tv This Week With Christiane Amanpour ABC October 16, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EDT
r place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. "this week," barack obama on the ropes, his jobs bill dead for now, his poll numbers plummeting. our headliner today, the president's campaign strategist, david axelrod, on the uphill road to re-election and the republican candidates who stand in the way. and then, another week, another republican frontrunner. faster than you can say -- >> 9-9-9. >> 9-9-9 plan. >> when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, i think the devil's in the details. >> does herman cain have staying power and does his vaunted tax plan add up? george will and the roundtable
take on all of the week's politics and the anti-wall street protests, now happening on a global scale. and later -- did iran seek to kill a saudi diplomat on american soil? >> the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost. >> we'll take you inside the scheme and gauge the fallout with house intelligence chairman mike rogers and david sanger of "the new york times." and finally, washington today dedicates a monument to a man and a movement. >> he was speaking directly to me, saying john lewis, you too can do something. i was deeply moved and inspired by this man. >> a walk through history with civil rights icon john lewis. good morning, welcome to the program. we have lots to get to today but first, some news since your morning papers.
hundreds of protesters are camped out in london today as the occupy wall street protests continue to spread around the world. the most dramatic scenes this weekend come from rome where protests erupted in violence and riot police fought to contain the mayhem. in the south pole efforts are under way to save a sick american woman stranded there. renee douceur who manages a research station believes she suffered a stroke in august. the treacherous weather hampered efforts to rescue her but two planes on the way to fly her to safety in new zealand. in washington, thousands are expected to converge on the mall for the dedication of the martin luther king memorial. president obama is slated to speak and we'll have much more on the historic moment later in the program. in politics this week, the republican candidates faced off in another much-hyped debate and
the spotlight shone on the pizza mogul with the plan. here's abc's senior political correspondent jon karl with "this week in politics." >> reporter: the week belonged to herman cain. >> the american people are going to raise some cain in 2012! >> reporter: you don't need the polls to see cain's rise, just look at tuesday's debate in new hampshire. >> the 9-9-9 plan -- >> 9-9-9 plan. >> i don't know need 9-9-9 -- >> reporter: the 9-9-9 economic plan mentioned 24 times. >> that's right. >> reporter: so catchy it's already copied by spirit airlines in a new ad campaign but is the cain campaign for real? we stopped by his headquarters in iowa. no volunteers, no phones ringing. this, not how you win in iowa. cain's rise in the polls has been perry's fall. look at this national poll. perry tanking 22 points in a matter of weeks, cain climbing 22 points, and mitt romney, he just doesn't budge.
but this week, romney scored the season's biggest endorsement. >> mitt romney is the man we need to lead america and we need him now. that's why i'm here. >> reporter: a move foretold by "saturday night live." >> romney is boring. >> so what, a nice man in a president. >> reporter: a vote of confidence from another big republican. >> i continue to be impressed with mitt romney's performance in these debates, cool, calm, collected, agile. >> reporter: tried to hit reset with a big policy speech. >> we're standing on top of the next american economic boom. >> reporter: a call for more oil and gas drilling and a promise of 1.2 million new jobs but the texas jobs miracle appears to be wilting. texas is one of a dozen states where unemployment is actually rising. and look at this, teleprompters, who does he think he is, obama? >> anita perry, without prompters who broke through saying her husband has been beaten up, brutalized because of
his christian faith. >> a brutal month but we're survivors and we're warriors and we're climbing up that hill to try to save america. >> reporter: republican infighting little comfort to the white house this week which suffered a defeat when the senate finally got around to voting on the president's jobs bill. even a couple democrats voted no. finally, trending. up, the number nine. it's everywhere. nine, nine, nine. up, this guy, get a good look at him, he may be next treasury secretary, herman cain's top economic adviser rich lowery is an accountant behind the 9-9-9 plan. mitt romney up, so we think, everyone assumes he's the nominee, everyone except republican primary voters, that is. rick perry, down. not even sleep helped. newt, up. strong debates and no more tiffany's bills. huntsman, down.
