl-cio prepares to endorse the president on tuesday. labor leaders say they'll mount their biggest campaign effort with far more union members than ever before. at least 400,000 they say knocking on voters' doors to counter the well-endowed super p.a.c.'s backing republicans. more stories about the candidates trying to connect with southern voters. you can see here in "the washington post," all the meetings and visits that the republican contenders are having. c-span will be following this, of course, throughout the week, and tomorrow we'll be watching how the elections roll out. you can find out more on our website, c-span.org/campaign2012. we'll have a roundup of all the contests there. we'll be hearing from newt gingrich, rick santorum, and others in our coverage of the
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road to the white house. we're talking this morning about what you think about the role the united states has in afghanistan, how that relationship is going ahead, especially in the wake of the news that an american soldier opened fire on afghan civilians yesterday. susan in annapolis, maryland, republican, good morning. caller: good morning. i just think there's a big difference between building a war empire and actually national defense. and bin laden is dead. i'm not really sure why we're still over there, but i think that war is a business, and as such, we will continue to fight it. and i think that, when you really look at the last 60 years, we had the korean war, who was lost, vietnam, which was lost, iraq, which was lost, afghanistan is being lost. so, we have one losing war after another, and i think that
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it is about making some money here, and i think that the people in congress that want to start another war with another nation in the middle east, i think that we should make sure that it is their children and grandchildren of legal age that should go and fight these wars first, you know, before they send other people's kids over there, and that's all i want to say. thank you. host: here's the front page of the "new york daily news," "horror, u.s. soldier rampage kills 16 afghans." you see that image there. another story in the news, this out of arizona. a family has lost two sons in the afghan war, reporting from prescott. an arkansas family lost two sons to the war in afghanistan. jeremy died late in 2009 working as a defense contractor. two years later, the family had to say goodbye to his brother, ben. the eldest wise brothers are two of the thousands of americans who have died since the conflicts in iraq and afghanistan began.
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let's hear from lorraine in ohio, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. we had our killings over at our school in chardon, and i'm sure nationally it went, and it was a big deal and a lot of prayer in churches and all that. but what about the children over there? god bless them. is our communities outreaching on the news for them and showing our condolences? i think it's extremely important that we do that, no matter if they care or not, that nationally we could make a big thing about it, because it is a big thing. there's children that were lost, families that are gone. these people over there are not the thinking behalf we think. i'm very familiar with that kind of thinking. i'm not from that region at all. they have a lot of evilness of
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thought. we can't fathom that just normally. i think we need to pull out of all of that, and everybody should remember, even if you're not biblical, what that bible says. host: you mentioned that you would like people in afghanistan to feel empathy, to feel sorrow from the americans and the international community. if you were president obama, how would you communicate that? caller: i would communicate that with already candles around the outdoors of the premises of the white house and pictures of no killings and our condolences of anything that they can put together for that, and then let us all follow because it's really needed, and it should be. they deserve that, those little children. they did nothing wrong. don't you agree? we should be doing something. look ago chardon. look at the schools, the killings. we make a big deal of that, but i prayed every day and i'm still praying. but for the children over there, my goodness. host: mike is in norway,
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massachusetts, democratic caller. good morning, mike. caller: good morning. i'd just like to make a couple of points. number one, the overriding question is, did we learn from history? like from what happened in the vietnam war. obviously we have to do something after the 9/11 attacks, but we should never have sent troops over to afghanistan or in the mideast. we should have used our 21st century technology, satellites and missile killings, submarines on the bottom of the indian ocean to strike at the targets instead of getting ground troops involved. i totally respect senator mccain for his service, yet i condemn him for his current militaristic views. i blame all this on the
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military industrial complex. i also agree we should implement the draft for awareness. this whole thing, iraq and afghanistan, should never have happened, and, you know, justifying our presence over there for the respect of people who have been hurt and killed, that's no excuse to stay there. it's time to get out. it's over. host: bill comments on twitter with this, you notice how the great thing is done by troopers and government civilians help afghan people and they're almost always missing from the news. thanks for all your comments and questions and feedback this morning so far. coming up next, we'll talk with mark zandi about the state of the economy. later on this morning, we'll also talk about u.s. exports and we'll hear more about the u.s. embassy in iraq. we'll be right back.
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>> congratulations to all this year's winners of c-span's student cam documentary competition. a record number entered on the theme the constitution and you, showing which part of the constitution is important to them and why. watch all the winning videos at our website, studentcam.org, and join us mornings in april as we show the top 27 videos on c-span. we'll talk with the winners during "washington journal." >> c-span's 2012 local content vehicle cities tour takes our book tv and american history tv programming on the road the first weekend of each month. march featured shreveport, louisiana, with book tv at the noll memorial library. he was he was a local man who lived here most of his life, and he started accumulating books when he was a teenager and continued until he was in his 80's. over his lifetime, he
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accumulated over 200,000 volumes. if we have a gem in the collection, it is probably going to be this one. it's one of the books we're most proud of. it's in the original binding from 1699, and it was once owned by a very famous scientist. you can see he's written his name, i. newton. and we're not pulling it out so much anymore because it is starting to flake away on the title page. >> american history tv looked at civil war-era medical practices. >> pioneer medicine is a long stretch from what it is today. you consider that, the things that we take for granted today when we go to the doctor, things like the instruments being as germ-free as possible, or the doctor has washed his hands before he decides to work on us. we use the term loosely for doctors when we're talking early medicine. a lot of these doctors in our
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region were self-taught or they had worked under somebody else who had been self-taught and they were getting ready to retire. so, they would just learn as they went. out of play our cities tour continues the weekend of march 31 and april 1 from little rock, arkansas, on c-span2 and 3. >> "washington journal" continues. host: mark zandi is chief economist with moody's, joining from us westchester, pennsylvania, this morning. hi there. guest: good morning. host: talk about unemployment, the rate -- we got that news just a couple of days ago. what did you make of it? guest: good news, the unemployment rate is still very high, 8.3%, so that's very high by historical standards, but it's good news that we're moving in the right direction. the peak unemployment rate back a couple of years ago was 10%. so we're making a lot of progress.
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and more importantly, our most importantly, we're create ago lot of jobs now. in the last three months, we've created, on average, close to 250,000 jobs per month. so that's pretty good job growth if we can sustain it. then we'll get unemployment even lower. host: you told politico that what we're seeing is a reduction in the number of layoffs, but we're still not seeing strong hiring yet. guest: yeah, that's a good point. most of the improvement in the job market -- just to give context. the job market has been improving for two years. job growth resumed back in february of 2010, so wee seen steady job growth for two years. but for most of that time, it's been related to fewer layoffs. businesses have reduced the number of layoffs. we haven't really seen a significant pickup in hiring. that's really been the missing ingredient in this economic recovery. but the good news is, seeming
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the -- seemingly in the last three, six months, businesses are now starting to hire at a higher rate, still very low by historical standards, but it's picking up and that's very encouraging. it suggests businesses are starting to gain the confidence necessary to go out and expand their operations, and that's what's needed for a healthy economy. we're not quite there yet. we've got a lot of work to do, but we're moving in the right direction. host: mark zandi, a question that comes up all the time, what are we really seeing? are we seeing fewer layoffs or people who aren't filing for unemployment? guest: well, in the case of jobs, it's a question asked to businesses, businesses respond to surveys from the bureau of labor statistics, and they it will the bureau of labor statistics how many people are working for them. so that's an actual count. that's a measure of employment. there is a little bit more difficulty in measuring
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unemployment, because to be counted as unemployed by the b.l.s., you have to be looking for work. you have to be in the labor force. sometimes it gets difficult to determine exactly whether people are looking, not looking, looking hard enough, that kind of thing, so there's more debate about how much unemployment there is. but i think, broadly speaking, 8.3% unemployment is a good measure of how the economy is doing. it's still very high, so the job market is still very difficult, but it's down from where it was, and it's moving lower. and i think that's actually happening as well. host: join the conversation with mark zandi. democrats, 202-737-0001. republicans, 202-737-0002. independent callers, 202-628-0205. let's look at the february employment breakdown, where jobs are coming from. professional and business services, 82,000 jobs, a bump up, healthcare and social assistance, a bumpup of 16,000.
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leisure and hospitality, 44%. we're also seeing jobs in manufacturing, mining. what we lost jobs in was specialty trade contractors. these numbers are from the bureau of labor statistics. mark zandi, what do you read from where job growth is occurring? guest: well, first and foremost, the job growth is increasingly broad based across lots of different industries and regions of the country. if you go back when the job recovery began a year or two ago, the job gains were more narrowly based. so it is encouraging that an increasely -- increasing number of industries are adding to payrolls. also rejob -- regionally, we're starting to see job growth in many parts of the country. most encouragingly, in the hardest hit parts of the country, places like florida, arizona, nevada, california, these were states that got screamed by the bust in the housing market, but they're now showing some signs of life. so that's good.
