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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  November 18, 2012 10:00am-11:00am EST

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good morning. welcome to "this week." firestorm, one week after his re-election, the president faces the middle east on the brink. a deepening sex scandal. >> david petraeus in the hot seat. >> the scandal spreads. >> this is "the national enquirer." >> new questions about benghazi. >> what did the president know, and what did he do about it? and a fiscal cliffhanger holding the economy hostage. the politics, the policy and what it all means for you with our headliners, house democratic leader, nancy pelosi, house homeland security chair, peter king, and carl levin of the senate armed services committee, and insights and analysis with our powerhouse roundtable with
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george will, donna brazile, jonathan karl, newt gingrich and congressman xavier becerra. plus -- ♪ sugar sugar >> america's favorite tasty treat turns into another political football. is it twilight for the twinkie? good morning. george stephanopoulos has the weekend off. we begin with breaking news from the middle east where despite talks of a possible cease-fire, the air war between hamas and israel is continuing. so let's get right to it. we have alex marquardt in gaza city and christiane amanpour in jerusalem, and, alex, let me begin with you. give us a sense of what's been going there on in gaza. >> reporter: good morning, martha. it's been very consistent pummeling of gaza by the israeli
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air force and a consistent launching of rockets by these palestinian militant groups. we are hearing the bombings going off rather incessantly. just a short while ago, a palestinian group launched a rocket from just a short distance away. this goes on throughout the day, into the night. around 2:00 a.m. we were woken up by this barrage of artillery fire coming from the navy ship just offshore, the israeli ship. the big question today, whether we'll see a cease-fire brokered by egypt and turkey obviously with the pressure of the u.s. and great britain, or are we going to see that ground invasion by israel? prime minister netanyahu said today they are ready to expand their ground operation. we know egypt d turkey are working feverishly to strike some sort of deal, but the signal, the sounds coming out of jerusalem is they aren't finished with this operation yet, but certainly here in gaza people are hoping that some sort
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of cease-fire will come about very soon. >> thanks to alex, and now let's bring in abc's global affairs anchor christiane amanpour who joins us from jerusalem. christiane, what is the situation there militarily? are there still fears of a ground war? >> reporter: martha, from the military point of view, they want to just get rid of as much of hamas' rocket-launching capability as possible. i just talked to a senior military official here, an israeli official, who said they seemed to be quite pleased with what they've done so far. in about a thousand sorties, they've taken out quite a lot of the rocket-launching capability, so if there is to be a ground offensive, it looks like they're amassing to keep the military track going to give a threat to hamas to say they're serious or as they say to me, cocking the trigger ready to pull it if hamas does something like kill a huge number of israeli civilians here in jerusalem or tel aviv, and from hamas' point of view they have have shown something that can reach the distances of to tel aviv and jerusalem. will that be enough for both to
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get off the exit ramp? we'll see. >> just quickly, christiane, could you tell us diplomatically what's going on, the reaction of the u.s., turkey and egypt? >> in short, there is a huge amount of effort to de-escalate it. the united states trying to get egypt and turkey to de-escalate it and seek a way out and the israelis are working hard as well to make sure it's resolved diplomatically. so in short it's a two-track situation right now. >> still very serious. thank you very much, christiane and alex. we're joined now by senate armed services chair carl levin of michigan and house homeland chair peter king of new york. thank you both for joining us this morning. i'm going to start with you, senator levin. how serious is this situation in israel? >> well, it's very serious, and hamas has obviously made it serious. they decided they'll attack israel with rockets, and israel
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has decided, as every country i think would decide, they're going to defend themselves. >> and do you believe this will escalate? >> it could escalate, and i think the potential is there, however, president obama and others are doing their very best to see if they can't turn hamas' attacks off, and the role of iron dome here should always be, remembered. it's a very critical weapon system. >> which is to protect. >> protects israel against these rockets with a 90% success rate and the president and congress here are entitled to, i believe, a lot of credit for providing that system to israel. it's a very effective system. >> congressman king, i want to ask you whether you believe this will turn into a ground war and should it? is it the only way to stop those rockets? >> well, let me start off in a bipartisan order. i fully agree with senator levin. israel is our main ally in the middle east. israel has an absolute right to defend itself. all of us republicans and democrats that stand with the president in supporting israel and, quite frankly, i'm not the military expert, i was a spec 5
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in the army, that's as far as i got, but having said that, israel should do whatever it has to to defend itself. the president will work diplomatic channels and i'm not in a position nor do i want to second-guess what israel should do. israel has to determine what it wants to do to preserve its security. >> senator levin, president obama has been in touch with both sides. what do you think of the response by the egyptians? >> it's pretty weak so far from what i can tell. the egyptians have a real interest here in the region not exploding, in the peace agreement continuing to be abided by by them, the agreement that they have with israel, but i think that they're going to have to take some very serious steps diplomatically to make it clear to hamas that they're going to lose support in the arab world if they continue these rocket attacks on israel. >> i want to move to another hot spot in the world, libya, and certainly benghazi.
