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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 24, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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washington. at obama heads to las vegas today, ground zero for the foreclosure crisis and promising relief. managing editor of chris cillizza joins us. what is thei itthe latest? >> we are in campaign mode and he wants to say if congress won't act on the housing, his jobs plan, he will. he's going to make executive orders, these are things that aren't going to drastically change the housing, not going to drastically change the economy but meant to show that he, president obama is doing everything in his power to try to get the housing market moving and to try to get the economy moving again and create a clear contrast with republicans he'll say simply aren't doing it, are putting politics and partisanship over the good of the american people.
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a stark contrast and las vegas the epicenter of the housing foreclosure crisis and unemployment rate in nevada has been competing one and two with michigan for highest in the country for quite some time.2su >> critics are going to say too late too late, the big plan they promised initially didn't work, that they didn't spend down the $50 billion. how does he respond to that or not he but his people? >> i think what they'll say is the past is the past. we're trying to move this election, this country, it's about the future, it's not about the past but yeah, look, his critics are right, that you know, he focused on things that weren't housing, they didn't push hard enough on housing, he didn't do what he could have done on housing. we're going to hear all of those things, andrea. i hate to say it because it sounds cynical, anything that happens in late october before an election year with the republican primaries and caucuses happening in relatively shored orderlily next year is freighted with politics. i can't imagine a republican party in congress or republican presidential candidates are
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going to embrace president obama moving on the executive order front. >> let's talk about rick perry and the birther crisis. >> sure. >> i thought the birther issue, we had dealt with this before. "parade" magazine has an inteview with rick perry, the cover story and we know how wide that circulation is. why would rick perry go back to the birther crisis, the birther issue? he was asked, "do you believe that president barack obama was born in the united states?" governor perry, i have no reason to think otherwise. the questioner, that's not a definitive yes, i believe. well i don't have a definitive answer, says perry, because he's never seen my birth certificate. don't get that. but you've seen his. i don't know. have i, say said perry? i had dinner with donald trump the other night and he doesn't think it's real. so are we back to the whole birther issue again? i thought this had been settled? >> well it has been settled,
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that's -- you thought right its that been settled for a long time, andrea. you know, i think rick perry may be trying to be too cute by half in that kind of situation. in the end of the interview he essentially said it doesn't matter, it's a distraction, no one cares. he should have said that the first thing. opening the door to this stuff it's just we wind up talking about t it's a distraction. rick perry should be talking about texas, how he did creating jobs in texas, and mitt romney. he shouldn't really be talking about anything other than that. >> he actually said something like, "it's a detraction" not distraction. >> "detraction" i misquoted him misspeaking. >> misspeaking his misspeak. one person who does not misspeak often if at all is hillary clinton. she did the round robin of sunday talk shows and made it clear she is the best validator, best defender of barack obama's foreign policy of anyone, and here she was with christiane
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amanpo amanpour, speaking from uzbekistan. >> are you in herman cain's famous beki-beki-bekistan? >> there's a 0-0-0 chance i'll comment on republican politics but i am in uzbekistan. >> as she said to david gregory on "meet the press" she doesn't do politics but swiped down the republican critics of the president's foreign politics. >> i think we forget, andrea, that this was someone who, while she started a little rough around the edges as a presidential candidate, by the end of that race was quite good as a messenger, and does -- look, no one whose last name is clinton is ever totally out of pot ticks. i'm not suggesting she's going to run again but clearly she made a herman cain joke. she's clearly following this up pretty closely and she is a very
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gifted person. she obviously gets and deserves a lot of credit on the policy front but she is someone who is smart and follows politics very closely as she demonstrated. >> absolutely. chris, see you later. thanks so much. john rossen is host of "face to face" in nevada and columnist for "the las vegas sun." thanks for joining us today. you've been watching it all and watching the calendar issue as well. the president heading in your direction with foreclosures, record high in nevada. how important will be his initiative today and how will he be received there? >> well, he's going to be speaking, andrea, after a fund-raiser of course. the important business on the las vegas strip from a distressed neighborhood and they're not hard to find in las vegas, as you've talked about. et cetera' going to try to say listen i have this new plan that's going to help you but people here are more underwater than anywhere else in the country, maybe 60% to 70% of the people in las vegas are underwater on their homes. so i'm not sure that they're