zero points in one national poll and his campaign 500,000 in the red. lights out? up, domino's, herman cain the godfather's guy but his campaign spent nearly $1,000 at domino's. with "this week in politics" i'm jonathan karl. as for president obama, jonathan did mention his signature jobs plan failed its first big test in the senate. i sat down with the president's campaign strategist, david axelrod, to discuss plan b and take stock of his republican challengers. this past week, the president's jobs bill died in the senate. >> it took a setback. we're going to keep at it. it didn't die. >> pretty much dead in the format in terms of being approved -- >> as one entity, but now we'll take it apart and go piece by piece. the american people support every single plank of that bill and we're going to vote on every single one. >> all right. just last month you said about
this bill, the -- not an ala cartte menu but you announced it is an a la carte menu -- >> we hope to assemble the plan and take votes on each one. >> so what will be the first that you propose then? will it be payroll? infrastructure, what is first bits that you try to reassemble? >> that -- i'm not going to discuss a legislative calendar here, but they will be done sequentially and the sequence is being discussed right now. >> you think that you can get it all reassembled but the millionaire's tax do you think that will go through? a lot of opposition. >> well, not among the american people. the american people strongly support it and the american people are going to be heard on this legislation. i think so many americans are just sitting there saying, act, to congress. do something. stop playing games. >> so, what about occupy wall street then, is this something
that will benefit your party, benefit the president as he goes into re-election? >> that remains to be seen. obviously, i don't think any american is impressed when they see governor romney and all republican candidates say the first thing they'll do is roll back wall street reforms and go back to where we were before the crisis and let wall street write its own rules. that will be an issue in this campaign. >> beneficial to the president or detrimental? some of them are saying the president himself has a lot of wall street in his cabinet, for instance? >> i don't know and i don't know how to judge that and i don't know that anybody does, and we tend in this business to try and treat everything as a seminal event. you see that around the wall street protests. i do know this, the american people want a financial system that works on the level, they want to get a fair shake and want to know the dealings made are done transparently if they are problems such as the ones we saw before the crisis, we'll be alerted to them and can stop the whole economy from being turned
over. >> if the president can't work with congress or congress can't work with the president to get these things done now, how would it be different in a second term when maybe both houses of congress will be republican? >> first of all, let's see what happens in the election. >> what do you think -- >> i do believe when the president wins this election, i believe he will win this election, there will be an occasion for self-reflection on the part of the republican party and have to decide do they want to keep going down the road of obstruction, keep doing down this road of nonaction or will they work together to solve problems? >> let me ask you this, mitt romney, you had a conference call this week, basically highlighting what you want to see in the upcoming campaign. saying he's a flip-flopper, talking about all sorts of ways in which you hope to be able to beat him to the post. do you think mitt romney is the nominee who president obama faces? >> i really don't know.
