tv PBS News Hour PBS October 31, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: republican frontrunner herman cain denied today sexual harassment allegations, saying he had been falsely accused in the 1990s. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we have a newsmaker interview with cain, the fifth in our series with g.o.p. hopefuls. >> i have never sexually harassed anyone. so this false allegation to now come up is kind of baffling.
>> woodruff: then, ray suarez talks to rod norland of the "new york times" in kabul about the latest attacks by militants in afghanistan. >> ifill: from liberia, special correspondent kira kay reports on the promise and the pitfalls that come with a wealth of natural resources. >> my previous experience in a way has been a resource. we've always had these natural resources. they just haven't been used well for the development of the people. >> woodruff: we update the story of convicted financier bernard madoff, as his wife and son speak out in new interviews. >> ifill: and betty ann bowser examines president obama's push to get lifesaving drugs to patients who need them. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: herman cain, the latest republican presidential candidate to lead in polls, spent the day rebutting sexual harassment charges. asked repeatly about the claims he dismissed them as baseless. the story first reported last night on news website politico.com alleged that when cain was head of the national restaurant association in the 1990s at least two female
employees reported inappropriate behavior to senior members of the organization. the politico story said, quote, the women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by him that made them angry and uncomfortable the sources said and they sign agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. for its part the national restaurant association says it does not comment on personnel matters. today cain denied the reports for the first time in an appearance on fox news channel. >> i have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone, and absolutely these are false accusations. >> woodruff: in an appearance at the national press club, he conceded he knew about the investigation. >> while at this restaurant association i was accused of sexual harassment, and it was
concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis. as far as a settlement, i am unaware of any sort of settlement. i hope it wasn't for much but i didn't do anything. >> woodruff: asked if his reiff als were helping to fuel the flames of this story he said.... >> i told you this bull's eye on my back has gotten bigger. i have no idea. we have no idea the source of this witch hunt. which is really what it is. we have no idea. we've been busy trying to get my message out. >> woodruff: today's responses were in contrast to cain's no comment of yesterday. the report comes at a critical time for cain. he leads the republican field nationally and is ahead in a key early state with a new poll showing him on top in iowa. now to our herman cain interview. i talked to him a short while
ago. it's the fifth in our series of vote 2012 conversations with the republican presidential contenders. herman cain, thank you for talking with us. >> thank you, judy. delighted to be here. >> woodruff: as we just saw in that piece, you are saying you did not sexually harass anyone. let me just ask you though a couple of questions to help us understand this. setting that question aside, what was your relationship with these two women who are making these allegations? >> well, both of them reported to someone who reported to me at the national restaurant association. so they were employees of the restaurant association. one of them made a formal charge that i turned over to my general counsel to follow up on to get it resolved. he did. came back after several months and said there's no basis to it. she couldn't find anyone to corroborate her story so it was a false sexual harassment claim. >> woodruff: what about the
other woman? >> the other one i never even knew that there was a claim formerly or otherwise. totally have no idea. >> woodruff: do you know what incidents or either incident or incidents they're talking about? and were you ever alone with either one of these women? >> the answer is not in a social setting but maybe in an office or something like that. we'd have a big convention in chicago. one incident with the one who made the formal charge, the only one that i could recall after a day of trying to remember specifics was once i referenced this lady's height. i was standing near her. i did this saying you're the same height as my wife because my wife is feef feet tall and she comes up to my chin. this lady is five feet tall and came up to my chin. obviously she thought that that was too close for comfort. it showed up in the actual
allegation, but at the time when i did that, you know, it in my office. the door was wide open. my secretary was sitting right there. we were standing there. i made the little gesture. other than that, i can't even recall what some of the other things were. as i mentioned, they were all found to be baseless. >> woodruff: and there was some mention of a hotel room at a convention or at a meeting. did any one of these women, were they ever asked to meet you? >> that, i absolutely do not recall. you know, i have no recollection of that. >> woodruff: was there any behavior on your part that you think might have been inappropriate? >> in my opinion, no. but as you would imagine it's in the eye of the person who thinks that maybe i crossed the line. i worked for the department of the navy, the coca-cola company, pills bury, burger king, godfather's pizza.
