tv Meet the Press MSNBC September 21, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. this sunday on "meet the press," can we defeat isis without troops on the ground? >> i will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in iraq. >> but is that a promise the president can keep? >> this notion that the president keeps saying is just not true. >> will u.s. troops be dragged into battle? some americans saying tax cutting has gone too far. could republicans become the victims of a new anti-anti-tax fever. plus, how the fight for the senate may really turn out to be a battle between starbucks and
chick-fil-a. what everyone in washington knows but is afraid to say. i'm chuck todd. joining me this morning are john staten and amy walter. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." and a good sunday morning to everybody. president obama will be addressing the united nations on wednesday as the united states continues efforts to build a coalition to take on isis in iraq and syria. the house voted resoundingly to provide funding to the syrian rebels, but there are questions remaining about the president's strategy. american troops might be needed on the ground. it's an option that the
president continues to rule out. all this adding to a sense of confusion to the administration's approach to defeat isis. let's rewind and watch we have seen over the last few days. >> these american forces will not be in a combat mission. >> the nation's top military officer just opened the door to the possibility of american combat troops in this fight against isis despite what the president told the nation. >> i will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in iraq. >> there is no way in hell we're going to beat these guys without an american ground component. >> u.s. ground troops will not be sent into combat in this conflict. >> there will be boots on the ground if there is to be any hope and success in strategy.
>> joining me now is samantha power, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. welcome back to "meet the press." >> great to be here. >> there appears to be a debate between the military leaders and the civilian leaders. you're trying to build a coalition. secretary kerry is trying to build a coalition. you tweeted this on friday. what countries in this coalition have committed combat troops to fight in syria? has any of them done it yet? >> well, let me underscore the point about the outpouring of support. more than 40 countries spoke in support in the anti-isil effort. the french last week joined
combat air strikes in iraq for the first time. you have saudis that have come out and offered training basis for the moderate option now that congress has approved the train equip program that the president has put forward. the commitments are coming in every day. >> we know the president doesn't want them to be american. but because we're not pledging american combat troops potentially, is it harder for other countries to commit? >> we're not having problems getting countries to commit. our strategy is predicated on the iraq forces and kurdish forces in iraq. the strategy is predicated on the moderate opposition. it is us using our unique
capabilities and the other capabilities the coalition brings. >> all week long the president says we're training them to fight isis, but a year ago the idea was to train the moderate syrians to fight assad. are we training them to fight isis, or are we training them to fight assad? >> our national security imperative is to go after isil. and the moderate opposition will have greater opportunities to do that. >> i thought the free syrian army was trying to fight assad. do they know that's why we're training them? >> they do, but may i add the training also will service these troops in the same struggle that they've been in since the beg
beginning of this conflict with the assad regime. other moderate forces have been fighting isil since december. the reason the moderate opposition has lost territory over time is because they have been fighting isil and a regime that's backed by hezbollah and russia. these fighters that have actually held their own will be in a much stronger position both to go after isil and to put pressure on the regime so we can get back to the negotiating table for a political solution. >> i believe the president already believes he has the legal justification to go inside syria. what do you need from the united nations this week? i know there's talk of a chapter 7 resolution to give some legality to what the president wants to do, what this coalition
wants to do, in syria. >> the u.n., again, has provided a stage to show the overwhelming support for the anti-isil effort. it will do so again this week when president obama comes to town. the security council is dedicated to stopping terrorist fighters and cutting off their funding. in terms of the united nations, again, we continue to hear from our partners how grateful they are that we have answered iraq's appeal to come to their defense and use our unique capabilities in support of them. >> there's a big headline in the washington post this morning about basically more chaos in libya. some assassins in benghazi. what's the lesson learned on the
united states intervention in libya in hindsight to you? we left a vacuum in libya and now there's chaos in libya. how do you prevent that from happening in syria? the goal to get rid of gaddafi, you did it. >> let me note, of course, not with standing being roughly within the same region, these are two sets of countries with different circumstances. what is key is national institutions, national actors, taking ownership of the stability of their countries. and that's, again, why this investment in the moderate opposition in syria is so important. in addition to their fight against isil and fend off regime attacks with our support, this is an investment in the future
of syria and in the stability of those institutions that are going to be needed. >> more dysfunctional, the united nations or the u.s. congress? >> no comment. i'm a diplomat. >> thank you. in the studio with me now are two members of the senate foreign relations committee who are on opposite sides of the president's request. welcome to both of you to "meet the press." why did you vote against the president's request to arm these rebels? >> i'm broadly supportive of the president's strategy. there's no doubt we need to have a strong response to isil. the question is whether getting involved in a sectarian civil war in syria is necessary to the strategy? over the last year, the
so-called moderate rebels have been cooperating with al qaeda. it is a possibility they can effectively fight on two fronts against assad and isis. to me, the risk is that the united states begins getting involved in what may be a very long-term commitment to a messy war inside syria. you can effectively degrade isis to the point that you have the room for a political solution. >> i've heard this concern. if you fail, if the moderate opposition doesn't work in iraq, we spent billions of dollars years for training iraq. what happens? does the united states have to fill the vacuum request these moderates don't work? >> we have to recognize reality.