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last friday we had testimony from david petraeus and others about benghazi. you, congressman king, have been very critical of u.n. ambassador susan rice. you were critical in tv appearances right after the attack on september 11th. let's listen to that. >> either ambassador rice was deliberately misleading the american people or she showed and demonstrated such a lack of knowledge and sophistication that she shouldn't hold that position anymore. >> now, during friday's hearing, david petraeus, and we'll get to other incidents -- other news with david petraeus later, but david petraeus basically said he knew it was a terrorist attack and that those points were taken out of susan rice's talking points. so do you -- do you feel differently about susan rice now? >> no, first of all, as far as general petraeus, what was clear was that the intelligence community had this right, and
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they put together talking points, and somewhere after it left the intelligence community, some way in the administration there was language taken out. susan rice, i would hope if she's going to go on national television, is going to rely on more than unclassified talking points. she has -- >> but if the information wasn't in the talking points, what is she supposed to do? >> well, as u.n. ambassador she had access to all the classified information from the state department. she certainly could have gotten a classified briefing, she would have sat down at the national security council and known that those talking points had been watered down and could have caveated that. she left a clear impression this was a spontaneous demonstration based on the video, and as president obama said, don't blame susan rice because she had nothing to do with benghazi, then why did they send her out as the representative to the american people? >> senator levin, there's some who are calling for watergate-style hearings becse of this. first your reaction about susan rice. >> well, it's one of the most unfair attacks i've ever seen in washington in 34 years. susan rice was using the
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unclassified talking points, which were provided by the intelligence community. they were a consensus report. they -- >> why didn't they send out hillary clinton? tell me why they didn't send out the secretary of state. >> i have no idea. >> shouldn't she have been out there? >> that's not the issue. the issue is whether or not susan rice should be pilloried for using intelligence reports which david petraeus signed off on, which the dni, the director of national intelligence, mr. clapper signed off on. were they part of a cover-up? did they do something wrong? ask them. they told us, look, we were there. congressman king was there for two days of hearings. >> he says she should have asked more questions. she shouldn't just go out and read talking points. >> well, you mean she should look at the other intelligence. should david petraeus have looked at the other intelligence? of course, he is the head of the cia. should the head of -- the director of national intelligence, he has access to the intelligence. they all had access to the
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intelligence, but this is the key, martha, and i want to hear representative king deny it, those talking points were signed off on by petraeus and by clapper. does she not have a right to rely on -- >> congressman king, very quickly on this. >> well, the fact is that when general clapper and general petraeus signed off on those talking points, it had different language in them. when they went over to the administration, we don't know whether it was the white house, the national security council, the justice department or the defense department, that language was changed. that was not the language sent over by the intelligence community. >> they signed off on -- >> gentlemen -- >> now, wait a minute. they signed off on those talking points. >> you made the point. you made the point. >> i had no choice. i had no choice at that stage. >> i want to move on to the other issues with david petraeus. he, again, was giving testimony on the hill. what was the mood like given the sex scandal surrounding him? >> we felt, i think, that he has
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been a person who has provided great service to the united states and that the mistake he made was a personal mistake. it was not a public mistake. it was a personal mistake. >> i sat down with house minority leader nancy pelosi. we'll hear more from that interview, but let's listen to what she said about this. >> so you don't think he should have resigned? >> well, that was his decision. that was his decision. my only -- >> but if you just think it's a personal matter, why should he resign? >> what happens in his life is not my business. what happens on the internet is i think stupid, but those are decisions that he made. i think he did something that wasn't good, and he made the honorable decision to resign. >> congressman king, should he have resigned? >> i think all the fact is, yes. i have great regard for general petraeus. i consider myself a friend of general petraeus, and he's handled himself with great dignity and class over the years. he's an outstanding leader. obviously mistakes were made here.