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even listening anymore, but there probably, as chris pointed out, they're looking for a contrast or hoping for a contrast with the republican candidates, who were here last week to debate, and all essentially said let the free market work, which is not i think what most people who are underwater on their houses or being foreclosed on want to hear. >> he's going to be greeted, in fact, with a new spanish language crossroads gps launch. this is again an attack ad, which is going after him and is targeting the hispanic community and that's of course a large number of the voters in nevada. >> indeed, the hispanic population has exploded over the last decade, it's about a quarter of the population now, not quite as big a portion of the electorate. it was about 12% last cycle, 15% though when barack obama won the state in 2008 by 12 points, but they've been very hard-hit, maybe disproportionately hit but that's part, there's a large hispanic population near where
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the president will be speaking today. i don't think that's a coincidence. that's a huge battleground right here in a battleground state. >> and jon, i know you were a big proponent for moving nevada up. how do you feel now that it's clear nevada is going to go along with the original february schedule and this means that new hampshire will fall back to its original schedule of january 10th? >> well, i'm on antidepressants now, andrea, but i've finally come to acceptance that we're going from third to fifth. listen, nevada just completely folded from pressure from bill gardner and his mystical powers as the secretary of state of new hampshire. the rnc just didn't want to have this kind of a brouhaha when it's trying to sort through its candidates. that's a big enough problem. nevada's going to be fifth. a few days after florida, i think it was a huge mistake but what's done is done. >> well, thank you very much, jon ralston from nevada. now we have equal time from new hampshire if bill gardner, the secretary of state, has
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mystical powers or magical powers, then the former governor john sinunu has super magical powers and his endorsement has been described as the holy grail of new hampshire politics. this morning he gave it to mitt romney and governor sinunu joins me by phone. great to hear from you. >> how are you doing, andrea? >> i'm great. >> are you behaving? >> always behaving. they don't let me get very far from the office, the studio these days. why is mitt romney a true conservative because jon huntsman put out an e-mail blast saying he's not? >> look, mitt romney is not only qualified by virtue of having been a governor and businessman and being able to deal with the issues that we have, but if you need just one point to look at, look at the speech he gave at the citadel a couple weeks ago where he, of all the candidates, was the only one to outline the need to rebuild america's
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national security structure, rebuild the navy, rebuild our air and ground forces, after depleting them in iraq and afghanistan, and he understands that the first obligation of the u.s. presidency is national security. not only that, he's committed to cutting spending and you can't cut or flatten taxes if you don't cut spending and frankly, he has focused on making government work for the people instead of making government the object of success. i think mitt romney is not only a conservative republican or the conservative republican the country needs as president, he's probably the most qualified of all of them to undo the mess of the obama administration. >> didn't he pursue liberal policies when he was the governor of mass mass? >> he fought off the liberals in massachusetts, and you don't win every battle with them.
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you end up sometimes in the middle there, but the fact is, having done battle with those liberals, he is seasoned, and if you will, battle honed to deal with the kind of war he's going to have to fight in washington to cut spending and pull government back. >> and what about rick perry? he's a fellow governor, comes from your part of the party. >> sure. >> he's been tough. he's been very conservative. why shouldn't rick perry get your endorsement? >> rick is a good governor, a good friend. he'd make a good president if he gets elected there, but one of the challenges in new hampshire presidential primary politics you sometimes have to choose between friends and i did narrow it down to mitt romney and rick perry, and watch the series of debates we've just gone through and talked to the candidates, and you have to make a tough decision and i came down on favoring governor romney. it's not easy to make these
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decisions but if you want to be effective in new hampshire presidential politics you got to pick one. >> and are you a little distressed by the nasty tone of the last debate with perry and romney going at each other? isn't that bad for the party? >> look, i'm a great believer in primary battles. i really do think it gets candidates ready for the general election, and if our candidates just went pity pat all the way through, they wouldn't be ready for the real nastiness that's going to come from the obama administration. the obama administration is clearly gearing up to attack the republican nominee, because the first thing the obama administration wants to do is make the election about somebody else, not the disastrous performance of the last three years. >> john sununu, former governor, former chief of staff and the father of a former senator, thank you very much. >> thank you andrea, take care now. >> good talking to you. a massive rescue and relief effort is under way, right now