there was a poll out this week that showed him at the same 23% he's been throughout the race. herman cain is leading the primary, the last poll rick perry was leading, earlier michele bachmann was doing very well, but romney stays the same. why? there is a question about his core principles, he was running for office almost 20 years for senator and governor of massachusetts. then he was a pro-choice and pro gay rights, pro-environmental candidate for office, then he decided to run for president and did a 180 on all of that. so time and time and time again he shifts and you get the feeling there is no principle too large for him to throw over in pursuit of political office. >> where do you think it will come down? you said you don't know who will face. but you mentioned perry, bachmann and cain, do you think cain will stay at the top? >> i don't know. as a political professional would you look and say two candidates who are likely to be competing at the end and one
would be perry and the other would be romney just based on the resources that they have, but this is a funny year. i don't know. >> you just mentioned a two-man race between perry and romney, and yet perry seems to be sliding in the polls. you still think he could be -- >> i've been around this business a long time and i know that it's a very dynamic process. so, the candidates haven't fully engaged yet. governor perry's been less than impressive in these debates and i think there is a general consensus about that. he just introduced a, what he called a jobs plan, it was an energy plan basically a xeroxed copy of the oil lobby's wish list for america. but nonetheless, he has a lot of resources and he in his career has shown a penchant for going hard after his opponents and i
think if i were governor romney i'd be worried about all these changes in position and how that, what kind of message that sends to voters, not just on republican side but throughout the electorate. >> president obama's chief campaign strategist david axelrod. find more of the interview at abcnews.com/thisweek. let's bring in our roundtable, george will, republican strategist mary matalin, "the washington post" columnist ruth marcus and abc senior political correspondent jonathan karl. welcome all of you. so, george, you saw that axelrod came down on romney like a ton of bricks. is this the man they think the nominee? >> clearly andy warhol primary where everybody is leader for 15 minutes and cain's turn today but it's not clear that cain has staying power. he's not running for president, sort of strolling for president without an infrastructure. it's pretty and cute and nice but whether or not it works we can be doubtful. they've clearly decided that romney is the problem. and they have a problem with romney because they're not going to run on their record because
the record isn't particularly appetizing, therefore they're going to run on the fitness of the republican candidate. and i think precisely because how do we say this, romney showed a certain versatility of conviction over the years, it's hard to nail him down. >> versatility of conviction, mary, nice way of saying what george was trying to say. do you think the white house is right to be focusing on romney? do you think they've got the right man there? >> i think they're doing everything to not focus on their own guy, they don't want this to be a natural re-election, referendum on the incumbent and axelrod is doing political algebra. if he strikes core convictions from one side he'll strike it from the other. obama has no core convictions that when he governs he governs as an unreconstructed liberal. the worst thing to say about romney he's an accommodationist, he bends to political will.
people would really see a president responsive to the political will than this president who operated government, jammed through things that were against the country's will. >> whether it's a referendum on president or not do you think the candidate will be romney or do you think perry? >> george makes a very good point, we are in a very sliver of a phase on the debate, if you go to the states, go to the board, go to perry's other strengths, raised over $17 million in under 50 days, go to iowa, south carolina, he has very strong on the ground operations. he has state senators, state reps, county chairmen, christie supporters, romney supporter, former romney, pawlenty supporters. he's solid on the ground, even in new hampshire, former gop state chairman. >> the sense that perry is done that this is inevitable, white house believes, white house going at romney now and watch this, they'll do this because it's an unfair fight right now. romney defending from attacks
from the republican opponents and the white house sees this is time to define romney but crazy to count out perry. he's got more money in the bank than romney. far more organization than herman cain. the national polls don't mean anything in the early state, exception with the new hampshire he's looking strong. >> go ahead. >> no, go ahead. >> perry, i agree like monty python's parrot, not dead yet and for all of the reasons that you said, romney's problem i think is first of all the versatility that george so nicely mentioned. also, he's the ultimate establishment candidate in a very anti-establishment year. you see it from the wall street protest, you see it from the tea party. he by all rights should be really at the very least inching up in the polls and because he's a way better candidate than he was four years ago. and he's not -- i suspect he eventually will but really is telling. >> you mentioned wall street protests, i tried to ask david axelrod, is that something the
president and democratic party can harness. is it, do you think? >> i agree with david that it's not quite gelled yet. i think last week, i watched so focus groups of walmart moms. they were not about to go to wall street protests but the thing that was fascinating was that they expressed a lot of the same anger and frustrations you hear from the wall street protests. they hated the banks, did not understand why the banks were getting bailouts and nothing done as they saw it to help them. they were furious with politicians in washington and to the extent and somebody that the wall street protests reflect that anger and somebody can harness that energy, it could be a political force. >> we'll go to colin moynihan who works for "the new york times" and is now at the protests. colin, you have been there virtually every day since this began. how is this movement or is it sort of harnessing itself? is it any clearer or still just people frustrated as we've been talking about?
