tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC August 9, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EDT
good morning. and welcome to "this week." health care town halls. gone wild. >> i don't want the government to do it for me. >> asking the questions. >> i want to know if it's coming out of my paycheck. >> raucous crowds. both sides dig in. this morning, the debate's sweeping the country with exclusive headliners, newt gingrich. >> i don't want the government to try to run things. >> and howard dean. >> if you're not going to have a public auction don't pretend
you're doing health care reform. >> gingrich and dean, face-to-face, are this week's debate. then -- >> the pictures are worth a million words. >> bill clinton's mission. >> i'm not a policymaker. >> is it a breakthrough for him. that and the rest of the week's politics. on a special expanded "roundtable." with council and foreign relations president richard haase. roberts, matthew dodd and peggy noonan of the "wall street journal." as always, "the sunday funnies." >> after the journalists landed, al gore gave a speech. i don't want to say that al went on too long. halfway through the speech, the women are like, we can go back halfway through the speech, the women are like, we can go back to prison if you want. captions paid for by abc, inc. hello again. health care may be the most personal issue washington confronts in this week, there was plenty of evidence to back
that up. town halls on health care went viral. members of congress everywhere got tough questions. some got shouted down. as the rhetoric heated up, we even heard nazi germany invoked. >> you be the judge of carrying swastikas. in a town meeting on health care. >> there are far more similarities between nancy pelosi and adolf hitler and people showing up at town halls. to protest a hitler-like policy. >> with that, former house speaker newt gingrich and former vermont governor and dnc chair howard dean. and also the author of the new book, "howard dean's prescription for health care reform." >> mr. gingrich, are you familiar with the tone, they say
it's manufactured astroturf. they say the goal is to shut down conversation not encourage it. >> i spent 20 years doing town hall meetings. i once had 800 machinist members of an eastern strike for three hours, and they got to shout all they wanted. i thought senator tom harkin was the model. this week. his staff got nervous. he wanted to close down the meeting. harkin said, no. these are americans. they have a right to talk. they engage. people are very, very upset. they're upset because th stimulus was passed unread. they're upset because at 3:00 in the morning, pelosi introduced a 300-page amendment on energy tax increase and voted on it before the next afternoon. they have a sense of a machine running over them. there is substantiation in way the people are generally upset. the american way is to let them hang out, talk to them. let the members go back home. hold as many town hall meetings as you have to. let people get it out of their system, by september, we could
have a genuine dialogue in this country. >> i know your allies, governor dean, said people are paid for. people recruited by lobbyists here in washington. but you can't create -- you can't force people to go out to a town meeting. you can't manufacture that kind of anger, can you? >> well, there is actually a lot of orchestration which tells people to do what they're doing, sit in the front, interrupt. >> he's got like 23 friends on facebook, though. >> well, y, but there's also other organizations including some pretty reputable companies, formerlily reputable companies financing this stuff. look, i'm with the speaker on this. i think you want to have dialogue. i think shouting people down doesn't create dialogue. it's not really dialogue. the truth here, i disagree with the speaker, you've got the congress people running around handing out stimulus checks which they've voted against the stimulus. the stimulus has done good things. cbo estimates it's cut the reduction in gdp by at least 1%.