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i think we have to reach a stage, though, when you think of so many leaders in the past who have had sexual indiscretions and they stayed in office in the modern world in which we live, i guess it's almost like zero tolerance for any type of sin but i come from a tradition that believes in original sin, none of us is perfect but i guess in the world in which we live today with the internet, it would make it difficult for him to stay on but it's really the nation's loss losing david petraeus. >> senator levin, shouldn't there be some line? david petraeus, i know we're talking about him as a great general, but he was the cia director. shouldn't there be some line where someone should resign and we say that's not acceptable? >> the behavior is not acceptable. it's personally unacceptable behavior, but in terms of the public nature of it, there's no indication that there was a violation of our intelligence rules, that he divulged classified information to anybody. there's none of that. it's a very personal decision. i'm sorry that it came to that point, because i think we've lost somebody who really made a
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contribution. >> i should point out this is not over the cia, it's also looking into it. but thanks to you both and chairman king will be answering the questions you submitted on twitter later in the program, and when we come back in just two minutes, our exclusive interview with the powerful house democratic leader nancy pelosi as talks begin to avoid the fiscal cliff. the word of the week is "constructive," but will we get a deal before it's too late? we'll be right back. ight back. [ woman ] i don't know. i just can't imagine that retiring some day is even an option for sean and me. how'd you get comfortable enough to know you could really do it? well, planning, of course. and we got a lot of good advice. a few years ago, your mom and i put some money into a pacific life fixed annuity. it guarantees us an income for the rest of our lives, whether social security is all there or not. hey, hey! ♪ [ laughs ]
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>> we need to talk about the fiscal cliff but i'm dying to ask you about this scandal because it's all anyone is talking about. >> yeah. this sex scandal is all anyone in washington can talk about. i wonder why the country is in financial ruin. the late night comedians had some fun with it, that looming fiscal cliff is serious business. with taxes set to rise on all americans starting january 1st, along with massive budget cuts, all of which could push the economy back into a recession. on friday, president obama and congressional leaders sat down to start negotiations about how to avoid that cliff and came out sounding optimistic. >> and i believe that we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that is right in front of us today. >> we've already been through it before. so on friday i went to the capitol to ask house leader nancy pelosi how realistic it is
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that we'll get a deal done. leader pelosi, you all came out of the meeting with the president sounding pretty optimistic, pretty confident. but you've been there before. you said in july of 2011, called your talks with the gop about a grand bargain constructive saying you were optimistic that we can find a place where we can come together. obviously those talks failed, so what's changed, and why do you believe this optimism after this meeting? >> that was then. this is now. the urgency is so much greater, so i'm optimistic because i think it's very clear the american people expect and deserve and want to see us get this job done. >> did anything that speaker boehner said make you optimistic? was it just that urgency that you're talking about? >> well, it's the urgency, but i think the spirit at the table was one of everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done. hopefully that is possible. hopefully it is possible by the middle of december so the confidence of the markets and,
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most importantly, the confidence of the consumers returns to infuse our economy with demand, which creates jobs. >> you said afterwards there would be these milestones of success. how will that work? what are the goals? are there interim goals? >> well, my suggestion was that we at some point, not necessarily today, decide on what our goal is in terms of the amount of deficit reduction that we can achieve, some date by which we'd like to do it, the middle of december so this doesn't take us up to christmas, some milestones along the way so progress can be demonstrated we're moving in a forward direction. >> i spoke to senator michael bennet of colorado earlier this week. he said this really comes down to speaker boehner and president obama. so what do you see, your role? >> well, we have to have the
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votes in order for something to pass. i think speaker boehner and mitch mcconnell and senator reid and i would all agree that we have to have something that will pass both houses that the president will sign, and so, you know, really what is important is getting the job done. >> well, let's talk about the details. the focus does seem to be on the revenue side of this. your side is insisting on tax rate increases. but have you seen any indication that the republicans are opening to raising rates? >> well, they have said that they know that revenue has to be on the table, and that is why i have said, when we talk about revenue, what are we talking about? are we talking about closing loopholes, are we talking about raising rates or are we talking about both, and they're talking about entitlements restructuring. what does that mean? if that means harming beneficiaries, i don't think that that's such a good idea. >> could you accept a deal that
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does not include tax rate increases for the wealthy? we've seen talk about a possible compromise that would leave rates the same but cap deductions for high-income earners. is that something acceptable? >> no. >> not at all. >> the president has made it very clear in his campaign that there are not enough resources -- that what you just described is a formula and a blueprint for hampering our future. you cannot go forward -- you have to cut some investments. if you cut too many you're hampering growth. you're hampering education, our investment for the future. so just to close loopholes is far too little money if it's -- and it could be -- they have said they want it to be revenue neutral. if it's going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share. >> i know you're optimistic about this and confident this will happen, but last week on the show with george stephanopoulos, senator patty murray said she thought if you don't have a deal by december 31st, we should just fall into the fiscal cliff, fall off the fiscal cliff.