years and years and years of working in the business environment, working around men, women, all types of people, never, never accused of any sort of sexual harassment. i have never sexually harassed anyone. so this false allegation to now come up is kind of baffling. >> woodruff: have there ever been any other charges leveled against you? >> absolutely no. >> woodruff: that you're aware of? >> no, no, none ever that i am aware of. >> woodruff: in terms of the settlement which was reached by the restaurant association you as the ceo were not aware of that? or you were aware? >> i was aware that an agreement was reached. the word "settlement" versus the word "agreement" i'm not sure what they called it. i know that there was some sort of agreement, but because it ended up being minimal they didn't have to bring it to me. my general counsel and the head of human resources had the authority to resolve this
thing. so it wasn't one of those things where it got above a certain authority level and i had to sign it. if i did-- and i don't think i did, i don't even remember signing it because it was minimal in terms of what the agreement was. >> woodruff: we were told five figures. let's move on because there are plenty of issues to talk about. first the economy. a lot of attention to your 999 tax plan. let me ask you about the budget. that government spending. you have said that in your first year as president you would like to see the budget balanced. rick perry had said he's got a plan that would do it, what, in eight years. paul ryan would do it in 30 years. it takes a huge, a mammoth cut, a 1.6 trillion dollars to get that budget in balance the first year. my question is what would you cut out of the biggest programs, medicare, social security, defense? >> well, we've got to make sure we're talking apples and apples here. what i'm referring to is in my first year in the first full
fiscal year of my presidency-- because remember when you're sworn in, you inherit a fiscal year-- the first full fiscal year my objective is to have a fiscal year balanced budget. here's how. first, grow this economy robustly. it is projected that for this year, 2011 that our g.d.p. annualized will probably grow right around 1.6%. my 999 plan, based upon static analysis and a dynamic analysis, says that this economy will be growing at around 5%. so we're going to have more revenue coming in because we're going to have more people working and more people paying taxes so you have to get both of them going at the same time. >> woodruff: but you would still have to cut. >> let me get to the cuts, yes. i plan to do an across-the-board 10% cut of all of the federal agencies. i just feel intuitively that it's there. then ask my cabinet....
>> woodruff: including social security and medicare. >> no, no, no, no, no. not including social security and medicare. that's a separate problem we have to come back and restructure. i have ideas on that. i'm talking about the basic expenditures that run these agencies not the program. that's a separate problem that i plan to attack. i'm saying the agency here is going to have to do a deep dive to help find additional monies in order to be able to do that. that's the approach we're going to use. >> woodruff: across the board. you think you could come up with enough money without going after the entire.... >> exactly. and the reason is growing the economy so the projection of revenues will be much higher. it will be tough. but i'm saying that that's the objective we've set out there. >> woodruff: two international questions. first the middle east. syria where president assad has been authorizing the murder of the centers in that country. as president, would you be willing... would you be prepare to send american forces either air power or
ground troops if necessary to put a stop to that? >> no. here's why, judy. it is sad that this brutal dictator is killing his own people in order to stay in power. they have never been our friends to begin with. my philosophy on foreign policy starts with an extension of the reagan philosophy. peace through strength. i've added peace through strength and clarity. it's clear they're not our friends. now if there is a way for us to help the opposition without putting our men and women in uniform in harm's way, i would be open to that. i would certainly consider that. >> woodruff: an example of how you could do that? >> providing them.... >> woodruff: weapons? >> possibly. possibly weapons. possibly food and supplies or water. if it were possible. but i would not put our men and women in harm's way simply because it is a humanitarian disaster. i don't believe in doing that. we cannot be the policemen for the world.
so if it's clear who our friends are, clear who our enemies are, i want to first make sure that we stop giving money to our enemies. they've always been one of our enemies so as bad as it is from a humanitarian standpoint, we're not going to, you know, jump in there and jump in the middle of that. >> woodruff: china. do you view china as a potential military threat to the united states? >> i do view china as a potential military threat to the united states. >> woodruff: and what could you do as president to head that off? >> my china strategy is quite simply outgrow china. it gets back to economics. china has a $6 trillion economy. they're growing at approximately 10%. we have a $14 trillion economy, much bigger, but we're growing as an anemic 1.5-1.6%. when we get our economy growing, back at the rate of 5 or 6% that it has the ability to do, we will outgrow china.
