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tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  September 12, 2015 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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gwen: trumping trump and campaign contritions. plus an iran deal victory. onight on "washington week." vice president biden: be careful what you wish for. gwen: be careful indeed. the vice president emotional late night turn send hillary clinton yet another curveball. as the democratic frontrunner tries to regain her footing. secretary clinton: i'm trying to be as transparent as i possibly can to not only release 55,000 pages of my email, turn over my server, but i am looking forward finally f testifying before congress. gwen: republicans meanwhile try to wrestle the elephant in the room to the ground. >onald trump is for donald
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trump. he believes in nothing other than himself. >> you said oh, ben carson surging. well, i'm almost double his numbers. >> that's a big part of who i am. humility and the fear of the lord. i don't get that impression with him. gwen: on capitol hill, the president's victory on the iran deal. minority leader pelosi: i'm ryry proud of the debate and the substance on which our colleagues have based their decision. gwen: while a new foreign policy issue crops up. can the u.s. offer safe harbor to refugees fleeing syria? president obama: the refugee crisis is not just a european problem. it's a world problem. gwen: but will that be enough? covering the week, jeff zeleny, senior washington correspondent for cnn. and anne gearan, national politics correspondent for "the washington post." michael crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for politico and doyle mcmanus,
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columnist for the "los angeles times." >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering hifflet as it -- history as it happens. live from our nation's capital this is "washington week with gwen ifill." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we asked people to tell us something that happened in their past and something that might happen in their future. the good things were put on yellow magnets. and the bad ones on blue. the results show the past was a pretty even mix of good and bad. yet the future was almost all good things. now that you've seen the results of this experiment, what does it mean to you? >> we all want to think about positive stuff. >> realistically there will be down times. >> it's great to think optimistically. but let plan for whatever the future might bring. >> additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation. donating all profits from
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newman's own food products to charity. and nourishing the common good. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. 2016 politics this week veered from the zany to the deadly serious and back again. the vice president who in the wake of his son's death this summer has taken his presidential deliberations public was emotional and affecting on the cbs late show with steven col better -- colbert last night. vice president biden: unless number one they know exactly why they would want to be president, and two, they can look at the folks out there and say i promise you, you have my whole heart and my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do
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this. and -- and i would be lying if said that i knew i was there. it's -- i'm being completely honest. gwen: contrast that to hillary clinton whose campaign has taken a hit for its evolving explanations over her handling of government email. beginning in march. secretary clinton: the server contains personal communications from my husband and me. and i believe i have met all of my responsibilities. and the server will remain private. you may have seen that i recently launched a snap chat account. [cheering] i love it. i love it. those messages disappear all by themselves. [laughter]
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my personal emails are my personal business, right? but in retrospect certainly, as i look back at it now, even though it was allowed, i should have used two accounts. one for personal, one for work-related emails. that was a mistake. i'm sorry about that. i take responsibility. gwen: so let's take a look first at joe biden who's not even in the race and hillary clinton who is sliding in the polls and at the rise of bernie sanders. is there a connection here somewhere, jeff? >> there's definitely a connection with this. when hillary clinton started this campaign, some almost six months ago, everyone thought that she was the dominant democratic force in the race. there wasn't much of an opening. we've gone from seeing a crack to a full open door here. and that has given joe biden the ability to openly flirt with the idea of running. you get the sense that joe biden is enjoying this very much. not necessarily in the clip on the late show. that was a very genuine, authentic moment but at the labor day parade in pittsburgh