>> reporter: well, i think that many of the protesters would say that their mere presence is their message, and over the last couple of weeks more and more folks joining in down here. i think their sense of themselves is, i think they're becoming more confident about the fact that they're here and getting attention from others. >> do you think they are something that can benefit the republican -- sorry the democratic party, president obama? or do they sort of lump all of that in with wall street as well? >> reporter: i think that they are resistant to sort of being identified with either party. they've gone out of their way to say they don't consider themselves to be a political party. they are not forming a platform or anything like that. to the degree they help one party or another they may be a little more beneficial at this point to the democrats because their message is anti-corporate but not sure if people's
perceptions stay the same. >> will they stay a long time? there was a fracas about cleanup and evicting them temporarily. what are they saying about how long they plan to stay there? >> reporter: they've been saying their stay is indefinite. they are trying to make plans to stay through the winter, prepare for cold weather and make it to the spring. no way to know if this will happen but this appears what they're aiming for and no signs of packing up tents and sleeping bags and leaving on their own. >> colin, thank you for joining us. jon? >> the idea that the anti-wall street is going to be the centerpiece of president obama's campaign, something david plouffe suggested -- >> david axelrod didn't. >> it's problematic. they know it's problematic. the president supported wall street bailout in the first place, the administration of tim geithner and hammered by the left by many of the people at the protests as being basically
a tool of wall street. >> let's go back and talk about rick perry some more. there have been, again, this sort of disappointing debate performance this week. there were comments from his wife, she said they've been brutalized partly because of his christian faith. do they have the fight to go on? questions as to whether he wants to be president given his demeanor at the table. >> dave kearney who is running the perry campaign, joe friday of talkers, had two poignant but critical points in the dan balz piece, covering this since jesus was a little boy, knows of what he speaks, message is more important than chatter and the polls are polaroids, that's what they're acting on that all of this chatter, all of these suggestions, or implications about perry's debate performance playing them out into a bigger finding doesn't -- doesn't hold.
over 70% of voters did not make up their minds in iowa, new hampshire, until the final month. we're not into that phase when you put boots on the ground. >> what does governor perry have to do to get back into the game? >> he has to get better at debating. he's had as many important debates in two months than in 13 years in texas politics. texas is such a red state that you win down there by rallying conservatives, you don't have to persuade. he's now in the persuasion business and that takes getting used to. they do have money, some infrastructure, and nature and the american media abhor a vacuum, and they will not allow there to be a stroll for romney -- >> you mention money and not allowing a stroll. let's put up this latest ad that governor perry has out about romney. >> i agree with mitt romney. >> jimmy carter is throwing his weight behind mitt romney. >> find it's the best path. i like mandate. >> it's working in massachusetts
would you apply it to the rest of the country? >> i would. >> romney has flip flopped on some issues. >> changed my mind. not running for a different office. >> a nation that has taken a mandate approach. >> a lot of reasons not to elect me. >> that video totally misrepresents what was said in that interview between -- with tim russert. the romney answer is from a different question. it is a complete misrepresentation of what happened but shows that the perry, will go after romney, do everything he can to destroy romney. a very effective negative campaigner, but the problem for perry so far is that he's done nothing to define himself. and what he would stand for. >> i would say it's actually a bigger problem in that he came in exposed on two flanks, exposed on the left flank with his comments about social security, monstrous lie, ponzi scheme, and on the right flank on immigration. he was completely unprepared, this last debate performance at
least was a sin of omission, where he sort of sat there and looked surprised and passive, not commission, but not a good week for him and he needs to step up his game to stay in the game. >> cain, what does he have to do to stay in the game in as long as he is? >> he said he was not the flavor of the week but i suspect and stealing a line from bill mcintyre, he's a souffle of the month. 9-9-9 looks wrong wrong wrong, it's a massive tax increase on poor people and middle income americans. and he's got lots of empty spaces and blank knowledge on other things outside 9-9-9. that's a big problem. >> we'll talk about it in our next roundtable which is going to be about the economy. we dig into the candidates' jobs plan and of course, as we
mentioned 9-9-9. which plan has what it takes to bring america back to work? our special roundtable is next. ♪ [ female announcer ] the road is not exactly a place of intelligence. highway maintenance is underfunded, costing drivers $67 billion a year, and countless tires. which drivers never actually check because they're busy, checking email.