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in eastern turkey, we'll be live from the quake zone next. plus rick perry bringing in reinforcements. msnbc's senior political analyst mark h ha lperin has the inside details. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. hey buddy, wattaya lookin' a-oooh. ♪ [ female announcer ] mini™ meets berries. kellogg's® frosted mini-wheats cereal with a touch of fruit in the middle. helloooooo fruit in the middle. new natureluxe mousse mascara! we took out a heavy synthetic and put in a light touch of beeswax. up with the volume, down with the weight. new natureluxe mousse mascara. easy breezy beautiful covergirl. ♪
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at least 270 people are now lost, dead in turkey after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the eastern part of that country yesterday. the city of ercis, home to 75,000 people near the iranian border was one of the worst hit areas where 80 buildings were leveled. nbc's michelle franzen is in
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ercis and joins us now. michelle thanks so much. you've been struggling to get there and what have you seen and what can you tell us about the devastation and the rescue efforts? >> andrea, it's a very remote area around the lake area, the lake van area just as you mentioned, not far from the iranian border in southeast turkey. we are her in ercis at the city center, close to it, surrounded by a pocket here of destruction of buildings that have been toppled by that earthquake. to the right an apartment building. over to this area there was an islamic school, where several children were missing, three of them were pulled out today, did not survive, one is still missing at this hour. in another section of this city, near the universe there was a six-story building that housed families as well as students in that building, rescue workers focused their attention most of the day there today because they believed that there were signs that there were people still alive there, and there have been
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signs, here in ercis as well as 50 to 60 miles away in van of people being rescued as well as others that were also killed, as you mentioned, more than 200, near 270 people that have died. the electricity is out in this city. they are keeping warm by having bon fires and we're also experiencing tremblers along the way. >> michelle franzen in ercis, thank you very much. thanks for being there for us. turning now to politics here at home, has a flat tax finally reached its time in herman cain's 9-9-9 helped catapult him to top status although he is amending his proproposal in response to critics. rick perry is about to unveil his own flat tax plan. mark halperin, rick perry is really gearing up his compare. you're editor at large of "time" magazine and i was reading online you've got new staff people with some experience, real experience to try to help
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perry get better organized. >> perry is trying to do a lot of things at once to get the campaign back on track. he had a good trip to iowa but he's got a lot of ground to make up, hiring new staff, including veterans of past presidential campaigns including people running against the flat tax when he worked for bob dole and ran against steve forbes. he'll have campaign advertising on tv and tomorrow giving the speech in south carolina, the center of which will be a flat tax, appealing to a the lo of people in the republican party and conservative, a simpler tax system, less power for the irs. the downside is it's very hard to defend in terms of its progressivity, what it will do to the middle class and we'll see if perry proposes eliminating the popular deductions like home mortgage for health care, charitable deductions. if you don't eliminate that the rate of the flat tax has to be high. if you do eliminate you make yourself a big fat target which
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the romney campaign is waiting to tee off on. >> you can hear the sound bite you criticized me for a 59-point plan but it has to be more complicated than what you're willing to put out there. is it not going to be the 17% flat tax that had originally been advertised by some of the people covering the campaign? >> it might be, i don't know. if it's 17, it's very hard to see how you keep those popular deductions. you can do things not take them away for everybody. you can take them away for for instance upper income americans but even at 17, it is hard to make it anything but regressive, and it makes a target. the flat tax is for a lot of candidates, seaports had this experience, you first talk about it as a candidates it does very well. the interest groups hurt by it, people pointing out the regressive nature of it, it has not served candidates very well over the long haul. it suggests along with the birther comments you talked about earlier, rick perry may be trying to win that far right primary, and then take on romney if he can get him on one on one,
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not beat romney in the first round or be competitive with romney right away. that's the direction he seems to be heading with the recent actions that he's taken. >> but certainly cautionary tale would be the way steve forbes fared in similar primary context. >> yeah. >> a while back. that didn't work out so well, right. >> he had a lot of money, put the flat tax front and center. republican candidates are all astrakted to tax but it's hard to sell the devil in the detail over a flat tax over a long period of time. >> thank you, mark. coming up next the super rich find a new way to hide their political donations. plus the secretary of housing and urban development joining us with the president's new plan to attack the housing crisis. and walter isaacson on steve jobs' struggle with faith. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. time for the "your business small business" advice. here are tips to optimize your