secondly, we already have superiority in terms of our military capability. and i plan to get away from making cutting our defense a priority and make investing in our military capability a priority. going back to my statement peace through strength and clarity. yes, they're a military threat. they've indicated they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have so, yes, we have to consider them a military threat. >> woodruff: your campaign. you have shot to the top of the polls nationally. you are running ahead in the key early states, iowa, new hampshire, south carolina. you're doing very, very well but there was a focus group of voters this past week in the state of ohio. all of them like you. they say what you're saying is very appealing. but when they were asked directly, could they see you as president, not a single one
of them said that they could. how do you persuade them that's not right, that you could be president? >> the way that i persuade them is to continue to do what i'm doing, which is taking my message to the people. one of the reasons that i can only speculate that they have that impression is because i am the unconvention many candidate. i'm running an unconventional campaign. and we're winning. we're moving up in the polls. so some people are still having to get to... get used to the fact that a businessman who solved problems can, in fact, be president of the united states of america. more and more people are getting used to that idea. a lot of the states where i have spent a lot of time, they're getting used to that idea. so i believe that people will eventually get past that fact because i've been continuing to promote the fact that i am unconventional. i'm the businessman not the politician. >> woodruff: any doubt in your mind you'll win the republican
nomination? >> today, no. it's not arrogance, judy. it's called confidence. i had someone ask me one time, are you arrogant enough to be president? no, confidence. everything i've done in my career, i had to go into it with a lot of confidence in order to succeed. more importantly sur surrounding myself with good people. that's always been one of my mantras. surround myself with good people. lay out some guiding principles and then solve the problems that need to be solved. >> woodruff: herman cain, we thank you very much for talking with us. >> it's a pleasure, judy. thank you. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, the militant attacks in afghanistan; liberia, rich in natural resources; the madoff family speaks; and critical drugs in short supply. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: a powerful and rare early snowstorm is now blamed for at least 12 deaths in the northeastern u.s., and some two million homes and businesses were still in the dark two days after the storm blew through.
newshour correspondent kwame holman has this report. >> happy halloween. >> reporter: for those heading out for trick or treating across the region this halloween looked more like a white christmas. the unusual storm dumped wet, heavy snow from west virginia through maine, in some places more than 0 inches fell. ... more than 30 inches fell. the snow landed on leaf-filled trees bringing down branches that then pulled down power lines and closed roads and put a damper on many halloween plans. >> no heat. no food. no power. and it's october. >> reporter: connecticut had the most power outages, 750,000 customers still were without service today. and connecticut light and power officials said it could take more than a week to restore power to everyone. across massachusetts, snapped tree limbs also felled power lines. about half a million homes were powerless today.
and in new jersey, the snowstorm caused more blackouts than hurricane irene did two months ago. governor chris christie said it affected rail travel as well. >> you have over 20 different places on one line. that's trees coming down on the tracks or on the lines in 20 different spots. just talking about much more significant damage to the rail system than we had during irene. >> reporter: the storm broke a rash of october records. and states of emergency were declared in connecticut, massachusetts, new jersey, and parts of new york. >> sreenivasan: police made a number of arrests at several occupy wall street encampments today. in richmond, virginia, police cleared demonstrators out of a city plaza, charging some with trespassing or obstruction of justice. over the weekend, there were similar arrests in other cities, from austin, texas, to portland, oregon. in denver, protesters clashed with police after they were evicted from a park encampment. stocks plummeted on wall street
today over fresh concerns about europe's debt crisis. the major u.s. indexes closed out their best month in decades with steep losses. the dow jones industrial average lost 276 points to close at 11,955. the nasdaq fell more than 52 points to close at 2684. nato ruled out the possibility of a military intervention in syria today. over the weekend, president bashar al-assad warned the west not to get involved. in an interview with britain's "sunday telegraph," he asked, "do you want to see another afghanistan, or tens of afghanistans?" the united nations estimates some 3,000 people have been killed by security forces in protests against the syrian government this year. palestine became a full member of the united nation's cultural agency, unesco, today. that led the u.s. to immediately cut off funding to the world body. u.s. law bars assistance to any u.n. agency that accepts palestinian membership. in washington, state department spokeswoman victoria nuland said the move was unfortunate.
