tv Inside Washington PBS May 12, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
>> what you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> i think it's same-sex couples should be able to get married. >> this week on "inside washington," president obama gives the green light to same- sex marriage. >> marriage itself is the relationship between a man and a woman. >> the tea party claim another
incumbent, richard lugar. >> hoosier republicans want to see the united states senate taking a more conservative track. >> even high school is not off limits. >> i did some stupid things in high school, and if i hurt anyone, i am sorry and apologize for it. >> lawmakers still at it. voters in europe trigger a political tsunami. >> money flows like water, and if the dam breaks some place, it could flood, even here in america. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> vice president joe biden has acquired a reputation as a
person afflicted with foot-in- mouth disease. on last sunday's "meet the press," he said that gay marriage is fine with him. >> i'm comfortable with the fact that man marrying men, women marrying women, are entitled to the same rights. >> that caused a major flat amid the chattering classes, and by midweek, in an interview with robin roberts, the president suggested joe biden had jumped the gun. >> he got out a little bit over his skis. >> the president says he had already made the decision to come out in favor of gay marriage before the democratic national convention in north carolina in september. on the fox news website, a man who has been around in long time says that the president and vice-president "played us." what the odds that the rollout was calculated, mark?
>> as much respect as i have for him, i don't think so. this was not one where the president appeared to be leading from conviction, his position evolving. it was a hurried up, press available only to robin roberts, who deserves credit for forcing the president to talk on this subject. >> colby? >> the president had to say something to read his hand was forced not only by vice- president biden but from secretary of education arne duncan. the timing was not his own. he did the best he could under the circumstances, but he was going to anyway. >> evan? >> it is good to see a politician say something he believes. i think he believes in gay marriage, or for this to come after -- i think they called them joebombs in the white
house. give him credit for coming out for something he believes in. >> nina? >> it is a risky step. on the one hand, it will energize his base and provide added money from the community, and the democrats were very worried about having enough cash for the presidential election with all the super pacs. but the republicans seem uncomfortable about it, too. nobody is quite sure how this is going to play out. i give the president some credit for taking a risk with the position that is not at all clear it will benefit him in the long run. >> hollywood was waiting for the present with open arms and open checkbooks this weekend. anyway, consider this -- john boehner, house speaker, says it is time to shift the debate back to the economy. >> i believe that marriage is the union of mine one man and one woman. the president and the democrats
can talk about this all they 1. the american people are focused on the economy and are asking the question, where are the jobs? >> you think he has a point? >> that is where you want to run the campaign if you are john boehner. this is, to underline nina's point, an issue that is truly dynamite politically. you think about the change, when bill clinton was president in 1996, 27% of americans were in favor of same-sex marriage, 60% opposed. the same poll, a majority now support it. that is a sea change in a short time. 31 consecutive states have voted on it and voted it down. in iowa in 2009, the supreme court unanimously legalize same- sex marriage. the next year, three supreme court justices were ousted from
office. that is the first time that happened in iowa in 50 years. explosive issue. >> how many people are going to go into the polling place and say, "obama is for gay marriage, i am against him"? >> not on that one issue. but it does feed into the general perception of obama as dictating, particularly with angry whites, who are swing voters in a lot of this state. >> that is over-simplistic. it is young people who are driving this overwhelmingly. but young people don't vote as much. a lot of these laws banning gay marriage have passed during primary time, not the general election on, i don't know how it will play out but it is very complicated. >> it is -- it does affect older
voters. >> older voters, perhaps african-american voters. it will not stop them voting for obama in november. will it affect enthusiasm for him? i don't think so over the long haul. it is it probably better that he took this position now rather than waiting in later in the year. the issue goes beyond barack obama. the question is, where does the country stand on this issue? the question of rights, and do you impose it through the ballot box or go through the courts? i think you go through the courts. >> this raises the profile of that issue, same-sex marriage, in 2012, no doubt about that. i think the second is that it highlights and spotlights the differences between barack obama and mitt romney. >> richard lugar has won respect
from both sides of the aisle. this week, indiana republicans sent him packing. >> i did not know he was a prisoner. i did not even know him, but i voted against obama. >> we will get to senator lugar in eminent, but i cannot resist this. in this week's west virginia primary, keith russell judd 140% of the vote. he is a prisoner at the -- won 40% of the vote. he is a prisoner at the belmont correctional institute in texas. it sounds funny, but if you were running the obama campaign, would you be worried about that number? >> yes. any time an incumbent who is unchallenged for nomination in his or her own party gets an opponent who gets 20%, that is a cause for concern 30% is an
alarm. 40% is a statement. the governor of west virginia, democrat, and the united states senator, joe manchin, will not reveal for, they voted in the tuesday primary, when the options are the president of the united states and the prisoner who will be in the recreation area in 20 minutes. >> west virginia never did love barack obama. hillary clinton buried him four years ago. mark's point,mour-- on lyndon johnson had a similar experience in new hampshire. >> look what happened to him. >> in south carolina, last year, an unknown individual with a criminal record also won the democratic nomination and got votes from people who knew
nothing about him. >> the democratic party is a big tent party. >> that prison in belmont, texas has some the worst of the worst. >> there are an awful lot of angry voters out there and, if they are voting for cons. >> angry republican voters told lugar to take a hike. election, which you could see coming out, that half ago, it is really evidence of such polarization that mr. mourdock said that the problem with lugar is that he crossed party lines, and that he wanted to be a senator who voted with republicans and never crossed party lines. in my view, that is not in a way to run the country, but it is winning more and more. it gives the democrats an opening in indiana.