that's a significant number. and that the stimulus is going to do better things. so i disagree. i think this is a handful of people who have been angry for a long time. don't forget, the republican playbook for a long time is to get people angry. they succeeded. there's still angry people. i think they're vastly outnumbered. >> so you disagree on the stimulus. but you also disagree on health care, this whole idea of whether or not to have a public bill.h insurance option in the and, governor, you said that health reform is not worth having without this. >> right. >> andour organization is actually running ads against democrats who don't support -- >> that's not my -- >> you founded it? >> i founded it. i don't run it anymore. i do consulting work. >> let me get to the ads then. one of the democrats you went after is ben nelson -- >> i did not go after him, just
a correction. >> let's see the ad. >> now, i hear that ben nelson, a senator that i voted for is leading the charge to delay health reform this summer. that's exactly what they want. the health and insurance companies have given senator nelson over $2 million know that if they can stall reform, they can kill it. i have to ask, senator, whose side are you on? >> i want to hear about you talking to senator nelson. because, as you know, the white house has been pretty angry about these ads. president obama says it's counterproductive, yet, your allies are not stopping. >> there were a lot of people who are were upset about the incredible reefs that the insurance company has. this bill, the cbo scores at $60 billion a year on the house side. i think putting $60 billion a ar in the health insurance industry is insane. i really do. so you want a public option. what the president wants to do is very straightforward, rough 60, 50 or 60 million americans have what newt has called socialized medicine. or government-run health care. over 65. medicare. that's what medicare is. now, what obama is essentially saying is, let's give the choice
of getting in a system like that, or staying with what they have, to the american people. so if you're voting against having a public option which is you're voting against what 72% of americans in two polls want which is the choice, most of them are not going to sign up for the public option. but they think they have the choice. why should they have the choice? >> first of all, the government option we're talking about. government runs the health system entirely, the health system is a disaster. medicare is so corrupt and runs so badly we just published a book at the center for health transformation called "stop paying the crooks." because our estimate is that government fraud between medicaid and medicare is between $70 billion and $120 billion a year. >> veterans care working well? >> veterans care is one system that actually works reasonably well. medicare is basically a private system wh a government funding. an amendment was offered in every committee to have the members of congress and the
staff in any government option as a mandate. if this is good enough for the american people, it's good enough for the politicians. in every committee, the democrats voted no. now, why is it they want to insist on a government-run system for people other than the congress, but the congress and their staff would be exempt? second, i think it's not intellectually not honest to suggest that sis going to be a matter of choice. we're talking about a specific bill. the way the bill in the house would work, if your company didn't offer any insurance, they would pay an 8% tax on their personnel costs. for most companies that would be a net savings of 3%, 4%, 5%. one estimate by lewin associates is 141 million americans will lose their private insurance and be pushed into a government plan. >> governor, had those systems taken ahold -- >> lewin associates is owned by a health insurance company. so let's -- cbo which i think is a more reasonable organization says 5 or 10 million people are
going to end up -- >> depends on the amount of people. >> second of all, what the speaker didn't tell you, let's suppose you that get forced out of your employer-based system which is unlikely, but let's suppose you that do. the government will pay you based on your income either to go into a public option or a private option. nobody is forcing you into the public option. now, the third thing that nobody talks about is this bill is terrific for a small business. the blue dogs made it a better bill, and i hopefully the b by gets through, it gets even better. right now on the house bill, if you're a small business, you have no responsibility whatsoever to give your employees health insurance. that now becomes a subsidy based on your income. this is choice. this is real choice. >> that's in the house bills. but the senate has made it clear they're not going to include this public option. at least contemplated in the house bill. the most they're going to get is comps.
>> the senate finance committee. this has passed in four out of five committees. senate finance committee has said that. >> no, but you need 60 votes to get it through. >> you need 51 votes. >> so you're saying you're prepared for a partisan -- >> yeah. >> if you want to see -- a substantial number of americans are very frightened. that's a good example. the senate rules on passing reconciliation are clearly designed for budget items. if we're now going to try to rewrite 17% of the economy, life and death for every american, by pretending that massive health reform is a reconciliation item and ramming it through with 51 votes, first of all, i think a lot of democrats wouldn't vote. i think the idea of stripping the senate of its ability as a senate to operate with some sense of discretion and ramming through something of this size will go down very badly with many senators. will go down very badly with much of the country. but i spoke to senator grassley as late as yesterday and he made quite clear that he believes there will be no government plan and there will be no rationing
in any bill that the senate passes. and that he would certainly not support that. i think grassley is very key. >> let me follow up, senator baucus, the democratic chair on the finance committee, seems to agree on that. and he's produced a aft that gets to 95% coverage, 94%, 95% coverage without a public option. why wouldn't that be good enough? >> let me just say, a, there's no rationing in any of these bills. secondly, 95% coverage is good. that's terrific. the problem is, you can't afford it unless you have a public option. there's no cost control on that. >> he says it would come in at under $1 trillion. >> the house is at $60 billion a year. and the senate would be at $100 billion. look, here's the problem this is why i think the public option is so important. the fundamental problem is that medicare has gone up around 2%
over the rate of inflation. that's bad. but the health care, the private sector has gone up 2 1/2 times the rate of inflation for 30 years. our economy is uncompetitive because we have an employer-based health care system. now, i'm not advocating getting rid of an employer-based health care system because a lot of employers like it and the people in it like it. but i am advocating giving people the same choice that congress has. >> really quickly because i want to get to another issue here. >> i want to say, this is one of the great tragedies of how we're approaching this issue. cost control doesn't work. i had a major hospital tell me last week they would rather go bankrupt under the house plan, if you apply the cost control without real health reform, it doesn't work. at the center of transformation, we've outlined health reform after health reform that would save hundreds of billions of dollars, but it's fundamentally different than the way washington thinks. it's very frustrating to watch people -- when you say cost control, you're either ripping you're ripping offer the doctors, you're ripping off somebody. somebody. >> wait a minute.