>> today's vote by the member states of unesco to admit palestine as a member is regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the middle east. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. has maintained that a palestinian state can only be achieved through direct negotiations with israel. israel's foreign ministry warned the move will undermine future efforts to resume middle east peace talks. the nato mission in libya came to an official end today. all told, the nato alliance ran a seven-month long sea and air campaign before moammar qaddafi's regime collapsed. it included a total of 9,600 strike sorties to back up libyan revolutionary forces on the ground. also today, libya's national transitional council selected a new prime minister. he is abdel rahim al-keep, an electronics engineer from tripoli. the new government will run libya until a general election can be organized. the world's population has surpassed the seven billion mark. a series of symbolic festivities were held at hospitals around the world today to mark the historic milestone.
the first birth was celebrated in the philippines, shortly before midnight. danica may camacho was welcomed with cake and a gift certificate for free shoes. the united nations estimates the world's population will hit eight billion by 2025. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: and to renewed violence in afghanistan, where suicide bombings in the two largest cities have claimed more than 20 lives. >> suarez: the latest in a month-long series of high- profile insurgent attacks came today in kandahar. a suicide bomber blew up a check point and then three gunmen seized control of a building near the united nations refugee office. nato and afghan forces battled the insurgents for seven hours. eventually killing the militants but ten others lay dead too including three u.n. workers. the kandahar strike came two days after a bombing in kabul that was
foreign operation here. >> suarez: does what you've been able to find out about both the method and the materials used point to any source? >> well, everything points to the haqqani network which is a group of taliban allies based in pakistan, very closely built around a family clan that at one time in fact was financed by the united states in the war against is soviets. they since have proven to be our worst enemy here. also the most effective enemy. >> suarez: how is the haqqani network different from the taliban? >> they're better organized. they're more competent. when they launch an attack they're much better trained. they'll do typically do very complex attacks with multiple fighters who are very heavily armed and well disciplined. we saw that again today in kandahar although they weren't very successful. unfortunately they did kill some u.n. employees who were attendants in front of the building. but they have come very close
on several occasions to something that could be a very near disaster. and i'm sure they hope it would be a game-changing disaster. >> suarez: secretary of state clinton just left pakistan after asking the pakistani government to get tougher on the haqqani network. what do these attacks say about the success or failure of the secretary of state's efforts? >> well, a lot of people see the attack on saturday when 13 people, mostly americans, were killed plus four afghans. a lot of people see that as a message to the americans in a response to hillary clinton's visit to pakistan and particularly to the pressure she's trying to put on them about the ha cha cany network and the bases they have inside of pakistan. >> suarez: what does it say about the pakistani government's response? are they trying to keep the haqqanis on a leash? >> i don't think it is so much of a leash as it is a permissive kennel that they can operate out of, some place to stay warm and get out of the rain when they need to and
marshal their forces. the pakistanis have tried to do something about that in the past. they lost 700 soldiers trying to do it and failed miserably. instead they have a mode us vivendi with them now. a lot of people believe their intelligence services are very closely linked with haqqani network and get them to do some of their bidding but it's not so much that they directly completely control them as they give them a safe harbor. >> suarez: what do these attacks tell you about the relative strength of these groups? have they been weakened in the south as some nato commanders are saying? does it mean they're stronger in places like kabul? >> well, they have been weakened in the south. they told less ground in many parts of the country. one of the responses has been to shift their tactics and to use what fire power they have more effectively and less indiscriminately and worry less about trying to hold
territory and worry more about trying to get targets that have maximum impact. the impact they're looking for is probably above all else media impact, things that get a lot of publicity. they know very well that they were able to kill enough americans or other nato forces that that could very well change the support back home for this conflict. that's what they're about doing. >> suarez: you mentioned the targeting of foreign troops. what's the relationship, if any, between these attacks and the announced timetable of u.s. withdrawal? the beginning of the drawdown of the surge? >> well i think a lot of people would say that that encourages them to try to have one of these spectacular hits that can maybe push that timetable along a little faster. they don't have to worry about holding ground so much because they know that, you know, once or they feel that once the americans leave they'll be able to take all the ground they want to without the sort of casualties and difficulties
that they've had here. but i mean they may, you know, overestimating just how effective that would be, too. >> suarez: has the united states or isaf spoken publicly since these attacks? have they reflected about the situation improving and victory being just around the corner? >> well, they are constantly saying things are improving, that things are getting better all the time. that there are fewer incidents. i mean even their numbers though are disputed by a lot of people here. i mean, the u.n.'s numbers say that things are getting worse in terms of the frequency of attacks and the number of i.e.d.s and of course the civilian casualties as well. they say by their numbers things are getting better. i think most people here don't buy that. certainly the feeling among afghans is that things are much more difficult now than they were. plus an awful lot of people are looking at 2014 and thinking what are we going to