i am not sure how big ideas, because it indiana is basically a republican state. >> lugar brought some of this on himself, with all due respect. he is well respected in washington, but the people back home thought maybe he had gone washington. he did not have a primary residence in indiana -- >> he had a farm -- >> but that does not pass as being a resident as far as going back and staying in touch with people in indiana. i have family in india, and they don't know lugar except as a name in washington. >> i am a lugar fan, but he is 80 years old. >> what are you, an ageist? >> oh, oh. >> easy for him to say. this is a tea party victory. mourdock is different in the sense that he is state
treasurer, not some nobody. but it does fortified the position of the tea party, and the biggest liability against lugar, beyond his age and residency, is that barack obama praised him as a senator he could work with in the senate. >> kiss of death. >> it was a grover norquist victory,. >> the club for growth, the anything-but-tax -- >> let me ask about the mitt romney in high school thing. apparently -- he does not remember it, he says -- they graaff up a kid who looked different. high school is not off limits? >> kids are cruel. i am a sure all of us did something we regret. this looks like something cruel he did. it is not necessarily defined you for life. the question is if anything like
that comes up later in life. >> he had a good response. he said he was sorry for eight. i think he will be able to say that his life has been pretty exemplary since then. >> maybe he just did not care one way or the other i want to say something else about the tea party and mitt romney. just this week, judson phillips , asked if he was going to vote for romney, said, "i will have a large bottle of pepto-bismol in one hand and a barf bag in the other." thus spoke the tea party about mitt romney. >> the republicans have been hoping to get the senate. what is the lugar loss due for those hopes, mark? >> joe donnelly declared for the
united states senate and was considered an underdog, certainly against lugar. now that race has become competitive. he has been able to attract crossover votes in the past, a moderate democrat. >> republican senate, democratic senate. 5050 at this point? -- 50-50 at this point? >> i would say 50-50, which is down, because republicans look like they republicans are at a disadvantage in maine. angus king, former governor, is favored and would likely caucus with democrats. >> massachusetts? >> massachusetts is going to be one of the marquee races in the country. >> elizabeth warren and scott brown. >> elizabeth warren has shown an
incredible ability to make money. she has stumbled in the last couple of weeks. >> scott brown tried to make a big issue of for her -- >> 1/32 cherokee blood. >> but she has been able to demonstrate that she has not use that to get jobs in the past. >> let me make another point -- the top chief of the cherokee nation is 1/32 cherokee, as is elizabeth warren. >> but that will not help her defeat scott brown in massachusetts, that the cherokee nation, 1/32 -- >> she better know who rocky marciano was. >> this will be a very close race. >> right now looks like the best
odds are four republican house, democratic senate -- >> here we go again. unbelievable >> prescription for gridlock, just as taxmageddon arrives. >> what are the odds of a democratic house? >> they will make inroads, but it and will not take it over. the republicans this week did something extraordinary, voting for a budget that would take away cuts in defense and would instead put all of the burden on a the most poor and vulnerable people in our society. mark has the statistics. >> the republicans broke an agreement from last august passed as the grand compromise. it would trigger, if they cannot come up with a compromise solution going forward, cuts in defense and social programs.