we've had tests before our committee that was involved in the 2007 surge. back then, we were fighting 6,000 to 8,000 members of al qaeda and iraq. >> basically what isis is now. >> because we didn't leave a stabilizing force behind, so they were able to rise from the ashes. back then we engaged 100,000 sunnis in battle. and we had 160,000 american troops, probably 35,000 to 40,000 of those were involved in the fight. that's what it took for us to beat 6,000 to 8,000 members of al qaeda in iraq. now we have 35,000 members of the islamic state, but we don't have a strategy. i'm not seeing a strategy that's going to work. >> you're open to the idea of keeping combat troops on the
table is the way you're talking. >> i'm no military expert. i'm open to doing what it takes to achieving the goal that president obama has stated to defeat isis. we know what their aims are. they need to be defeated. >> we were successful with the campaign to get rid of gaddafi and with nothing there, chaos has ensued. how do you prevent that from happening in syria? >> we had secretary kerry before the foreign relations committee this week. 90% of the questions we got were about the military strategy. we totally misunderstand how you beat a group like isil. military exercises are a shaping exercise to get the space in order to get political
resolution there. our focus should be on enough military power so that the sunnis moderates have a place to go other than isil. we've got to be able to do that inside iraq. >> is the united states more committed to defeating isis than the folks in the middle east? >> i want to meet with every representative, every arab state, to certainly make sure they understand the only way the american public will support the action we'll talk to defeat isis, they have to be supportive themselves to this effort. they are more threatened by the islamic state than we are, but we are under threat. you cannot negotiate with isis. what they do to women -- we sanitize it.
we say they enslave women. the fighters that took over mosul dam, they were two women bound. they were naked. they had been raped repeatedly. they were the spoils of war. that's who we're fighting right now. we've been at war with this islamic terror since 1993. >> how do you defeat this ideology? >> what we have learned is whenever we kill and extremist, whenever we take out the number two, another one or two more take their place. you have to get the regional powers to be just as committed. >> why aren't they as kbhcommit? >> saudi arabia is not leading this coalition. the united states is leading this coalition. >> there are three different bills trying to take away the
nfl's tax exempt status. you want to see the nfl lose its tax exempt status. senator johnson, what are you on this? >> we're facing the threat of islamic terror. >> but how would you vote if it hits the senate floor? >> that's so low on my priority list, i'll take a look at it. >> we found something fascinating. this is a 1970 clip of senator from new york discussing congress's right to authorize military action. the name of the man, charles go goodell. >> we have let the president do anything he wants to. the constitution does not give the president the power to declare war. only congress has that.