do then? you know, what is our game plan going to be once the americans leave? nobody has a great deal of confidence in the afghan government to be able to stand on its own. >> suarez: rod innerland of the "new york times," thanks for joining us. >> thanks a lot. >> woodruff: now, to another of our stories about liberia. the west african nation is rich in oil, diamonds, timber, and much more. that's been both a blessing and a challenge for the fledgling democracy. special correspondent kira kay reports. >> reporter: flying above liberia, it is easy to imagine the potential this lush and tropical land holds for resources development. i'm traveling with an executive with the world's largest steel company. he's taking me to a port which the company has rebuilt to accommodate its shipping of iron ore just getting underway. how long did it take you to
get to this point? >> well, this was a long drawnout process. we actually came into liberia in 2005. we started work on actually rehabilitating the rail and the port in 2007, the mining itself is fairly simple. it's on the side of a mountain. you dig it out of the ground and then it's railed. the rail journey takes about 6-8 hours. >> reporter: liberia was a major iron ore exporter back in the 1970s but the industry collapsed during a success of coups and civil wars. >> the infrastructure was completely destroyed. the skilled labor force is also nonexistent because even though in the past there was quite a good skilled labor force during the 20 years people left to seek opportunities in other places whether it's in america or in europe and you had a country that essentially lost a generation. >> reporter: but now the
company aims to be exporting 15 million tons of ore a year by 2015. liberia has received an up front payment of $15 million. according to matthews annual royalties alone will exceed that once operations are fully underway. liberia is now banking on these big revenues to build its prosperity and end reliance on foreign aid. the country's president ellen johnson sirleaf says the transformation can be made within two decades. >> liberia is natural resource rich. we have minerals. we have agriculture. we have marine resources. if we discover oil added to the other natural resources we have, that transformation is very possible. >> reporter: unequal access to the benefits of natural resources created societal rifts that led to war in liberia. diamonds and timber bank rolled war lord president charles taylor. >> liberia's experience in a way has been a resource curse.
we've always had these natural resources. they just haven't been used well for the development of the people. >> reporter: so when president sirleaf came to power in 2006 her administration renegotiated contracts former governments had made with foreign investors. including the rubber giant firestone which for years had come under criticism for labor and environmental abuses. the new contract obtained a better share of revenues and improvements in labor and safety standards for local workers. today rubber is being tapped around the country as firestone and other international rubber companies expand their purchasing from local growers. weigh stations are doing a brisk business. how many people come per day here to bring you rubber? >> we have customers, one or two days.
but now it is 2,040. it is improving. >> reporter: sirleaf's government also renegotiated the company agreement first signed in 2005. >> the new government did not like the idea that an agreement was signed just three months before the election so they wanted to review the agreement which woe readily agreed to, and they had some issues. the issues were primarily around the pricing of the ore and the ownership of the rail and port. so we were able to come to a conclusion on both those points. >> reporter: but is the prospect of off-shore oil that might launch transformation here. chevron has just started exploratory drilling in liberia's coastal waters. >> our first well will be drilled about 65 kilometers off shore. >> reporter: country manager says liberia is a country
chevron can do business with. >> effectively you're looking at the laws and the regulations and those types of fundamental rules and chevron does look at that. we are encouraged that those foundations are being put in place by the current administration. >> reporter: despite the great excitement here, he is working to manage expectations. >> first production in the best cases is probably 7-10 years from now so it is a long- term maturity project. the problem that you have is that people that are used to drilling water wells which immediately start producing. so yes we have to explain to people how long the projects are. >> reporter: already liberia has attracted $16 billion in foreign direct investment. a staggering sum for a small, fragile nation. in 2009 liberia became the first african country to join the transparency initiative. the e.i.t.i.is an independent association that sets a global standard for reporting and
reconciling resource revenues. to police the payment of fees and taxes by companies and then ensure dollars aren't siphoned off by corrupt government officials. >> let us know what is received. if there is a gap between what is paid and what is received we want to know why. >> reporter: the founding director of liberia's e.i.t.i.office says participation is mandatory for all international investors operating in liberia. >> we have now reported now for three or almost four years what we've paid the government. the government in turn reports what they've received from us. and it is published and it's transparent for everybody to see. >> reporter: knowing how much a company was supposed to pay or actually has paid is one thing. but enforcing it, if they don't, is another. does this government have the capacity to police these organizations? >> i don't think so.