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>> we have to make sure that the wealthiest americans pay their fair share. if the republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year. >> do you agree with that? >> well, i think she was stating a fact. if we don't have a deal by december 31st, we will go over the fiscal cliff. >> if you don't get a deal, are you willing to just walk away? >> well, the -- i want a deal. i want -- >> i know you want a deal, but would you be willing to just say if we don't get what we want -- >> i don't think that's -- in my view, as one seat at the table, i don't think it's my role to go to the table with a threat. i think it's my role to go to the table with some ideas to be receptive to what we can come to agreement on. i'm not criticizing statements others make, but what i am saying is that there's too much at risk, and even if you went over the cliff for one month and then corrected it, you would
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still have a loss of gdp. >> i think you said in september you said categorically the country can't go over the cliff. >> absolutely. i completely -- look -- >> you agree with yourself. >> yeah, i agree with myself, i do, and i quote myself from time to time, as well, and here's the thing, we're all grown-ups, i mean we talk about maturity and age, we're all grown-ups. we have a responsibility to the american people. the elements for an agreement are there. time is of the essence. the quicker we do it, the more confidence we instill, the better it is for the economy and for the american people. >> just finally, you seemed genuinely taken aback and almost upset the other day -- >> no. >> -- in your press conference when you were asked if it was time for younger leadership.
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>> let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question, although it's quite offensive but you don't realize that, i guess. >> i said i quote myself and i do. but i did not agree with the characterization you just gave. i was amused. i was surprised at the response of my colleagues, because they just were very offended -- >> not you at all. >> well, for me i laughed because i thought, oh, they don't know what questions i have to be subjected to here all the time. for me this is a matter of course, but my colleagues, the women, we had 60 women gathered up there, and if you ever wanted to ask that question, you should save it for another day. >> our thanks to nancy pelosi. and when we come back, our powerhouse roundtable, so much to talk about. they're ready to weigh in with more on the fiscal cliff, plus the widening petraeus sex scandal and the middle east on the brink of war. an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone.
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the roundtable is coming up. tough questions this week about the attacks in benghazi. is it all just politics? will the administration pay a price? and later, last rites for the twinkie? all that from here at the newseum in washington, d.c. after this from our abc station. this year, america's privately-owned freight railroads plan to spend $23 billion on their network.
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♪ you can go your own way the people made it clear what they wanted. now let's work together. that's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. let me put it to you this way, i earned capital in the campaign, political capital and now i intend to spend it. >> i have one mandate. i have a mandate to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class. that's my mandate. president bush in 2004 and president obama this week with different ideas about the power of their mandates after re-election and we'll get to that with our roundtable in a moment. we're joined, as always, by george will, donna brazile, jonathan karl, congressman xavier becerra, the vice chair of the democratic caucus in the house and former house speaker newt gingrich. thank you all for being here. george will, i want to start with you, and i want to start with israel.