>> 43 years ago and that debate is still raging. can we defeat isis without american ground troops being depl deployed? i'm going to ask mike mullin. i'll be back in a minute. it's just i'm a little reluctant to try new things. what's wrong with trying new things? feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do... try a new way to bank, where no branches equals great rates. the kids went to take zznana's house... like... for the whole weekend! zzzquil, the non-habit forming sleep aid, that helps you sleep easily, and wake refreshed. because sleep is a beautiful thing. are the largest targets in the world, for every hacker, crook and nuisance in the world. but systems policed by hp's cyber security team are constantly monitored for threats.
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and we are back. as we've been discussing, the political talk this week was dominated by the president's strategy to defeat isis. mike mullen, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. i know you love armchair generals and admirals, so i will try not to make you play that armchair aspect of this. admiral, i want you to react to something this week in testimony
in front of the intelligence committee. he was talking about the u.s. not taking anything off the table when it comes to combat troops. if we put any restrictions on how much time we commit to it or if we say there are certain elements of our national power that we're going to take off the table, it can work against us in building the coalition we're trying to destroy. will they be more hesitant to commit if the u.s. is not committing ground troops? >> i think they'll commit to the mission as they understand it. i think what you heard general maddux say is don't take any options off the table. i think when general dempsey, our current chairman, anticipating a question at a hearing that he'd be asked about ground troops took it off the table from his opening statement from the standpoint if the circumstances warranted it, he
would represent to the president the possibility of ground troops. i think that's a natural part of the discussion in this debate about how you execute a mission. there should not be any question in the end who decides this and that's the president. so i think what general dempsey was trying to do was certainly -- was explain to some degree how the process works. i think it's been blown way out of proportion in terms of the disagreement between the military and the president. >> and we're also talking about degrees of what might be done. nobody is saying you need hundreds of thousands of american combat troops in syria. i think the question is could you need 5,000 or 10,000 special forces serving side by side, sort of the way the special forces helped iraqi troops. is that what military leaders
are talking about? >> i don't know any military leaders that are talking about brigade size units. we certainly learned in these wars it's important to have indigenous forces on the ground in our ability to both train them and support them. it's made a difference. i think we're going to clearly right now see where we are in iraq. at least feedback i'm getting is cautiously optimistic. >> why did they roll over that first time? we have spent billions training this iraqi army. >> i think what's missing in that discussion is what the ground forces did over the course of three years. he replaced all the leaders. leaders in the north were known as generally weak leaders.
when it got really tough, those leaders left and then you had the forces with no leadership there. i think that is a big part of it. what i'm hearing now is with the support of the american fire power, they're coming back. we'll see. i think they've got to work hard to reduce the space that isil is operating in, and i'm cautiously optimistic they'll be able to do that. >> the president does want some combat troops in syria, not american. what countries are capable of being a good ground force and a help in syria? >> we've had -- again, not to major combat units, but we've had forces on the ground in afghanistan from the uae. we've had them from jordan and bahrain. >> but those are the countries
we should really be thinking about. >> we have seen the saudis. the saudis actually have a capable force. i think in the end that becomes a question. will the saudis support us in that regard. and i don't know the answer to that question quite frankly. the feedback i've gotten on that is it was a powerful meeting. the united states asked them to come to discuss this. it is sort of this convening power of the u.s. as well as the sense of urgency that we really need something about this threat. >> as a chairman of the joint chiefs, public opinion about a war, public opinion about ground troops, should it impact the advice you give a commander and chief and does it end up impacting, even if it shouldn't? >> i don't see it. i don't think it should.