but i think it's a part of the entire process of improving government. what the e.i.t.i. promises is not that government alone will solve the problem. government is sitting at the table with traditional leaders, with companies, to discuss resource government. i mean at every level there is room for improvement but now people are more sensitive to this discreet step. >> reporter: but signing on to a global resources initiative might not be enough to end the corruption that still permeates government here. a new report by the watchdog organization global witness warns of the government's inability to manage its oil sector. and cites conflicts of interest between the national oil company and the investors it regulates. it also alleges that in 2007 a nigerian oil company arranged bribes to the legislature for passage of its contract.
chevron later acquired 70% of that concession despite information about the payments being publicly available. chevron, an underwriter of newshour, says its engagement with the liberia government has been mid in accordance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements and points to its extensive corporate responsibility program in liberia including this children's ward it is funding at the country's main hospital. for liberia to truly escape the resources curse it will take more than fiscal oversight. the government must now also manage its assets in a way that includes rather than marginalizes its population. some local residents are watching warily, especially those living next door to a malaysian company that is cultivating over half a million acres of land primarily for palm oil plantations. >> how do you ensure that this country's resources.... >> reporter: activists took me to a small village abutting the plantation where residents
say this land is their ancestral home and not the governments to give away. the governments's deal with the company includes the relocation of 25,000 people squatting in the area and the u.s. state department has identified the stand off as a potential security threat to the country. >> people are hungry. people are complaining because they are not seeing the value. they're asking questions. what's going on? i don't have the kpasite he to be table to explain what's going to the people. so it means the potential for conflict in the future. >> reporter: back at the port of buchanan steel executive joseph matthews is more optimistic that liberia is on the path to solving such challenges. >> the world is much different place than it was back in the '60s and '70s. i mean today when you sign an agreement, there's expectations of transparency, of corporate governance. there are international organizations watching over transactions. >> reporter: as liberia
rebuilds itself from 14 years of conflict, the country's natural resources offer the hope of a wealth more widely shared among the four million people who live here. if the pitfalls that have plagued its neighbors and its own history can be escaped. >> woodruff: president sirleaf faces a run-off november 8 in her bid for a second term. kira kay's story is part of our partnership with the bureau for international reporting. >> ifill: next, a fuller picture of the madoff story. thousands of investors are still dealing with the wreckage left behind by convicted financier bernard madoff in the wake of his enormous ponzi scheme. now, other key members of the madoff family are providing their own inside account. nearly three years after bernard madoff's name first hit the headlines his wife ruth and his son andrew are telling their side of the story.
last night, tied to the release of a new book on the madoff family, they appeared on cbs news "60 minutes." >> i trusted him. why would it ever occur to me that it wasn't legal? the business was his reputation was almost legendary. why would i ever think that there was something sinister going on? >> but people say there's no way these kids could not have... at the very least suspected something was going on. >> well, keep in mind. these were completely separate businesses. we were executing hundreds of thousands of transactions a day. that kept all of us incredibly busy. it just didn't occur to me that he could be involved in any kind of criminal activity. >> ifill: in march 2009 bernard madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies related to running the largest ponzi
scheme in history. he was sentenced to 150 years in prison for bilking investors, large and small, out of as much as $80 billion of cash and paper wealth. ruth madoff told cbs news last night she still doesn't know why he did it. >> i don't understand it. it's hard for me to say this, but i don't think the money was the part of it. i think he got stuck. that's what he said. and he didn't have the courage to face things when they might have been able to be faced on a much smaller scale. >> ifill: shortly after her husband was arrested in december 2008, ruth madoff says they tried to commit suicide together by taking pills. they survived but in december of last year, it was their eldest son mark who did take his own life. andrew madoff who with his brother marked turned their father in to authorities told cbs news his relationship with his father is over.