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this is a conventional war that we've been looking at in the past week. >> we've come in a sense a full circle from the war of independence in 1948, which was one essentially of small arms by israel to the great tank and air battles of the yom kippur war in 1973, israel's enemies tried to destroy it with conventional warfare. having failed at that they went to terrorism, suicide bombers he is and all the rest and israel before had to be on the offensive, built a fence. the problem is you can get over a fence with rockets and there are rockets by the tens of thousands now. now, senator levin a moment ago praised rightly the iron dome anti-missile defense system but any missile defense system can be overwhelmed by numbers and the danger is and israel will not still sit still for this, but they will have to
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go in and stop the source and supply of the rockets. >> speaker gingrich, just a few minutes benjamin netanyahu tweeted that they are ready to escalate this. where do you see this going? >> two things, one, end all the peace process. you have a permanent war in the region. you have people determined to destroy israel. they spent all the periods of nonwar building up the weapons to have war. and then when they think it's appropriate, they wage war. and then they go back to saying, oh, no, let's talk about a peace process while we accumulate more weapons. second, i think the israelis, this is very deliberate. the israelis have analyzed an iranian wing of hamas and an egyptian wing. they are methodically destroying the egyptian wing and they will stop when they optimize it but they are killing people and taking out assets that relate -- these are iranian rockets that are hitting tel aviv right now. they came in probably -- >> congressman, give up on the peace process you think? >> you want to be militarily strong so you don't have to go to war and so whether it's israel or the united states, you
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want to always be strong. but what you want to do is get to the negotiating table because that's where you broker the best agreement, and so i think the president has been clear, he's been forceful. america is speaking with one voice, and we have to see us get back to the negotiating table. >> jon karl, what happens if this does escalate? how should the u.s. be approaching it in your view? how is the u.s. approaching it? are we doing enough? >> what is interesting, you see absolutely agreement across the board as you always do when it comes to israel that israel is within its rights to defend itself. that is what this is about. this is responding to, you know, persistent attacks on its territory with these rockets, but the administration also made it clear they don't want this to escalate, and that's the message they are sending, the president is sending to the israelis. >> but this is a big test for president morsi, remember, hamas is -- >> the egyptian president. >> that is correct. hamas is a member of the so-called muslim brotherhood, so president morsi has dispatched
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diplomats to the territory to try to de-escalate the tensions. he's in touch with turkey, the arab league to try to get hamas to bring back. he's also signaling to israel that he wants to protect the palestinian population. you know, beyond the long-term threat of israel's security, i mean we have to look at can we give back to the peace process at some point, because ultimately that's the only way that we're going to protect israel, and that's the only way given the neighborhood has changed over the past few months that we're going to see any real peace in that area. >> i want to switch to benghazi now. it seems that the republicans are still digging in their heels about susan rice. where does this go? >> well, they sent out susan rice rather than the secretary of agriculture because presumably she could -- >> or the secretary of state. >> well, the secretary of
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agriculture could read talking points by the cia. did she mislead the country? of course, she did in saying that this was a movie review gone bad somehow. the question is, did she intentionally mislead, or did someone mislead her by as some people are saying excising crucially parts of the cia talking points where the cia said extremists linked to al qaeda, and they just became extremists. >> but i got to tell you, the cia talking points were not edited in the sense of talking about the movie. both the classified version we now know and the declassified version referred to demonstrations in benghazi growing out of what happened in cairo with the movie. how was the cia, how are our intelligence agencies so incredibly wrong about this? i mean it was not just rice. regarding her confirmation, i can tell you that she probably almost certainly wins confirmation if the white house goes forward with this, and the white house is signaling clearly
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that that is where the president is heading right now. whether or not he goes through it or not, but democrats, i'd be interested to hear what you say about this, but what i'm hearing democrats from the senate, don't necessarily want this fight right now because it will be three weeks of battles over the rice nomination focusing on benghazi because it will be filibustered. not all republicans will go along with its. the filibuster will not be successful but this will be a bat many that lasts three weeks. >> martha, secretary -- ambassador rice communicated what she had been given to communicate by the intelligence community. senator mccain and senator graham's beef is with the intelligence community, not with ambassador rice. if ambassador rice had said something other than what she was told to say by the intelligence community, they'd be attacking her for having said something other than what she was supposed to say. >> is this about something more? >> absolutely. >> is something more going on here? >> november 6 passed but in the eyes of -- >> the election is over and why are they digging in?
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>> we're still in campaign mode and that's unfortunate. >> well, in the fog of war, i mean, this is -- colin powell gave talking points and adlai stevenson during the bay of pigs gave bad talking points. i mean this is just the politics. it's bizarre the way senator mccain just totally questioned her qualifications for a position she has not even been nominated for and went so far as to even suggest she's not a smart person, and ambassador rice is a very extremely qualified, smart, dedicated public servant, clearly i think the attacks are purely political. but there are all these investigations going on. why don't we just let a lot of these investigations conclude before we learn the lessons of four brave americans killed in libya. >> there is a larger issue. why were they so wrong? >> oh, absolutely, the intelligence -- that issue seems to have gone away, and everybody is focusing on susan rice now but i'd like --