not you personally, but the republicans have had times since the last time we tried this 15 years ago, where you had the president, the house and the senate. >> right. >> and nothing happened. >> andheow. >>e ow w rk.hk this will wo >> one of the other claimsrk relates to cost control, opponents are spinning ideredesp heresident's plan will encourage euthreanasia. most recently, sarahinal o on her facebook page friday night ndid that the america i know a love is not one in which my nts or my baby with down syndrome will have to stand in fronbaof o'sma death panel so ba dd on a subjective judgment , of their level of productivity in society, whether they are worthy of health care. such a system is downright evil. now, as you know, mr. speaker, the president called that outland issue. >> why doesn't see put up what dr. zeke anuel said. he's the chief health care adviser -- >> he's not the chief health care adviser.
he's written three articles from 1996 and 2008 that include some of those phrases. >> the standards. >> those phrases up here nowhere in the bill. let me respond to what's in the bill. the only thing in the bill would allow medicare to pay for what they say is voluntary counseling on end-of-life issues. >> i think people are very concerned when you start talking about cost controls that a bureaucracy -- you're asking to us trust the government. now, i'm not talking about the obama administration. but the government. you're asking us to decide that we believe that the government is to be trusted. we know people who have said routi routinely, well,ou're going to have to make decisions. you're going to have do decide. communal standards, historically is a very dangerous concept. >> it's heading the bill? >> but the bill's a thousand pages of setting up mechanisms. it sets up 45 different agencies. it has all sorts of panels. you're asking to us trust turning power over to the government when there clearly
are people in america who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards. >> well, this is something newt and i agree on. i don't want somebody in between the doctor and the patient. i don't want the possibility of losing your health insurance, i don't want people setting standards to denying care. that's all that we have now. under the private health insurance system. that's what happens. look, i've practiced for ten years. my wife is still practicing. never once did i have a medicare bureaucrat tell me what i couldn't do for a patient. but all the time, we have bureaucrats in the insurance companies saying, we're not going to cover up this, we're not paying for that. we're denying that. the system we have right now is broken. we need to fix it. i think giving the american people choices about how to fix it makes sense. >> we're sending it right there. we're going straight to the "the roundtable" so the panelists take their seats. reminder that this is not the first time that it's heated up. back to 1989. congress had just expanded catastrophic coverage under medicare paid for by a surge tax on seniors. they let the powerful sponsor of
the bill, chicago's dan rosinkowsky know just how much they hated it. >> this man is a coward. he ran away. this is what you're voting for, representation? >> not long after that, the surtax was repealed. 're bringing in "the roundtable." i'm joined by peggy noonan of the "wall street journal." matthew dowd. the president of the council on foreign relations, richard haase. and author of the new book "world necsity, world choice." sam donaldson and cokie roberts. peggy, let's start, you wrote the message of the constituents, you're terrorizing us? >> yes, i think this whole thing is turning into a domestic political disaster for the administration. the town hall stuff, the agitation stuff. the sense of unrest on opposition. i also think the president has managed through this drama to do one thing that i never imagined
would be done with that at this point and that is to unite the republican party. you've got economic republicans, libertarians, the social rite, social conservatives, all together in opposition to this big formless blob of a thing called the health care that's coming that you're not going to like. so that's been extraordinary. this has been a lot of action for a sleepy august, you know, big political action. >> i think it's really too bad. this is complicated stuff that affects everybody. and change is needed. and to have it turn into this kind of screaming, yelling fight at a time when people really need to be listening and learning is just a shame. and, you know, i keep wondering how this happened. those pictures that you showed earlier with the yelling, screaming people, it's just so unpleasant. and i just have to believe it has to do with the shortage of nuns, because anybody knows that
nuns would not behave in that way. >> you say listening and learning, but that's the problem. one of the big problems. they came home to talk about what, silly putty, there's no bill. someone said, oh, euthanasia. but you can't say look at article a of this bill that we're proposing. >> yes, you can. section 1223. it's one in five bills. >> exactly. what's the senate going to do? what's the senate going to do with the government option? we think we know they're not going to do it. the numbers are out there trying to defend what? a lot of people are angry. a lot of it is organized. but that's okay. organization is the american way. but people who want health care reform that's real don't really have anything to argue. >> the thing that the white house has gotten into, they want to send people out during that recess and answer questions, what's in it for me. and also this phenomenon, what you're seeing is, health care still has majority support. reform still has majority support. but the opposition is so much