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earlier this week. boy, was he enjoying that, loving the idea of possibly running. so there is definitely an opening for him to do it. but he's operating on a couple of tracks here. one, i'm told by some of his friends that he definitely wants to run. of course he does. he's been in washington for -- gwen: he's done it twice before. >> run twice before. and not sure if he's able to but asking his advisors to get everything in place. there are people lined up who would be an iowa campaign manager. there's someone lined up who would be a new hampshire campaign manager. the reality is, though, they're not sure if he'll pull the trigger on that. so i'm still told october 1 is -- or around october 1 is the decision time. gwen: does that mean hillary clinton feels these footsteps and reads the polls more closely than we do and sees that joe biden is not even in the race is taking some strength from herstnd bernie sanders remains strong, is that -- does that explain what we saw there at this evolution? >> it definitely explains part of it. the campaign has had to reckon
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with their own mistakes here. they didn't see the email issue for what it was at the beginning. and that has dogged them all along. she really has kind of looked grudging and reluctant to make the iterative moves to get to i'm sorry. and that just didn't look good. whatever the there there, it didn't look good to have -- to have it drag out so long. so yeah. that has contributed to an opening. definitely it's helped sanders. one of the great things that sanders has going for him is his authenticity and his unpolitician feel. he is an elected senator but he doesn't really look and sound like a typical politician at all. gwen: we have a little bit of bernie sanders from on the campaign trail this week. demonstration of your point. senator sanders: don't tell anybody. i think they're getting nervous. don't tell anybody. i think the secretary's people are getting very nervous about
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the kind of energy and enthusiasm our campaign is bringing forth. gwen: as that's bernie sanders -- that's bernie sanders we're talking about, right? >> why has it taken hillary clinton so long to get to this point? she is an accomplished politician and has the smartest campaign staff in america and one of smartest pollsters in america. not like the public mood was -- should have been difficult to read. >> that is exactly the question to ask. did they simply not understand what they had in front of them at the beginning? it's starting to look likeo that. and another thing is she has always said and still believes clearly she didn't do anything wrong. so she feels she is being pushed up against the wall for no reason. and the more she got pushed up against the wall, the worse it looked. and the more -- the more her own donors and supporters had questions. and then they came to her and said, we don't know what to tell people when they ask us what this email thing is. did you do something? no, i didn't. how do we explain it?
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it became a very circular problem where the very people she needed to be able to have go out on her behalf and say there's nothing here, folks, didn't know what to say. gwen: yeah. >> and then -- it kept going. >> and so does this kind of tie off the bleeding artery? will we see -- is it possible that the email story will fade, that this was a summer history are a -- hysteria and a lot of fun for the media to talk about but turn a corner and move on? >> in a word, no. probably not. because she has an important meeting on capitol hill in october with the -- an appearance before the house benghazi committee. that ensures this will keep going. and the f.b.i. is looking into this email server but i think she has turned a corner with this but what you said about her donors, anne, you're right about that. democrats get nervous more than anyone else. and they are nervous about this. she finally has addressed this and said she's sorry. but the number that struck me this week in all of the polling that's out there, in april, 60%
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of democrats were enthusiastic about her running. -10. now only 4-10. or 40% of democrats are enthusiastic about her. that's not good. so she has to rebuild this enthusiasm some way. but i think she's turned a corner. this is going to be a dual track. the ismael stuff will continue. and she'll have to try and change the subject every day on iran and other things. gwen: speaking of changing the subject and summer of hysteria and like that segue? what i did there? on the republican side the campaign has devolved into a different challenge. who can trump trump? the field saw its first casualty today. when former texas governor rick perry dropped out of the race. but not without this anti-trump warning. governor perry: we can't indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further. the answer to our current dider in chief is not to elect a republican divider in chief. gwen: perry's point played out in a week of insult trading. and this rolling stone interview trump was asked about