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there still are some parts of the economy that aren't creating jobs and losing them, so local government is the biggest drag on the job market. that's a lot of k-12. local governments are under extreme financial pressure, and so they have to cut. construction is still weak. the housing bust is winding down, but it's not quite over. but i would anticipate the construction employment improving in the months ahead, but at this point it's still soft. broadly speaking, the job gains now are across lots of different industries. and again, that's quite encouraging. host: could rising gas prices throw a wrench in economic recovery? guest: yeah, sure, there are many things to be nervous about. the economy is still fragile. people are still very nervous about what we went through and what they're still going through. and the thing that makes me most worried is the runup in gasoline prices. just to give you a statistic, every penny increase in the
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cost of the gallon of gasoline costs the american consumer about $1.25 billion over the subsequent year. so, you go back to december, the cost of a gallon of gasoline, regular unleaded, was $3.25. we're now up to $3.80. it's starting to add up to significant dollars. i think if we go over $4 for a gallon of regular unleaded, that will be a problem, because that's a psychological barrier. not only will it hurt because it's taking money out of the pockets of american consumers, but it's going to start weighing on confidence and consumers will start pulling back. so, this is a thing that makes me the most nervous, at least in the very near term. host: mark zandi is joining from us westchester, pennsylvania. he's the author of the book, "financial shock: a 360 look at the subprime mortgage implosion and how to avoid the next financial crisis." let's hear from curtis, democratic calmer in richmond,
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virginia. good morning. caller: good morning to you both. i'd like to ask the gentleman about the gas prices and is gas our number one export? guest: no. thank you for the question. no, it's not an export. we do export some refined petroleum products, but we import a lot more energy than we export, so we're still very large importers of crude oil. that's obviously a key ingredient to gasoline. so when oil prices rise, that's a problem for our economy. because we produce some of it, but we import a lot more of it. and the way i kind of think about the effect of gasoline prices on our economy and energy more broadly is that it's almost like a tax increase. you know, if we have to spend more to fill our gasoline tank, then we have less to spend on everything else.
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in fact, it's kind of a pernicious tax increase, because it really hurts lower and middle-income households who spend a lot more of their budget on gasoline. a lot goes to overseas energy producers in the middle east and other parts of the world. that really doesn't do us a whole lot of good. so, it's a very difficult thing for our economy to digest. gasoline prices, higher gasoline, higher oil prices, there's really nothing worse for our economy. host: mark zandi, joseph asks whether drilling for more oil in america, would that lower unemployment and lower gas prices? he says, if so, why aren't redoing more of it? guest: well, yes, if you do drill more for energy, natural gas, cole, it will produce more jobs. in fact, if you look at employment in the mining industry, and that's where a lot of those jobs would be counted, it's really quite
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strong. and in parts of the country where we produce a lot of energy, things are going very well. so, for example, the strongest state in the country in terms of job creation is the state of north dakota. job the state of north dakota. job growth is at 4% or 5%. if someone needs a job, they can move to north dakota. but, here is the. it is relatively small. the amount of jobs here are very small in comparison to a lot of other things. i mentioned the losses in local government. we lose 15,000 jobs a month in local government. we are going to get that gains in the mining sector. it is a very small sector of our economy. i think, if we can figure out a good ways to drill for and find
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more energy in the united states, and do that safely and in an environmentally sound way, i think that makes perfect sense. the more energy-independent we are, the better. host: a republican caller in clarksville, tennessee. caller: good morning. i am concerned about the way they count the unemployment. every day you turn the tv on and some big company has laid everybody off or gone bust. but then the president talks about all of the new jobs. they are minimum wage. that means most of that minimum wage, $7 and something, goes to gas prices.
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you do not have much left after you buy gas. host: what are you seemed? what is the economy like there? caller: it is rough. people got laid off. what mainly happened, businesses closed. that left people on unemployment. 'sst: let's get mark zandi take on this. guest: it is still very tough. we talked about the 8.3% unemployment rate. if you also consider all the people who are working but are working part time, who are marginally attached to the work force, then the number is closer to 15%. 15% of the work force is either unemployed or what you might call underemployed.
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that is very high by historical standards. it has been a very difficult period. i will say, though, even in a very good economy, one that is doing very well, you are going to have companies shutting down and closing plants and moving things around. that is part of a very dynamic economy. you will always have winners and losers, even in the best of the economy. if you will see that. in the recession, of course, there was a lot of that. more recently, in the last six or 12 months, those plants closing, those reductions in work forces has come down very significantly. in my view, that is still an issue, particularly, in some parts of the country it is a
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bigger issue. the bigger problem now, in terms of the jobs and job market, is hiring. getting businesses to get their groove back, get their confidence back so they began to look for opportunity and invest and higher more. that has been missing. that is what we need to seek to fill comfortable. host: bill asks you on twitter. what you think about that? guest: i think that is a good point. particulate, older workers in their 50's approaching retirement, it has been hard on them. this recession and weak recovery has been hard on young workers. if you look at the unemployment rate for people in their teens or 20's, it is very high.
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that is why we see young people still living with their parents when normally they would have been off and running. it is been hard on both groups. my sense is that the improving economy will benefit younger workers first. we are already starting to see some improvement in hiring and job creation for young girl workers. particularly, for those with a college degree. education is so important in this economy. if you want to get a job and get a good, higher paying a job, you need a closed jury, or certainly a college degree. older workers, it will be a lot tougher. it will be hard for them to get back into the workforce. in many cases, there may be jobs in parts of the country where these folks are going to have a hard time moving to or do not want to move to. for older workers, i think it
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will take a lot longer before they start to feel the improving economy. for younger workers, they are starting to feel it now. they will feel it more clearly over the next year or two ago. host: a pessimistic tweets. if you're over 50, you are kicked to the curb. independent line. go ahead. caller: is it true that obama tried to pass for job bills and the republican congress turned them all down? and still they blame obama for the lack of jobs? isn't that the republicans fault, not obama's? guest: the president has put forward a number of proposals over the past three years to try to support the economy and create more jobs. the most recent was last summer, the american jobs act.
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that was a piece of legislation that had a number of different proposals to try to help support the economy in the broader job market. some of the proposals the president made got through congress. for example, the payroll tax cut. the holiday we are enjoying this year -- the 2% cut. that got through congress. emergency unemployment insurance benefits. that was part of it. that got through. and, actually, the republican congress put forth a proposal as well. last week, they put forward a proposal. in fact, i think the administration has spoken positively about many of those proposals. there's a good chance that those will get through. so, i do not think it is constructive or even accurate to blame one side or the other. there are different perspectives and approaches. it would be nice if we could come together more often and get
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more things done. that would be helpful for our economy. the have been able to get some things through. in my view, those things have been helpful to the economy and job market. host: since our last caller mentioned politics, let's stay on that. ratings are a sliding for obama's job on the economy. the negative movement has stalled a gradual increase since the fall. his reelection prospects are getting a boost from the plunging unemployment rate. according to economic and political analysts, "the financial times" piece is listing the mood. mark zandi, if you're advising the president or a republican contender for the presidency,
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how do you interpret all of this data that is out there. guest: since i am an economist, i think the economy matters. i think that is key to have the election unfold for the president and for all incumbents. i think, if the economy continues to show improvement over the next six months leading up to the election, as it has over the past six months, then the economy will be a tail wind for the incumbent. for president obama. it will make it easier -- obviously, there are other things going on. other political issues that matter to voters. but if the economy is continuing to improve to the same degree, i think that will be helpful to the president's and two other incumbents running for office. if the economy stalls out or backtracks, we'll say, for whatever reason.
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gas prices continue to go higher, undermining confidence. then it will be a lot harder for the president. to me, the economy matters. right now, if the economy of sticks to the script. if it continues to prove at the rate of the last several months, i think that will favor incumbents, including the president. host: mark zandi, a chief economist. he advised john mccain during the 2008 presidential race. let's go to tennessee, larry, democrats line. caller: good morning. i have a quick way to put the economy on track and lower gas prices. vote all of the republicans out. if you look at history, go back to the reagan administration. they started paying and giving tax breaks to leave and go overseas.
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he lowered the minimum wage. he lowered the tax rate on the rich. you have bush, you have bush 1. you had a war in iraq. you had bush 2. you had afghanistan. 9/11. look what happened. host: larry -- caller: everything the republicans do is to help the rich. host: last week the republicans and democrats united to get something passed. the thing that is a good sign? yeah.: host: the story says, leave it to washington to pick a fight over non-partisan legislation.