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in the politico briefing today, meet the new super pack,
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many voters assume super giving done in secret has gotten easier for this campaign cycle. jim vandehy, who has the biggest super pacs and how long it is before people have to disclose who is contributing to the pacs? >> they started off in the presidential stage, people allowing for unlimited donations. what we've seen recently is the cutting edge of an explosion of these i think on capitol hill where a lot of the leaders, nancy pelosi, john boehner, eric cantor, harry reid are helping rails money for super pacs affiliated with them. the reason is changes the equation, a lot of people think it's easy to buy influence with members of congress. the truth is, it's actually hard because of limits until these super pacs, because $5,000 might sort of turn someone's eye. it's not going to actually turn their mood or their view on legislation. the super pacs allow for
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somebody to come in, a rich individual, a union, a business leader, and give $600,000, $1 million. that kind of money really can buy influence, and that's why there's something worth keeping an eye on, and once a couple of members start doing it, it's my experience that everyone else will then follow suit, because they see this as the pathway to power on capitol hill. >> in the presidential context, we've seen some huge influence already from these super pacs really having a lot of weight in the campaign, and they're lining up on both sides and this is all really because of the supreme court decision. >> it is. the court decision a couple years ago basically allows unions, corporations, other people to get back into the game of giving money with limitless possibilities. so you can sort of have these groups who are pulling in literally tens of millions of dollars that can then go run ads, they're often either directly coordinated or loosely coordinated and loosely enough there's almost total
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coordination with the candidates and the politicians that they're trying to help. and that's where i think campaign finance experts get nervous and that's where taxpayers and voters should really start to pay attention because when you start talking about massive sums of money, that's when real influence can be had. the truth is talking small dollar donations or a pac contribution i don't think especially in a presidential context that that does anything. that doesn't buy you real influence. it's when you can dump in real money, $1 million, a half million dollars, it gives you an unfair advantage inside the political system >> let me just clarify one thing. they don't have to disclose overall numbers until january 31st, some three months from now. do they ever have to disclose their individual contributors? >> no most case it is depends how you set it up. in most cases you end up disclosing well after the fact who is giving the money, but there's also ways to set it up where you can have an entity that's affiliated with that super pac where you can get secret donations, and that's where you really run into trouble when you don't know
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where the money's coming from and suddenly a bunch of ads pop up in a given district, a state or an important battleground in a presidential election. >> thanks so much, jim vandehei, from politico. when will conservatives rally around a candidate? we've been waiting to see. plus getting out of iraq after nine years of war, reaction from former secretary of defense, william kohn and combat veteran wes moore. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at
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cut! [ monica ] i have a small part in a big movie. i thought we'd be on location for 3 days, it's been 3 weeks. so, i used my citi simplicity card to pick up a few things. and i don't have to worry about a late fee. which is good... no! bigger! bigger! [ monica ] ...because i don't think we're going anywhere for a while. [ male announcer ] write your story with the new citi simplicity card. no late fees. no penalty rate. no worries. get started at topping the headline its right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the diplomatic war with syria is escalating. syria has nowdrawn its ambassador from the united states from washington after the state department announced it had brought home embattled ambassador robert ford from damascus because of credible threats to his safety. almost two weeks after steve jobs' death, biographer walter
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isaacson on "60 minutes" that jobs had conflicting views about the afterlife and existence of god. >> ever since i've had cancer, i've been thinking about it more, and i find myself believing a bit more. maybe it's because i want to believe in an afterlife, that when you die, it doesn't just all disappear, the wisdom you've accumulated, somehow it lives on. then he paused for a second and he said "yeah, but sometimes i think it's just like an on/off switch, click, and you're gone." he said, and paused again, "that's why i don't like putting on off switches on apple devices." >> and the book comes out today. meanwhile apple has posted a link for fans to view steve jobs' private company memorial that was held last sunday. tea party conservatives have yet to find their champion in the 2012 race. tim phillips is president of the group americans for prosperity and joins us here. tim good to see. >> good to see you, anandrea.