i didn't integrate it into my recommendations to two presidents. i think it's up to the president and his team to integrate all the different aspects of it. the political aspect of it, the policy aspect of it. >> you end up having to come up with a plan to where the politics are just impossible. we have to focus on this plan just because of the reality of the politics. >> i didn't do that. i didn't see military leaders shape options or ideas or come up with plans that were shaped by politics. that we really kick over to the president and his team. >> and create the fire wall there. >> yeah. >> admiral mike mullen, it's nice to see you. we get some reaction from the
panel. your party, a little bit split on this when it comes to the hawks and the doves. you work at a think tank that does try to get into foreign policy. what are you hearing from the progressive base when it comes to what the president is trying to do in syria? >> there is a lot of anxiety about what the president is trying to do in the middle east. people are really haunted by the last iraq war. we put a lot of boots on the ground. we're still dealing now throughout the world with the repercussions with george bush's war in iraq. i think people think about the politics, but i also think what we should recognize about the president's position about ground troops in a large
american footprint is it can have negative rep ercussionrepe. if it is a u.s. war with isil -- >> that's what isis wants. >> -- that will create problems in an effort to defeat it. >> capitol hill, that's where you see the rubber meet the road. iraq fatigue, it's the new vietnam fatigue, isn't it? >> i think if the public is haunted by it, the politicians are haunted by it. i think you see this playing out in capitol hill. nobody wants to touch this thing with a ten-foot pole. >> they don't even want to
authorize it. they claim they want to authorize it. >> we'll wait until next year. >> after the election. >> which election are they talking about? 2014, 2016? it's very toxic right now for everybody on the hill. >> this is sort of -- you feel the anxiety. the military leaders, i don't think they think they can win with this strategy. but this is where you feel this tugging. >> look, the american public, there's not just politics involved. this is happening 40 days before an election is important to remember. if you're democrats right now and you want to make this election about the issue that you are strongest on, the economic security issues to make the contrast between the republican economic plan and the democratic plan. that's not what we're talking about at all. we're talking about security.
watching voters right now, there is a security concern and safety concern that is palpable. >> republicans are -- it's a 2002 flashback. i got a couple of ads that they're doing right now. let me run a couple of them. the ads were in places like iowa and swing districts where republicans are doing the terrorism attack. democrats weak on terrorists. >> terrorism was one of the remaining advantages that president obama had where he was rated with a pretty good job approval and that advantage has now collapsed. i think they're in a very p precarious position. he's going into this conflict with a split party. i think that that vote overstates his support on capitol hill because republicans
are still deferring a little bit to the commander and chief. >> all right. sorry about that little -- i caught the control room off guard there. that's okay. we're just in week three here. up next,the anti-anti-tax revolt. people saying tax me more, sort of. it's happening in a place you'd least expect.
and we are back. some things are just we are back. some things are just set in stone. the sunrises in the east. the chicago cubs are never going to win a world series. and republicans are in favor of tax cuts? or are they? in kansas, the republican governor's policy on tax cuts has put his job in jeopardy. >> reporter: in the deep red state of kansas, a full on republican revolt over taxes and the governor who cut them. >> it's been a train wreck. >> my disappointment tends to be pretty focused on the
government's office. >> these are dyed in the wool republicans taking aim at their governor who has done what republicans historically want their politicians to do, cut taxes. but in kansas, schools are suffering. social services have been slashed, and the deficit is going through the roof. kansas is not alone. a 1992 colorado constitutional amendment said taxes could only be increased by popular vote. it left the state so broke, s t voters ultimately suspended it. over breakfast, in a kansas hotel, a group of republican voters, some former politicians, explain why they've had enough of tax cut fever. >> i'm going to vote for the democratic governor. >> is that difficult for you to
say? >> a little. >> that's the direction many of the kansas farmers are going. >> he's taking us on a track of bankruptcy. >> still not all republicans hear feel alienated. >> it takes time for the free market to grow. it's the right direction. >> and voters will decide if their state remains red or turns blue. >> thank you. i'm joined now by thomas frank, author of numerous books on politics and economics, including, "what's the matter with kansas." he published that ten years ago. since it is tax cuts that are on the ballot this year, if the governor loses, are you concerned that this basically hurts your cause for 30 years
that you've been fighting, which is to try to get taxes lower across the country? >> i think he'll win. there are 50 states. in the 30 states with republican governors, they have cut taxes over $30 billion. the democrat states, they have raised taxes $40 billion. if you want your taxes higher, vote for a democratic governor. if you want your taxes lower, vote for a republican governor. the people who are losing are guys like illinois. >> let me throw up a chart here that we did. tax cuts or tax hikes have no impact on economic growth in either direction. let me put up this chart here. taxes and economic growth. we got here the red dots are