a single mother cannot qualify for food stamps unless savings were down to less than $2,000. the whole presumption was that this was class warfare on the part of the republicans. >> where is the political capital in that? >> they are playing to the base. this is plain to the base with no tax cuts, cut spending -- >> keep the bush tax cuts, don't raise taxes. >> this is what the election is going to be about. also, which direction is the country going to move? >> the new and improved underwear bomb. to deviseo try
more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people. it is a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant at home and abroad. >> secretary of the state hillary clinton. the subject, the new underwear bomb. the first did not work is so they are trying to devise more sophisticated bombs that would get past airport security devices. why do we know about the double agent? they used to call them secret agents for a reason. >> i think i.t. has a problem. it would be better if this all remained silent. i don't think this is good news that this leak. we need all the double agents we can get. this will disrupt the lines of intelligence. >> that is the most troubling thing about it. it is a great thing they were able to do this. it was apparently done principally under the auspices of the brits, who
usually can keep a secret, and with help from us and i think the saudis. if i got in this story, what i have run with it? absolutely, because you figure anybody else would have it, but it is troubling. >> that is a good question. at what point does the press have irresponsibility to sit on stuff like this, colby? you worked in that field. >> on both sides. the government has a right to ask the press not to do it, the press has a right to make its own judgment. to me, the significance of this story is not the way it was handled by the press, but the fact that they are trying to come up with new devices to get around in the screening. the good thing about this is the cooperation we had with allies, in particular the saudis. this was a saudi involved in this operation. they have a good intelligence service in that part of the world. >> i think that some of
these leaks have at miss information in them. >> the fbi is getting a lot better at this stuff that they used to be. >> i don't think there's any argument. perhaps it is just coincidental, but the surveillance laws are up for renewal. the fact that this was in the public realm now, and that americans are aware of it, is not going to hurt the cause of renewal. >> oh, you cynic, you. >> i just try to put together pieces of the crossword puzzle. not crossword puzzle, and jigsaw puzzle. >> intelligence over the years had a pretty sorry record. but over the past five to 10 years, its record of being able to kill people -- i don't know how else to put it -- has been pretty good. >> we have not found and killed
the guy who is that bomb maker in yemen. >> but we are getting close, every time those drones go out there and strike, they narrow the al qaeda in yemen working there. >> and every time, it widens the number of civilians who are angry, furious, and alienated. it is not a freebie. >> drones scare me because they will be used against us one day. still, you have to give intelligence service -- >> i am not taking my from intelligence service. as an instrument of war, it is not consequence-free. >> good point. they are not that sophisticated and they don't have to be big. >> we have had collateral damage in the last two wars and civilian casualties. i don't know if we will ever get
to the point where we can eliminate that unfortunate consequence, whether we use the drones or airstrikes or artillery shots. >> austerity is not playing well in europe. here you see the only good news that came out of greece this week. an actress lighting of the relay torch for the olympics. colby, the rest of the news out of greece and europe is lousy. >> lousy, and comparable to the 1980's with the debt crisis. they have the same problems and got to it the same way. the difference is that industrialist countries have the clout to make developing countries do austerity that they have to t. there is nobody to force greece or ireland or spain to drink that bitter medicine. >> evan, france has a new
president who led the socialist party for years. is he for us or against us? >> he is a master of modern western democracies where you don't set up your problems and postpone the day of reckoning. the question is when is the euro going to collapse? where is france going to be on that? it is like watching a car play out in slow-motion. >> what will it do to us, nina? >> it really collapses, it could hurt us severely and results in obama beinot being reelected. you do have to moderate austerity with some idea of how people live. that is what has been missing. >> elites in europe and the united states, present company excluded, are 100% for
austerity. austerity has been found to be politically unsustainable in every election in europe, left or right. it is the prescription that has led to growing unemployment and social dislocation. i would say that that would be the lesson for this country, and what the republicans did in the house this week was absolutely stupid as far as their survival as a party. >> nina, before we go, our condolences on the passing of your father, a world-renowned virtuoso violinist. he was 101. talk to us about him. >> his death was as extraordinary as his life. he made his debut when he was 11 years old. he went on to be one of the great violinists of his time, playing concerts' into his 90s. he premiered works of dozens of
contemporary musicians, even got called up onto the stage by benny goodman to jam with the band. in the last week of his life, when his kidneys collapsed, word went out in the musical community that he was dying, and his former students from all over the country started showing up at our house, driving through the night to get there. we had to dissuade a kid from poland from jumping on a plane. all he wanted to do was play. he would conduct with his eyes closed in his bedroom, slowing the pace here and there, speeding up, clapping like this. at one. one point, there was a young woman playing a concerto, and she cannot hear what he was whispering. she put her years to his lips, and he said, "that d, it was flat." [laughter] >> thanks, nina.
gwen: the president evolves on gay marriage. the tea party takes indiana. and the foiled al qaeda bomb plot. tonight on "washington week." >> i just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married. gwen: the president confirmed what his friends and foes long suspected. but did the vice president force his hand? and does mitt romney want to change the subject? >> i have the same view on marriage that i had when i was governor and that i've expressed many times. i believe marriage is relationship between a man and a woman. gwen: celebration in some quarters, dismay in others. in indiana, a venerable republican senator falls. >> serving the people of
indiana in the united states senate has been the greatest honor of my public life. gwen: is the tea party back? and the mysterious double agent who foiled al qaeda. what did we learn? >> i can tell you that we should never, ever let our guard down. gwen: covering the week, john dickerson of "slate" magazine and cbs news. major garrett of "national journal." susan davis of "usa today." and pierre thomas of abc news. >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens, live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week with gwen ifill." produced in association with "national journal." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we know why we're here. >> to chart a greener path in