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>> what is taking long? you have interesting choices in the republican field, a lot of choices. what are you looking for? >> i think two things. one, someone who is going to be bold and put forward genuine solutions, not just kind of the tired cliches candidates in campaigns put forward. secondly there's concern, wariness in washington, d.c., campaigns in terms of activists out there. they're more careful than in years past. >> that seems to indicate you want something like herman cain, 9-9-9 is bold, he's not washington although there was a report this weekend he had years i guess "the washington post" reported he had spent years lobbying washington and had lobbied on behalf of restaurant associates and other big industry groups. >> yes. >> which may not please some of his supporters but why not herman cain? >> herman is a businessman, he's been out creating jobs and dealing with the private sector, and how government impacts it adversely in most cases we like
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that about him. we like governor romney's business experience, his background so i think this field, i'm not one out wringing my hands, we've got to get five more folks in. i think it's a good field. it's a matter of letting the guys sorting themselves out, defining themselves more and i think this makes a decision. you've got a couple months to go here. >> you said guys. what about michele bachmann? the head of the tea party caucus on the hill. >> that's a general neutral term. michelle is a good friend, her voting record is rock solid, even in the bush administration a lot of times her party was pushing big government and big spending solutions. >> she's really collapsed as a candidate since the iowa caucus. >> she was really strong then. >> she's gone steadily downhill. >> you look at where john mccain was four years ago, giuliani was leading things at this point, it's a long ball game, and with the 24/7 news cycle and so many aggressive new media outlets out there, i think things ebb and
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flow faster than they used to. >> is there anyone you've ruled out? >> i don't think it's outruled or ruling one out but i think some of them have issues, governor huntsman candidly was out there on cap and trade which is a disastrous energy policy which would have piled up energy taxes, that's something deeply concerning to us about him, you mentioned him. there is no perfect candidate. i'm a ronald reagan guy, that's my era. >> mitt romney is not too moderate for you? you don't have problems with mitt romney on cap and trade, on abortion, on some of the other positions that he took when he was governor of massachusetts? >> we do economic issues only. again there is no perfect candidate. we like governor romney's business experience, newt gingrich pushed through welfare reform while he was speaker of the house, nafta. i don't think there is a perfect candidate this year. >> tim phillips, thank you so much. stay in touch when you're ready to endorse, if not sooner come on back. the republican candidates
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and leading senators are of course denouncing the president's decision to with draw completely from iraq by the end of the year. did he have any choice and will this increase the threat of meddling from iran? with us to discuss that, former secretary of defense and ceo of the cohen group, william cohen and wes moore, retired combat army captain. the argument from mitt romney and a lot of the other candidates this weekend and john mccain and lindsay graham and others whom you served with in the senate a long time he should have negotiated a better deal with the iraqis, rather than with drawing completely. what say you? >> assuming we could negotiate a better deal. first of all i don't think the prime minister has an ability to persuade his own legislators to support him. we've provided a fledgling democracy, planted the seeds of democracy in iraq. they have not taken deep route but if a country says we don't
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want to you stay under terms we find acceptable i don't think a president has any choice. i'd like to see us stay longer until that democratic form of government really stabilizes, but on given a choice whether to stay or put my soldiers under iraqi control in terms of no immuni immunity, i would have the troops out tomorrow. >> and this is what leon panetta, one of your successors as defense secretary had to say traveling in asia. he issued this warning to iran about meddling in iraq. >> -- or iran or anybody else who has any other ideas, let me make clear that the united states maintains 40,000 troops in that region. let me make clear to them and to anybody else that america will maintain a presence in that part of the world. >> wes moore, you've been on the ground in iraq and seen the meddling from iran and the fact that muqtada al sadr a proxy for
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tehran was the opponent in the parliament that prevented the malle i cm maliki administration from permitting u.s. soldiers to stay. what about the factor of iran and what it can do? >> well i think one thing we've shown over the past months is exactly that. we don't necessarily need five and six or ten brigades to be able to impact how things are working, when you look at particularly how things happened with the arab spring, when you look at some of the targeted hits that have been made over the past six months. i think the united states and the coalition forces have been very clear, that they're able to push forward a support policy without necessarily bringing in a large footprint. secretary cohen makes an absolutely, you know, spot-on point, where he's saying ideally we would like to have soldiers that could continue to take on some type of presence but the fact remains is that since august of 2010, we have not had technical combat operations going on in iraq, so the fact