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let's go to the next call, unless you have something you want to add. mark zandi? guest: i think it is important. we have two parties, different perspectives. at the end of the day, we have to come together to pass legislation to address our economic problems. i think it is more constructive to find out where the common ground lies. in fact, i think there is common ground. we just have to work hard to find it. host: a republican caller, good morning. caller: i have a question for mr. zandi. i would like to know where they get the figures for unemployment. they say they get them from the labor department. where does the labor department get these figures? does the obama administration have anything to do with the numbers that are given to the labor department? it seems like the last time we
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had a fight between the congress or passing a bill between the present and the congress and of the plan was not funded for a while, it seemed like when they came back, the unemployment number was totally changed. so many people were just dropped off of the unemployment number. can you explain to me how that is done and why? thank you a lot. guest: thank you for the very good question. onll try not to get too geeky you. there is a survey from an independent government agency that is run every month. they interviewed 60,000 households across the country. they ask these households a wide range of questions to try to determine -- are they working? if they are not working, why? are they looking for work? and through this very detailed questioning, they determine whether that person is employed
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or unemployed. and they find out a lot of other things, too. if you are unemployed, why? if you're offered a job, would you take it? in fact, it is amazing the amount of information that is available from this particular survey. the administration, the executive branch, has no impact on the survey. they are not able to influence it in any way. there are always conspiracy theories and that kind of thing with regard to these numbers. but it would have to be a pretty grave conspiracy. a lot of people would have to be involved for that to take place -- no. i am very confident that this is a very sound a measure of how things are going. i think we can trust it. having said all that, you know, it is 60,000 households. we have 110 million households in the country. this is a relatively small
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survey compared to the number of households that are out there and the number of people in our country. the result is that you could get a significant amount of ups and downs in the data from month to month. that is why, sometimes, you see things moving around quite quickly. if you take a step back, take a look at the data. i think it is saying two very clear things. first, the unemployment rate is still very high. there's a lot of pain in our economy. a lot of people who are struggling. the second think it clearly says is that the unemployment rate is falling. it is falling in a definitive way. it is falling in nearly every part the country. and while there is still paying, things are getting less painful. my sense is, going forward, we should see improvement unless we get derailed by something i cannot foresee. host: "the financial times"
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lists the winners and losers. it says the weak sectors were construction, retail trade, and government. mark zandi, at what point can you say we have a recovery? last week, ben stein said a recovery can take many years. what is your marker and how long -- how far along are we? guest: i think this is the recovery. by my definition, a definition used by economists, a recovery means of growth. the economy is growing. it is very clearly so. it has been for coming up on 2.5 years. the growth is -- at least in terms of job -- is clearly accelerating. if you go back a couple years
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ago, the job growth was very tentative and not significant. now, as we are discussing a very broad base across regions and industries. is is significant. we are creating 250,000 jobs on average. i think this is very clearly a recovery. now, having said that, we have not fully recovered. we are not all the way back. we have a long way to go there. let me give you a number to give you a context. in the recession, the great recession of 2008 through the first half of 2009, we lost 8.5, 8.7 million jobs. we have gotten 3.5 million jobs that. we are still 5 million jobs below the previous peak in
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december 2007. we have come a long way. we are digging ourselves out of that hole. but that whole was very large. even on the best of circumstances, i do not think we untilmpletely out of it sometime in 2015. a long way to go. host: from columbus, ohio. an independent scholar. -- calelr. caller: good morning. i think that what happens in at 9/11 has affected our economy and every aspect of our living here in america. i think it is being ignored by a lot of leaders in our country, just how much of an impact it has had on our economical structure here. i guess what i would like for you to comment about is, from an
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economical aspect, white would we pull out from afghanistan, knowing that afghanistan is the foundation of our economical disaster. guest: well, you make a good point. that is that 9/11 did a lot of damage to our economy. on all lots of different levels. the most obvious is that we have been forced to spend a lot more of our resources, of our tax dollars, businesses have spent more of their resources, on security. on defense. a rock and afghanistan -- iraq and afghanistan has costs about $9.5 billion a year. do the arithmetic, and that is over $1 trillion. if that is a lot of money. that has been very painful. that is resources that we could
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have used for educating our population. for building a better air system. an internet backbone. we could never raise our standard of living to a greater degree. i concur with your thesis that 9/11 has done a lot of damage. having said that, there is a reasonable argument that we had no choice. at the end of the day, we are not going to have a well- functioning economy if people are scared. if they do not feel secure. we need, number one priority is to have a good defense. to have a strong, secure, national defense. if we do not have that, nothing else works. it is a judgment whether going to afghanistan and i rack enhance our security to a degree that is reflected in the matter of resources and taxpayer dollars be put there.
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going forward, i think it is a reasonable debate to have as to whether we should be there, what degree we should be there. it is -- you are right. it is costing us, on lots of levels, certainly, all of the lives that are being destroyed because of this, here in the united states, and in the middle east, but also because of what it means for our economy. host: mark zandi is chief economist and co-founder of moody's and.com. -- moody's.com. here is a question on twitter. what the chances of that pattern repeating? guest: that is a really good question. and that is right. the economy was feeling really good at this time last year. and it did a fizzle.
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i think that is the right word to describe it, in the spring and summer of last year. i think that three factors were at work. first, we did struggle with the surge of gasoline prices. oil prices. if you go back to early may of last year, we were paying over $4 a gallon. prices were higher than they are right now. that did a lot of damage. second, the japanese earthquake and tsunami really hurt the economy, but it also hurt our economy. it hurt the vehicle industry quite significantly. the vehicle industry is very important for our nation's a factoring base, which has been a key ingredient to the economic recovery. that's got disrupted for a number of months. and then the third thing, and this is more difficult to quantify, but i think probably the most important thing was the political real -- vitrial back
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in the spring. you may not recall, but we almost shut our government down last spring. the political spectacle over raising the debt ceiling which resulted in the downgrade of the u.s. treasury by the s&p. i think that did a lot of damaged psychologically. certainly, many business people, many consumers stopped their spending. one of the reasons businesses did not pick up the hiring was because of the political vitrial. we are now growing, i think, much more quickly. but the economy is still very fragile. we talked a little about the gasoline prices. that is number one on my list of reasons for nervousness. and then, of course, in the middle of an election year, but politically, things can go wrong as well.
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what happened last year is one reason to be cautious and are thinking about what is going to happen. i am increasingly confident that we are off and running. but i say that with some hesitation because of our experienced last year. the economy did not perform as well as i had hoped. i am hopeful it will perform better this year. host: in indiana, a democratic caller. good morning. caller: i think the problem started in the 1980's. before 1980, the private sector -- in the 1980's, those jobs headed south of the united states. and then in the 1990's we had nafta. a union job pays more. you have to have people making enough money to pay income
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taxes. people do not make enough to pay it with the deductions they can take. any consumer, if they make enough money, they drive the economy. the private sector is around 4% to 5%. i think that is part of the problem. host: what you think mark zandi? >> interesting point. i do think the caller is right. nation's80's the manufacturing sector got hit very hard, particularly in the northwest. michigan, ohio. a lot of those jobs went into mexico and the emerging world. not only because of nafta, but because of the -- china came on the scene and emerging economies were very competitive. i think that description -- there is a lot of truth to it. i will say, though, that i
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think, now, our manufacturing base is very competitive. that is a manufacturer survives, through the recession, they must be doing some big right. it must have a low-cost structure or must have a market niche with customers around the world. and these companies have been a very good job of getting their financial house in order. they have reduced their debt. that a little bit of the tail wind because of the falling dollar against the chinese currency and some of the other emerging currencies. my view is that the nation's manufacturing base is on the verge of some very strong growth. in fact, it is one of the strongest sectors in the economy of this recovery. i expect that to continue for a long time to come. i think, the fact that we lost a lot of union jobs was very
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painful. those are generally higher- paying jobs than non-union jobs. but going forward, i do not think that will be an impediment to our prospects and growth. i think we are well-positioned for growth. i think our other businesses are very well-position going forward. for me, one of the most fundamental reasons. host: republican caller from california, welcome. caller: good morning. it is amazing to me you keep forgetting a couple of things. we are at the lowest use of manufacturing of people working. there is the loss of 6 million workers in the available pool with the statisticians just throwing these people run to make than #8.3%, which is the only thing the democrats, obama, and all of his policies
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are using to make you think things are better. everybody knows that gas prices are terrible. when you fill up the gas, you need to say obama is an idiot with his energy policy. he has none. he has never written down every -- written down anything. we will be bobbing up against the $16 trillion debt of it. what are we going to pay for? he has advocated all of his responsibility since the senate democrats told him not to take john boehner's deal. we have this uncertainty, this terrible economy, and here we have mr. mccain's best speaker. you can see how well he did try to defend his policy instead of doing what you need to do. wake people up. said at spending money on government workers and spending more money on their retirements so that meet, a 60-something
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unemployed retiree has to pay more money for my california politicians, it is ridiculous. guest: thank you for the call. you said a lot. let me just focus on one aspect of your comments that i have not commented on. i think that i should. very important. that is our fiscal situation. you are absolutely right. this is a very serious problem. i do not think it will be the issue for the next month or six months. i think gas prices will be more of a threat to our economy. you look at one year or two or three, if we, as a nation, do not come together to address our fiscal challenges, we have a big problem. alternately, this is going to cost all of us very significantly. now, having said that, i think
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we have made some progress out of the treasury debt ceiling debate. collectively, democrats and republicans came to an agreement that to achieve, which you might call fiscal sustainability, that is a low enough deficit in the future, that our debt load begins to stabilize. we need about $4 trillion in deficit reduction. that is government spending cuts. that is tax revenue, increases. some combination of the two. out of the treasury debt ceiling deal, we collectively agreed to about $2 trillion in at 10-year spending cuts. that is part of the sequestration. that is the automatic spending cuts that will kick in early next year in 2013. if we to get for, and we have two, we need to dollars trillion. that is where we're going to have -- we need to dollars trillion.