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fears about the unemployment situation. their collective voice now too loud to be dismissed and their anger yet another symptom of the crisis which grips this country and the world. so, where does that leave the policy debate? joining me again, george will, rumberg television's margaret brennan, laura tyson a member of the president's jobs council, and former clinton administration economic adviser, and jon karl again. thank you for being here. margaret, you're down at wall street every single day. what are people inside the stock exchange making of what is going on outside? >> interesting, i'm inside every day and went down to talk to the protesters on friday, and the frustrations inside and outside are similar. 45 million americans on food stamps, 14 million americans unemployed. but inside of wall street, they're more angry at what's not happening in washington, the lack of clarity and lack of momentum.
outside, they are attacking the symbol of banks, the symbol of money and it's not quite clear what they're asking for but the frustration is something that people are definitely noticing. >> their frustration, wall street bankers' frustration about washington, you're on the president's jobs council, what is going to happen? what is going to make some kind of impact in this jobs crisis right now? >> you know, the jobs act that just went down to first round defeat that you talked about in the earlier segment has been evaluated by very large number of economists and they have said repeatedly it could actually have an effect. it could create a couple million jobs next year. it could increase the gdp growth rate a couple percentage points, could reduce unemployment rate by eight percentage points. this is a serious plan. the parts of the plan that are major parts, payroll tax relief, infrastructure, unemployment compensation with reform, these are things that have been supported on both sides of the aisle historically, a real plan that comes with bipartisan
support, it's a tragedy if that plan does not pass because it's a serious effort evaluated to have a real effect. >> even mark zandy, seems to be the white house's favorite economy -- >> not the only one. >> has suggested that yes it would have an impact in the short run but not in the long term. a drag on the economy in the long run. >> next year without it, you have to think about next year. 2012, next year, because of what is already in the books, the government will be taking out of the economy nearly two percentage points, the economy is on the brink of recession. the -- a double-dip recession, probability of recession, wide group of economists think about 30%. if we don't do something for next year, government policy will actually increase the odds that we go into recession. increase the odds. >> let me ask you george, business leaders are getting very worried, including people who are democratic-leaning like mort zuckerman, had an op-ed in "the wall street journal" this
weekend saying he and his business leader colleagues and friends are beginning to think this government's policies are failing in this regard. what do you see if -- what do you see happening this time next year in this regard? >> a political convulsion if we start a recession at 9.1% unemployment, 16.5 unemployed, partially employed or too discouraged to seek employment. 22% of mortgage holders under water at this point. astonishing place to start a recession. i think one potential plank, if you can call it that, of occupy wall street that's about to go mainstream, and that's debt repudiation. you see it from mainstream economists. these are the same geniuses by wait who said if we pass the stimulus we would have unemployment at 8% or less. and that is your mainstream economists say we need just a little bit of inflation and a narrow band, 4 to 6% just for a little while. now, behind this fatal conceit
they can control inflation, have just a little bit of it with a thermostat to turn it up or down, inflation is debt repudiation, it's just a civilized and surreptitious way to get out from under debt. here you have them, the big number that occupy wall street is preoccupied with is $1 trillion in student loan debt. >> you talk about a social convulsion it's kind of starting in wall street and around the world. what is the single biggest problem, laura, clouding the jobs picture? you are quoted there are a lot of jobs but not the skills to match the jobs. >> you have to be careful, i agree there is a skills mismatch but i also think the predominant problem for unemployment right now is lack of spending. it's a lack of demand. consumers are on their backs, savings rate is going up, they have a lot of debt, can't consume, worried about jobs, they don't have jobs, they can't consume. 70% of the economy it was engine of growth.
