tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS January 26, 2014 4:00pm-4:31pm PST
from washington, the mclaughlin group. the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. >> the state of the union, a forecast. this coming tuesday, january 28, president obama will deliver his fifth state of the union address. in it, he will lay out, to both houses of congress and the public, his plan of action for the coming year. the speech comes as mr. obama weathers storms over his presidency. including the glitch ridden rollout of the signature affordable care act. and the revelations of
widespread surveillance of the american public. by the national security agency. the nsa. both the show our president with high disapproval marks. 54% disapprove of the way he is handling his job. 40% approved. the president nevertheless seems unbothered as he addresses his years in office. quote, president obama. the conventional wisdom is that a president second term as a matter of minimizing the damage. and playing defense rather than playing offense. but, as i reminded my team the day after i was inaugurated for a second term, we are in charge of the largest organizations on earth. and our capacity to do good, both domestically and around the world, is unsurpassed. even if nobody is paying
attention. unquote. >> if you are advising the president on the state of the union address next week, and the remainder of the second term, what would you advise him to emphasize? >> i would say, stay away from the iran association, because they are divisive and problematic. what you focus on is domestic policy and the whole beginning of the speech. and you start off and say, the american economy is recovering. our growth is one of the fastest in the western world. however, we have problems. one of the main problems is income, and inequality. here is how we will deal with it. we will extend unlimited benefits. we will deal with the hispanics in this country who are undocumented. bring them out of the shadows. we want to raise the minimum wage. and i want to work with you and congress on these things. but i have to tell you, if you don't work with me, i have a phone and a pen. and i will do my best by executive order to keep this
economy moving. and keep it going forward. but i will your support. >> that will win a lot of support. >> yes. >> what would you advise? >> pat is an old presidential speech writer. that was right on the mark. >> that was not designed to win friends and influence people. >> i thought that was pretty good. the president has to fully own obamacare. which i believe he will. and there will be recipients of obamacare in the audience sitting with the first lady. because we are embarking now on a year-long war that will culminate in the november election, as too whether it is an up or down vote on obamacare. secondly, he has to ask the congress, for extended unemployment benefits. or raising the minimum wage. he has to make clear that he is prepared to go on his own. that he can act without congress. and he has to try to rekindle
some of the lost promises of the last year. he still -- show that he has some juice. and the people who have given up on him, there is a lot he can do with that. >> what would you advise him to emphasize? >> i certainly would have him focus on the economy. i would have him particularly focus on education, and how that is the key -- for a lot of people who are coming out of low income families, or moderate income families, who want to have a upward mobility. and that education is the key to upward mobility, for all americans of that generation. and everybody needs to get behind a particular issue. that is the one issue i would really focus on. education. particularly education in science technology, engineering mathematics. because that is where the future of a lot of people can be. and it will be successful. >> what about the scoring of our children on education, when
placed in the international context? have you seen any of those discouraging results? >> they are discouraging. particularly the public education system. particularly in elementary school and high school. it is actually quite week when measured against everybody else. yet, this is the key to the future of not only individuals, but the country. >> i can't hardly improve on what everyone has that already. i would just add that, in the education area, i would love to see new ideas. one area is job-training. you talked about how we have fallen behind, as far as the high school graduation gap. and college costs are soaring. i hope to address that. in between job-training, you have to have some schooling beyond high school, in order to have any increase in real wages in your life. i would like to see something like what dermody has done, subsidizing private businesses, that have job-training
programs. and workers perhaps -- not on reduced salaries while they are learning a trade. >> this has done wonders for closing the gender gap. girls are doing better than boys now in the academic achievement. girls are just better behaved. i think. >> people always want to know, what are the new ideas? and if they have new ones, they have not telegraphed them yet. short of new ideas, they will repeat all of the old ones. and i think that is fine. i think that basically, a lot of people will be tuning in, not just watching tv -- the way the white house will disseminate this speech there all the social media, it is not just the ratings. you said -- you have to look at the way they get the message out. you have to energize young people to vote in next november. >> i'm not sure we have hit to
war and hard enough. which is fixed obamacare. he will almost apologize for saying -- if you like your insurance, you can keep it. he should stress that obamacare can be corrected. it can be made a useful instrument of this democracy. >> and he can do it. >> toby too defensive. >> don't be too defensive. >> you might be correct when you say, mistakes are made in the handling of this. but 2 million people have signed up. more are signing up. if we have problems, why don't we work together to fix that? >> pat, i think you jumped parties here. >> [ laughter ] >> you asked me to write the speech. >> the check is in the mail. >> he misled people. >> he has apologized endlessly for that. he has poked fun at himself.