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>> they'd rather speculate. >> i'd like to move on to dave petraeus who we've been talking -- >> one quick point, which is if we didn't understand what's going on in benghazi, a relatively open city where we had people, why do we think the intelligence community knows what's going on in iran? i mean -- >> those questions -- yes, we've had those questions for many years and people are asking those questions. >> and the cia was consistently wrong in a consistent direction about soviet missiles, about soviet economic growth. the record of error is -- >> i think we'll have questions about a lot of those. >> our beef is with the intelligence. >> i think we've made that pretty clear right here. i think we've made that pretty clear. let's move on to dave petraeus. you know he was in these hearings. we have -- we thought this might calm down this week. it has not. let me start with you, speaker gingrich. is it a national security risk to have your cia director involved in an extramarital affair? >> i think petraeus concluded and i think he's quite right
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that he couldn't be effective. i mean i think what he did is -- >> you don't think it was because he got caught. >> well, that's what made him ineffective. i mean i think by definition if something had remained secret, it would remain secret. you'd have no reason to confront it. >> but the president actually spent 24 hours thinking about it. >> but i think petraeus in offering his resignation was communicating that he didn't think he could lead the cia. he didn't think he could deal with the congress and that he would be consumed -- you're much better off to have people saying, gee, he's a great patriot. isn't it a pity he's gone than people saying why isn't he gone? from his perspective he would have been in a very, very difficult position if he stayed in office. >> he thought he was going to get away with it, it seems to me. he acknowledged to the fbi the affair and went on a six-nation tour to the region, went to libya, looked at his own benghazi investigation. he didn't decide to resign until james clapper asked him to resign. >> until it became public. the fbi calls you and says, we know this, you know this, no one else knows this, you're operating on one --
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>> congressman becerra, get in the middle between those guys. >> there was a personal failing, a deep, severe personal failing. does it break into the realm of the public world, the responsibilities that -- >> what about judgment? what about judgment? >> well, that's surely the point. >> isn't that the bottom line here. >> the american people are not moral-less about this. they never gave up their affection for and job approval of bill clinton. this is a question of you want your cia director to have good judgment. is that asking too much? and this was obviously a case of bad judgment. there's a -- i would hope, by the way -- >> and should it just be the cia director or should it be anybody? where do you draw the line? >> i don't know where you draw the line but especially the cia director. this might also be a good time for the country to think about the militarization of the cia. i'm not sure we should have military leaders leading the
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cia, people in the military. >> that's been a long debate. that's why they wanted him to retire, correct. >> the cia is going to become increasingly a paramilitary operation. we ought to talk about that because that's a momentous development. >> a few months ago the gallup poll indicated our military was the most trusted institution in american life, so this was a huge blow at a time when congress is as popular as a root canal to have another institution of government have failed so badly, so, you know, we respect his service to the country, his sense of duty but this was a failure of judgment and i thought his resignation had to be accepted, and i know he'll get on with his life at some point. >> jon, does it harm the military, do you think? >> well, this isn't the first scandal to -- >> the pentagon is investigating why there have been so many scandals lately. let me just quickly on that, do you think we really do need to look at not only younger soldiers, but generals and what they've been through?
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dave petraeus has been deployed -- was deployed for six years. >> yeah, how much time -- he spent more time deployed than he has back home, but, you know, i this you want to be careful about making excuses but i think the military is looking not only at this issue, but at kind of the whole culture at the upper ranks. i mean, you know, sort of "the washington post" has about how gates realized that he had to -- next door to mullen. mullen has people making dinner for him. sort of blowing his leaves over to mullen's yard because he knew he had four people over there. >> the chairman at the time. okay, let's go to another perhaps not quite as sexy topic and that is the fiscal cliff. meetings on friday, everyone came out of those meetings and was so optimistic and thought they were so constructive. we've heard that before. what's different now? >> did you look at the body language as they walked out of the white house? i have never seen a less
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enthusiastic -- i guess we will now go out and talk to the press. we will all be positive. >> constructive meeting. >> it was very constructive. now, we have here somebody in the leadership so maybe he can tell us if we should be optimistic. >> i heard nancy pelosi say we should be optimistic. >> there's reason to be constructive and optimistic because it's simple math. we've got -- i sat on both simpson -- i sat on the super committee. you can only come upith so many ways to deal with the deficit. it is arithmetic and so -- so we should be able to do this. >> you talk about that simple math for a long time. is it really just that? >> well, if i could just conclude, if the math is simple, what the problem is is the egos and the concern about the special interests. if you can hang your egos and special interests at the door. >> they have not gone away. >> that's the problem. >> congressman, are democrats going to go along with entitlement cuts? are they going to go along with cuts to medicare and social
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security? >> the president was prepared to make significant changes in some of our important mandatory programs. the president and democrats were willing in both the super committee and biden talks and the president's grand bargain were willing to put everything on the table. it's always been that way and th's why i say it's arithmetic. it's simple math. we can do it. >> simple math and is there a mandate? does the president have a mandate? >> he has a mandate. he said it. he said he has a mandate to protect the middle class, to fight for the middle class, and i think what's important before we start talking about entitlements, which the president has talked about before, is that the republicans are now talking about revenue. the question is what republican party will show up, the republican party that still believes the romney/ryan math adds up or the other republican party that understands the reality 60% of the american people at least on election day voted to put revenues on the table. that is the big question we have to look at as we look down the road. the president is going to play the long game. he's not going to play for a short-term deal. >> the president denounced the house republicans across this country as obstructionists.