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that we've had anywhere from the equivalent to six to ten combat brigades inside of iraq taking on nine combat operations, i think when you look at the chances of continuing that or putting u.s. forces under some type of iraqi rule, the decision became relatively easy. >> let's take a look at afghanistan also, when we look at on all sides here we've got the other war in afghanistan. bill cohen, this is what hamid karzai had to say in an sbrir with a pakistani journalist "if fighting starts between pakistan sean the u.s., if the people of pakistan need afghanistan's help, afghanistan will be there with you." this was only hours, 24 hours after hillary clinton had left pakistan. he's already taking shots and left afghanistan i should say earlier in the week, he's already taking shots at the united states. >> well, it's been a very rocky relationship with president karzai in afghanistan and
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frankly i've always felt that we should have a counterterrorism type strategy and not a counter insurgency for afghanistan, because i don't think we can sustain it long enough. i think talking counter insurgency, you're talking decades, not just three or four years, and so i'm doubtful that we can really have a major impact in the short period of time. i want to come back just quickly, andrea, to the point, i think iran will continue to try to make our exit out of iraq difficult, and that's why i think secretary panetta is sending a message, do not try and make this look like you're forcing us out or you're forcing us under fire to get out. there will be penalties to pay for that, but i think we should expect iran will make it look as if they're forcing us out of iraq and that's something we need to make very clear to them that that's not going to be the case without a very strong response. >> what about all the contractors that are remaining, though? let me ask both of you the fact that we've got an embassy with a somewhat 8,000 people in the embassy, only 1,700 are foreign
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service officers. wes, you've got all of the hired guns, some have diplomatic immunity, some don't. this is basically our own militia force there. >> i think that goes back to the point that secretary panetta was making earlier. we are going to continue to have a presence, even when you look at the idea of having actors who be there to train iraqi forces, whether the trainings take place in baghdad or elsewhere in the region, the idea of the u.s. not having some type of footprint, whether it be military or civilian inside the region is a fallacy, so there will continue to be a u.s. presence inside the region on a whole variety of different aspects and levels. >> and bill cohen, before i let you go, can i ask you your view about the succession in saudi arabia. we don't expect any immediate change in policy, but the likely new heir apparent as crowned prince will be prince nayef, quite a hardliner after 9/11 he said some despicable things,
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blaming it as a conspiracy on the jews, only then changing his mind after al qaeda attacked the kingdom itself in 2003. what kind of relationship are we going to have with the saudis in the future? >> well, much remains to be seen. i am, in fact, traveling to the region this wednesday and thursday, and hope to have discussions to see what the nature of that relationship is going to be, but king abdullah has been a good friend to the united states. he's very much in charge. he may use this opportunity to start putting more people in place that would be, have a more moderate line than perhaps we're hearing from prince nayef. >> after the death of the crowned prince over the weekend, prince sultan. up next another plan to help beleaguered homeowners? we'll ask the secretary of housing and urban development right here. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun.
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25% of american homeowners are under water. we have new details on how president obama plans to bypass congress to get those people some help. will it be enough to stave off the housing market which has seen so many problems and dragging down this economy? plus can you calm them birther buddies. rick perry says during a meeting with donald trump the topic of barack obama's birth certificate came up. he says he's not sure if the president's birth certificate is for real. is this a desperate strategy to pass romney and cain in the polls? and the nfl player calls his wife during the game after he was injured. it's today's gut check. the bubble burst years ago but the collapse of the housing
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market is still a huge drag on the economy. the administration has come up with some new proposals and one today to help some homeowners who are still underwater. shaun donovan, secretary of housing and urban development joins us as the president wings his way to las vegas to unveil all of this. mr. secretary thanks for joining us. there are i think 11 million homeowners underwater. how many will be helped by this plan? >> well, andrea, we're still working out the final details over the next few weeks but there are about 4 million homeowners who have a fannie mae or freddie mac mortgage, are under water today, and have interest rates significantly above today's current rates. that's the target population. they have to choose to refinance and come in. clearly all will not get the refinancing but that's the target audience. we also think the changes we're making today, which will simplify the refinancing
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process, bring down the cost, create greater competition in the refinancing process, many of those steps that we're taking could also be applied to other mortgages. there are 6 million or 7 million homeowners that have equity in their homes and haven't taken advantage of today's low rates. this could be a benefit to them as well, say it's $5,000 closing costs to refinance, we could cut that in half and make refinancing much more attractive to a broader range of homeowners as well. >> you're basically saving costs by eliminating appraisals. is there any risk you're adding to the system by eliminating appraisals? >> well, that's one of a number of steps that we're taking to streamline the process. we don't think it's adding any risk because first of all, these mortgage its are already on the books of fannie mae and freddie mac. we're making them safer mortgages because we're lowering the payments. the average payment will come down by $2,500 a year or more.