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that are going to have to work really hard in the next term. i am optimistic we will be able to do this. in current law, we will achieve all of this in current law. we have significant budget cutting in current law. there is a lot of pressure on policy makers in the lame duck and whomever becomes president in 2013 to address these issues. it is a very significant pressure point. given that, i am increasingly confident we'll come together and find other $2 trillion. it does not solve our problems forever. we have a problem with medicare, medicaid costs. but for achieving our goal for the next decade, i think we're pretty close. which is the monotone of political stability and coming together. i think we can figure this one out. if we do, i really think our
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economic future is quite bright. >> you mentioned one year ago, unforeseen circumstances as well as a ranking member of congress, contributing to the fizzled. but here is a booklet from the -- "the japan times." that happened one year ago. can you give us a quick answer on that one? guest: the snb did downgrade the u.s. treasury. i -- the s&p to downgrade the u.s. treasury. the way to get it back is to execute on what i just described. how come together and come up with that $2 trillion. if we do that, my view, my reading with what rating
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agencies are saying is that we will hold on to that aaa. we will get it back. we will be just fine, but we have to execute. host: mark zandi, chief economist at moody's. coming up next, we'll talk with the chairman of the export- import bank. >> it is 8:32 eastern. some political updates. rick santorum speaking earlier ." nbc's "today show he believes he will get the nomination if it lasts until august. without naming chief-rival mitt romney, who leads in the delegate count, he says the primary contests are moving to states for mitt romney will be less successful. mitt romney and had an unannounced dinner last night with mississippi backers.
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the former massachusetts governor and dined with supporters but did not put the event on his public schedule. guests at the dinner included governor phil bryant. from fox news, newt gingrich insiders hope for me a pre- united ticket with rick perry will unite conservative voters. a floating perry as a running mate could energize conservatives or turn them off. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. the ocean in sailing ships youss and go across a lake in. when they arrived, there was nothing here. they built their tiny little cabins. they did it with neighbors helping one another. if not the federal grants. >> as candidates campaign for president, we look back at 40
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men who ran for the office and a loss. go to our website, c-span.org /thecontenders. >> this is also the time to turn away from excessive -- overseas, to the rebuilding of our nation. america must be restored to her proper role in the world. but we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves. >> c-span.org/thecontenders. "washington journal" continues. host: fred hochberg is president of the export-import bank. toss with the bank does. guest: thank you for having me on the show. the export-import bank of the united states helps create more jobs. exports are heavily more risky.
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harder to get financing. harder to collect on an obligation or a receivable. the idea was, let's create a bank that is backed by the government to increase our reach around the world and therefore create jobs. host: who do you work with? and by manufacture a project -- a product in michigan, can i use you? guest: yes. when president obama announced the initiative two years ago, it was to pull together all the agencies. if you have a product in michigan -- i was just in detroit last tuesday. they would help you find a buyer. we are the buyers. what countries in the world and where would you sell that product. when we come in, how do finance the product once to make that sale? host: export-import bank offered
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loans -- authorized $32 billion in loans and guarantees last year. that is a 34% increase. $16 billion in exports to nine markets. that is a 186% increase. how are you going about that? guest: the president said let's double imports in five years. we are well on our path to doubling exports. so, exports are up. they're up about 55%. much more volume. two, we have focused and a couple of key markets. nine markets with emerging economies that are growing rapidly. places like india, turkey, south africa, brazil. we make sure that when exports go into those markets, they have the financing said that manufacturers and service providers can close the sale. host: the export-import bank has
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generated some controversy in the last week to with the "the wallstreet journal." this is a piece in review on the export subsidy boomerang. the only question seems to be how much more money washington wants to put at risk. guest: we have been out since 1934, consistently for 77 years. what we do is provide financing to create jobs here in america. we do this at no cost to the taxpayer. our customers, either the u.s. companies or foreign buyers, pay us a fee. thus the pace for all of our expenses. on top of that, we generated $1.9 billion for taxpayers.
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this has been a source of a free ride, so to speak. host: how do you choose which companies to work with and how company qualifies for finance and loans guarantees? things like that? guest: we don't really choose companies. the companies come to washington that need financing to close a sale. financing increasingly is a part of making the sale. if you're a company in florida selling certain supplies. companies come to us and we assess them. the only picking we do is really exports. we get the financing they need to make those sales here at home. host: attention to a lawsuit that is going on right now. the air transportation of america has sued to support the
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sale of a 30 boeing aircraft to india. some question here about how the work that the export-import bank does having a ripple of fact. guest: we have a global economy. many decisions could determine whether to fly a root or not, or launch a product or not. decatur by an airbus plane or a boeing plane. -- they can either by an airbus plane or a boeing plane. we want to make sure when an air india makes that decision, they have equal financing from airbus or bowing and can choose the same -- choose the best plan. it is global competition.
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if we did not finance a, there probably by airbus. host: let's go to the phones and hear an independent scholar. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i enjoy your program. host: you are on with fred hochberg. go ahead. caller: everything i have read says our number-one expert was refined petroleum products. yet, the gas prices here keep going up. i realize it is price on the world market and we do not own the oil. i was there would stop saying that if we drop, prices will go down. we do not own the oil. host: ok. comment from our guest. guest: the largest single export in the united states is actually boeing aircraft. we export more from them than
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any single company. exporting refined petroleum is thousand we do at the export- import bank. i do not have a good handle on them. we have about 22% of the world's reserves and consume about 20% of the world's petroleum on a daily basis. frankly, we're not often the export of refined petroleum products. host: comment on twitter. talk was of a how this is better than a government sanction -- as a government said in a private one. guest: we are fully self- funding. by world trade organization rules, we have to be. the fees we collect only pay all our expenses, all of our loan loss reserves. and we have not mentioned, and generates surplus funds for the
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government. there are no subsidies. and no money that comes from the taxpayer to the export-import bank. the reason we need it is that when we are selling to a complicated market through the internet or in a south africa, banks are not willing to lend their very freely. frankly, we have to supplement to work with the banks. host: mike it joins us from naples, florida. a republican. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i am try to understand, if the government wants to keep or rebuild our manufacturing facility, why is the government paying it gm to close factories and open up new ones in mexico? guest: i can say that we are helping more manufacturers. the fact that exports are running on a $2 trillion level
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right now, manufacturing is up. everything from automobiles, farm, medical equipment. we are seeing more and more exports globally. look at some highlights from what the export- import bank did in 2011. $4 billion to finance exports to columbia. 34% of all u.s. exports to that country. and over $12 billion to u.s. made aircraft. take some of those highlights for us. why are they important? guest: this is the most brutally competitive marketplace we're dealing with in the entire world. american companies and products have some of the best products. "made in the usa" is more
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valuable. however, we are competing with japan and other countries. we to make sure our companies can go toe to toe. host: democratic caller in baltimore, a good morning. caller: i just wanted to say that since this is taxpayers' dollars we're using, is there any way they can put a clause with this infrastructure thing and that when you loan money out, that you have to hire 20% of the people that is on unemployment and the unemployment line, because if you are using taxpayer dollars, it seems like all we are doing is exporting our money. it don't seem like we are trying to put the people back to work
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here that is on the unemployment line. get them directly off the unemployment line and tell let them sit home and wait for a check. thank you very much. guest: let me say to real things. again, we do not use taxpayer money. we are backed by the government, but we pay all our expenses. all of our losses. most importantly, off the loans we make, the finance is we provide, actually does not leave the country. it is made in america and shipped overseas. or services provided by americans. we require 85% of all products refinanced have to be made in the united states. we know if we're financing $32 billion worth of good and services, that is creating jobs in america. host: the trade deficit deny this is has is not a small number. 53 million -- $53 billion.