>> now he is kind of floating out there by himself. >> floating for a good reason. he used it in 25 speeches before it became famous. you have to ask yourself, not only that he said it, but nobody and his staff check out what he was saying. >> there might have been internal conflict. >> it not only affected his respect. it affected his sense of competency, and the way people looked at his competency. >> he can also stress some of the things -- like getting out of afghanistan. >> foreign-policy is deeply divisive. i think clarence is onto something. i think vocational schools and high schools and things like that -- if kids are not learning all of the academic stuff, you can teach them things -- when i was growing up, we had plenty in dc. the problem is, we've lost all these many factoring jobs. >> i have to move forward. we are not striking all the
right notes. >> one sure state of the union seen will be economic -- i believe, any quality. >> let me repeat. the combined trends of increased any quality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the american dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. >> so said president obama in december of last month. and the theme of economic inequality will be one he repeats next tuesday during his state of the union address. the president's focus, is a major study from an antipoverty group made up of 17 organizations, working in more than 90 countries, released some startling statistics. get this. the richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the poorest part of the entire world's population. they also found that seven in
10 people were economic inequality has widened. and the u.s. tops that list. in the u.s., the richest 1% captured 95% of the post- financial crisis group since 2009. while the bottom 90% wealth decreased. it is not all dire news however. that is if you believe bill gates. gates attributes that a farming method -- and the digital revolution,. >> up his predictions. quote. by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the road. almost all countries will be what we now call, lower middle income or richer. unquote. >> question, what is the most recent research on economic
mobility? and is president obama right when he says, it is slowing down? >> mort. >> there is frankly, very limited economic mobility. it goes back to what i was saying before. the educational differences in america are really staggering. and that is the pathway to economic mobility. we have had the least amount of economic mobility -- certainly during his presidency, that we have had since the end of world war ii. >> the recent study came out this week. it showed that there is an enormous amount of economic mobility. but look, let's look at the last 50 years. all of these -- eastern europe is free. the standard of living is up. the whole soviet union came apart. i was there. you had great the quality there when nixon and i were there in 197 . now you have billionaires and millionaires and people making $100,000. and people making nothing. inequality is not the problem, as long as everybody is moving up. who cares if mort has
$1 billion. and we may not. >> wait a minute. [ laughter ] >> don't understate the man's wealth. >> any quality is not the issue. jobs are the issue. and education is the issue. those are the issues. >> but the fact that jobs and income are not working the way they should, it has created a huge gap. we are now looking like a banana republic, which is not what this country is about. the president asking, how can i talk about this growing any quality without everybody screaming, class warfare? i think now republicans agree it is a problem too. now the debate is about, what do you do about it? and democrats -- you have progressives you want to raise taxes on people who make over $500,000. i think that is a great idea. that is not enough. and you have the old hillary clinton, built clinton centrist -- bill clinton centrists, who think it is about job growth.