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carly fiorina and he said look at that face. would anyone vote for that? can you imagine that, the face of our next president? i mean, she's a woman. and i'm not supposed to say bad things. but really, folks, come on. are we serious? this was carly fiorina's response. >> i think those comments speak for themselves and all the many, many, many thousands of voters out there that are helping me climb in the polls. yes. they're very serious. gwen: and perhaps the sharpest blow was landed by the candidate who is now number two in iowa and new hampshire. ben carson. who really took -- he didn't actually go after donald trump because he doesn't have that kind of persona. but he did take a shot. >> he raised the question. he raised the thing that that's not been spoken very much. what is donald trump's moral center? his character? his faith? the iowa caucuses are dominated by social conservatives on the republican side. donald trump has been doing fairly well in the polls among evangelicals and frustrating to some of these other candidates. so the chatter in iowa
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republican evangelical circles when will someone raise the question that donald trump is not one of us? he doesn't have our beliefs. so that's kwla ben carson is doing and been doing it in private settings and doing it in public. he's not doing a firebrand speech about it but he's raising this point. so that is one of the things that has -- has an effect. donald trump will not be knocked down by one thing. we've seen that because every single moment. but the compilation of things. i think that is -- that has staying power in iowa. >> who's next to get out of the race, rick perry has dropped out and whose days are numbered? >> there are several who could stay in for a long time in a way that he couldn't. like lindsey graham and running on a shoestring and doesn't matter how long lindsey graham stays in the race. but i could see a lindsey graham dropping out. maybe even rand paul. a number of people who will not be at the -- at the grownup table at the debate this week, one of them probably after the debate. somebody after the debate. >> in earlier campaigns the conventional wisdom at this
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point would have been that some of these people who aren't in the top five or the top six, now we have to say the top dozen, would start running out of money. and that's who would drop out. is that happening to anybody at this point? >> well, it's interesting. because now the superpacks -- superpacs and rick perry has $17 million in -- but this proves you have to have more than super pac money. >> he couldn't pay ordinary salaries and filing fees and dumb stuff like the daily bills basically. gwen: is it also possible the lesson of rick perry that if you take on donald trump, yoump might not win? taking him on so far, has benefited from it. >> the lesson also rick perry he maybe never was going to get a second shot. he's a much better candidate the second time around without question. he really studied issues and things. but all of our impressions of rick perry are locked in from four years ago and one of his challenges. and ted cruz came along and other new faces have come along
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to fill the void and a challenge for him. gwen: does donald trump have a strategy? he seems to just be lashing out. but it's hard to tell whether there's a reasoning behind all of this. >> well, somebody said last week, he sort of is like the dog who caught the school bus. his strategy was to get out there and be donald trump for a while. and this is great. it's good for business. it's good for him. and somewhere along the line, it occurred to him that he might actually be able to be president. and so i think that's now his strategy. he thinks he can win. gwen: that's not a bad strategy. especially where he is in the polls. >> and the next test, does he evolve into a serious candidate? the debate next week offers an opportunity. gwen: we'll be watching all of that of course and talking about it more on our webcast. now to the iran deal. as expected, the president claimed a huge foreign policy victory this week that challenged his enemies, alienated some of his friends and allowed him to save face on the international stage. plus if all works as promised,
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it will defuse a major nuclear threat in the middle east. that last part that still makes most republicans more than a few democrats, and some foreign allies nervous. so the rubber hits the road. what happens next? michael? >> what doesn't happen much to the relief of the obama white house is that a resolution disapproval shows up on the president's desk that he has to veto. and then the democrats in congress would have to kind of rush to his rescue and prevent congress from overriding the veto. so substantively the outcome would have been the same. it's been pretty clear for a while that congress was not going to wreck the deal. but i think the white house is breathing a big sigh of relief. partly -- i as somebody who has been living with this story and anne who covered it a lot, i'm just happy not to have to go through all of that rigmarole. we've been hearing the same argument over and over again. gwen: process is not a fun story to cover. >> process is not a fun story and the substance is fascinating and that substantive conversation will continue. you mentioned the question