more intense than those who support it. >> well, when you watch the debate, when you start attacking the people who show up for town hall meetings means you've lost the message. pat of the debate. they have no message as far as i can tell on what they want to do on health care. it's let's attack the opposition. >> they want to get it done? >> to me, having been through this with president bush, many of this reminds me a lot about iraq. because what you had there, first thing that happened was, you took your eye off the ball. instead of afghanistan, it became iraq. so instead of being about the economy, we're now talking about health care which is where i think barack obama should be focused on, the economy. then you have thsituation that people said it was going to pay for itself. like iraq. health care reform is going to pay for itself. then the american public starts to go bad on you then you start attacking the opposition. this has very similarity to what's happening to -- >> let's extend the metaphor, what's the equivalent of the surge in health care? >> well, i think what he's got to do is he's goto go back. i think when he lost this message debate is when it became
all about covering people who were not covered. as opposed to people who have coverage and the cost was too high. i think he has to go back and say, this is about people who have coverage and how we're going to lower their costs because that's where the american public is right now. >> and let the insurance company out of the middle between you and your doctor becae that is what people mind. i mean, people mind the cost and they mind having to hassle their insurance company. >> but they're afraid the government is going to come in between. >> but that's the message that the opposition has managed to get out there without the people who support health care reform answering it by saying, but the person who's there right now is your insurance company. >> and when you add up this concern about government, along with the bailout of the banks, the bailout of the auto companies. a lot of this, purely is we're seeing too much too fast? >> seeing too much, too fast, not a clear sense of priorities. but also there's a critique that's being to crystallize out there and i think the administration has got to be careful about it. you add up the stimulus. you add up health care.
you add up the cap and trade. which people really haven't done anything on the climate change bill. you add up the deficits and you look at the federal debt which is soon going to be greater than 100% of what america produces every year. and there's a sense that somehow we've got it wrong. we're going off the rails. we can't afford it. growth in concern about the size of ourndebtedness is what we're going have to watch. >> there's also the problem of trust, i think. trust in the past few months got squandered by the hill and by the president. there was so much double talk and gobbledy gook and this plan and that plan. and part five and 4-d. and all of that stuff looked like these people aren't to be trusted to take care of our new health care reform. no matter what they say, people are going to think, i don't believe you. >> this is a complicated thing. it's not simple. >> of course, it isn't. complicated things, you start out with clarity. >> let me tell you what i think
is going to happen, is this, i can't conceive the democrats who have the majority in both houses are going to let that happen this year. there are those o believe it would suffer immensely. the party would suffer. they're going to pass something. but in the watering down, and you see the public, i agree, the public is angry and upset. and the president's lost the message, what they pass may not get done. it may not be health care reform. >> i think it's a slightly different thing than that. i think the republicans soon have to be careful at something. that this could become -- i know republicans are all patting themselves on the back saying we've got the democrats on the run, obama on the run. i don't think it's politically a good place to be by november if you've defeated any health care reform and you're the machine public -- >> but tt opposition now may be the best thing to happen to president obama, cokie. it will force them to go slower which is probably a good thing. but the problem he may have actually managing his liberal base going through? >> absolutely. i think that is going to be the
problem. because, look, you could sit here right now, even though it's complicated, we could sit at this table and write a bill. >> show reform, some cost controls. >> right. but no public option, you know. and it's a big that's actually been there for a very long time. yoknow, , itit i is a a birtisa and howa baker and bob dole have a bill, y you know. ththere arbills out there e tha arare doable. and if i had to gus, in the end, i think that's probably what is going to happen, is something much morore e watered wn. >> but wilill the party go on? >> no, they're goioingng to be absolutely furious. that is the problem he's got now. hehe already g the liberals.s. >> maybe it would be g good fo absoluly furio about left got >> i think that's thadvantntage. >> okakay, i undndstand what's going g on we got a little mile stuff going on. we'v've got some centrismthat ain't so bad. >> as we talked a few months ago, i think his biggest test is
