tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC September 13, 2009 7:00am-7:30am EDT
opposition is about more than health care reform, stimulus plans, is it also about ideology, regional differences and race? the support he's received in the south carolina district. is it threatened to harden the republican party reputation now? we'll talk to two members of congress. plus, september 11 is the reason we waged war in afghanistan. what is our mission there today. richard engel has been in the region recently and will give their take on the present state of afghanistan. it's the latest dwolment in an important week for president obama which included health care and his back to school speech. press secretary robert gibbs will do a briefing here. plus, with an interview sunday, we'll ask, are we seeing too much of president obama?
it's all in the politics fix. it wouldn't be a political scandal without david letterman. that e's in the "hardball" side show. we begin with press house secretary robert gibbs. robert, sorry we didn't see you earlier today. we thought we would drag you out. >> i'll be in this room one way or another. >> i want to play a sound bite from wednesday, listen. >> while there remains significant details to be ironed out, i believe -- i believe a broad consensus exists for the plan i outlined. consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses and a requirement that people that can afford insurance get insurance. >> the president unveiled the
plan wednesday. you have it on your website, white house.gov. it's only three and a half pages now. when are we going to see the details. as you found out in july and august, when there weren't details provided by you guys, other people filled in the blanks. when are we going to see it? >> i would direct all your viewers to go to that website. there's plenty of detail and more that the president has unveiled since coming to office, outlining how we are going to pay for this legislation by seeking and routing out waste and fraud in medicare, taxing cadillac health care plans offered by insurance companies. that's one aspect of the details in the legislation. chuck, i think you have seen people that reacted to the speech have heard clearly what
the president stands for and what he wants to do on health care reform. >> you have to fill in blanks for everybody. this week, you have been intent on making sure you are doing in the filling in of the blanks. should we expect to see the details of exactly where you get $500 billion out of medicare, for instance? >> i would refer you to the radio address we did in june that talks about that. we directed the health and human services secretary. we outlined a trigger this week that would say we would not move forward with health care insurance reform if savings weren't seen in the reform that is we propose and lastly, we said illegal immigrants wouldn't get health care and we talked about that a little bit in this room yesterday. the people that watched the speech understand exactly what
the president is for. i think we had a good week in getting health care reform passed. >> let's talk about the politics of this. toupt get it passed. you're going to need some republicans. maybe it's only one at the end of the day, but you need at least one republican to get the 60 votes in the u.s. senate. have you made inroads in reaching out to republicans besides olympia snowe? >> the president talked to republicans in the last few days. our health care coordinator spoke with republicans -- >> who has the president talked to in the last couple days? >> you know chuck, i'm not going to give you names because that poor person's phone would ring off the hook. the president is reaching out to democrats and republicans to get this done. you saw the president speak out extensively about taking ideas from both parties, put them together and ensure americans
who have insurance are protected and it's stable. a pathway to access to affordable health care to the millions who don't have it in this country. >> i want to move on to another topic. today being september 11. the war on afghanistan. the reason we went in, for a lot of people was to get al qaeda and get osama bin laden. some saby osama bin laden is still out there. is it this administrations goal to get rid of that guy, then we win. what is the goal in afghanistan? >> the large goal in afghanistan and that region is disrupt, dismantle and destroy al qaeda and its extremist allies. we know that's where the planning for the horrific event that happened eight years ago started. they ended, unfortunately, in this country. we want to prevent that from
taking place again. we are looking for and want to capture and kill osama bin laden. i think, that, in and of itself can't be the total policy. there's a series of very bad people, terrorists bent on murdering thousands of americans that we have to be focused on. i think this administration has been focused on that since coming in. our goal, again, is to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al qaeda and its allies. >> can you look at this via two enmys, there's al qaeda, which is shown an ability to strike all over the world and the taliban, which is a regional threat, a threat to pakistan, clearly a problem for pakistan and afghanistan. but, you know, if you feel comfortable you have disrupted and destroyed al qaeda, at what point do you say you have to sit there until you destroy the taliban?
are they an enemy that can be destroyed? >> people like the taliban that seek to destabilize afghanistan, that seek to destabilize pack tan, which sew the seeds for terror between the two countries and provide a safe haven for plotters and planners. we have to disrupt both al qaeda and the ally. >> you have been getting a lot of bipartisan support on your policy in afghanistan, is this a concern by the white house that a lot of leaders in your own parter, speaker pelosi and senator levin nervous about the idea of getting support in congress to send troops to afghanistan. how much is the president going to work on that in his own party? >> let's look at what the president did in the transition
before being sworn in. the president asked we reassess or strategy in afghanistan. we have been there a long time and it wasn't working. in the lead up to the important elections, the president authorized more than 20,000 additional troops to bring security and stability to the region in preparation for that election. we replaced the commander on the ground in afghanistan. the president asked for a review and assessment of where our strategy was. that assessment came back. as i said this morning, chuck, there's no eminent timetable for additional troop decisions. there wasn't one before and there isn't one now. it will be many, many weeks before the president gets to any sort of decision about that. we are working through the requests the general has seen after being there two months.