when we've had tax cuts. the black dots are when we have tax hikes. economic growth spikes sometimes after tax hikes. there is no correlation. >> it's actually worse than that, chuck. if you go back to the age that we think of, golden age of prosperity. taxes back then were pretty high. >> incredibly high. up to 90% on some people. >> the marginal tax rate was. it's a more complicated story than that. the kansas story is very interesting. the administration talked the legislature to cutting taxes in a spectacular way. in a way that states don't often do. the promise was this would lead to an economic boom in the
state. it has cut off revenues coming into the state. that has had all the problems that you would expect from that. public school, state services. i should say public schools are a particularly big deal in kansas because first of all they're very proud of their schools. i went to their public schools in kansas as someone else did here in the room. if you're in a small town and your public school closes, that's it. this is a state where the rural areas are suffering from a depopulation in a dramatic way. >> wait a minute. kansas has been declining in its population over the last 40 years. we have elected a reagan republican majority in the house and senate. it's not all about the governor. the governor is supportive of reducing taxes. but the reason why the entire
left has jumped on top of kansas is they have provided a model, a successful model, that will phase out the income tax. why? because when revenue comes in beyond 2% growth, it goes towards reducing the income tax. the democrat running for governor, paul david, a week ago people thought might win. because po -- but the issue -- >> wait a minute. let me ask you this. moody has downgraded kansas about three months ago on their ability to borrow money and saying because of the sluggish recovery, which a lot of people think is because of these tax cuts that has made the economic recovery worse in kansas than it should have been. >> except they've had 57,000 jobs in the private sector
crea created. they've been spending more money than in the past. they can try and make this case. but there are 149,000 small businesses in that state who have thad their business income tax taken to zero. there's a reason why missouri passed a tax cut to be more like kansas. it's half way passed in north carolina. there are a lot of states looking to do exactly what kansas did. yes, they've had challenges, but they've had decades of bipartisan establishment, too much government. >> you've done a great job of getting folks on the republican side to be idea logicd ideologin taxes. do you feel a little bit of
responsibility in this transience? >> i am always willing to compromise. what the pledge did was stop a $1.4 trillion tax increase that obama wanted and gave us 2.5 trillion. that was progress. >> tax cuts, taxes, can you use that for economic growth in either way? >> of course, there's all sorts of situations. look, you need to take this -- i'm not talking about kansas here anymore. i could take about thlk about t hours. we could talk about that some other time. this is so ridiculous that this is on national television because this is something that happened back in the 90s. he wasn't married yet. he was a lawyer. >> his reaction to the police
was the issue. >> that's not what i want to talk about. seriously, the problem these days in america is not overreaching big government taking away your freedom. this country is sliding into oligarchy. taxes are one of the ways that our ancestors took care of this problem. up next, control of the u.s. senate, is it really being decided by starbucks and chick-fil-as? yes, it is. caffeine versus chicken, back in a moment.
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and now to a different way to look at campaign 2014, this selection cycle. in one corner, it is starbucks nation. these are democrats that live in the big cities. in the other corner, it is chick-fil-a country. it is republicans that live in suburban american and small town america. 36% of people that lived in those battleground states were
in the cities or those in suburbs close to the city. 20% lived in more rural america. this year the numbers are completely reversed. only 1/5 of the population live in urban areas. 36% live in communities that are favorable to republicans. what does all this mean? when democrats had the advantage two years ago, president obama swept the board. he won all but one of the nine toss-up states. this year it's the republican edge. montana, south dakota, west virginia, arkansas, louisiana, republicans with lots of opportunities to win senate seats. then you have the swing states. the ones that are on the battleground map in 2014.
they're going to make the difference. look at how close things are here. for instance, in colorado, starbucks territory. but it is the counties around denver that are growing rapidly and becoming more democratic. larger parts of colorado are becoming more rural. congressman corey garner is hoping it is these areas that determine that race. in iowa, it is the same thing. you have des moines and the college towns of ames and iowa city, but the rest of the state is a lot tougher for democrats. it's rural america.
think dallas county. the challenge for democrats will be getting out the vote in their urban center in des moines while holding back a republican surge in dallas county. it is starbucks country versus chick-fil-a country. elections will be determined between the big cities and rural america. and that's one way to look at this 2014 map. the strategy democrats are trying to use to hold the senate that has never worked in the past. why are they trying it again? so ally bank really has no hidden fees on savings accounts?