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the present as may call to double u.s. exports by 2014. -- the president has made a call to double u.s. exports by 2014. guest: i think it is like diet and exercise. you have to do both if you want to get into shape. we have to do more to answer the call of let's a double exports. and, can we reduce our importing? that is, in some ways, harder to do. what are we going to stop importing? the contract to import less fossil fuels and make more- efficient engines. do more drilling here. but the basic fact is we need to get that balance right. the best way is to get as exports out. host: let's hear from andy, a democratic caller in florida. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call.
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i was a rescue worker at the american -- at the world trade center. i saw people work together. the big ceo's of these companies want to send these jobs overseas where they pay somebody 50 cents an hour to make a shirt and they send it back to us and charge us $30 for the shirt. i just think that is a bunch of greed and you are a bunch of nonsense, pal. host: andy, instead of calling our guest names, do you see any correlation between getting more of these american jobs, d.c. in a correlation between having a market over there? caller: i used to live with a columbia girl. alka-seltzer was her food. host: i don't understand that last comment. but why don't we address the columbia trade deal. guest: the president signed a
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free-trade deal with columbia. it has leveled the playing field. we have the most open market in the world. free trade frayed -- t markets do is get more goods freely. the korean agreement takes effect this week on thursday. host: we have a comment on twitter beginning of big companies. what is your response to this? guest: 87% of the people we work with our small businesses. and i mean small, some have 10 people. the dollars may be less because the transactions are smaller, but most of the work we do is for small businesses. host: the u.s. at a glance.
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small businesses accounting for over 500 groups worked with. 181 deemed environmentally beneficial. the top three export destinations are in mexico, india. you can see where in the united states the money is going. there's a map that shows washington, d.c., texas. quite a bit of money being made there in the export business. tell us about how you are doing with the small businesses. guest: as you can see on the website, most of the companies are small business. host: that is out of 6600. guest: some of them are repeat numbers. one thing we lost last year at the u.s. chamber of commerce is something called global access
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for small business. i just returned from war on friday in rochester and, new york. how can do a better job explaining to increase their sales. host: let's go to michigan. caller: i have been listening to this. everyone is talking about how we're competing with these other countries. if we've had some account -- companies leave it this country since 2008, and we're competing with these american companies. guest: i think it is both. there's not a simple answer to that. what we are doing is competing globally. one of the things we talked about was india. india is the second largest market at the export-import bank. we're competing with the chinese, we compete with japan, korea. we're trying to ensure that those u.s. companies have the
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same financing that their foreign competitors have so the buyer can pick the best product and not be swayed if one company offers a 0% financing. host: how has the export-import bank changed since the 1930's. guest: now we work in over 100 countries around the world. we have modernized our products. we were close with the financial sector right now. we do a lot of insurance. we work with brokers. we're much more in the private sector than in the '30's. this is a tax-free way to create jobs in the private sector. we are helping to create jobs ever did the year.
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host: good morning. caller: why can we -- i think that would help the economy more than anything else. guest: i am not familiar with the credit reports. i am more focused on how we can help with exports. i am sorry. host: new york city, democratic collar. caller: why do we provide loans to corporations that move their jobs to countries where unions are banned and collective bargaining is prohibited? in colombia they would shoot a union organizer down there. these people are not allowed to form unions and collective bargaining, then they cannot form a middle class. if they can't afford a middle- class, they cannot afford to buy our goods when they come to their markets.
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why don't provide this kind of a loan to corporations that move? mexico, china. why? we export everything except our unions. we export everything, democracy. all of our products, our music, our literature. everything is exported, except we're not allowed to export our unions. the second question is this. we made military bases all over the world to make the world safe from corporate investments. corporations chargeback for this. guest: you have a number of questions in there. again, what we do at the export- import bank is a finance products and services from the u.s., made by american workers. so, in the case of columbia, we are creating jobs in louisiana,
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texas, a lot of places and the south, off the supply the best equipment services in that field. it traded in the range of about 30,000 jobs in the united states. those are good, well-paying jobs in the u.s. host: t.j. writes that the u.s. is good at exporting our jobs and nothing else. how do you counter that? what is the -- what is the export-import bank to for that? guest: there are not enough jobs in here. we are trying to create more jobs here. exports are one way to do so. and then private-sector jobs. lester, we financed $33 billion for those financial's. that is about 1000 working jobs.
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the key is that exports are creating a foreign demand and bringing in dollars, creating more jobs in america. host: rick in chicago, independent caller. good morning. caller: i have heard on a couple shows that when we export to japan, they tax their goods at like 25%. and when they import to us, we only tax 2.5%. i do not know if this is true, but if it is, why do we change it? guest: thank you for the call. the whole point of an three- agreements is to level the playing field and make sure that the taxes on us on the same as the taxes on those foreign countries. that is the point of the free- trade agreements.
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it is a trance specific partnership. japan is a particularly difficult market. it is a very closed market. it is tough to export into japan. frankly, i think there economy is showing a lot of difficulty because it is a closed market. host: james, conn., democratic caller. caller: my question is what the panelists things of the negativity in the political spectrum, mainly from the republican candidates as far as it's a dampening effect on business in america and the growth of business. desire toat ceo's really invest and keep america's investment going. i think we need more of a
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cheerleader, like obama has been and how ronald reagan was. a cheerleader for america. i think that is how to get the mind set back on growing. guest: i could not agree with you more. i think optimism is a key point and a key part of being a leader. i think president obama expresses it. i ran a company for 20 years. even in tough times, if you need to be optimistic and encourage the people you work with. frankly, when the president is optimistic, it encourages people to make investments. it occurs as people to make plans for the future. i think there is more negativity then we need right now. the economy is growing. we would like to grow faster. we're picking up speed, particularly in unemployment. it is a slow return, but we are returning. caller fromendent schola colorado. caller: i have worked with the
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export-import bank for many years. i am a small company. in fact, there is just me here. i work with 80 countries. i am very happy to work with that export-import bank. what they do is guarantee. i will probably try some other things they do. i would like to make one more statement. people of america -- quit complaining and start buying american products. see where it is made. you are the problem. host: before you go, what kind of products or goods and do you provide? caller: i make condom vending machines in denver and ship them around the world. host: what does the export- import bank do for you? how did you find out about them? caller: through the web. i have been in this business for years now. what they did for me it was
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guaranteed i got paid. host: let's go to the chairman for a response. guest: i am happy we can help small business. i was at a company in baltimore. they are selling overseas to singapore. we guarantee you get paid to give the encouragement to sell overseas. if you do not get paid, we collect on your behalf. host: 59 small businesses have used the export-import bank out of a total of 83 in colorado. the top destinations are mexico, the u.k., and russia. you can see a breakdown of who the business owners are. some are minority-owned.
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some are considered to be environmentally beneficial. can you give us some highlights? washington state has boeing. guest: the big export states are texas, california, new york, washington. colorado is a great state. the governor is very forward- thinking about exporting. across all exporting 50 states. there is not a state being left behind. host: let's go to dinner, a republican in detroit, michigan. caller: i want to praise the job the bank is doing over the last 60 years. if it was not for them, the trade deficits we have been running would be much higher and
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much more detrimental to our economy. here is the problem as i see it. it took years to get trade with korea and panama. there are 150 trading partners. an export-lead pellets is almost zero. this country needs a lot more than that. $1 billion of cash would generate between 17,025 thousand jobs. every year, this year we will run over $500 billion in trade deficits. it cannot be made up by five years of getting companies to lower their barriers. we need an import tariff lasting 10 years, 40% a year paid by the retail customer.
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then you will start buying american products. guest: daryl, thank you for the nice, as you may. free trade agreements are very difficult to get done. the president has pushed forward a trans-pacific partnership. it is like a free trade agreement on steroids. it encompasses 12 countries to create a free trading zone. an individual free trade agreement is difficult to achieve. exports are on the way to a doubling. we're creating more jobs through exports. we need to do more on exports. we need to see what we can do with imports. america needs to be a better place to attract foreign deficit. those three things will help our trade deficit. host: 173 exporters in michigan have been helped by the export- import bank.