>> is it fair for members of congress, before they are asked to vote, they see a detailed exit strategy from the administration? >> this administration is working with congress on establishing benchmarks for the destruction and destroying of al qaeda and its extremist works? >> the benchmarks are one way of -- >> well, i think the benchmarks are one way of mesh suring. the president said we will not be in this region of the world forever. we don't have the resources and manpower to do that. we don't have the resources in the budget to do that. we have to focus our goals and i think that's what the administration will continue to do in assessing the situation. >> earlier today, there were incidents, reports about training exercise with the coast guard. at the time, there was confusion about what was going on, media reports.
do you think the coast guard should have put that off given today was the anniversary of 9/11 or is this an issue with the media? >> i think there have been people in the government that asked the coast guard for information about training activities today. chuck, i will tell you that -- >> are you satisfied with that explanation from the coast guard? >> they are still working on that to make sure we have an adequate explanation. watching the television, i left the meeting based on what was being reported on the television which was erroneous and false. it alarmed far too many people of something on a day which we remember an event that happened. i wish some of the people that reported that incident might have taken a little time to check and see whether what they were reporting was accurate. you may not be the first person with the story, but may be the
first to report the story accurately. that's what people need to look for here. i'm sorry they missed that in scaring people. >> professor gibbs. you're going to have the journalism professor before the day is over. >> i'd be happy to teach the class. >> president obama may want to send more troops to afghanistan, but top democrats have their doubts. we'll get the latest on how the war is going there and what will it take to win it. what is victory? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. you'll love it. your old mop will just have to get over it... [ engine rattles ] [ man ] love stinks! ♪ love stinks! ♪ yeah! yeah! [ female announcer ] new swiffer wet jet is redesigned. it cleans deep in corners. its solution penetrates layers of dirt and its absorbent pad locks it away to clean better than a mop. the newly redesigned swiffer wet jet.
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president obama visited the pentagon today to commemorate the attacks of september 11th, eight years ago. eight years after we went in the taliban staged a comeback. the top u.s. commander in afghanistan is expected to ask for more combat troops, but a growing chorus of democrats is signaling potential opposition to any increased combat troop levels. nbc's chief correspondent, richard engel, returned from afghanistan today. it's good to see him here today. nbc news's jim maceda traveled to afghanistan more than a month ago. two folks who have been on the ground. seeing what's going on firsthand. richard, let me start with you. you come home today and what do see? the political debate about more troops. you've been on the ground there. do you see the need, yourself, from what you're observing and what commanders are telling you about the need for more troops? >> i think it is mainly what commanders are saying. it is very hard to get an accurate picture nationwide about if there should be more troops or not.