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that's a mortgage more likely to perform and to stay current in the future. but we're also making sure that where we have very good data for home sales in that neighborhood we're going to use an automated process rather than the lengthy process and expensive process of doing a full appraisal. we can use this automated valuation methodology which streamlines the process, lowers the cost for the homeowner, makes it more likely people will be able to afford to refinance but still assures us that we're going to have a good value for that home. >> mr. secretary, "the washington post" has an analysis of the initial housing plan, the crisis plan and suggests only $2.4 billion out of $50 billion has been spent. do you agree with that and if so, why is it taking so long to address this crisis? >> let's be clear about those numbers. we set up these programs in a way to hold the banks accountable.
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we weren't going to put all of our money in right up front, even if homeowners weren't put in a place where they could stay in their homes long-term, so we're making monthly payments only where homeowners are actually benefiting. we call it pay for success, and that's something that ensures that the money doesn't go for modifications or other changes, that aren't going to be sustainable in the long-term. so the number would be far larger than that, even if no more people qualify for these programs, as long as they're successful in the long-term. so let's be clear about that. but you know, one of the things that we've learned as we've gone through this crisis is that the mortgage system that we had was so complex, we had sliced and diced these mortgages into a dozen or more different pieces. it wasn't clear who was responsible for working out the mortgages. we have lots of lawsuits between the various parties. so one of the things that we figured out is, we needed to dig
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in, and the president pushed us to do this, and helped to resolve, untie that knot, if you will, of so many of these complexities that are standing in the way of getting help to homeowners. that's what this announcement is about today. we dug in. there were five different barriers is about today. there were five different barriers and we brought the private sector and regulatorsto the table and after months of hard work and pushing for the president, we have been able to fix many of the complexities that stood in the way from the programs working them. >> i know we are almost out of time. >> we need to make sure we do them in other areas to get the housing market moved. >> i know we are almost out of time, but do we know how many people will benefit from this? jean sperling indicated you don't know how many people might be helped.
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>> as i said earlier, there is a couple of weeks before some of the final details are set by fhfa. moving forward, we need to make sure we hold the private sector accountable and they step up and deliver on the changes that they promised to make these work. there were about four million homeowners under water and could benefit from a refinancing because interest rates are high. we will have to see how many sign up and come in and say i want a refinancing and are able to do it. time will tell how many can benefit. >> thanks very much for joining us today. >> what political story will be making headlines in the next hour? it's surprising that most women aren't getting enough calcium. with over 25 flavors, yoplait original gives you
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>> which political story will
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make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris, we are talking about rick perry, flat tax day and steve forbes. didn't rick perry once criticize steve forbes in the flat tax and say it was for fat cats? >> stop doing your lexus nexus searches. here's the deal. this looks to be like a reset button being pushed. the first two months of the campaign have not been ideal. he went from front runner to behind mitt romney and herman cain. he is adding a bunch of people and the consultants he is adding, all were the key campaign people, rick scott, the governor of florida. making a big bet on florida and the flat tax. >> see you tomorrow. that does it for this edition of
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"andrea mitchell reports." hi, tamron. >> great to see you. in the next hour, president obama will land in the foreclosure capital of the nation -- nevada. nearly all the state's homeowners are under water. how will the plan not just nevada, but those across the country. he won't see another term. he is leaving congress because he is tired of partisan politics. on the way out, he takes a swipe at president obama. "news nation" is minutes away. what's better than gold ?
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