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the top three destinations are mexico, turkey, and canada. john is on the democrats' line. caller: thank you for taking my call. can you give me a better definition of for you mean by it made in america? is that just designed in america and outsourced manufacturing or 100% designed and manufactured in america? host: you are talking with fred hochberg, the president and chairman of the export-import bank. guest: when i say made in america for us to back them, a 85% of the product needs to be made here, manufactured here using american products and materials. we want to make sure when we do financing is generating jobs in the united states. host: daniel asks if it is more
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of a first come-first serve basis. guest: the big picture strategy is looking at products and services with a large u.s. content. we have focused the bank on aircraft, army clinic, medical equipment because they're great american products and create jobs at home. it is first-come, first-served to where the needs are. host: up next, a wheeling, west virginia, paul, an independent scholar -- caller. caller: your guest was talking about columbia -- colombia. one u.s. dollar is worth many pesos. in korea, $1 is worth 1117 yuan.
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in china, $1 is worth many yen. how do you say a person in the country can afford to buy a u.s. auto? guest: that is a good question. what we're exporting is not just automobiles. with a free-trade agreement, we can export wheat to colombia. before the free trade agreement, they were buying from argentina and canada. they prefer it from the dakotas. without a free-trade agreement, they could not do that. we will see more products going to these countries. a lot of times in his medical equipment, farm equipment.
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we have a great company in texas that sells crop dusters. autos are not the predominant things we're financing. host: only 13 companies work with the export-import bank in this state. singapore, taiwan, canada. why the small number in this state? guest: that has been a conundrum. i have met with the governor in west virginia. we would like to do more there. some states have just had greater success. state after state, even west virginia with only 13 companies, nine of them are small businesses. overwhelmingly, the majority have been small businesses we have helped. caller: i would like to ask you this. we export technology, computers
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and things, to china. china exports to us things we sell at the dollar store. what do we do to keep them from hacking into our businesses? they have our computers and technology. now we wonder what is happening. is that what is happening to us? they know how it works? i wonder how you feel about that. guest: connie, good question. we are exporting computers, technology, high value products that create a lot of good jobs here. what we're often importing are things we sell in the dollar stores. we're doing better on some of
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those exports. two things are key to what you have said. critical in china is protection of intellectual property. the brains behind those computers and technology, that is something we're working hard on with the chinese in particular because there have been a number of abuses of intellectual property. this host: story in the "usa today." still in critical data from u.s. companies and government agencies according to experts. the call the attack stealthy but aggressive and say they have stolen billions of dollars intellectual property and data. dan from kansas city, missouri, go ahead. caller: i appreciate fred
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hochberg visiting recently. we are an exporter in kansas city. we have been shipping to 40 countries around the world. we have been a customer of the bank for 15 years. i would like for chairman hochberg to comment on what the listeners can do to get congress to reauthorize the bank and increased lending limits so they can continue to support u.s. exports. host: you are a republican. some of the articles that have appeared a bit of republicans. they say the banks should be a private endeavor and not related to the u.s. government. what do you think? caller: i think the ex-im bank is doing a great job of supporting exports. ex-im compared to other countries it is behind in being able to increase the number of
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imports supported. i think the republicans and democrats need to support ex-im and try to get the u.s. exports to get similar support as with other countries are providing to their exporters. host: where do you exporter of goods? caller: we have a concentration in the americas. our two biggest markets are mexico and india. we're looking at 100 different countries around the world. ex-im support is going to be important to penetrating many of those markets. host: do you sell more domestically or overseas? caller: we're in the housing- related industry. we sell aluminum forms for construction. the housing market in the u.s. is about 1/4 of what it was three years ago. one person in our industry said
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it well. if we did not have an export market, we would not have a business. the export business is vital for our continued prosperity. host: let's hear from chairman hochberg. guest: thank you. i am happy we have been able to do good work for 17 years. there is a vocal minority in congress that would like us to step aside and let the private sector do this. you are a perfect example. if you are going to be selling to those markets, we need to be with you to make sure you can make the sales. thank you for your support. we're working hard to get authorized to keep operating as a bank and helping small businesses around america. host: these figures are from ex- im.gov. 288,000 jobs estimated to be supported by the bank. let's go to san clemente,
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california. britches a republican callers -- rich is a republican caller. caller: i am recently retired from the computer business. one of the biggest customers was mcdonnell-douglas. they sold airplanes to poland at the time. the polish currency was not worth anything. in exchange for the dollars, the ticklish -- they took polish hams. the employees had hams because the currency was not worth anything. at's say boeing sells to country like iceland. iceland is bankrupt. their currency is not recognized any place in the world. how do you collect from your customer in iceland for the
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boeing aircraft? how do you handle that? guest: great question. and our criteria to making a loan is to make sure that we get paid back. we require a reasonable assurance of repayment. i am unaware of any business with iceland. when we have concerns, we get the government to guarantee it. the government of india has fully backed the loan. we're not just relying on the company. in some cases, we are relying on the country to back it. we still collect a fee to cover our loan losses. host: this story in the associated press. i am looking at this from "usa today." imports hit an all-time high reflecting the demand for foreign-made cars, computers, and products. u.s. exports to europe felt raising concerns of the debt crisis that could dampen u.s.
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growth. guest: that is why we need a strong ex-im bank. the markets are very volatile and challenging now. we need to be doing a lot more exporting. that is what the president is trying to do. that is what we're trying to get the ex-im bank, to help more companies export. if they are exporting, that is helping to get the balance back into shape. it will take time. for many years, we let it go without addressing it. we are now addressing it. we will not fix it overnight. host: 1 more devils advocate question from twitter. he says no bank is needed to do that. guest: we want to make sure when american companies are selling a product that we provide the same financing their foreign competition house. -- has. we want to make sure there's
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equal financing on both sides. host: fred hochberg is chairman and president of the u.s. export-import bank. it is the u.s. government's official export credit agency. he was sworn into the post in may of 2009 after being confirmed by the senate for a term that will go until january 2013. thank you very much, chairman hochberg. next, we will look at the iraqi embassy costs. here is a c-span real update. >> the ruling in 2010 alone political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allows unions to visit voters who do not belong to unions. labor leaders are planning a door-to-door effort for president obama's campaign. steven greenhouse reports labor leaders say they will mount the biggest campaign effort with more union members than ever before, at least 400,000,
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knocking on voters stores to counter republican-backed super pac's. greece exchanges its privately held bonds today with new ones worth less than half the original value. the biggest debt write down in history is part of a rescue that includes a second eurozone bailout of $172 billion. the media watchdog group published its annual enemies of the internet report today listing countries they say curtail freedom of expression and access to the web. the list contains countries known for blocking internet content like china and north korea. new on the list is bahrain. removed from the list is libya. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> our ancestors came across the ocean in sailing ships you would not go across a lake in. [laughter]
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they build their cabins with neighbors helping one another, not federal grants. >> as candidate campaign, we look back at 14 men who ran for the office and lost. go to our website to see video of the contenders to have a lasting impact on american politics. >> this is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. america must be restored to her proper role in the world. we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves. > >> "washington journal" continues. host: we put a spotlight on the federal program with a
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speck of -- special focus on how much it costs. we're joined by missy ruan from reuters. century pentagon correspondent, what are you hearing as reaction to the shooting in afghanistan yesterday? a soldier reportedly went into two villages and shot civilians. guest: it is a tragic incident, the worst of its kind in over a decade. we have been told the soldier was a staff sergeant. it was his first tour in afghanistan. he had toured several times in a rock. he walked off the base and literally entered homes and started shooting. we do not know why. there have been suggestions he may have had a mental breakdown or stress. that has not been confirmed. in terms of reaction on a government level in afghanistan, president karzai and the entire
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hour think government is horrified. they have condemned it as intentional murder. the rhetoric is strong. on the american side, president obama and the secretary defense all issued strong statements offering condolences to the afghan people. there have been calls with president karzai. there is only so much that can be done in trying to tamp down afghan anger. we expect to be protests in coming days. it has not erupted yet. given the reaction to the koran- burning last month, you would expect afghans to react in some way. host: hell are you watching to see as the word spreads ho -- -- how are you watching to see as the word spreads for signs
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this could have an intense effect on u.s.-afghanistan reactions -- relations? guest: are their violent protests? other incidents of afghans storm in the united nations or american or civilian facilities in iraq. the burning resonated in other countries more because of a shared nation -- nature of the muslim beliefs in places like pakistan or other muslim countries. we will be looking for a sign of whether or not the karzai government can contain the anger. it will manifest itself. the question as to what degree. host: missy ruan is a pentagon correspondent for reuters.