it's off. it's running at a very low -- it's demand. i think that the skills issue is very important because as you're thinking about what to do now to create jobs, you want to deal with the skills problems going forward. so that's why, so the president's council on jobs and competitiveness, one of the things we're focusing on is programs to build advanced manufacturing skills or health care skills or build more engineers, that creates jobs now, creates capabilities now but also deals with skills mismatch going forward. infrastructure spending right now, spending right now in a way which benefits the economy going forward, that's i think what we need do. that's why i'm so -- infrastructure is so important. >> you have corporations saying we could hire but don't have people who have the skill set we want. why aren't you not protesting outside wall street, why aren't you protesting at universities? and the issue of confidence is a great one.
but for a corporation to take someone on a payroll and take on that, they need to have a confidence that we're not going to stay on the precipice of recession, and arguably the conversations with paris and g-20 this weekend are huge part of restoring confidence and saying we're not going to allow for another banking crisis to impact all of europe and the globe. >> the jobs bill, you get a better tax credit if you hire somebody unemployed for six months. you get additional tax credit if you hire a veteran. >> i think the chunk would be an exaggeration, most of it, that bill, 270 billion is general payroll tax relief, about -- >> good chance of passing and i think that actually a good chunk of that, that will pass, bipartisan support for the payroll tax and bipartisan support for infrastructure, which makes you wonder why we sent a month and a half debating a bill that had no chance of passing in its form. >> one of the economic plans is the 9-9-9 plan of herman cain. i spoke to him a couple of weeks ago on this program, and this is what he said about the sales tax portion of it.
>> you talk about 9% corporate, 9% income tax and 9% national sales tax. and economists are saying that that could actually disproportionately affect poorer people, african americans and all sorts of poorer people. >> ask them to do the math. >> look, on the sales tax part of the plan, we did do the math. the plans, currently five states without their own sales tax, including new hampshire, under cain's plan they go from paying nothing to paying 9%. cain's tax an additional burden in states with sales taxes already on the books and look at this, 26 states with current sales taxes at or above 6%. so, under cain's plan that number would soar to at least 15%. so, it's catchy but is it really something that will work, george? >> the danger right now as laura says, the united states economy is driven by consumer spending which is fueled by consumer credit.
on the other hand, the american people consume too much and save too little. much too little. we had a savings rate 9% 1980s, 5% in the '90s and 2005 savings rate went negative. the consumption went on because people took on the home equity loans in sure and certain confidence that housing prices never not decline. that didn't work out well. >> math doesn't add up. about 200 billion short in revenue unless you keep part of the current tax structure, excise tax on cigarettes, beer and if you exempt used goods which i guess means a home and a car. >> this roundtable will continue in the green room. at abc news.com, and coming up, a story of high stakes global intrigue. did the iranian government plot to assassinate a top diplomat on american soil? a story with far-reaching implications, next. on american soil? a story with far-reaching implications, next.
plot to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador to the united states. the man at the heart of the case is an iranian-american used car salesman from texas. the fbi says it has him on tape offering an associate of a mexican drug cartel $1.5 million to kill the saudi diplomat by exploding a bomb outside a washington restaurant. the criminal complaint alleges that he traveled to mexico in may to discuss the deal. and even wired $100,000 as a down payment. but it turns out the cartel contact was actually a secret informant for the drug enforcement administration. and when the feds foiled the plot, he told authorities he was, quote, recruited, funded and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in iran's elite revolutionary guard. now, the fbi director robert mueller says the case reads like a hollywood script but the brazen scheme has many wondering why iran would take such a
provocative an unprecedented action on u.s. soil and how high up in the iranian government does the plot go? joining me to assess fallout is chairman of the house intelligence committee mike rogers and david sanger of "the new york times" who has written a lot about these issues. how far up do you believe this goes? was this directed by the top leadership of iran? >> there is evidence and intelligence. the evidence is very good that senior elements of quds force clearly knew and sanctioned this particularly activity, and what we know about the quds force and how its command and control operates, the closeness of the commander of the quds force, with you supreme leader, something like this would have to have senior level approval of something that didn't happen in a basement. >> doesn't the united states have to respond? how will it do so beyond sanctions? >> we should respond.