and will always be the left in the congress. that will always be the test, how far he lets them go without restraining them in. because the country is in a place where they don't want the right wing republicans, they don't want the left-wing democrats. they want a place that's moderate. so far, barack obama has shown an inability to restrain that. on stimulus package, health care reform, on cap and trade. many things. >> now that the stimulus is working -- >> i don't see, that's an interesting argument. 12% of the stimulus package has actually been spent so we had an $800 billion stimulus package. and something around $100 million is actually spent. i don't know of any economist who actually could say $100 billion -- >> economists would say it made a 3% difference in gdp. >> and the fact at that unemployment rate is going down instead of up. people are taking a big sigh of relief. >> there's been 2.5 million jobs that are lost since barack obama has been president. i remember trying to make this argument when bush was president, saying the unemployment rate went down,
even though we lost jobs, never was successful. >> that september unemployment number is going to have a big impact on the fall. we're going to take a big break. when we come back, bill clinton's mission to north korea and wh juicste rom justice sotomayor. we have more on "roundtable" and "sunday funnies." s." ld's computers will be medical images. the trouble is all of that information is trapped. x-rays aren't talking to... medical records aren't talking to... patient histories aren't talking to... insurance forms. we're trying to connect all that data... make it smart. we would see the patterns in your medical history... in the histories of entire populations. predict dangerous drug combinations. we could tailor cures... to your genetic code. put the focus back where it belongs, on the patient. that's what i'm working on. i'm an ibmer. let's build a smarter planet. and rocks that can inspire your imagination. rocks that can touch your heart. ...soothe your senses...
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>> the reunion is a source of happiness not only for the families, but for the entire country.tot e b presu>> i want don't confuse what bill did with our policy. >> my job was to do one thing which i was profoundly honored to do as an american and as a father. >> president clinton humble and concise, coming off that mission from north korea. let me bring our "roundtable" back in. peggy noonan, matthew dodd, richard haase, sam donaldson and cokie roberts. and, of course, the piesur that we all wand to sesee are osthe jotwtwurnalists coming home.na the picture that kim jong-il wanted the world to see is shaking his hand. and richard, president of council on foreign relations, who got the better end of the bargain? both sides gained. it was good for the united states to get these two people back. it was good for the north koreans to get the picture.
the bigger story, george, this is irrelevant. nothing changes in terms of north korea. it's the most opaque country in the world. it's got a dozen nuclear weapons. it's a threat to the region. bill clinton can't change that. barack obama can't change that, there's on one place tt can change that, which is china. until the chinese use their leverage over north korea, we're going to be living with a north korean threat, a country that has nuclear weapons. what bill clinton did, it's not a criticism, it doesn't change the fundamentals. >> but isn't this kim jong-il inviting him that he wants a broader conversation? >> oh, he'd love a broader conversation, he'd love to get reductions in sanctions and have north korea somewhat isolated, but niece not going to do anything significant on the nuclear side. more importantthree quarters of north korea's trade goes in and out of china. china is scared to bring down this country. what would happen, you'd have korea united under seoul. within the american orbit. that for the chinese would be a
big strategic setback, it would be almost like another unified vietnam. so china -- >> so we'r're seeing as many sanctions we're going to see? >> anything more would be at the margins. we're not going to see enough that's different in the sanction area that would affect one way or another the trajectory of north korea. >> but, you know, what richard is saying there about china relates back to what we were talking about earlier because we can't put the kind of pressure on china that we would like to put on china to cooperate with us in terms of north korea or in terms of darfur or all kinds of other places. because they own so much of our debt. and we are not in a position to really pressure them because there it is. we're beholden to them as long as we're driving up these kind of debts. >> i don't understand the angry people who say this is a terrible thing for bill clinton to do. i mean, we got the two young ladies back. they got the picture of bill clinton. for my money, let's send bill
clinton to tehran where we have three hikers. give them the picture. get the three hikers back. send it to robert mugabe if we got somebody there. to say there was something wrong about this negotiated behind-the-scenes deal that got the journalists back -- >> what precedence? 1994, jimmy carter went to this man's father. >> but the advantage of using outsiders, it's easier to compartmentalize it. you don't want to encourage countries to kidnap americans. that's the reason you don't want to send u.s. government officials. it's a more tight area. bill clinton is a bit of a gray area, a former president. but still, it gives a bill of compartment. it gives deniability. it's easier for this president, mr. obama, this is not going to lead to policy changes. that's why it's okay. >> that's the thing you saw with the white house, they were vehement that bill clinton didn't talk about anything, anything except humanitarian, getting the journalists back.