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members of his own party are doing everything to look like they are keeping him at arms' length. democrats who face the voters in a matter of weeks aren't just walking away from the president. they're running and gunning away. alison grimes was out with this ad. >> i'm not barack obama. >> that's the standard play if you're a democrat in a tight state. >> obama lost by 17 points. or alaska, where he lost by 23 points. and kentucky, where he also lost by 23 points. and a parade of democrats are following this practice. >> he took on obama. >> i'm not going to invite anyone in from out of state. >> i'll make sure president
obama gets the message. >> and when the president has shown up in these states, democrats are finding themselves busy and making it clear obama does not want to see them. >> when the white house, when they look down the front line, the last person they want to see coming is me. >> okay. blanch lincoln in 2010 talked about all the differences she had with president obama, she lost. this strategy, it never works. >> it's a strategy that's always tempting and never works. as we just saw with that segment, it's not just in red stated that voted for romney. colorado, obama won that twice and mark udall is trying to distance himself.
>> this is also sort of the depressid depressing part where we have americans that say we want a congress that compromises. guess who they vote out? the people who are compromises. if those people lose in that package, there's nobody for republicans to go to compromise. >> they're not going to have any deals. >> it happened in 2006 when democrats attached everybody to bush and said they were terrible. >> the ads are almostidentical. >> that's how we get the congress we get. >> you're mark pryor. the only way he wins arkansas is if african-americans turn out in a bigger way than they have before. the strategy can actually work against his own coalition. >> there's squeeze play. look, in colorado, i think we're
going to win colorado, or democrats. >> do you think they're winning it because mark udall strikes so much fear into the hearts of barack obama on the west wing drive? >> no, no. look, i think there's a dissatisfaction in the country, right? >> yeah. >> unfortunately the president is facing that and feeling that. it's not like the republican brand is doing so well. people love the republican party. it's a problem of two parties. it's an anti-washington mood. not just anti-obama. >> voters have a b.s. detecter. when they see these guys suddenly do this, well, they rode the coat tails of this president. >> in an election like this, you're not going to get a lot of middle of the road voters.
>> which makes this a silly way? >> if you're not trying to bring them in, this is the corollary to run against your time in washington. you see that over and over again and these guys always lose. i brought home all the bacon. it's an odd decision. >> one out of ten, it works for. see, that strategy worked. 9 out of 10, it didn't. time for our fun segment. joe biden, he's not running against hillary clinton and yet the media teases it as if he is. >> he is the sitting president of the united states. >> we know he's not running against hillary clinton. am i wrong? that's what it is. >> this is really on you. you guys cover it, right?
it's a media issue. >> do you agree with that premise? >> this is reporters cheering for a story. it's not based in reality, correct? we're now playing into the stereotype that everybody thinks. >> i think that's very exciting. >> in all honesty, i think it becomes a media trust issue. we're almost playing into a stereotype. >> joe biden is this sort of media crack. people look at him, what's going on with this guy? you want him to run. >> people don't get offended by his gaffes. they're just like w., right? >> there's a certain lovable quality to it. >> that's all for today. no program next week due to coverage of the ryder cup.
we'll return in two weeks. with a bit of luck, we'll have a shiny new set. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." we're following two developing stories this sunday afternoon in rural pennsylvania. we're awaiting a news conference on the man hunt for a self-taught survivalist suspected of killing a state trooper. this is a community that remains on high alert. this charlottesville, virginia, we're waiting for an update on the hannah graham case. nine days into the man hunt for eric freen and he remains on the run, but police believe he is still in that area. i