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about the allies. i think israel and the gulf arab states are trying to figure out now this deal is done. so what does this really mean? what kind of policies are we going to ask the united states to enact? how are we going to counter iran's behavior in the region? and really i think the big question is, what will that iranian behavior be? now that the deal is done, the sanctions are going to lift. assuming that iran follows through and things go smoothly wigs not a given. we can talk about that. iran will have all this money and what will happen to their society and what will they spend it on? will they cause more trouble or be more aggressive or menace israel even more than they do? those are the big questions right now. but on the political question, look, it was not a grand slam home run by partisan victory for the president. i'm sure he love-of--- he would have loved that but in this political climate and expectations and things you heard from inside the administration several weeks ago, real concern that congress could pull the deal down. i think there's a big sigh of t relief and i think there -- maybe not popping corks but klinking glasses or something a
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little more modest. >> not only not a grand slam. this was done by filibuster. it was done with no republicans on the president's side. it was another very partisan vote. does that make it more difficult from here until the d of this presidency? for the united states to hold up its end of the deal, is there anything more that opponents of the deal can do in congress on our side to get in the way of this? >> yeah. there are -- there are things that can be done. i would say to the first part of the question on the partisanship, it's relative. so this is a congress that has given the president no quarter. so opponents will say you had to filibuster it. it's disgraceful. you couldn't get a majority. i think obama's position -- the idea that i can survive congress in any way is great. but republican -- gwen: health care being the first example of that. >> but this will be somewhat like -- people are saying this is the obamacare foreign policy. we will hear endlessly through the presidential campaign and the next congressional elections these vows to tear up and repeal the deal. republicans are going to make this a rallying cry.
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substantively, there's not that much they can do. but there will be a lot of talk about whether you can pass sanctions on iran that don't have to do with the nuclear issues that we have resolved. not everyone likes the way we resolved them. but other ways you could squeeze iran and tighten the vise on iran and their behavior in the region. that could complicate things and no one sen tyler sure how that will play out. so that's t something to watch. >> i think i know the answer to this but does this feel like this is an opening to some larger new relationship with iran? when you have the warnings that the white house is making about how they might do just that? they might actually start looking at other ways to constrain iranian behavior. >> as someone who covered diplomacy so well for a while we've had this interesting -- i think it's a little bit bipolar where sometimes the president i would say particularly john kerry comes out. and in the rhetoric there's talk about well, you know, we're not doing this to change iran's behavior and don't have
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faith in the idea that iran will change but possible and wouldn't it be nice if we could work with them? and there are all these possibilities in the region. increasingly particularly in the last few weeks you've heard less and less of that. and i think in general, there's pessimism that this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. although there is sort of limited hope that -- where our interests overlap in the short term, for instance, possibly in a place like syria, we could work with the iranians. snoy we won't be talking about hillary at the moment until later but i notice no mention in hillary clinton's speech in iran -- on iran about a partnership with iran and a very gimlet eye toward them. >> whatem is the status of the relationship between united states and israel? how damaged is this or will this turn the page and mo on? >> at its roots, down in the ground, it's actually a great relationship. the military to military, intelligence cooperation, is as close as it's ever been. at the leader to leader level, it's about as bad as it's been. in a long time.