he had no message for president obama. >> well, i know. but i think anybody -- it's hard to make that distinction when bill clinton goes over there, his wife is the secretary of state. anybody around the world is going to think no matter what we say that barack obama either permitted it or sent him on this trip so i think there is a fear about a poli thing. did this stand for u.s. policy and are we going to go around the world apologizing to people in order to get captives back. think that's the problem. you cannot separate bill clinton from this administration. no matter how -- >> even though they've had a tense relationship. >> nobody around the world sees like that. >> oh, big dog. he's big dog. it's fine. >> big dog -- having a fear but no reality yet. is there going to be a reality? will we change our policy? >> you mentioned the hikers in iran. what is interesting about that is that the iranians moved the
hikers to the kurdish border to tehran after the north korean mission. >> fine. i'll be happy to send -- let's send clinton and carter and bush and the other bush and get -- >> i just don't think it's necessary in the united states' interest to have somebody, bill clinton, outn an apology tour. no matter what public policy -- >> what did he apologize for? >> he went to north korea, apologized on their behalf to having violated the law, them coming into their cotry. >> just a minute, they violated their law, what's wrong with saying, we're sorry it happened? >> it's a question to be asked do we want the u.s. government to be put in a position where they wander around the world apologizing? >> i think we have more respect today because this president is realisticallsaying, we have made mistakes and we're acknowledging that. and we're going do a little better here. and we're going to have a different tone in the world rather than we're the united
states of america and we have nothing to apologize for. what a bunch of huey. that will get us with 305 million people in the world. >> you've got your wish we've done a great job with six months. >> there are 7 million people in the world, matthew. >> hold on. i'm toning you down. >> one second, what was the alternative. i take your point about the apologizing. but what would be the alternative when the north koreans say, if you send bill clinton, we'll released women. no choice. >> we didn't make policy concessions, we didn't agree to reduce sanctions. we didn't agree to bilateral talks as opposed to six-party talks. this is okay. >> yeah. he got the women home. he removed it. he took this little agitating issue off the table. it was not a big propaganda coup fonorth korea. once again, everybody looked at the pictures of north korea and kim and thought, ooh, that's not a good place. bill clinton made everybody
smile again. it ended fine. >> if i had known you were on my side, i would have -- >> you would have stopped? >> also, this week, the administration considered that a foreign policy success. they were even more excited about this killing in pakistan at the end of the week of the leader, baitullah mehsud, who had been become the leader, killed by a drone attack. apparently, had was on the roof of his father-in-law's house with his second wife getting treatment for diabetes. the drones came in. he was killed even though it's not 100% confirmed, the administration officials believe it. and, richard, i was struck at the end of the week, the white house, the pentagon, the state department, they were really, really buzzing about this as the news started to come out. and we kept hearing again and again this is a really big deal. explain that. >> it is a big deal. it's a really good day. it helps legitimatize some of these missile attacks which we've been taking a lot of criticism for because it does
show they can be quite discrete and quite effective. he was incdibly important in the talabani orbit psychologically and politically, this is a big setback. but all that said, it wasn't the decisive day. it was a good day but not a decisive day. this is not the end of the beginning. this is not the beginning of the end. this is simply one good day for us but the fundamental problems of the pakistani governance, the fact that they're not in control in large chunks of their western territories, the realities of the war in afghanistan are all with us, but you don'tave the decisive days. >> but also appeared to set up a fight among his subordinates, the two deputies getting in a gun fight, one or both of them may have been killed. >> no honor among thieves or terrorists. again, the fact that they had these fights is good. but this is the sort of thing that's still going to play out over time. these are not organizations where you're getting rid of one or two people are transformational. it's simply a long-term
struggle. >> it's really a long-term struggle. i mean, afghanistan is looking like this is going to be an incredible long slog. and seeing how the american people deal with that, and how much they continue to support it, as more and more people get killed is going to be something that's going to be for the administration. >> i know there are people who are close to the president who worry about the slippery slope here, general mcchrystal we think may ask for another 4,000 or 5,000 troops. and then after, lyndon johnson-like, another 4,000 or 5,000 troops. and just like that, we go into the big muddy again. now, maybe we contain afghanistan, the british couldn't, the soviets couldn't. all of that. maybe we can show them democracy. i don't think we were able to do that in iraq. maybe in afghanistan. i don't think so. >> the previous administration took their eye off the ball in iraq. and ignored afghanistan for too long. and general mcchrystal likely to come back with the request for