i'm not a general. it would be presumptuous to say. >> fair enough. >> i was just in southern afghanistan and what i did see was a lot of american soldiers and not very many afghan troops. and i was with one particular company. there were about 100, 150 americans and they only had 20 or 30 afghan soldiers. so they were very limited by what they could do. they were not allowed to search homes. only afghans were able to go into other afghan homes. it's considered culturally insensitive otherwise. we had american troops sitting around waiting for the afghans to show up. and that is a serious problem. also in the north, i think there is a lot of room for nato to step up. there are tens of thousands of nato soldiers and a lot of them, frankly, aren't doing very much. and i hear that time and time again from commanders that the italian troops are doing very little. the german troops are doing very little. some of them never even leaving their bases. one widely published study that most german soldiers serving in
nato in afghanistan are actually fatter because all of the beer that they're drinking than the average german citizen. so i think there is a lot of room for growth there as well. >> jim, being that you're also in london, they've got their own political problems when it comes to troops, sending more troops or having troops in afghanistan and what the role of nato is. what is the role of nato from what you saw over there? and is there, you know, is there the political will with our european allies to help us out more? >> well, i think there's a tremendous amount of political will when you're talking about great britain. there's no question that briton understands what's at stake. the cooperation between british soldiers and u.s. soldiers, specifically u.s. marines, i came out of helmand province a few weeks ago and i was at one point embedded with unit that was partially british, partially american, and those forces got
along extremely well. the brits were fighting the fight. they were using less armored kit, as they say. their equipment was not quite as enviable as ours was, but they got the job done. when i asked them if they wanted more helicopters because there was a great controversy in great britain about resourcing these troops. they said, no, we don't need more helicopters, we don't need more armor. simply what we need to do is continue the fight that we're fighting. >> jim, who is the enemy? who do the troops say is the enemy? do they believe they're fighting the taliban, al qaeda? both? who is the enemy? >> the troops, u.s. troops will tell you that the enemy is a combination of all of the above. it's al qaeda and they are not of the opinion like some of the pundants that al qaeda is the
only in pakistan and everyone else is in afghanistan. they're fighting a fight that has no borders. that line of 1893 does not exist for the pashtun tribal and armed fighters. so they say it is al qaeda. al qaeda affiliates. al qaeda friends. there are also jihadist fighters like the hachani family and others, who are, in fact, liaisons between al qaeda and the taliban, between afghanistan and pakistan over that border area. >> richard, who runs afghanistan now. we know there's an election. we know there will be a run-up. they're still trying to count the ballots. does the karzai government have full control of that country? and if it doesn't -- is the karzai government a reliable partner for the united states? >> right now no one is in charge of afghanistan and that's a problem, what has been considered a failed election last month has left the country with a huge power vacuum. right now according to the
constitution, karzai does not have the authority to run the country. he is just operating on sort of borrowed time frame. his mandate for power actually expired the day the elections were held. so if, right now, one of his ministers or one of his governors decided they didn't want to obey karzai's mandate, they would be perfectly able to do that. you guys put your lives on the line for nbc news. we appreciate it here. thank you both. up next, david letterman has joe wilson's top ten excuses for yelling you lie. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. get a flat panel for my home theater. - ( cheering ) - ( laughs ) thank you. what should i get? uh, you. you should check out our new leds. the picture's better than life. okay, but i don't want to pay too much. don't worry about it. we'll match those other stores' prices.
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back to "hardball." tonight's "sideshow" has a special campaign twist because i'm involve first down and dirty in jersey. that race between democratic governor jon corzine and republican chris christy is perhaps the marquis battle. both sides are going all out for the win. case in point, check out whose name pops up in this ad for christy, the republican in the race. >> last year, i voted for obama because i wanted change. this year, i'm supporting christie. >> do you want to change trenton? >> i want to change trenton. >> we can start by changing governors. >> interesting. it works for folks. you're trying to appeal to obama voters or disenchanted obama voters. who knows. moving on to south carolina. it looks like congressman joe wilson has a tough re-election. at least financially. his democratic challenger rob miller has raised an amazing $811,788 off of wilson's you lie
outburst on wednesday night. guess what? he is hoping for his own campaign boost. you can see he bought a big-time fund raising ad on the popular uber-drudge report and he is getting plenty of traffic himself. speaking of wilson, dave letterman took his outburst and spun it into not shockingly comedic gold last night. let's take a listen. >> guess what the category is here? top ten representative joe wilson excuses. already has excuses. number ten. shouldn't have gone tailgating before the speech, i guess not. number four, yeah, accused a politician of lying. what was i thinking? and number three, i thought it was a roast. that's what i was thinking. number two. it's been weeks since a republican politician embarrassed the state of south carolina. and the number one south carolina representative joe wilson excuses, nobody cared when mccain yelled bingo. there it is right there. >> what do they say, at least spell his name right.
hardy welcome to newest member of the us senate. george la mu from million my home state. there he is being sworn in yesterday by the vice president. he is now the youngest united states senator. good for him. up next, "your business." every sunday, lasagna at mom's was a family tradition. when she started forgetting things, i was hoping it was nothing. grandma! what a nice surprise!
mom, it's sunday. that's when i knew i couldn't wait. mom's doctor said these were signs of alzheimer's, a type of dementia, and that prescription aricept could help. he said it's the only treatment proven effective... for all stages of alzheimer's. studies showed aricept slows the progression... of alzheimer's symptoms. it improves cognition... and slows the decline of overall function. aricept is well tolerated but not for everyone. people at risk for stomach ulcers... or who take certain other medicines... should tell their doctors... because serious stomach problems... such as bleeding may get worse. some people may experience fainting. some people may have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bruising, or not sleep well. some people may have muscle cramps... or loss of appetite or may feel tired. in studies, these were usually mild and temporary. mom. talk to your doctor about aricept. don't wait. alzheimer's isn't waiting.