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maybe a generation, maybe a little less. president obama and benjamin netanyahu don't get along. they don't like each other. they have argued about iran constantly. for months. but netanyahu will be coming to the white house in november. we heard today. and it's possible that would be the beginning to kind of -- a chance to -- begin to reset the relationship and say iran is done and let's move on. gwen: the body language of those two presidents, watching the president and vladimir putin the same sort of thing. chilly. even as the domestic debate over the iran deal was winding down, another international debate was picking up speed. the pictures tell the story. hungry, exhausted, despairing migrants and refugees, streaming by the thousands into greece, hungary, macedonia, serbia, headed to germany, france, great britain. many of them fleeing the war that has decimated their homes in syria. and the question for the international community has been, who will take them in? so far, the u.s. has accepted
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only 1,500. now, there will be more. president obama: it is really important for us to go to the source. to see a bunch of bodies floating down a river, part of your job is to pull those folks out and save who you can. but you also got to go downstream and see what exactly is happening. gwen: so if as the president was suggesting the roots of the crisis are much deeper, where does that put the u.s.? doyle? >> it's a good question and what the president gave there was kind of an odd double-edged statement. because he was asked about refugees. and he said yes, we do have a moral obligation to help save some lives. but then he immediately pivoted , the real problem is somewhere else. and by that, he meant the war in syria. gwen: the war in syria. >> of course he's right about that because that's where the refugees come from. but there he's got a problem. because he and his administration have been struggling for four years to find a workable solution to that war. that was touched off first in
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the arab spring, the united states supported rebels who turned out to be incapable of overthrowing the government. and the general mess we now have in syria resulted. and not much the united states has tried to do has worked. so to the critics, this is really the biggest failure of barack obama's foreign policy. gwen: if the administration is talking about accepting 10,000 that's a lot more than the 1,500 they accepted so far in this last -- in this fiscal ending year. does that seem like a drop in the bucket compared to what the european nations are being asked to do? >> a drop in the bucket that is a visible drop but yes, a drop in the bucket. and to compare it, the easiest comparison is germany is saying, ok, the united states, 10,000, germany is saying that it is willing to take as many as 500,000 a year. sweden is on track to take 80,000. our number, 10,000, is about the size that poland was being asked to take. we are way dn there on the list.
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>> the u.s. answer to that has for several years been yes, but we're spending the most. we're the largest contributor to the u.n. relief. and refugee operation. we're the largest contributor to other humanitarian efforts. so it was money, not people. until just a year ago, the u.s. was taking only in the double digits. 40 and 50 a year. and the reason was that they can't be vetted. they can't get through the very rigorous homeland security checks, certain people are languishing in camps for months. and they flood syria with no paperwork. and the way to -- no way to prove they are who they say they are. >> that's true and a distasteful explanation of why we don't want to take more refugees in. but in fact, look, there are four million syrians displaced outside the country, five million inside the country.
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even the numbers we're talking about here, whether you're talking about 80,000 in sweden and 500 knew in germ -- 500,000 in germany, it doesn't solve the problem. the most shocking part of this story is that it's true. the united states has spent more money on it. and the rest of the international community really hasn't stepped up. the united states has, britain has, kuwait has. but look at the other contributions, saudi arabia, for example, that's a drop in the bucket. and so the u.n., those camps are way underfunded and you want to know one reason why those thousands of people hit the road? because this year the u.n. had to cut their food rations in the camps because they didn't have the money to pay for food. >> that's what i was going to ask. why is this happening right now? is it cause of the things like the u.n. food ration? why now? >> a combination of that and it has been going on so long these people are beginning to despair but a couple of interesting sort of global economy issues. entrepreneurs. smugglers have gotten into this business. and twitter. people in the camps actually learned from twitter that
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germany was changing its policy. and that if they could get to germany they could get in. and that opened the floodgates. gwen: and now people are putting up the fences that stemmed the floodgates and that argument is also spreading to the united states congress. so it's not over yet. thank you very much for that. and thanks, everybody. we have to go now. but as always, the conversation will continue online. on the washington washington webcast extra -- on the "washington week" webcast extra, we talk about the next republican presidential candidate. you can go to pbs.org/washingtonweek. keek up with daily developments with me and judy woodruff on "the pbs newshour" and we'll see you here next week on "washington week." and as we leave you tonight, as we do every year, with a few moments of today's commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks in new york. at the pentagon and in shanksville, pennsylvania. good night.
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>> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by prudential. additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation. donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity. and nourishing the common good. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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hello and welcome to kqed newsroom. i'm thuy vu. this week three santa clara county corrections officers were charged with beating a mentally ill inmate to death. on tonight's program we'll talk with the judge who runs the santa clara county mental health courts. we'll also talk with federal judge jeremy fogle about the impact of his ruling on california's lethal injection procedures. first, lawmakers have just a few more hours to pass or kill bills. the state's legislative session ends tonight. john myers of kqed's california politics and government desk has been following the action and joins us now from sacramento. >>

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