more troops. this is becoming barack obama's war. >> it's totally become his war. it's an interesting situation when you look at three or four years ago, who would have thought we would have debate that iraq would be all settled and afghanistan would be totally out of control. he's in a situation where it sounds like rumors that the pentagon wants to double the troop strength in afghanistan. from what you hear. i think it's a much more difficult situation than iraq. i think iraq has been used to, even though saddam hussein was bad, a central government-imposed solution. afghanistan has never been the situation where a central government solution has ever worked in the history of afghanistan. >> and peggy mentioned this idea of doubling the troops. and the pentagon said that's probably who high. the only question is, how many more troops mcchrystal is going to ask for. >> yeah. it's interesting to me, where we started was the drone killing of this taliban chiefsman and what followed.
the american people didn't seem to notice a great deal, this interesting, good progressive movement. the american people, i think, have been under the impression that afghanistan and iraq are sort of quiet and sort of secondary at this point, but i think it's coming back in a big way. it's coming back in britain where they've taken some real losses in people. front page story now, afghanistan. >> in polling, so many people are very concerned about afghanistan. >> you can see it in normal conversation now. people a really starting to talk about it. so it's going to shape part of our future. obama does own it now, in part, because he took it on himself to implant his face on the age. the past six months. he owns everything. >> what he's going to do is what you've suggested, this has become, as you suggested, not just his war, his war of choice. we didn't have to go this way. he's decided to increase our force levels. he's going to increase them more
gradually, to take the fight to the taliban. the united states has essentially become a party to afghanistan's civil war. we're going to try to push them out of afghanistan into pakistan. what we're going to try to do is continue to use this time to build up the afghan police and military forces. the real question is, quite honestly, whether that can go fast enough. >> you're going to push them out of afghanistan into pakistan. aren't we even more worried about pakistan in some ways than afghanistan because they have nuclear weapons? >> oh, pakistan is far more important but there again, you have state capacity which we're building it up. the whole idea is to buy time in afghanistan to build up police and military forces so the afghans can essentially fight their own civil war. to me, the real question is whether american patience, how that compares with the ability of the of begans to build up. i think the jury's out on that. >> when you're docking about sending in more troops, what
you're talking about is sending the same people who have already been in iraq back for another deployment. >> that's the most experienced soldiers. >> so these families are really feeling it because this is yet another likely deployment. >> i had a meeting at the u.s. army war college recently, the biggest thing i came away with being surrounded by young colonels and guys on their way to being generals is that they've been exhausted by their third and fourth and fifth tour in that part of the world. and it's hurting their families. their kids are growing up without dad. >> he wants more troops but he also publicly said and i think he means that he understands the hearts and minds of people. he understands we have got to build an infrastructure in the country that makes people want to belong to something else other than the taliban. how do we do that? we were unable to do it in vietnam. i don't thing we've done it in iraq. although i realize the jury's still out. >> and how did we do that in afghanistan? >> correct me if i'm wrong,
richard, but that implies a 10 or 20-year effort. it's also a different goal than the president laid out a few months ago. he wanted a very narrow goal which is basically deny al qaeda insurgency. >> we're in possibly a generational struggle to build up the middle east. pakistan is the scariest place. when it's probably the greatest gap between our interest and our influence. the reason, by the way, george, we can put more forces in afghanistan. pakistan, the pakistanis won't have them. quite honestly, we have to hope that the pakistani government essentially fights its own fight, afghanistan, we have the luxury of putting in forces to build them up. >> my question for you is, how much time do you think the public and the congress are going to give them? congress has said, next year, we want to see it or we're going to ll the plug. how about the public? >> i think very little time. i think the public is in a position where their lives are economically in bad shape. their alth care system is broken. they're all having a screaming
and yelling match and nobody is getting it done. our deficit is out of control. like where are we going to get the money to do this. we've got to recommit more troops to afghanistan. we thought that was deltd dealt with. i think the public has very little patience for more investment of resources of men and women in afghanistan. very little patience. >> unlike iraq, we have actually been on the ground in afghanistan for a long time doing nation building. >> very little, though. >> well, if we can protect the people who are there doing it, that makes a big difference. so that is one function that the military can provide that would be very useful and not that difficult. >> of course, nato is actually running afghanistan, although we have half the troops there. and we're the focal -- we're the central. >> and barack obama, what might be the biggest problem, these will probably not be his biggest foreign pose challenges over the it's likely to be iran and its nuclear program and quite possibly iraq. as u.s. troop withdrawals start to happen, you could see iraq unravel.