>> what he did to me, to my brother, and to my family is unforgiveable. what he did to thousands of other people, destroyed their lives, i'll never understand it. and i'll never forgive him for it. i'll never speak to him again. >> ifill: an authorized family biography, truth and consequences, life inside the madoff family, went on sale today. for a deeper look for a deeper look into the book, the interviews, and the personalities behind them, i am joined by diana henriques, "new york times" senior financial writer, and author of "the wizard of lies," a book on the madoff scandal. diana, welcome back to the program. you have by now spoken to bernie madoff in jail. you've spoken to his wife ruth. you've spoken to andrew. what do we know about this family? >> well, i think it's interesting that they are fondly speaking up. this has been people who have been on stage as key players from the very beginning of
this scandal. but we haven't heard from them. they're very different people obviously. ruth is very different from bernie. my three-hour interview with her showed a person who is still very fragile. still having a very hard time comprehending the crime that her husband committed and the damage that he did. of course still grieving deeply for her son mark. andrew is still, as you could tell from that clip, very, very angry at his father. we're seeing a family really that's just been torn apart by this man's crime as so many other families were hurt financially. this family was hurt both financially and as you can see deeply in terms of their emotional ties to one another. >> ifill: are you satisfied after having had these conversations that neither ruth madoff nor andrew madoff really knew what bernie madoff was up to. >> not just because of these conversations. i think that we're looking now almost three years later at a total absence of any actual evidence that they were involved at all.
it's very difficult, of course, to prove a negative, to prove that he did not know then something that you do know now but there has never been any demonstration of any testimony, any hard evidence, any documents, neither ruth, mark, nor andrew have ever been the target or the subject of a criminal investigation. so i have concluded well before this publicity blitz that there was very little evidence that they knew about madoff's crime. they now, of course, have underscored that saying that they definitely didn't. andrew gives interesting details about confronting his father about a succession plan. what do we do if you get hit by a bus? that has given a little bit more texture to that... the way madoff kept them in the dark. >> ifill: what do you know of the nature of the relationship now between ruth and bernard madoff? >> there is no relationship. she had determined that she
was not going to see him again in the fall of 2010. she had only done about a handful of visits in prison. on one of them she told him, "i'm losing my family because i keep coming here. i have to stop. you have to help me stop. you have to stop writing and calling." madoff didn't. he continued to call. she changed her phone number. to demonstrate to her sons that she was absolutely cutting him off but it was too late for her relationship with mark. >> ifill: there is still... pardon me. i just want to be clear. they're still married to one another though. there's no divorce. >> they are married. andrew in my interview with him thinks she should divorce madoff. more as a symbolic gesture than as anything else. it would be meaningless since he's locked up for the rest of his life. ruth is a little bit more practical about it. i think she's already facing considerable legal bills in her continuing litigation with the bankruptcy trustee.
she is on a limited budget until those issues are resolved. she just thinks it's kind of a pointless thing to do. will they continue to discuss it? i would predict that they will. >> ifill: as they have these conversations with you and with others do you hear them expressing remorse? these two are obviously interested in trying to get back their reputations. but are they expressing remorse for the victims? >> yes. when i interviewed ruth, interestingly enough, she had kind of sealed herself off from the news of madoff's fraud as it was unfolding unlike her son mark who just obsessed with every single headline. she couldn't watch it. she couldn't read it. so surprisingly, she told me that she did not really understand the scope and the scale of her husband's fraud until she read my book last spring. now she's just beginning to come to terms with it. and the remorse that she feels, the shame that she feels for what her husband did, actually
had her in tears at one point during our interview. so clearly she feels the weight of that very heavily. andrew obviously is furious with his father for what he did and expresses his remorse in angrier terms. madoff himself obviously deeply grieving over what he's done to his own family. whether he's stretching that remorse far enough to cover the damage he's done to everybody else's family it's hard for me to say. >> ifill: how are things coming in the repayments, the recovery of the lost funds for those victims? >> well, it still looks fairly promising by the scale of ponzi schemes. the bankruptcy trustee has collected about $11 billion. he's distributed about $300 million of that, about 5 cents on the dollar for the eligible investors. and he hopes to be able to distribute the remaining $11 billion and to collect many
billions more through lawsuits that he's filed against people he accuses of having been complicit or negligent in their handling or their dealings with madoff. now those lawsuits have hit a couple of potholes. in the district court here in new york, the judge, a u.s. district judge here, has raised some serious questions about whether the trustee has standing or has the legal right to pursue these cases. those will be very important decisions. we're watching for some important ones right now that are weighted in the case involving the owner of the new york mets' baseball club. there's a long road of litigation before we know how successful the trustee is going to be in gathering assets for the victims. >> ifill: diana, thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the growing concerns surrounding drug shortages and the president's idea for tackling a part of the problem.