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the country said, we hear you and they sent him back to continue being a break on the president. and almost every member of john boehner's caucus won his or her seat by a much bigger margin than mr. obama won his renewed term. look, the arithmetic is simple. if you cap at $25,000 the available deductions, you raise $1.2 trillion. a lot of money. if you cap at 50,000, you raise about as much upon as you would letting the bush tax rates expire. i don't think that's a problem. you showed the clip of patty murray saying as a negotiating ploy go off the cliff. let me give you another theory. for 40 years the democratic party's activist base has had two goals, substantial tax increases and substantial tax or defense cuts. going off the cliff implements the democratic party's agenda. >> well, do you think it would
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be so bad to go off the cliff? >> i think it would be mildly chaotic. >> just mildly? >> this is a gigantic country. this country can absorb lots of mistakes. we test that theory regularly in our history. i don't think you should negotiate out of fear. i don't think you should have people say, oh, we have a gun at your head. the american people are faced with a flawed system. i agree with george will. the fact is that we're two mandates, not one. there'a mandate for the president, and there's a mandate for the house republicans and should the house republicans consider some revenues? maybe but i watched reagan get taken to the cleaners. i watched george h.w. bush get taken to the cleaners. give us the taxes and we will present someday eventually give you some spending cuts is not an appealing thing and i hope republicans would be very careful about whether there are genuine reforms and entitlements. >> jon karl, you were shaking your head about it being mildly chaotic. >> well, you know, i think what we're having now is both sides hearing what they want to hear. the democrats hear the republicans talk about revenues and the republicans hear the democrats, you know, make vague statements about entitlements. but there's a lot of space here. i mean, nancy pelosi told you
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directly that she would not agree to anything that did not raise rates. >> a starting point, huh. we had some controversial comments this week by governor mitt romney in a conference call with donors. let's listen to that. >> what the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote. >> if you want voters to like you, the first thing you've t to do is to like them first and it's certainly not helpful to tell voters that you think their votes were bought. this is completely not helpful. this is not what the republican party needs to go. >> what do you think of that? is that where the republican party needs to go? >> i just think it's nuts. i mean, first of all, it's insulting. this would be like walmart having a bad week and going, the customers have really been unruly. i mean, the job of a political
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leader is to understand the people. if we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win. >> and how do you do that, george will? how do you do that. >> you begin where bobby jindal was. it's well said you have a problem when the voters don't like you but have a real problem when the voters think you don't like them. mitt romney was picking up the theme that he put before the country, that 47% video during the campaign, get back to quit despising the american people particularly because a lot of what they're despising them for, republican policies. when mitt romney said, so many americans aren't paying taxes, yeah, because the republicans doubled the child tax credit for conservative reasons, yes, because they expanded the earned income tax credit as ronald reagan did because they thought it was an effective anti-poverty program. >> congressman berra, let me go to you on this. >> it's deja vu all over again. >> what are republicans doing to
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attract those certain members of the base? >> i don't think they read the tea leaves from november the 6th and i think they're still harkening to yesteryear. it's a new day in america and they should be catching up. he is the de facto leader of the party, mitt romney is still there, and so his comments remind folks of the 47% comment and it's unfortunate for them because they have to figure out a way to distance themselves from a guy who doesn't get it. >> i have to say he is not the de facto leader of the republican party. i think what this did was hasten romney's departure completely from the scene. romney has -- i mean i talked to republicans now. they talk about how you'll never see him speak at a convention again. people aren't going to be going to his door begging for his endorsement. that's a great question. >> de facto leader. >> his comments went over like a lead balloon with everybody,
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especially republicans. i agree with my home state governor bobby jindal but i have to tell you i saw a lot of people who said where's my gift? you know, no one believes that we're getting gifts from the government. i was at a party last night. everybody said, can you tell the president we want some gifts? i'm like, yeah, the gifts that he will give to the american people, it will come with improving the economy and that's what we all want. >> quickly, george. >> we're all getting a gift, we're getting $5 worth of government services and being charged $3 for it. >> and where does the republican party go? mitt romney, do you agree, is finished? >> i think romney -- i think many -- >> finished? >> well, i think he's finishing himself but i think the republican party has many leaders. we have a whole new generation. bobby jindal is a good example, susana martinez. you'll see a whole wave of you're going to see a whole wave of new people coming along and that's good for the republican party. >> thank you. thank you, all. it was a very fun roundtable. don't go anywhere. we're back with the tasty debate about that beloved american treat, the twinkie. who is to blame for its possible demise? don't ask chris christie. he wasn't having any of that
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debate on friday. >> this is a setup, man, i know it. you people are the worst. this is a setup. i am not answering questions on twinkies. ot answering questions on twinkies. we're sitting on a bunch of shale gas. there's natural gas under my town. it's a game changer. ♪ it means cleaner, cheaper american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe. thousands of jobs. use the most advanced technology to protect our water. billions in the economy. at chevron, if we can't do it right, we won't do it at all. we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. ♪ we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. the data she shares from comments, reviews, and social networks tells a company what to make. what it's made from, how it's shipped, and the way it's sold.