you should never, ever allow nation to believe they can commit an act of political assassination on u.s. soil. so, there is a lot of things we can do. it's a great opportunity for the administration to push back with our european allies and say listen, a lot of commercial contracts, time now to reevaluate. put pressure on the chinese and russians, say, listen you stand with a nation engaged in nation-state terrorism or stand with the rest of the international community. >> militarily respond? >> i don't think you should take it off the table. i think there are a lot of things we should do to make sure they understand this is unacceptable, give a great example, we know they have quds force operatives in iraq and afghanistan targeting and helping target train, supply weapon systems and other things against u.s. soldiers. we need to take an aggressive stance for those operatives. >> you wrote toady about one effort to get the iaea, nuclear watchdog agency, to publicize more of what they believe iran is doing on the nuclear front. how difficult for the united states to get the pressure on
iran right now? >> i think over the past year, christiane, giving the arab spring, some of the focus came off of the nuclear issue for the administration. if you think until january of this year, the primary goal with the obama administration had in the middle east was stopping the iranian nuclear program. you haven't heard the president talk about it very much. you haven't heard even people in the middle east who are concerned about it talk very much. i think that the administration now sees in this plot an opportunity to refocus, not only on iran but on the iranian revolutionary guard corps which also runs the nuclear program. >> is there is a risk if one pushes too much and get it is iaea chief to put out other things he knows that it could backfire and get the watchdog people kicked out of iran? >> that is a significant risk, and one of the reasons that the chairman or director of the iaea has been so reluctant to make public the details. the second problem is that there
is no overall evidence, at least that has been described to me, maybe chairman rogers and others know of some, that shows the iranians actually building a complete bomb. instead, it's the elements that you would only use a nuclear weapon system. so some deniability there. >> there is three parts to that program. there is the enrichment part, weaponization part and ability to deliver it via missile. so they have hit a very important threshold in enrichment, they hit the 20% threshold. from 20% to the 90-plus percent you need for nuclear weapon grade material is exponentially easier, so they crossed that threshold. doing a lot of testing on missiles. their weaponization program is alive and well. some notion they may have slowed
down on one on not all three. it's a three-part program. we know they're engaged in all three parts. i wouldn't wait too much longer. a country willing to assassinate an ambassador on u.s. soil with a nuclear weapon incredibly dangerous. >> the supreme leader khamenei denied this and said it's child's play and they're trying to get a pretext to attack us. in the iran watching community, some think it's such an incompetent play and so, or not? what do you think in terms of the pushback from those who are saying how could this have happened? >> the evidence that i've seen, and of course i only see what is out there in public, clearly shows that there was a plot and that money was transferred from iran to the potential assassin. so, clearly something was under way here. there is this disconnect between what we regard as a very disciplined quds force and revolutionary guard corps and
what seems to have been an somewhat amateurish attempt to get a guy who is affiliated with a mexican drug cartel and also a dea informant and that does not seem to be the a-team at work. but it may be the u.s. got lucky in this case and the iranians made a very big mistake. >> why do you think iran, with all its antagonisms between the u.s., would try do something that steps up the situation so dramatically? >> well, let me just talk about the amateurish part and then address that. we were very fortunate. we got to see this, the u.s. government got to see this unfold from the beginning. as a former fbi agent, if you started at the back end, say it had been successful, a bomb had gone off let's say in a restaurant, you would have had to figure out what was the target, who all was killed and walk it back. we would still be in the throes of anger and frustration and chaos in the united states trying to figure out who did this and why. because we got on so early, people say well, this was really easy to determine.