it could become a incredibly crowded national security inbox. just at the same time, all the things were we talking about earlier. >> he's got to hope theconomy comes back and gives him some relief. almost unnoticed in all of this, judge sonia sotomayor became justice, only the 111th justice on the supreme court. she was sworn in yesterday by chief justice roberts. >> i solemnly swear -- >> -- that i will administer justice so help me god. >> so help me god. >> congratulations and welcome to the court. >> big day for sonia sotomayor. big day for the hispanic community across the country. peggy noonan, i couldn't help but notice judge roberts had to read the oath this time. >> and a good move that was. you know, i am one who thinks, even though it's a cliche, a moving story. >> absolutely. >> this young woman who grew up in the projects. who made her way in the world, who came forward, who in my judgment should have been confirmed who was within the
mainstream framework judicially of america. and i thought it was very touching and good. and the third woman, right on. >> seeing the reactions of the groups that came together to watch the confirmation vote in the senate and probably again yesterday for the swearing in, i mean, these were women who were just overcome with emotion. and that's telling. that's an important thing. but i also think that peggy's point about sotomayor's growing up in the projects, i think we're going to see some toughness there that some of her opponents did not really anticipate. she's been affected by crime. >> we know she's tough. we know she's a prosecutor. we really can't notice what she's going to do on the court. >> no, you don't. >> i suspect she won't but -- the telling thing to me, george, only two republicans, conservatives who had a possible
re-election at stake. alexander from tennessee and from south carolina, lindsey graham voted to confirm her. i keep telling people to remind them that when antonin scalia was up for re-election, 98-0, every democrat voted for him. >> that's what's happened over the years, the polarization of the supreme court process. democrats lined up like they did against alito. even though they knew he was qualified, they knew they did it. just like for sotomayor. they knew she was qualified. i don't think this is a good thing for the supreme court. >> it wasn't just scalia, both justice briar and justice ginsburg. president obama has himself to blame some of this. was the one who led the filibuster against scalia. we have seen a new standard now,
peggy. it's not enough to be qualified. senators basically vote for who they wanon the court. someone they think will agree with them. >> a country can't operate that way. we need more give. >> but the country is operating that way, dysfunctionally. this is not, shall we say, a runoff or not unique. i was going to say, why the republicans are lining up against this hispanic nominee. it's the fastest-growing dem graphic group in america. 15%. this is the future. how is the republican party ever going to become the majority party if it alienates -- >> i thi that republicans figured that out, and when they're opposition, they pulled way back from where they were at the beginning of this. they spent more time talking about how great she was than i'm going to vote against her than they did talking about how bad she was. they were worried about that position. they know they cannot become a majority party in this country. i think this polarization is a bad effect on the court of law.
people sit there and say, do the justices decide what party, whoever got nominated on? it's not about the law and what's right for the country? it's about what's politically advantageous for either political party. the other thing, people are going to be watching her. sotomayor's first year or two are going to be very important. people are going to say, whether they believed what she said at the hearings, and when justice scalia or the vacancy occurs or somebody else, it's going to be wait a second. >> so, this is all about the next choice? >> well, sure, but a lot of people said in this round, well, she doesn't change the makeup. court. you know, it's all right. we can go with this.s. the next choice could be something g ththat does ange th makeup. and that becomes a much tougugh thing. you know, i think, matt, what realally happened, it was alrea getting polarized but bush versus gore really crystlized that. because when you g to a ur that basically decided an election. and decided an election on a 5-4
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