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ishares. yeah, ishares. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. makes twinkies, cupcakes, wonder bread is in big financial trouble right now. i don't even understand how this is possible. this country has never been fatter. how are the people who make zingers and snowballs losing money? >> and we're back now with our round table and as jimmy kimmel said after 82 years hostess is shutting down following a bankruptcy filing and a nationwide workers strike that ended in a stalemate, so good-bye to all of this. i know you all have your last cupcakes there perhaps. >> that's right. we're all prepared for a good happy -- >> yes, we are and you're willing to talk about those
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cupcakes. speaker gingrich, what happened here? >> well, my impression is that management and labor reached an impasse. the union preferred killing the company to accepting what they thought was a bad deal and the management preferred killing the company to accepting what -- >> look who is shaking his head. is that any surprise. >> i see the comings of twinkiegate here. failed to adapt. you bankrupt your company. you triple your salary as the ceo, then you blame it on the workers. i mean, what about that sign that says the buck stops here? all these workers were doing what they were being told to do and now they're being blamed for a bankruptcy. come on. this is not the kind of leadership you want to see in corporate america. we need folks who are going to stand up and say we're ready to adapt. don't blame your workers. your workers did exactly what they were supposed to do. >> take that, speaker gingrich. >> eight years, as of the 2004 bankruptcy, the workers took wage and benefit cuts. it wasn't enough. the ceo gave himself a 300% raise. look, this is -- i feel bad for the workers. 18,000 people will lose their job.
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i hope somebody will pick this up, will sell them and that we'll continue to have this delightful treat. >> can we have a very quick thought of twinkies in your life? just -- not you, jon karl. you're too young, you're the youngest member of this roundtable. did you like twinkies growing up? >> i liked hostess cupcakes but don't despair, someone is going to buy -- the brand has value. and they will go and in a right to work state where hostess does not have to operate under 372 collective bargaining agreements. >> okay. quickly, just twinkie memories. >> i remember when it was 25 cents a pack when my grandmother, two for five cents is 1.69. i wouldl like the original twinkie back. >> very quickly, i mean, what about wonder bread. wonder bread is going too. >> i'm a chocolate fiend.
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hostess has a couple in sacramento where i was born and raised. saw it almost every day of the week. >> i'm with george. twinkie will survive in a new corporate framework. >> thanks, that's all we have time for with our roundtable. i'll be back in a moment with your voice this week. back in a moment with your voice this week. they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. good times. never taking a bailout. there when you need them. helping millions of americans over the centuries. the strength of a global financial leader. the heart of a one-to-one relationship. together for your future. ♪ part of a whole new line of tablets from dell.
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it's changing the conversation. ♪ bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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and now we honor our fellow americans who serve and sacrifice. this week, the pentagon released the names of five soldiers killed in afghanistan. and finally, "your voice" this week. today's question comes from cheryl robinson who writes "what
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happened in benghazi was terribly tragic, and now we're hearing of another middle eastern war on the brick. let us and you the media not forget about the war that our own kids are fighting for us in afghanistan. why is there so little coverage?" well, because, unfortunately, very few people feel the way you do, cheryl. there is a war weariness with the public, and outside of campaign season, the war is not often mentioned. the administration tal about it largely to say we are leaving, but we should all remember that nearly 70,000 americans are still in afghanistan facing death and injury, and we should remember we have promised our combat troops will remain there for another two years. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" with david muir tonight. george stephanopoulos will see you back here next week. george stephanopoulos will see you back here next week.
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