so he is left really to plead, raise the minimum wage. it is hard to get new jobs. >> you are making too many excuses for him. he is a very skilled -- he can clarify this whole business if he really wants to do it. >> will president obama emphasized in the state of the union address -- will it be progrowth, economic policy, to create opportunity? or will it be economic redistribution? spread the wealth. as he said to joe the plumber, remember that? >> i think he will emphasize, that the economy is growing. but there is economic inequality. but he is not going to say, let's redistribute wealth. he will say, here is the minimum wage. here is immigration reform. here is unemployment benefits. here is education. all of these things. he is not going to say, let's redistribute the wealth. >> no. it is not either/or. actually, there is a lot of good economic news that he can point
to. we are on our way to becoming energy independent. the deficit has come down more in the last year. he has -- he is already frowning over here. i think there is expectation that growth will be much hire this coming year. it is looking good. he can to say it is perfect. because it is not. >> sing the blues. >> on the front page of the financial times today, they point out that the willingness of american businesses stems on plants any quitman, which is the multiplier of all multipliers in the economy. at the lowest level since the end of world war ii. 1.2%. this is unbelievably -- a statement about what the business people who know what the industry's are like -- what they think about the economic future. there is a lot of apprehension about where the economy is going. we are growing at a low rates. let me give you one more statistic. the average rate of growth in the four years coming out of every recession we have had -- since the end of world war ii -- four years on average, was 4.1%. we have been growing at a rate
of about 2.2%. that is a huge decline in the rate of growth over the last number years. >> we don't want to invest in an uncertain future. i think the more obama shows -- we will have more stability over the next year. we will see more confidence. wall street is doing great. why is that? people with money -- >> for the last two days. >> look at the last year, captain. >> the other thing is the, immediacy of this action by obama. because he will be settling into the strict lame-duck. the talk is already excessive, -- it will be a lame duck in a year. >> i was with ronald reagan in his second term. he wasn't any lame-duck. he was going to russia and getting arms-control agreements. got a huge tax cut. >> you are a lame-duck if you have the attitude of a lame-duck. >> he thinks reagan --
>> that is who he ought to sound like. >> you should tell him that. >> it is your duty. >> it is long scents because of his choice of weapons -- because of what he has done. lost any midget -- any legitimacy. who can imagine that tomorrow or in a week or a month, you can suddenly say, it is all right? you can lead to serious. >> and the opening day of talks, to resolve the syrian civil war, secretary of state john kerry commanded that the syrian leader step down. and receive power to a transitional government. code. kerry's position reflects the international consensus of the 2012 geneva communication. which calls for the conference to establish a cease-fire and interim government for serious.
the peace talks convened by the united nations got off to a testy start. when the foreign minister refused -- for exceeding his allotted time. some 130,000 people from syria had died. syria has complied with demands to surrender chemical weapons. and the government troops the upper hand in the fight. syria information minister was blunt. quote. there will be no transfer of power and the president is staying. unquote. furthermore, the obama administration hopes for him to turn over power. with the setbacks days before the talk.
when iran refused to send a delegation to switzerland, because of the condition that it abides by the objective of creating a post president government. iran is an ally. iranian troops are fighting in syria. and iranian aircraft keep his regime with weapons. negotiations with iran over ending the nuclear program are progressing. with united nations monitoring this week, that iran has brought down the uranium the richmond. >> can a truce be broken in syria without iran's agreement? >> no, it can't. and i think a truce is possible. i think john kerry made a terrible mistake of going over there. first, he denounces this. secondly, if you're going to have negotiations, you should start off with -- on a
stately note than an attack. i do think that -- there have been atrocities on all sides. but i do think that the syrian government -- because it has the upper hand right now is probably ready for a local truce and things like that. i think the best we can hope is to stop the killing and slaughter in various places. get humanitarian in there. and anything that contributes to that is good. why iran was disinvited -- one reason is because the opposition people from syria would have walked out if iran walked in. but ultimately, they all have to be on board if there is going to be a peace agreement. >> are they not all on board? >> iran is not in there. the russians are there. but it is heavily weighted on the other side. >> clearly iran is on board. >> you have to have everybody who is pouring arms in their, everybody should be at the table. but that is not the decision that the diplomats made. i did carry a lot of credit for