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iraq is a place she has reported from. it is the largest u.s. embassy in the world. describe it for us. what are we talking about? guest: it is a huge compound on the banks of the tigris river. it was built at a time when we expected to have a long, large, on the ground presence in a rock. it was completed in 2008. it is a sprawling college campus looking series of buildings, coral colored, not many windows. the windows that do exist are reinforced. there is an olympic-sized swimming pool. there is a gym. there is a store to buy american brands. there is an apartment for the ceo to live in. it represents what the vision for the post-9/11 presents would
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be. this was to be projecting american power across the region with the embassy. it has not played out the way the bush administration fought -- thought it would at the time. the obama administration decided not to pursue negotiations to extend the military presence beyond the 2011 deadline. at the end of december, the mission ended. we only have about 160 military personnel remaining in iraq. they are under state department authority. we're looking at an expectation where it is probably going to be smaller over time. it reflects the fact that the iraqis do not want us there anymore. there are not as much activities for us to do.
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we cannot get out there and conduct projects as we would like. it remains a bunker, but the profile is much lower than it was. host: matt tweeets that the u.s. embassy is bigger than the vatican. he points out the contradiction of the war being over versus with a footprint is. it-give us a better sense of what we're seeing and what is like. how is it perceived by iraqis? guest: for them, it symbolizes the u.s. occupation and trauma the country went through starting in 2003 with the deaths of thousands of iraqis following that. most iraqis have never been
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inside the embassy. they cannot even get close to the embassy. it is at the heart of what is known as the green zone. it is not as an accessible today as it was. the green zone contains a lot of the ministries, the prime minister's home, things like. there is a giant perimeter wall. most iraqis cannot access the embassy. people are still angry with americans. i think it is appropriate and positive that the u.s. diplomatic posture is very different than it was. in 2006-2007, the americans are calling the shots in almost every way. that is not at all the case now. host: if you like to join the conversation about the u.s.
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embassy in a rock -- in iraq, here are the numbers to call. it is the largest in the sea united states has anywhere in the world. let's look at the price tag. it costs $750 million to build it. the fiscal year 2013 budget request is for $3 billion. the size is 104 acres. it is about 16,000 people on staff. talk to us about contractors versus what we think of as u.s. government types or u.s. military. guest: the numbers the state department has given in the past few months were about 2000 amounts and 14,000 contractors. i think it is smaller now than it was at the time. the contractors would include everything from security contractors who would accompany
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diplomats when they leave the embassy, static security, the guys who stand outside with a gun making sure no one gets close to the embassy. and also include cooks, gardners, everything you need to run a self-contained compound with its own water supply and energy supply. this was built at a time when the embassy was being pounded with rockets and mortars every day the expectation was this was an outpost in enemy territory. we have to be with the sustain ourselves if need be. it is somewhat different now. host: the democratic caller from texas joins us.
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guest: it is going to remain open. some of the housing units are vacant. the state department has not said how much the staff will be reduced by, but one would expect some dwindling in the number of diplomats and contractors because those people are there to serve the diplomats. there will be a small military presence, about 160 people. they mostly look at foreign military sales, advising iraqi forces. host: there is a dialogue on twitter going on about the idea of security contractors coming in. which companies have gotten the contract? will they fill the vacuum of diminished military troops? guest: i do not have the names of security contractors. there were a notorious incidents in the past in iraq where
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security contractors either committed what iraqis seemed as crimes shooting iraqis. those notorious companies are no longer around. there are a number of foreign securities firms. more interesting are the foreign military sales in which iraq has through the congressional process acquired or are requiring sophisticated jets -- acquiring sophisticated jets and military equipment that will help them defend themselves in the future. host: bunny is a caller from kansas. go ahead. caller: high and very much against privatized war. i do not think we belong in a rock at all. as long as we have a privatized were going on -- war going on,
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we do not have the draft. we have very poor people going over there. they have to stay. the military do not have any control over the generals at all. the generals to exactly what they want to do. we the people are just going along with it because we do not know how to get out of it. host: bunny says to leave iraq. she is bringing up the issue of who calls the shots and the idea of contractors running the show. guest: we have a volunteer army. there have been the suggestions that there will be draft at any point in the near future. -- there have been no suggestions that there will be a draft at any point in the near future. we're trying to wind down the conflicts in iraq and afghanistan. with libya, we took a hands-off
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approach to that. the obama administration has taken a different tact in terms of wanting to reduce the military on the ground commitment and be able to. it -- to pivot to places like asia. i think there will always be a debate about the general's' strategic planning and what the troops on the ground are sent to do. host: missy ruan is a reuters correspondent. she covers the pentagon here. she has been with richardson's november of 2010. she reported from baghdad where she was the deputy bureau chief. she has reported from mexico and central america, in yemen, afghanistan, lebanon, all over the world. she is talking about the u.s. embassy in iraq, how much it costs, and how your money is being spent.
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please go ahead. caller: when are we going to address corruption on a global scale? corporations, rogue governments , to the 2000 election that took place with the bush administration in florida? host: how does that pertain to the u.s. embassy in iraq? do you see corruption there? caller: of course. halliburton to billions of dollars from this country. until we address corruption on the highest levels, corruption starts with people in power. the drive guy on the street is just trying to make money -- the drug guy on the street is just trying to make money. he is a strong man. corruption is starting at the top of the line, no one will know what is going on until it
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is too late. guest: there were a number of high-profile contract in corruption cases in iraq. ofre talking about millions dollars spent to no benefit or people actually stealing money. i do not know how much there was a vat in the construction of the embassy. there was a problem with one of the construction firms the was asked to pay back over $100 million. it reflects the difficulty of trying to do business in a country that does not have, did not have a strong legal framework. in the case of iraq where we rushed in and were spending huge amounts of money, often with companies that have no experience operating in such a conditions, i think it is
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somewhat to be expected. we have had similar problems in afghanistan. the bush and administration created a special inspector general for iraq. has gone through and audited. there have been several cases brought through the judicial process. host: a story in p.r. -- npr reported about a year ago. it was called a behemoth of and in the -- of an embassy. he says just as it was a horrible mistake to go to war in iraq to begin with, the size and cost of the embassy continues the mistake. guest: the interesting comparison to make is what is happening with the embassies in kabul and islamabad. we have also built large embassies in kabul.
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we're expecting to have a longer-term presence in afghanistan post-2014. that is not a sure bet. we've been trying to sign an agreement with the government of afghanistan to nail down that long term presence. it has not happened yet. we face the possibility we would have another in the embassy -- empty embassy. in islamabad, there has been some expansion of the u.s. embassy. part of that happened at a time when we resurging diplomatically and in terms of aid with pakistan. the state department is somewhat backing away from the planned expansion. in part because the bilateral relationship with pakistan has been so bad. we do not expect to need or want a bigger diplomatic presence. host: libby joins us from
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illinois on the independent line. caller: thank you for pursuing this this morning. i am a veteran advocate. i have been to iraq post-desert storm to conduct assessments. in the course of my mission, i took note that baghdad and a great part of the country had been destroyed by american bombing, which was about 100 million tons of explosives power. i would like to know what percentage of the $3 billion allocated for 2013 is going to go towards actually reconstructing and rebuilding iraq and towards the welfare of the iraqi people.