there is good fortune, good police work but fortune in this particular case. they had somebody who could travel to iran to the united states on u.s. passport who had connections in mexico who was not directly affiliated with the irgc or the quds force. that was somebody that made sense for them and by the way, he also had the ability to recruit a criminal to pull off the act. that is not necessarily amateurish, it's pretty sophisticated. >> we'll look at this and trying to figure out more and more details as they come up. thank you both very much indeed. >> thank you. up next, the great unveiling. as thousands gather to mark the dedication of the martin luther king monument, civil rights legend congressman john lewis reflects on the man and his movement. ♪ [ male announcer ] each of these photos was taken
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the crowds keep embracing him. touching him. they're drawn to the man who was a friend and colleague of king's. does it look like him? >> oh, yeah. its one of the best likeness of him that i've ever seen. the first time i came out here, they still had the scaffold up and invited me to go up. i went up. i touched his head, rubbed his head, his face. i cried. it's powerful. >> reporter: lewis' journey to this site began more than 56 years ago. it was early 1955 when lewis, then 15, heard a young minister on the radio for the first time. >> we must let it be known all over the world that we will not take it any longer. >> reporter: his name was dr. martin luther king, jr. and his message captivated lewis. >> he was not just concerned with the pearly gates and
streets paved with milk and honey. he was concerned with the streets of montgomery, alabama. >> reporter: social gospel? >> social gospel. he talked about what people could do together, seemed like he was speaking directly to me. john lewis, you too, can do something. i was deeply moved and inspired by this man. >> reporter: the son of sharecroppers, lewis attended segregated public schools in pike county, alabama. he did not understand why signs kept whites and coloreds separate. >> i would ask my mother, my father, m grandparents my great-grandparents, why segregation, why racial discrimination. they would say that's the way it is. don't you get in the way, don't you get in trouble. >> reporter: really? they were worried. >> yeah. they were very troubled about what could happen. but dr. king inspired me. >> reporter: lewis first met king when he was thinking about integrate troy state college. >> i just wrote him and said dr. king, i need your help.
he wrote me back. sent me a round trip greyhound bus ticket and invited me to come to montgomery. that was the beginning of our relationship. >> reporter: lewis became a key student leader in the early days of the civil rights movement, one of the original freedom riders. the movement nearly cost lewis his life. march 7, 1965, on bloody sunday, as it came to be known. lewis was badly beaten by alabama state troopers as he crossed the edmund pettis bridge. but king's teachings, bits of which etched in these stones, gave him strength. >> we shall overcome, because -- >> -- the arc of the moral universe -- >> is long but bends towards justice. >> reporter: what will you be thinking about on sunday when the dedication takes place? >> well, on sunday, when we dedicate this monument, this
memorial to dr. king, i will reflect 48 years ago when i stood with him and others, when i spoke. >> we must wake up america, wake up, for we cannot stop and we will not -- >> i will think about when the march was all over, president kennedy invited us to the white house. he stood in the door of the oval office and greeted each one of us, he was so proud. he was like a beaming father that things had gone so well, and he said, you did a good job, you did a good job. and when he got to dr. king he said, and you had a dream. and i want to do my best not to lose it and i'm going to do everything possible to keep from crying. but if i have some tears left i'm going to cry. >> abc's jake tapper with john lewis, and what a great a thing that he threw his parents' caution to the wind and joined the fight. stay with us. much more to come. stay with us. much more to come.
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and now the "sunday funnies." >> yesterday, president obama had beer with four unemployed construction workers. obama asked the guys what was it like to lose their jobs and they were like, oh, you'll see. according to the latest polls herman cain moved ahead of mitt romney. can you believe that? yeah. yeah. political analysts say this is because americans don't understand mormonism but they do understand pizza. michele bachmann didn't prepare at all, took on herman cain's 9-9-9 plan. look at this. >> when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, i think the devil's in the details. >> we've given you several chances. we'll come back. >> that's right. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. these dogs wake up too early!
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>> we remember all of those who died in war this week. the pentagon released the names of seven soldiers and marines killed in afghanistan. ♪ [ female announcer ] the road is not exactly a place of intelligence. ♪ this is why we engineered a car that analyzes real-time information, reads your handwriting and makes 2,000 decisions every second. the new audi a6 is here. the road is now an intelligent place. join us in making the road more intelligent by taking the pledge at driverspledge.com. ♪ [ jim ] i need to push out a software upgrade. build a new app for the sales team in beijing.
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