pushing ahead. you may be did not like his opening statement. but it was the same tenor as the other players. he is there. we are not. and i think, if they can get some sort of reprieve to get humanitarian aid and medicine through, bashar al-assad and the rebels to some extent are using food and medicine as weapons of war. it is almost worse than the chemical weapons. it is really a brutal scene over there. >> mort. >> or a reprieve. >> i could not agree with you more that it is a gruesome scene, what is going on on the ground. the numbers of people being killed. the way they have been killed. the number of people whose families have been killed. i don't see how it will get better. the only way that the syrian government will move is if there is some real threat to their livelihood and existence. and that thread does not exist. and as long as we can't find a way to put pressure on them, i don't think there will be much hope that we will get any
substance out of this negotiation. >> or its bashar al-assad is given assurance to stay -- i think this administration is far out on a limb saying he has to go. but i don't know that getting rid of him right now would improve the situation. >> do we want mort nine too? >> no, we do not. >> do we want bashar al-assad to fall? >> we do not. the guy that runs all qaeda urged his alliance to go against iran and go against russia and go against bashar al-assad. these are the enemies. what kind of war do we want to get into, mort? >> a lot of bad choices. >> you are right. we will not be sending troops in there. we will not necessarily -- right away, get him to step down. we have to begin the process. as long as we are still
talking, there is hope. >> the internal conflicts within iran -- but within syria, the whole situation would fly out of control. >> issue three. centrists versus liberals. >> the state will pay for it. and the state will be proud to pay for it. it is a priority. we believe in children. we believe and pre-k. we believe in education. let's put our money where our mouth this. >> new york governor andrew cuomo unveils his plan to bring universal prekindergarten to his state of this weekend his annual budget address. >> the governor, who is also up for reelection is making good on a top democratic education priority. president obama also upgrade universal pre-k as it is called. the state of the union address last year, mr. obama -- has not mustered support of the federal level. but the idea has caught on in new york, including new york city. the new mayor, has his own
universal pre-k plan for the -- for this. the mayor, a progressive democrat, wants to increase taxes on those who make more than $500,000 a year to pay for it. cuomo, a centrist democrat who served in the clinton administration, is campaigning on a 2 billion-dollar cut to state taxes this year. the plan conflicts directly with cuomo's plan. democrat against democrat in the latest example of the growing split between obama progresses and clinton centrist. these dueling universal pre-k plans will now be settled by the new york legislature. which has the ultimate say in passing laws to create universal prekindergarten education and how to pay for it. >> you will win if the mayor and the governor battle it out in the new york legislature over
universal pre-k? mort. >> not even close. the governor is going to win hands-down. he put the mayor in a corner. he has the ability to put this pro- -- plant across the state. not just in new york. not without any taxes. he has two big giant steps ahead of the mayor. and says, look, i was elected on this platform. and was certainly elected by huge margin. there is no way he will get the tax increase he wants to the state legislature, which he must get without the governor's support. this is a game over situation at this stage. >> yes. a direct confrontation like that is true. cuomo holds the cards at the state-level. you have seen a situation where cuomo had a run-in with the cardinal over a quote he had given -- that he actually misquoted. in terms of saying, -- >> pro-life, pro- weapon, and -- he is talking about
candidates. >> slow that down. what did he say? >> if you are pro-life, pro- assault weapon, and anti-homosexual, you have no place in your. he is talking about candidates running for political office. >> it is not a winning platform in new york. >> you might wish to wipe the slate clean, but the comments were called, the best example of extremism heard for a long time. what do you think of that? >> i think that is a statement that has no basis in fact. >> it is not terribly inclusive to say, candidates who agree with ronald reagan and billy graham and pope john paul ii, have no place in new york state. if i recall correctly, reagan carried new york state. >> i think a pro-choice candidate, a pro-gun control candidate who supports gay rights, would not fare very well in a number of states in this country. >> that is the -- what he
was saying. he was saying, they have no political future in new york. >> he was talking about politics. it was misinterpreted. when you look at the actual copy of what he said, it is clear that it was the context of the question. you can say, shouldn't have said that. but it is probably a political fact -- >> let's get it straight what cuomo said. >> the governor drew criticism nationwide from conservatives and republicans for his remarks during a public radio interview last week about how he defined -- extremist conservatism. as those who are against abortion rights, gun control and gay marriage. and said, people with such views have no place in new york. >> that is happy country he is talking about. and on guns, it is more -- >> i think that is a foolish statement. and he has severely damaged himself. >> you have the last word. who can beat hillary in 16?
. this week on moyers & company, we conclude our conversation with astrophysicist neil degrasse tyson. >> you have not fully expressed your power as a voter until you have a scientific literacy in topics that matter for future political issues. this requires a level of -- a base level of science literacy that i don't think we have achieved yet >> announcer: funding is provided by anne gummawitz, carnegie, the ford foundation, working with visionary rees on the front change of worldwide, spo