newshour health correspondent betty ann bowser reported on the worries earlier this year and has our update. >> reporter: in the next few days it should be high enough for us to do the.... >> reporter: across the country doctors and patients are struggling to get their hands on some essential prescription drugs in dangerously short supply. the list includes 178 drugs. antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs used to kill cancers and medicines that save lives in the emergency room. today president obama signed an executive order giving the food and drug administration more tools to police the problem. >> part of this we're going to require the drug companies. let us know earlier about the potential for drug shortages so that we can respond successfully. we're going to make sure that if we find out that prices are being driven up because shortages are being made worse by manipulations of companies or distributors that we are
making sure that we stop those practices. >> reporter: the president also gave fda and the department of justice more power to investigate the so- called gray market where unscrupulous suppliers buy up drugs in short supply and then charge exorbitant prices. most of the medicines in question are older generic products that are not significantly profitable. a number of companies have dropped out of production, and some still making them have run into manufacturing problems. that's left patients like bruce blair having to make difficult choices. he got one round of a preferred drug earlier this year and then had to go to plan-b when no more of it could be found. >> there was actually some concerns as to what's going on. >> reporter: whether it was working. >> whether it was working and actually the other concern that we were told is maybe the cancer is back. when you're going through this, that's kind of the last thing
that you actually want to hear is that maybe the cancer is back. it really for that two-week period, it really kind of puts you a little bit on edge. >> reporter: although blair's doctors successfully treated him, it could have had a different outcome. are we talking about drugs that literally create a life-and-death situation sometimes? >> absolutely. >> reporter: captain valerie jensen tracks shortages for the fda. we talked to her earlier this summer. is this unprecedented? >> it is. when we look back at the last six years since we've tracked shortages, we've not seen these levels. we've not seen anything near these levels. >> reporter: jensen told us that economics played a clear role in the problem. >> these are not profitable drugs so as newer drugs come off patent, often those are picked up by firms and they want to make those drugs because they are more profitable. these older inject i believes can get discontinued for that reason. >> reporter: the generic pharmaceutical association
released a statement pledging to work with all stakeholders to ensure that life-saving generic medications are available for all patients who rely on them. the president's action was the latest in a series of executive orders taken to circumvent the congress which has refused to pass mr. obama's jobs bill and other legislation. the president also said he supports a proposed bill that would require drug makers to notify the fda six months before a potential shortage. >> we'll still be calling on congress to pass a bipartisan bill that will provide additional tools to the fda and others that can make a difference. but until they act, we will go ahead and move. >> reporter: today's orders is just the beginning of a process that could take months before patients are able to get the drugs they need. moreover, it may not solve some of the fundamental business problems that led to the shortages in the first place.
>> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. republican presidential candidate hermann cain denied claims he sexually harassed two female employees when he was the head of the national restaurant association. he told the newshour, "i have never sexually harassed anyone." more than two million homes and businesses in the northeast were still without power, two days after a rare snowstorm hit. suicide bombers in afghanistan killed five people including three u.n. employees. hari sreenivasan has more on the presidential campaign online. hari? >> sreenivasan: browse our guide to all of the g.o.p. 2012 contenders on our politics page. on our world page, we examine how the kidnapping of aid workers and clashes with militants in somalia are making the famine there even worse. we have an update from the u.n. high commissioner for refugees. plus, economics correspondent paul solman responds to the avalanche of viewer reaction to
his interview with professor richard epstein, who defended the concept of economic inequality. that's on our making sense page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the super committee's deficit negotiations. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them.
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