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of the 16,000 people on staff in the embassy, what are those people doing? are those the contractors you are speaking of? are these over and above the contractors? it is my understanding an average contractor in iraq is making anywhere -- we could be speaking of one individual -- the average contractor is making from $70,000 to $100,000 during their stay in iraq, which is dramatically different from the cost of an american soldier. host: let's roll that question to missy ruan. you brought up a lot of interesting issues. guest: on the first part about how much of the budget is going
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to rebuilding in helping iraqis, i am not sure about a $3 billion figure. i do not think there is much american financial support for rebuilding. part of the issue in iraq has been that the iraqi government is in the fortunate position of having a large revenue stream from its oil exports. it is not like afghanistan where the government requires external aid for everything, including government salaries. we do have been a aside -- we do have a usa present -- we do have a usaid presence. we will be having cultural exchanges, smaller aid and reconstruction programs, but nothing on the scale of the infrastructure programs we undertook during the first years
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of the american occupation. host: missy ruan, correspondent with reuters, what are some ideas of what to do with the embassy space? have been plans floated to bring in iraqi rebuilding groups or strictly iraqi-oriented groups that do not have the embassy ties but could use the valuable real estate? guest: i do not think anything is under discussion in terms of turning the embassy over in the near future. that would be difficult. we want to keep our options open for the time being. i have seen a number of tongue in cheek suggestions about building bowling alleys and bringing iraqis in. i think for the time being, it will remain an american embassy. the staff is smaller than the in the seat was built for. you never know what is going to happen in the future. it does not look like there's going to be any substantial
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negotiations to bring an american military presence that, but you never know. host: joe from sarasota, florida, republican caller. caller: and would like to throw out a contrarian point of view. i am old enough to see what occurred in 1979 when the iranians radical students took over the u.s. embassy and held hostages. i am a big believer that our embassy should be a fortress in these countries that are volatile. the middle east in general is probably going to beat a volatile place for the next quarter century. the fraud and abuse related to the embassy in the overspending is a drop in the bucket compared to a lot of the waste, fraud, and abuse we see in other areas
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of government like medicaid /medicare specifically. host: ok. we will send that over to missy ruan. guest: you mentioned it should be a bumper. it is certainly well-fortified compound. i have never heard of any fears of the embassy being stormed or anything like that. intentionally, there was a design to keep american diplomats and the contractors safe. most american embassies around the world at this point are bunkers. that may be a sad sign of the security realities we face today. host: missy ruan, you were reuters deputy bureau chief for 20 months. how much access does a reporter
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have to the embassy? how much of your time is spent in those hallways? guest: when i first arrived, the embassy was still sort of weighing in publicly on political issues, military and security issues in iraq. when i first got there, there were about 170,000 troops in 2007, compared to 160 now. it is pretty shocking. we did spend a lot of time at the embassy. we were called in frequently four round tables with the amounts -- recalled in frequently -- we were called in frequently for round tables with diplomats. this was a country still trying to stand up its own institutions. they have been weak orders of
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dr. -- they had been weak or topppled after saddam. i spoke to someone who said they do not have much contact with the embassy. there were many handover ceremonies. americans made a point of this being their country and we were there as guests. part of it is a function of the fact that members of the iraqi government clearly want to send a message to their people that the american era is over. it has been good for maliki to preside over the american exit from iraq. it is just a different time. host: susan is a democrat from georgia. caller: i am actually visiting
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family. i am from texas and here for a few days. i most certainly agree with the lady who called earlier and said she had been over there. i find it amazing the republican and that cold and was very opposed to anything for american citizens. what i am getting is the republicans pushing for iran. the feeling is we will probably be going over there if they get their way. congress very much opposed as going into afghanistan. i was most upset when i heard the contractors were building the huge compound, the millions of dollars wasted on this is
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astonishing. all this was was a money-making gimmick for a few. host: should the embassy be closed? should they strength of footprint? -- shrink the footprint? caller: i do believe we need an embassy there. the monstrosity we did not need. perhaps it could be turned over to the iraqi people to be used in some form or fashion. host: we have a comment on twitter that says the american people need to demand the in the seat be closed. -- the embassy be closed. guest: i think it is certain there will be some american diplomatic presence in iraq. that presence requires a
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facility. there will be an american embassy. the question is whether it will be this facility and whether it will be this facility for ever. i do not think there is serious consideration of moving or ending -- handing over the embassy to the iraqis anytime soon. host: susan thinks we should not have gone into iraq and has concerns about what we're doing now overseas. we cannot go back and change the past. what do they do about the argument for moving forward? guest: the idea is minimizing cost to the degree that you can now and having a strategic think about what the american role in iraq should be. it is no longer projecting military power across the middle east. is a different middle east. the changes that happened in
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2011 radically altered what iraq is in terms of its role in the middle east. it is no longer the one done in the country. now we have egypt, tunisia, libya. i think that really does alter what we would like even under the best of circumstances in iraq. iran is still a big american worry. part of the reason we want a big presence in iraq is to counterbalance what has been seen as strong iranian influence among the iraqi government. host: missy ruan is a correspondent with reuters. she covers the pentagon and has been overseas to cover stories around world. we're talking about the u.s. embassy in iraq, how much it costs in our "your money" segment.
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the fiscal year request for 2013 is $3 billion. mansur joins us on the independent line from south carolina. please go ahead. caller: i have one question and a couple of comments. i am wondering if miss ruan knows how many people will remain in the u.s. embassy, whether they are military personnel, contractors, or the like. i have a couple of comments. i will not take long. one is in response to an earlier caller. he said he was old enough to remember the incident in 1979 in iran where students took over the embassy or something like that. i am not that old. i am well read enough to
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remember a united states removed the democratically elected government in iran in the 1950's. they installed a ruthless dictator. as i am sure she knows, hundreds of thousands of civilians have died as a result of this illegal war of aggression and occupation of iraq with tens of thousands in afghanistan and pakistan as well. i am wondering if she can comment on the obvious discrepancy between the value of the life of an iraqi, pakistani, or afghan and the value the american government places on their life and the value of
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american life. i am wondering if she can comment on that glaring discrepancy. i am wondering if she can comment on the devaluation of the people we invade and occupy. host: what has been your reaction to the reaction in the united states over the killings that happened yesterday in afghanistan? they are calling it an atrocity. they have a photograph of a young man morning for his relatives. do you think the reaction has been appropriate? caller: i have not had much time -- i just recently this morning heard about the incident in afghanistan where 15 civilians were killed. i just recently heard about it, including children shot in the
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head. i do not know what the circumstances were. i do not know why it happened. i do not feel like i can comment on it. the covers i saw this morning were talking about this soldier. he probably was unstable. i heard he did multiple tours and was probably under a lot of stress. let's not pretend we're not killing innocent human beings on an institutional level. the: let's focus back on iraqi embassy. he has some concerns about the presence there, what message it sends. guest: there were about 2000
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diplomats and 14,000 contractors. regarding the civilian deaths, the american military has never put out an official figure or the number of iraqis killed. it has been a very controversial subject because it is hard to measure, especially during the years -- i remember in 2007, we would compiled monthly death tolls. there would be 6000 people who died a month. the reporting was very difficult in terms of compiling accurate numbers. i see the iraqi government put out its first official estimate of how many iraqis died. i think it was somewhere close to 100,000 civilians. it is pretty shocking. i do not disagree with the caller that the figure is very
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hard to get one's head around. from the american government perspective, that loss of life is officially deplorable. they focus on the american soldiers because that is their job. it is an unfortunate but expected the economy -- dichotomy in war. host: what is the average tour of duty at the embassy? what is their experience like? guest: in the past, and has been one year. that is quite different from the tours of duty diplomats serving and other embassies. this was considered a hardship post. i remember when condoleezza rice was secretary of state, there was a real call for diplomats and civil servants across the
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american government to step up and volunteer for this hardship posts because there were hard to fill. it is good for their careers if they serve in these places. they are often compensated financially in a way that is different from if they were serving in france or something like that. host: jacob is from new jersey on our independent line. caller: the main problem with the embassy, i was around for the embassy in iran. i remember jimmy carter was the president at that time when they took the embassy over. they held all the way to the election when ronald reagan was elected. then they let the prisoners go.
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face. in the democrats' this in the seat now will be in the same predicament with the shiite controlled government has backed iran. host: i will leave it there and get a response from missy ruan. guest: it is also a coalition government with sunni members. the vice president has been charged with running death squads. there is -- it illustrates the lingering sectarian tension, as the tension within iraq --
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ethnic tension within iraq and the government. no one can predict what the security threats might be for american personnel within the embassy. the government goes to great lengths to do as much as they can to keep the diplomats say. part of what they do is prohibit the diplomats from leaving the compound much. in some ways, that makes it a challenging assignment. that is what i hear from people who serve there. chuck, ans hear from independent caller from new york. caller: i want to ask her if she really thinks an embassy like this is needed. 95% of the problems in the middle east is behind religion, a little bit about oil, but a
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lot about religion. we're never going to solve thei problems for them. not care what kind in the cma, how many people you send over there. i do not care what kind of in the sea -- i do not care what kind of embassy, how many people use and over there. what are we trying to prove to the world? host: heavy oil is felt this way or is this a new opinion -- have you always felt this way or is this a new opinion? caller: of course it is my opinion. 95% of the wars have been based on religion. host: how have opinions changed on iraq? guest: the iraq war dominated the public debate in america in a way that is difficult to
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imagine being the case with afghanistan or any other foreign policy issues now unless there was another major conflict. at that time, it was controversial. the country was divided to a certain extent along partisan lines about what the u.s. role should be in iraq. there was no disagreement that the stakes were higher. we needed to take a strong course in the country. it looked like it was going to disintegrate into civil war. there was a period of course it violence -- a horrific violence. the mission of the embassy reflects that. we thought we would be there for a long time in iraq. that is why lou proceeded with the embassy the way we did. host: missy ruan is a correspondent with reuters. we have been talking about the u.s. embassy in iraq.
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missy ruan, they do so much for being here today. that is all for "washington journal" today. have a good day. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> our live coverage here on c- span will continue at 1:30 p.m. on eastern. on eastern.

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